Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama and my breaking heart

I haven't written about Obama and his current media struggles (let's reword that shall we?) - the current media savagery on Obama - because I actually admire and respect the man, because I still think he is the best person for the job of president, because I admire and accept Rev. Wright and his theology.

What is so flipping ugly about this current battle is the way white America seems to have been taken completely off-guard by the idea that there are still blacks in America who aren't satisfied with the status quo. It's as if white America is waiting for a big thank you note signed by black America: thanks for ending our slavery! thanks for giving us the vote! thanks for guaranteeing our civil rights! thanks for all the ways you tell us we are no different than you and so should not feel at all in the slightest injured by what we perceive to be racism! thanks for all that old-fashioned respect for our abilities to transcend white injustice by the "boot-straps" techniques. In other words, thanks for just being you - white, privileged, unconcerned with the color of our skin, so happy when one of us finally moves into the suburbs and drives a compact.

The idea of vomiting comes to mind right about now.

The Daily Kos has a great post on this topic.

Yes, I have officially migrated to the dark side, completely radicalized, in the pocket of black radicals... you know, the ones on crystal meth, who live paycheck to paycheck, who have spent time in prison but are trying to find a way now, who go to church each week hanging onto the white man's religion for hope. Those "out of touch" blacks who still imagine that white America has it out for them... because clearly whites don't - I mean look at the fair treatment of Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama...

When the primary season started, the Right thought Hillary was the danger and Barack would be a preferred candidate. They were utterly taken aback to find out that there were huge numbers of whites in America who really don't see race when evaluating a candidate for president. About that time, Sean Hannity switched his "Stop Hillary Express" to "Stop Barack Obama." No one had discovered the Reverend Wright yet. So Hannity spent his days explaining that race would become the issue and that he would find the dirt on Obama.

Yes, fair and balanced Sean Hannity.

The entire scandal and debacle is manufactured shit. Rev. Wright's tirades from the pulpit have nothing to do with presidential policy and everyone who stops to think for six minutes knows that. This is one more instance that Colin Powell predicted: Build up the black man, then publicly Take. Him. Down.

You think blacks were cynical before? You ain't seen nothing.


Carrie said...

People who spew hatred should be condemned, black or white. Being black isn't an excuse for Wright's behavior. Wright is almost single-handedly tanking Obama's campaign. Why, if he really wants a black man in a position of power? Or would he rather see the campaign fail so he'd have more reason to be in the spotlight and take the "I told you so!" position. White or black, those are the exact kind of politics Obama has said he wanted to change.

julieunplugged said...

Bilbo posted the following in the wrong place and I'm moving it here so we can discuss:

Hi Julie,

I have been following this story very closely and it does seem to be a case of the Politics of fear at its worst. Last night I watched one news station after another talk about the Reverend Wright's comments at the press club but I don't remember ever actually hearing what "he" had actually said... but I noticed in the background they continually ran snippets of Wright waving his hands up and down and side to side...Obviously, implying the man was crazy and dangerous...Am curious to hear what you thought about Barack's response...Personally, it seems he had no other choice to distance himself again. I noticed he didn't use the word denounce, as I am sure his critics would have liked, but he did concede the relationship had changed and he was deeply hurt and saddened. At this stage of the political process I don't ever remember any candidate getting bombarded from so many sides at once...Hillary, Bill, McCain, and the Republican party in North Carolina who have been running the Reverend Wright hit pieces...yet...Despite all of this, Obama is doing very well in recent Gallup Polls regarding his electability,honesty, and ability to connect with the people...go figure...One wonders though, how anyone, or how long Obama can survive if this onslaught continues from so many different angles...P.S...If you get the itch I would be interested in hearing what you have to say about Black Liberation Theology which has become a side issue of the Wright controversy. I have a sense of what it is but I have heard a lot of really crazy stuff being thrown out on this subject in the last couple of days....

julieunplugged said...

Carrie, I'll be more than happy to address your comments which are very similar to most of the commentators on TV who have created and driven this entire sham.

The media has been looking to drive this campaign into the race territory since the start of the primary season and have found their "scapegoat."

Remember when the original comment about Obama was: No one will address race with him, therefore he is getting special treatment by the media?

How that has changed with the golden goose who lays the eggs - Rev. Wright.

If you had been as misconstrued, vilified and repeatedly taken out of context as Wright was, wouldn't your ire be up a bit?

AIDS - yes seems like a horrid assertion... until you find out that blacks were used for testing for the Tuskagee Study of syphillis in AA males (without their knowledge, but infecting them nonethelss).

It's not that I endorse all of the thngs Wright says - it's that I see the plausibility of them given his context and background. What I find alarming is the speed with which whites jump to the conclusion that the words are "racist and hateful" when whites have been and continue to be driven by the agenda of controlling how blacks speak for themselves! The irony!

Is there a double standard? I hope so - for awhile anyway. My god. Whites have been the most deeply racist race in the history of America (and some would argue, the world)... do we cut no slack for paranoia, mistatements and anger for those who are in recovery from being the victims?

Sorry, but I just find the hypocrisy of white America beyond the pale.

julieunplugged said...

Bilbo, I will get to your question in an official post. It's worth writing and making. I do think that we don't understand even a whit of wht black theology attempts to feature and highlight. What makes it all the more infuriating to me is the fact that there is such an appalling lack of interest on the part of whites and the media - as though their first reaction is the one they should coddle and accept as accurate and reasonable.

Really, come on people. Ask yourself - do you really understand the black church, black theology, the history of black America enough to evaluate soundbites and draw iron clad conclusions?

rmkton said...

"AIDS - yes seems like a horrid assertion... until you find out that blacks were used for testing for the Tuskagee Study of syphillis in AA males (without their knowledge, but infecting them nonethelss)."

Think this is a bit of a straw man argument here Julie. The Tuskegee study was abhorrent and unethical, but the jump from that to a conspiratorial effort on the part of a white-controlled government to infect minorities with HIV/AIDS borders on preposterous. Let's just say that for what it is and not try to defend it by contextualization.

Agree with Carrie that racist remarks made by black or white are contemptible.

R. Michael

julieunplugged said...

Michael, my point isn't that Wright's comments about AIDS are accurate, but that they reflect a paranoia that is possibly justifiable (or at least, understandable).

I do think it's a fair comparison. Racism is more than drawing bad conclusions. Systemic racism has been invoked against blacks by whites. It's not surprising that paranoia ensues. We can criticize it as such, dis-spell it, but are we justified in treating it as anathema? Verbal racist remarks, while wrong, certainly do not rise to the level of institutional racism, which is what has characterized decades (centuries) of the black experience.

rmkton said...

Julie, I don't agree...if it's a fair comparison then likewise the fact that the U.S., in collaboration with Israel, are responsible for the attacks on 911 is a justifiable conclusion many in the Arab world believe because of our institutional (systematic) support of Israel. I don't think this kind of paranoia is justifiable (or understandable)

I can't buy it...where does this type of thinking end?

julieunplugged said...

I see where we're locking horns Michael. Thanks for the follow up.

Here's what I mean when I say "understandable." I don't mean legitimate. I mean, "important information that tells us something about the group making that assertion."

It doesn't advance much dialog to simply dismiss the comment out of hand and treat it as irrational, even if it's illegitimate.

Likewise, the example you cite gives us important information about how we are perceived in the Arab world and our diplomacy ought to be more interested in the source of that point of view than simply dismissive of it.

So I hear you - I get what you are saying - no place for racism on any side of the debate. I guess what I am challenging, then, is how the class or group in power handles the reactions of victims and what we learn from them...

rmkton said...

Thanks for the clarification of understandable...not meaning legitimate but rather insightful into the situation as perceived by others. I get it.

BTW, I think the issue you raise is incredibly important " the class or group in power handles the reactions of victims and what we learn from them..." There are myraid examples where this is not done well...but I am particularly thinking about the sex abuse scandal in the R.C. church...really a textbook case.

Kansas Bob said...

Great read Julie and a very interesting dialog in the comments! I am glad that Obama addressed the Rev Wright issue and I think that his words might put an end to this issue.

I guess we can speculate and try to understand why Wright felt the need to jump into the media circus.. sigh.. but Obama's response pretty much says it all - a sad parting of (what we thought were) long-time friends ... sad when your spiritual leaders let you down ... a really hard lesson for anyone to learn - and not limited to fundamentalists.

Colleen said...

Great observation here: "(W)hite America seems to have been taken completely off-guard by the idea that there are still blacks in America who aren't satisfied with the status quo."


Can I just say how much I appreciate the processing you've done over the years as far as your politics are concerned? It's so easy to grow up and into a given mind frame and just...settle.