A powerful op-ed from Goldie Taylor of thegrio.com. The story of one of the untold millions of Blacks who have been oppressed and how those issues are alive and well today. For you and me. And even for the President of the United States…
“Show me your papers!”
Major Blackard, then just 19 years old, dug into his trousers in search of his wallet. He padded his jacket, but could not find his billfold.
“Sir, I done left my wallet…” Blackard said. Before he could finish his sentence, the young man was posted against the brick wall, cuffed and taken to the St. Louis city jail. Unable to prove his identity, he would spend the next 21 days in a cramped, musty cell. That’s where his older brother Matt found him, beaten and bloodied. Matt returned with Major’s employer later that day, wallet and identification card in hand, to post bond.
The year was 1899. Major Blackard was my great, great grandfather.
The real crime, as Pulitzer Prize winning author Doug Blackmon points on in his seminal work Slavery by Any Other Name, was that my grandfather was a colored man in America.
This morning, as White House staffers released copies of the president’s long form birth certificate, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something very ugly was going on. For the first time in recorded history, a sitting president of the United States found it necessary to produce his original birth certificate for public inspection. Not once, in 235 years, have we ever demanded proof that our president was born on American soil.
In a stunning display of unchecked ego, Donald Trump quickly hosted a news conference, during which he took credit for forcing President Obama’s hand. The sometime real estate developer, socialite, author and television personality went on to caution onlookers to let “experts” examine the document. Lest the president continue perpetrating was Trump has called potentially the “biggest fraud in American history.”
For weeks, the thrice married, comb-over construction magnate has enthralled news reporters with his apocalyptic ranting. Trump openly questioned whether President Obama belonged in the White House, a boardroom, or even an Ivy League lecture hall.
And we let him.
We used all manner of excuses to justify giving Trump as much oxygen as he could suck up. Rarely, if ever, did we press him to produce a shard of evidence to substantiate his wild claims. We smiled gingerly as he all but called us stupid sycophants who were in cahoots with an illegitimate president. We allowed him to hold court on issues on which he clearly has no knowledge and no credibility, beyond the limo ride briefings he apparently receives from his merry band of “yes men.”
Trump didn’t just want the birth record. He wants the president to release his college transcripts. “How did such a bad student get into Harvard?,” Trump keeps asking. The implication is the Barack Obama was the beneficiary of affirmative action and took the place of a more qualified white student. Apparently, graduating magna cum laude from the nation’s most prestigious law school and being named editor of the Harvard Law Review — the institution’s highest student honor — is not enough for him.
It never is for people like Trump.
“If he gets off the phone, or gets off his basketball court or whatever he’s doing at the time,” Trump said. “I mean he should be focused on OPEC and getting those prices down.”
When they tell you this isn’t racial, don’t believe them. This controversy was constructed solely as a way to de-legitimize the presidency of a black man. Those who question the location of Barack Obama’s birth are the very same people who would pack up and move out of the neighborhood if someone like me moved in next door.
When they say they want to take their country back, they mean from us.
According to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, a stunning 51 percent of Republicans believe the president wasn’t born in the United States. In Mississippi, nearly half of all Republicans believe interracial marriage should be illegal. If they had their way, not only would Obama not be president, he never would have been born.That’s how far we have not come.
Some 112 years after my grandfather was snatched from a street corner in the central west end section of St. Louis, it seems we still need to prove our right to be here.
I thought we were better than this. – Goldie Taylor
I’m afraid not…
The President on the made up Right-wing controversy & media firestorm.
- Obama born in the U.S.A. – SURPRISE! (promoteliberty.wordpress.com)
…or maybe we should call it what it really is… Racism. By not calling it what it actually is, the perpetrators are allowed to hide under a term more politically correct but less accurate and they are allowed to skip the scrutiny that they deserve…and the process continues for the next racist.
Let’s Just Call It Race Baiting
“The one radical thing about Barack Obama is his race, his name. Of course, there is nothing innately radical about being black or having Hussein as middle name; what is radical is that he has those attributes and is sitting in the Oval Office. And even now, more than two years after the fact, this is deeply disturbing to many people, and, at the same time, the easiest way to arouse visceral opposition to him. Let’s be even plainer: to do what Trump has done (and he is only the latest and loudest and most spectacularly hirsute) is a conscious form of race-baiting, of fear-mongering. And if that makes Donald Trump proud, then what does that say for him? Perhaps now he will go away, satisfied that this passage has sufficiently restored his fame quotient and television ratings. The shame is that there are still many more around who, in the name of truth-telling, are prepared to pump the atmosphere full of poison.” – David Remnick
- Let’s Just Call It Race Baiting (politicalwire.com)
- Lawrence O’Donnell Thumps Trump For Continued Race-Baiting (lezgetreal.com)
- “Only for truly insane people and politicians who find advantage in race-baiting and de-legitimizing…” (gwendolen.tumblr.com)
- Will the GOP Drive Itself (and the U.S.) Over a Cliff? (themoderatevoice.com)
- Trump now questioning how Obama got into the Ivy League (americablog.com)
- Here Is One Day Of Rush Limbaugh Totally Not Race-Baiting (oliverwillis.com)
If white men are persecuted in this society, what’s the word we should use for what has and is happening to Black men!? Do we even have a word for that???
Please stop it…
“The Beached White Male” — this bellowing cover headline from the new issue of Newsweek is only the latest installation of the most resilient parable in American cultural mythology: The Legend of the Persecuted White Guy.
This narrative has been part of the media mix for the larger part of the last few decades, from the 1980s when it was alleged that civil rights initiatives (affirmative action, busing, etc.) were persecuting whites, to the last decade, which lamented whites as “America’s forgotten majority,” to the present political moment in which the first African-American president is accused of caring only about his fellow minorities and harboring “a deep seated hatred of white people.”
Newsweek’s iteration of this Persecuted White Guy story, which claims that the economy is now rigged to make sure white males “don’t have a freakin’ prayer,” follows USA Today’s implication that “older white males [are] hurt more by this recession” than anyone else, and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s (subsequently discredited) argument that “white anxiety” is justified because white working-class students are supposedly among “the most underrepresented groups” at elite universities.
In each version of the legend, the characters and specific events change — sometimes the stars are beefy white guys watching factories leave “real America” for Mexico, other times it’s celebrated “Office Park Dads” in coastal enclaves seeing their jobs offshored to China. Either way, the establishment media’s official story never seems to deviate from the tale of D-FENS in the 1993 film “Falling Down”: Virtuous, patriotic white males are under more intense assault than any other group.
To be sure, many individual white males have been hurt by past recessions, and many more have been hit hard by this one, too. But the obsessive and disproportionate focus on the plight of this particular demographic actually contradicts the underlying theory of white victimhood. Far from being “forgotten,” persecuted or “without a freakin’ prayer,” white men still very much retain their cherished privilege, so much so that their problems are presented by the media as the most pressing national emergency — even when, on the whole, white men still occupy a comparatively enviable position in our economy.
For example, the Huffington Post recently reported that while the March jobless rate for white workers dropped below the overall national average to 7.9 percent, the unemployment rate among black workers increased from 15.3 to 15.5 percent. In case you think that’s some momentary product of recessionary economics, remember the recent Center for American Progress report showing that “the employment rates of African-American men remained stagnant even during the economic booms in the 1980s and 1990s.” It’s also not a product of education levels — as the New York Times recently noted that, among college graduates, the white unemployment rate has been roughly half that of the black unemployment rate.
Indeed, so powerful and consistent is white male privilege in America that a group of respected civil rights groups last year filed a United Nations complaint arguing that “the over-representation of women and racial and ethnic minorities in unemployment, underemployment, and poverty” violates the United States’ obligations under international treaties.
In light of all this, how can Newsweek look at the undeniable crisis of black unemployment and then devote a cover exclusively to the economic troubles of white males? How can the Legend of the Persecuted White Guy persist?
Part of it is naked political opportunism. Whether it’s Richard “Silent Majority” Nixon, Ronald “States Rights” Reagan, Pat Buchanan or today’s Tea Party leaders, there’s always a pack of white male politicians screaming about white males being oppressed — and thus rewarded with outsize media attention for their hysterics.
And there’s a reason why the media is eager to cover their antics. A white male dominated elite media is, by virtue of its complexion and its largely white audience, overly responsive to fear-mongering about white males being under attack — no matter how substance-free the fear-mongering may be. This dynamic is only intensified by the fact that after so much repetition, the Legend of the Persecuted White Guy has become a form of cultural shorthand — one of those unquestioned-yet-unsubstantiated tropes like “higher taxes hurt the economy” or “free trade creates jobs” that reporters and editors regularly rely on as a lowest common denominator for content.
The legend’s perseverance is also motivated by a backlash to change — no matter how overdue, slight or circumstantial. Nixon and later Reagan’s versions of the legend echoed the white backlash of civil rights movement successes; Buchanan’s legend found underground traction, in part, as a backlash to cultural bigotry being drubbed out of polite society; and today’s version has emerged as a backlash to the election of the first black president and — as importantly — to the slight reduction of the white-black unemployment gap. As USA Today briefly pointed out, the recession has marginally reduced the traditional “racial gap in unemployment, largely because white men are doing so much worse than usual.”
The “usual” bit is the key point. The “usual” was white males for decades being even more disproportionately insulated from overall economic turbulence than they are now. That meant, as the Bay Area News Group reports, an “unemployment rate for men aged 55 and older (that) averaged 3.7 percent, and reached 7 percent in only a single month — February 1950.”
So, sure, while white males still remain way ahead of and way more financially insulated than most other demographic groups, it’s true — they are just a tad more susceptible to brutal economic forces than they once were. Somehow, though, the fact that everyone else has been subject to those economic forces for decades doesn’t seem to matter, nor does the fact that most other groups still have it worse.
Somehow, the legend of the Persecuted White Guy trumps all. – David Sirota
First off, we can’t have this conversation without some ground rules. The math goes like this: Racism = prejudice + power. Black people do not have the power of industry or politics or anything else to be racist. Hence, Black people cannot be racist. It’s easy math…
If you don’t understand the variables here then you cannot have a real discussion as it relates to race because your racial acumen is too low.
All of the comments from Sharpton & Taylor are on point but you must really listen to Toure’s discussion of intellect, the current racial milieu and affirmative action. Make your comments below… Please…
- Are Whites Racially Oppressed? (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
Click the link below and start at the 33 minute mark for the Jalen Rose interview…
I agree, wholeheartedly, with the views expressed by Jalen Rose. His comments need no other clarification from me. I understood and understand exactly where he was and is coming from…
(Pay attention to the op-ed Jalen Rose wrote in response to the rebuttal to the Fab Five documentary that was penned by Grant Hill under the Related Articles section)
The fact that this is even a headline on a major news website shows the power that Whites, as a whole, wield on the American psyche and the American narrative. But we never talk about that. The fact that you have an article actually arguing the merits of this point of view I find utterly ridiculous. A supremely powerful majority who views themselves as an oppressed minority? Really!!?? And a major network that gives this point of view voice!? Are we always to be fair and balanced… You have got to be kidding me.
There is a such thing as a “legitimate” argument. Just because you MAKE and argument doesn’t make the argument a legitimate one. I could “argue” that the President was born in Kenya. I could make that argument…and Mike Huckabee has…but does that mean his argument is accurate or legitimate or truthful or righteous in any way? Whites as an oppressed minority? Seriously!? Is the NAACP racist too? Has the Tea Party no racist overtones!?
The article relays these bullet points as evidence:
• A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The poll found 61% of those identifying with the Tea Party held that view, as did 56% of Republicans and 57% of white evangelicals.
• More colleges are offering courses in “Whiteness Studies” as white Americans cope with becoming what one commentator calls a “dispossessed majority group.”
• A Texas group recently formed the “Former Majority Association for Equality” to offer college scholarships to needy white men. Colby Bohannan, the group’s president, says white men don’t have scholarship options available to minorities. “White males are definitely not a majority” anymore, he says.
• U.S. Census Bureau projections that whites will become a minority by 2050 are fueling fears that whiteness no longer represents the norm. This fear has been compounded by the recent recession, which hit whites hard.
You have this perception out there that whites are no longer in control or the majority.
–Charles Gallagher, sociologist
• Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh argued in a radio show that Republicans are an “oppressed minority” in need of a “civil rights movement” because its members willingly sit in the “back of the bus” and “are afraid of the fire hoses and the dogs.”
• Fox talk-show host Glenn Beck led a march on Washington (attended primarily by white people) to “restore honor,” and once called President Obama a racist with a “deep-seated hatred for white people and white culture.” He later said he regretted making that comment.
This is exactly why you need a definition of racism/white supremacy. A definition of truth. Not one brought forth by the majority to usurp or confuse the illness that is racism/white supremacy. There also needs to be a dichotomy drawn between what would better be called prejudice and what should be called racism/white supremacy. To confuse the two words or to make them indistinguishable allows for a white majority to claim racial oppression and minority status (when the facts and reality point to no such thing) while they continue to control every industry and station.