Monday, May 12, 2008

"Okay, So Wassup Wit Cho Gurl?"

I want to share a story with all of my non-black friends. It will provide a window into the world of black folks in this country that so many seem less than enthusiastic to gaze through. When I went off to college, my grandmother pulled me aside to provide me with some advice. She knew that I was determined to have a multi-cultural/post-racial existence, and that was fine with her. My whole family encouraged that. However, she told me to be careful, because there are some white folks who will (in her words) "skin and grin, while not really being your friend." She let me know that for some folks, the past is too close to forget old perspectives and points of view.

I shared this story with you, because it appears that the Clintons seem to be falling dangerously close to that category of folk my grandmother described. Andrew Sullivan wrote eloquently of the Clintons' decision not simply to inject race into a contest where one opponent did everything in his power to avoid it, but to drive a stake through the heart of an attempted effort at a post-racial campaign. And in so doing, the Clintons are destroying the good will that they'd built over the years with black folks.

So, to all of you HRC fans, I don't know what's up with your girl, but you better get her in check before she causes real problems. And to anyone who dares to think it, I am not being a misogynist in my use of the term girl (or "gurl"). That just shows me that I will need to share another story in the near future.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, ok. We all know that in an ideal world race would not play an issue (nor would gender for that matter). But, let's be realistic. Race is an issue - and has been since the inception of the country.

For all of his rhetoric about change and bridging racial gaps, Obama certainly has a clearly identifiable perception of whites... well... at least poor whites.

Afterall, one has to wonder why Obama would NOT find it surprising when frustrated whites "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them..."

Seriously?

Let's not blame HRC for "injecting"
race into the campaign. It's there. How the candidates deal with the issue is the critical factor.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that HRC is flirting seriously with dealing poorly with this issue in this campaign.

Politi Gal said...

Anonymous number one, if that is your real name, put down the cup and step away from the Kool-Aid. I know it's tasty and saves you from the terrible burden of thought, but trust me, when you wake tomorrow, the evil elixir worn off, the trailer-park will look bright, and full of new possibilities (though your sister will look far less attractive-time to break it off big guy).

But you have to put down the Kool-Aid! For God's sake, won't you just...put down the Kool-Aid (and grow a pair and leave your name on your next comment.)

Denise in Claremont said...

Of course race is an issue in the US. One obvious expression of that--and it drives me crazy!--is that Barack Obama is always referred to as "a black man" when in fact he is a mixed-race man. The media, which uses the first label, is a reflection of our society.

But the point is that that Hillary Clinton's campaign rhetoric and tactics did not work to deal with the issue of race in a positive, constructive way, in a manner consistent with the Clintons'long history of emphasizing the commonalities between people--particularly poor and working class people--rather than the racial and cultural differences that differentiate them. Both Clintons, and definitely Bill Clinton more than Hillary Clinton, have presented themselves as European Americans with strong ties to the African American community. How many times have we heard that Bill Clinton was the "blackest president" in American history? That's pretty strong evidence that the Clintons have enjoyed a reputation as being beyond race.

Certainly Obama's campaign has emphasized his mixed race heritage, but most pundits--and most white Americans--have not framed his remarks about poor white folks in racial terms, but as "elitist," as a class issue. Race and class = apples and oranges.

People reveal something fundamental about their character in these types of competitions when the stakes are extraordinarily high. Are the Clintons racists? Certainly less so than probably the majority of people--black, white, brown, Indian, and Asian--in American society. Most assuredly they are smart, ambitious and determined, determined to win at any cost, it seems. The price of their ambition is carried by all Americans who care about the state of our country, the world, and the role that race plays therein.

Anonymous said...

Spray-painted on the Vincennes Obama campaign office:

"We don't cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright."

It appears that at least some people conceptualize Obama's words within a racial context rather than as a matter of elitism.

Anonymous said...

Oh... politi gal, as this is likely your first presidential election, I guess we can forgive your naive (albeit refreshing) innocence.

Can someone give me some specific examples of HRC's tactics and/or rhetoric? I'm just interested in hearing what people think are the worst examples.

As for Kool-Aid... that's why I am voting for Obama.

Politi Gal said...

My humble (and heartfelt) apologies to Anonymous number one. Admittedly I get a little (maybe even a lot) worked up, and it would appear that I am guilty of engaging in friendly fire. I have an itchy trigger finger lately.

This will, indeed, be my first presidential election, but I wouldn't call my misdirected response a case of "naive (albeit refreshing) innocence"... as I am neither refreshing nor innocent.

Miriam said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/14/AR2008051403090.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

You sure about the misogyny?...

Hillary is a woman and society are uncomfortable with the prominence that a female is playing in politics now. Gender has nothing to do with the fact that she and her advisers are injecting race into the campaign.

And no, I am not voting for Hillary come November. I am voting for the Democratic candidate, no matter who it is.

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/14/AR2008051403090.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

The link didn't translate:
Here it is again, and if this doesn't work, then it is Marie Cocco's op-ed in today's Wash Post, entitled "Misogyny I won't Miss"

Fiona said...

I see you've been reading Bob Herbert in the NYT, as well as Andrew Sullivan.

The only thing that surprises me, Free, is that you're surprised. When Hillary started losing, and her campaign decided on a strategy called "the kitchen sink," what did you think they'd do?

I mean, this is a feminist whose response to her husband's behavior with women was to demonize the women.

If it makes you feel any better, in my view HRC attacked women before she attacked black people. Remember that whole strain of "you're betraying other women if you vote for Obama?" In other words: do what I say or you're not *really* a feminist/loyal to womankind.

I'm delighted that Obama is going to wrap this thing up soon, and we're all going to go back to being angry with our current leadership. This would be a good time to focus on the fact that we're arguing about whether a woman or a bi-racial man will make a better candidate, in a year when we're pretty confident the Dems can actually *win.*

That's history, dude. And we're living it. Whatever HRC says, she can't touch that.

Anonymous said...

Re: Politi Gal's comments

Pls keep up that attitude towards poor folks who live in trailer parks. The Dems elitist attitude toward ordinary Americans is what helps Republicans win.

Anonymous number one, if that is your real name, put down the cup and step away from the Kool-Aid. I know it's tasty and saves you from the terrible burden of thought, but trust me, when you wake tomorrow, the evil elixir worn off, the trailer-park will look bright, and full of new possibilities (though your sister will look far less attractive-time to break it off big guy).

But you have to put down the Kool-Aid! For God's sake, won't you just...put down the Kool-Aid (and grow a pair and leave your name on your next comment.)