Thursday, June 12, 2008

White man calls out anti-Obama white women.

Tim Wise is one of the few "white" writers who comes close to telling the subtle, unspoken, dirty little secrets of what I call "post-racist white supremacy".

I just read a missive he wrote last week right after Hillary Clinton's "white" women posse started howling about their plans to vote for John McCain. Although I think much of their threats were a classic case of sore loser's sour grapes - and that most would eventually come to their senses, Mr. Wise's "Your Whiteness is Showing" is an essay on the seldom confronted broader issue that some might call "Miss Sally" privilege.

BTW: When you click on the link, you'll get Tim's homepage. You have to click on Essays to find "Your Whiteness is Showing".

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making the Unthinkable Thinkable...and Doable.

I just read a short piece in the Huffington Post by a guy named David Bromwich that I think eloquently sums up what many of us felt and maybe couldn't quite express about Hillary Clinton's assassination remark and her unapologetic apology to the Kennedys. (She never bothered to even fake an apology to the Obamas).

It is the exact opposite of the over-heated reaction of Keith Olberman, who's anti-Hillary video jihad almost made me feel sorry for her. (I said "almost"):
Assassination Chatter

What do you think?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Racism vs Sexism vs McCain

Nobody asked me, but...

I don't want to turn this into a political blog but since the Presidents race is more blatantly about the president's race than any other election in our history, how could anyone who calls himself RaceMan not comment?

That said, I just read two thoughtful pieces on the subject of racism vs sexism in America that shouldn't be missed:

1. A short column in the Wall Street Journal, 'Nothing but Misogynists' that makes a pretty strong case against Mrs. Clinton being the best candidate to take on John McCain in November....using her own words about sexism.

2. An op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Times about a similar subject from a historical perspective; the battle between "white" women and "black" men for equality in America.

Check 'em out and report back to ol' RaceMan, OK?

BTW: I was just directed to another interesting piece on this subject on the Kansas City Star web site, here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did Hillary just kill her campaign for President?

Have you heard the latest remark that Hillary Clinton made about why she's staying in the race?
She said that she would be stupid to give up now since other campaigns, like her husband's weren't decided until June....and (and this is the kicker) Bobby Kennedy wasn't assassinated until June! Although she apologized a few hours later, the apology seemed to be more to the Kennedys, than Barack and Michelle Obama. What do you think?
The Wonderer

Dear Wonderer,
As far as I can see, Hillary not only just ended her chances for the presidency, she just unloaded both barrels on any vice presidential aspirations too.

Even if you give her the benefit of humongous doubt, her remarks (just like her musings on "hard-working Americans, white Americans") show that she is too insensitive to the power of words to be president.

Was it wishful thinking, a Freudian Slip, campaign fatique, poor judgment, political tone-deafness or all of the above? No matter how you look at it, it's a killer-diller. Any explanation undermines her strongest selling point - that she's more experienced and world-wise than Obama. Of course everyone has thought about the possibility of assassination but it's pure amateur hour for a leading politician to encourage all the hate-mongering losers* out there with itchy trigger fingers by speculating on the subject.

If there was any reason for the Superdelegates to wait until June, she has just eliminated it. And I think she's assassinated her vp chances too. Imagine having a vice president who's on record speculating about what would happen if you're killed. I don't think so.
*Monroe Anderson, a well-known Chicago-based journalist has more on this here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nobody asked me, but....

I read a few columns today that dealt with the issue of race and politics in ways I don't remember hearing or reading anywhere before - not even in alternative, progressive and even radical rags. It seems to me that no matter what ultimately happens with the current presidential race, we are seeing a phenomenon that has never happened in mainstream America. We are seeing the usually avoided or exploited issue of race dealt with by serious, well-informed (and seemingly, well-meaning) people. And some are going beyond the lazy thinking and accepted "wisdom" of the past.

I'm adding links to two columns in particular that gave me some insights that I don't remember ever seeing on TV or by any of the usual pop media susp....I mean...uh.....pundits. One is by a guy named Timothy Egan, who blogs for the New York Times, called White on White.

The second is by Joseph Lowndes on The Huffington Post, titled What Oregon Says About America. Go check them out and report back to ol' RaceMan, OK?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Aren't all American "races" responsible for America's atrocities?

"...Well whatever race one might belong to in U.S.A., it seems to me that every single citizen of this country is responsible for these atrocities [in Iraq] (including me as a non-permanent resident) whether they are playing their tunes on the black or white keys of Nixon's or Clinton's piano."
Dr. A

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor,
Thanks for your comment to my last post, "Is Hillary Clinton a Racist?" You made lots of interesting points but I want to respond to the one above and invite everyone who reads this to go to the comments section beneath the original post to read your full comments.

You mentioned that you are "a non-permanent resident", so you're not an American. Right? I'll assume for now you're nodding your head in the affirmative.

It's very hard for non-Americans to understand US - I 'd guess it would be just as difficult for most of us to understand your country. I'm sure the overwhelming majority of humans never, ever go beyond the borders of the country they're born, so it's a common human shortcoming. We all see the world through the eyes of an ant on a small beach. We think the whole planet is made of sand. (See, I can be a little philosophical myself).

But the U.S.A. has usually welcomed other ants, no matter where they're from. Although the reason for such openness has always had more to do with our oligarchs' desire for cheap labor than the "give me your tired, your poor..... blah, blah, blah" rhetoric on Lady Liberty, it's still true.

In fact, many believe that without this constant replenishing of our cultural gene-pool (as well as our labor pool), we couldn't be the dynamic, albeit seemingly out-of-control society we are. As much as I get on its case, I think pound-for- pound, ton-for-ton and acre-for-acre, citizens of the U.S. of A. have a lot of things to be happy about.

Too bad our current "leadership" isn't one of them.

In the U.S.A., because of our form of government, I agree we are all - "black", "brown", "yellow", "red", "white" and "other" - responsible to some extent for whatever it does in our name. But those of us who voted for certain "persons" we now call our leaders are more responsible than others. Hopefully we can correct their obvious mistake in the coming election.

Of course whoever wins, it will not be the end of our long history of failure to live up to our much touted, sporadically realized ideals. But it could be a new beginning in the right direction.

Can you say the same about your nation?
(This is not a rhetorical question. I really want to hear what you think).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is Hillary Clinton a racist?

I know you've heard Hillary Clinton's much-quoted statement about hard working white Americans not voting for Obama. Doesn't that sound like something George Wallace, Strom Thurman or Richard Nixon would have said 35 years ago...not a so-called liberal leader of the Democratic Party? Doesn't that prove that, no matter how enlightened whitefolks are, they're still racists deep down where the sun don't shine?
Just Asking

Dear Just,
Grab a chair. This may take a while.
Ms. Clinton is reported to have said to U.S.A. Today last week:
“Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again....There’s a pattern emerging here.”

When I read this statement in the New York Times, I was a little shocked. Not because Mrs. Clinton made the statement but because she made it to a major publication. I'm not amazed she dealt the proverbial race card. But she pulled it from the bottom of the deck so clumsily that everybody saw it. It showed either a level of what-have-I got-to-lose desperation that's scary, or that she and her handlers are so deficient of communications skills, she makes GW look like John Barrymore spouting Shakespeare.

But, whether Hillary Clinton - or any of us - are racists or not isn't as important as whether they are, what I would call "race pimps and pushers". Hillary's statement shows that she, as almost every major "white" politician in American history is, that. It's always been one of the unwritten qualifications for the job.

Just like with drugs, you don't have to be an addict yourself to be a major purveyor of junk. Most American leaders, no matter what their personal views (and who ever really knows anybody's inner thoughts...really?) have always bowed down to America's twin gods of greed and racism. After all, slavery and white supremacy were usually, directly or indirectly, the basis of their wealth and power.

Only one book that I know of, written by an obscure professor named Kenneth O'Reilly over 12 years ago, addresses the issue, "Nixon's Piano". Even though the title seems deliberately designed to keep anyone from picking it up, the subtitle and the content are pretty direct. "Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton" pretty much sums it up. But in the end, all it does is document what most sentient Americans (and thinking people all over the world) know: this nation, and its leaders, has engaged in an ongoing conspiracy against African-Americans from before its founding till this second - and will continue to do so until its most moral, intellectually honest and patriotic citizens mount a campaign to stop it and correct the damage.

Hillary is willing to use racism to get what she wants. In that way, she is just following in the well-tread footsteps of our most sainted leaders, starting with the Founding Fathers. They not only used racism to justify the dehumanization and enslavement of Africans and the annihilation of American indians, they made it the basis of America's economic, political and social systems. It is the bloody soil in which our nation's foundation was laid and on which our oldest institutions were built.

Her statement showed a degree of desperation that signals the end may finally be near for her bid for the presidency. It shows a "we might as well go all the way at this point, maybe it will work" frame of mind that happens - to use a sports analogy just like the pro pundits - when there's only 2 seconds left in the 4th quarter, you've got the rebound on your opponents side of the court, you're three points down. Why not throw the ball as hard as you can toward your basket and pray? You may only have 1 in a billion chance of getting lucky but it's better than none.

On the other hand, it shows the admirable, never-say-die spirit that made me originally believe she would be the best person to take on the Republican mud machine. I still think her tenacity is good for Barack Obama, the Democrats and their chances of winning in November. She forced Obama to show, not only that he could take a punch. The fact that he's still standing after tangling with Hard-as-Nails Hillary shows he can take a bullet.

But I'm wandering. Let me get back to your question. Is Hillary Clinton a racist?

The short answer is "Who knows?". The follow-up is "Who cares?" Racism - at least the kind we AfrAmericans have to worry about isn't personal. Whether a particular "white" person is a racist or not has little or no effect on us as a group. It's only when the power of government, economic, social, etc. institutions are used to deny us our rights, livelihood and ability to participate equally at all levels that racism is a problem. And maybe that's why I was so shocked by Hillary's balls-out appeal to racism in her hour of need. It shows, not that she's a racist, but that she thinks enough "white" Americans are to make her the Democratic nominee, not that sophisticated, eloquent, sexy man.

Of course she would have never revealed her real thinking if not for the prospect of losing her lifelong dream. Her husband, Willie, was much more adept at making his racist overtures. But that was a different time and day.

But these days, to my pleasant surprise, it's not working. Why?

I'll be honest. It beats the hell out of your ol' RaceMan. All I've come up with so far is that the volatile combination of young educated NewMericans mixed with the overwhelming economic, ecological, social, rhetorical, military failure of a white, privileged usual-prospect has forced thinking Americans to re-think everything - including their "white men only" sign on the white house. Whatever it is, it has put this nation in a position to move a little closer to our ideals. And if Obama wins, I don't expect the end of racism by a long shot, but it will be another step in out of the deep hole we're in. And I'll take it.
BTW: I just figured out how to link my books to Amazon. Just click on the "Nixon's Piano" cover on the right for more info or to buy a copy. If you haven't read it, you've got a huge hole in your education.

O,AOMT: (Oh, and one more thing) - Mrs. C told more of the truth than she knew (and as far as I know, no Big Media 'pinionators caught) when she said her hopes for presidential power depended on struggling, poorly educated whitefolk. American politicians have always counted on the ignorance, (cupidity if not stupidity) and fears of "hard-working" whitefolks. That's their idea of democracy.