Category Archives: racism

racism: what’s past is still present

i didn’t know david duke was still around, still stirring his nasty, evil shit, but apparently he is. (for those of you too young to know of him, david duke is a former grand wizard pooba sorta thing of the ku klux klan and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988, as well as for some local offices in louisiana at different points in time.) i found this out today on facebook when one of my ‘friends’ (who is really someone i barely knew) posted a video saying something about zionism destroying america… well i don’t know what the actual fuck the video was about because i was just surprised at seeing his name, after being quite happy that i hadn’t heard it in a number of years. i am usually quite open minded, plus i *thought* i had some stuff in common politically with this ignoramus that i deleted from my facebook friend list, so i was going to take a look at the video before i passed judgment on the vile thing. however, when i got to duke’s website, from my phone because i didn’t want to leave that history on my work computer, i was reminded of how truly backwards this man is, and said ‘fuck it, you’re gone, buddy’ to my fb contact.

the reason i was ‘friends’ with this person to begin with was because of a mutual friend who i do have a lot in common with politically – she’s quite the libertarian – and i’m pretty certain that she’s not racist. truth be told, i have more in common with tea party types (i will *not* call them teabaggers!) than even i’m willing to admit out loud. i think there are some racist elements within the tea party, just as there are in the democratic party. (democrats can’t be racist, can they?!) overall i think most people involved with the tea party movement are sincere in their desire to have the government much less involved in their lives, and i certainly second that desire. from the beginning of his meteoric rise, i saw some integral potential within obama, but i just didn’t think he was there, and that’s why i couldn’t support him – not because he wasn’t integral, per se, but because of his policies that i don’t think reflect an integral worldview, especially on the domestic side. i still see glimmers and glints of it, but he’s still not there. he keeps banging his head against a green ceiling.

as integral as i might want to be, i also want to be free to live my life the way i see fit, including dealing with any consequences (positive or negative) that i bring upon myself. it is not the government’s job to rescue me from my own folly, as it wasn’t the government’s job to rescue chrysler or aig or anyone else who fucked up on their own (and their shareholders’) dime. so yeah, i completely empathize with the tea party in that regard. don’t tread on me, yada yada yada.

anyway, this little dust up today is a good reminder to me that racism is alive and well (although i am actually reminded of this on most days). many of my left leaning friends would be like, well, duh! but it’s not just a tea party/republican thing, and just because a person dislikes what obama is trying to do does not mean that person is a racist. it just means they don’t like his policies. period. (side note: the republican party was initially founded in order to end slavery, opposing the democratic and other political parties dominating politics at that time. it was the democratic party who vehemently opposed the civil rights act of 1964, not republicans. but you wouldn’t know from the way it’s portrayed by the media today. i’m no fan of either party, because i think they have turned into two sides of the same coin, but i think making being republican equal being racist is wrong.) yes, racism is alive and well, and while tremendous strides have been and continue to be made, it’s unfortunately going to be around for some more time to come.

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nope.

Nope

several times while i’ve been working on the sales floor at the b&n, i keep having this repeated encounter with a liberal elderly white gentleman (from now on to be known as the lewg). (how do i know he’s liberal? read on…) the first encounter, a couple of  months ago, went something like this:

lewg (with smug look on his face): did you do the right thing?
me (thinking, what the fuck?): depends on what you mean by ‘right thing’.
lewg: you know, did you vote for obama?
me (nearly choking on my own spit): no, i did not.
lewg (looking disappointed): oh, so you voted for mccain?
me (smiling, trying to be polite, because i am on the clock): um, actually, no i didn’t.
lewg: oh, so you didn’t vote at all, hmmm…
me (perhaps trying not to look smug): actually, i voted third party.
lewg: oh.

a couple of months went by where i didn’t see or hear from him. and then, last friday, an old white man slid up to me like he had some sort of secret, and asked, again with a smug look on his face: ‘did you do the right thing?’ i then recognized the lewg, and said, ‘i think we had this conversation a couple of months ago, and my answer still hasn’t changed. if you mean by ‘right thing’ voting for obama, i think i did the right thing by not voting for him.’ again, he just said, ‘oh’ and smiled at me and walked off. well, today, the same thing happened again, with the same person. i’m thinking that the old man may have alzheimer’s or that maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s talking to the same person when he asks the question. maybe he doesn’t realize that i’m the only person of color that works at this particular b&n, nor does he realize that we (people of color) do not all look alike. at any rate, the lewg is apparently quite proud of himself, an elderly white man who actually voted for a black person, maybe for the first time in his long life. i guess that means he’s not a racist, although i’m relatively sure that he’s not going around asking white people if they did the right thing. (or maybe he is, who knows?)

just to make it clear, i did not vote for obama, and think that a lot of people of all races who did vote for him are now having buyer’s remorse. many politicians run on a platform of change, but voters have grown accustomed to that sort of rhetoric and really don’t expect elected officials to actually change anything once in office. the conservative-liberal pendulum swings back and forth with each election, and it was time for the pendulum to move to the left. most people just didn’t realize how far left, and to what lengths obama was/is willing to go to accomplish his agenda.

on election day 2008, i shed tears because i was happy that this country had finally elected a person of color to the most powerful position on the planet. however, i felt, and still feel that i did that right thing by voting my conscience, and not as expected by the mainstream. if i had it to do over again, i would do the same thing, and knowing how things have turned out, perhaps i would be more vocal in my voicing my opinions. now, i’m just waiting for this coming november. i really hope that the majority of the american people will do the right thing in the mid-term elections, and show the members of congress who have blindly (or even begrudgingly) supported obama’s health-care agenda the door. and then we can show obama the door in 2012 (although for various reasons, i don’t necessarily believe that will happen…),

why i’m not voting in november

“The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”

when i heard lines such as these (courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all ) during the brief portion of obama’s acceptance speech i listened to last night (chiefs football was on simultaneously), i remember thinking to myself, ‘well, fuck, obama’s integral.’ he certainly seemed to have a lot of support from my fellow attendees at the integral theory conference earlier this month. and while i see definite flashes of integralism in his talk, for some reason, i just can’t get on board. maybe it’s simply because i don’t trust obama, i feel as though he’s hiding something, or that he is in fact making himself out to be a savior by promising this and that, and i’m a firm believer that, as individuals, we can only save ourselves. we can’t look to someone from the outside to do it for us, whether that person be a jewish carpenter who supposedly lived 2000 years ago, or world citizen barack obama in 21st century america. if we do that (which i believe most people have already done), we’re only giving our power away, but i digress…

this morning i had a somewhat enlightening conversation with a friend about last night’s speech. she is so fired up by it that she’s thinking of volunteering here locally for obama’s campaign, and i’m happy that she feels passionate enough about it to take time out of her busy schedule. she mentioned to me that she overheard a conversation here in which one coworker was telling another that he wasn’t going to vote at all this fall, that he is just going to sit it out. surprisingly to her, i replied, ‘so am i.’ i think she was genuinely shocked first of all that, as a person of color, i am not an obama supporter, and secondly, that i’m just not voting. she went on to tell me that people died for my right to vote, which is of course true, but i can’t believe those people would want me to vote for someone i can’t believe in, which is true out of all possible choices this season. (i usually vote libertarian, and i can’t even see myself doing that this year.) and it’s not like i’m not voting out of apathy. i truly do care about what’s going on around me, but voting for someone just because they are on the ballot to me is doing nothing but perpetuating the problem. so, i do what i can in my sphere of influence, which ultimately i hope will provide more positive change than teaching people to depend on the government. i did tell her that i was considering writing-in a candidate, which she discouraged, saying that i was taking away from legitimate candidates, which doesn’t even make sense to me.

at any rate, the main reason i’m not voting this fall, in addition to not really feeling any of the candidates, is simply something i’ve said before: i don’t think it will make a difference. no matter who wins, mccain or obama, any ‘change’ is either going to be surface or token, or *if* significant change does take place, i think it will only speed up our country’s escalation downward.

yes, i realize that it is quite significant that obama is the first african-american presidential candidate for a major political party and i’m very pleased about that, and the fact that it occured in my lifetime. this country has come a long way (and still has a ways to go, which i think can only be dealt with by a change in consciousness, which is happening). still, a few months back i said to a friend that obama probably will be the first black american president, but he will probably also be the last for a long time. i think his policies will be quite detrimental to this country, and americans, with their inability to look past the surface on so many things, will look back and blame the black man for what he did to this country, even though his skin color will actually have nothing to do with it. i hope he enjoys his day in the sun.

buh bye, ron paul

er, um, well, happy new year! i have decided to return after my unplanned hiatus of about four months: the world needs to hear my words of wisdom once more. (you’re allowed to roll your eyes here.) or maybe it’s just that i’m tired of hearing friends repeatedly mention that i haven’t blogged in months. hey, life happens and i’m easily distracted by shiny things, a good book, or anything with a phallic shape. but now, we’ve come upon that time every four years where there’s no being distracted: no matter what tv you turn on, or website you log onto, you will slowly at first, but steadily begin to be bombarded by political propaganda from the major political parties, and a couple of minor parties too. this is where i am entering back into the fray. and i think i’ll step in just as someone i’ve been unsure about all along is probably about to step out.

for the most part i like ron paul’s political platform and i wanted to wholeheartedly support him, but i just couldn’t, for reasons mentioned in previous posts last year. most of those reasons were based around rumors regarding racist comments made in newsletters bearing paul’s name, but i could not (perhaps out of laziness or having other things to do) find the so-called ‘smoking gun’. last week i was talking with someone who also wanted to support paul, but couldn’t quite, and asked me to produce this proof about paul being a racist. i agreed to do so, knowing that with everything else i have going on it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon (because the fact was that paul never really was a viable candidate and therefore i’d simply made the decision that i wasn’t going to vote for anyone this fall – a choice i will explain at another time – so it just wasn’t a pressing issue). well, thank you, matt drudge for providing me with that ‘smoking gun’. this article provides details regarding these newsletters, including the staggering claim by paul that not only did he not write any of this material, but has no idea who did.

it’s one thing to not want to admit to writing such inflammatory material, but to have it in a newsletter bearing your name and yet not know where it came from? yes, he has a great platform and honestly if he and kucinich actually would have teamed up at some point, i would have considered voting for that third-party ticket, *but* racist comments notwithstanding, do i want a man as president who is supposed to be in charge but has no idea what the people under him are doing/writing?

so, i will be voting for no one this fall, or maybe i’ll do as a friend did in 2004 and write in trey parker of south park infamy. no matter who wins, from either major party (with the possible exception of hitlery, who could make things worse), not much is going to change in most of our day to day lives. i think obama is the bomb as far as his oratorical skills and making people feel good, but that’s not what i want in a potus. (nor do i want a potus who cries because ‘it’s not easy’ – and these tears came just while she was applying for the job.) with the exception of 2000 (which i am embarrassed about, having actually voted for ‘w’), i typically vote a straight libertarian ticket, but i can’t even bring myself to do that anymore. the libertarian party is little more than a joke anymore, and while i wholeheartedly support libertarian principles, this party, which once had great potential to make a difference on all levels of government, seems now to be nothing more than one of the better financed fringe political parties, whose main concern seems to be legalizing drugs. (and i am for this and ending this crazy war on drugs, but it seems to me that there are more immediate pressing issues: illegal immigration? iraq war? north korea? climate change (real or imagined)? put down the bong pipe for a few minutes, please…)

okay, i am going off on a tangent now, which i didn’t intend to do. i just wanted to briefly lament the downfall of the one presidential candidate whose ideas i could sink my teeth into. i mean, he probably would even consider me as one of the ‘5% of blacks who has sensible political opinions’ . i’d be so flattered…

white flowers rule!

this article reporting an attempted klan rally that happened earlier this year in knoxville, tn makes my day. the antiracist action organization there in knoxville showed up at the rally, and, according to the article ‘handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.’

“White Power!” the Nazi’s [sic] shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt [sic]“White Flour”.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s [sic] angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers [sic] and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s [sic] tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny
attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.

At this point several of the Nazi’s [sic] and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”

The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say [is this sentence really necessary?]. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”

(btw, although this is a great story, the grammar, punctuation, etc. in this article is horrible. then again, who am i to judge? i only use capitalization on rare occasions.)

note to guiliani from paul: thanks

i’ve had a couple of people ask me about ron paul, the unheard of (before the blow-up with guiliani) republican presidential candidate who is suddenly being heard. here is an article about his rise in media attention from salon.com.

i can’t say that i agree with him 100% (e.g., he supports withdrawing the u.s. from the united nations, and slowly, my point of view is changing regarding that and other world bodies), but within this list that i am quoting from the article, he and i have many similar points of view, albeit maybe for different reasons:

He’s the only Republican candidate who wants to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and withdraw the U.S. Navy from the waters off the Iranian coast. He wants America to pull out of the United Nations, NATO, the International Criminal Court, and most international trade agreements. He wants to abolish FEMA, end the federal war on drugs, get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, send the U.S. military to guard the Mexican border, stop federal prosecutions of obscenity, eliminate the IRS, end most foreign aid, overturn the Patriot Act, phase out Social Security, revoke public services for illegal immigrants, repeal No Child Left Behind, and reestablish gold and silver as legal tender.

i’m not even sure i agree with him on iraq and iran, because just withdrawing right now, leaving the two of them, along with other middle eastern countries, to work out their own issues would have disastrous consequences for the world. still, i think much of what he supports is based on pragmatism, based on what he thinks would be best for the country as a whole, and not a piecemeal approach, making promises to individual groups that would not mesh together in working for the whole, which i think most other candidates are doing.

i have two main complaints about paul. first, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the u.s. is, for better or worse, a part of the world community. we cannot live in a vacuum where we just do our own thing and let other countries have at it. withdrawal from the united nations, as imperfect as it is in its current form, would serve no real purpose other than to further alienate us from allies and bolster the enmity between our country and our supposed enemies. secondly, in the article i linked to, there were examples of a couple of racist statements made (e.g., “If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”) , which he says he didn’t actually say, but still refuses to apologize for. this reminds me of barack obama, when he asked to apologize for a statement he didn’t actually make regarding hilary clinton, would not. i have great admiration for both gentlemen in refusing to back down over being criticized for things they did not say, but this leaves me wondering about where paul stands on racial issues. i would have less respect for him if he pandered to the black/hispanic/other ‘special’ group vote, like many other candidates do, but i am taking note that the comment he ‘didn’t’ say is still quite stereotypical and negative. i don’t think paul is a racist, per se; perhaps his non-comment is based on ignorance and a lack of meaningful interaction with minorities. all i’m saying is that this is something for me to watch out for in him. otherwise, i agree with him on the majority of the issues. i can’t say that i would vote for him, because it probably won’t even get as far as him being a viable candidate, plus i am seriously considering no longer voting at the national level anymore. but, for the moment he’s got my attention, and that of others, and as a lower tier candidate, you can’t do any better than that.

more jerry falwell quotes

here are a few more statements attributed to the rev. jerry falwell that i came across in the may 19, 2007 issue of the baltimore afro-american.

“I do question the sincerity and non-violent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.” 1965

“Apartheid is not the policy of the government, but it is a social reality.” 1985

“The true Negro does not want integration… He realizes his potential is far better among his own race.” Integration “will destroy our race eventually. In one northern city,” he warned, ” a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife.” 1958