Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why an Obama presidency is good for American feminism

Obama is not so much a progressive candidate, as Clinton is a regressive one. And by extension so are the 2nd wave feminists supporting her. It has been disheartening to witness the unwavering, even hardening of support from so many white women for Clinton as her campaign has taken a turn toward open race baiting, and racial divide and conquer tactics to muster up votes.

The moral bankruptcy of this form of feminism has become clear to anyone who is willing to take a critical look and see it.

Steinem, Ferraro, Jong and others aren’t advocating for a radical change in the white and male power structure as much as they are seeking to take over its reigns. What appears to be an irrational fear on the part of these white women that if Clinton doesn’t get the nomination NOW feminism has lost its shot makes total sense if their form of feminism is about finally wielding power like white men do, not creating a radically different power structure in and of itself.

Call it the white (wo)man’s last stand, or so to speak.

As the bi-directional influence of globalization becomes clearer and undeniable, in order to compete globally Americans of European descent will have to give up white privilege, or at the very least expand it to an “American privilege” that includes its citizens of color. New centers of power both economic and cultural are taking root among brown and yellow countries in the world, and who better to negotiate with them than America’s own brown and yellow people? The value of a Thatcher-esque presidency, rife with social impact on gender relations for Americans, will be lost on the rest of the globe’s citizens of color who aren’t likely to suffer a kinder, gentler white supremacy when they are holding so many of the cards now.

Those who wish to see Obama become president right now are angling for America to stay relevant in this new global reality. Those who wish to see Clinton win are angling for whiteness to stay relevant in this new global reality.

In a post-Obama presidency, any white woman who runs and wins will not easily be able to wield power in a racially supremacist kind of way as all prior 43 presidents have done to varying degrees. In a weird kind of way an Obama presidency might force white feminists to give up their (nowadays not so) latent white supremacy if they want a shot at the title down the road.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why drop out of the race before all the assassins have had their say?

It just gets worser and worser. I used to pray for Howard Dean to grow a pair and tell this lady to exit stage right, but I think it is more instructive for the American public to see just how deranged Killery Clinton is. I don't think any amount of mojo from the comeback kid can save her political career now. This Boomer blogger seems to think her generation will finally come to its senses. To that I say YES THEY CAN!

Thanks Keith. I couldn't have said it better.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Open Letter to the Baby Boomers

Much is being made of the Democratic nomination process between Senators Clinton and Obama as a battle between competing aggrieved groups (women vs. blacks). Given that much of the media is owned and operated by Baby Boomers, it stands to reason that many pundits would opine on the contest in terms of these kind of identity politics. Clearly Obama has been fighting to get out from under this kind of victimhood masquerading as empowerment, and that's why young people who've grown up in an integrated society where women are expected to occupy the workforce are flocking to him in droves. Clinton is fighting a battle that for Gen-Xers and Millennials has in many respects already been won, and they simply can't relate. And frankly, we've got bigger fish to fry.

Clinton has been trying her best to bring Obama into her frame, and the media has lately been playing along. On the gender card tip she's thrown Gloria Steinem and Erica Jong at him. Bill, Bob Johnson and
Geraldine Ferraro shuffled from the deck of race cards. And even she has joined the fray with her thinly veiled southern strategy-type pronouncements.

But yesterday Clinton made statements that did worse than wade in the gutter of gender victimizing, race baiting, divisive politics.
Comparisons, though sometimes inflammatory, can often be instructive in understanding the gravity of contemporary political realities. But Clinton - sans irony - compared the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida voters in the 2008 Democratic nomination contest with one of the major U.S. social movements of the 20th century, and in effect denigrated a core life changing juncture in her generation's coming of age in order to pander for votes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe anyone in Florida or Michigan was lynched, firebombed or disappeared in fighting for their right to the vote.

Clearly Clinton's moral relativism (read: lying) seems to mean nada to most white women Boomers who are after the crown, principles be damned. I have to wonder about other Boomers out there, though, like Glenn Loury who support her because it's their generation's "time". Does he still think its acceptable to support this candidate when she would willingly sell out one of their shared formative experiences? And does he and other thinking Boomers really think this kind of behavior would stop once the power was seized? I've got to ask: can you people come to your senses on this woman and these kind of tactics already? Or will this really require an actuarial solution to be rectified?

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In Defense of the Guilty White Liberal

Finally a white person publicly states the obvious:

Guilt is good, people! The only people who don't suffer guilt are sociopaths and serial killers. Guilt means you have a conscience. You have self-awareness, you have—in the case of America's history of racism—historical awareness. Just because things have gotten better in the present doesn't mean we can erase racism from our past or ignore its enduring legacy.

It's a shame that the country had to go damned near off the deep end for folks to be able to come to their senses.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama's VP?

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) tackles the race issue from the working class white perspective, making a clear case for the VP slot in an Obama administration...

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I admit, even sometimes I get a little carried away...

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Racial Passing: A Concept Whose Time has Passed?

Senator Obama's meteoric rise from obscurity just 4 years ago to his almost certain clinching of the 2008 Democratic Party nomination (and barring a kamikaze move by the Clintons, the presidency) has raised the specter of race in both public and private conversation to levels not seen since the Civil Rights era. And what has become clear is that there is no longer a consensus on the assumptions that most folks make both privately and publicly about identity and culture, and how they relate to the political sphere. The fact that there are differences in perspective, especially along generational lines as opposed to racial ones, appears to be a strange shock to a lot of folks in the 50+ set. It's as if the Baby Boomers took the Civil Rights Movement as the end in itself, and not the means to the end - which was supposed to be a color-blind, more racially equitable society.

Clinton minions who wish to see her secure the nomination at all costs are consistently the worst perpetrators of this strange myopia, insulting the generations who grew up in an integrated society because they don't (and can't by definition) subscribe to the neurosis of that barrier-busting generation. Senator Obama spoke directly to this generational divide in regard to the African American community when he tried to give some context to the anger expressed by Reverend Wright in the clips aired ad infinitum on Fox News, et al. The Reverend was not to be outdone by the Clinton crew, and his fratricidal impulse in defense of his generational worldview nearly derailed the aspiring candidate. A lot of black folks wondered aloud what the hell Wright was thinking. Did the brother have his eyes on the prize or what?

For me these are the moments when the long view is instructive. A suave, black gentleman friend of mine aged 72 years young regularly puts these issues of race and identity in perspective for me. A life-long New York city native who grew up in Harlem and now lives in Brooklyn, he remembers when sanctimonious Northern cities were (informally) segregated, and shares strategies with me on how he worked his way up the ladder in the architectural world to operate his own design firm. He is not just a student of history, but lived it.

Over brunch on Sunday we talked about an issue that is basically taboo in discussions about 20th century black life – namely the tensions between the light skinned (biracials) and dark skinned (blacks) where issues of leadership are concerned. Yes, there were the Marcus Garveys out there, but on the whole it is biracials who occupied the higher tiers of black society. One need only look as far as Reverend Wright, with his even lighter skin and even more European-looking features contrasted to the biracial Obama, to see an example of this. Could the Reverend’s public unhinging have to do with his deep-seated frustrations at not being allowed to play the leadership role that Senator Obama has been occupying in our brave new “postracial” world – as Obama hinted at in his speech on race? Is the Reverend suffering from a jealously heightened by a form of tragic mulatto-ism?

During our conversation my friend mentioned an interesting factoid of which I was not aware, that if true, adds a further dimension to the discussion. Apparently, the member of President Truman’s inner circle who convinced him to integrate the military was actually a black man “passing” as white. Passing is a phenomenon generally vilified by black folks; a famous fairly recent example is Henry Louis Gate’s posthumous outing of Creole writer Anatole Broyard, resulting in his daughter Bliss’ memoir One Drop. However, since One Drop rule made it traditionally impossible for the biracial leadership to get really close to the annals of power it could only be “passing” blacks or sympathetic whites who could turn the ears of powerful men to do the right thing. I’ve wondered if that ever stuck in the craw of biracials like Gates or Wright who might have had the same vision as an Obama, but the times wouldn’t allow them the space to lead beyond the Jim Crow era race categories.

Obama is messing with black people's minds as much as white's because he is a biracial that is not out there solely representing the black struggle, as was the case for the majority of the Civil Rights leadership of the 20th century. His platform and worldview can be summed up as a rising tide lifts all boats. There is no denying that things are still bad for many black folks and there is a lot of work to be done. However, opportunities for black advancement have improved in the post Civil Rights era -- along with the minds of many white people young and old about the intelligence and leadership capabilities of people of color. If this were not true, Obama would not be winning!

It is precisely because Obama is biracial, not just genetically but also culturally and politically, that many white people feel comfortable in his ability to represent the needs and desires of all Americans not just black ones. His biracial appeal to whites is also the reason why black people eventually came out overwhelmingly in support of him; they recognized that he was being taken as a viable presidential candidate, and not just seen by whites as running for the president of black America.

One drop rule may have once been agreed to by whites and blacks alike – as a necessary mechanism of economic control for the white elite while also a way for blacks to foment solidarity for the freedom struggle. But in President Obama’s America will it still be necessary or even possible? Will newly biologically white folks (read: passing) need to hide African descent in order to advocate for black advancement when there is a bi-racial president advocating for all people's advancement? When there are blacks, biracials and other people of color (not proportionally representative but getting there, albeit slowly) in leadership positions in government, business, academia and media across the board? And just where does that leave the Reverend Wrights of the world?

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Monday, May 12, 2008

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

'Nuff said

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