Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

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Jennym
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby Jennym » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:41 am UTC

Fair enough, but that doesn't mean the Jackson Jive was in anyway satirical or okay.

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Jennym wrote:And Gunether, you're wrong headed about all this, I think. I don't give a shit if the Jackson Jive's intentions were to be harmless, dressing up as a caricature is fucked up. period. The mohamed cartoons, while they gave the danish government the excuse to discirminate, (http://cloggie.org/wissewords2/2009/11/ ... -years-on/), have a bit more leeway. It could be argued they were attacking religion, not race.

First I would argue that the cartoons were attacking religion and not race. The racist aspect of the cartoons is a different concept, and something I don't see.

Second, you argument seems to be "because it is". It sounds like it comes more from emotion than anything else. Regardless of whether that's true for you, I think that's how most people form their opinion of it. Blackface hits their disgust button and is therefore wrong. The Mohammad cartoons don't and are sort of OK (no one seems willing to come out and and endorse the cartoons). And then after the fact they attach logic to give some semblance of consistency ("We can pick on religion but not race").

Jennym wrote:Fair enough, but that doesn't mean the Jackson Jive was in anyway satirical or okay.

Can you support this? Or are you just stating opinion? It comes across as a statement of fact.
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scrovak
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby scrovak » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:54 am UTC

The way I see it, the two major differences are this; race vs. religion. Race is something we as a culture should move past, because a hundred or so years down the road, we'll all be various shades of the same color, with no discernible racial differences. Religion, on the other hand, is a choice. You can choose what you believe. I feel that if someone has the right to choose to believe in God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or holy creamed spinach, I have an equal right to mock them for it.
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guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:58 pm UTC

scrovak wrote:The way I see it, the two major differences are this; race vs. religion. Race is something we as a culture should move past, because a hundred or so years down the road, we'll all be various shades of the same color, with no discernible racial differences. Religion, on the other hand, is a choice. You can choose what you believe. I feel that if someone has the right to choose to believe in God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or holy creamed spinach, I have an equal right to mock them for it.

This is a popular sentiment. But I don't buy it. To me it seems that if we want to get past race, it needs to move to a description like hair color. I doubt anyone would get up in arms about someone putting on a black-haired wig. If we single out the color of the skin as a taboo in terms of costume, we are explicitly not moving past race.

Second, can you list some of the social ills caused by racism? Are we really OK with applying this sort of intolerance to Muslims simply because they could choose to not be Muslims?
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby Jennym » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

We shouldn't make fun of people for who they are period which is what the Jackson Jive, whether they thought so or not, seemed to be doing. Making fun of their actions or decisions, however, is not off limits thus there are certain poor actions that can stem from religion and thus religious criticism is justified. Why are you, per chance, more offended by attacks on religion rather than racist caricatures?

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:55 pm UTC

I see this through a completely different lens than you. Whether "making fun" is OK depends on the intent. If the goal is to add levity, then it should add levity. That's why a black person can make a black joke, blonds blond jokes, Jews Jewish jokes. A person of that group making fun of their own members is less likely to offend and thus more likely to add levity.

If the goal is to put people down (even if it also adds levity), then it's not OK. Mocking anyone is bad in this fashion, be it for religious or racial reasons.

If the goal of "making fun" is to add commentary, then it's a question of message versus offense. Here there is a discrepancy between race and religion. We can comment on the merit of following a religion, but it doesn't make much sense to ask the same about race.

However, another place we differ is that you have some nebulous notion of "making fun". I think it's directly related to intent and you don't. So right up front, we're using the same words very differently. Do you have a test that we can use to determine if someone is making fun?

I don't think the Jackson Jive were making fun of black people. For my hypothetical example of the old-fashioned blackface routine used to comment on the oversensitiveness of race would be making fun of those people who are oversensitive. It would not make fun of black people in general (though clearly it's pulling from an art form that was designed to make fun of black people).

To answer your question, I try hard not to be offended period. So normally I wouldn't say that attacking religion offends me more than attacking race. However, when I fail at my goal, religion probably pushes my button more because it's closer to how I personally build my identity.
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makc
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby makc » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:35 pm UTC

if some particular joke is offensive to 1 man, it's ok, if it is ofensive to millions it is suddenly not ok. where the line is? how many offended people it takes to ban some kind of joke? or maybe we should ban all of them, just to be on the safe side? I think it is good idea to be on the safe side, right?

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

I can't say I understand the point. Do you think I'm trying to ban jokes? And just because there's a difference between 1 person offended and 1 million people offended doesn't mean there's a clear line or that there exists a simple rule to resolve everything.
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makc
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby makc » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:11 pm UTC

I mean if all jokes would be banned, blackface and muslim cartoons would no longer be a problem.

Like on the other thread here, people are discussing how someone made a plot to blow up a plane using explosives in shoes and now everyone on american airlines has to take shoes off - just to be on the safe side.

But yes - my real point is that if you can't draw a line or make a simple rule, you have basically no argument.

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

If we can't make simple rules, then give up trying to make judgments at all? I don't agree.

But regardless, I'm not out to set rules here. I shared my perspective as part of the dialog, but I'm not out to enforce it or even encourage it. My whole point here is to cast light on inconsistent public response.
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby Steax » Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:40 am UTC

scrovak wrote:I feel that if someone has the right to choose to believe in God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or holy creamed spinach, I have an equal right to mock them for it.


I personally feel there's no such thing as a right to mock. Criticism (which was the intention of the cartoons, although obviously the debate is about if it's overdone or not) is part of free speech though. The trick is finding a way to criticize without hurting the feelings of people — although sometimes people do the opposite, intending to hurt people's feelings via mocking/subtle insults (em masse, too) under the guise of criticism. That one shouldn't be tollerated, IMO, regardless of what it targets, race, religion, whatever. There's no reason to mock people through generalization unless there's something constructive to it (and while they're at it, why not just be totally constructive without insulting?).
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makc
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby makc » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:39 pm UTC

Steax, will you be the 1st to sign my joke ban petition :) I think we should only allow jokes that do not make fun of anyone. Like knock knock jokes.

I say, as 1st and highest priority, we should ban your mom jokes - there are more moms in the world than neg....afroamericans, clearly they all offended.

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:51 pm UTC

makc wrote:Steax, will you be the 1st to sign my joke ban petition :) I think we should only allow jokes that do not make fun of anyone. Like knock knock jokes.

I say, as 1st and highest priority, we should ban your mom jokes - there are more moms in the world than neg....afroamericans, clearly they all offended.

You seem to equate statements of "we should do this" with "we should legally enforce this". It's as if morality is simply a list of things we can enforce upon each other. I don't see it that way.
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Jennym
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby Jennym » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:29 am UTC

Christ, you really think the Jackson Jive were totally naive and didn't know they were offending people? Really? Here's a response from a (gasp!) actual black person who felt offended:
http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/10 ... le-in.html

Here's another from a white person:
http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/ ... acism.html


I'm sorry for being condescending,but Please, please educate yourself.

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:12 am UTC

My argument is that the Jackson Jive routine is wrong because of offense, not racism. So showing me offended people doesn't exactly hurt my case.

And I do give the Jackson Jive the benefit of the doubt. Why not. However, even if they knew it would offend people, racism isn't defined by offending people of a particular race.

And thank you for apologizing.
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makc
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby makc » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:11 am UTC

guenther wrote:You seem to equate statements of "we should do this" with "we should legally enforce this". It's as if morality is simply a list of things we can enforce upon each other. I don't see it that way.
if it was equal, this thread would never appear - since they would not act in blackface to begin with. lot's of people would remain happy! in the end, we are punished for both legal and moral rules violation - e.g., you may be not going to jail for acting in blackface, but a lot of people in showbiz will close their doors to you, because they don't want to take a chance of being associated with racism. We all remember Mel Gibson incident, right. Finally, we did this with murder or rape or stealing - all are morally and legally prohibited - and it works well. So why do we need two sets of rules enforced in a different way? Ok, some trolling here, but duh.

Jennym
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby Jennym » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

guenther wrote:My argument is that the Jackson Jive routine is wrong because of offense, not racism. So showing me offended people doesn't exactly hurt my case.

And I do give the Jackson Jive the benefit of the doubt. Why not. However, even if they knew it would offend people, racism isn't defined by offending people of a particular race.

And thank you for apologizing.


So do you agree that what they did is offensive? I'd also say that yes, one of the signs of racism is people of different races being offended.

guenther
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Re: Blackface and Muhammad cartoons

Postby guenther » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:38 pm UTC

makc wrote:So why do we need two sets of rules enforced in a different way?

I think there's some minimum of social compliance that we need to enforce. But there's a whole set of morally good behavior that would have it's utility destroyed if we tried to force people to do it. (Being friendly to your neighbor, for example.)

Jennym wrote:So do you agree that what they did is offensive? I'd also say that yes, one of the signs of racism is people of different races being offended.

I didn't find it offensive in the least, but I believe many people truly did. (I'm not judging on whether people should be offended or not). I think it's more accurate to say that culturally it was rejected because it was offensive. But then the contrast with the Mohammad cartoons is even stronger because clearly that was offensive too.

And I disagree with your notion of racism. What matters is whether the person meant to offend and did so out of hate and intolerance based on race. Someone can be hateful without offending, and someone can offend without being hateful. Racism is about the former and is regardless of offense. (If we're talking about social damage, then it doesn't have to be racist to be damaging.)
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