Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ignoring White Privilege

In today's Spokesman Review we have an op-ed from Kathleen Parker in which she shows that in this respect she's out of touch with the real world.

These are all true statements if we identify ourselves and each other only by the color of our skin, which increasingly seems to be the case – including our own president.  

Barack Obama helped lead the way when he identified himself with Trayvon Martin, shot by George Zimmerman in the neighborhood-watch catastrophe with which all are familiar. Stepping out from his usual duties of drawing meaningless red lines in the Syrian sand, the president splashed red paint across the American landscape:  

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”  

In so saying, he essentially gave permission for all to identify themselves by race with the victim or the accused. How sad as we approach the 50th anniversary of the march Martin Luther King Jr. led on Washington that even the president resorts to judging not by the content of one’s character but by the color of his skin – the antithesis of the great dream King articulated with those words.

Obama went even further after the Zimmerman verdict, expressing his self-identification not as leader of a racially diverse nation – or as the son of a white mother – but as a black man who remembers women clutching their purses tighter when he entered an elevator and being followed in department stores. All because he was black?

What Ms. Parker doesn't understand is that President Obama wasn't giving permission for people to identify themselves by race. He was describing what it's like to be black in America, explained even better by LeVar Burton when he appeared on CNN. It's something I've not only witnessed my entire life but shamefully contributed to in my younger years.

Ms Parker's op-ed is appropriately entitled "Sad When Color Outweighs Character". But she gets it all wrong because she's looking at it from a white privileged perspective where her character is never automatically, unfairly, and disparagingly determined by her skin color.


Firebell said...

Ann Dunham had a son, and he looked like Trayvon.
Gladys Meza had a son and he looked like George Zimmerman.

Both mothers have black ancestors.

"If I had a son" is nice self-aggrandizing rhetoric, but not such great genetic science and culturally rather insensitive. Obama did better later by comparing Trayvon directly to himself as a young man judged by the color of his skin (Obama's discrimination was particularly in Indonesia though).

But Obama then isn't Obama now. Today's Obama talks about having Ray Kelly spread his bigoted stop and frisk across the nation. What next? David Duke for the EEOC? Today's Obama believes Muslims have lesser rights and is willing to kill their children without process (revenge for Indonesia). Torture of Muslims doesn't warrant prosecution.

"Content of one's character" cuts both ways. Obama lacks character, and what there is, isn't very admirable. To say our corrupt President doesn't enjoy more privelege and power than Trayvon or any average white (or half afro-Peruvian) kid is silly. To pretend that Obama is a victim, not an oppressor, because he has African ancestory, is just another kind of racism. As Martin Luther King might say, everybody's shit stinks.

Except, I imagine he's say it better.

The true meaning of his greed said...

Oh cmon. Obama has reduced the oppression of lawyers by cutting law school from three years to two.

After all, those Constitutional Law courses are no longer necessary.

Bank of Injustice said...

As our president has eloquently argued, the only way to combat white privilege is to appoint Larry Summers to the Fed.

The whirlwinds of revolt said...

Obama's NSA, drone, Gitmo, and Wall Street actions constitute high crimes and misdemeanors. Very easy to write up a bill of particulars.

Democrats have made a rhetorically strong case that Congressmen demanding impeachment are racist, particularly citing the racist birther craziness.

But, it also has to be to be said that this defense is both cynical and racist in its own way. Should Obama get away with crimes against all Americans just because some of his accusers are racist?

Obama is President of us all. He is not just President of Black people. Nor is he excused from the impeachment clause because of his color, anymore than a non-black president would be. In fact, white presidents have been impeached, and by almost entirely white Congresses.

Obama is increasingly reckless. Spying on the UN? Really? How is that not the imperialism decried by King? Endangering diplomatic outposts by turning them into military spy installations? That's like Benghazi on steroids. Not informing American women that NSA psychos are stalking them through the web and cell networks, tapping their most private images and conversations? What?

This recklessness is a heavy cross for a civil rights movement to bear, day after day, month by month. Obama's behavior is antithetical to equality.

Just wait. Illegal surveillance is causing quiet upset to Movement stalwarts, who remember the King blackmail, and post-Movement Obama-generation rank and file alike, who know stop and frisk.

Elite white Democrats will not be able to hold off impeachment with cynical cries of "racism!" forever.

And now comes the New York Times. This issue may not be black or white, but an old gray lady.

Anonymous said...

I'll be interested in what the Times does with the guardian documents, but they've been pretty abysmal so far.

Here's a little illogic from Dowd:

"The Democrats never impeached W. and they had real grounds: starting a war on false premises and sanctioning torture."

That's true, it's unfair, but also irrelevant, as even a school kid knows.

In any case, Obama committed us to war without the consent of Congress (Libya, Syria next), and not only didn't enforce torture laws (a violation of his oath) but ordered the torture of Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and the Gitmo prisoners with forced feedings. He also targeted and killed an American child in Yemen, and countless "military aged males," first responders and noncombatants--strikes that increasingly look like calculated war crimes and violations of US treaty obligations.

By admitting to Bush's crimes, elite Democrats are inevitably arguing the case for Obama's impeachment. Democrats don't get a freebie just because they let the Republicans have one. The Constitution doesn't countenance partisan immunity deals.

Tin Soldier said...

What kind of privilege is Kerry's declaration of war on Syria?

Only 9% of Americans favor military action in Syria.

The Constitution gives Congress--the people's branch-- the power to declare war.

But Kerry and Obama say nothing about getting Congressional approval.

At best, elites talk about getting UN approval--a UN which Obama spies upon and manipulates.

Who will fight this war? What if Russia enters? Is this a proxy?

Won't we be fighting alongside al Queda in Syria? How can AUMF apply?

Why are Kerry and Obama silencing Americans?

Where are OUR Vietnam hearings, Secretary Kerry?

Where is the Congressional declaration of war?

Anonymous said...

But, but, Kerry says it's a slam dunk.

Anonymous said...

So, does Obama's logic mean that Iran can launch cruise missiles at the United States?

Or is that Obama's privilege alone?