Through The Static

May 3, 2008

Obama’s ‘Race Neutral’ Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions

Filed under: Culture,Government,Politics,Race — disciplepete @ 2:11 pm

This article is from Black Agenda Report; I really dig a lot of their work. It’s a very critical look at Obama’s politics of “race neutrality” and his denunciation of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. I’ll quote what I think are the most important points, but the whole article is worth a read…

Things fall apart; some things, like an ill-tied shoelace, sooner than others. Barack Obama’s strategy to win the White House was to run a “race-neutral” campaign in a society that is anything but neutral on race. The very premise – that race neutrality is possible in a nation built on white supremacy –  demanded the systematic practice of the most profound race-factual denial, which is ultimately indistinguishable from rank dishonesty. From the moment Obama told the 2004 Democratic National Convention that “there is no white America, there is no Black America,” it was inevitable that the candidate would one day declare the vast body of Black opinion illegitimate…

It was the masterful preacher and seasoned political creature Wright – not the racists who had endlessly looped chopped snippets of the reverend’s past sermons together in an attempt to make him appear crazed – who forced Obama to choose in the push and pull of Black and white American worldviews. Obama was made to register his preference for the white racist version of truth over Rev. Wright’s, whose rejection of Euro-American mythology reflects prevailing African American perceptions, past and present…

..Rev. Wright succeeded in drawing a line in the sand, whether that was his intention or not, daring Obama to take his stand on one side or the other. Race “neutrality” – an impossibility in the actually existing United States – went out the window as Obama in extremis positioned himself at the political/historical fault line alongside the defenders of the Alamo and American Manifest Destiny. As dictated by the logic of power, Obama furiously maneuvered toward “white space,” shamelessly taking cover in a kind of populist white patriotism that has always branded Black grievances as selfish, even dangerous distractions from the larger national mission…

Obama had belabored the same theme in his Philadelphia speech on race, a few weeks earlier – a widely applauded piece of oratory that was at root an exercise in moral equivalence that equated white and Black grievances in the U.S., as if history and gross power discrepancies did not exist. Obama is as quick as any smug corporate commentator to dismiss as the ravings of extremists and those who “prey on hate” the very idea that U.S. imperialism is an historical and current fact. Chickens cannot possibly come home to roost in terroristic revenge as a response to American crimes against humanity, since “good” nations by definition are incapable of such crimes…

In order for his race-neutral strategy to appear sane, Obama must constantly paint a picture of an America that does not exist…

Since Obama’s candidacy is predicated on minimizing the pervasiveness of racism in American life, it is necessary that he cast doubt on the legitimacy of those with race-based grievances…Thus, he announces in Selma, Alabama that Blacks “have already come 90 percent of the way” to equality – a non-truth by virtually any measurement…

…Obama is driven to loath most those people and facts that might lead to divisiveness. America’s worst enemies are not the racists, but those who point out the facts of racism, as Obama explained in mid-March in Philadelphia:

“Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems…

Rev. Wright and his ilk, by this reasoning, are Public Enemy Number One, standing in the way of the racial harmony that is the natural order of things in Obama’s mythical America…

Most African Americans see the world the way Rev. Wright does – that’s why he’s among the top five rated preacher-speakers in Black America. This Black American world view, excruciatingly aware of the nation’s origins in genocide and slavery, is wholly incompatible with the American mythology championed by Barack Obama. When the two meet, they are mutually repellant.

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