|Mixed Blood - Six Children|
Disagreeing with a president's policies is NOT a racial "thing". What is racist is calling him "Barack, the magic Negro" or inferring that he is an "other".
Calling his wife, Michelle Obama, "ugly as a monkey" is racist (Limbaugh). Having a picture of our president as a stereotypical witch doctor with a bone through his nose, is racist. Let us recap, disagreeing with an administration's policy is NOT racist, regardless of the skin tone of the one criticizing. Using racial stereotypes for political and financial gain, is racist.
Examples of Blatant Racism: "Barack Obama getting in touch with his inner Jeremiah Wright.... He even talks HONKY around white people" - These are the words of Rush Limbaugh - He also stated that Barack Obama is an "angry black man" and "I do believe this about the President."
Let's add to this the constant barrage from former Fox associate Glenn Beck who relentlessly accused President Obama of hating white people. Let's not discount the amount of times that President Obama was questioned about being "too black" or "not black enough" by those same people.
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and Bill O'Reilly are perfect examples of old dinosaurs fearful of becoming a minority amid a sea of people who have more Melanin than they do. They are all, by sheer coincidence, not progressive, nor liberal.
These dinosaurs fear old notions of black folks rising and slaughtering them for past grievances, such as: Slavery? false imprisonment? stripping them or their human and civil rights? Most likely to be executed? purposely depriving their communities of equal education and employment?
These are valid reasons to wake up one morning and say "Hey! I think I'll slaughter some white folks today" - However, did "they" do this? - In the entire horrific history of endurance, oppression and survival at the hands of those who enslaved them with the physical and invisible chains of second class citizenship, they marched PEACEFULLY, time and again to gain ground in equality under the law. These folks were spat upon and hunted down like animals, and yet... they did not wake up one morning and lived up to racists fears, but their own ideals and integrity.
Example: When a family member was chained to the back of a truck and mangled beyond recognition, the family requested that the death penalty not be imposed against the white supremacist who murdered James Byrd.. Now.... if this had been a white man chained to a truck and the truck driven by a black man.... what would the Pat Buchanan's, Bill O'Reilly's and Rush Limbaugh's of this country have demanded?
If President Obama was Lilly white, the stupidity hurled around about race would be an inconceivable discussion in the news media. However, because our President is "black" we are continually peppered with white and black racist rhetoric. This race-baiting is political in nature and serves to increase ratings for an otherwise meaningless news media who spends more time creating reactions that carrying comprehensible information.
Dinosaurs Have Other Problems
The most disconcerting emotional shake-up for these men is the fact that so many WHITE people don't share their views or fears and happily voted for Barack Obama, and will do so again. These white folks have real black, brown, and multiracial friends. Others, just like black folks, only have friends of one color because they don't live and work in integrated environments, but that does not make them "less" of anything. No one needs to prove they are not racist by association, actions speak a lot louder and more accurately.
These white people have united in peaceful solidarity with total strangers in open discourse and peaceful marches to achieve EQUALITY for all. What a concept! non-racist white folks! - I have news for you, they have been here all along. The dinosaurs are an embarrassment to society that does not represent all white people, and these white folks have been demonized by being called "liberal", "socialists" and less printable monikers.
Putting black people on the defensive is a very useful political tool that serves to reinforce white supremacist ideology. A recent article on Salon's Website compared Professor Melissa Harris-Perry to the KKK and propelled a barrage of negative attention in social media. The piece is offensive and overblown beyond reason, and stirs racist controversy that takes the focus away from the issues we should be paying attention to instead. The Salon piece has forced Professor Harris to defend herself against the article and set the record straight regarding the perceived friendship between Professor Harris and Joan Walsh.
All this distraction works well to avoid looking at the real effects of blatant racism; Disparity, inequality, health care, quality of life, employment, education, voter suppression and dignity of life. These events are intertwined with pervasive racist attitudes, but it is the disparity that needs to be addressed and equalized, not foster race-bating issues that resolve nothing. Professor Harris can disagree with President Obama's policies as much as she wants. It is her right and there is nothing remotely comparable to the KKK in anything she has said or done.
The World is NOT Black & White
Fact: Our President is bi-racial and like millions upon millions of Americans represents multiracial, multilingual and multicultural people who don't see things in terms of black or white but with a larger scope that spans beyond the narrow field of vision of their own personal experiences. I submit to you that black and white are NOT the only "flavors" available nor does either side speaks for us all, regardless of our cultural or racial identity.
The laws in Arizona, Georgia, Utah, Indiana, Alabama and the various groups across the nation targeting brown people and immigration are racist in the opinion of many and this writer in particular. If we had Norwegians and Canadians entering the country illegally, we would pass laws granting them immediate citizenship. (We can discuss this point if you like)
The notion that skin color define us and the roles we must play, is an old and boring form of bigotry that, just like old clothes, no longer fits the times or tastes of a more discerning population. We also find these narrow perspectives offensive to our intellect. Are you black? White? Hispanic? Oriental? Human? Great! us too! what else do we have in common?
Let's avoid the distractions and direct the conversation towards what really matters: The substance of a person, their character and their integrity. Let us agree that when people are lacking in these areas, all they have to offer is tired argument that perpetuates stereotypes and addresses only imaginary fears of what should be, a bygone era.
Native Americans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Germans, Irish, Polish, Jews.... and all possible cultural combinations are equally responsible to take our country into the 21st Century. Race baiting won't get us there and neither will the disproportionate attention accorded to a minority on the verge of extinction. Let them go into oblivion, because just like dinosaurs, they are done.
Note: Opinions are not facts.
Professor Cornell West and President Obama
Images: Skinhead by Carlos Latuff under Public Domain / Mixed Blood - Choctaw Children by Unknown under Public Domain