Bring It On!

Shades of America

April 25th, 2008 | by Jet Netwal |

 A couple of observations about race are rumbling through my brain today.

First, one thing the credible Obama candidacy has done is free African Americans from a lot of political baggage. Obama’s “yes we can” is as much about discarding a defeatist mindset in blacks as in the country as a whole. It’s no longer viable to see this candidacy as symbolic. The man is going to win, or this country is going to see cheating on a public scale we may never recover from.

As he continues to campaign effectively, across all demographics, his blackness is becoming both more and less important. More important to people whose withering options leave them few weapons except fanning hate, and less important to people who see the message and not the color. There are folks from all races in each group, but I think we are actually at a point in our development as a national community that there are more who are responding to the message than need the hate to continue.

As a nation, we can. It’s a powerful thing.

When you’ve spent generations fighting against deliberate structural inequality, alliances are formed to help beef your numbers, perceived power and ability to punish. Sometimes alliances help, sometimes they verge on unholy, and sometimes you just get taken. How many times does hope get up off the mat before the brain says, ‘this is bullshit’? In the last 10-15 years, African Americans have been weaning themselves from lockstep Democratic alliance. Sure, most of them vote Democratic, but the brain is looking at hope on the mat and seeing with clarity. Lip service days are over for the black community. This is a good thing.

The real damage the Clinton’s are inflicting on the Democratic Party has long term implications both for Progressives and Black Americans. These two groups should be welded at the hip, and if they could get a rational accord on their religious differences, united, would be a force. Their core desires of equal opportunity and the elimination of bias structures could change this country forever.  What the Clinton’s are doing is breaking them apart; they intend to marginalize both groups in order to deconstruct any alliance and diminish their power. By destabilizing two core underpinnings of the Democratic Party, the Obama message becomes diluted and secondary and hate fires get a blast of oxygen.

There are people who say that’s inevitable, that the hate would rise regardless. I don’t buy that it’s impossible to elect black president without having a racial free for all. I’ll take to the bank though, that a weak and unimaginative opposition believes that all they have to do is bring us to the brink and we’ll cower rather than deal with it. Under the rug for another generation?

No, we can’t.

African Americans are taking a stand against the Democratic Party and calling the Clinton’s out on their manipulative race mongering. Bravo. As a lifelong Democrat, I know how much we need African Americans in our tent, but if they can’t be there without divisional bullshit, then our tent is a sham. I want my party to be the people’s party. ALL people. Right now, we aren’t getting that done. Bill and Hillary Clinton believe hope needs to hit the mat again. Fuck them, and the ass they rode in on. I know I’m not the only Democrat who feels that way, and that there’s a better donkey in our stable than the sorry nag Clinton whips into an irrational frenzy. If the Clintons succeed in changing the base of the Democratic Party and driving African American voters out, they will have cemented separation of race single handedly, created a fractured Democratic Party, completely disenfranchised and stripped power from African Americans and handed the Republicans the keys. All because Hillary can’t handle losing? There’s your bitter, folks.

The second thing I’ve been contemplating is that every public demonstration of racial “ineptitude”, be it intentional or otherwise, is counterweighted by a thousand conversations like this one, where individual citizens are talking to each other about race. Some of those conversations are ugly and others are pretty good, but the fact that they are happening, that a black man in Atlanta and a white woman in Detroit are talking at all, is its own kind of power. We are changing the conversation by the very fact we are having it. Every conversation like this one turns down the volume on the race baiting that passes for political discourse because our individual filters broaden, our capacity for understanding increases, our minds engage the problem, and our investment in the issue becomes personal.

I’m not saying we’re there, that it’s easy, or that we won’t fail. I am saying that we are, for the first time able to bypass the media interpretation of what is really happening between the races in this country and shape that ending. The wheel, you could say, is in our hands.

Real change in racial relations will be forged by a million conversations. Maybe the anonymity of the net gives us courage to put in writing a dialogue we fear to speak. That’s OK. Taking the time to cement language to race is an investment in change. We owe it to ourselves to try. On many other stages, our beacon is dimmed, but by pulling race off the public table and putting it on a million private ones, individual Americans can lead the nation to a genuinely equitable place. We will get there because when too many of us want something, the issue is forced. You can’t stop the tide.

As a 40 something white female 7th generation farmer, I’m not pretending to “get” the black experience. Feel free to yank me up short if I’m being stupid, insensitive or packing blinders. This is how I see it, and I’m jumping in.

Let’s talk.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Shades of America”

  2. By rube cretin on Apr 26, 2008 | Reply

    jet,
    very interesting. since my vote will not be counted, (Florida voter like you), i have decided not to follow the nomination race lately. Besides there are more important things going on in the world. Anyway i find it interesting that you believe Bill and Hillary are somehow responsible for the race issue, “manipulative race mongering” which has bubbled up in the past few weeks. Guess i missed something? would you believe i think, based on a couple of days of reading and catching up, that the whole race issue is being brought forth by the MSM and blamed on the Clinton’s. this is very convenient for the rupugs since they will just amplify it during the general and say the Clintons started it. If obama is the nominee, just imagine the numerous ways the issue will be played during the general. I believe getting the issue out on the table now is a good thing and obama will be a better candidate for it. But i am concerned about saying it is the Clintons fault. The Dems will need every vote in the fall and blaming the clintons for the race issue is not inspiring their supporters. Watch the Crooks and Lie rs clip of the Abrams report last evening.

    cheers

  3. By Dusty on Apr 26, 2008 | Reply

    I agree that the Clintons have subtly and at times not-so-subtly broached the race issue and the corporate MSM is running with it.

    I also think if Hillary doesn’t get the nomination, she won’t work to get Obama elected since she keeps pointing out he isn’t worthy of becoming President for a myriad of reasons.

  4. By rube cretin on Apr 26, 2008 | Reply

    Dusty,
    i disagree. the clintons will work their ass off for obama if they are asked.

  5. By Jet Netwal on Apr 28, 2008 | Reply

    Rube,

    This article might be interesting to you. http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3597/the_clinton_firewall/

  6. By rube cretin on Apr 29, 2008 | Reply

    Jet,
    got the article but don’t have the time to read it now. however, a quick scan indicates to me what the Clinton’s may be about is nothing compared to what the repugs are going to do in the general. please understand i want a dem elected and if this sort of stuff coming out now is going to make obama a looser, i want to know it now. i want someone who can win the general. we cannot take 4 more years of the kind of shit we have experienced during the past 7 years. By the way, one of these days i am going to your personal site and find out where you live so we can hopefully get together for a cup of coffee or something in the elixir family. Surely your spouse will allow time with an old man.12

    cheers

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