Everything Is Not (Not) About Race

by Guest Contributor Christopher Sean Watson

Editor’s Note – Please read the piece carefully – and thoroughly – before commenting. – LDP

After reading an article recently claiming that Tea Party demonstrators, angered over the healthcare bill, were shouting out “nigger” at members of the Black Congressional Caucus, as a Black American, I felt compelled to weigh in. For the past two years, politicians, journalists, bloggers, and political pundits have debated the merits of whether demonstrations against Barack Obama are racially motivated. The fodder was fueled on at least two occasions when former President Jimmy Carter stated that an overwhelming portion of the bitter outcry is racially inclined. With all due respect, Jimmy Carter needs to go back to selling peanuts. Speaking out against a person of color does not make one a racist. Just as speaking out against a woman doesn’t make you sexist, nor does raging against Islam’s radical ideas make you xenophobic.

It’s time for us Black people to stop crying racism every time someone says something mildly critical. We cannot continue to blame “the white man” for our own mishaps and misfortunes, no matter how seemingly institutionalized it appears. Shame on you. What evidence do you have to suggest that well-meaning, hard working, God fearing white Americans revolting against every priority, policy, and decision of this administration are projecting racial animosity? Of course there are a couple of isolated incidents out there, but those incidents aren’t proof in and of themselves, unless there is a significant enough body of examples to suggest a trend or pattern of abuse exists.

Look, I remember all the “misunderstandings” that happened before the election just like everyone else. I remember when McCain ousted a campaign official in Virginia for writing that “if Obama were elected he’d hire rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black and change the national anthem to the “Negro National Anthem…” But, it’s Virginia, folks. What does one expect?

Yes, I do remember when the president of a Republican women’s club in San Bernardino County, CA resigned after sending out that newsletter with Obama’s face on a fake food-stamp coupon surrounded by ribs, watermelon, and fried chicken. What’s so racist about that? Everybody knows that we love watermelon.

But, that stuff was during the campaign when tempers flared high and people often made misguided comments in the heat of battle. What about since the election you ask? Oh, I knew you were gonna bring that up. When that aide to state Senator Diane Black of Tennessee, sent an e-mail to staffers showing the first 43 commanders-in-chief in presidential poses, while displaying Obama’s image with enormous white cartoonish eyes on a black background, she was just poking a little political fun. She didn’t mean anything by it. You know how you sometimes turn people into cartoons to make them seem juvenile, shiftless, or idiotic. Yes, like in old Amos and Andy photos. I mean, no, not like that at all. Like a cartoon. Stop trying to twist up my words and make everything about race.

What’s that? Oh, the incident involving the vice chairman of the Collin County Republican party in Texas who sent an email to local Republican clubs calling a proposed $50 fire arms tax “another terrific idea from the black house and its minions”? She was just angry over Obama trying to stifle our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. How is that about race?

What? Last June South Carolina Republican activist Rusty DePass compared an escaped gorilla from the Columbia Zoo to Michelle Obama’s ancestors? Well, that was way out of line. I hope that guy apologized for being so insensitive. But that was just an isolated incident. Huh? You say that wasn’t the only incident? The New York Post editorial cartoon with the police shooting a gorilla and saying “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill” is sort of similar. But, not really. That was just a coincidence because that escaped gorilla in South Carolina was in the news that week and the cartoonist was merely connecting two separate national stories and making a clever reference. That’s not racial, that’s funny.

Wait a minute. When US Rep Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said last summer that the Republican Party was looking for “a great white hope” to lead the party into the future, she later denied any racial intent. What I think she meant was she wanted to find a clean-cut, charismatic, well-spoken candidate to do what Obama had done for the Democrats. She wasn’t necessarily insinuating that the candidate has to be white. I know it sounds akin to the racial fears of white America when Blacks began to dominate in the sport of boxing during the early 20th century, but that was almost 100 years ago. Whites no longer see Blacks as a threat to their careers, leisure, and lifestyles.

Okay, stop. I don’t really care if there are more examples. None of these necessarily prove that the uproar against Obama’s presidency is about race, only that Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of the union. And, who can blame them. We are starting to get way too close to giving Blacks preferential treatment, letting Mexicans into the country illegally, and allowing Muslims free reign to do what they want. If anyone is racist, it’s Obama, just as Glenn Beck stated. Obama “has a deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture…” Glenn you da’ man. You nailed it, buddy; Beck was simply telling the truth and tapping into the insecurities of many Americans, not just whites. He was simply calling a spade a spade. But, I guess with all the emphasis on diversity, political correctness, and multiculturalism, it’s not okay to call Blacks, Mexicans, or Muslims racists. We need to start stop whining, take responsibility for our actions, and stop blaming white people for all of our problems.

Look, it’s ridiculous that 1.4 million African American men (13 percent) have currently or permanently lost their right to vote as a result of a felony conviction. But, if we stop engaging in illegal activities, law enforcement wouldn’t have to infiltrate our neighborhoods or streets, and we’d stay out of prison. Sure a Maryland study showed, for example, that Black and white drivers violate traffic codes at equal rates, yet approximately 72% of motorist stopped and then arrested are Black. Or the study on the New Jersey turnpike that found only 13.5 percent of cars on the road had a Black driver or passenger, yet 73.2 percent of motorists stopped and the arrested were Black. But, that is just two studies, which is not representative of a social epidemic. If we stop breaking the law, the police will not be suspicious of us.

It’s simple, folks. Get a good job, work hard, buy a home, and you can live the American dream just like white Americans. Okay, I understand that African Americans are more likely to be told that housing in predominately white neighborhoods is not available or they are directed to predominately Black neighborhoods, but that is only because the realtors think we will be more comfortable around other Black people. That’s not racist, that’s trying to help Blacks feel more welcome by putting us around our own kind. It’s really not that difficult to purchase a home. Just because in 2002, African Americans had a median net worth of $5,998, compared to $88,651 for whites , doesn’t mean we can’t save up for a down payment, realty fees, closing costs, and monthly mortgage payments. Anyway, that statistic was like eight years ago. We have to be up to around $5,999 or $6,000 by now. Come on. We have a Black president. Show some pride, people.

If we would pay more attention in school, we would be more successful later in life. Okay, I’m a realistic guy. I understand that at the age of three, only 45 percent of African American children are enrolled in early childhood education. But the other 55 percent have no excuse for not succeeding. It’s not just about being in school anyway, it’s about what you do when you get there. Nearly 20 percent of black students are held back at least once, while only 9 percent of white students have repeated a grade. That’s because the white kids pay way more attention than we do. White kids are meticulous, relating culturally to characters in history books, feeling comfortable with the teacher’s vernacular, and connecting to the literature written by predominately white American and British authors. Okay, well, maybe we have a legitimate reason for not being as successful in the liberal arts, but we have no excuse in math and science. Numbers are the same everywhere, and the elements of the periodic table or the classification of stars are not culturally biased. Larger class size, under-qualified teachers, and a lack of educational resources are also not justification for not learning. Let go of the excuses people, they are only there to placate you and hinder your intellectual growth and feeling of connectedness to the educational system.

And, don’t get me started on healthcare. That’s how this whole silly argument got started in the first place. I understand that Black infants are nearly two-and-one-half times more likely than white infants to die before their first birthday. Even Cuban babies have a better chance of surviving than Black children in the US. But, we are survivors. That is how we made it out of slavery and through Jim Crow with our forty acres intact. Sure two-thirds of new AIDS cases among teens are Black, Blacks are three times more likely to be hospitalized than whites, and 30 percent more likely to die from cancer than whites. But, access to affordable healthcare will only make us more co-dependent on the American government. So, I for one am supportive of the protests against recently passed Obamacare, even if protesters are carrying around signs with pictures of Obama dressed like an African witch doctor, which may seem to have coincidental racial undertones, but it’s not racial. After all, the healthcare debate, just like all other Obama policies, have nothing to do with race.

I’d be willing to bet my life on it.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

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