Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Think It’s Time for a Change

April 22, 2013

I started doing this blog shortly after Obama was elected in 2008. I saw better times coming and wanted to talk about where I believed we should go after all the years of Reaganism. It hasn’t turned out that way. First there was the much-deeper-than-I-foresaw racist reaction to having a black male as president. And then there’s been Obama’s inclination toward Reagan-like policies. (Yes, things could be worse—like, say, a McCain or a Romney presidency. But we are still heading toward hell, just at a slower pace.)

Lately, things have gotten so crazy that I find myself constantly conjuring up comebacks to all the negativity in the form of posts that I end up not writing because I’m tired of writing about this stuff. It’s my intention to stop reading and thinking about the violent and greedy egomaniacs in our midst and to start talking about where I believe we should go, or, at the very least, where I want to go. There are solutions to what ails us, and it’s not too late. I don’t think many people recognize what those solutions are, though. We’ve become too frivolous and distracted. But this is where I am going to put my energy now.

Why Obama: An Addendum

November 29, 2012

In the documentary film Freedom Riders, which I watched yesterday, there are frequent interviews with John Patterson who was the governor of Alabama at the time of the Freedom Rides. He was a segregationist, and his refusal to provide protection for the Freedom Riders allowed them to be beaten severely by white mobs. The interviews are curious. He comes off as intelligent and he speaks frankly and unapologetically about the time. He is never put on the spot by the interviewer. One comes away from the film curious about his current views. (He was in his late 80s when the film was made.) I looked him up and it turns out that he renounced his segregationist views a long time ago. (I wonder why he wasn’t given the opportunity to say so.) He insists, and of course he’s right, that in those days being in favor of integration in a place like Alabama was political suicide. Even more interesting, in 2008 he endorsed Obama for president. The Freedom Riders were not supported initially by the Civil Rights establishment—including Martin Luther King. It was thought they were pushing things too far, too fast. In the end they won. I think their pacifist stand had a lot to do with it. They were young, and many people thought them hopelessly naive. But they had courage, good hearts, a good sense of humor, and smart tactics. When Mississippi tried to intimidate the Freedom Riders by locking them up in the notoriously severe Parchman Prison rather than in a relatively easy city jail, the Freedom Riders said, “Okay, let’s fill the prison with so many of us that putting us in prison becomes a huge hassle for the state of Mississippi.” And they did it. They sent hundreds of volunteers—black, white, men, and women—down to  break the segregation laws, and Mississippi was overwhelmed by it all. The Freedom Riders are true heroes, not the fakes who get passed off as heroes nowadays.

Why Obama

November 28, 2012

I recently received an email from someone in Canada who wanted to know why I had supported Obama’s reelection. He is angry with Obama and cited, specifically, Obama’s use of drones and his caving in to the Wall Street bankers. My answer to him was, yes, well…better him than the horror that was Romney. After watching a documentary on the Freedom Riders of the early 1960s, I’m reminded of another reason, a reason that I was well aware of in 2008, but less so this time around. Namely: It is so good for this country to have as president someone who is not lily-white—and who was re-elected to boot. That’s a fundamental and forever change, I think. And that’s good enough for me.

Obama and Racism

September 16, 2009

Up until recently I’d been inclined to think that the hysterical right wing opposition to Obama was based primarily in its rage at losing power. But a few weeks ago I decided that it had more of the flavor of racism. And now I am fully convinced that this is the greater part of what’s going on. The right wingers will deny it, of course, whether it’s true or not. You don’t go around admitting that you’re a racist anymore. I guess you can call that progress.

Some whites insist that blacks who are pissed off at being treated with hostility are racist. But racism is not mere anger at another race. Technically speaking, racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to others, and I’ve seen very little of that coming from black people. I’ve seen a lot of that coming from white people, though—especially from right wingers and other folks who believe that the race that came up with people like Aristotle, Shakespeare, Bach, and Churchill is clearly superior. I won’t go into the details here, but I think it’s an ignorant position. No race is superior to any other race. We are all human beings, and, in truth, there is little more to be said on the subject.

In any case, I see that Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter have begun to broach the subject (the racist aspect to the opposition toward Obama), and they are having to endure the usual outraged denials. They’re right, though.