Maybe We Should Have Elected a White President After All

I originally wrote this in August 2009. It still pertains, though I’d probably write it a bit differently today. Slightly edited:

There is no doubt that this country is not ready for a Black President.

Nor would this country ever be ready for any non-white or non-male president until we actually went ahead and elected one–ready or not–and then made the necessary adjustments. And that could have been what would have happened with the historic election of Barack Obama.

Except it didn’t.

Join me, if you will, in a moment of utter, deep cynicism. That would mean you thinking, for just a moment, exactly like I think every second of the day. This will be painful for you, unless you are already where I am. In my world, I see almost every nationally elected Republican, almost every one of the teabaggers at the town hall meetings, and almost every one of the strutting libertarians with their strap-ons (because they don’t have real ones) as a racist. I also see half the liberals that I know as racists. I see almost every white person who lives in the suburbs and who has a job and an income with benefits as a racist. I probably think you are a racist. You may think I’m over doing it, you may think I’m being unfair, you may think I’ve oversimplified, and you may think I’ve got it wrong.

I have oversimplified, but I’m not overdoing it, I’m not being unfair, and I don’t have it wrong. It is you that has it wrong and that is the problem. Standing by and letting what we are seeing happening on the national stage and doing nothing about it is plain and pure complicity.

I’m thinking about the response to health care reform. The most active of them all, the teabaggers and the Republicans in office, each and every one, are reacting not to anything about health care, but rather to the fact that our president is a black man, and they are reacting to little else. Proposals that the Republicans have made themselves over the last decade are being touted as attempts to kill grandma or take away our freedoms or introduce socialism. There is nothing rational in what the teabaggers and Republicans are saying. Not. One. Thing.

Does any of this mean that we have prematurely elected our first black president? No, of course not. That is all to be expected. That would all be part of the transformation our country will go through to make the election of non-white-male presidents (in some combination) plausible rather than jaw-dropping remarkable.

The problem is not that the crazy right wing is upset and screaming at us from the back of the room telling us to shut up. The problem is that the rest of the country, or at least a significant number of individuals, especially in elected office and in the media, are not calling this what it is. Yes, there have been hints, here and there, of racist undertones and overtones, but the spade is not being called a spade. As it were.

And the reason is disgusting. The reason that the mainstream press and numerous elected officials are not identifying the town hall teabaggers and the anti-health care Republicans as racists is because the ground has been prepared to make sure that when someone does call someone else out on racism in the mainstream public square, that act…the act of identifying racism…is considered just as bad as the racism itself. It is called “playing the race card.” The whole “Oh, now you’re going to play the race card, aren’t you!” gambit was developed, prepared, and inculcated into society over the last 15 years (really, 14 years…since the OJ Simpson trial), so now racism has a place at the table. Where it does not belong.

Over the last 24 hours (as I write this on Monday) the public option part of health care reform has been taken off the table. I can hope, tell myself, guess, fantasize, that this is just a strategy, and that the public option will be back. I can figure that this is just to give some time for the famous Obama grassroots organizing to get up to speed, and that the public option will be in the health care bill and will be voted into place. But I doubt it. I strongly suspect that the golden opportunity, which comes around very 12 to 20 years, has been lost once more.

I will die before there is a good health care system. My daughter will reach middle age or even old age before there is a good health care system.

The outcome, years later, as we enter the last two years of President Obama’s second term, is this: The Democrats can not nominate another black president, ever. The Republicans have succeeded in their strategy. Keeping the White in the White House.

And the Democrats let that happen.

US Justice Department Will Investigate Murder of Trayvon Martin

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened an official investigation into the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin by a vigilante “Neighborhood Watch” member George Zimmerman. Zimmerman pursued, confronted, then shot to death Trayvon Martin who was on his way home from the convenience store having picked up a bag of Skittles. Local police, apparently caught like deer in the headlights of an idiotic recently enacted Florida Law stating, according to some, that you can kill anyone you want as long as you can later say that they made you feel icky, have refuses to even bring Zimmerman in for questioning.

There have been protests, a lot of noise from the Liberal Blogosphere, and even a write in campaign using the Sanford Police’s own web site (click here to get in on that!), and limited criticism from the press.

(The 911 calls related to this case are very damning of Zimmerman, and you can listen to them here.)

Are you annoyed by those pesky Indians and Black folk?

All that whinging and hand wringing about slavery, taking the land from the Indians, and all that stuff is very annoying, especially when the assertion is made that our founding fathers had anything do to with all that. Even though they did. But still, it is very annoying to have the names of those who saw fit to found this nation besmirched by the so called “facts” of “history.”

And that is why the Tennessee Tea Party wants to make it illegal in the Mottoless State of Tennessee to teach the truth. Here’s the wording they propose:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

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Women in Elevators and Black Guys Sneaking Up Behind You

As you may know, I wrote a post, Women in Elevators: A Man To Man Talk For The Menz, in which I wrote:

I am not afraid of dogs, and most women are probably not “afraid of men.”

Except I’m actually afraid of dogs and most women are justifiably afraid of men. If you get what I’m saying so far, go away and do something useful because this post is not written for you. If you are puzzled, especially about the idea of women being afraid of men at all, then sit down, shut up, and allow me to slap you across the chops a couple of times with a little reality because that is what you need. Assuming you are a sentient adult and still have no clue.

Several people got really really mad at me because of that post … I literally lost a few friends … and they got even madder when I pointed out that getting mad at me for that post increased in my mind the chance that you are likely to be abusive to women. Holy crap. Anyway, it all relates to the whole Schrödinger’s Rapist thing. (See this recent post at Camels with Hammers for more on that)

Anyway, one of the responses to that post (and other conversations going on at the time) was to point out that a man saying that he recognized that women could be justifiably nervous about running across an unknown male on a lonely street at night was equivalent to saying that all black people are criminals. Or something like that.

Well, my bloggy friend Ian Cromwell who it turns out is a big scary black guy has addressed that issue, skillfully and engagingly, in a post called “Shuffling feet: a black man’s view on Schroedinger’s Rapist.” Go have a look.

Danny Chen’s Death: The Ultimate Hate Crime?

Nineteen year old Private Danny Chen killed himself with a firearm in a combat station in Kandahar, Afghanistan after being taunted and verbally and physically abused in a decidedly racist manner by several of his fellow soldiers. Eight such soldiers, of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, are now facing charges related to Danny’s death. The details of the charges have not been released.

Officials said …

… 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt and Sgt. Travis F. Carden were all charged Friday with counts ranging from dereliction of duty to making a false statement to assault, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

It was not clear from the information provided whether the military believes the soldiers actually killed Chen, or whether officials are alleging that their mistreatment of Chen led him to take his own life.

More at the Washington Post

Forbes’ Gene Marks Needs To Check His Priv

Gene Marks, you wrote an essay for Forbes that has gotten a lot of people rather upset. People are upset because you display insensitive unchecked privilege and, essentially, you blame an entire class of people as the victims of what is mostly not their fault but rather, your fault and the fault of the modal Forbes reader, as well as society more broadly, history, culture, economics, racism and all sort of other things that are largely beyond the control of the Poor Black Kids of the Inner City of whom you write.

I think you meant well, but you did not do well. There are many ways in which you display a marked lack of a clue about your topic. How so? Let’s start at the beginning of your essay: Continue reading

SCOTUS will review Arizona’s Immigration Law

Moments ago, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to review a highly controversial Arizona law. This promises to be one of the more significant things they’ve done in a while.

The deck is stacked for a more conservative ruling because Justice Kagan will recuse as she worked on the law while in the Obama administration.

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Atheists who are Nazis should be shamed and driven from the community

From my Facebook message thingie:

Mat Nuzareyin
We have 47 mutual friends and are both atheists.

Greg Laden
Except in real life, I have only about 4 friends, but that’s OK!

Mat Nuzareyin
Do you think stupid people should be sterilized?

Greg Laden
I wasn’t thinking that, no.

Mat Nuzareyin
Why not?
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Racial Bias in Presidential Pardons?

The pardon process relies on the recommendations of a special office of the White House, which takes a number of factors (not skin color) into account overtly, including things like level of remorse or financial or family factors. The process was, wisely one would have thought, depoliticized by George Bush at the beginning of his first term, so that the professional pardon lawyers’ recommendations are routinely followed, plus or minus only small variations.

So, we therefore know that the fact that a white person is 400% more likely to be pardoned than a black person is not because of some yahoo racist president or evil chief of staff. Rather, it’s just how the legal system turns out.

Propublica did the study that gives us these results. Continue reading

Why do NASCAR fans hate our troops?

Several NASCAR fans booed two women who were announcing the start of a race (with the famous words “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!!”). The women were part of the “Joining Forces” initiative, which is in support of military families. The women stood next to retired Army Sgt. Andrew Barry, who was wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is unclear why NASCAR fans hate America.

Source

Cain’s Sexual Harassment Problems

It does look like there may be something to the allegations, and there does seem to be some denial followed by backpedaling.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

I would like to point out, however, that he was a male CEO, a person of power, wealth, and fame. This is often true of the men in the race, and in presidential races generally. When Norm Colemen was trying to get re-elected as Senator from Minnesota, very credible and verifiable details of his horrid “womanizing” (a term I never quite understood but whatever) behaviors came out, and no one noticed or cared or did anything about it except a few of us bloggers. It took years for the John Edwards thing to come out. As it were. Remember Gary Hart? Same thing.

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Is gun control racist?

That’s actually not the correct question. The answer to “Is gun control racist?” is no, because if I ask you that question, you assume I mean current modern day gun control efforts in the United States. If anything, gun control is the opposite of racist, give who is most affected by lack of it, ans who most wants more of it, and the nature of the pro-gun lobby when it comes to issues of race.
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Berkeley Campus Republicans: Native American Women are the Lowest Form of Life

The Campus Republicans of the UC-Berkeley campus are having a bake sale with the cost per item set in relation to the buyer’s skin color and gender. White males would pay full price, but people who have very dark skin and are female get the food for less. Here’s the pricing structure:

  • White $2.00
  • Asian $1.50
  • Latino $1.00
  • Black $0.75
  • Native American $0.25
  • $0.25 off for all women

This is their way of demonstrating how admission policies at UC allow inferior people who should be valued less into college. The intention of the bake sale was to make people mad. That failed, and instead it made people look at the Campus Republicans of the University of California Berkeley and go “Oh, isn’t that cute. They have no brains but they can still talk and walk. Like those Japanese robots.”

From the cnn report:
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Charles and Willie

The Kennedy School of Government had banned all smoking within the building, but had not yet banned smoking just outside the doors facing the Charles River, to the south of the complex. An African American woman, about fifty years of age, took a light from me, and we stood in the falling snow enjoying our smokes. That was a heavy year for snow. It seemed that every day about the same time the two of us would be standing here in a blizzard.
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Day of Justice, Day of Shame: The killing of Troy Davis

I do not know for certain that Troy Anthony Davis is not guilty of killing Mark MacPhail, a Savannah Georgia cop. But I do firmly believe that there is more than reasonable doubt of his culpability to say he is legally not guilty, and I am not alone in thinking this. The other people who think this include Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, dozens of members of congress, more than 500,000 petition signers, and … perhaps most significantly … seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him who have now changed their stories, and three of the original jurors who voted guilty. The case was based primarily on eye witness testimony, and if even one of the jurors at the time felt he was not guilty he would not have been convicted. Continue reading

Racism, Creationism, Darwinism

Racism and it’s various manifestations such as eugenics is a Janus Faced monster of human society. One side speaks to people’s fear and hate, and is social and political. It speaks a sermon to the angry and downtrodden who love to hear that their “race” is superior, or to the social managers and engineers who benefit from a handy excuse to explain the results of repression and economic inequality as the natural outcome of history and circumstance beyond our control and thus not the fault of those self same social managers and engineers.

The other face is the biological one, the scientific description of “race” itself, and the scientific explanation for racial differences.

Each of these aspects of modern racism can act independently and to some extent have different histories, but by and large they are two parts of the same trend. Prior to Eugenics, the biological side of this monster was not scientific, and was in fact typically religious. When European Christians needed to explain the people of the New World (how the heck did they get there, and who were they, really?) or the “savages” of Africa, they turned to the bible … and there found the basis for Continue reading