Do you know we can see you?

I’m tired of talking about racism. In feminism. In politics. In literature. In the media. In my daily life. But you know what? I don’t get the luxury of ignoring that it exists. No one of color gets to pretend that their skin color doesn’t affect how they are perceived. So why exactly are we supposed to give Ferraro a free pass because she’s making a half-assed effort to pretend that her comments aren’t racist? Her “defense” that anyone that categorizes them as such is only doing so because she’s white is such a pile of crap it actually hurts my head.

Newsflash, if you’re a white person claiming that a black man only got where he did because of his skin color? That’s racism. Welcome to American Racial Interactions 101. Pick up a book or use Google to figure out why American history will influence the way in which such comments will be perceived by the public. The fact that she won’t stop saying it? Just hammers home the fact that she thinks her version of racism is acceptable. Bonus points for her appearing on Fox to say it again last night while trying to pretend she’s a victim.

While I’m absolutely not about to start calling myself a Republican, I think I’m done pretending the Democratic party is any better when it comes to dealing with the reality of race in America. Oh, they dress things up ever so pretty with lots of talk about helping the poor and the disenfranchised, but clearly if black people want to follow a leader that isn’t white all Hell will break loose. The crazy thing is that this might well set McCain up to garner more black votes in November since he’s come out and immediately repudiated derogatory comments from a supporter, while it took Hillary Clinton days to issue some sort of apology for the race baiting that has continued to spew out of her campaign.

Does that mean I think the Republican party is free of racism? No. I’m not delusional, I can still remember the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina. But, they’re not the ones running around claiming to be progressive, and their party’s core voters are not POC. It’s past time for the Democratic party to start living up to the claims of being anti-racist by being…anti-racist. That means no more “Oops, we did it again” moments followed by an expectation that black voters just forget the event. Own the mess, clean it up, and stop trying to deflect criticism with the pretense that it is worse to be called on racism than it is to be a racist.

Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America.” Her posts on any topic can be found at her Livejournal.

28 Responses

  1. Own it, exactly. I am more than tired of this whoopsy daisy we didn’t really mean to say that attitude.

    I love your posts.

  2. Sometimes I think that even “whoopsy daisy we didn’t mean to say it” would be an improvement on “but that’s not what I said.”

    Yes, yes it is. Now stop it. You’ve had years and years and years to learn how.

  3. Did she say “whoopsie?” Last I read, she said SHE was the one who is being judged for HER race (and not for the idiotic shit that comes out of her mouth; apparently she thinks white people are biologically impelled to say this crap and okay maybe she’s not that far from the truth but I seem to manage just fine). And then she sent that dumb-ass resignation letter to Clinton which basically said I’m telling the truth we all know about that uppity darkie and _someone_ had to say it.

    I am feeling the peculiar rage of the white feminist right now at her and at Clinton. I just want to scream DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND WE ARE DOING JUST WHAT THEY WANT US TO DO?!??

  4. “I’m tired of talking about racism. In feminism. In politics. In literature. In the media. In my daily life. But you know what? I don’t get the luxury of ignoring that it exists.”

    OMG. I was just saying this today. I’m so sick of having to deal with attitudes like those of Ferraro, who are just SO CONVINCED that they are free of racism because they are white feminists. But moreso, I’m sick of people like Clinton who allow things like this to happen, people who allow race to be used as a weapon (and what a messed up concept that is…). I think that they are a lot more dangerous than those loud mouth racists like Ferraro. With them, at least you know where the knife is coming from. Blahhhhhh, I’m so over this crap. Can we just hurry up and get Obama the nom and get on with the McCain trouncing in November, please?

    Thanks for managing to get these thoughts down in spite of your exhaustion.

  5. You are always so right on, Karnythia. :)

  6. This whole thing is disgusting and I agree–it is turning me off many of the Dems in a big way. Their true colors are coming out–no pun intended. Clinton was so half-assed about apologizing/disavowing what Ferraro said.

    Here is what I’d like to ask Ferraro: even if her racist comments were completely correct (which I don’t for a minute believe that they are) and Obama did “get where he is because of his skin color,” so what? Plenty of white people have been helped (or at the very least, not hurt) by their skin color to get where they are. Obviously, it would be better if we all got along based on ability rather than physical characteristics, but that’s just not our history as a society. Why would it be so bad for a black man to be helped by his skin color, given that it’s been happening to white people for centuries? If it were true, it could be a step toward dismantling an aspect of white privilege and encouraging realistic equality where skin color could be less of a factor for all.

    I think Ferraro’s comments are ignorant BS. But if *she* really believes them, she should take a good hard look in the mirror and ask herself why she’s so bent out of shape at the idea of the tables of privilege being turned.

    The one ray of light that I find in this situation is how Obama handled it with humor and grace. He came out of it looking better and stronger than ever, in my opinion.

  7. This isn’t exactly new for the Dems either; Bill Clinton campaigned on the issue of violent crime and strengthening the death penalty, and did plenty of racist scapegoating. And of course throughout the 20th century the Democrats have been split between liberals and the old-school segregationist types who were the old guard of the party.

    I’m not for McCain, of course, but I think we’re really going to have to look past the current duopoly if we want an end to this kind of BS.

  8. Obama seems to be the first candidate Democrats I know are actually happy with. God knows I wasn’t happy with Clinton after DOMA, but the Republicans were known to be far, far worse.

    Of course I’ve had it with Democratic candidates displaying racism, or sexism, or any other number of negative qualities, but really, the thought of one more Scalia or worse on the Supreme Court is enough for me to put up with that.

    Iv’e always thought that a progressive party that starts form the ground up, running multiple races for House seats, and state political posts is what’s needed. Given a choice between a Republican, a Democrat, and a progressive party person in local elections, I know I’d vote progressive. Heck, I’d be willing to campaign in my neighborhood for it. But on a national level, I’ve got too much to worry about.

  9. As the voice of cynical doom, I have to say that I don’t think a viable third-party candidate will ever happen. Or, I should amend that. I think that any viable third-party candidate would have to be the product of such a scary cult of personality that I’d be packing and making sure my passport was up to date. Seriously. I knew of holocaust survivors who said that Ross Perot scared the shit out of them.

  10. I agree with this article to a point. The Democratic party has no right to preach something if they don’t practice it themselves. They need to deal with racism in their own race before accusing other parties of it cough*republican*cough.

    It’s also pathetic that Imus, Michael Richards and now Ferraro can spout whatever and think it’s all hunky-dory and okay just because they apologize and backtrack. This goes for any statement – if you won’t stand by it later, then keep it shut.

  11. racism in their own party that is

  12. I didn’t really think about the ethnicity of Obama until it was repeatedly hammered into my head by blogs, Fox News, MSNBC, et. al that I should be concerned that he is black. I won’t vote for Obama not because he is black (although that very idea has been guilt tripped on me), but because he doesn’t represent, in my opinion, my values, hopes, and issues. I just wish for once that my fellow brothers and sisters would look at the issues in the bigger picture rather than just picking the guy cause he’s from South Side. Whoppie do….he looks like me, but he doesn’t stand for what I stand. And I’m not about to vote for him just to make history. I’m not going to pick the guy based on skin color. I also think that the more we keep the primaries about race, the more we will overlook the bigger, more important issues that will affect everyone. If Obama is your candidate, then good for you; he does not represent all that I stand for and I will cast my vote elsewhere.

    BTW, the Reverend Wright thing doesn’t sit well with me, either. I think we can be powerful black people without castigating an entire “other” race in the process. In fact, it makes it no better than the ignorant hate mongers who exist in every race. Why is this so hard to understand?

  13. Whose to say we aren’t looking at the issues? I am. If Obama wasn’t in the race I still wouldn’t be supporting Hillary. No one is telling you where to cast your vote. As for Reverend Wright not only is that one sermon (out of thousands) but if you bother to look for the whole sermon you’ll see he isn’t doing anything but acknowledging that racism exists and benefits white people.

  14. I can’t agree with you. I’ve been ridiculed by members of my race for not supporting the first black president. Many of my family members don’t support universal health care coverage or the end of the war (my family is military) but they still think of me as a race traitor for not backing Obama.

    I feel that a lot of people are jumping out there to vote simply because he’s black. While that’s wonderful, and they have the right to vote, I think voting solely on racial lines is stupid and ignorant. When I ask them why they support Obama, it’s always about race. But ask them the issues about Obama, and they have no idea what he stands for.

    As for Rev. Wright, his speech drags all white America through the mud. Not all white people are privileged. We wouldn’t stand for being called nappy heady hoes or being stereotyped otherwise, so why is it ok to do it back to white people? There are just as many white trash people living in trailor parks as there are black people living in the hood. I just don’t think we get anywhere by pointing the finger back. My creed is to stand above the racism and embrace everyone for what they contribute, and so far, I’ve been treated with dignity and respect.

  15. Rosie,

    The saying there is none so blind as those who would not see is particularly apt here. It’s nice that your life has been so sheltered, but the same is not true of other POC. The concept of white privilege certainly applies to poor whites (I find it interesting that you decry racism even as you use the word “trash”) who are less likely to wind up in jail for the same crimes that would get a POC a long sentence. Not to mention mandatory sentencing laws that apply to crack but not to meth or cocaine. Voting solely on the issue that’s important to you is no stupider than refusing to vote for someone based on one issue. No one is asking you to change your voite, why are you so focused on insisting that POC that vote for Obama based on his race are stupid despite the fact that they’ve been choosing between candidates that don’t look or think like them for years? You want to vote McCain? Go for it. That’s your choice, but I suspect a lot of the reason you’re not voting Obama is tied into your inability to grasp the reality of life outside the bubble you in which you appear to reside. I don’t need you to agree with me, but it would be nice if you’d understand that your family does not equal POC as a whole.

  16. Rosie-
    You don’t want to stereotype or be stereotyped and then in the next breath use the phrase “white trash people living in trailor parks.”

    Are you F***ING kidding me??????

    There’s not any more that I can say which karnythia didn’t already state so well…….

    ….sigh……..

  17. Wow, Karnythia, thank you. Great job responding on this.

    Rosie, for one I agree with what has already been said. But I also take issue with this:

    “When I ask them why they support Obama, it’s always about race. But ask them the issues about Obama, and they have no idea what he stands for.”

    You should not mistake an unwillingness or inability to articulate their other views as them having “no idea”. They may in fact support many of his views and policies but either CHOOSE not to talk about them or honestly not feel that they are capable of speaking to them but it doesn’t mean they are unaware of them.

    Furthermore, what some people in your family might choose to do cannot be conflated to be how everyone else is making their decision. It just isn’t as simple as you try to claim.

  18. My use of “trash” was meant to be a euphemism along the lines of Imus’ “ho” comment. Sarcasm.

    I suppose my life has been privileged, so I can no longer identify with those of my race. I don’t have a brother who has been jailed for drugs, nor has anyone in my family been racially profiled. I have worked hard for everything I’ve achieved, and my parents taught us to love all races while still respecting our strong heritage. Forgive me for wasting your time. I apologize that don’t fit in at this board.

  19. Aww, not the “goodbye” post. I hate it when they do that. But,
    just on the offchance you return, let me say this:

    You. Did. Not. Get. To. Where. You. Are. On. Your. Own.

    If it weren’t for our grandmothers and grandfathers getting
    chased by dogs and policemen with waterhoses, you wouldn’t
    be here to even kick that noise.

  20. And I’d point out that luck and privilege have a lot to do with getting what you have thanks to hard work. Plenty of people in this world work hard their whole lives and never see jack squat for it.

  21. (hit post too soon–sorry!)

    The point is: having your work recognized and rewarded is evidence of privilege. Not everyone has that, though everyone should.

  22. It’s a damn shame that Rosie’s points were dismissed so easily by the members of this board. She may have a different interpretation of POC culture, but she’s still a POC. I think she may be more culturally evolved and ethnically uniting than you who mocked her for being priviledged.

  23. It’s the internet. I have no way of knowing if she’s a POC or not, or whether she lives her life passing or as an actual WOC. What I do know is that her experience is not the one most of us are having in America and she doesn’t get to dictate how we respond to our lives. She’s not evolved for pretending racism doesn’t affect POC or for denigrating POC and poor whites.

  24. Uh, no one “mocked” her for being privileged or even said that her viewpoint isn’t totally valid in relation to her experience. In fact, quite the opposite: she was told that she should vote for who she feels meets her needs and has the platform she agrees most with even if it isn’t Obama. What was said is that it isn’t everyone else’s experience, it isn’t even a common experience, and that she should stop knocking and mocking other PoC who haven’t had her privilege. Heck, she went so far as to speak ill of her own family because she is full of assumptions that NO ONE could possibly be considering Obama based on issues other than his skin color. Apparently no one is quite as smart as Rosie to see past skin tone, and thank God she’s here to clue us all in…

  25. D’Andre,

    Rosie repeatedly used stereotypes against POC (“I feel that a lot of people are jumping out there to vote simply because he’s black”…”I suppose my life has been privileged, so I can no longer identify with those of my race. I don’t have a brother who has been jailed for drugs, nor has anyone in my family been racially profiled”…), yet she accused others of being discriminatory against whites.

    She may have a different interpretation of POC culture, but she’s still a POC.

    Being a POC does not give anyone a free pass here. Besides, nobody here dismissed her experiences. She, however, dismissed ours.

    I think she may be more culturally evolved and ethnically uniting than you who mocked her for being priviledged.

    Fuck you ever so much for making statements against people about whom you nothing. ;-)

    As for being more “ethnically uniting”: If “ethnically uniting” means to stick your hand in the sand and ignore what’s going on around you instead of calling people out on their racist shit, then I’m afraid I’m gonna have to say “Oh hellz no!”

  26. If I read “Rosie’s” point correctly, it sounds like she was trying to say that oppressing another race to make another one look better is the same thing as racism. I think we should be beyond that type of hate. Yeah there will be things you don’t like to hear, but you move away from it and let it go. But in 2008 we all have the opportunity to be successful. Some of us just got to work a little harder at it.

    If she doesn’t vote for Obama, then that’s her deal. No one should guilt anyone into making a political choice just because of race. Especially now that we see exactly who Rev. Wright it. He can do a million things well, but make 5 speeches inspiring church goers to Damn White America and I see a real problem with that. I for one am thankful that Obama denounced that man’s speeches and I would never let my girls listen to such hate.

  27. When did black people start oppressing white people in America? Expressing anger over injustice does not equal oppression. The whole point of fighting for equality? To ensure that being of color does not mean you have to work harder than someone white. As for Rev. Wright if you can’t see why he’d feel thatw ay after growing during segregation then you have even less of a grasp of racial issues than Mike Huckabee.

  28. I deal with that issue in a short story I wrote (and it’s not finished), but it deals with a Black girl raised by two upper middle class Whites in DC and her daily discussions with a male friend who’s White. They are trying to understand one another and often, it does not go so well.

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