Friday, February 15, 2008

Obama and White Racism

There is a reason why so many white folk are running to carry Obama. That reason has everything to do with racism and almost nothing to do with his politics.

White liberals, and other whites, are comfortable around Obama. He carries their fears about race and their racism with a committed silence.

Obama won't call white people on their sh*t. He can't. He is, afterall, a creation of the white imagination.

An imagination that needs to make the past and its racist present disappear from their lives.

Obama, like Oprah, and Powell and Rice, are modern iterations of Black servility to whiteness.

Their function is not about subverting whiteness, but rather it is about preserving and extending the reach of whiteness.

In these terms, Obama and the likes represent a disease, a pathology, of whiteness and its ownership.

To understand Obama inside of racism you have to understand what it means to be white and what whiteness means even where white people are physically absent.

Juan Santos has written what I consider to be one of the best deconstruction pieces on Obama and the false consciousness of 'post-racism'.

I strongly recommend this article. There is so much to quote but I will end this post with this passage from Santos:

Obama knows the rules of the game, after all. He is the rules of the new race game; his candidacy itself is a manifestation of the new system of racism.

He knows how to make white Amerikkka feel good about the status quo, here and abroad.

There’s a reason for that.

If he told the truth, if he stood up for justice, and on that basis, authentic healing, he couldn’t be president.

Under those circumstances, if he’d attracted any measurable attention, much less the global attention he’s gained today, more likely be dead.

Like King.

Like Malcolm.

Dead, like Steven Biko of the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania / South Africa, or Fred Hampton from Chicago.

Or imprisoned for decades, like Nelson Mandela was.

But Barack Obama doesn’t have that kind of vision and courage.

And he’s not, in the end, even a street activist. He’s been bought. What kind of "street activist" or "community organizer," after all, ends up a millionaire?

One who won’t say what white people don’t want to hear.

What white Amerikkka doesn’t want to know, Obama is not about to tell them. That’s a large part of why they like him; it’s key. Whites don’t want to know, as a rule, the actual conditions of Black America, just as the German people, as a rule, didn’t want to know the actual conditions of the Jews and Gypsies, even as the smoke of the crematoria drifted through their streets.



Eugene said...

I hate U.S. presidential campaigns. I point out to folks regularly that "the system" is only interested in the survival of "the system" and who ever it ALLOWS to be president will have to insure the system continues along the status quo. Obama is really no different than the rest, as you point out.

"Post-racist America." That sounds so funny. Here in "Post-Racist America" I still have to carry a card that proves my status as a Red is "Federally Recognized." I don't believe any of the black folks you mentioned have to carry cards identifying their blackness nor their blood quantum of blackness. Nor do white folks have to carry cards and be "federally recognized" as white. Anyone who believes that america is post-racist is SERIOUSLY asleep at the switch.

Dione said...

Hello Ridwan,
As far as I know, you do not support any of the candidates running for office. This is the same position that most of America has; and we are now faced with “which is going to be the less of these evils”, “who will lie the best for us” ect.

We also know your position that no one has to vote at all, however one candidate will be elected weather or not people choose to exercise their right to cast their opinion.

What I want to know is, assuming you HAD to vote, who would you elect and why? OR, is there someone else you would like to see. This might make an excellent post sometime, I’m sure we would all like to see it.

Personally, I won’t be voting for Obama because he is not ready to be president. Should he be elected he will be thrown in there, completely unprepared for what he will face.

However, I do want to play devil’s advocate here if you may…. You mention Obama and his knowing the rules of the game, and selling out to whiteness. Not wanting to tell white America what they don’t want to hear. Well, that’s for dam sure!!! Obama is old enough to have seen what has happened to true Black Warriors such as, Malcolm and Mandela. He knows he can’t win and get into a position of power until he works within the system to get where he needs to go before he can become the Black Warrior.

The system is not perfect, hell it just sucks. But if you want to win in this system, you have to play the game, and then take white male shovanist America off guard, and infiltrate from the inside.

I think not in this election, but in the next election Obama could one day be a good president.

Ridwan said...

Hello Eugene. Thanks for your comment.

Obama is the representative of those who believe America is now firmly in the era of "post-racism".

His silence on racism and his support for all of Bush's racist policies in Irag, Iran, Pakistan, and Palestine, support the notion that race is absent in each case.

It is indeed a whack reality that anyone believes we live in an era of "post-racism".

All Black people had to carry a pass as you do now. The dompass (stupid pass) was used to control the movement of Blacks.

The system was absolutely racist and that it still 'governs' your life as an Indian is an absolute shame.

So yeah "post racism" sounds funny but you know that most white folk believe that race (now called ethnicity or culture) is just a matter of diversity and not ongaing oppression.

If Obama becomes president it will be the crowning glory of this delusion.

Peace brother,

Ridwan said...

Hello Dione. Thanks for your comment.

I like Dennis Kucinich. If I was pressed to choose a president it would be him.

But you saw what happened to a candidate that is not about fluff.

Kucinich is still working on having Bush impeached.

I cannot, however, be part of any process who would elect McCain, Obama, or Clinton.

McCain has now found reason to be pro-torture. Clinton is about as substantive as Obama and both are apologists for American aggression and racism.

I am, however, not of the opinion that Obama is not skilled or experienced enough to be president.

He is as skilled in supporting the American system as any other candidate still standing.

I think the fact that Obama is supported by middle class whites, particularly young ones, is telling.

This is exactly the demographic that knows very little about race and racism in America.

These are the folks who used to take my racism class and think it was a survey of race history.

But I think if Obama is the democratic candidate in August we will see the race rules of America bring McCain to office.

The big whigs in the donkey party know this.

White America is not about to elect a black man, even a step and fetch, to the office of war mongering.

I trust you are well Dione.

Peace to you,

Dione said...

I always thought we would see a Black male president, before a white woman; however next November I do believe I will be shocked.

I hope you are well also, and I apreciate knowing whom you would pick.

Shush li said...

Isn't the point more that NO ONE gets to be a candidate for either party unless s/he has sold his/her soul to the entities benefiting from the preservation of the status quo? The fact the Kucinich was shut out of debates is one reason to believe this.

Who really cares if the candidate is white/black old/young male/female? The powers that be are going to see to it that the dominant society is well served by the one elected.

That is the problem, and is easily stated. What next? Wait for the nation-state to collapse on its own? Or facilitate its demise and take the power back? I hope I live to see either of these scenarios.

I hope you are well, Cousin Ridwan.

10:04 AM

Rent Party said...

I agree with the basic analysis but I still say it is advantageous to beat the GOP. The reason I think Obama has a better chance at that than Hillary is that there are so many people willing to come out to vote against her. Which makes me think Obama is the best bet for now, given the small possibilities. I'm also just tired of Bush-Clinton. I am already preparing my Kucinich '12 stickers.

Ridwan said...

Shush li and Rent Party I am sorry that your comments appeared without a link to your respective blogs.

I inadvertently lost both comments and retrieved them without back-links.

Sorry but thanks kindly for your comments.

Rent Party I am of the opinion that Obama is the result of race/racism denial among most white Americans.

It does matter that he is Black sista Shush li.

He gives creedence to the movement that would have racism 'solved'.

If he were president he would facilitate the absolute denial of race/racism in the US.

Like I said to Dade, it is important that folks of consciousness reject the lesser evil candidate strategy.

Obama as facilitator for whiteness is not in the interest of people of color and those who are opposed to race denialism.

On the international front he is essentially George W. Bush.

Perhaps even worse. He has already warned of invading Pakistan against their sovereignty.

He talks of "surgical" strikes against Iran.

He seeks Israeli interests in Palestine and one may assume in the middle east.

How is this man different than Bush?

How is this man different for global justice?

He is not. American voters need to see beyond the fluff of this choice.

I suspect that if Obama is the nominee it will mean that McCain will be the next president.

We would be somewhat reckless to assume that Obama can win over McCain.


Cero said...

I know, but do you mean then that you'd like to see Hillary win the primary ... or that you really think McCain would be no worse?

My theory: got to get someone in who at least looks more respectable than what we've got, so that later one can get someone who really is. Obama [or worst case Clinton] now, Kucinich / Gravel / someone like that next. Otherwise it's a *true* downward spiral. If things get really really bad we may indeed get an actual revolution, but it could as easily be a revolution to the right as to the left - this is the problem I see.

Shus li said...

I agree with the idea that if Obama is the Dem nominee McCain will be the next president.

Along the lines of the idea that Obama is a front to the lie that racism is obliterated, it could be said that Clinton is a front to the lie that sexism is obliterated. Sexism is alive and a problem that effects as many or more people on earth than does racism. God help the poor woman of color.

Either way, Clinton/Obama - McCain is the next president. So, at the end of the day, there is no difference in my mind.

Cero said...

Well, come say something outrageous on my blog which needs help from the left!

On it, I disagreed with the idea that whites are voting for Obama to get absolved of racism. I got Clintonites wondering why I wasn't one. They pissed me off. *Must* one be in lockstep with these Dems (no) ... if one does vote, is it not as legit to vote for Obama as for Clinton, depending on how you decide to roll the dice? ... or do you think that even now one should sit it out or vote third party ...?

Ridwan said...

Hell Cero. Thanks for your comments.

Obama is bad for those of us who would want to keep race and racism as one of the most important issues of oppression.

His silence is about supporting whiteness to move beyond its guilt.

Hillary is not really different than Obama in any contexts.

I do not support either Obama or Hillary.

And I certainly see nothing in McCain. He may even end up being worse than Bush.

The system produces these kind of 'leaders' and I have removed my consent to be represented by the likes of these elites.

What is needed is a mass movement that is about subverting the system those who carry American imperialism.

Obama is McCain and Hillary. And all three of them are Bush.

Just ask any displaced Iraqi or Palestinian on the streets where American imperialism is naked and not hidden behind the fluff that is this presidential election.

America is the problem, and America is a system.

Peace to you,

Ridwan said...

Shush li I really related to the post where Eugene said that McCain would be worse than Bush.

I have to agree. The man is a neanderthal in political terms.

Liberals will have to live with this man because they have not been able to bring a real challenge.

Watch them lick their wounds.

Peace to you,

Dade said...

Well, friends, I won't deny anything any of you have said.

Nonetheless, I must vote. Just like a doubting Christian will say a prayer, just in case there is a God that might be listening.

It's a ritual. It's something I do. I won't say it is naivete, because I am fully aware of everything that all of you have said, and I agree with it, to a point.

But I've got to vote. That's just me.

Ridwan said...

Dade thanks again for adding to the value of discussion here brother.

I hear you and respect your view.


Rent Party said...

"If he were president he would facilitate the absolute denial of race/racism in the US."

I doubt it - this would only work among those who deny race/racism now, and there are plenty of these people, and they already claim to have plenty of evidence.

Ridwan said...

RP I worry about white people who acknowledge racism just as much.

These are the folks who think that engaging a fluff candidate like Obama is progressive.

I even know a few self defined
'radical' lefties who are white and pro-Obama.

These 'radicals' are not concerned that Obama never talks about racism.

He never holds whiteness accountable as a system of oppression.

For Obama, like most white people anywhere, racism is an individual thing.

It is not.

This kind of mindset is dangerous and has made me look very skeptically at comrades who think Obama is useful.

He is not. Obama is furthering a new kind of race denialism in much the same way of old.

For me, Obama is not the kind of candidate that can overturn the race sensibilities of whiteness.

In this context, Obama is anti-Black consciousness.

He represents whiteness and that is why so many white people want him furthering their privileges.

Thanks kindly for your comment.


Andre said...

"Amerikkka"? I wanted to take you seriously but you make it impossible.

Ridwan said...

Andre your comment is the kind that grinds my sensibilities the most because it emanates from a self-centered and ascendant sanctimoniousness that is nothing short of crass, misguided, and uninformed.

If you took more time to read and engage the post you would know that the word “Amerikkka” as it appears in the post is not mine but part of a quote from an article by Juan Santos in Dissident Voice.

Pay attention.