Friday, May 9, 2008
If you've never heard of the concept of acceptable blackness, Shark-Fu explains it in her April 30th post:
"Acceptable blackness is defined as the absence of overt culture and of difference. It is a level of conformity that requires absolute perfection. One break…one mistake…and the illusion is shattered, once broken never to be repaired again. And the perfection isn’t limited to not indulging in public displays of blackness. Oh no, acceptably black requires perfection in your appearance, manners, speech, family, friends and associates. I’m not talking about not having unacceptable black friends. I’m talking about not having unacceptable friends…or family…or associates…or pets...or hair...or neighborhood...or car...or musical tastes.
"Achieve that perfection and your black ass is acceptable…to a bunch of trigger happy assholes that soothe their privileged guilt by letting you tag along, all the while prepared to lay down harsh and rigid judgment should your perfect mask crack."
And damned if we didn't we see this play out in the racist media that gave an unprecedented 40 minutes of uninterrupted airtime to Rev. Wright's keynote address to the NAACP. Their sole motivation was their hope he'd repeat the words, "God damn America" or something equally offensive so they'd have more ammunition to shoot Obama down with guilt-by-association.
The hypocrisy was stunning as the media pretended to be sooo shocked and offended by Wright's 2001 words suggesting the US Govt was capable of infecting blacks with HIV.
Not once did I hear commentators say, "Well, from 1932 to 1972, our government ran the Tuskegee Study. They lied to 399 black sharecroppers that they were being treated for syphilis so they could study the effects of it and transmission in the black communities - long after a cure for this was available. This doesn't even count the wives, children, and girlfriends infected and others in the black community, and it was 1997 before the US government gave a formal apology, via President Bill Clinton."
Rev. Wright and whole lot of older blacks remember that atrocity and have damn good reason to be paranoid.
Obama was too scared to mention it. He couldn't afford to agree with anything his old pastor and former friend said, because then he wouldn't be 'acceptably black'.
That was a sad day. A lot of truths about the effects of racism in black America died when Obama rejected everything Wright ever said as though the shit never happened.
Most black folks are forgiving and understanding, though. We know how much white folks - both the innocent and the guilty - hate to be reminded of past and present racism. We figure he has to play Judas to Wright or he could kiss his chance at the White House goodbye.
Then other day, Hillary insulted her own race by lowering the bar for what I call acceptable whiteness.
She pandered to the kind of white folks who appear on the Jerry Springer show and are often the butt of jokes or despised by their own race. These are the ones who dirt poor, unschooled and narrow-minded, and reminiscent of the old movie, Deer Hunter.
Hillary elevated this group by stating coded racist phrases that endorsed their view of the world and bigotry. In WV and Kentucky, she fed into their ignorance and promoted their culture of hillbillism to being acceptably white. She not only exploited them to gain their votes, but set back the clock of progress for her own race.
Fox News and other conservative media assisted her by dismissively labeling progressive whites who vote for Obama as 'latte liberals'.
I'm not saying that poor and uneducated whites aren't acceptable, but no matter what race a person belongs to, an education is a good thing - it aids in critical thinking skills needed to look beyond race and religion so we can all be good citizens, treat each other with respect, and vote for people who have the best skills to get our nation out of the mess we're in.
Thus Hillary, in my view, is a traitor to her own people by feeding into the very belief system that keeps them backwards.
In an excellent, must-read op-ed commentary on Clinton's interview with USA Today, the Houston Chronicle also quoted her:
"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY, and cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."
She mentioned working and white twice in one sentence. My ears heard the underlying messages:
They need not aspire beyond their barely-making-it lifestyles.
If they couldn't afford college or even finish high school, no problem! No education is needed! That's for those elitists like that uppity coon running for President!
And chug-a-lug lots of beer to avoid thinking about the crappy blue collar job you have, the mortgage or rent you can no longer afford, and the medical insurance you long for - and feel good about this sh*t because at least you ain't black.
If I were white, I'd be very offended. Thank God a predominantly white college student crowd in West Virginia was. They boo'ed her bullshit, and at another WV outdoor location, several residents said they were for Obama and it was "time for a change."
God bless them, and I hope enough of them show her they aren't suckered by her desperate, oh-so-pathetic strategy of playing on racial fears and slyly promoting stereotypes to get their votes.
I remember fondly that her hubby Bill, despite his wandering eye for the ladies, at least before he got caught, was a good guy who played sax at his inauguration, had lots of black guests and entertainers, and freaked out the good ole boys with his easy acceptance of all God's children.
Toni Morrison can talk trash now all she wants to Fox News about what she meant in 1998 about him being America's first black President, but black folks knew the real deal as soon she said it back in '98. He was kinship to us by his soul, and later, even rented an office in Harlem after he left office. What a guy!
I like to think he hasn't changed, and cringes at his ambitious wife's racially divisive words. I wonder if he's lost a degree of respect for her. If she loses the nomination or a shot at the Vice Presidency, etc., I wonder if she'll lose her marriage too.
Maybe one of those "white, uneducated, working, hard-working, white again" guys she was chug-a-luggin' beer with in a bar I'd be scared to step foot in will be interested in her.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 11:14 AM