Life: April 2006 Archives

In the Blac(k)ademic discussion on Tawana Brawley (see my post on that if you didn't read it already), one interesting question came up. The rest of the discussion reminded me eerily of several others I've had on other matters. What is it that many anti-ID people, the racists Kinists at Little Geneva, many radical leftists on race and gender, and some of the hyper-fundamentalists who comment at WorldMag have in common that leads to this same result?

Anyway, this post isn't about the unwillingness to treat your intellectual opposition respectfully and fairly. It's about an interesting question raised by one of the people on that thread. She wondered why it is that white men who marry black women get very upset when they're called racists and often mention that their wife is black in response to charges of racism. She says white women in interracial marriages never think to refer to their marriage as evidence that they're not racist. I have not idea if this generalization is true (though I do find it deeply ironic that I wasn't allowed to make any statements about any tendencies even about small groups of black people I've known -- see the exact statement below -- without being called racist, but she can make all sorts of generalizations about white men married to black women, not to mention all the references to white oppressors overall in that conversation). But suppose the generalization is true, and white men are more likely to say this sort of thing in response to the racism charge than white women would in similar circumstances. As I thought about it, I thought there might be an explanation for this fact if indeed she's correct (which I have no idea about) that it's a fact. At least I might have some explanation in my own case. What follows is a development of a part of a comment I left there.

Thank You, Sam

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I want to thank my wife publicly for the hard beginning of every week that she has to put up with. Monday is my long day. I teach in the morning and then again in the evening, and I'm often still on campus well into the afternoon working on class prep, grading, writing exams, and so on. I often have to reorient myself at the beginning of the week and prepare for three hours of Monday night class followed by another hour and a half on Tuesday morning for a different class, with no time in between, so I need to get it all together before I leave (which is 5pm, exactly the busy time at our house because of dinner). Then I have office hours Tuesday afternoon, and by the time I get home on Tuesday Sam is getting ready to go to dance class for a couple hours break from everything that happens at home. When she comes home, I go off to Bible study.

We see each other for however much time I manage to be home between my time on campus during the day on Monday and when I leave for my class and then however much time I manage to be home Tuesday afternoon before she leaves, plus an hour or two after I get home both nights. I know that some couples see each other less than that, but it's difficult for her especially because Ethan and Isaiah have such high needs and high energy. Today was such a day. The kids were out of hand, running all over the place, causing trouble, and getting in her way when she was preparing dinner. Eventually she locked the boys in Isaiah's room, and they had fun bouncing on the bed until Ethan bit his lip pretty badly. That's just an example. Stuff like this goes on all day except when they're at school, which is only a few hours.

So I wanted to thank her for her efforts. She works hard and constantly looks exhausted. I'm exhausted too, but she's constantly dealing with the same thing in the same place for long enough periods of time without much break, and she needs some appreciation. So thank you, Sam. I appreciate all you do.



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