Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tim Wise on Obama and the Politics of Race

I tell you, my head is swimming with this election season! It boggles my mind that we, in Florida, find ourselves, knee-deep in this madness of an election brouhaha yet again! I went to vote on January 29th, not only to choose a primary nominee (even though the DNC said it wouldn't count, I voted for John Edwards), but to say YES - to Verifiable Paper Ballots (given the 2000 selection here that put Shrub in the White House, that was priority one for me. I also went to say No - to Amendment1, a property tax reduction amendment about which I felt strongly because it served the wealthier of us in exchange for cutting local services, most notably our schools budget! I live here - they were important. So much so, that I dragged my ass to the polls though I didn't really feel like getting up. I voted for John Edwards for the nominee among the others because I believed in what he had to say and because I liked he had the guts to say it - out loud. Then he suspended his campaign. As I watched, listened and read about the remaining two, I struggled about which of them would receive my vote. The more I watched Sen. Obama's train picking up steam, I could not rid myself of this nagging feeling he was NOT saying what Edwards was saying about the state of the "Two Americas" - and probably never would. That would upset wa-a-a-ay too many white folks and jeopardize his chance to make "history." I chose to support Sen. Clinton instead. At least she had the courage of her convictions to speak up about women's issues which often go ignored and are still running hard on the heels of racial inequality. The Devil I knew seemed a much better choice. That nagging never did go away though. As a matter of fact it got worse. I blogged about it, talked about it with people in person and on other blogs and then blogged about it some more. But to no avail. It seems, history over substance, lying over truth and denouncing the honest words of a long-time mentor and spiritual advisor for the sake of political expediency, are just minuscule points to overlook because the candidate looks "Black Like Me" (John Howard Griffin, please don't turn over too hard in your grave, I just couldn't resist!). Anyway, "White Like Me - Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son" author, Tim Wise made me feel a little better. His recent essay, "Uh-Obama: Racism, White Voters and the Myth of Color-Blindness," at least let's me know I'm not losing my damn mind! The senator from Illinois has now been forced, it seems (due to the Rev. Wright dust-up), to talk about that dreaded "R" word. He's scheduled a big speech later on today. Should be interesting. Hey Tim! Hope he sought your counsel on that one since he's not listening to Rev. Wright at all! Maybe it would go down easier if he had you helping him present it to the masses of white folks who are up in arms, as well as the Black folks willing to give him a pass so he can "transcend!" We'll see.


MarilynJean said...

Stumbled over here through a Google search to see if I could find any commentary from Tim Wise about Obama's speech. I am late in finding his essay, Uh-Obama, but I love it. Like you, I have been having issues with this whole race trascendenc thing, but Tim put it in to great perspective.

Deb said...

marilynjean...thanks for stumbling through! Yeah I've found Tim Wise and a few other white folks who are dead on about this whole race thing in this country. It just gets on my last nerve that more Blacks cannot see it nearly as clearly.

Lots of my "skinfolk" truly believe "transcendance" is and alway should be our path to success in America. Me? I love being Black with all of the uniqueness from the herd it brings - good and bad.

Transcending is just another word for "I'm not worthy" - really not an option for me.

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