Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Friday, October 24, 2008

Race in the Race

The latest New York Times poll has Obama ahead by 13 points.

Perhaps that's why the article makes this quote, as if surprised that some people can be that astute:

"Yet some voters still ascribe racial motives those opposing Mr. Obama this year."

Well, yeah. Duh.

You've got the McCain ralliers yelling, "Kill him!" "Terrorist!" "Arab!"

You've got 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow, and resentment about affirmative action.

And then there's this comment, left on my friend Field Negro's blog:

"This is the struggle for the soul of this country...i have my guns loaded...lock and load...and some niggers will have to pay. ... Die, bitches. heil hitler. heil mccain."

Pure guesswork, but I'd guess a 10 to 20% McCain swing based on white people voting against "the black man" (though the one quoted above is hopefully part of a minority of less than 1%). Maybe more.

But that is a celebration. Not too long ago, it would have been 50% or more. After eight years of Obama, it'll probably be within the statistical margin of error.

And think of it - discount race, and you've got a 23 to 33 point swing.

Go, Obama!

1 comment:

anne said...

Hi Seda,

I won't get into the color bar stuff, to me it's just crazy. The tough part about this country is that slavery was on the lines of a color bar which makes it hard to talk about the two issues without mixing them together. As far as prejudice goes, Obama is out there, not because of his skin color, but because he doesn't fit the upper-class white master race image any better than some of the others who tried for this post like JFK or Jimmy Carter, neither of whom had the problem with the color bar.

The whole thing is just weird to me--it's so loaded. Why people would go on about Africa, when it's more diversified than Europe, in an effort to talk about roots is pointing a bit to the problem that is prevalent in this country of "rootlessness." Why we do not study the wonder of the Benin kingdoms or the endless battles of the Zulu and Ashanti as we study the endless battles of the Caesars or the little tribal differences of Europe is just stupid. Not any more people in this country have Benin ancestors than Polish ancestors, but everyone has heard of the Poles and few of the Benin, let alone the Ibo or the Hausa or even Liberia.

The real root of this, of course, is the quest for the dollar, which is still leading to modern forms of slavery both in Asia and in the fields of California as owners try to increase their profits on the backs of those too poor to be more than grateful. The real issue is poverty, which combined with prejudice, is something from which few people emerge.

I spoke to you about my efforts at apolitical protest. One of my stands on poverty is to not own more than the barest minimum I need for my work and my survival. When I give a dollar to a bum on the street instead of buying a new pair of shoes, that is voting down poverty in a different way. My efforts in prejudice were to learn Spanish, to speak Spanish to the people who spoke it, and to use their forms which demanded that I address dishwashers as "your honor." This strips people of some weird facade that dehumanizes them.

To hide behind a color bar is like hiding behind language, looking down upon people who say "he's dead" rather than "he passed away." Our entire culture--more to the point--our entire world--is full of prejudice. The only way around it is to acknowledge that other people are human.

As for me, I could care less if Obama is some sort of black (?) or purple with yellow polka dots. If he treats others like human beings, he is way, way ahead of the crowd. But I'm too cynical to believe in a leader. I just pray for the man behind the Obama mask, that he might be a person and try to act as a person even if he does get to be leader. He is far, far beyond where I will ever be in this world, since I have no aspirations to that much wealth or leadership.

But I honor your concern and I hope for you that politics and activism will make the world a better place for you and others like you who feel dehumanized. I know that no politics will ever lift from me the feelings of being dehumanized, but that's all right, actually, for I'm not political. My brand of activism is what I do and I'm cool with it.

I'm intensely grateful that you are cool with it as well. Your recognition that I won't have anything to do with a system that believes in the criminal and enforces taxation is totally cool. I long for a day when there are no criminals, there are no blacks or whites or Christians or Hindus or poor or rich; that there is only you and me, two humans. There is no time in this life for pretending that we are not just a blip of consciousness out of the dust. All this hate and greed is just appallingly sad.

Thanks for trying to rise above it all and strive for a better world.


Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our