Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Debunking the Post-Racial Myth

If it was one thing that made my teeth grate during the 2008 Presidential campaign, it was the notion that Barack Obama was signaling a "post-racial" era in America. Political pundits--conservative or moderate or even liberal--deemed our times the "post-Civil Rights" era. The popular idea was that if white America can vote for a black man as president, this would somehow negate the last few hundred years of American racism. Of course, it was utter rubbish.

Conservative commentator George Will early in the Democratic primaries crooned that Barack Obama's win would "bring down the curtain on the long running and intensely boring melodrama 'Forever Selma,' staring Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton." Chris Matthews of MSNBC marveled that with candidate Obama there was, "No history of Jim Crow, no history of anger, no history of slavery....All the bad stuff in our history ain't there with this guy." Somehow all these pundits seemed to find a post-racial America despite the race-baiting of the Clinton campaign, the bizarre P.U.M.A. movement and Geraldine Ferraro's attempts to racialize feminism, white America's freak out meltdown over Jeremiah Wright and the full blown ugliness that was the McCain-Palin hate-fest.

Hoping for their post-racial dreamland, they failed to notice that to become the first black president, Barack Obama had to twist, shape and perform near acrobatic feats to keep white America (who in the end did not give him the majority of their votes) placated and at ease. Somehow the very pundits that could gloat about a post-racial society from one side of their mouths, could still worry endlessly about Obama's ability to connect with regular white voters. That his chances even among the more "enlightened white voters" were greatly influened by the fact that he was "black enough" to still be African-American in their eyes but was also not "too black" as someone of multi-racial heritage, is one of those taboo topics we're still not supposed to politely discuss in public conversation. As I once heard a black DJ joke to a colleague over the radio, it was unlikely white America would elect someone of a different demeanor than Obama or even a different complexion. This was followed by nervous laughter and the topic shifted--quickly.

Speed up to month four of 2009 and the election of a black president has seen everything from a rampant rise in white supremaicst hate-groups to incitations of violent government overthrow, secession and fake-populist, corporate-sponsored anti-tax protests with names that make them easy to mock.

Don't let me even start on the lack of post-racial awareness in American foreign policy, which seems to repeatedly find itself as odds with the darker, poorer masses of the world.

And of course, those are just the more overt issues. Rarely discussed are the varied forms of domestic institutional racism that do not disappear under an Obama presidency--from an unfair prison system to racial wealth inequality gaps. These are race-based systems that will negatively impact the lives of millions of people of color far beyond any hate-group or FOX News. And it should put the lie to any claim of some post-racial society that will magically appear because black and white kids can now identify with a bi-racial African-American in the White House. As Henry Giroux writes in a recent article, "the idea that we have moved into a post-racial period in American history is not merely premature - it is an act of willful denial and ignorance."

Giroux's article below:

Youth and the Myth of Post-Racial Society Under Barack Obama

Monday 27 April 2009

Henry A. Giroux t r u t h o u t Perspective

With the election of Barack Obama, it has been argued that not only will the social state be renewed in the spirit and legacy of the New Deal, but that the punishing racial state and its vast complex of disciplinary institutions will, if not come to an end, at least be significantly reformed. From this perspective, Obama's presidency not only represents a post-racial victory, but also signals a new space of post-racial harmony. In assessing the Obama victory, Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein wrote, "It is a place where the primacy of racial identity - and this includes the old Jesse Jackson version of black racial identity - has been replaced by the celebration of pluralism, of cross-racial synergy."

Obama won the 2008 election because he was able to mobilize 95 percent of African-Americans, two-thirds of all Latinos and a large proportion of young people under the age of 30. At the same time, what is generally forgotten in the exuberance of this assessment is that the majority of white Americans voted for the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket. While "post-racial" may mean less overt racism, the idea that we have moved into a post-racial period in American history is not merely premature - it is an act of willful denial and ignorance.

read full article here.


ninest123 said...

louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, louboutin outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, nike free, louis vuitton, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, prada outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, replica watches, louboutin, christian louboutin outlet, air max, gucci outlet, air jordan pas cher, nike roshe run, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, nike air max, jordan shoes, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, prada handbags, michael kors, uggs on sale, chanel handbags, louboutin shoes, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, longchamp outlet, tiffany jewelry, nike free, louboutin pas cher, sac longchamp, ugg boots, tiffany and co, burberry

ninest123 said...

kate spade handbags, tn pas cher, lacoste pas cher, michael kors outlet, michael kors, michael kors, timberland, vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet, true religion jeans, coach outlet, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, burberry outlet online, nike roshe, michael kors outlet, nike air max, true religion jeans, coach outlet, new balance pas cher, nike free run uk, north face, michael kors outlet, sac guess, north face, nike air max, michael kors, lululemon, coach purses, michael kors, hogan, burberry, mulberry, nike air max, hollister, converse pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, ray ban uk, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, ugg boots, ray ban pas cher, nike blazer, ugg boots, hermes, hollister pas cher, air force

ninest123 said...

reebok shoes, hollister, soccer shoes, ralph lauren, gucci, babyliss, lululemon, herve leger, louboutin, birkin bag, lancel, jimmy choo shoes, nike huarache, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, vans shoes, hollister, baseball bats, new balance, ghd, iphone cases, nike air max, giuseppe zanotti, chi flat iron, north face outlet, vans, ray ban, timberland boots, p90x workout, abercrombie and fitch, insanity workout, ferragamo shoes, wedding dresses, nike roshe, hollister, asics running shoes, longchamp, celine handbags, instyler, oakley, nfl jerseys, mcm handbags, converse outlet, beats by dre, mont blanc, valentino shoes, nike trainers, mac cosmetics, north face outlet, nike air max

ninest123 said...

ugg,uggs,uggs canada, wedding dresses, louis vuitton, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, marc jacobs, moncler outlet, moncler, canada goose, supra shoes, canada goose uk, moncler, links of london, moncler, karen millen, moncler, toms shoes, pandora jewelry, doudoune canada goose, replica watches, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler, swarovski crystal, canada goose, pandora charms, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, coach outlet, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, thomas sabo, swarovski, canada goose outlet, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, ugg boots uk, canada goose, hollister, canada goose outlet, sac louis vuitton pas cher, moncler, ugg pas cher