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BREAKING: Right-wingers all make the same joke about an “African-American” buying Twitter

Ba dum tish

So Elon Musk, a white dude born and raised in South Africa, has bought Twitter — which means that right-wing Twitterers are flooding the platform with the same witless joke.

There are more of these — oh, so many more — but I think you’ve probably gotten the point by now.

Consider this an open thread for discussion of all things “Elon Musk Buys Twitter.”

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Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ full metal ox

I’ve asked for a copy of the claim; so it will be interesting to see what that says about UC Davis’ practices. I’d not heard of them until this; so your comments are really helpful for context and background; cheers.

In the interim I’ve just been playing this a bit. Makes me tear up but sometimes I just have to. Can’t be Stoic on some things.

Full Metal Ox
29 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw:

Big Titty Demon was the one who brought up the cultural context at UC Davis; my previous comment on this post had to do with African-American identity and DNA testing.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
29 days ago

I want to note that Elon Musk has suggested taking Twitter away from its current revenue stream of advertising, and moving to tiered services for users where higher tiers come with subscription fees. Paying for website hosting with ad revenue is a bubble and it will eventually burst, and paying to access social media actually has a few (infamous?) success stories.

Just saying, a couple years from now we could see people praising Musk’s “genius” for getting ahead of the bubble with a revenue change… assuming he wasn’t just bullshitting about the transition

Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ full metal ox & big titty demon

Oops, my apologies! It’s reassuring that my memory can’t retain a name if I have to click onto a new page of comments.

Hmm, I wonder if that’s related to that phenomenon that walking through a doorway resets your brain? Like how you forget what you went into a different room for.

Or I’m just getting addled in my dotage.

Jazzlet
Jazzlet
29 days ago

@ Alan Robertshaw

I wonder if that’s related to that phenomenon that walking through a doorway resets your brain?

Makes sense to me, and I too have noticed the problem, it’s why even when I know the name of someone I am replying to, and know them as well as you can know anyone on the internet, I copy their name as soon as I know I want too reply to them. Of course that doesn’t always help me remember what I wanted to reply, and I still have to go back and forth if I want to reply to more than one person, but it helps.

Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ jazzlet

Yeah, same here. If I’m responding to a specific bit of a post I’ll usually copy that quote and then paste it in the comments box. And I can usually remember the name of the person as I scroll up. But as soon as I click to a new page it’s like I’m back to factory settings.

But if I copy the name then I can’t remember what I’m commenting on.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
29 days ago

The good thing is, I now no longer feel alone in my forgetting who I’m replying to. I think (scrolls) @Alan is right, it’s connected to the walking through a door resets your brain. Each page is a different “room”.

ginger
ginger
29 days ago

@Prophet309

I will note there is a difference between other people calling Elon Musk African-American, and him calling himself that. As far as I know, he has never described himself in that manner, and I don’t think his South-African heritage is something he brings up a lot.”

Thank you for this distinction. So the far-right are describing Musk as A-A. This is racist, considering the source.

ginger
ginger
29 days ago

@Fred B-C

In one sense, he is indeed African-American. He came from South Africa and is an American citizen. But what these commenters are doing is to deliberately conflate meanings…”

Agreed. They are. A white A-A is better than a black A-A, who could never be as wildly successful as Musk, allegedly.

Of course, part of the point is that Musk is descended from, you know, colonialists. Rather than people who moved to Africa peacefully and coexisted. So “African” here doesn’t just mean “someone who was in Africa at some point” or even necessarily “someone born in Africa”.”

Again, not to be a troll, but none of us are responsible for our ancestors’ actions. That Musk is descended from people who may have down awful things is not his fault. Just the luck of the draw.

Now, of course Musk could try to honestly repair any damage his predecessors did (and again, I don’t know if/what they did or did not do, and I’m really not that interested) but apparently he is choosing not to. Maybe he doesn’t care, maybe it wouldn’t do any good, or bring unwanted attention to his relatives, but most likely he can’t profit from it in a financial sense.

And aside from moving to South Africa, Musk’s ancestors and what they might have done would not in any way affect his ethnicity.

ginger
ginger
29 days ago

@Steph

Funny how those who mock the term “African-American” never do so with the terms “Irish-American” or “Italian-American”.”

Actually, they do. Their antisemitism is all too obvious. And far too many of them still make the stupid “dumb Polack” comments. And the Previous Occupant constantly used “Chinese virus” as a slur against Asian Americans. The only groups who are immune from ridicule and bigotry are good old fashioned WASPs.

And everyone who mentioned the DNA tests: I absolutely agree.

Dalillama
Dalillama
29 days ago

Going to have to disagree with Alan and Snowberry: SpaceX is wasting money, resources, and skilled people, all of which could be doing something useful in some fashion to someone. An actual space program would be pretty cool, but nothing Elon Musk touches is ever going to be that.

Fred B-C
29 days ago

@Ginger: It has nothing to do with blame (though Elon Musk *is* responsible for whitewashing his family’s behavior and his own). It has to do with identity. One group is native to an area, the other isn’t. Yes, the distinction there is a matter of degrees, not a qualitative distinction, but those degrees matter.

But it’s not really morally optional to live in an unjust society and not do something about it when you have the power to. I would argue that those with power from their ethno-racial identity have just as much duty as those with any other kind of power to use it to dismantle injustice. Not really the point here, of course.

And there has *never* been the kind of panic over “political correctness” or “What am I supposed to call a black person?” or “the terms keep changing!” around terms like Polish-American and Italian-American. I agree that people can be crappy to white ethnics too, but it is vastly distinct in scope and character. Just think about how no one bothers to shriek about having a WASP Pride Month because of the existence of celebrations of Irish-American heritage but there is that sentiment for Black Pride. I recommend Waters’ Ethnic Options.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
29 days ago

Not Edward:

What Elon Musk is is a “South African American”. “Africa” is not a country.

I guess one could even call him Afrikaans American, to be more specific. Though I’m not 100 % certain he’s ethnically Boer/Afrikaans speaker.

Kimstu:

Exactly. As I understand it, the non-specificity of the term “African-American” is precisely because modern African-Americans generally have no way of knowing exactly where in Africa their kidnapped and enslaved ancestors came from.

Modern immigrants from Africa, on the other hand, are called “Ugandan-American”, “Tunisian-American”, etc., including, as you say, “South African-American”, depending on their country of origin.

Presumably, both modern immigrants from various African countries and descendants of enslaved people can be collectively referred to as racially African, in the same way as Asian or European is used as a racial lump category. This, of course, requires some common understanding of what “African” as a racial construct means.

It doesn’t make much meaningful sense to call someone African in reference to their cultural or national origin, just because they’re is from a country/culture established somewhere in Africa. Therefore, calling Musk African is the best (ie. worst) kind of “technically correct” and even then it’s only correct in a specific sense.

Also, IDK if the following distinction is in any way a common, but it’d make sense to me if “black” were used as a racial descriptor synonymous with “African” and comparable with “white”. Meanwhile, capital b “Black” would be used as a cultural descriptor for the descendants of enslaved people, whose ethnic identity was essentially created de novo in English-speaking America, as they were robbed of their own heritage yet were not allowed to assimilate in the Anglo-white colonial population.

In everyday speech, it’s often difficult to keep track and make clear whether you mean someone’s racial ethnicity, cultural ethnicity or national origin. The last two are particularly confusing for European people (perhaps including white English speakers in the colonies) because for most of us our cultural and linguistic heritage is historically intertwined and conflated with our nationality. The national borders of Europe are largely based on 19th century ethnic nationalism, whereas in Africa and America national borders are based on 19th century imperial boundary-pushing.

Language is fuzzy because real world distinctions are fuzzy and most people have no interest in highly precise communication. The meanings of words can also change in somewhat illogical fashion. The Dutch settlers in South Africa called themselves “African” in opposition to the people in old country, and now Afrikaans is the name of the South African variant of Dutch language. The English settlers in some North American colonies called themselves “American” in opposition to the people in old country, and now America is a commonly accepted moniker for the United States.

Last edited 29 days ago by Lumipuna
Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
28 days ago

@banned@4chan.org:

Paying for website hosting with ad revenue is a bubble and it will eventually burst

I’ve been hearing that from various doomsayers for at least the past 15 years, and it hasn’t burst yet. You may be underestimating just how much money there apparently is in online advertising (and, even more, in selling information about users’ preferences, interests, political leanings, and so forth).

Bubbles don’t typically last that long.

@Dalillama:

SpaceX is wasting money, resources, and skilled people, all of which could be doing something useful in some fashion to someone. An actual space program would be pretty cool, but nothing Elon Musk touches is ever going to be that.

Come again? The last time I checked, SpaceX had produced our first ever fully-reusable surface-to-orbit vehicle, and it’s now in regular use for resupplying the space station. Whatever you may think of Musk’s politics or his business practices (and I, personally, find both to be odious), that is a meaningful and important technological achievement.

It’s like Asimov’s sci-fi versus Asimov turning out to have been a creeper: sometimes the same person does some good works while also doing bad things elsewhere. Almost nobody is unalloyedly good, or unalloyedly evil, in actual practice.

I vote we keep the sci-fi, and the reusable booster, while recognizing that their respective creators were/are flawed human beings rather than putting either on a pedestal.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
28 days ago

I agree that people can be crappy to white ethnics too, but it is vastly distinct in scope and character.

Only white people are crappy to white people in the same way, in my experience. For all the crying about reverse racism, I’ve only ever actually been in a racially threatening situation one time, and it’s because some man assumed I was Polish and threatened to run me over with his tractor.

@Alan

Lol, you should see the number of times I searched for my glasses that were already on my face or my keys that were already in my pocket. Forget me own head next!

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
28 days ago

One day in and there’s already one change for the worse: if you don’t have an account you now can’t do anything at all there. Load a random page from some twitter link posted elsewhere and you’ll get it with a giant “please log in” thing plastered over top of it and even if you use hacks (e.g. developer console, inspect element, then edit the stupid thing out of the page) it won’t let you scroll or anything.

It was bad enough when they changed it to do that if you scrolled very far down a page or browsed for more than a short time, but now it’s totally unusable without a login. Which doesn’t particularly make me feel like jumping through whatever their sign-up hoops are.

(Remember when those only consisted of “choose a user name, choose a password, put in a working email address, and click a link sent to that email address”? Now it’s impossible to sign up for much of anything without giving out something highly personal with the potential for major intrusions, such as a phone number, or else “linking” it to your Google or Facebook account, with God knows what privacy implications — and that also makes it impossible to throw away an identity and start over if things go off the rails for any reason, unless you go to the time and expense of doing the same thing first IN MEATSPACE.)

Malintzin
Malintzin
28 days ago

These people are so frivolously hateful. Why the racist jokes about “African- American?” (Well, that was a rhetorical question to which the answer is obvious).

We all know that this term is meant to refer to Black Americans. We also know that Mr. Musk, love him or hate him, isn’t Black. He’s White. He’s a White South African who has American citizenship.

Now, about the implications of his Twitter takeover, that is another question which time and the months to come will answer.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
28 days ago

@Surplus:
Yes, that’s been annoying. I’ve been seeing that happen for a while; unfortunately there seems to be no set of sites I can disable using NoScript that will let me see anything on Twitter at all without then getting that message later.

I had some success before with doing doing a ‘create new account’ and then closing that to go back to the original page, and it didn’t pop up again… in fact, it’s not popping up at all now so I can’t verify exactly what I clicked on. There may be some Twitter cookie that gets set if you say you’re going to create a new account, even if you then don’t. I haven’t looked into it in enough detail to be sure yet.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
28 days ago

Try opening a new incognito window to look at Twitter. I’m sure they’ll plug that hole soon, but it worked for me a couple hours ago. IF you go to a particular account or specific link — the front page doesn’t let anyone in.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Plan: test out Twitter’s new free-speechiness by posting “Elon Musk is a spoiled brat”!

Ok, not really; I’d be embarrassed to tweet that under my real name (not that anyone would notice). But he does seem like a whiny, entitled person with way too much money.

@Lumipuma: Yes, that’s an interesting discussion. The sociolinguistics prof I’m the TA for uses “Black Toronto English” for the dialect she studies. “African-American” seems a bit off for a Canadian context, and the people who are immigrants there come from different places, e.g. the States, Africa, and the Caribbean. And the dialect itself has influences from AAVE but also from Standard Canadian and Jamaican English.

It’s interesting too because she’s Black and from Toronto, but she wasn’t a complete insider to the community she studied. It was a poorer neighbourhood than where she grew up – Jane & Finch, if anyone knows the area. They had some understandable trust issues with people studying the community and not contributing anything back, or with stereotyping it as a place of gangs and drugs, etc. So she worked with contacts at the community centre and I think volunteered there.

I think it’s logical to write Black and White with capital letters, at least in a formal context, to show that these are concepts and not literal. If that makes any sense.

The last two are particularly confusing for European people (perhaps including white English speakers in the colonies) because for most of us our cultural and linguistic heritage is historically intertwined and conflated with our nationality.

It’s funny in Quebec because the divide is mostly English-speaking vs. French-speaking (which makes for tiresome politics on both sides).

But racism and cultural stereotypes are big problems too. On the English side, there’s still cultural bigotry towards French speakers as sort of lower-class and backwards. And we like to think of Montreal as open-minded, but there are continuing problems with racist violence, including from police. Plus there’s a strain of Islamophobia in Quebec that’s like the right-wing in France (speaking of which, good thing that LePen didn’t get elected there).

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
28 days ago

@Fred B-C

I’m very unhappy to hear that some UC Davis vets are cavalier about animals. I live in the Bay Area and UC Davis, to the best of my knowledge, has a great reputation here for vet services. It sounds like we in the Bay Area aren’t getting the whole story.

That said, I’ve noticed that some vets in San Francisco are not . . . great. One vet was positively gleeful (I swear) when she pointed out that my cat had a big cancerous tumor. (I think she was super impressed with her own pretty-much-obvious diagnosis based on an X-ray.) Later on with that same cat, another vet took a long, long time to return to the euthanasia room to do what needed to be done. This same vet mocked me when I asked about kidney supplements for a different cat, saying that the clinic had no magic pills. But another vet later told me that kidney supplements were indeed prescribed at that same clinic. And when this particular vet told me that my cat was a fragile elder, I refused to believe him because they wasn’t what I observed in my cat. I started my cat on raw food, flower essences, and kidney supplements. She lived several more happy and reasonably healthy years. She died at 19.5 years, and she died with kidney disease, not from kidney disease.

tl/dr: Vet your vet.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
27 days ago

epitome:

I think it’s logical to write Black and White with capital letters, at least in a formal context, to show that these are concepts and not literal. If that makes any sense.

I can see the logic in that. It seems only few people write “White” in capital, and some say it implies white supremacism or something like that.

It’s funny in Quebec because the divide is mostly English-speaking vs. French-speaking (which makes for tiresome politics on both sides).

But racism and cultural stereotypes are big problems too. On the English side, there’s still cultural bigotry towards French speakers as sort of lower-class and backwards.

Sounds like the former situation in most parts of Finland, where the common population historically spoke Finnish and the upper classes spoke mostly Swedish. Hence, the lingering stereotype (among Finnish speakers) of Swedish speakers as relatively posh people who allegedly think of themselves as “better folk”. Nowadays, Swedish speakers are a minority even among the elite, so they’ve probably mostly forgotten the old Swedish stereotype about ethnic Finns as lower-class and backwards.

Dalillama
Dalillama
26 days ago

@Surplus

Come again? The last time I checked, SpaceX had produced our first ever fully-reusable surface-to-orbit vehicle

Your source was wrong. SpaceX hasn’t deployed any Single-stage-to-orbit vehicles, and the ones they have are precisely as reusable as the Space Shuttle. There do exist usable plans for a SSTO (the DC-X, currently under development by NASA as the DC-XA, but not really because their budget is shit), but Musk neither developed them nor is using them. SpaceX is doing nothing that the likes of ArianeSpace haven’t been doing better for as long as you or I have been alive.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
25 days ago

As I recall, it isn’t single stage, but the booster (that one that can go back down and land itself) is fully reusable, unlike the Space Shuttle (external tank would fully burn up and the boosters always needed extensive refurbishment after).

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