Racist part in Post office (1 Viewer)

to just wave your hand and say "Get over it - that was 40 years ago" is kind of condescending.
Okay. So how far back are we going? Where is the cut-off point when we stop taking offense at the words of the dead? In art? The bible that so many people hold dear and sacred is full of slavery and murder and unbridled hatred of women. Why don't we talk about that?

Or would that be a pointless conversation that will never resolve anything?

It's human nature to focus on, and exploit, differences rather than commonalities. That's why people who promote the idea of unity meet such resistance and have historically ended up on the wrong end of a rope, guillotine or bullet. I do not believe, based on being alive at this moment and growing up in the 60s, that discussions about friction between different kinds of people have ever made anything better.

Arabs and Jews have been slaughtering each other for thousands of years, and will continue to do so, despite all the talk and treaties and governmental hand-wringing. Because they hate each other. It isn't rational, it just is.

What we say is important, I'm not arguing that it is not. But much more important is how we behave in the world when we're face to face with each other. Taking offense at a word in a novel, a work of fiction, is like taking offense at a crucifix in a jar of piss, or a sliced up shark carcass. It's pointless.

As far as things getting better for minorities, that's good news for me, since I live in a city (and very soon a state and country) where I am a minority.

Being in the minority isn't the problem. Lack of power over your own destiny is the problem. And that has always been a political problem, not a social problem. Which is why Malcolm X said, "Whether you use bullets or ballots, don't strike at the puppet, strike at the puppeteer."

As long as those in power can keep the masses at each others throats, their position is safe. You don't have to look any further than American politics to see that.
Johannes - you would have to come with your own agenda to read B's use of the term as a racial slur.

I believe Russell Harrison cites the poem, yeah, man? in Dangling to point to Chinaski's racism.
If you really want to you can read a lot of racism, anti-black statements in B's work. Like "Who's afraid of LeRoi Brown", the Notes column or "The Black Poets" (forgot which collection, Mockingbird?), interviews, Bukowski-tapes ("The Kid Stardust in the Slaughterhouse" - story told there) and etc.

About 99% of what I've read is self-referential and tongue-in-cheek, always "If that's an anti-black statement here, so be it", which really makes it something else -- like a literary tool of provocation in a politically correct cultural climate. He did it on purpose. So the "monkey"-term would be the 1% exception, not fitting in this scheme, at least with me. If it is a greasy nasty rasist-term slipped to the reader under hand to present the authors true political opinion. Even tho it is not my mother-tongue, I have a strong feeling that this interpretation is bullshit.

Then again, I am not black and of course in no way want to defend or support racism or discrimination of any kind or anybody. As, I guess, nobody around here would.
last lines of "the black poets" -

"o.k., muthafucka, you ain't seen the last of

I suppose I haven't. and it's useless to tell you that I am not
that's when the whole subject becomes

all necessary points have been made. this thread is spinning its wheels.
and there has been talk here and elsewhere of Bukowski being antisemitic, etc. and while this is no excuse, the racism was probably a product of Bukowski's generation; the same way I cringe every time my 75 year old step dad says 'coloured.'
I would like to think maybe the great editor may have had a hand in this but the book is raw, by design.

As for your step dad, there is the NAACP!
Yeah well, I'm kind of offended about his derogatory remarks about Hippies and the underground presses that he wrote for. That was serious shit.. Revolution man. Hell, I just may stop reading that racist bastard. I think that if one reads enough Buk the positives out weigh the negatives when he speaks of african americans. I think that at least he felt some commonality with the "poor working class blacks" I can't recall him ever speaking positive of the "Hippie movement" He always said the safest people to discriminate against, or shit on, was the white american male.
He wasn't as down on the hippies as you say here. He defended the hippies against Jon Webb when Webb asked him to write a diatribe against them and the opening column in More Notes describes a discussion he had with a co-worker at the post office in which he again defends them...And he even says he was the "first hippie" or "first Beat" (I believe in the essay "A Dirty Old Man Confesses") back in the Thirties and Forties when he had already "dropped out" of American society. He didn't like their "softness" I think and the fact that after all many were pampered middle-class kids...
Sticks and stones man. What are you doing reading a volatile bums prose if words can hurt you? He calls old Hector a monkey because the guy is a Neanderthal bastard who tries to stab him in the back and is too stupid to even manage that.
@Jordan, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Thank you for that.

@number6horse I totally agree. I could be wrong, I could be stupid for this or that, but I'm glad I got this dialogue going at least.
If y0u are a Buk fan, I don't know how you will defend this. Sure I know Buk might have been speaking for white men at his time, but this is way too racist. He should have known better.

you came onto a bukowski page and said he should have known better. running with the big dogs here. i for one am glad that mjp toed the line, even if in an unsavoury fashion.

because face it. no. he should not have 'known better.' do you have any idea what the man had been through by that time in his life? what kind of fucking world he lived in? one of the starred jewels in bukowski is that he wrote FROM A PLACE, not FROM A POLITIC. and that place was not pretty man. they've glossed it all over by now, guys waving the flag of ideology and niceness and pushing all the grime aside. to me when bukowski wrote novels, he was transmitting. like an antennae. if his antennae picked up a racial slur or a condescending attitude, it's not because he invented the fucker, it's because he was so busy filtering out all the other garbage that our culture pumped into him, and maybe he had an inkling that it was important to leave some reality on the page alongside the art.

and no, i'm not defending him. i'm explaining him. i'm not doing him a favor, i'm doing you one.

finally, i think monkey is a great term to talk some shit about anybody. i grew up outside of detroit and we used it for white kids black kids green kids, didn't matter. and it was tongue-in-cheek because we all thought monkeys are actually a pretty fucking awesome animal. just a way to talk some shit about somebody. i understand that the term has been used to oppress black folks. and the oppression of black folks, while it hasn't gone on nearly as long as the oppression of irish folks, is a shame.

Shame on the oppressors, that's really the only bottom line here imo.

judge not lest ye be judged to be young and sure is lovely but you are just beginning to use your brain lad...hate takes up too much energy

ive laughed with low level rap artists about why i lost my teaching job in the inner city its all about context you can learn from something or react to it the most offensive racist term i've ever heard were utterd by my co-workers in the teaching game that word is "they" as in, " you know how they are" instant skin crawl, instant revulsion to be painted with a racist brush, to be a co-conspirator not enuf hot showers in the world

i spent 12 years trying to help my parents were hippies and activists and i thought i knew what the worst word in the world was i tried to fight the good fight i tried to replace ignorance with enlightenment but why? ignorance is bliss why am i trying to replace someomes bliss with a lifetime of difficult questions? teaching someone to read is like trying to drive them crazy

the most public use of the MONKEY description was by HOWARD COSELL on live TV during a Monday Night Football game - you can read that book and discover the details

anyONE, the offendER or offendEE, can pick what IS and ISN'T racist to THEM

SUBliminally, it has been indicated, we are ALL racist


One of my favorite B and B episodes! I actually got MTV recently because they were back on the air, but now have unfortunately apparently disappeared again...
I didn't know black people could read.

*removes that*

I think it's ridiculous to get bent out of shape over one potentially racist word in the book. As has been stated before, Hank repeatedly referred to women as cunts, etc, and no one complains about that except maybe the most hard-up feminist. I think as has been said Bukowski's writing is gritty, it is down-to-earth and it's realistic.

Austin, what about all the black rappers and comedians who refer to white people as honky or cracker? Does this offend you? It sure as hell doesn't bother me.

MJP, you are a genius.
Austin, what about all the black rappers and comedians who refer to white people as honky (snip)...

You gotta get in a time machine to hear white people in this country called "honky". The last time I heard that word, it was from a dry cleaner livin' on the East Side in a deluxe apartment in the the sky, i, i, ....
honky may have lost its cache, but jive ass turkey is still devastatingly relevant.
I used to think "cracker" had something to do with cream crackers, and now they tell me its all about the slave driver cracking the whip ... (whipped cream?)
Cracker as in white like a saltine.

The people throwing "cracker" around in the 60s or early 70s weren't thinking about slave drivers. That's some kind of revisionist explanation. Anyone who was around then, at least in America (where all great slang comes from), will remember that slavery wasn't exactly a hot topic, in black or white communities. People didn't want to think about those days, and they certainly didn't talk about them. Not until the TV miniseries Roots in 1977. As stupid and simplistic as that might sound, it's generally true.

It's the same reason you couldn't sell African or Jamaican music to American blacks in the 60s and 70s (and still can't, really). They didn't want anything to do with that "jungle shit." I don't claim to understand that, being mostly white and all, but it's true. Ask Austin.
I didn't know black people could read.
Post of the year. I'm calling it now.
Cassius Clay put his slave name onto the sports pages. Changed it to Mohammed Ali in 1964. Pissed off everybody (my Dad included to this very day) for his mouth and his principles. And his ability to win.
Right. That's why I said generally.

Elijah Muhammad's followers were not exactly mainstream folks. And despite what one or two fringe groups may have been talking about, the majority of black folks here in the U.S. really didn't want to hear it. That's just the way it was.

And before anyone asks, yes, I have been appointed spokesman for black Americans. It happened last August. I didn't want the position, but those guys scare me, so I just said, "Okay boss!"
What Mr. Phillips meant to convey was that it is his opinion that perhaps a certain number of African American individuals were uninterested in the history of the slave trade in decades past (i.e. the 1960s and 1970s).

To be clear, Mr. Phillips is unquestionably not the "spokesman" for any group of African Americans anywhere, nor have any African Americans frightened or threatened him or otherwise caused him any undue stress or discomfort that would result in his involuntary acceptance of any role or position.

Thank you.

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