Friday, November 7, 2008

Not even time to celebrate..

I was all prepared to apologize for my steadfast belief in widespread white racism towards blacks, and especially towards African-Americans, and yet before I could celebrate just two days I have begun to hear an idea that was whispered during the primary and then disappeared. It was the idea that much of Obama's success rested on his NOT being a decedent of slaves.

One of the most egregious comments is being proselytized by one Maureen Dowd of the New York Times...she writes,
"But I had been astonished by the overt willingness of some people who didn’t
mind being quoted by name in The New York Times saying vile stuff, that a
President Obama would turn the Rose Garden into a watermelon patch, that he’d
have barbeques on the front lawn, that he’d make the White House the Black
Actually, the elegant and disciplined Obama, who is not descended from
the central African-American experience but who has nonetheless embraced it and
been embraced by it, has the chance to make the White House pristine again."

Another author, Richard Rodriguez, repeated a similar sentiment on NPR stating that part of Obama's success came from white mother and absence of his 'bigamist' African father (he really said that) AND his non-associated with the decedents of the American slave narrative - this allowed him to become successful and reach these heights.

Now I am aware that I am the ever watching bird of prey for racist sentiment but I am quickly tiring of the attempt to divorce Obama's success from the story, read trail and tribulation, of Black Americans.

FIRST because Obama, and he would agree with me, is withdrawing the interest of Civil Rights blood deposited during the 1960's - the walls that were torn down in the 60's largely by Black Americans and their White American allies. These decedents of slaves, the so called central African-American experience, paid the price with their blood so that this future would be possible. When Dr. King, and Medger Evans, and Malcolm X, and Fannie Lou Hammer, and Rosa Parks and dam it Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas and and and gave their lives for the basic freedoms of ALL Americans to be respected and dignified and protected by law - that is the 'central African-American experience' that allowed Barack Obama to stand where he does today. His presence, no matter his parentage, is inextricably tied to the history of Black Americans and attempts to divorce him from that is to, again, deny the humanity and contribution of Black Americas – hell, it even impedes our ability to claim ownership of our own country.

SECOND these sentiments double down on the very real division in the Black Community between Black Americans of African, Caribbean, and Home grown decent. This sentiment dangerously sparks ideas of ownership of success when it truly belongs to every person of color who endures and succeeds in spite of the racism that plagues us. Remember NJ Jersey troopers rarely check 'where your people from' before they stop you illegally. NYPD bullets don't stop moving because 'your people' were not descendents of a “central African-American Experience’.

There is a shared experience of racism and triumph that gives the black experience in America its patina. I, for one, refuse to see the richness of our experience emptied of meaning by thoughtless and incendiary prejudice. Don’t call me telling me I’m over reacting either – it subtle but there, I swear.

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