Sunday, November 23, 2008

"The Rise of the Hapa Emperor, or, Why an Obama White House will Remain White" by The Angryindian

" ... Colonial states do not found themselves on the premise of full liberation. Each element of power fashioned by the state is for the benefit of the state. It is an intricate system of checks and balances designed to keep the native and sub-social classes they dominate hopelessly dependent upon the state and the colonial society the state represents. The incorporated colonial subject, nurtured in colonialist cultural norms and education, cannot resist admiring, to one degree or another, the power and grandeur of the colonial class. This deification of the colonialist was carefully cultivated by first methodically inventing and then exploiting divisions between the natives and other subjected classes. The colonial practise of divide-and-conquer pits one group against another, insuring that unity and political organisation amongst the oppressed never achieves a solid foothold. This vacuum is then filled with individuals and social classes psychologically and economically loyal to the colonial superstructure for their sectional socio-political privileges. Occasionally, external forces and internal dichotomies compel the colonialist class to re-define the physical mechanization of the system without appreciably altering the fundamental nature of the colonial state. Oppressive powers as a rule cannot expect to endure without earning a certain level of dedicated support from the oppressed classes. After a period of time, the colonial predilection to dictate the direction of the society can safely be channelled and entrusted to select Assimilados who, without the need for reinforced coercion, will labour to maintain the appreciably asymmetrical status quo.

It is an error of grand proportions to assume that Barack Obama will be any different than former Secretary of State General Colin Powell (ret.), (notable for his contribution to the official cover-up of the My Lai massacre) current Secretary of State Condi Rice, (who was buying shoes in NYC while Black people drowned in New Orleans) or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who has made it a point of his permanent status to the court to refute African civil rights at every opportunity. An Obama White House will remain just that, a White seat of imperial power. Our community has been fooled many, many times before into supporting Africans in American government service that in the end did absolutely nothing for the African Diasporic community or any other population victimised by “Americanism” and I challenge the reader look inside oneself and find fault with this assessment. Bringing the non-European “up to the level” of the colonialist is not freedom, it is purely slavery under a new set rules written and imposed by the very same power structure that has repackaged Manifest Destiny as the graceful mercies of a benevolent but overtly racist conscious empire.

The decision to support Mr. Obama’s proposed policies by American minorities undeniably places us in the revolting position of wilful overseers expected with protecting the imperial-colonial interests of the U.S. over its global plantation. We have as a demographic chosen to stand side by side with the United States in aiding the maintenance of American White supremacy at home and around the world. When the tide eventually turns, and it will if the Christian Bible has any authority in such a discussion, then we as a people will suffer the same fate as those who have misused, mistreated and murdered the peoples of the world in ‘our’ name. One cannot feign ignorance of genocide and exploitation and remain human. Black or Brown skin does not protect one from the charge of criminal and moral apathy when one is wholly guilty of gross inaction in the face of injustice."
You can read the rest of The Angryindian's brilliant article here.

You will need time to digest the article. It is a nuanced and complex analysis that lays to waste the notion that the US has been saved by the rise of Obama to the White House.

I chose the above passage because it speaks to my concern with the false consciousness that Obama has been able to foster among lefties, particularly the self-described radicals who shamelessly voted for his presidency.

The article, however, is definitely more comprehensive than my emphasis here may suggest.

I will close with two more selected paragraphs. The first addresses Obama's "emancipation ... (of) White settler society" and, the second paragraph speaks to the enduring issue of Indigenous "Subjugation and Occupation".

The Angryindian writes:

1 "The heart of Barack Obama’s attractiveness to White America, his celebrated ‘Race Speech’ of 2008, was in character, a poignant Emancipation Proclamation for the White settler society, a gesture meant to save face and retain the Union, not an identification of the originating factors of institutional racism or true granting of liberation from involuntary servitude. His conciliatory dialogue, inclusive of all the manipulative spirit and guile President Lincoln intended his original to be, sanctioned the myth of benevolent Euro-settler rule. His defence of White settler society and U.S. racial stratifications as historically legitimate is in line with the post-Civil Rights Era argument that while Indigenous depopulation and African involuntary servitude and racial marginalisation, both of which clearly amount to genocide, were errors of the past, at no time is that history empirically connected to contemporary social problems or to mainstream social analysis."

2 "How can a people forgive a government and its people for genocide, especially when the government and people in question still occupy the stolen territories? The election of Barack Obama muddies the question of Indigenous land and identity repatriation. His call and personal example of an America for everybody does not include recognition of Indigenous independence. It offers a seat at the colonial table, not a table of our own. This may be inclusion, but as an Aboriginal I suss this as another tale of exclusion, of wilful ignorance of the sufferings of my people and an insult against me a victim of American colonial ethnocide. If Barack Obama and his crew of capitalist Chicago wunderkinds can find it within them to look backwards in order to go forwards I am willing to at least listen to what he has to say. But the elements above will need to be addressed and addressed fully, honestly and without reservation. The victims of America those living, those long buried and those littering the surface of the Earth deserve better."
Again, you can read the rest of this impressive article here.



tasneem said...

Nice blog.

Ridwan said...

Thank you kindly Tasneem.


Eugene said...

I'm having a problem here.

I've been reading you going after Obama like a pit bull, but hardly ever reading you say anything about McCain. Did you and the Angry Indian want McCain to win? Hardly heard a word about Cynthia McKinney, either.

All the commentaries I have heard about Obama from men and women of all races have consisted of something like this:

"It is great that this nation has moved far enough ahead to elect a black man as president. That does not mean racism has ended. That does not mean he will be a good president. That does not mean he will be the change we want. He has achieved a goal inconceivable just a few years ago, and that gives our children higher goals to set for themseles. We have to stay on his ass and work to create the change we want in spite of what he may do. He isn't the end all and be all."

And this "beige" thing, as you have referred to Obama on many occasions pisses me off. It appears to me that you are saying "breeds" (those who aren't full-bloods) don't count as much as full bloods. What is your point? His races aren't gonna be making the decisions that will either fuck the world or possibly make things better. We have a better chance with him than prince john and princess sarah. Of course he is going to carry on the empire. Anybody who wants that job will do just that. His "beigeness" will have nothing to do with it.

As far as "breeds" go, I'm a breed, Shusli's a breed, our kids are breeds. Does that make us less than the "real" Indians? Do lighter skin Indians have less legitimacy than darker ones? Is there a color scale? On Pine Ridge, I'm recognizably a breed with my light skin compared to theirs. Am I less legitimate?

When you talk about Obama's race like that and call him names, it is racist. You are saying breeds aren't as legitimate as full bloods. They are less than the people they identify with or that identify with them. That is another form of racism.

If you want to talk Obama politics, of course he is gonna carry the empire. I have no faith in the empire. I have no faith in governments. I have faith in the people. The people I see and touch. The people who want a good world for all to live in on into the future. The empire wants to destroy all human rights because it is more profitable to the wealthy who own the empire. Obama over McCain gives us a better chance, it doesn't mean I or any of the others I've heard talking think that change will magically appear on 1-20-09.

And the last paragraph, I haven't forgiven the U.S. for the crimes of genocide since Brack was elected. Nor have any of the Indians I know. Barack is a slim chance. The empire is still falling, and king dick and co-king george have made clearances for martial law. We are all gonna have to be helping each other or I don't think survival will work.

Lefty radicals who shamelessly voted for Obama? You are talking about some of the people I Love, here. And they all pretty much feel the same way I do.

Ridwan said...

Thanks for your comment Eugene. I trust that you are well up there in PDX.

Regarding your comment above I will be the first to say that you have the right to your opinion and to add your concerns.

Over more than a year I have been writing to your blog and to you in person with respect and genuine friendship and I am absolutely shocked to read you dismiss me with such reckless gall.

If you really read my blog and understand my critique you will recognize that I did not want McCain to win.

Low blow Eugene! You know better.

I lost another friend here because she said I was an undercover Obama supporter.

And now you, someone whose politics I respect and someone I consider a very good friend, stoops to label me racist.

Are you serious? Have you forgotten our friendship and the respect that brought me to your door?

I have not dealt with third party candidates because I have not considered them to be serious contenders.

I am sorry if I crossed some imagined line to say what Obama represents to black struggle, and what it means when radical lefty public figures and comrades sell out and support his duplicitous politics.

On the beige issue. You seem vested in the biological notions of what beige, black, and brown means to me.

If you have been reading me here you will note that on many occasions I have talked about blackness and the politics of being black.

Obama is beige in these political terms and it is not about breeds. I do not use this language anywhere on my blog or anywhere else, ever.

Malcolm X was biracial and I challenge you to find me calling his politics beige here or anywhere.

That said though, should you be so quick to make these judgements and apportion racist motives?

What you trying to prove and whose agenda are you trying to support?

Your understanding of what racism means in this context lacks nuance in the very least but mostly it is reckless and uninformed.

What would you call me Eugene? My mother is Malay and my father is Indian. I grew up in South Africa and my politics is decidedly black conciousness.

Am I black, brown, beige, or Other, by your peering standards?

Do you judge my critique of Obama worthless because I am not qualified in breed terms or any other terms?

I would think that you may recognize that someone of my make-up cannot be vested in the nonsense of full breeds and half breeds?

My politics is more complex than that for sure.

You are obviously missing my political intent and the relevance of my political critique.

Also, where in the Angryindian's writing does the brother stoop to the nonsence of biological relevance? I know he can speak for himself but questioning the brother's politics alongside mine is just downright crass.

If you read him closely and fairly you cannot but see that the relevance of blood/biology is furthest from his mind. And nowhere in his work can one reduce his commitment to one that is supportive of McCain.

Are you really reading anything we write with serious interest?

You are just so wrong here that it boggles my mind. You have rubbished my politics, my intent, and mostly our friendship.

I almost have to remind myself that I am writing to you.

Also, save me the indignation about people you love and their who vote for Obama.

I support the right of anyone to vote as they please.

But this blog is decidedly anti-Obama and when he stands by Israel and its slaughter of innocent Palestineans my politics is offended.

I remain disappointed in those friends and supposed comrades who argue for Palestinean rights and justice, and speak confidently about a fairer deal for Iraq and Afghanistan, and then vote for Zionist-friendly Obama anyway.

Nonetheless, please recognize that I was speaking about Zinn and Chomsky in the main when I spoke of radical sell-outs.

But then again if you read me fairly you will know that I mentioned these public names below.

As for folks who feel the same as you, please lend me some credibilty.

Do you really think that I do not have close lefty friends and loved ones who voted for Obama too?

I am disappointed in them too. They sold out but I will not call them names in public.

My life is as complex as yours and you should offer me some room given that we are friends who have talked at length about our thinking and our lives under racism.

I am disappointed in you Eugene. I will even add that your attitude above is damingly hurtful.

You hardly ever comment on my blog and when you do you come with an agenda that suggests you are being led by your nose and not your head.

You are being unfair and down right dirty.

You got me twisted brother and you should be ashamed of the nonsense you are trying to float here.

I expect that we agree (still) on a lot more than you may want to recognize.

Still, having you call me a racist on this open forum is perhaps one of the most low-down things anyone has perpetrated, let alone someone whom I consider a good friend.

My suggestion is that you seek to appreciate a wider understanding of race and racism, particularly one that is not steeped in tired notions of biology.

Our friendship deserved more than the sh*t you just threw at me.


Eugene said...

Questioning ones opinion leads to discussion.

I never tell anyone that I am "not racist." I still hold racist ideals, and should I say that I am not, I would never question what I say or how I feel. I would never leave room in my psyche for change or to hear someone elses view.

I do not consider this an end to our friendship, NOR A DISRUPTION. If you should choose to make it that way, then there is nothing I can do about that.

As far as calling Obamam voters "sell-outs," what choices do they have when we have just TWO folks to vote for? WHAT OFFERINGS DO YOU HAVE FOR US TO HELP CHANGE THE WAY THINGS ARE!?

Discussion, that is what I want.

I do not look at race biologically, and you should know me better than that, brother, as you claim I should know you better as well. Race is an idea construct created so that one race can claim superiority over another. It is a tool used to keep us fighing amongst each other while empire creates suffering around the world for their own gain. However, there are many folks who consider shades, breeds, an important issue. If you aren't dark enough to many people, then you don't qualify. It is a construct created by empire and it is a construct used by those within that structure, INCLUDING OUR OWN!

I am very careful who I call a "sell-out," and I don't generalize about it, either. Indians have been sold out by their tribal councils left and right. They are often blatant about it. These folks are often seen as the representatives in Indian country by the outside world. I would not blanket comment that all folks have sold out simply because they voted for Obama. WHAT CHOICE DO FOLKS HAVE!?

And as far as the blind support of lefty whites for Obama, I HAVEN'T SEEN IT! WHERE IS IT? WHERE!? All the folks, ALL OF THEM THAT I KNOW AND HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO, have stated they don't trust the empire even with Obama at the head. He is probably easier to work with than McCain. We are all aware that THE STRUGGLE WILL CONTINUE!

I'm not saying you have no credibility. Nowhere have I said that nor insinuated that. I am offering, and rather blatantly, an opportunity to tune your arguments. I Love a good argument. I Love folks challenging my ideals. WHAT IF I'M WRONG!?

I agree with your point about Obama allying with the Zionist movement. I agree that he will continue the terror offered to the Palestinians by the Israeli and U.S. governments. I agree he is also a war hawk. I will always fight empire. ALWAYS! I don't care if the president is white, black, Indian, Chinese. I don't care. I care about the people and empire will always fight against the people.

Now, Hapa is a label, correct, like "beige?" What does that mean to your struggle against empire? I don't give a shit about what race Obama is? I will argue against Obama being pro-Zionist. I will argue against Obama being pro-empire. I won't bring up his race or insult him or use derogatory terms about his race, nationality, or otherwise, to make my point. I DON'T NEED TO!

By the By, I do not, like I said before, consider this an end to our friendship. I have had a handful of such arguments with friends in the past, and although things got rather heated, shaken up, (and maybe they needed to be), we both questioned what we were arguing about and came to a better understanding of who we are and where we stand in the world, and that is exactly my point. Why the insults and name calling of Obama? How does that legitimize your argument? Why the "beige" and "hapa?" Why not just simply go after Obama supporting the continuation of empire?

Mind you, like I said, I KNOW I'm not innocent. I can be racist. I can be sexist. I am willing to admit these things because if I don't, and behave in such a manner, then I will have to do nothing about it because I am already not racist and sexist.

I am questioning your words, brother, and your use of them in projecting your ideas out into the world.

I question mine and am always open to questioning myself. I am always open to alliances. I am always open to a good argument.

And...What do you mean by being led around by the nose? What are you saying there, brother? That I am incapable of thinking for myself? Clarify! You should know me better than that, brother.

Ridwan said...

Thank you for your quick response Eugene.

I respect the notion of discussion over argument.

I know you like salty arguments but my interaction with you has never been framed so.

It is also immaterial whether you view yourself as implicated by racist thinking since it is an entirely another matter to tell someone else they are racist.

You calling me a racist in defence of Obama is mind boggling given that I have been reading you and interacting with your thinking.

Taking issue with my use of words, particularly historical ones that are common inside black struggle, is somewhat of an intellectual stretch.

I remember a comment from a woman on your blog that took me to task for using the words "coon" and "cooning" when referring to Whoopi Goldberg.

I was relieved when you did not confirm her view then but I am confused about your stance and MOSTLY, your tone now.

What would have fallen off your ass if you introduced your intention and made it clear why you were throwing sh*t at me.

I know you differently than that.

Look back at your blog, look at my response to Shushli's comment where she said she was proud to be supporting Obama.

No venemous attack from me.

I have endeavoured to write kindly and with genuine support on your blog. Where I have disagreed I have said so plainly but without any heavy-handed drama.

I respect you too much and I guess that is what is missing from your original comment here.

It is fine to want to argue Eugene but don't reduce me to one of your contests.

What Obama represents to folks of colour here and in that occupied country is vile and dangerous.

When I spoke of being led around I was referring to the liberal argument to seduce lefties and radicals to the nonsense of the lesser evil and the better choice.

True radicals who want the US to change radically are not confused by talk of liberal trinkets.

I have sought to place what Obama represents in historical context.

Lots of posts here on my blog about Obama but please do remember that my professional life is about race and politics too ... I am writing only about what I am mostly thinking about.

I also use this blog to showcase a little less restraint on my part when it comes to my politics and thinking.

Posts here highlight the fact that I am a Muslim, an African, a black man, and a revolutionary.

I will not vote for the status quo and I will continue to question those folks of colour for selling-out whether it offends you or anyone else.

My intent is to speak to politics.

Also, I am not the one who personalized any of the sh*t in this our first interaction in months.

In fact brother, you have just about been absent from my blog for months now. You rarely reply to emails I send you.

Why the sudden interest to attack me here, and now?

Also, you are the one telling me that there are your loved ones who are as offended as you by my calling Obama supporters sell-outs.

What you trying to say?

I (we) may be making too much of stuff here and yes it should be different and more mindful of our friendship.

I have not mentioned one word that would suggest I am calling off our friendship.

Damn brother my head is just spinning and with each word I have to remind myself it is you who I am writing to.

Nonetheless, I suggest you take up the "Hapa" part with the Angryindian. He reposts a considerable amount of your posts on his blog and that may be the appropriate place to seek clarification of the term "Hapa".

I on the other hand will continue to use beige and sell-out because inside my politics the contexts and nuance are well understood.

What next Eugene, are you going to take offense at me calling Mandela a sell-out too, or maybe you will take offence at me calling Colin Powell an Uncle Tom?

The names I use will hardly hide the blood that WILL flow when Obama and company continue to kill Palestineans, Iraqis, and Afghanis.

What it also won't hide is the fact that I did not vote for Obama and, therefore my consent is absent.

I know that you know this sh*t is serious.

Peace nonetheless,

Eugene said...

OK, you win.

Eugene said...


I could have brought my points up in a more respectful way. I sincerely apologize. I have a lot of respect for the work you have done. You have done much to help the people be aware of what is going on in the world especially around the construct and culture of racism. I thank you for that.

I apologize for calling you racist. I have been feeling my mixed blood lately. Not all of anything, ya know. It was mean of me to bring up my point in such a manner and I apologize.

I apologize for any hurt I have caused you, though the damage I may have done may be irrepreable.

I am not an Obama supporter, either. He is proving himself to be an employee of the empire through his cabinet choices and nothing is really going to change. The economy will continue to crumble and more people worldwide will suffer.

Should King Dick and co-King George not use the privilege, the government has bee set up for him to declare martial law, which may be a strong possibility as more folks are going to get pissed off that the wealthy will be getting our tax dollars and most will be unable to afford newspapers to cover their homeless bodies with.

Again, I apologize. It was wrong of me to approach you on this subject in such a non-respectful manner ESPECIALLY in light of the work you have done to stop Apartheid and your work around making folks aware of the various forms of racism and trying to end them. Thank you, Brother!

Ridwan said...

Hello Eugene:

Thank you kindly for your words brother. I understand where you are coming from and I fully accept your apology without any reservations.

I know you to be a man who stands by your convictions and I have respect for your politics.

Most of all, your friendship and commitment to truth means a lot to me.

We will move on brother. There are many battles that must be fought if we are to be really free.

Thank you for writing Eugene. You be well up there in PDX and keep pressing on.