Wednesday, September 24, 2008


September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm

By Tim Wise

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly20typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), you're a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American institutions.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives near Russia, you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36-minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and Harvard Business School (George W. Bush), and still be seen as an "average guy," while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then Harvard Law, makes you "uppity" and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.), and that's OK, and you're still cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you then go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly 20 years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you may have sold drugs at some point.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you dangerously naive and immature.

White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya know, you were a POW, so you're entitled to your hatred, while being black and noting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

WHITE PRIVILEGE is, in short, the problem.



Sunday, September 21, 2008




Le 5 mai 1821 Napoléon Ier s'éteint dans l'île de Sainte-Hélène où il était exilé depuis 1815. Il est inhumé aux abords d'une source, à l'ombre de quelques saules pleureurs, dans la "vallée du Géranium". Sa dépouille mortelle y demeure jusqu'au 15 octobre 1840.
C'est en 1840 que fut décidé par le roi Louis-Philippe le transfert du corps de l'Empereur. Des marins français, placés sous le commandement du prince de Joinville, ramènent son cercueil en France à bord du navire la "Belle Poule".

Des funérailles nationales accompagnent le retour des cendres de l'Empereur Napoléon Ier, transférées aux Invalides le 15 décembre 1840 en attendant l'édification du tombeau. Celui-ci est commandé en 1842 par le roi Louis-Philippe à l'architecte Visconti (1791-1853), qui fait réaliser sous le Dôme d'importantes transformations en perçant une immense excavation pour accueillir le tombeau. Le corps de l'Empereur Napoléon Ier, y est déposé le 2 avril 1861.
Le tombeau, façonné dans des blocs de quartzite rouge, placé sur un socle de granit vert des Vosges, est cerné d'une couronne de lauriers et d'inscriptions rappelant les grandes victoires de l'Empire. Dans la galerie circulaire, une suite de bas-reliefs sculptés par Simart figurent les principales actions du règne. Au fond de la crypte, au-dessus de la dalle sous laquelle repose le Roi de Rome, est érigée une statue de l'Empereur portant les emblèmes impériaux.

L'Eglise du Dôme abrite également les sépultures de deux des frères de Napoléon, Jérôme et Joseph Bonaparte, de son fils, l'Aiglon, ainsi que celles, plus récentes, des maréchaux Foch et Lyautey. Le musée de l'Armée est responsable de ces espaces.

En 1800, Napoléon Ier ordonne la translation sous le Dôme de la dépouille de Turenne, un des plus célèbres maréchaux de France du Grand siècle, dans un tombeau monumental.

Il renouvelle le geste le 26 mai 1808, en transférant le coeur de Vauban dans un mausolée érigé vis-à-vis de celui de Turenne. Oeuvre de Trepsat, le mausolée initial érigé dans la chapelle Sainte-Thérèse comprend une simple colonne surmontée d'une urne, assise sur une base portant des trophées. En 1847, dans le cadre de l'aménagement par l'architecte Visconti dans la crypte destinée à recevoir le tombeau de Napoléon, ce monument sera remplacé par un sacrophage de marbre noir réalisé par le sculpteur Antoine Etex. Vauban est représenté à demi-couché. Il tient un compas et médite sur ses écrits. Il est encadré par les figures de la Science, voilée et de la Guerre, casquée. Le sarcophage est surmonté d'un obélisque encadré de drapeaux et d'étendards. Une inscription et un bas-relief sur le socle rappellent le projet de dîme royal de Vauban et valorisent la dimension politique et réformatrice de l'oeuvre de Vauban.


Parution le 20 avril 2007 aux éditions Découvertes Gallimard de l'ouvrage :

"Les Invalides : l'Etat, la guerre, la mémoire"

par F. Lagrange et J.P. Reverseau




LA PANTHÉON (tour à tour église et panthéon)

Style néoclassique
Construit 1758-1790
Hauteur 83 m.
Architectes Jacques-Germain Soufflot
Jean-Baptiste Rondelet

Foto 1 = Vue du Panthéon
Foto 2 = Dôme du Panthéon
Foto 3 = Détail des capiteaux

Le Panthéon est un monument de style néo-classique situé sur la montagne Sainte-Geneviève, dans le 5e arrondissement de Paris, au cœur du quartier latin.

Il est entouré notamment par l'église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, la bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, l'université de Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), l'université de Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), la mairie du 5e arrondissement et le lycée Henri-IV.

La rue Soufflot lui dessine une perspective à partir du jardin du Luxembourg.

Construit à l'origine au XVIIIe siècle comme une église pour abriter la châsse de sainte Geneviève, ce monument a maintenant vocation à honorer des personnages et rappeler des événements ayant marqué l'histoire de France.

Ses différentes destinations successives, sa décoration, les inscriptions et les symboles qui y figurent, permettent de parcourir la construction — lente et contrastée — de la nation française.

Ce monument est ouvert au public et géré par le Centre des monuments nationaux.