Thursday, May 27, 2010

#13 Blacks and the Likability Paradox

Blacks often talk about what’s in somebody’s heart, particularly White hearts. “The problem with the 1964 Civil Rights Act was that White folks didn’t feel it in their hearts”, say Black historians. So what is it with the Black need that people like them deep down? It seems as though the group is constantly looking for their Sally Field “You really like me!” moment (which BTW ain’t never coming). Frankly, I always thought being liked was overrated. Liking or disliking someone is a discretionary choice, whereas obstructing their freedom is a violation of the US Constitution. Keep your damn feelings, just give me my rights.

Now switching up the gears, for all of the demand to have Whites genuinely welcome Blacks into their hearts, Black folks also seem hell-bent on generating dislike. This is illustrated by the ‘keepin’ it real’ model of dealing with folks. If Blacks don’t like someone (and this is often) they are compelled to show it, without restraint. Out of my face! No perceived slight, however small, is ever ignored. Benefit of what doubt, you say? Don’t hide your feelings in order to feed your family, or secure your future. White folks suck it up, yes. Asians? Definitely. Black folks, they keep it real till' it all goes wrong, and then they line up at unemployment, with kids in tow. This is the likability paradox.

James C. Collier

Blogger Post Scriptum: "R, even with 500+ postings I am still learning that sometimes musings don't translate to my intention. In hindsight, "Blacks and" postings should be on light topics only (like 21" rims). It is difficult to do more serious topics their justice in so few words going into the weekend. Mea Culpa to my readers."


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Blake said...

Aren't you kinda ignoring DuBois's whole theory of double consciousness? I can't go into my quoting Tupac as an intelligent lyricist and expect to be respected by my peers. And its almost impossible to have a serious discussion about Black issues in politics without having somebody defend arcane views of why certain laws and actions (like racial profiling) are good. We can't just "keep it real" in such discussions. We're forced to either state our opinions and be an outcast, or to find a way to water down oura opinion so that we state our most important point, but don't call the other people who believe this stuff stupid.

Its still walking a very fine line.

Ms. Negro said...

You're right. If a black person doesn't like you, you know it. And I think the way we (blacks and whites) handle conflict is the major reason why we will never get along. White people think it is perfectly fine to pretend to like someone and stab them in the back (all is fair in love and war). And they shun in your face, toe to toe confrontations. And black people think the opposite.
And since black people operate in a white world they way we do things is wrong. White people don't suck it up, they just have a different way of handling their problems with people.

I don't understand what you mean by black people dislike people often? Or why you went on to characterize black people as out of control. I have to ask you this because I am not sure. Do you like black people?

Phelps said...

As a white guy, if I go around quoting Eddie Veddar, I'm going to look just as ridiculous as a black guy quoting Tupac.

Anonymous said...

Well put Mr. Collier. As for Ms. Negro.. yikes.. what a racist.

James C. Collier said...

Ms. Negro, just as I think being liked is overrated, I also think the hostile label is earned. I'm a smiler and I always smile and speak to people. I find Black people are the least responsive and this is unsettling, because I was raised to give our people the shirt from my back if they need it. I find no difference in black and white willingness to back-stab - people are people. I love black people, my blackness, and I am a devotee to the cause of black improvement - including painful truths (as I see them).

Anonymous said...

I think there are other cultural aspects that are possibly being overlook. In contrast to Mr. Collier's experience, where I work and live in Virginia, I find that Black people speak and smile whether they know you or not. I believe it is more of a geographical cultural uniqueness of the South since I do not see this trait in the northern climes I have lived and visited.

Keep smiling Mr. Collier since peace of mind is an internal matter.

Observant White Guy said...

That's an interesting analysis. I agree in many ways, but I think that this whole desire to be liked is a human trait.

Why is it that after 9/11, certain whites were on t.v. asking "why do they hate us?" (which is something that self-flagellating whites like Tim Wise love to mock)

Obviously, they find being liked important. Otherwise, they wouldn't have felt so hurt and alienated following 9/11. I love my people, but we embarrassed ourselves following 9/11.

But yes, I've certainly noticed that "keepin' it real" attitude, which does not permit the slightest of slights. I can't remember how many times in middle school I was threatened by black kids just for looking at them in what they perceived to be a disrespectful manner. The whole "keepin' it real" attitude also manifested itself in the Epic Beard Man incident.

But still, who doesn't want to be loved?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Collier,

Are you engaging in the same behavior as race realist, taking a piece of information(like the over representation of blacks in prison using it as proof of genetic deficiencies within the community) and then projecting it upon an entire community?

Do black doctors 'keep it real?'...architects, engineers, military officers, etc..

It would be nice when you say something like this is to do what the race realist don't do and that is to use precision when talking about a subset within a specific population. Blacks with less than a HS diploma, HS graduates, college graduates, blacks making less than 24k/yr, etc...

Based on where you live I'm sure you could contrast the black population in the Oakland hills with the one in the flatlands, without resorting to projecting the behavior of one on the other just because they share the same gene expressions.


James C. Collier said...

R, even 500+ postings I am still learning that sometimes topics don't translate to my intention. In hindsight, "Blacks and" postings should be on light topics only (like 21" rims). It is difficult to do more serious topics their justice in so few words going into the weekend. Mea Culpa to my readers. BTW, professor Gates thought he was keepin' it real, as did many of his professional supporters.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, who cares about being liked?
But if someone acts like an ass it doesn't matter what color they are, they are still an ass.

And many blacks just don't get what it's about. It isn't about color. It's about actions and many blacks as you pointed out do not act in a manner that makes them likable or acceptable.

One of my best friends at work is a black guy. We talk about problems, play golf, and accept each other for who they are. Do I like him? Darn right. But I like and accept him because of who he is and how he acts. If he were white and was a jerk I wouldn't like him just because he was white.

Color has ZERO to do with it.

There is a lot more to this subject than color and all people, need to open their eyes and realize it.

Anonymous said...

I thought about commenting anonymously but decided to have just a little courage and tell you my thoughts (as a middle class white woman) finally without being afraid of the repercussions... this is my first experiment in this if I get hate mail about it I will never do it again.

I like black people. I think they're funny and fun and usually friendly. But I try not to be around them because I'm always afraid I will say the wrong thing and get shouted down and then 3 friends appear and its impossible to get away. I've seen it happen to others too, and you never know what you're gonna say that's wrong and its very stressful so I just don't get close to black women. I sit next to a black woman at work and we have everything in common except politics (I'm conservative) and I thought everything was fine until I overheard a phone conversation where she said I was a racist because I didn't vote for Obama (I didn't vote for Clinton either...). So here I am. Talking, honestly, telling the truth about how I feel about it. I'm still afraid to get shouted down, but you know, as long as there's no talking, nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Do you beleive in WHITE PRIVLEDGE?
And would you say that you are a receipent of it?

Anonymous said...

Honestly? I have no idea, but I'm sure you do. I do know that my co-worker and I have had pretty much the same background in every single way and we make the same amount of money and do the same job... actually I think she makes more than I do, though she has been at the same job longer and been doing it a couple of years longer. So the truth is, I truly don't know, and again, that's not what I was talking about. I say how I feel and immediately someone is on the offense accusing me of something that I don't even know about, I'm just living, you know? I don't worry about your life, I don't worry about you getting ahead any more than you worry about me. So this is how I feel, always defensive like somehow, somewhere in the course living my life, I've done something to screw some black person over just by being born white. I was just trying to communicate maybe so we could understand each other better. Its way past time for this country to do that.

Anonymous said...

James C. Collier,

I love this post. And I find myself saying this to other black people as well. I am Black and Dominican. I think this is the problem with the black community. The Law protects us from discrimination. We have policies that are behind us. Who cares if someone doesn't like us for our color? They are entitled to their own opinion. You can't change their feelings. I think black people get so caught up with, oh its wrong for them to hate me because of my color, or look at me this way or that way... And I'm like hey, if you was around in the 40's it would be worst and you wouldn't even have the government to back you up when it came to crimes. We need to move past feelings and see the big picture! I love this post!