Becoming Anti-Racist

Kristin Teigen

Even for those of us who have lived through some pretty brutal campaigns, the past few weeks have been particularly horrific. The presidential campaign has allowed racist thugs to crawl out from under their rocks and expose themselves, getting cheers and applause all across the country.

It’s gotten very, very ugly. There are a few images that I’ve seen that are so disturbing, I don’t want to reprint them. But, if you need evidence, just look here or here.

Of course, in the face of such hatred, we need to work even harder to ensure that Barack Obama is our next president. But there is something else we also need to do.

The progressive community needs to become very organized, now, and re-double our efforts to not only disagree with racism, but become actively and fiercely anti-racist. Considering that the idiots behind these images will most likely not sit down and be quiet if Obama wins, we need to be prepared meet their actions with full force.

In our daily lives, being anti-racist means not just frowning when you hear a racist comment, but confronting it. It means not just understanding white privilege but challenging it. For white people, it means being humble, open, and respectful so that we may learn about how racism affects people of color in ways we may not even realize. It means not leaving it up to people of color to educate white people or confront the racism in our communities.

In the political realm, it means that anti-racism must be woven inextricably into each of our actions, and that we look at the organizations and the causes we’ve chosen to see how they share power (as I tell my kids, we all need to share). We need to understand and challenge the ways in which all forms of oppression – racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, xenophobia, and more –combine to keep a select few in power.

This is really, really hard work. But Barack Obama is working hard everyday. We need to have his back. We need to create a society that will support him. We need to help him succeed. Is everybody ready?

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Kristin

    I don't mean to minimize those images (though I don't know if they are real or representative of anything), but do you really find this all that shocking?

    I lived in NC during Helms/Gantt. I was in Chicago when Harold Washington was first elected.

    I actually believe what we have witnessed in the past few weeks is the last dying gasp of a very small, very fearful, very racially resentful portion of the American public. And it could be healthy to get those folks out into the sunshine so they can dry up and blow away.

    Even John McCain has had to address this publicly, and if Sarah Palin does not start to take on these folks at her rallies, she will be a footnote in history.

    But openly racist comments and attitudes are nearly extinct in this country. This is actually the easy stuff to battle.

    Fighting the fight for racial and ethnic equality in this country is a much bigger battle.

  • (Show?)

    Paul,

    Good for you that you think that it's dying...people of color I talk with don't always agree. Regardless of the state that it's in, we need to fight it, whether it's on its death bed or alive and kicking. Racism is racism and fighting it as an anti-racist activist is what you and I need to do.

  • (Show?)

    But openly racist comments and attitudes are nearly extinct in this country.

    Having lived in the South for the first 22 years of my life (until 2000), I don't agree. Try living in an almost all-white city and marry someone who isn't Caucasian. Believe me, you're going to find out real quick that it isn't extinct - it's alive and well, unfortunately.

    I think it's easy to miss if you're white, as many racists won't say the stuff in front of you unless they know you share the same beliefs. But as someone whose husband and daughter are Asian, I can assure you we hear it enough.

  • (Show?)

    But openly racist comments and attitudes are nearly extinct in this country.

    I must most respectfully disagree with that, Paul. Consider McCain's un-ironic response to an Obama-basher the other day--a woman at a GOP rally accused Obama of being an "Arab." (OMG!!!) McCain's response was: "No, no, I have to tell you, Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States." A decent person...as opposed to...an Arab?

    Excuse me, but WTF??? And you say overt racism is a thing of the past? The media is largely lauding McCain for standing up for what's right, but hasn't even challenged or noticed it's OK to throw around the label "Arab" like it's some kind of invective. Suppose instead of "Arab" the term had been "black," "Jew," "Catholic," "Mexican" or so on. Would the remark itself have gone unchallenged? I doubt it. People seem to get the press they deserve, as well as the politicians.

    It's true that the open hostility between blacks and whites has diminished in recent decades in many parts of the country, but racism is a many-headed hydra that will be with us a while longer.

  • (Show?)

    oh, and re:finding these images shocking....considering that in my Master's program, I specialized in Far Right history, I've seen far too many images like this. The moment I stop being shocked by them is the moment I will know I have lost my soul. So, yes, I find these types of images profoundly and deeply shocking and disturbing. I always will.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kristin

    Can you elaborate on what "Far Right history" is? I am not familiar with that term.

  • Brian C. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ugh. A few misguided dullards shout out some idiotic remarks at a rally and you want to hand 'em a megaphone. Barring some colossal misstep, scandal or catastrophe, Barack Obama will be inaugurated our next president just three months from now. Instead of recognizing that probability as the monumental societal leap it is, you inexplicably want to gin up racism. In the grand scheme of things, what purpose does that serve? Of course racism still exists, but why this post and why now? Maybe it's me.

  • (Show?)

    It's the history of the American Far Right -- violent anti-abortionists, anti-Semitic folks who think that there is a Zionist conspiracy to rule the world, the KKK, extreme anti-environmentalists, Randy Weaver types. It was a joy.

  • (Show?)

    I post it now because these idiotic dullards are not going to go away and as progressive people, we need to fight them. And it's beyond a few idiots. I included just two but I could have included a hundred. Simple as that.

  • (Show?)

    Clearly our own primary demonstrated how far we have yet to go within our own party. No need to rehash it, but it certainly was more evident than I was comfortable with.

    Has anyone else seen this inflammatory spin on the artistic rendition of the multi-colored Obama/Hope piece ?

    www.nwrepublican.blogspot.com

    Maybe I shouldn't post the link, as I hate to get them traffic, but its creepy factor was high.I am truly concerned that someone is going to get injured or worse in this environment where the McCain/Palin campaigns have given carte blanche antics to their supporters.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Considering that the idiots behind these images will most likely not sit down and be quiet if Obama wins, we need to be prepared meet their actions with full force.

    Using force against those rednecks and their ilk will not change their opinions. When they get in a fight, they fight to win, even if their cause is as wrong as can be. Education in a variety of forms will be more successful. I entered the military shortly after Truman ordered integration and served with many young white men from the South raised in a segregationist tradition. As they got to know African-Americans and found they were as normal as anyone else, many of the whites shed their bigotry.

    A former white colleague of mine married an African-American woman and they lived for years in Mississippi. I visited Florida a number of times in the past couple of years and found inter-racial couples living there without any apparent major problems. Of course, there are still bigots around and will be for many years, but racism is not the problem it once was. It still exists but it is withering and we should do what we can to deny it nourishment. Aggressive confrontation will only stimulate it. Fear is a breeding ground for bigotry. If we reject fearmongering that will help avoid a resurgence of racism.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's the history of the American Far Right -- violent anti-abortionists, anti-Semitic folks who think that there is a Zionist conspiracy to rule the world, the KKK, extreme anti-environmentalists, Randy Weaver types. It was a joy.

    On the obverse side of the cultural coin there are the likes of Tiger Woods, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman and their classy movies, Michael Jordan, Barbara Jordan, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Lt. Ehren Watada, Generals Shinseki and Taguba. Non-whites with their kind of class will prevail over the bigots for the "hearts and minds" of the people at large.

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kristin,

    I blew up the motorcyclist photo and it has unquestionably been altered, Photoshopped.

    I'm thinking our credulity doesn't do our credibility much good.

    <hr/>

    You say: "But Barack Obama is working hard everyday. We need to have his back. We need to create a society that will support him."

    My response is that I respectfully disagree. You see, I find Barack Obama to be something of a Manchurian candidate. Let's examine what a Progressive would probably stand for and what Obama promises, being mindful that all candidates lie and make false promises.

    PROGRESSIVE: End all foreign wars, prosecute war crimnals, rationalize our spending priorities to shrink the military and blossom domestic infrastructure.

    OBAMA: Swing troops from one imperial blunder to another, increase imperial swagger by attacking Pakistan, an ostensible ally. Preach military preparedness as a cover for increasing military budgets. Continue imperialism for the gain of America's corporations.

    PROGRESSIVE: Create Universal Medicare, thereby increasing the competitiveness of America's industries by eliminating the ridiculous burden of employer based health care competing with the world standard of health care being a function of the not-for-profit aspect of society.

    OBAMA: Put another bandaid on a grotesquely expensive and incompetent system of health care.

    PROGRESSIVE: Return to the era of rational and practical regulation of an out-of-control financial sector. Indict and convict those found guilty of fraud, no matter how senior in the mis-management of Wall Street. Follow the intelligent and healthy example of the New Deal where Americans who got in trouble with unsustainable mortgages were offered a means to debt relief by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

    OBAMA: Coddle the criminals on Wall Street. Make inane and useless comments about bail out, then vote for the theft of $825 Billion in honest people's money to prop up a criminal class. Keep counting on getting more campaign financing from Wall Street. Offer no substantive relief to the root cause of the financial meltdown, i.e. do not propose to resolve unsustainable mortgages, because this is anathema to Obama's Wall Street donor class.

    <hr/>

    If you think Obama has anything to do with Progressive politics other than pandering, I'd like you to try to prove it to me. Obama is a right-of-center, don't-rock-the-boat corporate slab of beefcake. He's attractive to the opposite sex in the same way that Sarah Palin is. He's awfully smart, and that's why he's nearly elected. But he's carrying water for the same corporate interests that have captured the Democratic Party and ruined it for those of us who find that the little people have absolutely no one representing us in national politics today. (Wonderful progressives like Dennis Kucinich, Bob Wexler, Marcy Kaptur, etc. being continuously ostracized and/or marginalized from the leadership by profoundly malevolent people like Pelosi, Hoyer and Emanuel.)

  • (Show?)

    Bill,

    I don't agree with your strategy -- it's not what has worked in the various movements for social change. I was speaking about confronting racism in one's daily life and actions, which, as we have seen here in Oregon with anti-gay movements, has been a tremendously important tool.

    And as to the last comment, I was answering mp97303's question.

  • anonymous (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This was an amusing post.

    According to a recent AP-Yahoo News poll, "one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles."

    source

    You keep tilting at windmills, and I'll keep wearing my t-shirts.

  • (Show?)

    Ray,

    So, given your comment, I'm curious as to why you're so excited about how big the Obama office is in your area, as you mentioned on another thread...

    And no need for the beefcake mention -- I'd be for Obama even if he looked like Grover Cleveland.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kristin, you are right in my experience as the other half of a mixed-race couple in NV and out in Indian Country. It was not covert, even. And we got it coming from both sides in some instances. Live in a mostly-native enclave, called a "community", and I would get it; live in a mixed little town, and either one of us would "get it" coming at us, though I more often, as it was I who was home and he on the road. I grew up in Oregon, had exactly one black friend during my girlhood, and they were the exactly one black family in the three elementary schools I attended in Eugene... so I was not raised to expect or know about the racialism I experienced in NV and OK. Some of it was mindblowing icky - Old Boy hitting on me, a young mother, at the creek, but meanwhile kind of talking icky, snakey rank about mixed-race children... as he is helping my darling golden-haired mixed race child retrieve his water toy! Unconscious and awake.

    When we travel back to territories that are more-highly native, we find there are zones of transition from town to rez where the rancor is more distilled.

    A kind of reversal of this, which is, nevertheless, soul-robbing, is the blatant sentimentalization of that culture. You may have a sister in law who has a lot to say about the cesspool of stereotypes surrounding "oriental" sexual identity; my son has recounted an authentic suffering in relation to the sentimentality attached to his indian-ness. Idealization is, of course, another species of objectification... and it it's too glowy, it's important to look at Freud's "reaction formation". Masking what you really think by evincing the opposite. It's a way to protect oneself from reviewing one's bias and addressing it where it lives.

    I am so grateful you raised this question, I do not have time right now to read carefully and respond -- I'll try to look tomorrow. ANYone who says something truthful and meaningful on this thread has my commendation - even if you are exposing a wart. For those who just prod and dig, well... I suppose fear drives those kind of behaviours.

    I am quite in touch with the HUMAN aspect of this dynamic, as I've spent my entire adult life in mixed communities, or settings where I was in the minority. Along with profound family and caring connections, I have been treated viciously by those who had had such done to them, and been on the level wtih them - no escape clauses or tickets out of there. Had to live it through, ride it out. I've seen it and it's here with us still.

    Very much here with us still.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    My black mentor in OK, who taught me my chops in psych of the minority experience, a confrontive, deep programme... he told me, "Let 'em talk. Listen to 'em and let 'em talk. They are telling you what you need to know."

    His strategy was Castanedian - it was critical to go about this task of investigating and bearding self and culture via guerrilla strategy. With will/intent; unswerving focus.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Perhaps society needs to adress all the government laws that have their roots in America's racist culture to help solve this problem. One might take a look at the occupational licensing laws, or the drug laws and a host of others.

    TLG

  • meg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the African American members of the Congress of the United States. Membership is exclusive to African Americans[1] and its chair in the 110th Congress is Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick of Michigan. Sen. Barack Obama will be attending this year.

    "Quite simply, Rep. Cohen will have to accept what the rest of the country will have to accept - there has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it's our turn to say who can join 'the club.' He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria, unless he can change his skin color. Primarily, we are concerned with the needs and concerns of the black population, and we will not allow white America to infringe on those objectives." Racist?

  • throowrocks (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Watch this. http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2008/09/video-mccain-supporters-dare-to-march-in-manhattan.html

  • throowrocks (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Maybe this is more your style?[URL=http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p83/throowrocks/wowersinteesjpeg-tm.jpg][IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p83/throowrocks/th_wowersinteesjpeg-tm.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hi Kristin,

    Thanks for your reply, and let me address your points:

    Re: "So, given your comment, I'm curious as to why you're so excited about how big the Obama office is in your area, as you mentioned on another thread..."

    If my comment seemed to express "excitement" then I've failed to express myself as well as I'd like. I am pleased with the development of a Democratic Party presence here in Bend in equal measure to the displeasure I feel that it is actually extremely rare to find within the new Democratic Party ranks a real sense, or a real caring for the wing of the Party that attracted me in the first place. Let's put this in the context of the 1948 election when the Democratic Party split into three competing worldviews. We have a "Truman Club" here in Bend that represents the Harry Truman of 1948 pretty well. These people love projecting America's power abroad and tend to be among the most prosperous of the local Democrats. I'd say this is the dominant strain here locally. Then you have the old-timey Democrats whose grandparents here abouts would have been perfectly comfortable with the Strom Thurmond Dixiecrat schism and would see no contradiction between being a member of the Democratic Party and a member of the Klu Klux Klan as millions were back in the 1920s. Finally, we have the minority group who would be represented by the Henry Wallace/Adlai Stevenson/Elinor Rooosevelt wing of the Party. The splinter that was the Progressive Party of 1948. That's the group I feel really has the best, most compassionate and well-reasoned ideas (and ideals) about democracy. Alas, this non-Communist Left is today a fading memory to most Democratic Party members who couldn't tell you why Barack Obama is so corrosive to ideals expressed by the Jeffersonian vision of a country of equinimity, non-aggression toward the world and a healthy skepticism about the unseemly concentration of power be it in the hands of Wall Street banksters (a favorite expression of FDR) or of the militarist self-promoters in the military-death-industrial-prison-state complex.

    In brief, it's good there are more Democrats in Deschutes County. And it's bad that they don't stand for anything noble and decent.

    <hr/>

    Re: "And no need for the beefcake mention -- I'd be for Obama even if he looked like Grover Cleveland."

    The beefcake mention wasn't addressed specifically at you, so let's not get all thin skinned about this, OK? I just happen to be a reformed psychologist (in the sense of GWB being a reformed alcoholic) and an observer of the human condition. What really struck me in 2000 was the chasm between people representing the Dems and the GOP at the Deschutes County Fair that year, when I was pretty new to the area. The Republican booth was staffed by what can be described as "the beautiful people", sleek, well-dreassed and expensively heeled heels. These people were the Chamber of Commerce and Builder's Association types who spent a lot of time on personal grooming and soul eradication, not necessarily in that order. And then there was the sole sad-sack overweight senior who seemed to be forlorn in manning the austerely outfitted Democratic booth. The contrast could not have been more jarring. It was obvious that A-Listers were on the Bush Team in 2000.

    Now flash forward to 2008 and the McCain'ts don't seem to be able to field a team at all hereabouts. Oh, the downticket GOP candidates made a showing at the July 4th Parade and such like. But they don't really try to associate with the national ticket. In contrast, we have something here called "First Fridays", an art walk through downtown once a month. My favorite image is from last April, just before the primaries when Obama fielded six (count 'em) good looking women staffing a table in high fashion and chilly conditions registering the crowds to vote and spreading an image of, well, the transposition of A-Team affiliation from the Rs to the Ds.

    Remember, America is a shockingly adolescent and superficial nation compared to the social democracies of Europe. Appearances do matter here in America, to an extent that drives this member of the intelligentsia bats. I'd love it if people would 1) know what the issues are, 2) understand what their own self-interest is, 3) vote on principles rather than principal (as in "principal and interest") and 4) avoid voting based on Willie Horton style prejudices, bandwagon effects driven by polling or single issue hot-button mindlessness.

    Style matters more than substance in America. Thus, Obama is beefcake, and that's why he's our candidate and not that vastly superior moral soul Dennis Kucinich, a Lilliputian loser for most... oh, that and the fact that Obama is clearly sold out to Wall Street interests.

  • (Show?)

    Throowrocks -- I am equally offended by these images, although considering the word on the t-shirt is the same one John McCain used to describe his wife, I'm not sure he would share my level of disgust.

  • throowrocks (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Remember, America is a shockingly adolescent and superficial nation compared to the social democracies of Europe." You say that as it is fact. I don't share your low opinion of the country. Why don't you move to Europe? Leave us be.

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    throowrocks,

    Frankly, I'm not moving, and I am angered by the anti-intellectual nature of your puerile parochialism and personal attack. Please realize that if you continue as you are you will be living in a 3rd World country in about 20 years. I'm troubled with the realization that you may not be bright enough to comprehend how this will envelope you and your kind. Just look at the nature of the degenerate campaign of John McCain today. It used to be that the sort of race-baiting hatred that is being exhibited by low-brow white supremicists was the realm of marginalized scum like David Duke, George Wallace or Strom Thurmond. We've never had a candidate for a major party elicit the kind of Pavlovian-level hatred exhibited by McCain's shock troops at the level of viable potential President in any campaign I'm familiar with. And I'm thinking of pairings all the way back to McKinley-Cleveland.

    Think about things this way. If you want to throw rocks, others want to steamroll your kind. Don't be unkind, and I'll reciprocate. Capiche, paisano?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bill,

    I don't agree with your strategy -- it's not what has worked in the various movements for social change. I was speaking about confronting racism in one's daily life and actions, which, as we have seen here in Oregon with anti-gay movements, has been a tremendously important tool.

    Kristin: It depends on what you mean by "fighting." If you mean getting in racists' face and trying to outshout them, then you will be wasting your time. Let me tell you a story of how the opposite taught me a lesson when I was in my early teens. I became very angry with a friend and would have hit him physically if he hadn't been smaller than I was. He was, however, older and smarter. Instead of fighting with or trying to outshout me, he asked me questions. The more he asked, the more I had to think. The more I thought, the less angry I became and eventually was able to see his point. It was a good, if embarrassing, lesson for me but one that I have benefited from over the last 60-some years. Think about it.

    "Remember, America is a shockingly adolescent and superficial nation compared to the social democracies of Europe." You say that as it is fact. I don't share your low opinion of the country. Why don't you move to Europe? Leave us be.

    It is always risky to say, "America is ..." and sure to get an argument, but if we consider the vast majority of the American people are supporting the two major candidates from the duopoly it is difficult to make the case that America is a nation of profound thinkers. Three of the four candidates - Obama, Biden and McCain - have reneged on their pledges to uphold the Constitution. You can bet the ranch if it should be politically expedient Sarah Palin will do the same. About 75% of senators and representatives in Congress reneged on their oath to uphold the Constitution to give Bush a blank check to wage war on Iraq. Most of them did so because most of their constituents wanted it that way, and that is what they wanted because they bought into the fearmongering put out by the Bush administration. People who are persuaded by sound bites tend to be superficial in their thinking. Of those who signed Bush's blank check October 2002 for this war on Iraq almost everyone was voted back in office the following month. This suggests that the vast majority of the American people don't give a s**t about the Constitution either. So, we shouldn't be surprised if some people concluded we are a superficial nation. I would be more precise and say the preponderance of American people are superficial in their thinking. That may be over generous if the 90-some percent of voters believe that Obama and McCain will work for the American people if elected president and not for the corporations they have been working for until now.

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hi Bill,

    It's great to have your contribution here. I stand corrected for any of my "America is..." statements.

    So, in the future I'll try to refrain from saying that...

    America is the biggest bully on the planet.

    America is the most egregious nation regarding a record of subversion of democracy across the planet of any nation since WW II, taking that record away from our cousins in Londonistan.

    America is owned, operated and obedient to a tiny self-interested oligarchy consisting of a kleptocracy in Washington, D.C. and a mafiosi of incestous kleptomaniacs on Wall Street. With the revolving door between the two most egregiously represented by a bold sociopath, Hank-y Panky Paulson who is currently draining the U.S. Treasury into the off-shore accounts of his cronies at Goldman-Sachs and a few select partners-in-crime. Expanding on this theme, America is being led by one of the most clever conspiracies ever devised, according to another brilliant Bill, Wm. F. Engdahl

    America is a nation in crisis without a true leadership class any longer in charge. Lee Iococca's book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" asks the most important question about how America is being turned into a 3rd world nation.

    America is coming apart at the seams. All one needs to be able to do is to read a pretty simple graph to get the sense that we are at an unprecedented stage in the unwinding of America as a going concern.

    But I digress...

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The last lynching in America was in Alabama in 1981.

    Aired on Discovery last night. Go here, to Talk of the Nation to hear the Ted Koppel interview about it.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95672737

    Behind us? FAR behind us? Nope.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mock-lynching of Barack Obama, Oregon, 2008.

    The local media and reprsentatives of the University carefully euphemized the verbal accounting of the entire scenario. Not once did they say the word: LYNCHING.

    But the national media, thankfully, is not afraid to name it for what it IS.

    Behind us? Nope. Not even close, kids.

    Intergenerational transfer of racial attitudes is not to be trivialized as "youthful pranks".

  • (Show?)

    I stand by my comments. There is a long research tradition on this topic--the most easily accessible is Schuman, Steeh, and Bobo's book.

    35 years ago, 73% of Americans objected to racial intermarriage; by 1997, the figure was 33%. Southerners are more tolerant of racial intermarriage that Northerners.

    45 years ago, 35% of Americans said Whites had a right to keep Blacks out of their neighborhood. The last time the question was asked in 1977, the figure had declined to 10%.

    45 years ago, 25% of Americans said they favored "strict segregation." By 1978 the figure was 6%.

    In 1942, 54% of Americans said they favored segregated transportation; by 1970, only 12% did (and they stopped asking the question).

    In 1958, only 20% of southern whites (those "rednecks" I presume Bill Bodden so dismissively referred to) said they would not object to integrated schools. By 1982, 70% said they would not object, and Southerners and Northerners did not differ.

    People typically read comments like this as an argument that racial resentment and racial divisions are a thing of the past in the U.S. Such could not be farther from the truth.

    But it is also completely ignoring reality to argue that overt racism has not substantially lessened in this country and is left in a very tiny minority, or to deny the great strides we have made in racial reconciliation over the past 50 years.

  • (Show?)

    But America remains a nation plagued by racial tensions. That's also a reality. When white people say it's all done, nice and neat, we're denying our responsibility.

  • (Show?)

    Besides, there's no nice, academic poll that talks about the racial epithets on the street, the unreported incidences of "driving while Black" or the racial profiling in airports.

    We have seen most of the racial hatred pop up when racists whites have their power threatened -- given the fact that our schools remain profoundly economically segregated, and that corporations and academic institutions are still led primarily by white people, there have been relatively few threats to this power.

    When 9/11 happened, white people felt very threatened and incidences of anti-Muslim violence skyrocketed.

    Now, we see an increase in anti-African-American rhetoric and depictions because some white folks feel threatened by Obama.

    I agree that it's not as overt as it was, and that many people have become educated. All it takes, however, is a threat to the power of white people, and it rises again.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It amuses me to no end how you will choose to pick a fight with someone who stands beside you philosophically, and resort to pro/con dynamics instead of an interested discussion with some kind of depth.

    YES - in SOME regions "overt" racism is lessened. But the conversation has now moved on, dear Paul G. We are discussing depth-creating threads as to how racial tensions (and it's sad that most monolog in the US ONLY speaks in any detail to the Black/White divide... I find this offensive in the extreme, as it is another example of how simple-mindedly we insist upon approaching our dialog, our thinking, our woeful attention spans) do not necessarily lessen, but, rather, CAN morph....

    That said, in honor of stepping away from the idiot dynamic of fighing amongst oneselves or congratulating flatulently... I am glad you came up with a huge flush of stats - too bad the book might not be available on the web for quick reference and reflection.

    I wish we could keep this going for a while, as I've been trying to foster sustained discussion as to issues of cultural bias on both sides as expressing in the context of the current election.

    I am relishing this thread. And am glad for your referencing, only hoping they are not skewed, but are reported True Blue, as I have not the time to spend for a couple of weeks researching someones "position"!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    But America remains a nation plagued by racial tensions. That's also a reality. When white people say it's all done, nice and neat, we're denying our responsibility.

    Kristin: Indulging in exaggeration doesn't help your case. Of course, racism is a problem, but to say "America remains a nation plagued by racial tensions" is a bit over the top especially when the prospects are good for more than half of voters, including millions of whites, to vote for a black man to be president. As for "When white people say it's all done, nice and neat,..." such white people must form one of the smallest minorities in the nation. Anyone in touch with reality must know it isn't "all done."

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kristin, at some risk to myself I have to also speak to the fact that the anxieties may not be utterly unfounded. I've found myself as the minority in many situations over the years, a minority with no way to "get out of it" for years on end as an impoverished community member, a family member, or b/c it was on the job (in a primarily Af.Am tx facility where the vitriolic racism was legendary, sad to say, but the outcomes awfully good for the recipients of tx). I have experienced more than a few times what it is like to be the focus of the "now it's our turn" dynamic from subtle to extreme.

    And so it is that the HUMAN dynamics are fixing to be worked on in a most direct fashion. At some point, EVERYONE is going to have to step up to this discussion at a different level. It's going to be bloody painful and hard.

    I am not saying whites acting out are right.

    They are not. But there really is another side to this that folks are avoiding discussing, or actually don't know a thing about.

    Any thoughts? And please: do not rip me to shreds. I'm putting myself out vulnerably to be accused and ranted. I have really honestly BEEN there with nobody standing behind me to soften it, buffer it or rescue me.

    I've BEEN there.

  • (Show?)

    Bill,

    You realize your first argument contradicted your last argument....right?

    And it's not an exaggeration for people who actually face racism everyday....

    And Rebecca,

    Yes, it's a big mess. Obama characterized it with profound and incredible brilliance in his race speech ... there's little more I could say other than what he did. Racial hatreds and tensions have created social dynamics that are going to take a long time to untangle.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And it's not an exaggeration for people who actually face racism everyday....

    True, but it is intellectually dishonest to translate experiences of people in pockets of racism to national status.

    You realize your first argument contradicted your last argument....right?

    No.

  • (Show?)

    wow...brutal.

    To say it such experiences are just "pockets" marginalizes them even more....The experiences of people of color are not sidelines to this nation's over-all experience.

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    K - that was not specifically aimed at you -- you would intelligently discuss this, I have a feeling. I'm thinking of those who will eviscerate me for saying EVERYONE is worried on all sides and not without some reason. Everyone. I do not look forward to this, frankly. We do not have Truth and Reconciliation as a reference point.

    Bill, are you the arbiter to tell us there are only pockets? Folks, could we all do a little intellectual honesty work here and understand that this is almost a phenomenological discussion when approached in this way?

    BTW, while visiting a Flemish sweetheart in Belgium, I was horrified to discover that there is a mile-wide swath of nationalism there that is intractible... I was shocked to have my idealization of Europe busted.

    Pockets of liberality, friends. They are everywhere we go.

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca,

    I know you didn't address it right at me..we're good. :).

  • (Show?)

    Kristin, Let me say first, I didn't see this until today or I would have posted earlier. Second, to Paul, stats don't make things OK in everyone's world.

    I do not think all white people are racist. People do indeed still harbor thoughts of fear about people of color. There isn't only that, but there is also the idea - one that I feel personally impacted by - there is not enough visibility in the media of people of color so it is easier to hold on to old stereotypes. From commercials to movies to basic news, you hardly ever see people of color in professional settings, positive images of family life, or anything other than stereotypes. Those you do see, you don't see not often enough and not everywhere.

    Because of this, people still look at me strangely, no matter how nice I am. People still look at Brown skin and wonder if that person is "legal." There are so many stereotypes that are allowed to hang in the air and there are few voices that shout out that it needs to be different. Those voices can't just be people of color. They need to be like you, Paul G. You have the minds of people in your hands on a daily basis. Its not about big R racism, its about the things that affect the everyday.

    That is why Palin/McCain can make a slight whisper about being friends with terrorists or being un-American are very dangerous. A group of otherwise decent people can get riled up about a Barack Obama and then take it out on their neighbor. Don't mistake statistics for reality. Let's also not forget, people rarely tell the truth when other people - figuratively or literally - are watching.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    BTW, while visiting a Flemish sweetheart in Belgium, I was horrified to discover that there is a mile-wide swath of nationalism there that is intractible... I was shocked to have my idealization of Europe busted.

    That proves one of the advantages of foreign travel and not limiting one's education to what Disneyland and Disneyworld may tell us about the world. Maybe if you had done some research before your trip you would have been less naive.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yes, Bill, I am a naive asshole and should have known to been born with my eyes wide open and be sure to look things up in books and media, believing all that I read and forge3tting that the prooftexts are in what we see. I am quite apologetic for being such a nitwit. Get out the combs and remove my slowcoach self from your sight.

    I wonder if you are in accord with Stossel on the necessity for people to keep learning, experiencing, querying and growing?

    And, Bodden, have you noticed that you and the rest of us argue ENDLESSLY over the contents of all that we read?

    ....... of course I should have made it a project to know it before I experienced it.

    Ehhh. What an arse you can be.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wonder if you are in accord with Stossel on the necessity for people to keep learning, experiencing, querying and growing?

    If you are referring to John Stossel of 20/20 infamy then if he said what you attribute to him, this will be one of very few occasions I find myself in agreement with him.

    Ehhh. What an arse you can be.

    If I recall correctly, rw, you made a claim to be a writer on an earlier thread. Allow me to compliment you on this elegant example of your prose.

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ummmm Bill? That bit about Stossel? Ummmm it was irony.... and thanks for the compliments. I do my very best to write as I speak, Dearest Bill.

    I keep thinking: are you able to look people in the eye after you jack people up on the Board? I cannot imagine, sometimes, being in the same room with some of you people!

    Or am I missing the coyote smile? P'raps that's it.

    As to your dogmatism on this thread, it seems as if you forget to respect the fractionality of the human experience in your conviction that you Know.

  • (Show?)

    Ray,

    Besides questioning the extent to which the individual voices yelling out at rallies represent "shock troops," your history is off. George Wallace and Strom Thurmond certainly were not marginalized in the former Confederate states. Thurmond was in Congress or Senate for half a century, Wallace multiple-times governor of Alabama. Thurmond won 39 electoral votes in 1948 and more popular votes than Henry Wallace. George Wallace won 46 electoral votes in 1968, & had General Curtis LeMay, former head of the Strategic Air Command and former Air Force Chief of Staff as his running mate -- a fairly central figure in his day, arguably more so than Maryland governor Spiro Agnew. In 1972 Wallace won the Michigan primary before being paralyzed and forced from the race by a would-be assassin. Consider too Reagan going to talk about "states rights" in Neshoba Co. Mississippi where Chaney, Goodwin & Schwerner were murdered. Consider Nixon's heavily racialized "law and order" campaign in 1968.

    For the entire period you mention up to the 1948 election, and with slight reductions from 1952-64, Democratic presidential candidates won or lost with the support of a "solid South" delivered by often intensely race-baiting Democratic machines. George Wallace ran his first election campaign as a relative "racial moderate" and lost, famously or infamously vowing thereafter never to be "out-niggered" again. The "respectable" White Citizens' Councils (by comparison to the Ku Klux Klan with whom they often shared membership) that organized "Massive Resistance" to the Civil Rights movement were headed by prominent Democrats; the initial opposition to integration of Little Rock, Arkansas public schools in 1957 involved howling white crowds -- entire crowds, not a few voices -- backed up by National Guard troops excluding the black students at gunpoint on orders of the Democratic governor, Orville Faubus, hardly marginal forces, until Republican President Eisenhower reluctantly federalized the Guard to enforce a court decision with which he made it clear he disagreed (he criticized "extremists on both sides," explicitly those who wanted integration, and those who didn't; what "moderates" could have been not being quite clear).

    In 1952 Adlai Stevenson's vice-presidential running mate was Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, a staunch segregationist and later signer of "The Southern Manifesto," one of 19 southern senators and 81 representatives, against the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision by the Supreme Court that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, the legal foundation of Jim Crow.

    President Woodrow Wilson famously or infamously showed D.W. Griffith's inflammatory racist pro-Klan film Birth of a Nation in the White House in 1915, at the beginning of "the Second Klan" revival, and praised the KKK in his historical writings as an honorable organization.

    In this period Oregon passed a citizens' initiative supported by Democratic governor Walter Pierce, never implemented, to ban parochial schools. (The population of Oregon in 1920 was about 783,000, so Klan membership couldn't have been millions; Wikipedia says the Oregon KKK had about 14,000 members in 58 Klaverns around the state at its peak, or something under 4% of the adult male population).

    Also, while Eleanor Roosevelt was an ally of Henry Wallace when he was Secretary of Agriculture and Vice-President under Franklin Roosevelt, she did not support his Progressive Party run in 1948, but actively repudiated it and broke with Wallace politically. The Progressives were backed by the Communist Party, while Roosevelt was a founder and activist with Americans for Democratic Action, a key vehicle for liberal anti-communism. Wallace himself repudiated the Progressive Party after North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 and in 1952 published a book saying he had been wrong in 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt remained to the left of Truman, but certainly backed him by comparison to Wallace. She later backed Adlai Stevenson for the DP presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956. Stevenson was first approached to run for president by Truman. When he vacillated, Truman looked elsewhere, but came back to Stevenson over Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

    In 1948 Stevenson ran for governor of Illinois as a Democrat, not a Progressive, and Eric Alterman paints a picture of him as arguably to the right of Truman, certainly not as liberal as Eleanor Roosevelt, never mind Henry Wallace. Another source says "By 1952 racial moderates (advocates of a position agreeable to Southern whites) had regained control of the Democratic convention, nominating Adlai Stevenson–a candidate acceptable the the South." [N.b. "moderate" is the author's term, not mine.] Cf. Sparkman as his running mate.

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca,

    Regarding the comment where you ask not to be ripped to shreds, and your frequent complaints about people not engaging what interests you -- for me, I often have some difficulty understanding just what you're saying, and some trepidation about the consequences of misinterpreting, your own ripping abilities being quite up to par. I have to confess thus a little resentment or testiness anyway of repeated implications that not commenting means I'm not thinking/ haven't thought...

    But, apart from not knowing what tx is, I think I get your drift on this one, so let me offer an anecdote and a thought. Once, when living in New Haven, I was walking from a store to my apartment and walked past a group of black teenaged young men -- I was in my early 20s at the time. I avoided looking at them, don't know if looking at them would have been better, anyway evinced discomfort and fear, and one of them hucked a small stone at me, I speeded up, got hit by another rock, I ran away, they chased a little but not seriously.

    It was an area that was the remains of a former larger black neighborhood, much of which had been knocked down for "urban renewal" to the benefit of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Now it was being encroached on by yuppification coming up a north-south corridor that threatened to divide the remains of the neighborhood east from west; resentment about that might have been part of the situation, the store was "health food" store associated with the changes, though they did hire locally; or maybe it was just a more generalized opportunistic reaction to my demeanor and behavior.

    Anyway, either then or later I thought about this episode in terms of the common anti-racist definition of racism, as being more than just prejudice, but instead "prejudice + power." In the 1980s this was often invoked in a pretty crude, blanket way, as in "whites have power, people of color don't, so whites can be racist, but p.o.c. can be prejudiced but not racist."

    Now in general I don't believe in absolute power. A major focus of my historical studies was comparative slavery, and a major feature of the literature at that time and since was stress on resistance by enslaved people -- in part a rejection of the thesis put forward around 1960 by a writer who compared slavery to Nazi death camps, and advanced powerfully by the Moynihan Report, that slavery had utterly crushed black people and particularly black men, leading to de-moralization, female-headed households, out-of-wedlock childbirths etc. (never mind conservative imposed welfare rules that said poor households with an able-bodied man in them weren't eligible for assistance), black men reduced to "Sambo" personalities etc.

    By the time I was in grad school, a couple of decades of research had laid that view of slavery pretty thoroughly to rest, along with related arguments about Reconstruction, Redemption & Jim Crow as well as "the Great Migration(s)" of African-Americans out of the Old South, and documented the persistence and creativity of slave resistance and the failure of slave-owners to achieve the total domination their ideology said they should and did have, up to and including forcing themselves onto the political stage in ways that drove the civil conflict that liberated them (e.g. fugitive slave laws) & in which they substantially liberated themselves by crossing the lines & joining the Union army (per W. E. B. Du Bois & Eric Foner).

    (Since then there has been some pushback against romanticizing resistance, confusing it with victory, and the risk of denying the real cruelties, hurts and damages of oppression...)

    Related arguments had been developed in working class history (cf. E. P. Thompson's famous, simple but profoundly rich point that "class is a relationship," which of course applies to other relational social categories too) and in women's history.

    So, persistent though variable inequalities of power, yes, total domination or subordination, no.

    Likewise, power is uneven over place and time. Power is situational.

    The implication for the anecdote: in that brief moment, I was situationally in the minority, situationally much less powerful than the young men, and vulnerable to them.

    Now, in that general time and place, that situation was pretty limited & delimited, mostly one I could avoid. And those kids in all likelihood mostly couldn't avoid situations that put them down, one way or another. So in the big picture about racism then, generalizing that one experience would have produced a massively distorted image.

    But the potential and reality of such generalizations and related distortions has everything to do with newer iterations of fear-based racism.

    The bearing it has is on a larger picture of changing power relations in U.S. society over time. Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act and various other laws and legal decisions, not only have reported white opinions changed distributions, as Paul G. has pointed out. More persons from historically racially oppressed peoples and groups have gained relative power -- education, income, positions of authority in public and private. (As always, those "left behind" suffer corresponding relative decline, as Gerda Lerner long ago pointed out concerning the implications of "Jacksonian Democracy" for white women and black and Native American people.) And population dynamics and distributions have changed the sizes and meanings of "minority group" status, beyond the micro-majorities created in localities by residential segregation. This applies within political jurisdictions up to the state level now, and by 2050 if not sooner nationally all "racial" groups will be minorities, including whites.

    The meanings of "race" have never been stable or fixed, have always been protean despite the best efforts of scientistic and other less sophisticated ideologies. But the changes have been getting faster and bigger, along with changes in the power relations and their distributions in space and time and situations.

    Which I think is another angle on what you say: "At some point, EVERYONE is going to have to step up to this discussion at a different level. It's going to be bloody painful and hard": perhaps a little differently, we all will have to step up at many points, at different levels.

    The upside is that changing & reducing inequalities can bring benefits beyond just those of increasing justice and fairness and limiting and dispersing and sharing oppressions more equally -- human connections that once would not have been possible become possible. My impression is that you know this already and long since better than I probably ever will, partly for reasons to do with race, but also I think other aspects of individuality.

    Anyway, I hope I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of engaging you on that one. (On the multiplicity of "race" in the U.S., another time, but just to note it's something I think about a lot & is not new, of course -- just so big that it's hard to know where to begin, but I'm not ignoring it or you raising it.)

  • Ray Duray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dear Chris,

    You've written what I consider to be one of the most masterful, thoughtful and elegant commments I've seen on Blue Oregon in the two years I've been browsing this venue. I certainly hope others pay attention to what you've written here and I know I'll be paying far more attention to your byline in the future. Thanks for your lucidity, research and willingness to be thorough.

    You have not convinced me that George Wallace or Strom Thrumond were in the same position of electability that John McCain't is in today. But that's a minor quibble. I think we're pretty much on the same page as far "the necessity for people to keep learning, experiencing, querying and growing".

    As someone who grew up in Illinois I've always had a special fondness for Adlai Stevenson, particularly his quick wit. An example of which will be familiar to many. During the 1956 Presidential race, Stevenson was on the stump, running against the popular Dwight Eisenhower. After a particular rousing speech a member of Stevenson's audience shouted out "Adlai! You've got the vote of every thinking person in America!" to which Stevenson replied "that's not good enough, I need a majority".

    -Ray

  • (Show?)

    Kristin,

    I don't disagree terribly much with what you have to say, and the implications of much of the commentary seem to be not that the struggle is over, but the conditions have changed. Additionally, we have to consider both the prospect and realities of backsliding. Karol's post on hipster racism is an interesting example, small in its way but an example perhaps of what Michel Foucault called the capillary action of changes in discourses.

    Yet your column also makes me uneasy about issues related to backsliding on a much bigger and more substantial scale. What does or will or can it mean to be fiercely anti-racist in the age of Barack Obama, who abjures fierce anti-racism, to make change that is revolutionary in certain respects, but gives up other struggles? If the need for fierce anti-racism has not passed, as I agree that it has not, what should we make of an apparently premature declaration of post-racialism?

    Are there risks, in focusing on language and on the micro-scale of personal interaction, of losing sight of the need for fierce anti-racism directed at backsliding on structural inequalities, which in their nature cannot be treated as purely racial or separated from inequalities build around class and sex/gender?

    It is remarkable that Barack Obama may well win the presidency. Yet it is telling that to do so he must at all costs avoid the appearance of being "an angry black man," in a time when popular movies valorizing "angry white men" are still received with praise for expressing important truths and insights and the AWM's ideological champions, while rolled back on their heels, are not yet down for the count.

    It is telling that Senator Obama not only accepted but chose as his running mate a man who eight months ago characterized him in stunningly paternalistic racist terms -- terms that if heard at a Portland bar or cocktail party would merit the kind of active rejection for which you call, I think.

    To me it produces great unease that black Americans, in order to participate in having one of themselves elected president, have to accept his silence on key elements of the unfinished struggles for equality, and hope that the silence is tactical rather than reflecting rejection -- though much in his rhetoric suggests he just may not be that interested.

    And it is worrisome to me that Senator Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, embraces "underclass" ideologies of moral deficiency of the poor, especially the poor who are African-American but by extension perhaps also other poor people of color, putting great weight on "personal responsibility" and by implication, its absence, and very little or none on the structural inequalities that hold people down, obstruct them, or leave them no place because the structure, like a giant game of musical chairs, is not actually big enough, or is too poorly designed, to accommodate all in decent conditions.

    It may be that we need to turn our greatest anti-racist fierceness to reviving an organized political power consciously aimed at eliminating those structural inequalities.

  • (Show?)

    Ray, Thanks for the kind words. Clearly you're right about Thurmond's electability and probably Wallace's even in '72 -- but McCain doesn't seem that far from Nixon or Reagan on race, to me. My parents grew up around Chicago & lived there until moving east in 1961, I was born there too, and they share your fondness for Stevenson.

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca

    The new edition of this book is being updated on the web. It's here: http://www.igpa.uillinois.edu/programs/racial-attitudes --

    Karol, I agree and disagree. Yes, it is not about "Big R" racism--that's precisely the point I was trying to make. It's far to easy to focus on the "big R" and feel like we've whipped the beast, because "big R" is pretty much whipped.

    If you look at the first few responses to my posting where I first claimed that, you'll see what I mean--intellectual responses were of the type "WTF."

    The conversation has moved on, and I think / hope we all realize that stereotypes and racial resentments are still prevalent in our society.

    Where I disagree with you, though, is the claim that "stats aren't real people" or we are "really" constantly barraged with "racial epithets on the street."

    I don't discount personal experiences (although I would venture that other than you, Karol, I suspect we have nary a person of color on this thread, and many if not most of us have spent much of our adult lives in Portland, the most lily white place I have every lived), but I also don't let personal anecdotes trump overwhelming statistical evidence.

    I go back to where we started--the idiots at the Palin rallies are idiots, but I am mostly worried that one of these whackos will do something dangerous. I am not worried that this is reflective of widespread sentiments in the United States.

    An African American man is going to be elected president. In my lifetime. This is a wondrous, world changing event.

  • (Show?)

    An example of the complexity of this issue:

    Open Housing (NORC): "Suppose there is a community-wide vote on the general housing issue. There are two possible laws to vote on. One law says that a homeowner can decide for himself who to sell his house to, even if he prefers not to sell to (Negroes/blacks/African Americans). The second law says that a homeowner cannot refuse to sell to someone because of their race or color. Which law would you vote for?"

    White respondents: 31% say owner decides. Black respondents: 21% say owner decides.

    Blacks Should Try Harder (ISR): "Now looking at the respondent booklet for your choices, here are several more statements. It's really just a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites."

    White respondents: 58% agree strongly or agree Black respondents: 38% agree strongly or agree

    Now in both cases, white responses could be interpreted as being in a less racially egalitarian direction than black responses. But aren't you surprised that black responses are as high as they are?

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris: just in from a hundred miles of driving and a very long ceremony. Your criticisms of my commentary, style and content duly noted.

    You have engaged successfully by my lights. Sorry you are so irritated.

    Off to bed for me and probably no chance to respond tomorrow, tomorrow night or for some days to come unless you are able to accept that I can only devote drivebys to this for the most part and specifically when it is typical work hours.

    Am reading, agree the topic is so big and so nuanced it is daunting to grapple. Sorry for your trouble that you can't get a handle to grip to respond, or whatall. Hard to understand why you would be afraid of me, my misperceptions? Engage intelligently. I parsely words for the fun of it - amazed you cannot tell? It's like tossing pebbles at a coke bottle.

    Tx means treatment. This is a medical term. Dx is diagnosis. Medical term. Perhaps found in a dictionary.com search, perhaps not.

    As to your ire with me, oh well. If you feel you have to chastise me for telling you/people that I am opening myself up vulnerably in this thread, then let your character be your guide. This is not some shitflinging contest about whether Palin was airbrushed or not. This is a bloody, painful, scabby, woundy, pus-y, drawnout illness and work of courage we will or will not face as people, as a nation. I plan to engage with the real me now that the topic has finally arrived, and I find it disappointing that you would take that opportunity as fast as possible to jab. I have definitely taken a shot or two at folks who seem to think they have the gods-eye view on this race thingie. Disappointing. Not progressive, that's sure. And boring as all hell to read -- no dialog, no room for response - only reaction.

    I am finally seeing some of the thought and dialog I have wanted to see since stopping just watching and starting to post once this historic gender and race culture battle [the election] became our lot.

    We look like shit to Europe by the way. I really hope it was ok to express that? They are definitely not afraid to call the numbers what they are, and how much more of that they will be. We look like unholy yuck to Europe.

    I'll come back after I've had some sleep and on my first morning break to read your comments.

    G'night.

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Paul -- for the record, I've spent very little of my time in white community since late teens, and most of it in ghettos and rural poverty zones too. Being engaged in arts and ceremony kept me able to survive. Inner city ghettos as well as the byways of both sides of the color divide.

    So from age 17 to 46, I may have spent some three years trying on white culture. Not very good at it. It was an effort to solve the problem of ME during that last economic collapse of Oregon. 2000 or so. Life went to shite and lost center utterly when I did that.

    Won't do it again. But, yep: white lady. Guess that means I don't know much about this business, dunno. It was quite something to be mixed race couple in tiny southern towns and not-always friendly rez situations where the families were cancerously at war.

    It is something to be the mother of mixed race man who, despite, dancing solid can still hear racial shite b/c he's a lighter cherokee from a line that was all over the color map from one end to the other.

    There might be some bonafides wandering around up here. Kristen alleges to have made a life that allows her to directly experience some of this too.

    But your observation might explain why so much opposition to accepting that outside of certain zones in the US, there is some really ugly, ugly stuff still going on.

    My ex would come in from the road, and, mind you, we lived in a town that treated me oddly b/c I was with a full blood man etc... and he told me stories of seeing the evidence of generations of Jim Crow... shaking his head to realize anew the deeper dimensions, even beyond what we were experiencing daily... to this crude disease of humankind.

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris -- could not resist - here I still sit. You have encapsulated much. Perhaps folks will respect your rendition, as it is worthy of a teachable moment in an academic setting.

    I experienced being beat up by two african american men, in the deep night, just trying to get home, as a nineteen year old girl in SF.

    It was many years later under hte tutelage of Harold Aldridge, in OK, that I finally was provided access to the concepts and framework of the PSych of the Minority Experience -- precisely what you describe as your rendition of marginalization.

    I finally got the chance to "get it" that I was a stand in, an effigy-girl trying to get home without the five bucks for a safe cab ride.

    BOdden wanted to slam me for not knowing this or that... painfully stupid. These are concepts that take blood and guts to apply, if you are going to actually do the nauseating work of identifying your own bias, feeling it, owning it. It's really a nauseating experience, but good.

    This is an ass-saving curriculum that is NOT being taught [or well-taught] in schools, and how can it be modeled culturally if we are not teaching it and learning it?

    Suddenly my family made sense, my married family made sense, much of my LIFE after I left home and traveled the inner city routes a kid alone - made sense!

    BUt there is way too much more, and as you have pointed out, my style of blurting is not going to get the engagement that a scholarly rendition such as yours entertains. I seem to have parsnips for earlobes anymore.

    Good post. Grist for thought - you read my head and made it cogent.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So, back to the topic, I think Kristin wanted to discuss how to actively be anti-racist. The hx [history - medical term] and concept base are important. But what we do with it on the hoof, of course, and in hte moment, not just later when reflecting upon a "situation" or a successful or failed interaction -- it's interesting to note how many approaches there are, and we need them all.

    In my experience, confrontation only seems to drive them underground. They stop talking around you, and you are robbed of moments to de-objectify the language, to humanize.

    I know you may find it hard to believe, but I tend away from the confrontive when bias is showing like a saggy slip; I will ask questions. I will use the strength of relationship and face to face contact to try to craft a connection that creates a sense of listening back and forth, and accountability to each other.

    It's easy to blast away up on a blog. But in person, you just do not do that.

    The pain I experience when I go back home, to know that my relations cannot escape it... it's real. So I put myself into the daily work here where I live now, trying to share concepts about marginalization even as I do the work I do, for that actually dovetails with the standards I must enforce. And the buy-in, when it comes, is a beautiful feeling. Everything shifts to a different level.

  • (Show?)

    Chris,

    "It may be that we need to turn our greatest anti-racist fierceness to reviving an organized political power consciously aimed at eliminating those structural inequalities."

    I completely agree -- and I think they are one in the same -- at its best, anti-racism, is, as I wrote comprised of actions that challenge "all forms of oppression – racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, xenophobia, and more – (which) combine to keep a select few in power."

    It is extremely interesting but not altogether surprising that the first African-American man to be elected has downplayed confrontation -- a decision I don't criticize if only for the beauty of the finesse. The society, however, that I believe must surround him would serve him well if we were challenging of the racism that still exists and could have held him back not that long ago.

    But anti-racism is not a simplistic idea or simply about confronting comments in bars --it is one that works on economic, social and rhetorical levels to attempt to correct an unjust past and present. I think on Obama's broader agenda, anti-racism will be infused in what he does...it just may not feel like the typical confrontation we're used to...

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    ...become actively and fiercely anti-racist. Considering that the idiots behind these images will most likely not sit down and be quiet if Obama wins, we need to be prepared meet their actions with full force.

    Chris: I re-read your post and found much to agree with, but I still have to object to the hostility and violence implicit in the excerpt above. Engaging opponents in such a manner would be counterproductive. I would endorse the use of force if it is under the color of the law as occurred at Little Rock, Alabama and other places where necessary for school integration, but in this case authorities, I believe, went too far when they were busing children up to an hour and a half each way to and from school. That was a form of violence against children.

    History, and for many of us our own experience, has shown examples of people fighting for worthy causes making the mistake of going too far and repelling their friends and supporters. The French Revolution is a prime example.

    Closer to home there is the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his supporters who opposed the evils of racism and poverty by applying Gandhi's principles of non-violence. Consider this abstract from MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech: "In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

    After King was assassinated there was an ominous threat of violence across the nation against racists and those perceived as such or as fellow travelers. Robert Kennedy spoke out against the use of violence and dissuaded those so disposed from following such a course. "Full force" in the form of race riots across the nation would likely have set the civil rights movement back by years.

    Racism is still a troubling factor in this nation, but let's not ignore the progress that has been made. There are countless examples of people of mixed races living in harmony with each other. Promoting that way of life will be more effective than the negative one of looking for a fight. To put it another way, lead instead of pushing.

  • (Show?)

    Bill,

    You misunderstood what I meant...I did not mean to confront it with the same hostility of racists, but rather the full force of what being progressive means, which, in my mind, means using intelligence and nonviolence to confront (with hostility but with conviction) racism and inequities in power structures when we see them.

  • (Show?)

    Paul, I agree and disagree, too. The one thing I do strongly disagree with is that you mentioned that my own antedotes don't add up to the stats. Fair enough. But if everyone the same color as me or all the different colors have at least one story to relate, doesn't that also mean something? Isn't that more than minor evidence? I'd say every couple of months (this month it was three things) something very blatant happens. Isn't that enough to make it more than statistics will bear out?

  • (Show?)

    Thanks, Karol.

    When we read and listen to what people of color have to say, I want to simply reiterate one point...

    "For white people, it means being humble, open, and respectful so that we may learn about how racism affects people of color in ways we may not even realize."

    Just because there hasn't been an academic study with neato statistics, doesn't mean that there aren't experiences that people of color are facing every single day that prove that racism is unfortunately alive and kicking in this country. If we wait for studies to prove it, we're missing out on an opportunity to learn.

    Take a breath and just listen.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You misunderstood what I meant...I did not mean to confront it with the same hostility of racists, but rather the full force of what being progressive means, which, in my mind, means using intelligence and nonviolence to confront (with hostility but with conviction) racism and inequities in power structures when we see them.

    In that case, and except for "with hostility," we agree.

  • (Show?)

    "oh, yeah. and that's a typo...I meant to write "not with hostility. If you'll notice the time of my earlier comment to Chris, I've been awake for awhile...

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I woke up again and again last night, something niggling at me, a lost crystallization of understanding once held easily.

    It is this: in the end, colour is the distraction the ones in power want us all to stay focused on. Look more-deeply. Obama will work on the infrastructure of MARGINALIZATION. My black mentor, a leader and educator who changed so many lives, he adjured us to remember that marginalization is a human/minority experience, and this is key to focus on, not the who of it. That changes. They will change it up on you as soon as you get a handle on it if you keep trying to deal with saliences.

    The more Obama focuses on the infrastructures that disempower, dehumanize - the work will get done, and we won't be also battling our private and personal fears as to whether "our cause" will be forgotten or deselected in favor of another.

    I shared academically-tested writings more than a month ago -- and connections to a very well-crafted native blog. There is much history, continuing, about the People being told over and over and over to wait, wait their turn. Wait some more b/c it's someone else's turn for a shot at an increase in justice. And so with women too.

    Here's to the hope we will get down to universalities and leave behind the generalities that come with red herring specifics!

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca,

    Just wanted to apologize quickly for my self-indulgence about distractions, and tone-deafness to humor & irony -- why is it easier to see on paper than a screen?

    FWIW I suspect that after the election is over it will be easier to get some discussions going than sometimes at present around here.

    Also, if or as your time permits, I'd encourage you to submit guest columns. I guess there's an interest to seeing what people do or don't choose for replies in the comments columns, but a column has more power to define the topic.

    For one, I'd personally love to see a column from you about the issue of "the sexualization of the campaign" that you were raising a bit ago in some comments that I found thought-provoking, but wasn't sure I understood (probably why they were thought-provoking). By that, I don't mean I think that it isn't occurring, or that I hadn't noticed anything to which that phrase might apply, but rather that some of your thinking seemed to go or point to places my own hasn't been yet, or maybe was pulling together things I'd noticed separately but not connected, that I'd like to understand better.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jeez, Critchifer - you are going to bring me so much honest-hearted shame! Oy. That was graceful and gracious...

    OK, tell you what, as my seasonally-driven schedule slows for me, I will promise to devote some honest/serious-minded time to such. When Obama becomes our president, this will continue to be the right time to speak of these things, not just because it always was, but, because the Zeitgeist has decreed that as a nation, in this moment, we shall.

    Meanwhile, this is a worthwhile discussion on Talk of the Nation today, driven by the first black governor ever elected (in the south, no less!): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95739248

    A young girl I was riding with last night reminded me of something I'd nearly forgotten, having been back in my home state for some decade now: this is very white. She lived in the south, and felt more comfortable there as a mixed race little girl. And she was lonely for the mixed demographics when she came here. For her, it was African American townships, and the higher ratio of admixture of complexion. For me it was the certain inflection of indigenous speech and the roads in their features, unseen in the flat white complects of folk like me...

    :)... She reminded me of what I'd forgotten: for all its frailties and faults, those troubled regions have higher ratios of intercultural density!

    Anyway, thank you Chris. My own uncivil feelings about you troubled me. I really should not be blogging. I'm too sappy for this.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "We have seen most of the racial hatred pop up when racists whites have their power threatened -- given the fact that our schools remain profoundly economically segregated, and that corporations and academic institutions are still led primarily by white people, there have been relatively few threats to this power"

    WARNING: gasbag aneCdote on the way. Keep scrolling if storytelling as prooftext is not your bag.

    Kristen, we've had dynamic experiences in this realm you describe.

    When my 19 year old, half Cherokee, traditionalist son was in sixth grade, I found FREE and experienced mentoring to be offered him in the form of academic support in the school setting. We had experienced great success with this in PPS, and were expecting to have partnership offered us in BSD. What an ugly surprise.

    My top of the class little boy was sliding academically, and I'd seen how having mixed-blood or fully-native mentors had kept him stabilized and engaged during the early years of leaving our cultural home. This little boy whose father had ditched him, who had survived the eruption of a DVIS situation, was kept somewhat balanced by dint of cultural program-based support. Typically these children are required to be a measurable, full academic year BEHIND everyone else before this programming is offered. They have to be horribly in trouble before anyone will notice their pain. I advocated his cultural and emotional stability etc.. and so won him the support any child, any little dyad such as we should have.

    ... anyway: BSD administration of his Middle School were at GREAT pains to gather the entire staff in my son's academic set so as to present to me, legalistically, why they did not LEGALLY have to allow my son to have this academic support, support that had been availed as a teacher-extender in all other settings up to the fifth grade, when we entered this awful district.

    It was shocking, I was distraught. I had located high-level academic supports with a Face of Colour that we had used successfully from K =>4 with the support and teaming of teachers and principals. Free of charge to the schools!

    And now, when he really DID need help, terribly, I faced an array of white (exactly how I experienced it: whites denied us our helpers) faces explaining legalistically why this resource would be denied, gladly turned away, and why I could do nothing about it. That latter was not true, but I had not emotional or material resource to circumvent that piece or fight any longer.

    The wreckage of his academic career since was rather legendary. Fits, starts, etc. Trust my kid to choose THIS to be the place to do his acting-out. Trust BHS to be my first experience of this district giving a shit: too late.

    My point? We were initially in a fairly collaborative, relatively culturally-competent setting that took the child's interest and the benefits of ANY working resource as the highest good. Then we experienced the mysteries of a predominantly white, 1950's-culture setting where valid resource was discouraged, turned away and legalistically proof-texted to death.

    Zero support to parents of kids in trouble during that phase of this district, and an absolute refusal from grade 5 - 10 to engage collaboratively with a really smart, resourceful parent. Other kids would have gotten tutoring support as well. That is always how it worked out.

    My son says that his hispanic peers, if they do not shine engagingly, are for much part just not... shown enduring interest and effort on the part of his teachers. I should ask him more about what he observed. He traveled between all the cliques as a hip-looking, charismatic native male. He saw into many worlds of the kids. And he said racism is alive and well here in Beaverton, Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    WARNING: gasbag aneCdote on the way. Keep scrolling if storytelling as prooftext is not your bag.

    Rebecca, that made me smile. Great discussion here, I guess we're not moving to Chris's thread.

  • (Show?)

    Karol

    Yes, we are in agreement now. I knew we'd end up there! ;-)

    I get worried about the "my story beats your data" because that feels suspiciously like the sort of reasoning that our current SCOTUS uses. Anecdotes matter. Data matter. They both matter and have to be considered for what they represent. I don't think one trumps the other.

  • Rebecca Whetstine/rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hi PaulG: what's Chris's thread? I've had a schedule that would kill a mooose and so I've as of an hour ago sworn off writing anything until I'm "back" as I'm not making sense and my thoughts are getting interrupted and sent. Sorry everyone. Feh.

    Anyway: good. Grins are good. And there's some other thread? Another place for me to gas it up? Tell!

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca,

    Sorry to hear of your son's travails and yours. I think what you describe may be partly an effect of the general relative whiteness of Oregon/PNW/Portland metro area -- though probably also largely white suburbs all around the country too.

    I saw something like this at Reed College when I was a student there in the late 1970s - early 1980s and again as a long term visiting junior faculty member in the early 1990s. Reed has a complicated and checkered history with ethnic and racial diversity that I won't go into. The short point is that both when I was a student and a few students raised the issues in an unsystematic and not-too-committed way, and when I was on the faculty and a different group of much more together and forceful students raised it persistently, to some the unsatisfactory effect, a huge proportion of the conversations I had with faculty and administrators were focused on why Reed wasn't diverse, not from the point of dx (;->) to find a solution, but as a sort of votive affirmation of why things had to be as they were. Some of them were true-enough things about the more general whiteness of the area.

    These weren't bad people, and often even included well-motivated people who had hit their heads against the walls of the institutional culture and had decided to put their good energies elsewhere & ended up being voices reproducing the culture by inertia. I also personally experienced the pulls of "realism" and also those of defensiveness at times, in talking to students about how things worked -- some of that was structural stuff they needed to deal with strategically, like the basic facts of hiring and tenure, but other things weren't.

    Anyway, after I left Reed in 1996, the college hired a new and by my understandings quite brilliant and effective admissions director. And while I don't know the details, it appears that he looked on the problem as one to be solved or improved, rather than identifying its dimensions to better say what couldn't be done or wouldn't work. Because the college has improved both in the scale and consistency of recruiting students of color. It's still low by national standards -- but that actually is true of all Oregon colleges and universities.

    I think the former kind of thing happens more often when white people act in racial isolation most of the time.

    (A somewhat different anecdote: in the course of two years I had two African-American students at Reed who were from Alaska, with one year intervening between their admissions, I think. At the time they must have been at least 1/8 of all the black students and possible more like 1/5. They also must have represented a not insignificant proportion of black Alaskan college students in that period, especially going out of state & even more especially to small liberal arts colleges. Being from Alaska made it easier for them to imagine going to very white Reed compared to potential students coming from places with bigger African-American populations.)

  • (Show?)

    On the students in the '90s, that should be "some but unsatisfactory effect" or not entirely satisfactory. I.e. they did make a difference but not what they wanted. They were a great and brave and energetic bunch.

  • RW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris, very brief here: a few motes of dust pulled together --

    Regional culture makes a difference: my special needs nevvy, a full blood Cherokee boy the family rescued from his mentally ill mother, was denied school-based support that is his legal right. This was in OK, with a highly-native and racially-mixed population, rural setting. The unbelievably intractible culture of "withholding-as-exercise-of-power-and control" that IS Oklahoma exasperated me. The survival strategy of the poorer citizens, that of the enduring, eloquent shrug (instead of renewed demands and exploration of strategies outside or above) also was constitutionally difficult for me. I exhausted myself advocating for my nephew (unsuccessfully, by the way, as I could not endure and was successfully worn down to silent surrender alongside my sister in law) in the schools and also to the family who'd given up on "the system".

    That said, I really feel, since last night, that I will need to balance my desriptions of my life "story", as, I've seen and survived, endured and overcome everything you pray to god will never come to your mother, aunt, sister, daughter. Yet, in the end, those renditions are so very much only a tiny piece of the colour and wind of what my life is.

    The beauties I've been privileged to live as a result of standing in the center of my hoop are possibly never going to be articulated in a place like this. So even as I want my bonafides respected so that we can have REAL conversations and explorations, I never ever want these to be regarded as most of what I am or am about. Gosh no no no.

    So wanted to weigh in with the articulation of the awareness that in the effort to punch through, so to speak, I could sound like a whiney, suffering veteran (cough cough cough) running on and on.

    Aware of the need to balance this even as I'm advocating for what I believe to be critical thinking points -- get OFF colour as the arbiter of whose word you will respect! Please... etc... for colour only partially might delineate experience - you can see I am definitely out of that stinkin' mold, at least a little bit when I behave as conscious.

    Ok... so for today, I'm folding up my chair and going away. Cannot focus, do not wish to clutter the waves further.

    But this was niggling at me last night and I feel it needed saying - not completely unaware of myself. Maybe.

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca, I can understand not wanting to misrepresent the totality of who you are, but anyone paying the least attention could not doubt your self-awareness in the best Socratic or critical thinking sense. You also have an illuminating situation where you must live at margins or limins where worlds meet and connect that many, perhaps most people who have a choice in the matter prefer to stay away from, because they are so complicated, and it is generous of you to share the insights and outlooks you see from that place. On the most salient current aspect, I've known some other white parents of children of color, and it is clearly a powerful experience; reflecting on it (what would I do, how would I feel) gives me a path also to harder kinds of empathy to reach with people more steps removed from where/who I am, to a degree anyway. Thanks for being a kind of Mercury for some of us (if you'll forgive the gender bending). As I read what you offer in those ways, I'll try to keep in mind what you say about beauty, and am glad to know you've found or made that for yourself too, despite all else.

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris: what's not to like about gender-bending?

    ;)...

  • County Commissioner Candidate Nadia Sindi (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Washington Watch October 20, 2008

    A Disturbing Episode

    Dr. James J. Zogby (c)

    President

    Arab American Institute

    It was a brief episode in what has been a long and grueling campaign, but it spoke volumes about an issue that has been percolating since this election began.
    
    On October 10th, in Lakeview Minneapolis, at a rather raucous town meeting hosted by Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, one of his supporters, an older woman named Gayle Quinnell, was given the microphone to speak. Haltingly, she said, "I don't trust Obama. I've read about him, and he's an Arab." McCain, clearly uncomfortable with the situation, grabbed the microphone from her and said, "No, ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is about. He's not. Thank you." It was an unsettling moment, for several reasons.
    
    For almost two years now, emails and pamphlets have been widely circulated, saying not just that Barack Obama is a Muslim but, more ominously, charging that he is a "secret Muslim" and a "Manchurian candidate" planted in our midst to disrupt out democracy. As bizarre as it all sounds, questions have been raised about Obama's place of birth, his beliefs, his associations, all suggesting that we don't know who he is, what he stands for, or what he will do to America. These fantastic charges were echoed on talk radio and fueled by extremist preachers. As a result, they acquired some currency.
    
    In ways both subtle and not so subtle, Obama's opponents, first in the Democratic primary, and now even more harshly in the general election, have fed this slanderous effort. In the beginning, it was "He's not like us," or "We don't know who he is," or "He doesn't believe in the same America the rest of us believe in." By now, it's become "He's a liar", "He pals around with terrorists", or, as Rush Limbaugh continues to say, "He's really an Arab."
    
    As late as this week, the Virginia Republican Party sent out a mass mailing featuring a cropped photo of  Obama's eyes, with the logo: "America must look evil in the eye and never flinch"; while North Carolina's Republican Party made automated phone calls to people's home linking the Democrat to terrorists. And a prominent Washington-based conservative newspaper featured an article with the headline "The Jihadist Vote", making allegations about "Islamists seeking to destroy Western civilization from within" utilizing the Obama campaign as their vehicle.
    
    Repeated often enough, even fantasies can find fertile ground amidst economic insecurity and "fear of the other" (a nicer way of describing racism and Islamophobia) and be believed. This is what found expression in the words of Gayle Quinnell.
    
    Now, as unsettling as this was, I was also troubled by Senator McCain's response. While he was, at first, widely credited by the mainstream media for defending his opponent, I found disturbing the implication conveyed by his awkward reply, that being an "Arab" and a "decent family man" were somehow mutually exclusive categories. And so my office issued a rebuke, and I posted a piece on Huffington Post, one of the U.S.'s most prominent blog sites, entitled "John McCain: I am an Arab and a Decent Man." In it, I wrote: "Enough is enough! ...while we are pleased to see that [McCain] is trying to dispel rumors about Senator Obama,  we feel the need to point out that Arab Americans are also decent men and women with full rights and citizenship as enumerated under the Constitution. Arab Americans are part of the great melting pot that is this country's strength. We raise our sons and daughters to be model citizens of this nation. We serve this country with honor. The suggestion that any ethnic group is treacherous and anti-American is unacceptable, dangerous, and unbecoming."
    
    The response I received was overwhelming and extraordinarily positive. Hundreds and hundreds wrote comments and/or emails, among them were these statements:
    

    "These kinds of comments defame not only Arab American, or African Americans, but every American."

    "We are all Arab Americans. Since Friday, I have become one."

    "As an American of Japanese ancestry, I know full well the impact of hysterical mob mentality."

    "That hurt me as an American."

    Equally noteworthy was the slow but steady response by media commentators on CNN and MSNBC, as well as a delightful sketch on Comedy Central's "Daily Show" with John Stewart - all of which chided Senator McCain for failing to recognize that "Arab" should not be used as mud to sling at an opponent. The collective response was heartening, and reinforced my belief in the fundamental goodness of my fellow citizens.
    
    This election has been long, and it has been difficult. It has exposed raw nerves at the core of the American psyche: race, and fear of Arabs and Muslims (long a problem, but exacerbated by the horrific terror of 9-11) are problems we must now address. As long as they remain unaddressed, they can be the fodder of incitement, used to prey off of fear and insecurity. No doubt, a dangerous situation. But there is a lesson to be learned from the Gayle Quinnell and McCain episode, and that is: If left unchecked, the hatred will grow, but when challenged, it can be defeated.
    

    Washington Watch is a weekly column written by AAI President James Zogby. The views expressed within this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Arab American Institute. We invite you to share your views on the topics addressed within Dr. Zogby's weekly Washington Watch by emailing [email protected]

    Arab American Institute 1600 K Street, NW Suite 601 Washington, DC 20006 www.aaiusa.org www.yallavote.org

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Poking around, minding my own business, winding down... and I make the mistake of clicking a Drudge link to come upon a vid of someone saying Obama will pay her gas and etc... and below, reams of horrific, racist spew.

    It made me sick. And flashed me back to bad old days in Oklahoma... we MUST fight this through. We must shatter this divide and then make certain we do not just sit here comfy to talk about the obvious. We MUST stretch ourselves to grapple complexities and realities beyond our own.

    It's important, occassionally, to drink in the stenchy poison of the racist mind. To remember why it is we are here, why we bother for. It's NOT to present the most well-wrought, the most pithy, the most clever freaking commentary. It is to trade energy, expand one another and to DO something about our shared reality.

    In these last hours, I am grateful the racists spew feel safe enough to rant in public media. If they do not hide, it is easier for me to make my target.

    Vote! Count! Make it count.

    <hr/>

connect with blueoregon