A coworker speaks:
America’s not ready for a black president.
I just can’t get past his name.
He [Obama] is best friends with a terrorist [Ayers] – they’re next-door neighbors! He [Ayers] helped him buy his house! And I know he hates America because of his pastor. His pastor hates America!
The reason the stock market keeps fluctuating is that people are afraid Obama’s going to win. And he’s gonna raise taxes, and all the companies will go out of business.
If black people hadn’t gotten all these houses that they couldn’t afford, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
–Just typing this stuff, I could feel my blood pressure rising. This guy (the same guy I was talking about before) pisses me off so much. I haven’t been a die-hard Obama fan, but I will say, that given a choice between McCain and Obama for president, I’d choose Obama every time. Every time.
The thing that gets me, is that this dude wants to say all this crap and then say-
Oh, I don’t have a problem with black people.
If you mention that some of the things he says are racist, he’ll go crazy trying to defend himself. Making up all kinds of fanciful, far-fetched reasons he believes anything bad he hears about Obama, and discounts everything bad he hears about McCain/Palin.
My dad has a friend – they’ve been friends for years – but he’s more like an adviser/sounding board to her than someone to actually hang out with, or whatever. A long time ago I realized she had some race issues, and it would be better for me to not get close. Dad can take care of himself. I, on the other hand, might say something untoward.
So every once in a while, Daddy tells me whats going on with her. They keep up mostly through email these days, and send jokes to each other. [My dad loves to send jokes. And those powerpoint presentations of pictures of some famous person’s house, or a hotel in Dubai, or nature, etc.] Recently, she told my dad that she felt like things in the country weren’t going that bad. She’s doing better now than she was eight years ago, so [fill your own expletive in here] everyone else. At least that’s the message I get when someone says they’re doing ok, so they don’t see why other people think things are so bad.
Anyway, she sent Daddy a couple emails about McCain and how wonderful he is. So, Daddy sent her this:
How Racism Works
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said “I do” to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain
killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5*?
* The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election
numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
She wrote him back, livid that he’d apparently called her a racist. She said that she most certainly is NOT a racist and how terrible it had been that he would even suggest that. He responded by quoting Avenue Q [which she is not familiar with, but she should’ve been able to get with the sentiment] ~ “Everyone’s a little bit racist”…
Ooh wee. That unleashed the fury.
What has become perfectly clear to me, is that ‘racist’ is a hugely loaded term for white people. Even the ones that totally are racist, don’t want to be called racist. It’s a brand. It’s the n-word for white people. Now, it’s understandable that no one wants to be called racist, because being a racist is a bad thing. But it seems that people aren’t as concerned with actuall being racist, as long as no one calls them racist.
And here’s where we have the disconnect. When certain white people hear the term ‘racist’, they hear KKK, lynch mobs, cross-burning, slave-owner. That’s where they go. See, the KKK is very bad – clearly bad. But these people, they just don’t want to hang out with black people. That’s not bad. They don’t want to kill black people. That’s bad.
So all the little things that make day-to-day living a little more difficult when you’re a person of color, the big things perpetrated by institutions that keep you from getting what a white person considers “standard”, the moments that make you feel invisible (or wish you were) because of the color of your skin – all of that is not racism. Not to these folks.
That’s why they can say that we don’t have any race problems in America anymore. Cuz nobody’s getting lynched anymore. (Though just having gone through the year of the noose, that term is another loaded one.)
Somehow, the idea that racism is more than burning crosses and calling people the n-word has got to get through. And the idea that having some racism in you means that you’re a straight-up evil person who can’t be saved has to go away too. I can’t think of a way that a person could grow up in the United States and not be (at least) somewhat influenced/indoctrinated with racist ideology. That just means we all have something to overcome. But we’ll never overcome something if we don’t believe it’s a problem. Or don’t even believe it exists.