Please Let’s Be Civil When Commenting

Photo by PoPville flickr user Matt.Dunn

One of the greatest assets of this site is the unbelievable wealth of knowledge and diversity of opinions voiced in the comments section.  But I have to agree with a number of emails I received as well as some comments made in Yesterday’s emotional response to Derek on Being the Stereotype (by Danny Harris). Often there are subjects covered on this blog that deal with particularly sensitive topics and issues. I think the discourse that follows in the comments is often quite valuable. I really just have a simple request that the thread not get poisoned by personal attacks.

Personal attacks on other commenters and personal attacks on the subject himself (in the case of Derek) are not helpful. Believe me there have been many times when I’ve wanted to curse people out but we have to understand that in an internet thread personal attacks are simply poison. They do not contribute to the overall conversation and they simply piss people off. We can comment as vigorously as we’d like on the subject at hand but please try to make the effort to avoid personal attacks. Thank you.

106 Comment

  • Team sports like football build community, character, and discipline. I am remiss that I haven’t started coaching; I swear it’s on my to-do list. Either way, some of the best teachers I’ve ever had were coaches. They taught me to work hard, play fair, and respect the rules. I wish everyone could get that education.

  • Thanks PoP for bringing the focus back to content and away from personal attacks.

    I value this blog and the PoP community for the diversity of experiences and opinions, and appreciate discourse not disparagement.

  • Sorry POP, you’re just in the wrong on this one. Some people need to be shocked into community-positive behavior for their own good and the unmarried person you profiled claimed to have five children which is so far beyond the pale that all people who care about kids had a valid moral reason to get upset. (come on, think about it, at $1500 per month in child support payments that would be $7500 per month he’s paying! $7500!) Some people need to go through the criminal justice system to wake up as your profilee did, twice.

    It is both disingenuous and childish to “go there” like you yourself did and then try to put the toothpaste back in the tube with the above statement. No blogger has that right and you certainly don’t. What are you going to do, ban 40 different posters who took the bait you yourself tossed out? That’s just immature on your part. Don’t like your readers “going there?” Hey, then don’t erect signs on your blog pointing them the way there. But fer crissakes, don’t yell at people for following your signs.

  • Sorry Neener I think PoP is in the right.

    The posting was a story about a DC resident – for better or worse he’s screwed up along the way. But when the comments start getting nasty and personal, well there’s nothing wrong with recommending a time out.

  • I kinda agree with Neener. You can’t post a story about a jerk then get upset when people call him a jerk. But I think it would be more helpful to the discourse if we didn’t so much re-state how jerky the jerk is in personal terms. That gets pretty tiresome; trying to out-jerk the next anti-jerk ranter. Instead, we should discuss jerk behavior in general; to de-emphasize this particular jerk but understand his/her jerkiness within the context of long-established jerky behavior and how that relates to the current conflict between longtime jerks and newly transplanted jerks. Only then can we understand what it means to be a 21st Century Jerk in DC and the rich, vivid, vibrant tapestry that is contemporary urban jerkiness. Any of this getting through, Jerky?

  • I have this neighbor who every morning between 6 to 6:15 AM walks up the street to the bus stop.

    He’s always well dressed and well groomed.

    You can set your clock when he returns down the street just after 4:30 PM with a smile underneath his dark glasses.

    He walks with a lunch box in his left hand and with his right a walking stick before him that he sways from side to side.

    He’s blind and he works every day but Sunday.

  • I agree with DCRes and PoP – the internet has this way of giving people anonymity, and also the ability to use that anonymity to say things they may not say in public. There’s no sense of accountability or responsibility for your words and actions.

    PoP’s message is a reminder that while this blog is, in fact, an internet blog, that doesn’t mean it is morally acceptable to make racist or personally-attacking comments. It brings a black cloud over the rest of us. There’s a lot of hate in internet-land, but PoP, DCRes and I don’t want to see it here.

  • Thank you Pop! I really enjoy reading this blog and I think it is really important for the community. I have to say I have been hesitant to follow it lately because it gets my blood pressure up. I love having constructive conversation, but lately some of the comments have brought more tension than help in our community. A lot of the commenters are neighbors and I think it’s sad to see such little respect for each other.

  • I agree with keeping it civil, however, when you provoke you must expect provocation.

  • I agree that the commentators need to keep it civil but I do feel that after Monday’s photo and story “Kids Throwing Projectiles at Bus” that running Derk’s story Tuesday was ill-timed and unnecessarily provocative. I wasn’t feeling “The Beautiful Life” yesterday.

  • I agree with Neener.

  • I also agree with Neener.

    Really, did you expect us to praise this guy?

  • Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but I think the blogger purposely places controversial post from time to time to maintain traffic on his site, especially now that he depends on the site for all his income.

  • The personal attacks on Derek were ridiculous. You think you know his complete person and character from seeing a picture and reading a few paragraphs about his life? You (people who are judging Derek) would be angry if he did the same thing to you.

    Pop, I appreciate you bringing up real issues that are present in this city, issues that are not always easy. I think you assume people will be civil and fair in the discourse, and I think you’ve seen that’s not the case here. But it’s YOUR blog, why don’t you delete the inappropriate comments? Maybe you don’t want to edit real conversations, but I know plenty of other bloggers who do it, just to keep control of things.

    Keep up the good work.

  • When you post profiles of individuals, especially controversial ones, on a blog that is known both for judging things and for the variety of and fervor of its comments you have to expect that there will be value judgments made on the individual being profiled. If the individual does extreme things, then the judgments will also be extreme.

    What I believe are unnecessary and unhelpful are personal attacks against PoP or other commenters. These add nothing to the discussion.

  • It was no doubt a provocative post, but a lot of folks went clear off the deep end in their comments. PoP, it is your blog and you can do with it what you want (moderate, delete hostile comments, whatever).

    As the readership grows I’m sure comments will continue to get crazier. If the discussions are to be of any value at all moderation will be needed. There are plenty of places on the internet to rant like a crazy person. This blog does not need to be one of those places.

  • I’m with Neener on this. We’re not supposed to judge people, especially those who put themselves out there for judgment? And H, would I be angry if someone like Derek judged me? Not partcularly, because I’m not concerned with what a serial procreator, ex-con, nothing-is-my-fault-ever type thinks of me. Here we have a profile of someone who has fathered five children out of wedlock, blames all of his lack of success on external forces, yet if he ever makes anything of himself will expect to be praised for pulling himself up by his bootstraps. Yet if he fails? Society’s fault. This guy is the worst possible example of someone trying to make good for themself in a city that is teeming with stories of good, honest people who really have beat the odds. So no, I will not be reserving any praise or sympathy for this loser, but God help his children.

  • here’s the thing… on an anonymous internet blog, people can say exactly what they REALLY think without any fear of repercussion. The things people say on here are things many of them would probably never say amongst a group of friends, but it is probably what they really think. For that reason it is a very unique forum… and a valuable one… and lets face it, lots of people are pissed.

    It is wishful thinking to expect people to censor themselves in the ONE forum they can say what they really think! That said… we aughta be civil.

    Dont stop posting things like the “Derek” post though PoP… Its good reading.

  • I agree with Neener too.

  • Looking forward to the upcoming profile of longtime resident alcoholic and treebox defecator Rayjay “Big Poo” Johnson, and his nostalgic reminiscenses of growing up in Columbia Heights before all you newcomers pushed him and his hobo clan out of the neighborhood as part of “the plan.”

  • PoP – if nothing else, the comments made yesterday and today represent exactly what Derek was talking about…don’t you think? Why don’t you have him respond?

  • monkeyrotica…so true…I was just thinking about what Columbia Hts and Petwrth were like before all these folks moved in…

  • I enjoy this blog partially because of the friendly tone of most of the commenters, and hope that doesn’t get lost. Yes, as Kalorini mentions, some people don’t feel the usual pressure to be as respectful when communicating through media that allow anonymity. I still feel most comments in response to PoP posts are constructive though and not motivated by animosity.

  • Progressive Liberalism has created the “Derek’s” and now progressive liberals get angry at those that call out the “Derek’s”, they do so by calling them racist. Unfortunately, if you put a white or brown man up there, the reaction would probably be the exact same, but you don’t put a white or brown man on, not because there wasn’t a profile of either (which there wasn’t) but because inherently, you must be a racist (obviously not). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The social engineering created by the Great Society has been a Great Failure, resulting in the oppression of many, generation after generation.

    Call a spade, a spade. The problem with the PC movement, you get called a racist when you do so. Again, thank me, NP, a staunch progressive liberal.

  • It’s too bad PoP wasn’t around to lecture Derek on “keeping it civil” before he became a criminal and spawned 5 more potential hard-luck stories. Nope, the people who are in the wrong here are those have the temerity to post an opinion.

    Rather than try and defend the ignorance and dysfunction on display in Derek’s story, which really can’t be defended, it seems some people think it’s better to attack posters for being “anonymous”. How is an opinion any stronger if it’s attached to Anonymous or John P. Smith? If you don’t like my opinion, then support your own – and good luck supporting Derek’s wild fantasies and pathetic justifications.

    You don’t like anonymous posters? They make you sad? Then go elsewhere or convince PoP to do away with anon posting. He often seems to contemplate it. But frankly, a big part of what makes this blog popular is the ability of people to be honest. Good and bad – and that is only facilitated through anonymity. This city has a lot of problems and no number of nice looking doors or murals can cover that up. PoP can make this a sanitized place, ignore the opinions of some of the people who make up this city, but we are all part of this.

    Good ideas and ignorant ideas are spewed forth by both very wealthy white “newcomers” and lifers like Derek. This notion that Derek must be embraced for his ignorant beliefs because he’s more authentic, ’cause he was born on the block, is ridiculous. Don’t think so? Then please tell us why Derek’s pathetic excuses and wild bullshit is somehow exempt? You can do so anonymously (for the time being).

    There is nothing “racist” about expecting people to follow the law and be responsible for themselves. There is nothing racist about expecting people to work for a living rather than congratulating them for not selling drugs. That is not an accomplishment. Nor is there anything “racist” about pointing out when someone is an ignorant jerk, like Derek. Some of the more prominent “racism” on display in the previous post was Derek’s own “story” punctuated with tired old chestnuts about how “the man” and “whites in NW” made him sell drugs and impregnate random women. Derek that he has a job now, like most reasonable adults, but Derek doesn’t need to be patted on the back for continuing to spew stupidity. Treating Derek with kid gloves hasn’t exactly worked out 100% of the time in the past, no? He had to go to jail twice before he could even follow the bare minimum requirements of an average citizen. Some of the commentors seemed to be really heart-broken that some of us see nothing amazing in Derek (finally) acting like a somewhat reasonable person. Well excuse the crap out of me for applying a consistant standard to people regardless of race or class.

    There were no accolades when most of us got jobs, or went to school. For most reasonable people it was simply expected. And not that is should matter, but despite Derek’s pathetically limited world view, he doesn’t know hard living compared to most immigrants in this country who manage to stay out of prison and keep working. Why do we expect less of Derek? How is that not the real “racism” on display here?

    Save the accolades for when they are deserved.

  • To H:

    “You (people who are judging Derek) would be angry if he did the same thing to you.”
    He DID do that us, without knowing one blip about us, blaming his whole screwed up life on being the victim of rich, white racists.

    So, yes, that DID make us angry, H. Especially folks who come from a hard place, but work hard and try do the right thing with their lives (no matter what color they are).

    The last thing PoP should do is to censor a public discourse that he invites to happen. And he shouldn’t be surprised that when he throws raw meat on the ground, a pack of dogs go after it.

  • I have long held dear the idea that civility is not antithetical to the free exchange of ideas on the internet. Alas, I keep being proven wrong. Still, I’m not sure why the internets find basic politeness so hard . . . . you don’t have to like Derek to nonetheless be, you know, polite about it. No one, including Derek, held Derek out as a model citizen. His is a story worth telling.

  • **sigh** Once again, everyone gets defensive, and completley misses the point.

  • Agree with Neener. This is a wonderful blog, but it does one thing very well, and another thing not-so-well. PoP is a master of observation. there are so many instances where I run into something PoP has already covered, and when he hasn’t I usually think “oh I should send him this.” But as other commenters have noted, so much of this blog is about judging things. Judging Pop Ups, Judging Restaurants, Judging Real Estate Prices, Judging murals, etc. Juxtapose that with a post of a complete loser (all socioeconomic issues aside), and you’re bound to open up a box you can’t close.

    More often than not, PoP, the heated debates on your blog have been really productive (if not occasionally silly). I’m thinking about your bikes vs. peds vs. cars vs. the world posts, or your posts on crime. I wish you’d stick to covering current events and profiling those little things that collectively contribute to DC’s emergence as a world class city. We’ve all had substanitive talks on serious issues in the past, but people like Derek make it so easy to vent frustration.

    All in all, keep up the good work and see you thursday. happy birthday!

  • There’s a *big* difference between “You must praise Derek and have sympathy for his plight” and “You should be civil when discussing Derek.” I’ve seen boards where people can discuss super-controversial issues in terms that don’t include personal attacks on the subject or on each other. But usually in those boards, the blog moderator has to make an active attempt to keep things civil, by guiding the discussion, boosting comments that are passionate but within community boundaries (whatever those may be), deleting trolls and off-the-wall comments because they just spawn more trolling, etc.

    But there’s an interesting point that Nikki brings up — *did* Derek really put himself out there for judgment? I don’t like the way he expressed some things about himself. I really didn’t. I probably had the knee-jerk reaction that most other people did. But he’s just a dude who was asked some questions for an internet board. I don’t think he sits around all day reading internet boards. It’s not like he started a blog himself to express these thoughts and held a gun to PoP’s head and forced him to add him to this site. I don’t even know what he was asked that elicited those responses. And yet now he is a monster, a poster boy for everyone’s hatred and disgust. I just thought “dude, whatever” after I read this, and moved on to other things.

    But I did have a good idea of how the discussion was going to go, after I read it. TaylorStreetMan, you bring up a good point. When you throw raw meat on the ground, a pack of dogs *will* go after it. PoP knows this, he’s been doing this for a long time, now. It shouldn’t be a surprise. You can police the comments if you want, stop throwing down the meat, if you want, or just do the same thing as always. But I don’t know if entreaties to be more civil are really going to matter unless you want to make other changes.

  • to Anonymous at 9:50 am:

    wow. I couldn’t have said it better. If my forehead were bigger, I’d have your post tattooed there!

    For the record (I being the child of a single immigrant mother who worked her tail off, learned English, became a citizen, raised two boys and never sold drugs or took welfare), I have zero sympathy for Derek or his excuses.

  • Divine one – please educate me, your intellectually superiority is conveyed in your **sigh**

    Disagreement has nothing to do with missing the point, but you of course, already knew that.

  • I think it’s a legitimate request on POP’s part to be civil. It’s his blog after all. One can be critical and even harsh and still be civil.

    I liked hearing from Derek. Just because he’s a f*ck up doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear what he has to say. I live around all sorts of Dereks and don’t really interact with them much. And I liked hearing from all of the people who are less f*ck ups than Derek.

  • I found it really interesting to hear what people had to say about the profile of Derek yesterday. While some of the comments may have made me cringe, I honestly found myself agreeing with some comments from both sides.

    What I don’t like, and what PoP is getting at, are the personal attacks (name-calling, etc) and attacks on groups of people (based on their race, etc) that only serve to inflame and anger. He’s not objecting to people having strong opinions and expressing them, he’s just asking for less vitriol and a little more respectful tone.

    Personally I self-censor my reading of comments on posts like yesterday’s and stop reading once the discussion is no longer productive — comments on controversial topics on this blog typically devolve into nonsensical ranting by certain habitual commenters and at that point there’s no point in continuing to pay attention.

  • Between wasting space by reposting the story about Derek, talking about how Mayor Fenty is doing a great job with all of those parks, and scolding the saps who read your blog, PoP, for commenting honestly about a really frustrating and, to me, infuriating story about a 32 year old absent father of 5 who blames his woes on anyone but himself, I’m wondering if maybe you could just focus on doors and rooftop decks exclusively from now on. They seem to be your niche.

  • H Says: “You (people who are judging Derek) would be angry if he did the same thing to you.”

    Untrue. If I were to write 2-3 paragraphs describing myself, my choices, I would be rather interested to hear what someone like Derek, or anyone really, has to say about it. If he has legitimate criticism, that would be interesting. Especially if it’s constructive. I don’t have a here-i-am-love-me-or-screw-you view of myself. I can change, and I would, for the right reasons.

    The problem with the commenting is that there’s a fine line between critique/analysis, and outright ad hominem attacks. Or really, it’s not such a fine line, but it would be really hard to enforce.

    Less anonymity would help. I do my best to ignore anonymous posts, because as often as not, they’re just bomb-throwers, more interesting in tearing down than in building up.

    If I can make it to Wonderland tomorrow night for the PoP birthday party (and I’ll try) I hope there are nametags. I’ll slap a WDC nametag on my PoP shirt and wear it with pride. How many of you will do the same?

  • When did so many republicans start reading this blog?

  • Anonymous @ 9:50:

    That was one of the bests posts I have ever read. Thank you.

  • Pop: please define civility in the terms which you deem appropriate for the site, then call out individual posters for specific instances of incivility –maybe even highlight it in “uncivil” maroon font. Maybe you can put little thumbs up and down votes like some other sites.

    There’s no point in asking for civility if you don’t define what it is and then call out the instances. Many uncivil people get wrapped up in the emotion and don’t realize when they are crossing the line…and some people’s lines are different than others. It’s the same in human conversations. My family will call your butt out over dinner if you act like a douche. That’s my family. Other families won’t tell you that your leg is bleeding while they’re staring at it. I think you have all ends of the spectrum here. We can all be a family here and maybe try a little harder not to be soooo judgmental, but if there was ever a better poster child for “glutton for punishment” of the year, this was it.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I appreciate what most have said here. My main point which apparently wasn’t explained very well was that if “Jason” writes a comment that you don’t agree with. Refute the comment rather than calling “Jason” an asshole.

  • There’s this distinction being made between anonymous and non-anonymous posting — but we’re all anonymous, even if we are using a handle. I don’t know who Nikki or WDC or Neener are. Maybe we’re talking about the difference between having to register to post, vs. not having to register? But the idea of a registration system was shot down pretty thoroughly, I remember, not too long ago.

  • Also, PoP — ha! To your last comment. And happy birthday!

  • Didn’t PoP just call “Jason” an asshole – and I agree with several posters that anon at 9:50 is spot on adn one of the best comments written…

  • personal attacks on other commenters – not cool

    personal attacks on Derek…well… Most of us agree he merits some opprobrium. The manner in which he is criticized and some nuance are key. Most people here just want to vent (which may be more profitable). There are some people who actually want to have a discussion. I would urge folks to take a look at the people’s district. There are some really nice profiles over there.

    I agree that DC is hard, divided, political, very racist, full of class resentment and the cops (not just the white ones) are corrupt. I do believe most [non-black/non-American] people underestimate how physically isolated some underclass blacks have been generation after generation. That physical isolation is particularly acute in DC as a river largely contributes to that isolation.
    That said, he opened with: “I’m the stereotype of what all of you white folks think of black men in the ghetto. I’m 32, have five children who don’t live with me.”

    I find Derek contemptible as he-like some of the white he talks about-is doing damage to my people. I take it personally when folks do that.

  • Keep up the good work PoP. You’ve no doubt developed some thick skin while reading some of your users’ posts. DC residents are uber-opinionated, which I suppose goes with the territory (literally). Here’s hoping it never discourages your entries. Also, I’m loving the weather today.

  • The irony of the posts in this thread is overwhelming.

    Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, PoP makes a great point: just be civil with your responses. You don’t have to agree with the material, just be civil and mature when you disagree.

    PoP: Sometimes I agree with your opinion, sometimes I disagree with your opinion. Sometimes you have posts that I care about, sometimes you have posts that I don’t care about. I appreciate that you provide this blog for the community (and beyond) and at the same time I recognize that this is YOUR blog and thus conveys select issues/stories within this community that YOU wish to highlight. Ultimately I am in no place to tell you what to focus on or what to write about because this is YOUR blog. There will always be people that disagree or expect “more” or “better” (whatever that means) from you. You do what you like to do because, in general, it seems to appeal to a lot of people.

    Keep writing about doors. Keep writing about local retail. Keep writing about developing stories. Keep writing about local residents. Keep writing about whatever you feel like writing about because this is your blog and if I decide that I don’t like it it is up to me to look somewhere else rather than scold you to do what I want or expect.

  • There are plenty of old people and young people who don’t piss in corners when they’re drunk and haven’t had a litter of children (I have the same animosity towards the Duggers if it makes anyone feel better). Many of them live on my block, take care of their house as best they can, and have some amazingly good stories to tell. How about a series on people who just work their ass off every day? Maybe they own their house, maybe they rent. Maybe they have a family, maybe they have one nice thing that they do? I suspect it would be a real yawner.

    Why was Derek’s story worth promoting? It’s hardly unique. What was your intent on picking this PARTICULAR story? Why did you profile the old racist drunk a few weeks past? What point or story are you trying to get across to us, your readership? Are you trying to introduce us to something you don’t feel we encounter? Because I can guarantee that the majority of us encounter people like this every day. What about this story was particularly redeeming? Did Derek need a hug? I 100% believe in helping those who cannot help themselves for whatever reason, but is this guy one of those guys?

    I don’t get the choice of profiles unless it’s to promote the type of discussion that we have had. If you don’t like the discussion that was had, what are you promoting?

  • @Panagiotis: YES!

  • But I am! But I am!

  • @Panagoitis – agreed. It’s the point of this post.

  • I don’t understand what you expected PoP…turn the comments off on obviously provocative posts if you don’t want to insight a heated debate. I understand the difference between civil and hatred, but I also understand that this is the internet. People use the outlet to say things that they normally wouldn’t and/or can’t in “real life”. At some point, everyone just does try to one-up on the shock value, but look at your audience. Who did you think was going to defend him?

  • Ugh, Penny Arcade is the hitler of internet cartoons. Penny Arcade, really?

  • to Anonymous at 9:50: I also found your post extremely well-written and incisive. I hope that you will register on the blog and continue to post regularly.

  • ShawRes,

    Way to Godwin the thread. Yeesh.

  • anon 9:50 – best comment ever. thanks for the obvious thought you put into it… i hope everyone takes the time to read it.

  • So we should just let ProfChris keep eating babies?

    “Oh and DCLation–I am forever Swiftian about birth control–”

    Sometimes you have to call out the idiots.

  • Amen Panagoitis! Where is the profile of the widow that cooks for her neighbors who are home-bound and raised 4 boys on her own during the good times and bad? The young couple who inherited their house, completely renovated it on a shoestring and are now raising their first child? The disabled woman who takes care of her convalescent mother on a (tiny) fixed income? Or the retired MPD officer who chased off the Dereks who were selling drugs in the alley behind his house despite threats? These are people who live just on my block. Who in there right mind thinks we haven’t heard enough of the Dereks and their pathetic excuses? Most of us, presumably, live near plenty of f’ing Dereks and deal with their BS on a daily (and nightly) basis. There is nothing illuminating in Derek’s common ignorance. In contrast, on every block in Petworth you can easily find people of uncommon strength, faith and wisdom whose personal journey would have broken a whining absent father like Derek in minutes. Celebrating real struggles and real accomplishments – that’s “the good life.”

  • Anonymous at 9:50, WOW! You’re a genius!

    “There is nothing “racist” about expecting people to follow the law and be responsible for themselves.”

    When people talk about it being “racist” to request people to follow the law I think about a guy I used to be good friends with. He grew up in Newark projects. The last conversation we had he talked about committing rape in Jr High. Only he didn’t consider it rape. He wouldn’t admit it to himself and so I stopped talking to him. People need to consider, at all times, when people talk about minor criminals or giving people a break, there are girls out there who will be attacked due to that behavior.

  • I actually had been a regular poster in the past, but I got sick of some of the contemptible feedback I got from people since my e-mail was out there in the past.

    But all of you really nutty and totally hateful people should know the PoP can tell who is posting what by the internet address (so you aren’t really anonymous at all), so I am sure he’s fully aware who I am.

    Also, why I do agree totally with Panagotis’ thoughtful post, and the notion that PoP can and should do whatever he wants with his sandbox, I actually meant to say “Amen Anonymoose” for the particular point of wondering why Derek’s hardly unique profile is something worth promoting.

  • PoP, I think it is great that you have posted this message. Personal attacks don’t serve any purpose, and make it less fun to read these discussions. People would not be as nasty in person I am sure.

  • Hey [email protected]:50 – You offer some great suggestions for profiles. Maybe you should start your own blog and do them yourself so we can all see examples of “real struggles and real accomplishments.” As for me, I appreciated the profile of Derek and the earlier profile of the older man who talked about how his Capitol Hill neighborhood has changed. I may have disagreed with some or much of what they said, but I appreciated hearing their voices. Like Panagiotis, I encourage PoP to keep doing whatever the heck he wants with this blog (since it is HIS blog). If or when I find it no longer suits me, I’ll look elsewhere.

  • [email protected]:50 …are you “voiceofreason”? I also agree with @MarcusAurelius, you should start a blog with your suggested profiles. I, too, would love to read those.

  • PoP- thanks for the message. I think that anonymous posters can be helpful, and also can screw up discourse to some effect. Let me be reductionist and lump all anons into two categories:

    1. Trolls and Rabble-rousers. The people who I lumped into #1 generally use the shield of anonimity to flame threads and piss people off- I would prefer that they give themselves a name so that we can keep track of their crap.

    2. People who write great posts and help to advance conversation. I think @9:50 had a great post- but from now on, that person will be remembered, if at all, as “The anon who had a great post on the “Let’s be civil” thread.” After reading that post, I am interested in what they have to say on other topics- c’mon, give yourself a name so we can better appreciate what you have to say!

    In both cases, people can still stay anonymous on the blog, just give yourself a name!

    On Derek- I think the most interesting thing about Derek’s post was that in his last few sentences he refuted what he had said earlier in his interview. If he spent more time focusing on what he was doing now to change his life, rather than how he got there and what was to blame for it, I think the interview would have been a lot more uplifting for people. Still, I think that there are many better candidates to promote “the beautiful life” in this city.

  • Hello Commentariate. been a while.
    Please remember to NOT FEED THE TROLLS! keep in mind the old bit about arguing on the Internet; Its like the special olympics, even if you win, you are still retarded.

    Neener, good of you to step up, well thought out posts.

    Hey POP,
    how about a counter piece from the point of view of a well to do white person (or mother from Cleveland Park) as someone suggested?

  • I’m pretty sure that this blog isn’t the place to really try to have a productive conversation about race. You don’t have the readership primed for that. You show pretty doors.

  • Wow rg “Its like the special olympics, even if you win, you are still **retarded.**”

    The PC police are about to get you.

  • I didn’t read the entire Derek post/comments (as soon as I saw the 5 kids part I immediately stopped reading) until I saw Pops “can’t we all get along” post today. Yes some of the posts were unnecessary personal attacks, but I for one appreciate people’s brutal honesty about Derek and many of the other topics posted on here. I see and know a lot of people who come from similar backgrounds as Derek in and around Petworth, and I find it fascinating to hear insights into how my neighbors perceive people like him.

    I can’t say that I disagree with the general consensus that Derek was not living up to his societal obligations or that he should be praised for finally being a productive citizen. I do think that there was a big missed opportunity in yesterday’s discussion. In all of the finger pointing there was no discussion on: how do we stop the next Derek from messing up the first 31 years of his life????

    Yes, he has learned how to hold down a job, but it didn’t seem like he had a real change in his mentality. It seemed like he learned that having kids out of wedlock and being a drug dealer were bad decisions, but it felt like his new life was the lesser of two evils not necessarily a good choice. If that is the case, he isn’t going to be very effective in giving his children a better outlook on life or motivation to be civil, which means we will have 5 more Dereks.

    I agree with the personal responsibility mantra, but personal responsibility isn’t intuitive, it is taught (in my opinion). So if Derek doesn’t have it, how are we going to make sure his 5 kids learn it? Are we as a society even interested in making sure Derek’s 5 kids learn personal responsibility? Are we going to take ownership in making sure that it will happen given that we cannot realistically expect Derek to pass it on if he doesn’t have it?

    I didn’t see any thoughts about the future yesterday, only finger pointing and that is a little disappointing in a blog with so many well educated and opinionated people.

  • I honestly don’t understand all of the praise for anon 9:50’s mental gymnastics above. He condemns his critics for defending Derek’s “ignorance and dysfunction,” when in fact I see no evidence of such. Trying to understand a person’s situation is not the same as endorsing or justifying that person’s choices. Conflating the two makes an easy target for your soaring rhetorical flourishes, but it does not reflect reality.

    You hold up as an example the woman who raised 4 kids by herself and fought hard as hell to make it. And you condemn the ‘Dereks’ of the world for not doing the same. My question for you is why SHOULD people like Derek have to struggle harder than everyone – harder than you – to make it in this world? Does this seem fair to you? I don’t want to take anything away from the people who started at the bottom and were able to claw themselves out. Good for them. But only someone in a position of relative power can, with a straight face, spew such hatred towards the thousands of others who are not able to do the same. Do I embrace Derek for the choices he has made in life? Of course not, but I do not pretend to assume that Derek had the same opportunites in life that you and I had, and then cast aspersions upon him for not having made it as far in life as you and I. That’s the difference.

  • PoP, you should give him an opportunity to respond. I am sure there is at least one person on here that could help this guy in some way if he presented himself the right way.

  • Bravo Prince for recycling the original story by posting a minor comment about civility.
    Can you milk this for more? I’m sure you can.
    This blog thing of yours used to be better.
    I think you need to define yourself better and in future have commenters register.
    I don’t think that was the real Nancy Pelosi who commented here, do you?

  • @justj
    “I agree with the personal responsibility mantra, but personal responsibility isn’t intuitive, it is taught (in my opinion). So if Derek doesn’t have it, how are we going to make sure his 5 kids learn it? Are we as a society even interested in making sure Derek’s 5 kids learn personal responsibility? Are we going to take ownership in making sure that it will happen given that we cannot realistically expect Derek to pass it on if he doesn’t have it?”

    This has been brought up here before but that is basically the mantra of the guy who started Harlem Children’s Zone. If you ever get the chance to listen to the profile This American Life did on it it is both heartbreaking and optimistic about the future. The basic premise being that diverting resources to help the Derek’s of the world doesn’t yield much return but using resources to help children at the absolute youngest age possible will help kids get out of the cycle.

    I really encourage people to listen to it because I think it would give some insight into the obstacles that Derek faced from the very beginning of life and how we can as society work to help people overcome these challenges BEFORE it becomes too late.

    Here is the link from the HCZ site – scroll down to the bottom.

  • “You (people who are judging Derek) would be angry if he did the same thing to you.”

    Are you suggesting that I didn’t once have neighbors who called me “Mr Charles” or “Ofay” or “Yuppie?” You can’t make up those names! It took me six months to understand what Mr Charles meant. I have absolutely been on the receiving end of people critical of me for my choices!

    I suspect that people who have never been on the receiving end only deal with people of a very limited personality type. As soon as I talked to the grandmothers on my block their grandkids would get POd. When I talked to the cops! oh “hell no.”

    My old next door neighbor used to tell me to stop having so many workmen come into the house to fix what wasn’t broken. Told me to stop working so hard. Told me to quit my job when I was coming home at 8pm and working 11 hour days. His big thing was that he called me a sucker for shopping at Costco or Trader Joes. Said he’d never set foot in those rip-off joints. He never got anywhere in his life, but was so old that he probably had no options in, you know, 1948 when he graduated from high school in a segregated city. I’m not mad about him, but I didn’t appreciate his snide comments about me being in the rat race.

    People know me pretty well now- and Obama is in office- so I don’t get comments anymore, but 5 years ago? 10 years ago? absolutely.

    When I shoveled my neighbors’ steps

  • I like PoP it is a great social site. I like to think it keeps me hip…probably not. I am sometimes encouraged that people care enough about race to even discuss the topic. At other times I am disheartened by the venom spewed by posters. I am not sure working hard in school or getting a job it is intuitive behavior. Over time people with proper support system conform to societal norms and based on hard work, talent, parental support / connections and luck people achieve varying degrees of success.
    I remember reading a City Paper article about the foster care system in DC. You bounce around family to family, maybe you get lucky and find a home or go back to your own family. At 18 essentially your social worker gives you a few bucks maybe points you to a shelter or job training program and you are your own. Regardless of your training, your support system the same thing is expected of all people upon adulthood even when they have not been prepared to meet those obligations. I live in DC I am fortunate to be employed and educated. My goal is to ‘prosper’ but I do recognize mere survival is a struggle for many people. Reject Derek, respectfully (you owe him nothing but respect as a human being), maybe have some empathy for his kids…until they are 18.

  • What makes you think that isn’t Nancy Pelosi?

  • I’ll be honest, as much as people complain about logins and “lack of anonymity” I find the blogs I go to that do require a login have much more constructive conversation. And it doesn’t mean everyone agrees, either.

    PoP, you were thinking about it at one point. I’d reconsider.

  • My question for you is why SHOULD people like Derek have to struggle harder than everyone – harder than you – to make it in this world? Does this seem fair to you?

    Yes, it’s completely fair.

    No one ever asked me if I have members of my extended family who are blind or deaf.

    Do you want to ask me now?

    It’s totally fair, grow up, this is the real world it isn’t Candyland.

    “I do not pretend to assume that Derek had the same opportunites in life that you and I had, and then cast aspersions upon him for not having made it as far in life as you and I.”

    I have no issue with Derek’s academic achievement. I probably wouldn’t care if Derek had one child out of wedlock or went to jail once. Anyone can get picked up by the police once by accident- happened to me and the county refused to prosecute because no “crime” had been committed.

    Are you suggesting that after FIVE children out of wedlock and TWO convictions that sent him to jail AND an attitude that suggests he refuses to take responsibility for himself and that what’s in his heart matters more than his actions that any of us “cast aspersions upon him for not having made it as far in life as you and I.” Come on, if you really believe that, then who’s doing the mental gymnastics?

  • Marcus, who has a problem hearing “the voices” (excuses) of people like Derek? People like him don’t exactly have a problem expressing their opinion every time any anytime someone suggests they take responsibility for their actions or themselves. Perhaps you’re not familiar with this too common attitude that can be found in alleys, office suites, schools, court rooms, legislatures, and oval offices all across this great land. Blaming other people for your own faults is as American as cheating on income taxes. It’s not unique, interesting, or worthwhile to hear.

    If you like hearing someone bloviate the same BS about how hard it is to follow the rules like the rest of us squares, that’s certainly your right. I find it about as compelling and interesting as watching a two year old throw a tantrum because it’s time for her nap.

    PoP’s gonna do what PoP’s gonna do, no doubt. If Derek had done, or was doing, something that merited discussion, good or bad, then it might be worth a read. Frankly Derek’s tired-ass, excuse-filled rap is as BORING as it is annoying. And I guess I’m also suggesting that the “Jackass of The Week” feature may not be the way to go if PoP is also not interested in ruffling feathers in the comment section. I doubt we’d have 200 comments about a granny who takes care of her biz. True that granny’s story might be just as boring as Derek’s common ignorance to some, but I don’t think it would cause a “blog civility crisis.”

    DCDude, I condemn the use of the “lack of civility” staw horse being as an excuse from those who don’t dare defend this jerk directly. I state that specifically – that no one has bothered to try and defend him and that the “civility” argument is just a reaction from knee-jerk progressives with no ground to stand on. What unique perspectives do we learn from Derek’s pathetic excuses? What in the f*ck is there to “understand”? Derek is a self-centered loser with more bad excuses than illegitimate children? What’s the insight?

    The difference between the widow on my block and your hero is that Derek does truly believe he’s struggled more than anyone else while the widow thinks she’s “blessed” by God and life – and will tell you so. Derek might have had it worse than me as a kid, might not. I dunno – and neither do you. But he didn’t have it as bad as many people certainly do. Only a small percentage of poor and disadvantaged people, black, white and brown commit crimes and live as irresponsibly as Derek. Only a person that’s lived a comfortable life can, with “a straight face,” completely fail to understand that one doesn’t equal the other. Low expectations and misplaced empathy for jerkoffs doesn’t equal sainthood outside of coffee shops and wine bars. There are a lot of poor children, abused children, slow children that manage to work and be responsible. Just not the occasional self-absorbed Derek. Derek made poor choices he didn’t have to make and fails to take responsibility for the result. I am so sorry that pointing this out isn’t “civil”.

  • “On Derek- I think the most interesting thing about Derek’s post was that in his last few sentences he refuted what he had said earlier in his interview. If he spent more time focusing on what he was doing now to change his life, rather than how he got there and what was to blame for it, I think the interview would have been a lot more uplifting for people.”

    ABSOLUTELY! That is what “set me off.” At first I wanted to “believe” you know? I wanted to look for someone who had made not just mistakes, but committed criminal acts and showed callous disregard for his FIVE children, so when he lashed out and blamed “the man” on his predicament (which I calculated as roughly $7500 per month in child support)… I mean how could someone have five children and blame me for it? How could they be so cruelly evil?

  • Neener … it’s unlikely that Derek is paying anything near $7500 in child support. The likely scenario is that you’ll find yourself at the Giant waiting interminably in line behind one or more of Derek’s babymommas fumbling with the WIC or Food Stamps.

  • This thread is heading down the same path that the Derek thread went down.

    I really like what Ragged Dog said at 10:27 a.m. “There’s no point in asking for civility if you don’t define what it is and then call out the instances. Many uncivil people get wrapped up in the emotion and don’t realize when they are crossing the line…and some people’s lines are different than others. ”

    Civility — however one chooses to define that — has to be “taught” in these circumstances. It has to be rewarded, and conversation has to be steered in the direction you’d like it to go. I don’t think civility means everyone agreeing with each other, or everyone agreeing with Derek. But just saying “be nice, everyone” is perhaps not as helpful as it could be.

    Unless the main point is just to drive traffic, in which case, nevermind. I don’t read as much as I used to because reading the comments gets so depressing. But, I’m just one person. If 10 more people are drawn here BECAUSE of those kinds of posts for every one like me who is turned off, then that’s a reasonable trade. I think PoP said that he gets some enormous unique viewers a day. So his formula must be working.

  • It is comfortable for us to dismiss Derek as some kind of outlier whose lot in life is purely the result of his individual choices. It allows us to conveniently ignore the fact that most of us here, especially if we are of a certain race, have enjoyed privileges that people like Derek have not — that maybe the station in life that we’re born into has as much to do with where we end up as our own perceived intelligence or moral fortitude. It’s the myth of rugged individualism. We all agree that there should be fewer um, what did you call them? jerkoffs? self-centered losers? Take your pick. Either way, the only way that’s gonna happen is if we take the time to understand and correct the societal dynamics that create a world in which a certain class of people are given a stacked deck to play from. Only then can we fret about how certain people choose to play from that deck.

  • Poor choices. They hurt those with money a lot less than those without. They hurt the powerful and lot less than the less powerful, no matter then reason for the power imbalance. Everybody makes bad choices sometimes, it’s the ability to recover from them that matters. Martha Stewart’s jail time didn’t hurt her as much as the young man on my block’s first screw up did. That’s just the way it works here. Holding up “personal responsibility” as some sort of end-all, be-all isn’t truth. Yeah, people make choices, bad and good, but all of us are responsible for all of us, and until we collectively accept that, the beat goes on.

  • But he didn’t have it as bad as many people certainly do. Only a small percentage of poor and disadvantaged people, black, white and brown commit crimes and live as irresponsibly as Derek. Only a person that’s lived a comfortable life can, with “a straight face,” completely fail to understand that one doesn’t equal the other. Low expectations and misplaced empathy for jerkoffs doesn’t equal sainthood outside of coffee shops and wine bars.

    Let me tell everyone the story of JT. JT was the brutally handsome and brutally stupid son of a Bethesda restauranteur. He was a grade younger than me but still bullied me in high school. By the 10th grade people called him Snowman. When I was a senior I realized it was because he dealt cocaine. As the son of a restauranteur he was hugely popular. I started hearing about pizza parties where they’d sneak wine out of the basement. He was at least 6’2 if not taller but as a continuous screw up he never made an impact in football. After I graduated he blew out a semester and was removed from the team. He didn’t get into college, AFAIK and went to Montgomery College instead. I met a girl in college who went to Blair who asked me if I knew him. She called him an SOB and told me about a “party” she was invited to and when she showed up it was JT and another guy I knew who tried to convince her to have sex with both of them. She fled.

    JT died before the end of his first year at MC. Heart attack / car accident while high. Someone on this board will recognize his initials.

    He lived well and was wealthy in Bethesda, MD. He was a criminal jerk. His parents, as near as I can tell, have no morals. People need to stop equating the culture of crime with race or economics. People need to stop excusing the culture of crime for those same reasons. You want to tell me in 1909, 1929, 1959 that the segregationist culture meant that whole communities had reason to rebel against mainstream culture? Yes, I will accept that. but 1969? 1979? 1999? 2009? uhhh… it’s not true forever, you know? And now black culture (soul, hip hop, Obama, Fenty, clothing) IS the mainstream culture. “The Man” is Kanye West.

    Dead horse beaten, I can’t say any more.

  • The man is Kanye West?!?!?!?!?! Are you serious?!?!?!?

  • Christina – I do not know what civility means to you but I think certain things obviously cross the line.

    “The likely scenario is that you’ll find yourself at the Giant waiting interminably in line behind one or more of Derek’s babymommas fumbling with the WIC or Food Stamps.”

  • Have to agree on one point — the selections you choose to cross-post from the Peoples District are characterized by their provocativeness to the PoP readership. You want a more accurate and balanced selection of profiles, including the good guys, read the Peoples District.

  • [email protected]:50 – The great thing about this forum is that we can agree or disagree on whether hearing a particular “voice” is worthwhile. PoP’s post merely asked that we do it in a civil manner. One can post critical but civil comments about Derek without defending him or his choices.

  • Neener:

    You obviously have a very rich, varied experience in life and one worth sharing. You write well and forthright.

    Thanks for making time in sharing your insightful observations about our urban life despite your other responsibilities.

    I for one seek and look forward to your comments here. More often than not they are resonant, stand out, and are so right on. Wish I had more neighbors like you.

  • you forgot to mention that I’m old, therefore I’ve got dozens of anecdotes collected over time.

  • I know what civility means to me, JoeEsq. But my standards aren’t the ones that we’re talking about.

    My main point is just that I’m not sure people will just be nice and civil, however one chooses to define niceness or civility, without guidance as to what the community standards are, and some kind of censure for transgressions. Derek will be forgotten soon, but the next time we have a crime post or basically any post here that isn’t about doors or condo prices, the same stuff will flare up again.

    I’m glad to have learned, through the whole controversy, about the blog The Peoples’ District. It has some nice stuff there and I hope that blogger continues his work.

  • DCDude your guesses as to what special “privileges” I or anyone else might have had based on the tint of my flesh (of which you do not even know) is as shockingly dumb as someone claiming a black man can’t be president. Not only is the comment baseless, it’s easily disproved by the millions of whites below the poverty line (and those in jail). It’s ironic that those so willing to embrace the dysfunctions conflated with urban ethnic poverty conveniently only remember the much larger, and equally dysfunctional, group of poor whites when it comes time to disdain them for their politics or their uncouth.

    Unlike race, class status is somewhat more transparent here since one’s world view is easily impacted by early exposure to work ethic or, as in some obvious cases, the excessive mollycoddling of privilege that leads one to believe a similar approach works for 32 year old ex-cons who blame ghosts for their own failings.

    Oh and believe me, I’m happy to unstack the deck for privileged f*ckhead know-it-alls and force them into hard work with Derek. That’s a win-win for everyone and an absolute end to the type of progressive social experimentation that only makes sense to people who haven’t sweated a single moment in their life.

    VoR, someone of Martha’s wealth wouldn’t even have her driver unlock the doors while they motored through CH or PW. Can we leave that out? Of course the rich get away with it most of the time, WTF does that have to do with the Dereks selling dope in my alley and then blaming it on me? I’ll tell you: nothing. What does Martha or Derek’s lack of personal responsibility have to do with my choices in life? Nothing, other than a comparison of negative opposites. I never broke the f*cking law, that’s why. I didn’t marry for money and steal. I never had 5 f*cking children I couldn’t care for. That’s why. You really don’t need to make more excuses from Derek or Martha, people like that have enough BS for a WHOLE CITY BLOCK.

    But you are right about us all being responsible for Derek and his shitty choices. We paid for him to go to prison (twice) and you can bet we pay now for his children to eat and be clothed. We’ll all continue to pay, forever. We are certainly much more responsible toward his children than he is.

    Ultimately we are also responsible for sending a mixed message to him about his behavior since so many of you simply fail to have the same expectations of responsibility for our poor young black male neighbors that we would have for a rabid dog. As long as we continue to expect dysfunction and give credence to insane excuses for irresponsibility the cycle will continue.

  • have enjoyed privileges that people like Derek have not — that maybe the station in life that we’re born into has as much to do with where we end up as our own perceived intelligence or moral fortitude. It’s the myth of rugged individualism.

    The problem that most of us have with this concept that “rugged invidualism is a myth” is that many of us know of too many real heroes in our lives that overcame a lot.

    I have one wealthy parent and one poor parent. Wealthy parent meets poor parent while both are getting graduate degrees in college. In one case, graduate degree was expected. The other parent fought like hell, got straight As unlike my aunts and uncles, and got scholarships all the way through school. I have screw up uncles on the rich side and on the poor side.

    You can tell me rugged individualism is a myth, but my entire life I was exposed to the stories of hunting for scholarships and staying in the classroom after school to avoid the monotony of farm life and then abandoning everything they knew and loved to go to college and then abandoning everything they knew and loved to move to DC rather than be a manager in a factory. you have to accept that when I was raised by someone who defied the odds.

    So when I met girls in college I felt very comfortable dating girls who similarly had very poor upbringings and were at school on scholarship. I don’t remember too much there other than they applied heavily to scholarship committees and one had this dream of buying her mother her own beauty salon, something I thought was “amusingly pedestrian” at the time.

  • Looks like, much like Pres. Obama, RG is an asshole with regards to making fun of the Special Olympics.

    Hey, RG: as the parent of a participant in the Special Olympics, FUCK YOU!

  • And now black culture (soul, hip hop, Obama, Fenty, clothing) IS the mainstream culture. “The Man” is Kanye West.

    This may be uncivil, but THIS right here is why you get called Mr. Charlie.

  • Wow. Do you really think that person’s skin color has nothing to do with how he or she is perceived in the world? I refuse to believe you’re that dumb.

    And the fact that there are poor white people in this country proves nothing, other than your own lack of understanding. No time to get into it here, but google the following essay in your spare time.

    “WHITE PRIVILEGE SHAPES THE U.S.” by Robert Jensen

  • @rgsucks Your troll is weak. Bringing in Obama was a bit amatuer. Much like playing the sympathy card. No one actually believes that people still get offended by stuff they read on the Internet. You would have to be new. Or retarded. 🙂

    /Its a cliche, and I bet you are a Nazi.

  • I’m actually the “Jason” who PoP calls an “asshole.” Does that make me the “Asshole of the Day?” I’d be honored.

  • Jason, congrats and welcome to the club. VOR and I will save you a seat at the bar.
    That should be the new Thread.

    “Wednesday house porn and Asshole of the Day” or POP could do a play on ann Rice and have “Interview with the Asshole”.

  • rg – You are wrong people do get offended when you call the participants in the Special Olympics retarded. Obama at least apologized.

  • Just about every single person who comments on here is an asshole. Unfortunately only a few of us recognize it and admit it.

    Signed, one of the assholes.

  • DCDude, perhaps when you engage in debates with the other over-paid toffs at the gastropub things such as switching distinctly different terms like “privilege” to “perception” go unnoticed, but I’ll call bullshit.

    “most of us here, especially if we are of a certain race, have enjoyed privileges”

    Believe me, I don’t doubt for a minute that YOU are a privileged, blinkered, thumb-sucking baby. Your mistake is assuming that everyone that shares your pigment is. Most people in this country, regardless of race, do not have any such “privileges”. They must work hard, and get kicked in the face a few times, to support their families and get ahead. These “privileges” you conflate with whiteness are vapors to most people out there.

    And, BTW, calling me dumb (besides violating PoP’s new “civility” clause) is a stellar face plant in the same comment where you substitute “perception” for “privilege”. I have little doubt you’ll be right back to call me some other delightful names in lieu of any actual argument. Have at it, you wet-nosed robot, but I’m done with you.

    Your personal need to feel good about yourself and your undesserved station in life by disjointedly rambling about race inequality like some ritalin-addled graduate assistant at an Antioch College kegger just doesn’t hold any interest for me. Your pusalanimous comments about me and your idiotic social theories are little more than the post-industrial, post-racial, politically correct version of noblesse oblige.

  • Why must people…

    1. Call names? It does not strengthen arguments.
    “wet-nosed robot, but I’m done with you.”

    2. Group people (stereotype) / Post that their opinion represents the opinion of a group (it does not just speak for yourself).
    “Just about every single person who comments on here is an asshole. Unfortunately only a few of us recognize it and admit it.” The assholes are the ones who mistake their opinions for facts. I doubt you are an asshole you may have moments

    3. Post links to articles that are supposed to be the ‘end all’ on a subject that just happen to support that poster’s opinion.

  • JoeEsq,

    I didn’t intend for that essay to be the end all and be all. I simply offered it up as a good summary, because I didn’t have time to educate anon on the issue of white priviledge. Others are free to disagree with the essay, as I’m sure they will.

  • anon,

    Hmm… Such thin skin for someone who doesn’t hesitate to throw words like ‘jerkoff’ and ‘loser’ around. Very well. Putting on the silk gloves now. I’ll take back my ‘dumb’ and replace it with ‘naive.’ Okay sport?

    And let me connect the logical dots for you, since you seem to be incapable. You do not take issue with my assertion that a person’s skin color has an effect on how he or she is perceived in the world, but you seem to (vehemently) disagree that that has any effect on how they are treated. How interesting. And here I thought that things like racial discrimination still existed. I’ll call Skip Gates and tell him the good news.

  • And you still fail to understand what I mean when I talk about privilege. It does not mean that all white people have everything handed to them. It simply means that, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, in a society whose institutions are dominated by whites, even poor white people enjoy certain advantages, simply by virtue of their skin color, that equally poor minorities do not. This can manifest itself whenever that white person walks into a bank or into a store, or simply whenever people don’t assume that his poverty is caused by a “ghetto mentality.” Hope that helps further your understanding, but if not there are a few seminars at Antioch College in the fall that I can recommend 😉

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