Several times, I’ve run into people who refuse to admit either that (1) Barack Obama is black, or that (2) a black man accepting the presidential nomination from a major political party is a historic event. (This could only occur online, of course. No one would be brave enough to say that kind of bullshit to my face.)
But this shit is still fresh. This is only a generation ago. My parents came to this country when racism and discrimination against people of color was still the normal way things worked. If you think about it, segregation had been just barely been abolished in the late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s when my parents finally made their way to this country’s shores, and was probably still de facto in place in some parts of the country at the time.
But we don’t even have to look as far as the last generation. This shit has been present in my day-to-day life. When your chance of getting pulled over is higher just because of your melanin content, when they see your brown skin and assume that you weren’t born here, and that you should “go back to where you came from”, when someone thinks that you were only able to become a professional because of affirmative action, or because of some “bullshit diversity program”, when the first thing the fire department asks you after a car crash is, “Do you speak English?”, anytime a white person chastises me for being mindful of the color of my skin, I want to kick them in the face.
Proposition 187, Proposition 209, SP-1, SP-2. The Rodney King beating. The L.A. riots. These things happened in my lifetime. And there are people who still say that this shouldn’t matter?
If you’re a white person who wants to believe that we ought to live in a color-blind society, I’m sorry. This will never end until the last racist finally dies or is killed. I’m sorry if you don’t want to deal with it, hear about it, or think about it, but this is reality, and it’s not going to go away just because you refuse to accept it.
“I was in Clarksville, Miss., when Emmett Till passed away,” said Willie Banks, a sales representative who watched Senator Obama’s speech at Bert’s Warehouse Theatre, a cavernous restaurant and bar that had to set up tables and a portable video screen in the street to accommodate the overflow crowd.
Till, in one of the most notorious lynchings of the 20th century, was a 14-year-old black boy who was kidnapped, mutilated and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for whistling or saying something fresh to a white woman. Photographs of his bloated, partially decomposed body circulated widely.
Mr. Banks was 12 at the time.“Those pictures really stuck in my mind,” he said. “And the message I got was if I stepped out of my place, that could happen to me. You shouldn’t have to think that way, but that’s the way I thought.
“So, no, I never thought I would see a black man nominated for president. This is such a great day.”
“when you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.”—why the lucky stiff on Twitter
And the act of creation need not be narrowly interpreted to mean creating works of art or other “products.” Anything new must necessarily be created. It can be something as intangible and abstract as a whole new way of seeing things. Think about Heraclitus’ stream. Everyday doesn’t have to be the same.
“The only way to get their attention is to kill or be killed. If you ask us what’s going to happen in the near future, we have no fucking idea. Sorry for using the word ‘idea.’ We are ready to go to war or move on to peace.”—Subcomandante Marcos
“Paradoxically, death begins to shed its tragic cloak. Death becomes a daily fact. It loses its sacredness. You see it as someone you sit down with at the table, like an old acquaintance. You don’t lose your fear of death, but you become familiar with it. It becomes your equal. Death, which is so close, so near, so possible, is less terrifying for us than for others.”—Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the EZLN
“Whatever scientific medicine’s faults (and, yes, there are many), advances in life expectancy, the conquest of many infectious diseases that used to claim millions of children a year, the ability to cure some cancers and prolong the lives of victims of many others, the conversion of HIV infection from a death sentence to a manageable chronic illness, all of these advances and many, many more besides are the result of scientific medicine.”—Orac, “Searing stupidity about ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (CAM) in Slate”, Respectful Insolence, 15 Aug 2008.
“Given that McCain has been using the situation in Georgia to pretend he’s the president (speaking of presumptuous), it’s not surprising that he wants to present this as the biggest crisis ever. And he’s right, assuming you forget the Gulf War, and Somalia, and the Rwandan Genocide, and the *earlier* war in Georgia, and the breakup of Yugoslavia and all the wars that spawned, and 9/11, and Afghanistan, and Iraq and North Korean nuclear testing, and the war in Lebanon, and Darfur — then this is the first serious international crisis since the end of the Cold War.”—BarbinMD, “John McCain: The First Serious Crisis" The Daily Kos. 2008 Aug 15.
“In the interests of full disclosure, I am an Infectious Disease doctor. I make a living from treating diagnosing and treating infections. I don’t make dime one if people do not get infected, so I am against any and all vaccines as they cut into my bottom line”—Mark Crislip, M.D., “Amanda Peet is My Hero”, Science-Based Medicine, 14 Aug 2008.
“The first time I met Barack Obama—I should say the only time I’ve met Barack Obama—was a year ago, when he was doing fifty-person-cocktail-party fund-raisers. He flattered me by saying, “My intention is to steal a lot of your lines.” My prediction is he’s just going to blow the doors off the place in Denver. This is a man who—the Jeremiah Wright of it all aside—was clearly paying attention in church. I don’t need to tell you that I’m a big fan of oratory. A big part of leadership is the goose-bump experience. We’ve been missing that.”—Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing (gimmick / peterwknox) (via aja)
“You should understand, that the crocodile is hungry. Well, from the point of view of someone who wants to keep his own leg, that’s hard to accept.”—Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, “Battle Cry: Taunting the Bear." NY Times. 9 Aug 2008.
“In the short term, if an independent Georgia is worth saving, the Russians need some assurances—for instance, a pledge that Georgia won’t be admitted into NATO or the European Union—in exchange for keeping the country and its elected government intact. (Those who consider this “appeasement” are invited to submit other ideas that don’t lead either to Georgia’s utter dismantlement or to a major war.)”—Fred Kaplan, “Lonely Night in Georgia”, Slate, 2008 Aug 11
“Derrida exposes the doubt that does not merely insinuate itself into faith but that in fact constitutes faith, for faith is faith precisely in the face of doubt and uncertainty, the passion of non-knowing. Violence on the other hand arises from having a low tolerance for uncertainty so that Derrida shows us why religious violence is bad faith. On Derrida’s terms, we do not know the name of what we desire with a desire beyond desire. That means that leading a just life comes down to coping with such non-knowing, negotiating among the several competing names that fluctuate undecidably before us, each pretending to name what we are praying for. For we pray and weep for something that is coming, something I know not what, something nameless that in always slipping away also draws us in its train.”—John D Caputo, via reli[e]able signs by Gina Franco.
I’ve never read Derrida, but I guess I was taught by a Jesuit priest who read Derrida, who always told me that “Faith is not certainty. If you were certain, why would you need faith?”
Well, this is an imperfect analogy. Is it whacked that because of my job I’ve learned to semi-quantitatively compare trauma injuries like this? Four broken limbs are a lot better than a gaping chest wound! How about: a ruptured spleen versus a lacerated femoral artery?
“The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place.”—Bob Herbert, from “Running While Black” in the New York Times, 2 Aug 2008. Discovered via John Cole.
Getting accused of “playing the race card” is simply code for “uppity”