FanPost

That Weird Post By Bill Hanstock on the SB Nation Main Site

Hello. I registered to express my disappointment in the post "Just a bunch of white people celebrating" by Bill Hanstock. I'm posting it here because I think of Hanstock as a Progressive Boink writer, and because there's two thousand comments on the actual article, and I'd like to have my say without it being "Roll Tide"d. If this is not an acceptable venue, I apologize.

First off, I should say that no, I don't think it's racist or malicious. My problem is somewhat different. As a disclaimer, I should mention that I never went to college, haven't read any bell hooks (though I will, I swear!) and just generally am pretty stupid, and also I'm about to use words that are a bit above my pay grade, so this all might be crappy. But I guess I worry about the article being insidiously colonialist, or at the very least co-opting the culture of a historically oppressed minority. Reason being is this: Hanstock is white. He writes the article as an outside observer, mocking "white people" generally as though he is not a member. However, when push comes to shove, of course he can always retreat to his whiteness and the advantages that that entails, whereas someone legitimately writing that article as an outsider cannot. In this sense, he gets to have his cake and eat it to. (Full disclosure: I am also white. I don't think I'm committing the same sin as I'm accusing Hanstock of doing, but if I am, let me know.)

I guess I feel similarly about it as I do about a white suburban high-schooler who gets into rap and starts dressing "black" and acting "black"; it debases a culture and turns it into an aesthetic. Or, for example, when a white guy feels like he can legitimately say the n-word in casual conversation, or in public when he's listening to a song that has it, or what have you. He gets it, he's certain, and is now allowed to be part of the club. But again, he's never really part of that club, because he has all the societal advantages of being white, and none of the societal disadvantages of being black. So instead he's just using an oppressed culture to identify as "cool" or "hip". That just furthers the cycle of oppression, doesn't it?

I feel like this is a sort of thing I see with some frequency on SB Nation -- especially in, for example, the NBA reporting, especially in the linguistic choices. Because of how white SB Nation seems to be (at least on the staff end, and I am suspicious that it is also true on the readership end), it's really troubling to me. But when a Progressive Boink person does it, I feel compelled to say something. I got into internet sports culture through The Dugout; I read as much PBoink alum stuff as I can; I'm always impressed by the sensitivity and thoughtfulness of the writing you guys put out compared to a lot of other places.

Anyway, I may be alone in this perception of that article. Furthermore, what I've written might be crazy condescending, both in tone and because I'm white. If any of that is the case, I'm really sorry, as it was not my intention. I just felt very strongly and needed to say something.

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