Friday, July 27, 2007

It never ceases to amaze me...

How bloggers, admittedly more mainstream bloggers than me, with bigger readerships, who play by the rules and then go over the line catch shit, while people like me who have consistently gone over the line from the start get some sort of a pass, like people are saying to themselves "Oh, that's just him. That's what he does. Don't get too upset over it." Case in point, a few days ago I wrote about Joe Bageant's new book about white folks in rural Virginia, who he's holding up as being populist heroes representative of the American working class, and I implied that they probably spend their spare time killing black people, and absolutely nothing. But I say something about the Clash and suddenly the sky has fallen....

The thing about Bageant is serious, though. I know that people are probably sick of me complaining about authors, but in his published writings, on SmirkingChimp.com and Counterpunch, Bageant has explained away parts of the lives of these people that are highly objectionable. These are the same people who joined the Klan and who commit hate crimes against blacks this very day. That doesn't mean that everyone of them does it, or that they all approve of it, but if you're going to write about a group of people you should take them on warts and all and not brush over things like racial violence.

This applies to the actual American working class too, i.e. the people who live in urban areas that aren't agricultural, and that aren't isolated from the rest of the country. I grew up in the Detroit area and during the eighties there was insane anti-Japanese sentiment in Detroit, sentiment that was overtly racist, because of the competition from Japanese auto manufacturers who people thought were the cause behind all the problems in the auto industry. One unfortunate man of Chinese ancestry was beaten and killed in Warren Michigan, where part of my family is from and where several large auto plants are located, because they thought he was Japanese. The response, as people have recalled it, was muted.

If I was to write about the working class in the Detroit area it would be dishonest of me to not point out things like that, or to point out the very real racial tensions between blacks in the city of Detroit and whites in the working class suburbs that border the city, tension that also flares up into violence every so often. There's a difference between an apologia, an apology for something, and a sympathetic viewpoint.

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