I think you read that wrong. The black coworker (Mike) said that in reference to Steve not the other way around.
Given that, do you think the black coworker should be fired for saying that about Steve? Is it okay for the Mike to say that about Steve but not the other way around, regardless of how true it is?
Also, I am not sure why I have to include this disclaimer but I am not condoning any of the racism observed in the article.
For whatever it's worth to you to know this: being considered thuggish, or violent, or hotheaded, or unreasonable is a hot-button issue for working black professionals. I've had neighbors complain to me that they can't disagree or argue with anything at their office, because as soon as they do, their coworkers start shaking their heads and signaling "there goes the black guy again". Knowing this, you start to see that it is also a privilege to be able to argue, even vehemently, without inadvertently confirming a malignant stereotype about your heritage or upbringing.
Either way one reads that particular point though, I agree that it isn't the most compelling in the story.
"You start to see that it is also a privilege to be able to argue, even vehemently, without inadvertently confirming a malignant stereotype about your heritage or upbringing."
Very well said. Thanks for articulating this idea. Don't forget that this goes both ways, though.
As a straight white male that grew up in a very progressive college town, with almost all of my friends being progressive socially liberal graduates, I am constantly "educated" on my privilege and dismissed, ala "there goes that (straight) white guy again with his white privilege and lack of understanding", simply for attempting civilized discourse that is anything but blindly supportive of their social and racial views.
I have to question a sociopolitical philosophy that leaves a lot of its followers avoiding dialogue with and dismissing the people who are most likely the closest to sharing their concerns and ideals.
What I'm trying to convey here is that not much attention is paid, particularly by those who otherwise like talking about privilege as a concept, to the privilege of being able to argue. As I believe civilized discourse is a bedrock of our society, this concerns me. "And it should concern you too!"
The thing to remember is that the author is not promoting a manifesto or calling to action, he's venting. He's frustrated, and he's not creating a culture of oppression with the occasional use of 'dumbwhite' - some commentors in this thread seem to think that this private use of the word in an anonymised article makes it as bad as creating a culture of bigotry in the workplace. Racism isn't a binary on/off.
It seems "and Mike says" is pretty clear, especially with the followup about it being true, illustrated with incidents involving the guy who "talks a lot of shit".
In part that is an ironic consequence of privlege: understanding it can lead to giving it up.
The word has become a "PC" signifier technical "term of art, and not often patiently and respectfully explained to people who need to understand it.
It's akin to calling someone 'white trash'.
I do believe these arguments being forwarded are deliberately obtuse: whenever an argument is proposed without anticipating and responding to the most obvious challenges, and the person appears to be otherwise possessed of significant intellect, I conclude that the banality is intentional.