Hipster Racism and the Quest for Sincerity

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About Oliver Lee Bateman

Good Men Project contributing editor Oliver Lee Bateman is a columnist for Al-Jazeera America and one of the founders of the Moustache Club of America and Penny & Farthing, two blogzines specializing in flash fiction and creative nonfiction that he co-curates with web developer Erik Hinton, medical consultant Nathan Zimmerman, and freelance writers Christie Chapman and J. R. Powell. He is a lawyer as well as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Follow him on Twitter @MoustacheClubUS or on Google+. Oliver's Spring 2014 US History From the Civil War to the Present course is being live-streamed by UTA. You can access these lectures by clicking here.


  1. The best way to end the social construct of racism is to talk about it. Ignoring it just allows it to continue and to fester in the back ground. Like a leaking pipe, if will only get worse until its noticed and then discussion on how to fix it is begun. Maybe not the best analogy, but realizing that life is not equal for everyone, not just base don color, but also socio-economic upbringing is important for America as a whole. I would rather help people in less off economic conditions than to fix it for certain skin colors. M method is to provide better pay for people, in general, more demand side economics than supply, This doesn’t mean no profits, just less profit and more money into the whole economy. But the playing of people off others and people’s interests against other is a political tactic that has been going on for ages, and currently has been getting worse and worse, instead of less and less. You all have a great blog here, will be checking it out more often.

    The subject of racism is constructed, and there are much better ways to tackle racism such as with better economic conditions, examples being blaming immigrants for taking jobs, when in reality they take the lowest paying, many times 1/2 of min wage. If there was a problem with them taking all the min wage jobs, then why do fast food joints always have hiring signs, plus places like construction firms hiring immigrants because they make much higher profit with lower wage workers and get alost the same quality of craftsmanship (this is an explosive topic, but for some its good and profitable and for a majority its bad, immigrants and Americans alike). So you can be on the side of the small business owenr or the American worker, again playing side versus side and interest vs interest, there needs to be a compromise, or what used to be called a collective bargain, which to many has become a nasty word, but built our middle class which is shrinking, or as I put it technically shifting upwards on the income scale, which makes it appear the middle class to be shrinking. Sharp lines drawn between the 2. They could lower the imcome of middle class to increase it, but then the middle class lifestyle is not sustainable…its a long winded topic, but one that needs to be addressed just like racial issues need to be addressed. I left a longer comment on this topic of better economic conditions at the other blog post: http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/can-hipsters-be-racists-too/.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    What today we call hipster racism is just a recent incarnation of something that has been going on for centuries in American culture. The mainstream, white-predominated culture adopts cultural creations from the African American community, sanitizes them for a white audience, and celebrates the exotic, countercultural fashionability of this new thing. White culture has been doing this with language, dance, music, food, and clothing, even in the days of slavery and even under Jim Crow.

    What may be different today is white people trying to stay conscious of the real origin of their adopted cultural images. In the past, a lot of the assimilation was covered up or was indirect, which is where we get the phrase “cover song.” Thanks to cover songs, in the 1950’s a lot of white Americans were convinced that rock-n-roll was started by white people and copied by black people instead of the other way around. The 1950’s Elvis was a kind of pop culture hybrid of white musical performers and black musical performers. Their parents had already been convinced by 1920′s cover albums that white people invented jazz….

    This is not some strange new thing in American history where “black” culture is now hip and cool for white people trying to be new and different. ‘Twas ever thus.


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