I like stuff.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Hey, I'm just some white male, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm ill-prepared to speak on racial or gender discrimination..I can't say I've felt the effect firsthand (that I know of)

But I can't help reading an article like this and wonder "Does there come a point where it becomes its' own engine? Is it possible that to feed or profit upon the idea of fighting the uphill battle becomes the cause itself?"

I don't know. It just seems silly to me that here in 2009, we're talking about a guy becoming president that is quite literally African-American (father Kenyan, mother American) that his mother being white (Caucasian? I don't know. A bunch of us whiteys didn't come from the Caucasus region.) leaves open an idea that he's not African-American enough.

I say, fuck it. It's time for him to live up to his campaign, and let history be the judge of what he accomplishes during his term of service in the office.


(You may temper this with my frustration at countless political hacks declaring him a failure moments after the electoral result, be they domestic or from abroad.)


Anonymous said...

I agree that he should not be judged right now as he has not held the job. They should do the hundred day review like usual.

But that article has parts I agree with. It's because my everyday experience with having expectations of all children has changed because of his being African American.

It's kind of the proof in the pudding. I have always had the highest of expectations for them all, but history has until made me out some fool of a dreamer for my young black males. (There is a difference for females and it is class historical/cultural and too difficult to explain here, suffice it to say, the majority of my African American female students are not afraid of ambition.) Young black males all over the country have in their head the lessons of Emmett Till and so many others. When you have been told a man was lynched for no reason other than his skin and the people who did it smiled and partied under the hanging body. God that is frightening. And it is in the here and now.

Lynchings still happen. The last two recent ones in Texas were done by dragging the men behind a vehicle until they were dismembered. Real fucking horror stories that cannot be denied.

And the election itself was a great revealer. The racists came out in full force and they were not shy about it. How can anyone seriously liken Obama to Hitler? Calling him a socialist like they did King.

And at school I encountered a racist on election day who tried to scare people into not voting for Obama.

His race is a big middle finger to that fear. When I ask for more effort, they can recall the black and white photos of swinging bodies but then they have to also know that a black man is running the very country that once lauded such vile acts.

It's a tiny nuance. A tilt of the head and a look away that is not going to happen anymore. It has already stopped. Our expectations for all of our children have proof of concept of worth and of worthiness.

It is a self propelling machine though. Or it was. That "I won't bother to try because I have no hope of going as far," is bunk now more than ever. That machine has ground to a halt and a new one is forming. It's awesome.

Like erosion. It's small things each day that are changing and will make for an amazing future. His race has so much to do with that.

As far as his personality and how he handles things. I adore how stern he seems. He like a couple other presidents I have watched, has an image of a strong work ethic and that is the push that will get the new machine going in the right direction.

They all can work to be what they want to be and now that is not just blowing smoke for some.

I know I see it this way because it is an everyday thing for me. And I can understand why it would become and annoying repetition to people for whom it is less immediate. Everything does! It's understandable. After all, there are still huge gaps to span. Shoot, women have still not been able to get this country to admit that they are equal citizens not to mention the other marginalized people who have been denied civil rights, like gays and immigrants.

There is so much to do still. And I do still look at him as a president and I will holding him to the same critical standard that all other presidents have received. I kind of can't wait for the inauguration to be over and for the work to begin!

Anonymous said...

Ooh man, I am so sorry for rambling!

transiit said...

it sounds like you've something to say, so no worries about rambling.

What I do know is that I land squarely in the demographic that probably has the least interesting things to say about discrimination. If it's been there, I've not noticed it: It's just not in the toolbox of reasons why life isn't as easy as I'd like it to be.

Understanding that I've likely not faced it at the same focus as others ultimately means that I'm not going to be that guy that speaks about how horrific it must feel. Nobody likes false sympathy.

But, I am the sort of person that worries a bit about how we divide ourselves. Yes, this is a milestone, and if anything, it's a little sad that it took this long to get even to this point in these issues.

I'm a big meritocracy kind of guy. I don't want to diminish any significance anyone wants to invest in this. My hope is that we can get to a place where the skills or the intellect or the insight or whatever matters most.