Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Anti-Strib: Charlie Quimby Makes Point, I Think

The Anti-Strib has a few worthy posts and I don't want to bump them down the line just yet... so permit me to use my own blog to try and figure this out.

I got a post from a guy named Charlie Quimby caught my post on a few letters to the Star-Tribune regarding Chris Stewart (Rahelio Soleil).. Apparently, I contribute to a virulent blog, flirt with racist imagery, and was part of what Rahelio Soleil (Chris Stewart) was opposed to. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of the situation.

Quimby quotes me from the Anti-Strib:
[E]ven I a regular person - who happens to be white yet not sullied with the shineboxary of a vegan, activist lawyer - can see that this has more to do with... what was it? Ah, yes... the hate-whitey attitude that Chris Stewart / Rahelio Soleil has against Miinnesotans, Midwest whites, non-blacks, and blacks who he sees as (in his words) "coons".
Then he starts his post:
Telling Shineboxery From Shinola.
I don't usually link to virulent blogs, but to understand at least part of what Rahelio was raging against, you really must read a week or two of posts and especially comments at blogs other than this one. I am not going to dislodge some of those contributors from their pure certainty or their cute flirtations with racist imagery, but at least they keep it over there.

I'm interested in working it out for myself.
First of all, Quimby suggests folks read at least a week of POSTS from virulent blogs to get at least some of what Ra-So Horny was getting at. The POST he links to is at Pair o’ Dice, a recent post about Chris Stewart. Maybe Pair o’ Dice is a virulent blog… maybe not. I really don’t know. The only other POST he links to my post, the post from which he quotes. If my post is virulent in some way it would be nice to know why.

The COMMENTS he links to don’t illustrate his point at all, either. He does link to an online dictionary that provides a definition to shinebox (as if someone really needs a dictionary to find that out). Apparently, this boils down to my use of the word shinebox (or, specifically the word I created, shineboxary… like my other word jackassary). Maybe that is not his only point of reference, however, he mentions no other.

The shinebox and calls for someone to go get their shinebox are neither racist in word or image, nor are they flirtations with racism. Does that mean if someone wants to get offended by the mention of the word mattress perhaps we should just substitute the words, “dog kennels”? (Dog Kennels, Second Floor.)
I understand charming people do lie. Targets of intolerance are not models of tolerance themselves. Wingers left and right veer across the center line. A fish doesn't know it's wet and a racist thinks he's just a gentle white man trying to make it in this world. Or a black man aggrieved.

You can't tell the players by the program. Hell, you can't tell them by their uniform with their name on the back in four-inch letters. So you have to start with yourself.

Chris Stewart may be full of shit and [badda]-blogger may be one of the more color-blind people on the planet. A few seconds with them won't straighten you out on the matter.
Uh… um… is this Harold? Brevity is the soul of wit, Quimby. (I understand that sounds funny coming from me… however, I used to write news, so ten sentences in three ‘graphs seems a little excessive to his point across.) That aside, he’s clearly right. In fact, I try to maintain a certain amount of color-blindness, and if someone else isn’t straightened out after a few seconds in my company or of reading my posts or comments that’s my fault with clarity. Guilty as charged… regardless whether Quimby just made that charge or not. (It isn’t exactly easy to tell… considering he’s a writer, he may want to edit his own post for clarity.)
If you're going to be a decent human being, you have to do the work. But as a decent person, you begin to couch your speech. You know the pictures in your head and the tugs at your gut are wrong. How can you talk honestly about race if you are afraid of saying something that might be called racist ?
What pictures in his head is he talking about, and what is tugging at his gut? I have NO idea what he is talking about.
If thinking impure thoughts is racism, we are all racists. We are encoded to be. Our DNA forces us to quickly detect who is of our clan and who is not, who might be a friend and who might do us harm.

Civilization tries to jam those ancient signals. You are not going to be clubbed by Alan Page, for chrissakes! Keith Ellison will not betray our country. The Hispanic tree trimmer is not planning to steal my car. That is so ignorant! We know better now. But our lizard brain does not. The Sunni brain does not. The good ole boy brain does not. The Crips brain does not.
I refute the statement he makes that we are encoded to be racists. If we are in fact forced by our DNA to detect (and react) swiftly to those who are like us and not like us, friends and foes, I don’t know if that is racism. I don’t believe it is… at least not with the argument he used in his post.
Minneapolis police just reclassified the death of student Chris Jenkins a homicide. Halloween night, Jenkins left a Minneapolis bar costumed as an Indian and disappeared. Months later his body was found in the Mississippi — death by suicide or misadventure. Case closed.

Police now believe, four years later, he was murdered.

Imagine how the killer(s) might have followed Jenkins, drunk and vulnerable, from the Warehouse District bar and thrown him off a bridge on the near North side when they discovered he didn't have any money. His costume had no pockets, and his wallet was back in the bar with his girlfriend.

Disgusting, isn't it?

It's like the senseless shooting in Uptown, or the guy hit by a stray bullet half a block from where Jenkins disappeared. The police can't control the city, the streets are not safe, and if it weren't for one dedicated cop, Jenkins' parents would still be in limbo. I hope they catch the bastards. Someone already in prison has started to talk. They should put the screws to him.

Okay, retrieve your mental image of the detective who did not give up on the case, even after the police chief declared it finished. Who was the witness? What did the killers look like?

Could you pick them out of a line up?

Of course not. They're figments of your imagination. And if you live in a city, I'll place odds your killers and the witness were black. Mine were. It was neither voluntary nor contrived. The pictures just popped in place as I read the stories.
Maybe that is where we differ from Quimby. I don’t “see” anyone in particular. I don’t see a white cop, a black perp, black witnesses, Chinese dry cleaners, Somali cab drivers, Italian pizza cooks… especially with the lack of information provided.
Well, now we know the cop was black. We don't yet know the rest about the case. But we know about ourselves. We know we have to watch it, despite our educations and acculturation and sensitivity and best intentions.

That's not all Rahelio was saying, but if you don't get that, you won't be able to hear the rest.
You know, maybe it is me but I don’t know what Quimby is actually saying. Considering some other parts of his post lack clarity (and his very weak insinuation that either I or the Anti-Strib is tainted slightly by racism) it might be his problem… but I’m probably missing something very simple. Somebody please spell it out for me.



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