On Mike Moore's new book

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Sun Feb 24 14:30:53 MST 2002


* Bob Anderson (citizen at comcast.net) wrote:
>In fact, the book, or it title at least, pushes us farther apart by
>framing the struggle as one skin color against another skin color. The
>book might sell a lot of copies but that is testament to the large
>problem we have to overcome. Based on its title I would not come near
>wasting money on it.

I haven't read the book, so I have no idea if it frames domination as
necessarily race-based.  But I do think that we would do ill to ignore
the necessary and multiple ways in which forms of class domination are
linked to forms of racial domination.  It isn't an either-or
proposition.

With that said, I agree that often racial issues can divide rather than
unite people who otherwise would be joined in struggle.  However, the
way to deal with this is to foreground and query this divide, the
reasons for it, and ways of overcoming it.  Ignoring it will not make it
go away.

Regardless, the fact remains that many of the problems that Michael
Moore points to *are* caused by stupid white men (viz. GWB).

best

bob torres

Response (Jim C): Well this weekend I did buy and read Michael Moore's book.
First of all he does make it clear that the title was meant to be
provocative, somewhat titilating and likely to provoke interest and sales.
Secondly, he does make the point that his choice of title was meant to
convey the reality that race (itself an extremely problematic concept in
both bioloigcal and sociological terms) is a reality and factor in power and
that the really powerful and vicious are all (or 99.999%) white males who
make a point of, celebrate, and believe in the superiority of their
"whiteness". He goes further, somewhat mockingly or tongue-in-cheek, to give
reasons why he, as a white person, has no fear of Blacks and minorities when
passing them on the street or elsewhere, has never been harmed by
minorities, has had all of his bad experiences with white people, and has a
fear of white males in the same fashion that some people "freak out" when
coming into contact with minorities (hold on to purse and wallet tighter,
look for the "protection" of large groups etc).

All of that said, I do believe that in his title and in the content of his
book, he is diverting attention from some of the real issue--class. I have
seen oppressors who were nominally or "racially" "Indians" oppress Indians
as viciously and systematically as anything non-Indians could do or have
done--yes, of course, usually in the service of and gathering crumbs from
non-Indigenous ruling class forces. The same can be said about marginally
privileged Gays and Lesbians oppressing other Gays/Lesbians and
non-Gays/Lesbians; marginally privileged Women oppressing other Women and
Males; marginally privileged Blacks oppressing other Blacks and non-Blacks;
marginally privileged Latinos oppressing other Latinos and non-Latinos; poor
and dispossed Whites being oppressed by other Whites and non-Whites. Michael
Moore obviously understands all of that but dismissed all of it in favor of
his "thesis" and provocative--and promotional--title of his book.
Nevertheless, it is worth reading for some of the disparate facts and humor
in it.

Jim Craven

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