Tag Archives: black people

The cultural war on white people

Image result for white walker

So popular within the American culture is the war on white people that the blue-eyed devil is the biggest villain in the very popular HBO TV series “Game of Thrones.” Just sayin’.

That headline is intentionally provocative, but it’s not entirely hyperbole. Discussion of civil rights and racial equality and interracial relations has, over the past few years, increasingly become less and less about reconciliation with whites and more and more about the demonization of and revenge against whites.

And it’s ironic, because many if not most of those seeking revenge against whites are non-whites (mostly black Americans) who have not directly been touched by the worst of what white Americans perpetrated upon non-whites (mostly black Americans) throughout U.S. history. (I think that I have fairly privileged non-white college students in mind the most.) And many if not most of the demonized whites of today have not perpetrated the worst of what white Americans perpetrated upon non-whites throughout U.S. history; they were just born white.

A dream was deferred — and racial revenge has been deferred, too.

The popular message to whites today is that you’re evil because you were born white. You cannot escape your whiteness, and therefore you cannot escape your evil, you blue-eyed devil.

This message is contained in even just the title “Dear White People” — the title itself is so offensive (“Dear Black People” or “Dear Hispanic People” or “Dear Asian People” wouldn’t be OK, but “Dear White People” is perfectly OK, you see, because all white people are evil) that I haven’t been able to get into either the movie or the TV show of that name.

I did get all the way through “Get Out,” the black-paranoia suspense movie in which the central message very apparently is that every white person is an anti-black racist and that no white person can be trusted by any black person.*

I guess that the white actors who appeared in “Get Out” thought that they were being good guilty white liberals by participating in this movie whose central purpose apparently is to tell its primarily black audience that Yes, you’re right, every white person is evil and is out to get you, and, given enough time, will betray you eventually.

That’s such a healthy message.

And this message was “confirmed” in the fairly recent incident in which Bill Maher bizarrely and unfunnily referred to himself as “a house nigger” on his HBO politicocomedic talk show.

Maher was “outed” as just yet another secret white supremacist, you see — his having had many black guests on his show over the years, his $1 million donation to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and his black ex-girlfriends obviously all were just elaborate cover for his greatest love, which is, of course, to practice white supremacism — and so on his next show he had to undergo the obligatory flagellation (Bad white man! Baaad!). It was a fucking debacle.

As I have noted before, while white Americans were evenly split between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton in the Democratic Party primary elections and caucuses, what helped Billary win the nomination is that black Americans supported her over blue-eyed devil Bernie by a margin of three to one.

Ironically, the true blue-eyed devil was and remains Billary, but no matter.

And I expect Bernie to face anti-white (and anti-Semitic) sentiment from black voters again should he run for 2020. But we’re not even to talk about these facts, since they don’t fit the anti-white, only-whites-can-be-racist narrative that is so en vogue.

But could it be that treating a whole race of people like demons might actually induce some of them to act like demons, in a self-fulfilling prophecy? I mean, that has happened to some blacks due to the white demonization of them, has it not? Why wouldn’t it work in the opposite direction?

Lest you think that I’m going overboard here, there are these concluding paragraphs in Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie’s piece on the recent KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (to protest the removal of Confederate “hero” statues):

… But while the Klan is a faded image of itself, white supremacy is still a potent ideology. In August, another group of white supremacists — led by white nationalist Richard Spencer and his local allies — will descend on Charlottesville to hold another protest.

Unlike the Loyal White Knights, they won’t have hoods and costumes; they’ll wear suits and khakis. They’ll smile for the cameras and explain their positions in media-friendly language. They will look normal — they might even be confident. After all, in the last year, their movement has been on the upswing, fueled by a larger politics of white grievance that swept a demagogue into office.

The Klan, as represented by the men and women who came to Charlottesville, is easy to oppose. They are the archetype of racism, the specter that almost every American can condemn.

The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another “perspective.”

Charlottesville will likely mobilize against Spencer and his group, but the racism he represents will remain, a part of this community and most others across the United States. How does one respond to that? What does one do about that?

I’ve been reading Bouie for years now, I believe it has been, and for the most part his discussions on racism and race relations have been fair, balanced and insightful, which you often don’t find in the discussion.

But the spirit of the paragraphs above is disturbing. Its message is that no white person can be trusted; we can’t go by the type of clothing anymore, so we can only go on the color of the person’s skin. Indeed, Bouie’s sentiment above mirrors the central thesis of “Get Out”: “The real challenge is the less visible bigotry, the genteel racism that cloaks itself in respectability and speaks in code, offering itself as just another ‘perspective.’ … What does one do about that?”

Indeed, if every white person probably is the enemy, what do you do?

Apparently the only hope that a white person has these days to get acceptance from non-whites, especially blacks, is to denounce his or her entire evil race in the strongest terms possible and to state strong agreement with every word stated by non-whites. But even that isn’t enough, you see, because the denunciations of one’s own evil, white race and the claims of sympathy and empathy with the non-white probably aren’t sincere. They’re probably just a cover-up for the blue-eyed devil’s true, inborn evil.

We cannot continue to “function” this way, not if we ever want interracial reconciliation. But therein lies the rub: Many (if not most) non-whites (blacks especially, very apparently) don’t want interracial reconciliation, because their entire identity is wrapped up in being a perpetual victim of the blue-eyed devil. (Often, even their income depends on it.) This victimization (real or fabricated) must continue for their identity (and, sometimes, their income) to remain intact, so they continually will find “proof” of this victimization whether it even exists or not.

I surmise that Bouie asked his concluding question (“What does one do about that?”) rhetorically, but I’ll answer it anyway:

You don’t worry about what other people think of you, as you have no control over that, for the very most part. You do, however, become concerned if anyone’s bigotry or hatred translates into words or actions that are meant to harm you.

As a gay man, I know that there are plenty of heterosexuals out there who claim to support equal human and civil rights for us non-heterosexuals but who actually are quite homophobic. Since we’re on the subject, I’ll add that more white Americans (64 percent) than black Americans (51 percent) support same-sex marriage (which to me is a pretty good litmus test for homophobia), so, it seems to me, a black stranger that I come into contact with is more likely to be homophobic than is a white stranger.

And as a white man I never know, when I approach, for the first time, a non-white person (perhaps especially a black person, given the ugly history between the two races in the U.S.) whether or not he or she hates whitey or whether he or she is willing to give me a chance (I do, after all, have blue eyes…).

But I don’t lose sleep over whether or not someone is an anti-white racist and/or a homophobe. Ignorance, bigotry and hatred would be and would remain that person’s problem — until and unless he or she committed a word (such as “faggot,” which black boxer Floyd Mayweather shouted at white boxer Conor McGregor on Friday**) or words and/or a deed or deeds that made it my problem.

I’d give that same advice to Jamelle Bouie and to every other black person with whom I can be an ally as long as he or she doesn’t have an intractable “Get Out”-style perception of me, just waiting until I finally, inevitably demonstrate my “true colors” (because I have, you know, just traded my pointy white hood for khakis).

P.S. I have been following “Game of Thrones” for years now and await tonight’s season-seven premiere, but the fact that the show’s biggest baddies are blue-eyed “white walkers” — the symbolism of that — hasn’t been lost on me…

*The movie has its fatal flaws, of course, such as the central plot contradiction that anti-black white supremacists want their brains transferred into the bodies of black people.

Of course, contained within that contradiction actually is black supremacism — the idea/belief that it’s actually better to possess a black body than a white body, because if it weren’t, then why would these racist whiteys steal black bodies to inhabit?

Of course, plot contradictions in “Get Out” are to be pushed aside, because, again, its central, apparently-very-appealing-to-some message (aside from black supremacism, ironically) is that every white person is out to get every black person.

**To be fair and balanced, Conor McGregor, very apparently no towering genius himself, has made anti-black racist comments, but, to my knowledge, McGregor isn’t gay, and so when Mayweather hurled the epithet “faggot” at him, those of us who actually are “faggots” were just collateral damage, you see, and I don’t believe that Mayweather’s homophobia is at all uncommon among black Americans, who routinely hypocritically claim that ignorance, bigotry and hatred always belong to someone else.

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Jonathan Chait got it mostly right on the toxic identity politics of today

Jonathan Chait's epic race fail: How a story about racism and Obama goes horribly wrong

Left-of-center writer Jonathan Chait has committed the sin of telling the truth about our self-appointed political-correctness police, those who use their membership within an historically victimized and oppressed group to victimize and oppress others (men, mostly, and mostly white men, but sometimes white women as well). It indeed in so many quarters is open season on all white males, who are deemed automatically to be oppressors and victimizers because of their immutable characteristics of being male and being white. (As a gay white male, my non-heterosexuality gives me only so much cover for being a member of a class of victims, as homophobes widely consider homosexuality to be mutable. [Of course, it doesn’t fucking matter whether it’s mutable or not; we all should have the freedom to express ourselves sexually as we please, as long as we do so consensually.])

New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait started a shitstorm when he wrote about toxic PC (political correctness) police. Had he been completely wrong, he probably would have been ignored, but since he spoke so much unflattering truth, I’m one of only a handful of Internet commentators who have yet to comment on his comments.

First off, it’s necessary to describe the environment in which all of us Americans operate: to such a large degree stupid white men (emphasis there on “stupid”) still rule, as evidenced by the popularity of “American Sniper.” Not only is the Clint Eastwood film still No. 1, despite Eastwood’s penchant for talking to a vacant chair (actually, for “American Sniper’s” target audience, I’m sure that was in Eastwood’s favor), but the book American Sniper is No. 1 on amazon.com, and in amazon.com’s top-100-selling book titles there are no fewer than four different versions of the same fucking book (as I type this sentence) — plus an apparent knock-off book about yet another American sniper called The Reaper.

So mindless, blind worship of stupid, murderous (or at least violent or at least aggressive) white men widely misconstrued as “heroes” continues. (This could be its own blog piece, and indeed, was going to be, but I’ll get it over with here: “American sniper” Chris Kyle, who died by the sword as he lived by the sword, was no “hero.” He was part of an illegal and immoral occupying force in Iraq. As part of that illegal and immoral occupying force, he slaughtered a bunch of people who were, at least in their own eyes, defending their nation from a foreign occupying force [duh]. As Iraq had posed zero threat to the United States, as Iraq had not killed any Americans and had had no capability of killing Americans en masse [yeah, those Iraqi “WMDs” claimed by the war criminals who comprised the illegitimate Bush regime have yet to be found], there is no valid argument that Kyle was “protecting our freedoms” or some other jingoistic, Nazi-like bullshit. Kyle very apparently just really, really liked to slaughter people, and if he were Muslim instead of “Christian” and weren’t taking the big dirt nap, he probably would be a member of ISIS right now, slaughtering people left and right with gleeful abandon.)

So that is the nasty backdrop (part of it, anyway) against which those of us who aren’t stupid white men (again, emphasis on “stupid,” not on “white” or on “men”) or one of their worshipers must live in the United States of America.

That is the kind of background and context that Jonathan Chait’s piece is largely if not wholly missing, and I fault him for that fairly glaring omission, as well as for apparently not having allowed his piece to gestate long enough before birthing it upon the nation. (I often if not usually let something gestate for at least a few days before I finally give birth to it, such as this piece.) Further, the gravity of the topic — political correctness (which falls under the umbrella of identity politics) — could merit its own book, so no magazine article or blog piece (not even this one) could do it more than partial justice.

But Chait describes fairly well the phenomenon in which so many members of historically oppressed groups identify so much with being oppressed (whether these members as individuals actually have been very oppressed as individuals themselves or not) that they are hyper-vigilant about any signs of oppression.

Seriously — it used to be that people were just oppressed. And oppression was a bad thing. You didn’t want to be oppressed.

Now, being a member of an historically oppressed group is très chic. And apparently maintaining your membership in your très-chic group of oppressed people means constantly finding fresh meat, fresh new examples of how you have been oppressed, so if there aren’t any actual examples of how you have been oppressed, you’ll wildly exaggerate or even fabricate such “examples.”

Since you haven’t been (very) oppressed yourself lately, you’ll gladly piggy-back on to others’ (real or exaggerated or fabricated) oppression. That’s always fun.

If you didn’t jump on the Michael Brown bandwagon, for instance, to many that means that you are a white supremacist who supports the gunning down of black men, especially young black men, by white fascist cops who enjoy killing black men.

Never mind that it still remains quite unsettled as to whether or not Michael Brown actually went for the cop’s gun before the cop shot him dead. The cop claims that Brown did, and not only was the cop not indicted by a grand jury (which, indeed, might have been a bogus process), but the U.S. Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against the cop for civil-rights violations (granted, proving a civil-rights violation can be a high bar to clear, I know from personal experience).

It’s disturbing that so many people jumped to conclusions and have held fast to them. If your identity politics is that of the oppressed black American, then of course Michael Brown was innocent, a “gentle giant,” and was gunned down by whitey primarily if not solely for his race, and if your identity politics is that of the right-wing white person whose worldview at least verges on white supremacy if it isn’t already fully there, then of course Brown was a thug (and the phrase “black thug” would be redundant) and of course the white police officer only did what he had to do.

Either Brown went after the cop’s gun or he did not. (If I went after a cop’s gun, I’d expect to get shot.) The cop, under our existing (deeply flawed) legal structure, used deadly force against Brown legally or he did not. But whatever actually happened on that August day in Ferguson, Missouri, has little to nothing to do with identity politics, yet for many if not most Americans, their identity politics dictates the “facts.” That’s scary.

(The Eric Garner case, as I have written, at the bare minimum was a clear-cut case of manslaughter by the thuggish white cop, and, entirely unlike the Brown case, we have video of Garner incident, so “I can’t breathe” is an apt slogan of protest, whereas I never was on board with the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” meme because there is no evidence that Brown ever put his hands up in surrender — there are only biased claims that he did.)

The case of Woody Allen, too, also wasn’t about the actual knowledge of actual facts but was about identity politics.

Women whom Rush Limbaugh might call “femi-Nazis” have asserted that of course Mia Farrow, being a woman, told the truth that Allen had molested their adopted daughter, even though the allegation came during a nasty custody battle — and that of course Allen, being a man, was guilty as charged. Never mind that none of us was there and has any actual knowledge of what did or what did not happen; we have only the claims and counter-claims of the members of a deeply broken family whose dirty laundry has been scattered all over the public square.

This is some highly toxic shit.

The case of Bill Cosby, though, and that of Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger when he was running for California governor in a bullshit recall election in 2003 that had amounted to a do-over election since the bumbling Repugnican candidate had lost the election in 2002: When several women have come forward publicly to state that a man has sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them, to call all of them liars (as so many did to the at-least six women who came forward about the past deeds of the future Gov. Groper) very most often is a misogynist, patriarchal thing to do.

I have little to no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby (and Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger) serially sexually harassed and sexually assaulted women.

But actual victimization is diminished when victimization is falsely claimed or is claimed whether or not there is any evidence to support the claim of victimization — usually out of identity politics. Perversely, many if not even most members of an historically oppressed group very apparently want the latest example of possible victimization (such as the shooting death of Michael Brown) to be true victimization because, in their eyes, it strengthens their political power as claimants of oppression.

It’s perverse that oppression has morphed from something that no one wanted into something that so many cherish to the point that they’ll happily fabricate it if they deem that to do so will advance themselves somehow.

(In his piece, Chait correctly notes that “It [identity politics and its concomitant claims of perpetual and ubiquitous victimhood] also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” Indeed, both Slate.com and Salon.com, two of my favorite websites, have resident identity-politics writers, taking the feminist and the black angles, mostly, and I routinely read these writers’ pieces, and often if not usually I agree with them [Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie rocks], but sometimes, yeah, it’s apparent that they’re really milking it. [Sorry, Salon.com’s Brittney Cooper, but in his article Chait calls you out on your frequent hysteria and hyperbole fairly fairly.])

This professional “victimhood,” is, I suspect, what has eaten at Chait, but that he perhaps did not articulate well enough in his now-infamous article.

And of his article, this paragraph, I think, is the money shot:

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

The emphasis there is mine. In the most rabid “p.c. culture,” indeed, “There is no allowance … for the possibility that the accusation [of an act of oppression or victimization] may be erroneous.” Within this toxic, tightly closed-off atmosphere, facts and evidence have no place at all; the politics of group identity rules supreme. Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter. Period. If you disagree with this, then you hate women and/or you are a pedophile yourself. Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” (never mind the very inconvenient video footage of him roughing up a convenience store clerk while he stole cigarillos from him on the day of his death) who was gunned down in cold blood by a white supremacist police officer. Period. If you disagree with this, then you are a white supremacist.

And indeed, as Chait writes, “A white person or a man can achieve the status of ‘ally,’ however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue.” Yup. That means going along with all manner of blatantly bullshit groupthink in order to get along, lest you be called a misogynist or racist/white supremacist or worse.

The goal of “p.c. culture” as it stands today indeed so often seems to be to push all white men into a corner, indeed, to destroy all white men or, minimally, to make all white men feel perpetually guilty (and thus perpetually disempowered) because, of course, merely by their having been born white and male, they inherently are the evil victimizers and oppressors of others (of women and of black people, mostly, but of other groups, too, of course). It’s not their individual deeds that make white males automatically-guilty victimizers and oppressors, but their mere membership within the group of white males, you see.

This is the sorry state of affairs even though the origin of “p.c. culture” was the fact that white men were pushing too many others into a corner due to those others’ immutable differences from white men, and pushing others into a corner based upon their immutable differences from oneself is a bad thing to do.

To such a large degree, the victims (well, in so many cases, the “victims”) have become the victimizers, and today the victims don’t even have to be actual victims to call themselves victims, and their actual victimization of others isn’t victimization because they are victims, and a victim cannot also be a victimizer, you see.

Get it? These are the new rules.

These new rules have got to go.

Jonathan Chait got it (mostly) right, which is why we’ve seen the reaction to him that we’ve seen.

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Finally (maybe), the president we voted for in 2008

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” President Barack Obama remarked during a press conference yesterday, immediately adding, “Another way of saying that is [that] Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” He also remarked that while “Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race,” “It doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial society” and “It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.” Anyone who has a problem with these words is a part of the problem.

I usually agree with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, but not this time. He begins his latest column thusly:

We should talk honestly about unresolved racial issues, such as those exposed by the Trayvon Martin case, but President Obama is not the best person to lead the discussion. Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst.

Indeed, yesterday President Hopey-Changey unexpectedly during a press conference at the White House finally discussed American race relations apparently in a way not meant to placate the incredibly easily rattled whitey.

This was the Obama I voted for in 2008 but could not vote for again in 2012, in no small part because of his history of probably being worse on the issues of race relations and racism than an actually progressive white president would have been.

Here are some nuggets from Obama’s remarks (which I recommend that you read in their entirety):

…[In] the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here [in the Trayvon Martin case], [and] I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

…The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

…And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

…So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied. And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. …

Now, I don’t agree with every word that Obama spoke, such as his mindless, pro-plutocratic promotion of nonviolence — “If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family,” he remarked, even though the U.S. government and all other levels of government in the U.S. resort to violence for our plutocratic overlords all the fucking time, abroad and at home, while we commoners are never to respond in kind, thus helping to ensure the status quo (including, of course, our serfdom) — but even simple, obvious, irrefutable reminders of what black Americans routinely go through, such as being followed around at department stores and hearing the clicks of car-door locks in their presence, are powerful.

These simple truths are powerful because in the United States of America they so rarely are mentioned in the public square, and certainly, until now, never by the U.S. president.

These truths aren’t controversial because they’re truths, but because in the dysfunctional family that is the United States of America, truths that make many people uncomfortable are not to be uttered at all, and those who utter them usually are punished — not for lying, certainly, but for uttering the truths that, the unspoken but usually quite understood rule is, never are to be uttered because they make certain people — gasp!uncomfortable.

This dysfunctional bullshit needed to stop long ago, and the reason that Obama got my vote in 2008, at least in part, is that I trusted his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change”; I trusted him to start to break through all of the bullshit.

Unfortunately, Obama apparently has waited until his second term to begin to do so.

In his remarks about the Trayvon Martin case Obama also offered some policy changes in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future. Among those remarks were these two:

“I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than defuse potential altercations” and “…[If] we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?”

I think he hit the nail on the head — the two big takeaways from the Trayvon Martin case are the problems of racial profiling (and racism and race relations in general, which, of course, are behind such profiling) and right-wing state laws that indeed actually encourage Wild-West-style violence rather than work to reduce violence.

The only Americans who possibly could have a real problem with Obama’s remarks are those who are guilty as charged. These would be the racists and white supremacists who have opposed Obama from Day One anyway.

I get it that Obama also from Day One was careful, probably especially once he stepped into the national limelight, not to appear to be an “angry” black man, lest too many white (and other non-black) people be put off by it and not vote for him. (There is a reason that someone like Obama, and not someone like Jesse Jackson [who did run for president — back in the day I went to his presidential campaign stop at my university], became our first black president.)

However, up until now Obama has gone too far in the direction of caution, neglecting the issue of race to the point that, again, I seriously have considered that an actually bold, progressive white (or other non-black) president would have done much more to improve the lives of black Americans than Obama has.

Obama’s chronic over-caution has had the paradoxical effect, I suspect, of making the fact that he’s been our first black president to be fairly meaningless, in terms of the quality of black Americans’ lives. Hell, not even just meaningless, but actually detrimental, given his “leadership” style of holding back and doing little to nothing (not only on race relations but on most matters of importance; for instance, I’ll never forget his relative inaction while British Petroleum just filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil, arguably the first real test of his presidential mettle).

Still, I suppose, better late than never, although none of us should expect that Obama now will be talking frankly and candidly about race and race relations with any frequency between now and the end of his second term. It’s never been his style, and I can’t see him radically changing his style now.

But it is the job of the president of the United States of America to talk about social issues, and to be a leader to the nation that elected him or her, and probably the most controversial social issues are the ones that need to be discussed the most, just as the most painful parts of your body are the parts that most need medical attention — certainly not denial and avoidance.

And a part of the American body politic that needs medical attention — stat — is the demographic of young black males. “We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys,” Obama also remarked yesterday, adding, “There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”

Obama continued: “You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I’ve got some convening power.”

Indeed. As president, Obama does have power, power that thus far he hasn’t used nearly enough for good.

So I have to disagree with Eugene Robinson when he states that “The record indicates that honest talk from Obama about race is seen by many [white (let’s face it, Robinson, who seems almost as timid as Obama does, very most likely mostly means white)] people as threatening” and that therefore, “the unfortunate fact is that if his aim is to promote dialogue about race, speaking his mind is demonstrably counterproductive.”

No, it is Obama’s up-to-now historical silence on the topic of race — other than non-threatening/non-“threatening,” throw-away platitudes — that has been demonstrably counterproductive.

Those who — gasp! — feel threatened!/“threatened”! and/or uncomfortable! need to get a fucking grip already, because they are the ones who have been preventing the United States of America from fulfilling its up-to-now fairly empty promises of liberty and justice for all.

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