Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Imagine Racism!

I think it was really stupid for the 9/12 March on DC participants to have the Obama witch doctor signs. How many, out of the hundreds of thousands of participants, actually carried those signs? A handful of idiots. The fact that they were used gives the state-run media and the race industry license to do what they do so well - paint in broad strokes.

In a blog post on masquerading as political news, found here, Spelman College professor William Jelani Cobb is quoted as saying "there's a lot of connective tissue" between the Obama presidency, race riots in 1906 Atlanta and the "historic rancor [some] whites feel against successful blacks". Cobb continues, "Whether people want to admit it or not [I suspect] the Tea Party crowd believes the currency of whiteness has been devalued" (emphasis mine). Another academic quoted in the article, Princeton University's African-American Studies professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell says that the Tea Party movement, with an emphasis on states' rights, is "... an argument... tied to racial segregation during the civil rights era", which the blogger, Ashley Fantz, feels closes the circle.

Harris-Lacewell thinks it's unfortunate that the age of Obama has led to "an investigative effort to determine whether opposition to him is based on race or substantive disagreement.", She then falls back to the failsafe position of "I Imagine Racism!" by asserting, "...the problem is, it can be both."

I think the unfortunate conclusion to this article is that there are those who believe that the currency of blackness has been devalued by substantive opposition to President Obama's policies. Their response is to depreciate those legitimate policy disagreements, while embellishing their race industry credentials by exaggerating the racial "crisis". President Obama is diminished by their portrayal of him as a transfigurative ascendant hero, rather than a person of substance. They have internalized our opposition to government policy and made it about themselves.

It's as if Governors Faubus and Wallace stand athwart history yelling, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" Not really - those men and those ideas are dead. Racism, left and right, black or white, is alive in the imaginations of many, but it's dead too. Dead as an idea which defines American society, but not as a worn-out excuse. Some people just haven't figured that out yet.

Eternal vigilance is the price of protecting the right of self-expression, even of those who seek to divide us by race, rather than uniting us as Americans.