Waiting for the racism?

Misogyny has been a constant and shocking feature  of so many reactions to Hilary Clinton’s candidacy.  Some of us have been waiting for racist reactions to Obama to come onto the national stage.  The wait may be over.  (Note: in comments Jender points out that we’ve documented some of the racism already. I try to explain in response in what way I feel it is only just now becoming comparable to the sexist villification of HRC.)

At the same time, the recent post on White Feminism has reminded us of a problem that many people think points to serious problems in the feminist world. And one of the worries it raises concerns the ability of white feminists to spot racism in themselves or in others. So it is with some trepidation I embark on the topic of racism in the American political scene.

And, in case you don’t know about a current cause celebre, you might want to look at a video of Jeremiah Wright:

    NPR interviewed various black ministers today about whether the attacks on Jeremiah Wright are attacks on the Black Church. Everyone who responded recognized that Black prophetic/liberation theology is a significant component of the black religious world. Ministers from that segment do preach about injustice and oppression.

One black minister from Washington, DC, articulated what seems to likely to be true: the attacks on Wright are a rejection of Black theology as he and many others practice it, and the dominant message the attacks carry is: Blacks need to stop complaining and keep quiet.

Well, here’s one of the segments from the same show that is cited against him:

Obama has strongly disassociated himself from Wright. He says Wright’s implication in the above video that he (Obama) is a hypocritical politician was the last staw. And it must be said that Obama’s campaign has largely been about leading the US beyond its racial divisions.

I don’t see how feminists can be silent about this, but at the same time, I sure don’t feel capable of speaking of black experience.

What do you think?
 

6 thoughts on “Waiting for the racism?

  1. Yes, I wasn’t clear in the contrast I was trying to make with “on the national stage.” Wright is getting villified all over the media. And in a way which seems to me – someone with a lot of reservations about psychiatric explanations in the hand of commentators – a kind of nastiness the US excels at. He is a total narcissist, who is bent on seeking revenge on Obama. Other things have, it seems to me, been much more isolated incidents, some of them completely condemned.

    There is another way to put it, I suppose. Many commentators have said the press is for Obama and intolerant of Clinton. Supposing that is so, they’re still for Obama, but in a way that has made it completely clear: He has to disown Wright.

  2. Today’s online Guardian has captured some of the irony of the Wright-Obama situation in a cartoon here:
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/index.html

    The striking and immensely distressing idea that there are criticisms about the US that blacks particularly are not allowed to make in public is caught by a few of the comments in this:
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/isaacdavy_aronson_/2008/05/obamas_tightrope_walk.html
    For example

    The fact that neither Falwell nor Robertson nor Hagee was ever accused of being unpatriotic, while that charge has been levelled constantly at Wright, illustrates the depth of the problem Obama faces. White ministers damning American for being too secular, or too tolerant or too sinful is acceptable religious language. A black minister damning America for slavery, segregation and discrimination is unacceptable political language.

  3. White ministers damning American for being too secular, or too tolerant or too sinful is acceptable religious language. A black minister damning America for slavery, segregation and discrimination is unacceptable political language.

    No no, that’s about patriotism, not racism.

    Sigh … ::goes back to grading papers on free will::

  4. Thanks for clearing that one up, Noumena. :)

    One of the oddest things that’s been condemned on Wright’s part was his imitation of Kennedy’s Boston accent and Lyndon Johnson’s Texas accent. Wright was arguing that what is different is not deficient. Somehow this has been seen as an attack on the heroes of the Democratic party. Others have said the imitations were self-indulgent and bad. I don’t think it is now possible for someone in the press to say they were rather good and quite funny.

  5. This is an excerpt from a letter,

    “And when you made your Southern tour a little later, and we saw how cunningly you catered to Southern race prejudices…How you preached patience, industry, moderation to your long suffering black fellow citizens, and patriotism, jingoism, and imperialism to your white ones…”

    to President McKinley.

    I cannot speak to the black experience either, but I can remember what history teaches us. Nothing changes unless we change it.

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