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Aaron Andersen
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Feb 1, 2012 Aaron Andersen commented on Church or Cult?.
I grew up in some slightly out-there churches with some qualities in common with Mars Hill, particularly the emphasis on discipleship. They were kinder, gentler churches, often started by ex-hippies of the kind that Mark Driscoll would surely like to beat up. Anyway, these churches could still be crazy-making and manipulative and abusive, though generally in a passive-aggressive way.

What strikes me as funny is that some of the nuttier people in those churches would look at Driscoll's hyper-masculine approach combined with the name Mars Hill, then would assume that the church is named after the Roman god of war and masculine aggression, and therefore would assume that the church is under the influence of a pagan/demonic spirit of war or something else like that.

It's so easy to see demons behind those who disagree with you when you've outlawed critical thought.
Sep 21, 2011 Aaron Andersen commented on Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race.
@319

The dictionary definition of racism doesn't mean shit to people who are actually affected by it. What else should we call it if people of color are systemically excluded and held back for no other reason then race, an invented cultural construct with no basis in biology, whether the white people are aware of it or not?

I agree that anti-racist work is more difficult because anti-racists ask us to consider a different definition of racism than the standard dictionary one that we're raised with. So if it will make it easier for you to understand, copy and paste the text of the article into Word or Google Docs or whatever you've got handy. Do a find & replace, changing "racism" to "the oppression of people who are not white through a variety of legal, institution, systematic, personal, sometimes violent, often non-violent means." The re-read.
Sep 21, 2011 Aaron Andersen commented on Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race.
I think this is a very good piece, as somebody who has just begun a journey into white antiracism (and definitely I relate to that "conversion" sentiment).

But I read the comments and just think over and over and over again that it is extremely hard for people (e.g. Tricky in comment 6 and 8) to unlatch from the very weak, simplistic definition of racism that we're usually taught as children. If racism is nothing but personal prejudice and bigotry based on race, then we can become non-racist by having parents who campaigned for civil rights, as suggested by the well-meaning and defensive comment 233. It takes a lot of work to start to understand how racism is institutionalized and built into the power structures that make life easier for white people, REGARDLESS of whether we want it, like it, or even know it.

It also takes a lot of personal work to get past the blame game, and realize that we can benefit from some evil shit that we didn't intentionally establish, and we still should be accountable for it.

As a simple example, if my grandfather made a lot of money as a mobster, and then passed it onto my parents, paid for an excellent education for me, and gave us an inheritance of real estate and business connections, then that means I'm sitting on a lot of ill-gotten wealth. It's not my fault, and I can't undo it. But that doesn't make it okay for me to just sit on it, say it's mine now, and I wasn't in the mob, so leave me alone and stop calling me a mobster.

The way we benefit as white people from the long years of institutional racism is harder to pin down than the mobster example, because it's in the air we breathe. We don't notice it, because it just is the environment in which we live. But if we benefit from it, we are responsible for it. That doesn't mean we're bad people or are deserving of blame. It just means our inheritance is complicated and messy, not clean and pure. And we're still responsible for it.
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Jun 10, 2011 Aaron Andersen joined My Stranger Face
Jun 10, 2011 Aaron Andersen commented on What Happened at Intiman.
@29, I think you nailed it.

@37, what are you trying to do? Run Intiman like it's T-Mobile?!? Nice analysis. Unfortunately, too many arts administrators don't think hard-headed analysis is part of their job, which is foolish and unsustainable. I am myself an arts administrator, and I defend them, but this drives me up the wall.
 
 

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