More than Ever…Race is Unavoidable. (Written Aug 30, 2008)
If Barack Obama loses this historic presidential bid to John McCain the blame will fall squarely on white, rural, working class, lower income voters who by definition are Democrats but who just can’t physically allow themselves to pull the lever for a Black man. Forget the fact that their politics are almost identical or that Democratic policies will give them the economic leg up that they need in these Republican-infused distressed economic times or that these same Republicans have dragged the American brand through the mud worldwide…they just can’t mentally wrap their minds around it.. Forget about the fact that Michelle Obama spelled out in her speech to the DNC that her and Barack’s story (the African American story) are identical to the mythical American dream that everyone espouses and we all hope to emulate, both Black and White. I guess that’s not enough. Never mind that both became successful despite working class roots and parents who sacrificed for their children. No that’s not enough either.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe the panelists openly discussed how white voters are wondering how it is possible that these two Black people could get into Ivy league schools when their own children were not that fortunate. They discussed white sentiments that were against affirmative action and how a quota system must be the reason why these two Black people are successful. I mean they openly discussed how white folk held resentment towards successful blacks by making assumptions about how they got to be successful. I mean it was lunacy. (The real facts are these: While affirmative action connotes the idea that unqualified Blacks get preferrential treatment, the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action are WHITE WOMEN) These same folk will vote for Republican elites who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and have no real connection to average Joe Smith or their economic issues and furthermore have run our economy into the ground the last 4-8 years. (ie George W Bush and McCain – both were well connected but abysmal students that held status because of their family blood line, not hard work) While corporations continue to get bailed out with taxpayer money and others make record profits while charging us higher prices and still others hire illegal aliens who will work at way less than the going rate and still others continue to ship American jobs overseas for bigger profits, these same working class whites continue to profit from white entitlement and the white superiority that is embedded in our society. When they see a successful white the attitude is one if pride and similarity. When the successful one is black they are met with skepticism and envy. It doesn’t matter that we are all American or that Blacks can succeed by playing by the rules. None of that matters. In the solitary confinement that is a voting booth, where no one is watching them, they remain unable to vote for their own interests when the candidate that shares thier views and lives their story is Black.
It is times like this where I can truly understand the depression of my ancestors. They told us that we can’t just be as good as whites…we had to be better. What they didn’t tell us is that even when we are better and play by the rules and achieve…there is a resentment that will follow from the dominant culture that is rooted in racism and white supremacy. Those of you in corporate America know of what I speak. Look around upper management at your job. How many of you rise through the ranks without even considering that your race is a factor? If people will not vote for a Black man who shares a common American story and shares their economic issues…do you really think they would hire one or better yet promote one? I will continue to scream this from the mountain tops: Racism and white supremacy is this country’s first and most pervasive and insidious sin and the manifestations if this sin affects each and every one of us…each and everyday…more than ever before.