Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arab is the 'New' Nigger

Yesterday John McCain was confronted by a white woman at a rally in Minnesota who said: "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab."

McCain was shaking his head in agreement when she said "I don't trust Obama" but he disagreed when she said "he's an Arab" and took the microphone saying:

"No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man...[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is all about."
So Obama is a "decent family man" a "citizen" but not an Arab?

The offensive implication is that Arabs are not "decent" or "citizen(s)" and yet you will not find one mainstream spokesperson in the US pointing this out.

Instead, McCain is being applauded (if even quietly in some quarters) for "defending" Obama and his American character.

Let's put this nonsense aside and speak directly to what McCain represents when he has to deal with the "rage" that his supporters are venting.

The republicans know that they cannot beat Obama unless they are able to manipulate words like terrorist, Arab, Muslim, and patriot, to induce racist fear(s) among their electorate.

In short, McCain can't win unless he is able to use the considerable racist sentiment among white supporters to vote against an Obama presidency.

A man in the audience at the Minnesota rally also told McCain that he was "scared of an Obama presidency." McCain did later say that the man should not fear Obama.

But 'fear' and being "scared" is routine fare among many white people who are forced to deal with Black folk and other people of color. In fact, 'fear' of the racialized Other is a mainstay operational myth of whiteness.

For this reason, you will find a considerable body of race relations literature that speak to confronting fear, overcoming fear, etc.

It is all tiresome for sure. I for one suffer from chronic white fatigue that is made worse every time I hear arguments that speak to conditioning white folks to overcome their racial fears.

Nontheless, my point here is that McCain is riding the wave of racist intolerance that his party is well known for, he is a product of that intolerance and mindset.

What McCain should have said was that Arabs are "decent" and "citizens" and some of them are Americans and patriots (and more in a global sense). But to do so McCain would have to contradict the very racist lifeblood that needs to see Obama as a nigger and an Arab who threatens whiteness and its American empire.

And so the outcome on November 4 will in large part be determined by those white voters who want to believe that the nigger Obama is an Arab who must be feared.

There is nothing "decent" in that mindset.

Onward!

Picture Credit

6 comments:

Erica said...

This election is fueled by contradictions, lies, and sadly self hatred.

Of course Mccain had to sacrifice the statements of one of his minions to make himself seem relevant.

During the debate when McCain referred to Obama as "that one" is really no different than the remark made in Minnesota.

This is not about white America fearing Obama being an Arab. It's the fear of having a black man as president and they have and will do or bring up anything to sway Obama supporters.

To white America, being Arab, Muslim, or anything other than white makes you a Nigger. Nothing more nothing less.

You can smell the stench of fear oozing from their pores and they are hungry and at this point I'm afraid that they will go to any lengths to prevent a black president.

By any means necessary.

I'm sure Obama had good intentions of bringing the people together in hopes of "change” and in a way he has, but the US has a long history of bigotry and it's not to be ignored.

The issue of race is the one thing that Obama didn't want this campaign to be about, and now it's as if it's the only thing.

Ridwan said...

Hello Erica:

Thank you for your comment. I think you are absolutely right about using whatever bigotry to keep Obama sidelined.

Being Arab or Black (or both) is the issue for most whites who are using "fear" as an issue.

I also think that liberals (and others) who support Obama are made to feel comfortable by his side-stepping of race.

That he does not share a slave history with African Americans is important in this context.

Race is as much an issue for conservatives as it is for liberals. There is no escaping race in the US, in any context.

If Obama becomes the president his race will be a central feature of his presidency.

Still, I don't expect he will win mostly because of white fear.

Be well Erica :)

Peace,
Ridwan

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

i guess they find somekind of solace in believing obama a muslim, terrorist, arab..it makes them easier to sleep at night.

i hope obama wins the election. the redneck be shitting in their pants demanding for a recount.

sigh...

hope you had a great weekend ridwan =:O)

Ridwan said...

Hi Gigi. Yeah they losing sleep ;)

I did have a good weekend and I trust you have had a good one too.

Be well my sista and keep taking them snazzy pictures.

Peace,
Ridwan

Dade said...

Well, Ridwan, my friend, you've spelled it out exactly. As the spouse of a Muslim, I have become increasingly alarmed by the vilification of Muslims in this country. It makes me sick, and I've ended at least 1 friendship because of it.

No good can come of this "arabs are niggers" mentality. It already has led to violence, and there will be more to come.

Jehovah/Allah/Yahweh help us all.

Ridwan said...

Thanks brother Dade. I am sorry that Maty and you have to deal with anti-Muslim bigotry.

It is a sad time for us all.

I just watched an Al Jazeera news report where a reporter interviewed some conservative white Americans somewhere in Ohio.

Every second word out of their mouths seem to speak to the fear of Obama's "real religion" ...

An Obama supporter who was holding the "Change" placard said his neighbours now tell him he is a Muslim (which he said was an insult).

Not a proud moment. And if nothing more it shows just how irrational bigotry and racism can be.

Peace and strength to you and Maty.

Ridwan