Tuesday, February 09, 2010

this is MY country

Rachel Maddow unloads a bunch of righteous fury on Tom Tancredo, the Teaparty and their dangerous, seditious, white supremacist nostalgia.

I connect this moment to Black History Month because, personally, I'm tired of February being the month we use to sing gospel songs (badly and too slowly), revisit big moments Black Folks Did Something That Shamed White Folks Into Thinking We Were People, or to complain about how janky and/or 'post' Black History Month we are now.

For months, it should have been clear that the narrative running beneath anything the Teaparty does or says has been about citizenship; crazy and fringe as they are, the Birthers were onto something. Oh, the thing wasn't Obama's actual birth certificate but the question it prompted: Who is allowed to be American in this contemporary America? 

The ideologically correct answer is any of us and their rejection of our national ideal lies at the dark heart of this seditious movement. (And, yeah, I'll call it that because that's exactlly what it is. Just the same way I'll also characterize it as white supremacist.)

The nostalgia they indulge in speaks to a time when national identity and citizenship was very narrowly defined by race, and every institution of this country supported that narrow definition. Without things like Black History Month (and the people who actually know it), without people like Howard Zinn (rest in peace, truth teller), a TeaPartier's nostalgic wish to 'take back' their country floats in our public discourse without context or challenge.  Black History Month should exist to counter their narrative, to make their narrative a lie. 

Black History Month is understood to be the culmination of a civil rights fight that ended a long time ago.  But it's evidently not over - not as long as there is a burgeoning movement in this country to question my citizenship, my rights to equal protection, my rights to an American history .  As a country, we are young in our plurality and we forget that the world the TeaPartiers lost (and dream of ) could easily return - if we let their seditious wishful thinking take hold.

Still wanna celebrate Black History Month? Let's make a deal.  I'll ignore all the bad Negro spirituals being sung in mainline churches in Sundays this month if y'all read up on things like vote suppression, red lining, the source of racial wealth disparity and our long history of intstitutional racism - and tell these Teaparty sons of sedition to go frak themselves.


Orange said...

Ooh, you should cross-post this to BPhD.

No Nonsense said...

You are spot on! Citizenship in the past was narrowly defined and today these margins have moved. "take back our country"--finally explained!

You are so profound!