February 28, 2010

On Being White

Is there anyone who can speak frankly on matters of race? Yes: Louis CK.



If you haven't heard this before, pay close attention to your reaction to this clip; and then pay even closer attention to how it does/does not change at 1:30. Also think about how this would all be different if you were surrounded by whatever race you're not.






Comments

Love that guy, though I thi... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 12:27 AM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

Love that guy, though I think his routine is more imaginative and whimsical than challenging.

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I laughed at first, but wen... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 12:34 AM | Posted by Eddy: | Reply

I laughed at first, but went quiet at 1:30.. I don't want to be fucked in the ass!

What's your point?

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I sort of count myself luck... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 12:41 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I sort of count myself lucky that, by the time shit really hits the fan for white people, I'll probably be dead.

But yeah, it's about time some other kinds of people got to take a turn at running things. I don't know if they'll be better at it or not, but it's not as if there's no room for improvement.

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First reaction, uneasy. Rea... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 12:44 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

First reaction, uneasy. Reaction at 1:30, even more uneasy. If I was surrounded by people who weren't white males? Extremely uneasy.

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Laughing the whole way thro... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 1:08 AM | Posted by The Staff of Unreasoning : | Reply

Laughing the whole way through, but while laughing during the second half the motivation was different. It's funny to joke about like AIDS is funny to joke about. Funny in jest but not reality. We'll see what happens.

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We'll all be dead when AI g... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 1:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

We'll all be dead when AI gains sentience in about 30 years or so anyway.

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Chris Rock is better. Lots... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 1:55 AM | Posted by CC: | Reply

Chris Rock is better. Lotsa black comedians are better than this guy.

Reaction-wise, 1:30 was when it became not funny. And it wasn't funny because it wasn't true. Actually, it kinda lost it around 1:00 with the Year 2 line. Also not true. My white forefathers were living in huts and doing battle naked --losing to Italians for crying out loud. So that's where he was going liberal unfunny. I mean, I can take liberal, but unfunny, eh, thanks no.

Take a youtube Chris Rock clip, almost at random, and you'll get better humor.

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There is no "better" humour... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 2:56 AM | Posted by Arthur Taylor: | Reply

There is no "better" humour, it's entirely down to taste and context. Also I'll laugh at anything, and don't have any mates that don't share the view that everything's funny in some way. It'll take a whole lot more than CK to make us uneasy.

Cultural difference maybe? Americans are far more dissimilar culturally to us Limies than most 1st gen. immigrants here.

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i agre to almost all commen... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 3:47 AM | Posted by dens@ diet products reviews: | Reply

i agre to almost all comments...

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I was okay with it until I ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 4:47 AM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

I was okay with it until I imagined myself as a black male in a room full of white males while watching this.

Then I almost had a fucking panic attack.

Jesus.

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Also: not sure if I'm diggi... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 5:03 AM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

Also: not sure if I'm digging whole the vote up/vote down buttons on comments. Suddenly the popularity contest/dominant-group-reinforcement factor of social media sites is really apparent.

Also not sure if I would have noticed that before reading this post.

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before 1.30: this guy is ve... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 5:19 AM | Posted by Pineapple: | Reply

before 1.30: this guy is very perceptive, and hilarious; after 1.30: 'and we deserve it'...that is food for thought.
i'm already surrounded by a race that i'm not, so no difference. altho, i guess if i was white, i might not have found the bit after 1.30 as funny...probably.

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The majority of the people ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 8:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The majority of the people in the world are governed by non-whites, so the idea that whites run everything is less true than he suggests.

Having said that, it is also true that ideas propagated and advanced by Euro-ethnics, like market economies and universal education, have done more to elevate the world's quality of life than the competing despotism and tyranny practiced in their place.

Having said that, whites have occasionally stacked the deck, taken undue advantage and behaved arrogantly. All in all, given the state of things, i think the race has been a net plus.

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Louis CK is awesome because... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 9:36 AM | Posted by Larry Koubiak: | Reply

Louis CK is awesome because by laughing at himself (and therefore at people who relate to him on some level) he manages to pull off race jokes. And funny ones at that, which certainly doesnt hurt.

As for feeling uncomfortable during the bit, not really. Perhaps it's because i've been an avid fan of stand-up comedy, preferably the challenging type, and i got somewhat immune to provocative humor and don't get shocked anymore. Or perhaps it's because i'm belgian, not that we are above race issues, but more because race is not exactly a dividing issue in here (language is definitly a bigger issue here).

Finally about getting fucked in the ass in the future for being white, i'm not sure about that. History does seem to show that communities who have been exploited in the past tend to ask for some kind of revenge (affirmative action is a mild example, censorship...)
And i understand that on some level, but i also can't really understand why the current generation will have to pay for crimes that were perpetuated by their ancestors.
That just sounds ignorant to me, it would be like jews hating young germans today for what the nazis did then.
But i guess i have some faith in humanity left, and i hope people won't sink that low again.
Or maybe it's the scared white man in me talking, go figure.

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First of all, it was just l... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 10:27 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

First of all, it was just like, historically inaccurate because a few decades ago, international conflicts in europe was a huge deal and there was a lot of oppression of "white people" depending on what country they happened to be located in.

Most "white people" in america are really mixed nationally speaking... so it all depends on what nationality one happens to be. A polish person might not necessarily like going back to poland during the world war...
...and, it might not be so great if you were jewish in a ghetto(which ethnically speaking is actually semetic similar to arabs, or an admixture with european natives, but whatever).


I thought it was funny in spite of the fact it was bullshit but he really should have backed off after about a minute into the joke. After the first minute it became more tedious and boring and one was less willing to forgive the historical inaccuracy/bullshit-ness of what he was saying, because the longer he stuck with the idea the more it seemed like he truly believed this crap.

I didn't have much of a reaction change after 1:30, I found it a natural continuation of what he said previously, although later on at the end of the clip he seemed to becoming so animated and emphatic that it was as if he truly believed what he was saying (and, he seemed a hair away from screaming something inappropriate and revealing his nutty ideas about race).

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... I'll have you know, CC,... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 10:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

... I'll have you know, CC, losing to italy isn't a bad thing, historically speaking a country of culture and power, regardless of what you see on Jersey Shore with them walking around calling themselves "guidos/guidettes".

ON the other hand, poland has never had any f'ing power ever and has been historically screwed around by every neighboring country. No matter when a polish person goes back in time, they probably would be having some sort of problems, lol... and even worse if you were a polish jew.

Me personally I'm so mixed I am both jersey guido and polish, among many other things, so, eh.

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ps you can vote up your own... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 10:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

ps you can vote up your own posts, lol

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Louis CK is a psychopath in... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 12:00 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Louis CK is a psychopath in case you didn't know. Look for his comedy bit on stealing his highschool science scales and not feeling bad about it.

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"After the first minute it ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 1:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by CC: | Reply

"After the first minute it became more tedious and boring and one was less willing to forgive the historical inaccuracy/bullshit-ness of what he was saying, because the longer he stuck with the idea the more it seemed like he truly believed this crap."

Amen brother.

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"Comedian Chris Rock tells ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 1:33 PM | Posted by CC: | Reply

"Comedian Chris Rock tells white audiences, "None of ya would change places with me! And I'm rich! That's how good it is to be white!"" http://www.nysun.com/opinion/chris-rock-has-it-wrong/86035/ [couldn't find it on Youtube.]

That's the line I was thinking about. And if it's a matter of taste, so be it; I have better taste than you if you think this bit by Louis CK is better than Chris Rock's bit. CR's line kills white AND blacks. And it's not grinding some ax either --which is probably why it's better.

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I didn't find him particula... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 2:57 PM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

I didn't find him particularly funny or provocative, but then, my viewing of it was probably tainted by the fact I was supposed to be paying attention to something funny or provocative. (white female here)

Then again, most racial humor escapes me. I think I was born without that humorbutton.

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It doesn't really matter wh... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 3:00 PM | Posted by Dolores: | Reply

It doesn't really matter whether he's right or not about getting punished in the future for being white (and I do not believe in karma anyway). First he talks about how great it is to be white (and male by the way) and then he states we'll get punished for it because we deserve it. That is a way of apologizing for being white. Isn't there a sense of guilt for feeling like you're priviliged, regardless what it is? Succesful people down talk their accomplishments. People who look above average point out their flaws when receiving a compliment. (Unless they're narcissists, of course)

I got from this that he might feel slightly ashamed for having had it relatively easy in life.

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A thousand truths are told ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 6:02 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

A thousand truths are told in jest.

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Ahh, American Narcissism. ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 7:01 PM | Posted by mike m: | Reply

Ahh, American Narcissism. Wonderful.

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"Louis CK steals scales for... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 7:52 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Louis CK steals scales for pot"
Watch this and then tell me he is not a psychopath.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjEnC9LOuuY

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Strangely enough, I felt a ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 8:27 PM | Posted by Frayed knot: | Reply

Strangely enough, I felt a much stronger reaction about the audience. The level of cheering and clapping was so far beyond the feeble level of humor, it made me wonder whether it was a canned laugh track, everyone was stupidly drunk, or perhaps the people actually thought it was FUNNY. Made me curious about their attitudes.

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This is complete bullshit. ... (Below threshold)

March 1, 2010 11:38 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is complete bullshit. White people have nothing to feel bad about. Black people have earned everything they have gotten. They are reaping what they have sown. This is true in America, Europe, and Africa as well. The murder rates in Africa are higher than anywhere in the world, and the black murder rates are roughly the same in any country they live. Affirmative action gave us Obama. I say let's reward merit, not people we feel sorry for.

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Hmmmm. Don't like that guy... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 12:36 AM | Posted by This Repulsive Wednesday: | Reply

Hmmmm. Don't like that guy. I did snort at the 'fucked in the ass' part.

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Exactly, mike m. That's one... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 1:09 AM | Posted, in reply to mike m's comment, by Chiara: | Reply

Exactly, mike m. That's one reason why I can't take it seriously as any kind of social commentary -- it's ludicrous.

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This is the anon who was wr... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 4:58 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is the anon who was writing 3/1/10 10:27...

You know there really are a lot of layers to this comedy routine.

1) The idea that it is great to be a white male (and will be rightfully punished)... seems to suggest the comedian is confessing to taking advantage of something or someone, which in turn suggests he is personally complicit with this otherwise "hypothetical" white male dominance. It's almost a tacit admission of taking advantage of or subjugating others, at least mentally/constitutionally. Meaning to say, perhaps this "oppressive priviledged white male" isn't so hypothetical but perhaps it is exemplified by the comedian himself. There must be a reason he feels so strongly about this, it's almost as if he is quietly and passively admitting he is a bit of a racist and a sexist and a pig in general, eh.

2) That the punishment will be "being fucked in the ass". It is interesting he chooses this choice of words, as it suggests loss of masculinity, loss of power, and you know, there is the analogous occurance of black men in prison raping little white guys doing a few years for selling marijuana and such. The statement, that he will be "raped in the ass" seems to have a dual meaning here in that he is on one hand pointing out the beast-like animalistic nature of the black man (animals in prison raping men for power), but he is simultaneously expressing a nervous, anxious remorse while actively identifying with and spewing the very vitriol he knows will be his downfall.

He sorta reminds me of a junkie, kinda conflicted and obsessed and ruined as a person by his mind.

My belief? Possibly gay. Seems major identity issues, common in latent homosexuals. JUST MY OPINION.

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More laughs; you can vote a... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 10:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by CC: | Reply

More laughs; you can vote again each time you come back to the page!

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It's true. We whiteys do g... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's true. We whiteys do get plenty of priveleges for being white. That's just the way it is. deal with it.

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Interesting post Alone, par... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

Interesting post Alone, particularly after writing about straight white males who kill people because they feel they're being victimized and oppressed by "the system". It's like some people are resentful that they don't have the unlimited privileges they expect to get as a straight white male! (Though, obviously not all mass killings are committed by white males.)

One disadvantage of being a straight white male comedian is that you're the overdog and it's just not a great position to be funny from. The great white comedians and social satirists/critics, such as Lenny Bruce or George Carlin, have tended to be underdogs (and not so straight even if they're heterosexual). And I have to agree with CC, Chris Rock's take on race is much funnier.

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Being a white male is great... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 1:00 PM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

Being a white male is great for your career, but nothing gets you out of a traffic ticket like being a short, shy, female. *makes puppy eyes*

Be sure to note whether the officer is male or female in order to know whether to act like the Madonna or a scared child.

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Did you see what he did the... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Posted by Basil Valentine: | Reply

Did you see what he did there? You got asked to analyze a YouTube clip, and immediately it became a referendum on a couple thousand years of history as well as current racial politics (and for some reason, Chris Rock, the only other extant comedian who makes jokes about race).

Don't pay attention to the actual history behind it, because the history is not relevant to the joke; as a comedian, Louis CK deals with pop-culture, the history of what "everyone" "knows".

If you'd feel uncomfortable around other people watching that clip, it's a sign that whatever face you wear on the outside does not match what's going on inside.

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After hearing many of the C... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 4:43 PM | Posted by MrVetinari: | Reply

After hearing many of the Chris Rock / Louis C.K. comparisons, I feel obligated to point out the Louis C.K. was a writer for Chris Rock for quite some time and won an Emmy for that writing.

It seems that there are many people that just feel more comfortable laughing at a white perspective on racial humour when the voice behind it is black. As if the joke coming from a black voice gives us permission to allow us to view the commentary as humour other than "The tragedy of a thousand years of oppression... etc...".

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The only decent comment on ... (Below threshold)

March 2, 2010 8:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Basil Valentine's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The only decent comment on here - kudos!

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this motherfuckers funny. e... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 12:53 AM | Posted by noreply: | Reply

this motherfuckers funny. everybody below me is gay

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Whoo more girls post below ... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 1:36 AM | Posted, in reply to noreply's comment, by spriteless: | Reply

Whoo more girls post below me!

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What is this????? a joke???... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 2:14 AM | Posted by Live Psychiatry: | Reply

What is this????? a joke????

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MrVetinari - Thanks for the... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 8:48 AM | Posted, in reply to MrVetinari's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

MrVetinari - Thanks for the info about Louis CK writing for Chris Rock - interesting to consider this clip in that context. I'm not that keen on Louis CK as a stand-up performer from what I've seen (which is somewhat limited) but I quite like him in his role in Parks and Recreation. Race, context and our own biases are interesting to consider.

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I think Louis CK is pretty ... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 11:21 AM | Posted by JMoss: | Reply

I think Louis CK is pretty much right on here, and as usual, honest, perceptive and on point. I had seen him do some similar material which I thought was funnier, the gist of it was: "When you're white, the police actually protect you. When you're black, the best you can hope for is that the police will leave you alone. That is a HUGE chasm of difference, and I'm on the awesomest side of that chasm." I think that's pretty true. Sad, but true.

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This routine is hystericall... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted by infopractical: | Reply

This routine is hysterically funny, but he's about one millionth in line selling white people out to defer his own guilt. The whole race isn't guilty of slavery and oppression and being awful to other people. EVERY race has members guilty of slavery and oppression.

I feel I am more lucky to be American than to be white. White comes with some privileges, but if you take out the privileges that come with being American, I suspect that the privileges of being white come in second -- a close second perhaps, but second.

And while some Americans have done terrible things, there are more historical positives than negatives -- particularly when compared with most other nations.

I find myself feeling lucky, but not guilty. As a white person, I do not deserve retribution for the crime of being a member of the race that has held a plurality of power for the past few centuries.

This blog is usually on the mark, but it saddens me to see no commentary from its author about transference of guilt. This guy may feel like he's skating purely on white privilege, but there are plenty of white people who are good, work hard, and contribute to a more positive world. Yes, we all get some benefits for being part of the plurality of power, but that itself is not a personal moral fault.

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Real history isn't so black... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 11:19 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Real history isn't so black and white as we tend to think it was. Slavery and exploitation, and racism, certainly exist and existed but focusing mainly on race is a good way to avoid acknowledging class issues - particularly in America since the national myth is that class doesn't really exist and anyone can succeed if they only work hard enough.

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Everybody so far has missed... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2010 12:29 PM | Posted by Roy : | Reply

Everybody so far has missed the point that race is an accident of birth. You don't choose it but get blamed or praised for having somehow caused the accident, regardless. It's an irony joke folks. Get over it.

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I felt uneasy/uptight at fi... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2010 6:50 AM | Posted by Ronni: | Reply

I felt uneasy/uptight at first but I started relaxing after 1:30. Maybe it's because I only pass for white and I'm female?!

I'd feel the same in a room full of any ethnicity. I think.

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As is often the case, this ... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2010 10:39 AM | Posted by bleach: | Reply

As is often the case, this article on race says more about matters not related to race.

Only an American could have written this bit, and only an American audience would think it is funny or poignant.

How would a non-Westernized Chinese crowd react to this material? Or Romanians? Or Iranians? I guess they would all be rolling their eyes at Americans and our shallow sense of perspective.

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Chinese don't do irony.... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2010 11:09 PM | Posted by Roy : | Reply

Chinese don't do irony.

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'and we deserve it'<p... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2010 6:55 AM | Posted by tehag: | Reply

'and we deserve it'

Sounds like my high school.


Not funny before 1:30; tiresome and old. Funny briefly. Not funny again.

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Does this mean we're going ... (Below threshold)

March 26, 2010 7:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Does this mean we're going to have watch Pootie Tang in White Male Oppressor re-education camps?

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Pretty cool. if you want to... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2010 2:54 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Pretty cool. if you want to write more about this topic we would probably all love to see your opinion of this site http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

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I'm a white male and I thou... (Below threshold)

April 4, 2010 9:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm a white male and I thought this was pretty funny. I certainly don't agree that I deserve any kind of punishment for the actions of douchebags who happen to resemble me, but it was still a solid comedy sketch. That said I did feel a bit of a shock at 1:30. And it might be kind of awkward in a room with a bunch of people of other races, especially black people. I would just say race is a very awkward issue for a lot of people, I guess including me.

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*Shrug* I'm ALREADY uncomfo... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2010 4:37 PM | Posted by La BellaDonna: | Reply

*Shrug* I'm ALREADY uncomfortable at the thought of being the only female in a room full of males. White, black, brown, yellow - doesn't matter. The back of my mind is _always_ going to be worrying about "What happens next?"

Being female means _always_ wondering if you're going to be attacked.

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Sigh... trotting out the us... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2010 11:48 AM | Posted by S: | Reply

Sigh... trotting out the usual fallacies and bullshit.

As for little miss Bella's comment, sure -- in that situation you're in potential danger; men are in danger every waking moment of their lives, white or otherwise.

Women are so protected by our society, so thoroughly and completely, that they have no idea it's even happening; it's just another Matrix, and It Has You.

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PS. "Here" being America, B... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2010 11:49 AM | Posted by S: | Reply

PS. "Here" being America, Britain, or similar. Not speaking for the rest of the world (Africa? Middle East? Yikes...)

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wow. lots of interesting co... (Below threshold)

July 4, 2010 1:19 AM | Posted by Joy: | Reply

wow. lots of interesting comments. most people are too afraid or too emotional when talking about racism... dialogue is important though (as the post has brought forth). how can you have all encompassing 'feelings' or views when you don't know what it is/how it affects others?

i thought the guy was funny. he was truthful throughout the whole clip. that is why it was humorous. he approached the truth in different ways though (1:30 was the turning point). that's why some people became uncomfortable with what he said. first part = guy said white people are at an advantage. that he said it, that the audience laughed = consensus of truth. second part = guy talks about the absurdity of non whites' rage, agenda against white. Whites are easy to blame, blaming becomes fun (I'm asian; from experience, i can tell you it's very fun haha)... is taken too far. In turn, another monster, another type of hatred is created (there is also self hatred too, that is bad. i think this self hatred is odd, fascinating ((not its behavior or design, simply something personal, about where i used to live)). it's not a matter of right or wrong though it is unhealthy and not a resolution to racism. this self hatred gets no media time though. if anything, people don't know how to express it at all. sorry, digressing).

...in turn, another monster, another type of hatred is created. This is ironic. We laugh. We get angry. We don't understand. We fear. Mostly, we don't understand what we fear. I think that is the point of your post??? Maybe not. That's okay. What I do understand = this whole thing began with fear. That's obvious and doesn't strike me as a bursting epiphany. something did though. that's why i bothered with this extremely long comment. too bad it's so late; i'm tired, and i've forgotten. darn, guess i have no choice but to go back and be a bigot.

love the blog though. been reading it for a month. the insights are cool, at times... painstakingly accurate, and genius. the stuff about pirates and al qeda = damn funny. maybe i've been reading too much (ohmygod,imacreep), but seems like you've said over the years that you've been trying to improve your writing, and just wanted to let you know that i've noticed the development. it's pretty great, actually. again, awesome blog. i enjoy your writing very much

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I assume the reference to b... (Below threshold)

July 21, 2010 3:45 AM | Posted by sherlock: | Reply

I assume the reference to being anally raped is white GUYS being anally raped. It's apparently funny or appropriate when males are anally raped or have their penises cut off or are otherwise sadistically abused. Not funny at all if a woman is sadistically abused. This "white-privilege" garbage reminds me of the goofy "patriarchy" slop the feminists constantly espouse; it's the same fallacy as hating Jews because a Jewish banker foreclosed on your farm. He foreclosed on your farm because he's a banker, not because he's Jewish. About the time-machine, can't say I would enjoy being a white male indentured-servant in America circa 1700's or a serf in Russia circa 1400's. Historically, most people lived pretty desperate lives and rather brutish existences subjugated by a tiny overlord-elite (consisting of both men & women). The life of an aristocratic English Lady in the 1600s was mighty sweet... a male peasant observed not doffing his hat and stepping off the sidewalk and into the street risked being beaten with billy-clubs by the local constabulary. I remember reading Freud at university - those wealthy German women certainly had it nice spending their afternoons taking art-lessons and chatting with Sigmond. About those people who shout, "I hate whitey" and "I hate white people": the novel Lord of the Flies comes to mind. I'm certainly not going to feel white-guilt because you proudly strive to be a violent thug your entire life rather than ever becoming an adult.

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White female, here. I found... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2010 12:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

White female, here. I found the entire clip (also the future anal-retentive part) rather amusing in a clap-my-hands-but-not-too-loud, smile-wryly-but-tolerantly sort of way. It seems obvious that he's not so much spilling out his heart and soul on stage as simply looking to see how far he can take the joke and what the people's reaction to it is. Maybe it worked for me, though, since I'm generally attracted to these kind of funny guys that manage to ooze just the right mixture of flippant, self-effacing humor and earnest cynicism. Not entirely unlike TLP. Ahem.

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As a white female/snotty li... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 4:01 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

As a white female/snotty liberal art grad/admitted fan of louis c.k., i agree with the comments that point out that the "factual" history isn't relevant-- he's not a historian, or even someone who regularly uses/comments on history. As someone said above, he's a stand-up comedian commenting on what "everyone" "knows".

This goes double when you look at the type/style of history that is taught in schools/treated as common ground in the media (i.e. any time cable news comments on women's/gay/black/native american/latino groups or organizations doing ANYTHING, note how the language (and even the identity of the newscaster changes). He's dealing in commonalities, and while he's advancing the idea (intentionally or otherwise) that the white race may one day catch an ass-whooping for doing some fucked up shit/running a lot of stuff, but his commentary also implies something somewhat important: while white people who are sensitive and knowledgeable about race issues may suffer from feelings of guilt, sucking it up, owning "your" "legacy" the way millions of other people of minority identities have to every day, and trying to enjoy yourself are your best options left. Otherwise, you become another person who cries over/whines about the plight of brown/marginalized people but doesn't have any brown/marginalized friends.

And anyone who claims that white people used to beat up on white people is missing the point further: back in tribal africa, i'm sure that black people used to beat up on black people too, and asian folks used to be mean to asian folks, and other people used to kill their "own kind" and so on, but not only is that irrelevant to the "common knowledge" of the general u.s. populace, but the fundamentals of those systems and conflicts have not been used to subjugate people of other races on a worldwide scale over decades, as the systems/protocols of white people have. If you disagree with that on a worldwide basis, narrow your focus to the united states exclusively.

Also: seriously, i am surprised that more people weren't more comfortable after the 1:30 mark. I know I was.

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I agree with Louis. As a wh... (Below threshold)

August 17, 2011 9:41 AM | Posted by Vizzi: | Reply

I agree with Louis. As a white male it is pretty hard for others who are not white males to hurt my feelings. Calling someone a cracker just reminds me of owning land and people, then certain white males decided to abolish that system, which was totally the right thing to do. But atleast for now, being a white male is thoroughly enjoyable. I've probably gotton away with a lot of trouble that I would have not gotton away with otherwise.

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Louis CK is fractionally Je... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2012 7:51 PM | Posted by Phalluster: | Reply

Louis CK is fractionally Jewish, which gives him a unique ability to claim affiliation with both White and The Other. When it comes time to get "held down and fucked in the ass", I wonder if he'd remember this convenient escape clause.

It's hard to accept any statement of racial grievances, even in a comedy routine, from someone with nothing to lose either way.

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Yeah, he's a psychopath by ... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2012 1:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Yeah, he's a psychopath by definition. It's pretty out there, really, when you listen to his skits. I think that if he were actually asked about in a casual way, he wouldn't deny it.
In fact, the quintessential unlikability of any ASPD comes out even in his comedy and he basically says out in the open he doesn't give a crap about anybody at all.

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My first reaction, as a whi... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2012 3:48 PM | Posted by ginnygeneva@gmail.com: | Reply

My first reaction, as a white, formerly privileged but now poor in Chicago and living in an apartment complex full of mostly black people who are also poor...and on SSI, and quite a few with substance abuse issues so severe they will go without food, without bathing, without washing their clothes after half the month is over, having spent all their money on booze as soon as they got their SSI check around the 26th....
That's where I live. Anyway, I found the video had a very flat effect on me, even after 1:30. Basically it was just another person, as clueless or clue-full as any white person I know, talking about black people and not saying anything particularly insightful or that sounded like it was based on actual experience with the urban, black poor population.
Really, his piece says more about white people than black people---he was making people laugh at their own racism while simultaneously disowning it.
How? Simple. Around the time he started talking about blacks rising up and fucking the white man's ass, he was calling on an old stereotype of the black man: savage, virile, strong (like in To Kill A Mockingbird). And he's calling blacks simplistic, stupid really, the idea that they would do this because of having been oppressed. Like they're vengeful animals.

Of course all of these attributes were used to justify oppression. I don't think it was the real reason (the real reason is probably needing cheap labor, I think).

I think LouisCK knew from the git go, when he wrote this, how it would be received; I strongly suspect he's not racist, he's just making an elaborate and humorous social commentary.

In other words, the audience was being played, and they deserve it.

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"And he's calling blacks si... (Below threshold)

March 19, 2012 12:58 AM | Posted, in reply to ginnygeneva@gmail.com's comment, by Ryan: | Reply

"And he's calling blacks simplistic, stupid really, the idea that they would do this because of having been oppressed. Like they're vengeful animals."

I think you have this backwards. Vengeance is a very higher order thinking emotion, limited to people. A tiny minority of animals with very high social intelligence (carnivorous/omnivorous pack mammals), can act in similar ways in a short time frame to prevent future danger, but even lions and wolves don't run around holding grudges against individuals. I think that not only would blacks in many cases act this way after oppression, all other races would as well. In fact, they have times in countless times in the political struggles throughout history. The massacres of the French Revolution, the persecution of the bourgeoisie and former leaders after communist revolutions, the Oron massacre of French civilians after the victory of the Algerian revolutionaries, the revenge of the Hutu in the Rwanda Genocide, etc.

That is a major topic in international relations studies on genocide; how to prevent the victim from becoming the oppressors. Almost every genocide is caused by those seeking revenge for previous ways their group has, whether in reality or simply something manufactured by propaganda, been wronged by others.
Therefore, because of past experience, groups trying to end ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, etc. know that it is important for every group to air their grievances, get them documented, hold war crime trials, and so on, because otherwise attempts by the wronged groups to seek redress will continue to get more and more extreme in an attempt to get notice. Just look at the situation in the middle east right now, with the massacres by sectarian gangs following Gaddafi's ouster (and execution) in Libya.

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The concept of destructive ... (Below threshold)

March 21, 2012 4:57 PM | Posted by ginnygeneva@gmail.com: | Reply

The concept of destructive entitlement---“you’re going to pay for what you did”---or “you owe me, because…”---is not at all limited to things like genocide. I’m thinking of Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagi, who applies the concept to human beings in relationship to other human beings, individual to individual or group-to-group. I think it is a relevant concept, most especially when it is applied by responsible people talking about their own experience. Otherwise, like all ideas, it can be used to frame others’ situation, rather inadequately and inaccurately.

It is, after all, so easy to talk about "those people over there."

You note that it is important to act with this concept in mind to prevent possible future violence. And I hear your examples (all of them outside the United States). I am talking about black Americans. I understand you think they are quite capable of being violent in the face of oppression. Blacks have been present in large numbers as slaves in America, and have been additionally oppressed in America, since about 1600. I would like to suggest that if they haven’t revolted and killed us all by now, they’re not going to.

And also, as you may have noticed, violence in the black community is primarily directed against other blacks, not whites; most hate crimes are racially motivated and directed at black people and---surprise!---committed by white people.

I am making those observations based on the most recent crime statistics I could get from the FBI.

I would also like to talk about what oppression *is.* The ultimate goal of oppression or abuse is to turn the victim into a willing participant in their own victimization. (Like in Stockholm Syndrome). Some blacks in America have reached this point. Some of them have such reduced expectations as to just want to live on less than $700.00 a month SSI.

Additionally, many white taxpayers think even that is *too much.* I would suggest that it is, in fact, a bargain. The alternative---repairing the problem(s), attempting to rectify the situation properly---would be prohibitively expensive. And rather than causing blacks to commit acts of violence, it would probably cause affluent white taxpayers to do so, even more than they already are.

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Why does being female mean ... (Below threshold)

March 22, 2013 6:09 AM | Posted, in reply to La BellaDonna's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Why does being female mean always wondering if you're going to be attacked? I've never attacked a female, or witnessed one being attacked, or even heard about it happening in any normal circumstance.

Anyway, if you fear being harmed, learn some Martial Arts.

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Summary of all comments lik... (Below threshold)

June 11, 2013 3:15 AM | Posted by Jacobitess: | Reply

Summary of all comments liking this video/article:

'History and facts don't matter. Don't bother me with truth; I don't believe in it!'

'What is this affirmative action you speak of?'

'I'm 1/6 Cherokee, so I'll escape that anal rape coming down the way to all the pinkners who have done...nothing actually.'

Speaking 'frankly' apparently doesn't mean speaking the truth for 'Alone.'

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