Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Race is Lived in America: Chapter 10, "The Hurt Between the Lines" (Comment)

In this chapter we see how to people working for the Beacan Journal, Carl Chancellor and Bob Dyer worked together with a number of other people to explore the racial attitudes of the City. Eventually this helped create multiracial partnerships among their local community, which gain their journal win the Pulitzer Prize. Although even after the fact, there were still issues that occurred in their workplace that seemed to go back on all these ideas of race that they were so determined to showcase in their research.

We see some tension grow during an incident where the use of "niggardly" was used by a District of Columbia official and both Chancellor and Dyer wrote columns in reaction. Dyler defending the official, while Chancellor stated that unlike Dyler he had a right to have an objection and why should Dyer determine how he should feel of this use of this word. This reminded me a bit about chapter 4, but instead of "who gets to tell a Black story" it was more of who has the right to feel about issues that deal with certain races. Chancellor may have felt more impacted by the word "niggardly" since it reflected a similar sounding to a insulting racial slur used against his race. So because of his racial background does he have the right to be angry, does Chancellor have a right to defend?

Another interesting thing is when Dyer gets pulled over, he says he experienced something comparable to racial profiling. Also he talks about  bad service he got at a restaurant and how another family who were black got the same bad service may thinks its a type of discrimination. He brought in an interesting idea about seeing race where it may not even be, which again reminded me of the previous chapter 3 about the military and how both drill sergeants were equating their lack of opportunities to racial discrimination. Do we truly use race to explain many factors or limitations in our lives? Maybe its just due to race being shoved in our faces on a daily basis, so that is why people become dependant on it for answers.

Dyer later on questions that maybe his views hurt his chances for more opportunities in the Beacon Journal and he thinks this idea of "would it have been easier to get ahead if he were not a white male". Which at first sounds like he's playing the victim for what he claimed was due to "having written so honestly about race" which could have honestly been the main reason he didn't do much afterwards since other articles did seem to offend other race groups. For example like the suggestion of the new mascot for the local high school being called crack head. Maybe he was just being "just writing what he felt like" but can we draw a line, do we place limits on who exactly gets to say things about certain race groups? Also if he had this idea of getting ahead if he wasn't white, then how come Chancellor got his column cancelled and not him, they both commented on racial issues so if he was being denied for being to honest about race then they both would have had their columns canceled.


  1. Do you think the audience would have changed depending on who wrote the article?

    I feel that any one has the right to be angry when it comes to racism in the work place. But I feel that Dyer took it to a new level by trying to describe what Chancellor was feeling as if it had happened to himself. Do you think that after writing the story, Dyer started to play as the victim because after writing about racial discrimination, he starts to realize it every where he goes? I feel that Dyer doesn't realize that not having his column cancelled was able to show a huge difference between the two men.

  2. This article hit very close to home for me. For me there has been multiple times where I have had to ignore serious issues that should have been brought to attention because I knew that if I were the one to bring it to attention, the issue would have been ignored and would have been viewed as me being over sensitive. Most of these issues arose from someone casually using derogatory racial terms to describe an event or a group of people. So I can understand how the usage of the word "Niggardly" back fired and caused tension in the office. When discussing about the use of the word, Chancellors response to the situation perfectly sums up the feelings of many minorities, "If I say that I'm offended by the word niggardly being used in my presence, my objection may make no sense to you,but I have a right to those feelings" (173). So the question is, how does a person of color address issues without the fear of being viewed as overly sensitive or without bringing up race?

  3. I think this article demonstrates the internal struggles that both Dyer and Chancellor are facing throughout the unfolding of the story's events. Like you've mentioned, Amy Rose, Chancellor is eager to bring to light something that he rightly perceives as offensive, but he lives in constant fear of being shut down from both the people in the community and in the newsroom. Dyer allegedly faces similar challenges when he writes freely and openly about improving race relations. It is evident that both men are concerned about keeping their jobs, which in turn affects the extent to which they feel comfortable acting as advocates for social change and betterment.
    On a similar note, I like that this article talks about the impact that media can have on a community. At one point "The Beacon" is able to launch a successful campaign that is recognized on a national level when they "helped create multiracial partnerships among local community groups to foster unity and understanding. It also called on individuals to get involved" (p. 176). I think that community-inspired projects like this one are a great way to have everyone reevaluate the social situations and enact change beginning on a small scale.
    A lot of the language that I saw being used in the article really shows the effect that American culture has on people. The use of words such as "ought" or "should not" or expressions such as "That's America. What am I supposed to do about that?" are key indicators members of this culture believe that there are right or wrong ways to go about handling situations in this nature that have been ingrained into the American psyche. For example, there’s nothing inherently “right” or “wrong” about needing to back off of a race issue, but the fact that Dyer thinks he “ought” to do so indicates a feeling of culturally placed obligation on his part.


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