Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Is How a Party Splits

What we have at this moment in the 21st century is a generation of black people born into a post-Civil Rights America, provided opportunities unimaginable to their parents, and rewarded with a world that, for many of us, is far more integrated than many could have hoped for. We have learned that a world defined completely by race (or gender or sexuality or religion) is an incredibly small world and have demanded, and continue to demand, that all aspects of our identities and lives be taken seriously. We can't be counted on to play the American race game as it's always been played. We can't be counted on to choose blackness over our gender or sexuality or class or religion.

But that doesn't mean blackness doesn't matter. That race doesn't still have a profound effect on our day to day to existence. That you can call me a nigger and get away with it.

And it doesn't mean that I have to pretend to be colorblind for your convenience.

Mickey Kaus over at Slate offered this advice to Obama, a strategy he can use to get out of the political ghetto he now finds himself in (read: how he can keep his white supporters despite his growing support among black voters):

The more obvious move is to find a Sister Souljah--after Saturday--to stiff arm. The most promising candidate is not a person, but an idea: race-based affirmative action. Obama has already made noises about shifting to a class-based, race-blind system of preferences. What if he made that explicit? Wouldn't that shock hostile white voters into taking a second look at his candidacy? He'd renew his image as trans-race leader (and healer). The howls of criticism from the conventional civil-rights establishment--they'd flood the cable shows--would provide him with an army of Souljahs to hold off. If anyone noticed Hillary in the ensuing fuss, it would be to put her on the spot--she'd be the one defending mend-it-don't-end-it civil rights orthodoxy.

So the only way Obama can win, the only way white voters will support him, is if he goes out of his way to show that he's willing to be unpopular with black people? Because black people liking you too much makes you suspect?

rikyrah at jackandjillpolitics in a post about "progressive" bloggers and the South Carolina primary had this to say:

So, let me get this straight - Hillary Clinton wins White women in New Hampshire, and it's this great victory, but if Barack Obama wins South Carolina, after ten months of campaigning, because of sizeable Black support, it doesn't REALLY count? What is this - are we back to being Three-Fifths once again? The Black vote doesn't count as much as the White vote? I'm going to say this as obviously as I can:


You simply don't. There is this underlying condescension that has been creeping into the "Progressive" blogs that, ' oh, well , THEY - meaning Blacks- have nowhere else to go. So, the Clintons and their proxies, who are actually race-baiting, but we'll say that they aren't, and tell those Blacks who are informing us as to what they see that it's in their IMAGINATION - well, they'll shut up, go SIT IN THEIR PLACE and turn up in November like they're SUPPOSED TO.' That's not a bet you want to take.

James Brown said it:
We'd rather die on our feet
Than be livin' on our knees

I am part of the Hip-Hop generation, and those of us who are Post Civil-Rights have learned our lessons well. We learned to hear the Dogwhistle of Racial Politics; our parents taught us that for SURVIVAL, but what they afforded us that they didn't have, was the option of getting off of our knees.

I hope this primary season goes down in American political and racial history as the season black people finally gets up off our knees.

1 comment:

Dark Daughta said...

as a non amerikkkan...
living on kkkanadian soil...
Do you really think Obama, or Hilary, for that matter, are interested in doing amything to support Black people, wimmin or the working classes?

Because they're the only two options being offerred, two bad options of a host of bad options, doesn't mean that they're at all useful.

It just means that people feel forced to choose between them. But being forced to choose between two options, neither of which are really trustworthy...Obama is getting massive funds from somewhere and his campaign isn't being funded by Black people...Hilary I was told is linked to the Israelis...which means she's linked to people who believe in the palestinian occupation...
Obama is being supported by the Kennedys who, I think are old robber baron white amerikkkan royalty...I don't think the endorsement is new...I think they were there all along...

I guess I'm saying this is a dance, a chess game where the dems and republicans are the same side and they manouever around and play against the voting populace, their sheep, who do as they're told when they're told...
They accept the candidates offered, they watch the soap opera like televised debates, hanging off the every word of the rock star super white house candidates, then they vote when told because they've been told it's necessary for one of the affluent class to rule over them and tell them what to do.

I don't think that this sounds like much of a choice.

I think it sounds more like shooting puppies in a barrel.

I was happy to find your site. You're right, there've gotta be more rad Black geek girls out there. I wish you luck finding them. :)