Report Back to Us, Kleinheider

Oh, y’all, I am so digging my “Kleinheider” category, I can’t even tell you.

Anyway, Kleinheider, here’s what I’m wondering.  The U.S. census data says that 69 out of 100 of us are white, non-Hispanic; 12 out of 100 are black, non-Hispanic; 4 are Asian; 2 are other, and 12 are Hispanic.

Here are my questions for you:

1.  When you look around you there at work, are 12% of the employees at WKRN black?

1a. According to the census data, 20% of the workforce in Davidson county is black?  Are one in five of you sitting there black? 

2.  When you talk about how “If there was no affirmative action no one would have to wonder whether
people of color achieved their position on the merits. As it is, we do
have to wonder.” has it ever occurred to you that people think you have your job just because you’re white and male and conservative?

3.  Does that bother you?

4.  No, seriously.  You never wondered if you have that job just because you’re a white man and people tend to believe that white men really get how to talk politics?

5.  Do you really think that you’re the best qualified person for that job?

6.  So, why do you have it and not, say, Abramson?

7.  Most of the folks who work there are white.  Certainly they didn’t need to hire another white guy.  Did your dad get you that job?

8.  Don’t you think these kinds of questions suck? 

Just wondering myself. 

Who’s this “us,” Kleinheider?

Kleinheider, do you see what it’s come to? I’ve had to give you your own category.  You’ve written a post so eye-rollingly outrageous I’ve been forced to give you your own category.

Lucky for you, I’ve given up trying to show you the error of your ways.  Instead, I’m just going to fix this post to outright say what it seems to me you’re trying to say. 

Sean Braisted’s radio habits are gonna give him a heart condition. He quotes a caller to Phil Valentine’s radio program:

RA: I was in line at the voting place, and as I walked up to sign in, I saw a name ahead of mine and a light came on in my head [first time in probably his life], the name was Jesus. So I asked the woman, I asked, “was this man an illegal”? To which the woman apparently replied (I would have replied with a pencil to the larynx), “he showed us his ID.” To which the RA replied, “but did he prove he’s a citizen,” and to which Phil Valentine (RA #2) chortled along saying, “how easy is it go get an ID”. The woman, most likely sarcastically (something this guy couldn’t grasp the concept of), asked, “Well can you prove you’re a citizen,” which the guy replied in his smartest most ‘Wow I’m smart’ moment, “well you can’t ask that if you can’t ask Jesus”.

It easy for us educated white people to condemn white people like this.  It is comfortable for us educated white people to look down our nose at this blatant tribalism, this “racism.” But we have to ask ourselves where does it come from? Is it some inherent race hate or is it something else?

Likely, it is a bit of both but if you wish for an end to this kind of conjecture and suspicion on the part of our native the white population you have to be foursquare against illegal immigration. Not just in word but in deed.

It is our policy of neglect in regards to this issue that has white people asking these questions. If we had an ironclad immigration policy, one that white folks had faith in, white people like the caller could roundly be derided as racist. But because we don’t, this white person cannot be as harshly criticized for the simple fact that he could very well be right.

Because we let in so many illegals, especially from certain countries Mexico and the rest of Latin America, it makes all people who look like those illegals  have brown skin suspect. If we white people knew our government was minding the store, we white people wouldn’t have to wonder whether these brown-skinned folks were legal — we white people would know. The fact is we white people don’t and the chances that they the brown skinned people are illegal are better than average.

This is the same with affirmative action. If there was no affirmative action no one white person would have to wonder whether people of color achieved their position on the merits. As it is, we white people do have to wonder.

Certainly, because the caller’s questioning could be racism it is perfectly acceptable to perceive it as such. But proceed with caution because these questions could have come just as easily out of distrust of our immigration policy than of authentic race hate. Our policy has made brown people suspects who should not be.

Condemn the white man if you wish but also condemn the policy that makes the white man’s fear legitimate.


It’s funny to me how you can suddenly realize you’re having the same conversation in a few different facets of your life.  Here I’ve been all week mulling over how feminists might come to figure out how to resituate ourselves in ways that make us feel better, even if we can’t get the things we see as obstacles to move out of the way, and mulling over how we certainly have the right and obligation to demand better, but we don’t get to dictate the ways in which men change in order to make things better.

If you’ve been reading me a while, you know that I’ve had a long struggle with trying to figure out how to transition from some really shitty family stuff that seemed surmountable* to actually getting beyond that shitty stuff to a place where we have a good time together as a family.  Even after the really shitty stuff was over, I’d still come back from family gatherings feeling like I’d been run through a ringer, still feeling like things were not how I thought they should be.

And finally the Professor said to me, “You feel like shit because you get together with your family and you want everything to be great and when it’s not great, you take it as some personal judgment against you.  But you just can’t expect things to go from bad to great immediately.  It doesn’t work that way.  You all are going to have to get used to spending time together that is just ‘not bad’ before you can spend time together that’s good.”

This is why I hang out with her, because she says stuff like this to me that eases my soul**.

There’s going to be a while of transition, just where we get used to it not sucking every time we get together.  And it’s hard to say how long that while is going to be.  Or even what it will look like when it’s over because I don’t get to dictate that.  I don’t get to say “Everything will be fine when the Butcher and the recalcitrant brother and Mom and Dad all do all this to make me feel secure and loved.”

So, this year it turns out that we’re going up to Mom & Dad’s for Thanksgiving***.  The Butcher and the recalcitrant brother have been planning this for weeks without telling anyone**** and they seem really excited.  My first impulse was, “Fuck me, that’s going to suck.”

Which is grossly unfair.  I wanted things to be better and different.

Well, the two most planless people I know making plans and working out logistics?  That’s different.  It’s not anything I would have ever anticipated, either.  But I’m going to roll with it.

We’ll see how it goes.

But I wonder that about feminism, too.  Things suck much, much less than they did even fifty years ago.  They aren’t perfect, by any means, but they do suck much less.  I think it’s okay to step back and take some time for things to just not suck.  Just to see what happens.  To make room to be surprised by something we’d never considered.



*Clearly, there is some shitty family stuff that is not surmountable and lord knows, if you’re in one of those situations, please don’t read this as some guide to better times.  Some things you have to turn your back on in order to survive.  What I’m calling shitty is not that level of shitty.

**Even though, funny enough, I’m not sure the Professor believes in souls.

***So, Peg, drop me an email…

****Surprised Dad, I’ll say that.

The Butcher and I are Eating Christmas Candy, Watching TV, and Reading Blogs

That’s right–Christmas candy.  November 2nd.  Christmas candy. 

The Butcher is watching The Office and mocking the dog.

Knuck is spreading the wisdom on Rush and Muddy Waters.

Cricket, who found Tiny Cat Pants, has been found in return.  Her blog is awesome.  Ha, unless Cricket is not a woman, in which case, oops.

You can still help Claudia Nunez, if you’re so inclined.

There’s also plenty of time to clean my bathroom if you’re more into that type of thing.  Just leave me a note in the comments.