Thursday, March 20, 2008

so, what have we learned?

Obama Tries to Shift Focus Away From Race but sees a drop in support, according to a poll mentioned in the Times.

What have we learned from the past few days?

Well, that Americans are dumber than ever when it comes to talking about race or racial identity and that no one will ever say the words 'white privilege' on air.

Jesus. As long as Obama stayed imbued with the halo of his media-created 'magical negritude' then he was all right. But - as soon as he became associated with a less moderate point of view about America and America's treatment of communities of color, then he's militant and somehow unworthy of the candidacy.

(And HRC? All she has to do is sit back and watch it all happen.)

I spoke with someone about this today (a white woman that I respect a great deal) and she said that what disturbed her most about how this whole thing is playing out is how this is impacting speech. (And let's be clear about one thing - you might not like what Wright said but it's not hate speech.) Not only is this an instance of 'guilt by association,' something that would never seriously damage a white political figure, she said, 'If churches are where communities can safely vent their frustrations and troubles, then this means that those spaces are no longer safe.'

Here in Chicago are we suddenly going to pore over the sermons by people like Rev. James Meeks or even Fr. Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina's if they say something bad about white supremacy?

Because that's what Wright was talking about: White nationalist supremacy. Not you, oh clueless, individual white person. Get over the interpersonal and intentional way of framing your discussions about race or racial justice. It's not about YOU, it's about the structure of white supremacy in this country. How many times do we have to say this before you fucking get it??

(Angry? Yeah, I'm fucking angry. I'm always angry when I'm confronted with stupid.)

But, more importantly, we've learned that the much-ballyhooed 'post-racial' era in America is about as real as a jackalope.

(The president of the Chicago Urban League wrote a letter to the Editor here in the Chicago Defender about her reaction to the flap.)


Trope said...

I'm stunned (sorry, I'm new to this game) and saddened to hear of Obama's drop in support; I really thought that this was the speech that would pull him ahead of HRC at last and get people to understand that his candidacy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle racial issues in a productive and positive way. Maybe that was a simplistic hope.

We're just not going to get to "post-racial" until we discuss these issues in public, and shutting down speech in local communities is only going to set us farther back. God help us.

Atalanta said...

It is my understanding that the Gallup poll is a three day rolling poll - meaning that it takes an average of the prior three days totals as the final poll number. The results of the speech actually appear to be quite positive as the days prior to the speech roll off the poll (not denying the general stupid, but just highlighting that the speech is working). The first results containing all post-speech results will be on the 22nd (the speech was the 18th). However, the Gallup from the 19th (1 pre-speech day, speech day and 1 post speech) had a 2 point Obama bump and the poll on the 20th (speech and 2 post-speech) had another 3 point bump. Things are definitely looking up - and now Richardson is in the mix as well!

bitchphd said...

I just refuse to believe that that speech is going to make Obama *less* attractive as a candidate.

Of course I also find it hard to believe that anyone gives a rat's ass about Wright's sermon.

Lalalalalala I'm going for a bike ride.

liza said...

I hate to say it, but the minute I heard the speech I had a sinking feeling it was all over. It might not yet be, but I'm not holding my breath. I hope I'm wrong, I really do.

ding said...

@Atalanta: another commenter pointed out the timing of the poll, too, so I am now climbing down from my belltower and will remove my Militant Black Power t-shirt to sit calmly at my laptop again. Thank you. (And the way you roll the stats off, wow. You can have your own segment on CNN.)

@Bitch: never ever underestimate the ignorance of homegrown bigots. That way, you're never surprised! Enjoy the bike ride. It's snowing here, you bike-riding wench!

@Liza and Trope: while my jumping off at the handle may have been premature, I'm afraid the whole Wright ordeal has given me a glimpse of what might happen if Obama gets the nomination. Our media is woefully ignorant - I mean, they are literally stupid. A friend sent me a message admonishing me not to mix up the media reaction with the American public reaction, but I'm finding it hard to do that.

When I give the American public the benefit of the doubt that they can look past all the stupid media bullshit and see what the right thing to do is, what happens? They vote for George W. Bush twice.

No Nonsense said...

I was very annoyed by the constant replay of Wright's soundbite. Then I started thinking "what are the so PO about?" He said that Hillary was never a little black boy, did I miss something? was she? He also said she was never called the N word either,I highly doubt she ever was called that. And it who can deny that our foreign policy sucks? That will breed resentment and for that they will want to attack us harming completely innocent people therefore the chicken coming home to roost bit. People are not happy about 9/11. It was a scary time in our modern history. But we need to acknowledge what brought this tragedy to our shores and never repeat it. Sean Hannity should be ashamed of himself. What pisses me off he gets paid crap loads of money to spread hate! UUUGGGHHHH

ding said...

I have to agree; Hannity is right up there in the craptastic trinity: Hannity, Scarborough and Carlson.

(O'Reilly is in a class of insanity all by himself.)

wade said...

i find it amazing that the white preachers (aka Pat Robertson, et al) can say the same words, mirror the same sentiment, spew hatred a millions times more racist than anything Wright stated and yet not be taken to task, not even be mentioned in the news.

for shame. for the record, my country embarrasses me.