Thursday, 26 February 2009

Will a Black President Really Heal the Racial Divide

In essence, this piece is bigoted. It's not the responsibility of Blacks to heal the so called racial divide when this divide was created (& is maintained) by Whites. It's not the rape victim's responsibility to cure the rapist of his misogyny, after all. If Whites no longer wish to suffer the double burdens of guilt and shame that their prejudice brings them, then they have (& have always had) the option of renouncing it as a political practice. The implicit assumption here is that it is (& always has been) the job of Blacks to solve the problems of Whites. The author (TD Jakes) claims Barack Obama is the 'first man of African descent to ascend to the presidency'. Because all human beings are thought to have originated in Africa, all presidents have, ultimately, been of African descent. This statement is typical of how endemic bigotry is in the West in that such radical disconnects from objective reality are possible. And that implying Blacks are fundamentally different from Whites is still possible – albeit in this kind of fairly obvious coded statement. '[M]inority of any ethnicity' perpetuates the same KKK mythology that there are different races of men. Yet, the article, as a whole, pretends to be dealing with the problem positively while continuing to use the same bigoted terminology of its alleged enemies. To do this is to tacitly admit one still thinks in terms of skin colour while claiming one doesn't. 'Senator Barack Obama has proved to be a biracial icon who can mobilize blacks and whites alike'. This is rather unlikely since it is the Black side of President Obama's phenotype that Whites focus on at the expense of the White. He is never referred to positively as half white but as half black – except in the sense that he is somehow trying to hide his Whiteness. Whites still think of themselves as default humans, with others being merely tainted variants of the norm. This despite the fact that a) Whites are a world minority; and, b) that the first humans were almost certainly Black. 'Perhaps his mixed parentage gave him the multicultural background needed to be culturally bilingual, creating the dialogue that may bridge our divide.' Of course, Whites love to use phrases like 'mixed parentage' only in relation to their unscientific conception of "Race" and "Ethnicity". They never speak disparagingly of 'mixed parentage' when a child is the product of a French mother and a German father, say. This is because Whites' political idea of 'mixed parentage' only relates to skin colour (along with their concept of religion as being part and parcel of one's biology) never to differences in hair or eye coloration. The further implication is that President Elect Obama is culturally schizophrenic, so that Whites will claim his White half as their own; Blacks his Blackness. Of course, this is ludicrous since the two sides are firmly conjoined. One ends up in the same situation as a divorcing couple trying to divide a single property when they can no longer live at the same address for personal reasons. 'Our national demographic has metamorphosed into a darker-hued population, which is changing how America plans for the future.' The writer never explains how skin colour can affect one's 'plans for the future', unless he accepts that skin colour has an impact on thought processes – a White bigotry ideal. In fact, it's culture and the logical reaction to White negative stereotyping of those whom Whites wish to find inferior that determines this, yet this writer lacks the courage to say this in explicit enough terms. 'But before we light candles and sing "Kumbaya", it may be wise to adjust our expectation to a realistic depiction of attainable goals'. '[R]ealistic' in whose terms? The implication is that these are White terms; making the goals nothing more than the appeasement of White prejudice, not its reduction. 'No one man's appointment will end all racial tension'. No, partly because this writer lacks the sense to point out the tension in the expression 'racial tension' itself. Such phrases are quintessentially White ways of avoiding the real source of tension – cultural differences – by implying that since skin colour cannot be changed but culture can, these tensions are immutable. 'In fact, the economic crisis facing the country demands that the Obama Administration move past the pettiness of race matters with… haste…'. First, this writer complains of the 'residual bitterness inherent in a [racist] society', then claims that 'race matters' are petty, despite their profound impact on the economy that this writer sees as politics' main problem. 'Tomorrow we will not care about the colour of the driver nor the pronunciation of his name'. This is nonsense motivated by a wishful thinking need to eradicate so called racism by pretending that skin colour (the basis of all phenotypical distinctions & discrimination) will somehow become irrelevant even though this article itself is about this very alleged irrelevancy. It would be better to talk about important issues rather than petty ones since this gives one more credibility. Wishful thinkers always imagine that pretending some issues are unimportant can solve the very issues that self importantly obsess them. In which case, why raise them. This writer is clearly confused by and about his own theme and has clearly spent too much time with Whites who are also just as confused and disturbed by their own learned bigotry. He does not suggest when any of his mentioned changes will ever happen nor why. 'But most blacks have not been blinded by race... To think that this election was a shoo-in for [Barack Obama] among blacks because of our affinity for our own people is disingenuous at best and at worst insults our intelligence... No other black candidate amassed black support the way Obama did'. The writer doesn't suggest how President Elect Obama did not appeal to blacks because of his skin colour – and his implied understanding of their issues (with Whites) arising therefrom. Yet he previously claimed that skin colour had little do with this. Perhaps TD Jakes ought to decide what the real issues are before committing any of his loss of contact with reality to print. Barack Hussein Obama will not be 'merely the President of blacks who admire him nor leave him indebted to whites who assisted him.' What exactly does this mean? Shouldn't one always be grateful for any genuine help given, no matter the skin colour of the giver? When commentators stop talking in terms of skin colour, only then will the 'racial divide' begin to cease to exist. However, this isn't going to happen anytime soon on the available evidence because, like Whites, such commentators can't escape – in their own minds – the fact that the West is endemically bigoted. This piece is a classic example of internalised prejudice.


Article copyright © 2009 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it in any format; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog (http://franktalker.blogspot.com/) is included: E-mail notification requested. All other rights reserved. Frank TALKER is also the author of Sweaty Socks: A Treatise on the Inevitability of Toe Jam in Hot Weather (East Cheam Press: Groper Books, 1997) and is University of Bullshit Professor Emeritus of Madeupology.
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