Monday, September 14, 2009
The Race Question
At what she calls the Million Mob March in Washington on Saturday, Daezy (I presume) poses in front of a FoxNews truck before posting the picture and many more of the event at her blog, US Liberty Journal http://uslibertyjournal.blogspot.com/2009/09/million-mob-march.html .
How many things do you say just to make an impression on others? What are you really achieving when you try to make an impression? If you didn't do things for merit or advancement, or if you didn't act with motives at all, what would life be like? At work? In bed? Alone in a room. Even alone in a room you can be consumed with wanting other people to see you in a good light.
How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no grasping is the Self.
The mountains, rivers, grasses, trees, and forests are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.
Since I "joined" the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s, I've been caught making racist remarks many times. Like everybody, I wasn't prejudiced of course. Hadn't I protested the plight of black jazz artists since I was a little boy? Or Negro jazz artists...or Afro-American jazz artists... Well anyway, whatever it is, hadn't I been against it? With my white friends, I picketed Woolworth's in Lewiston, Maine. But it wasn't until nearly 10 years later, after some backlash, that I got close enough to other races to get really taken apart. There were things I said and things I did that I had no idea offended other people. These behaviors were in my upbringing and needed to be rooted out. It was not easy. It was painful.
Yes, my dream too is to live in an America that is "post-racial." But I doubt that, after 40 or 50 years of working on it, my cleansing is finished yet. For others of all races, it may not take as long. For those who think about racial prejudice in this country at least, the work is obvious. But what of those who don't think about it? What about people who believe with all their hearts they aren't prejudiced...but have not gone through the real fire of being the only one of their own race in a group of another race? What then? The presidency of Barack Obama, whom I never have considered a "black man," is providing an opportunity I have tried to avoid. I've wanted us to be post-racial...but I'm afraid I've been on cloud 9.
Naomi Klein hasn't written anything for Harper's in a couple years. In 2007 she published an essay called "Disaster Capitalism" in there. The book that came out at the same time was a thunderbolt and best-seller. Last month another article by her turned up in Harper's, this time titled "Minority Death Match." I have a feeling another book is going to show up too. The article is about the United Nations Durban Review Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Since the October issue now is on the stands, you can read Ms. Klein's thoughts on the subject online. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/09/0082642
Over the weekend though, she updated a very edited version of the article in the UK Guardian. She takes on the Summer of '09 and zeroes in on the Obama presidency and all this opposition. As usual with Naomi, you get it full in the face~~~
"Americans began the summer still celebrating the dawn of a 'post-racial' era. They are ending it under no such illusion. The summer of 2009 was all about race, beginning with Republican claims that Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama's nominee to the US Supreme Court, was 'racist' against whites. Then, just as that scandal was dying down, up popped 'the Gates controversy', the furore over the president's response to the arrest of African American academic Henry Louis Gates Jr in his own home. Obama's remark that the police had acted 'stupidly' was evidence, according to massively popular Fox News host Glenn Beck, that the president 'has a deep-seated hatred for white people'.
"Obama's supposed racism gave a jolt of energy to the fringe movement that claims he has been carrying out a lifelong conspiracy to cover up his (fictional) African birth. Then Fox News gleefully discovered Van Jones, White House special adviser on green jobs. After weeks of being denounced as 'a black nationalist who is also an avowed communist', Jones resigned last Sunday.
"The undercurrent of all these attacks was that Obama, far from being the colour-blind moderate he posed as during the presidential campaign, is actually obsessed with race, in particular with redistributing white wealth into the hands of African Americans and undocumented Mexican workers. At town hall meetings across the US in August, these bizarre claims coalesced into something resembling an uprising to 'take our country back'. Henry D Rose, chair of Blacks For Social Justice, recently compared the overwhelmingly white, often armed, anti-Obama crowds to the campaign of 'massive resistance' launched in the late 50s – a last-ditch attempt by white southerners to block the racial integration of their schools and protect other Jim Crow laws. Today's 'new era of "massive resistance",' writes Rose, 'is also a white racial project.'
"There is at least one significant difference, however. In the late 50s and early 60s, angry white mobs were reacting to life-changing victories won by the civil rights movement. Today's mobs, on the other hand, are reacting to the symbolic victory of an African American winning the presidency. Yet they are rising up at a time when non-elite blacks and Latinos are losing significant ground, with their homes and jobs slipping away from them at a much higher rate than from whites. So far, Obama has been unwilling to adopt policies specifically geared towards closing this ever-widening divide. The result may well leave minorities with the worst of all worlds: the pain of a full-scale racist backlash without the benefits of policies that alleviate daily hardships. Meanwhile, with Obama constantly painted by the radical right as a cross between Malcolm X and Karl Marx, most progressives feel it is their job to defend him – not to point out that, when it comes to tackling the economic crisis ravaging minority communities, the president is not doing nearly enough."
Reflecting on this, I suggest, is best done alone, in a quiet room. Then go out in humility and try it.