[lit-ideas] Re: August Thoughts on First Black President

  • From: epostboxx@xxxxxxxx
  • To: Lit-Ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 11:06:25 +0200

On 02 Sep 2015, at 22:40, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I hadn't heard or read this spin on the 'bullet-proof glass' issue before>

While the thread turns in more serious directions, I should perhaps make
clear that the original post was adapted from a joke made by a comedian,
Frankie Boyle, on BBC television many years ago - turning the idea of the
bullet-proof glass on its head (as if we needed it to be protected from the
President, and because he is black). I thought it obvious it was a joke and
didn't flag this up in the original post, which was posted before the recent
murders in an American tv studio. I understand the joke to be satire on
racial stereotyping of black Americans as being dangerously prone to violence
and taken as such by the British audience when made by Boyle.

This was the way I took your raising of the ‘bullet-proof glass’ issue (i.e.,
as satire on racial stereotyping of black Americans).

On Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 21:11, Eric <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Chris writes of the “spin on the ‘bullet-proof glass' issue"

I have not heard of this "issue," probably because I do not have TV and
refuse to check on the latest partisan half-truths. And race is mostly a
non-issue kept alive by partisan interests.

I sincerely hope that this is true of today’s America.

My own experience (now lying 20 years in the past) in Canada was of a bizarre
situation in which racism against blacks in the U.S. was universally condemned,
while racism against indigenous peoples in Canada was (especially in the
western provinces) pandemic. Of course this was not seen as racism, but an
attitude (held especially by many people who had ‘dealings’ with ‘Indians’)
best expressed in a statement like, “Unfortunately, it’s a [sad] fact; that’s
just the way those people are!” (I hope this has changed, but fear that is a
forlorn hope …)

One often thinks of racists as people of low intelligence with little
education. That stereotype is shattered by a single statement made (in an
interview with LA PRESSE in 2008) by McGill University’s Chancellor and
International Olympic Committee representative Richard Pound:

“We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages [‘un pays
de sauvages’], with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European origin …”

Pound later defended himself by saying that the statement was “a clumsy remark
that was taken out of context and that in the particular French expression
used, ‘un pays de sauvages’, the French ‘sauvages’ was not equivalent to
English ‘savages’.”

(I invite list members to look up the French ‘sauvage’ - my dictionary adds
‘heathen’ to the translation of ‘sauvage’ as a noun, and ‘wild’, ‘uncivilized’,
‘untamed’, ‘feral’, ‘brute’, and ‘unfeeling’ to its translation as an
adjective. The only meaning given with a possibly ‘unpejorative’ connotation is
‘shy’ - even that would reflect stereotyping in this context.)

Pound’s ‘clumsiness’ is an indication of just how deeply pejorative racial
stereotyping of the indigenous peoples of North America runs in the language,
thoughts and attitudes of many Canadians.

Chris Bruce
looking backward & westward, in
Kiel, Germany
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