Politics: Barack Obama and Racism
On November 5th of the year 2008, 52 per cent of America's voting populace heaved a huge sigh of relief amid cries of "Yes, We Did!" (OK, November 4th for those of us who just had to stay up till the last possible minute to enjoy that early victory.)
But what is it that we just did? Did we overcome racism, hatred, discrimination? Did we set an example for the whole world that in America, if you work hard enough, your dreams can come true?
No. All we did was elect a biracial man to the highest office of the land. He probably could not have won if he were not half white. And even though his mother was a white American, and he was raised by his white grandparents, we still heard, for two years, about how he was a Muslim, born in Kenya, an Arab, a Manchurian candidate, a friend of PLO terrorists and cousin to an African despot, et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseam. And if you were not nauseated by the endless drivel spouted by the hatemeisters of right-wing blogs, it's because you were not reading them or exposed to the almost psychotic reality-refuting venom they were disseminating.
Today, the Christian Science Monitor reports (via the Huffington Post) that some 200 racist incidents have already occurred as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. To put this in perspective, consider, if you will, that exactly 13 days have passed since the election. That's roughly 15 incidents of racism per day.
Interestingly, the CSM refers to President Obama as "black." Many white and biracial people consider him biracial, not black. But in the U.S., thanks to the ugly legacy of slavery, there is something called the "one-drop" rule: If you have a single ancestor who is black, regardless how attenuated that ancestral tie, you are black. Even if your skin is whiter than most, your hair straighter and blonder, your eyes bluer or greener, the fact that your great-great-great lost-in-time ancestor was a black person makes you a black person also.
It reminds us of that brilliant film, Monsieur Klein, in which Alain Delon plays Robert Klein, a Parisian art-dealer who is exploiting Jews trying to flee the German invasion of France. When Klein is suspected of being a Jew (due to the existence of another Klein with the same first name living in the same area who is, apparently, Jewish), he goes to see his father to ask if there is, indeed, any Jewish blood in the family. His father replies, enraged, "We've been French and Catholic since Louis the Fourteenth!" An ambiguous statement, at best, given the many years of French history preceding the reign of that king. Did Papa Klein mean only to suggest that the family had German roots? Or was there, indeed, a Jewish ancestor lost in the mists of time?
How do we overcome the hate, the racism, the prejudice? How do we overcome the sentiment that causes believing Christians (whose teacher taught that we must love all as we love ourselves, that judgment is reserved to god alone, that perfect love casteth out fear) to vote to take away the rights of others? How do we change the minds of people who think burning a cross on someone's lawn is an appropriate response to someone whose skin colour, eye shape, religion, or sexual preference is different than their own?
In the coming months, we will have to join together to work even harder than we worked over the past two years. We're all exhausted from what has gone before, but don't rest too long. Our new President sets a good example. The man has taken less than one day off so far, and he worked harder than any one of us the past two years.
This blog returns to its original mission of searching out actionable items of interest everywhere and begs your indulgence for our past months of election fever. It's not easy to blog when laced to the gills with strong pain meds, but La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your support and interest over the past year or two. Please let us know what you think about anything we write.
Special thanks to our fine fellow-bloggers Ms. Manitoba, FoTPC, and Milagrito aka The Feline Pope-in-Exile.
As a warning against the detrimental effects of bigotry we post this photograph:
This fine specimen is currently facing charges in the death of a recruit to his particular Conehead branch of the Ku Klux Klan. Lest we end up with people like him leading, or more likely, chivvying us from behind, let us return anew to the fight against bigotry.
We leave you with this ditty:
"You've got to be taughtRodgers and Hammerstein, South Pacific.
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught "
In closing, HuffPo commenter SurferKit would like you all to know:
This is a good time to remind bloggers here at HP that if you see a threatening post made against Obama, Michelle, or his daughters, use the links below to send an email to the appropriate government agencies and let them know.On the plus side, we do want to point out that the majority of people have graciously accepted victory or conceded defeat, as the case may be. And we're not thrilled with the idea of turning in people for "thought crimes." On the minus side, Columbine, and, you know, all those loons posting their plans for dismembering other folks all violent-like all over teh InnerTubes, and then actually going out and doing it. "Who'd'a thunk?" we all cried afterwards. Well, clearly, some of us would'a. And did'a. Stumble It!
As this topic indicates, the threats to Obama should NOT be taken lightly. Be assured the FBI and the Secret Service will take your email seriously.