"Race" in the Race

With Barack Obama and John McCain both running for president in a color-aroused country, it is inevitable that we will discuss skin color quite a bit over the next six months, and more.  Can't we ever stop arguing about it?  

No. The belief that human beings can be divided up into skin color groups who have different characteristics as a result of their skin color is inherently controversial.  If the theory was announced today as a new scientific "discovery", it would be the hottest, most debated idea since the idea that life (and the right to life) began at conception.  

And so, we ask, "When will we finally be able to talk calmly and reasonably about the fact that human beings have different abilities, capacities and rights based on their skin color?"  That's like asking, "When can we talk calmly and unemotionally about the night when your mother, your wife and your sister sucked my penis in a Burger King bathroom?" My definition of the topic assumes some underlying facts that are inherently controversial. The only way to avoid this controversy is to reexamine its underlying premises and, perhaps, stop making assertions that are inherently controversial.

Bob Marley sang:

Until the philosophy which hold[s] one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.  Terra.Com

In fact, "race" is the name of the philosophy about which the war is being waged.  The assertion that "race" exists is inherently controversial.  We argue constantly about it.  We argue that we should stop arguing about it, and yet the very unproven premises of the argument gaurantee that the argument will continue endlessly until we begin to think "out-of-the-box" about our dilemma, because the box is our personal and societal investment in the paradigm and existence of "race" itself.

Where is the evidence that skin color innately means anything more than the color of our skin?  So, why are we so attached to the word "race" to describe what admittedly is no more than skin color?  When you insist on using the word "race" instead of the phrase "skin-color", you are insisting that there is a genetic je ne se quoi that separates us, and it's that idea is inherently controversial."

You are a traitor to your race!

Although the word has been presented to America as a theory about science, it was always an inherently controversial theory, from the moment that people were enslaved based on their "racial" designation.  As soon as rights were distributed according to skin color, even in the U.S. Constitution, "race" became inherently controversial.  

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Francis L. Holland Slams HRC in WaPost

Today, Francis L. Holland, a Black blogger who helped start the AfroSpear blogger group with his fiery essays, strongly criticized Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post for Clinton's "color aroused appeals" for animosity based on skin-color.  

"We are tired of Hillary Clinton telling America that we are less than American simply because we refuse to vote for her," said Francis L. Holland, an African American blogger. "Ironically, the Clintons embraced us, and even embraced Pastor Jeremiah Wright for support during their impeachment scandal." Holland was speaking of the congressional trial that followed former president Bill Clinton's liaison with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "She has forfeited the black vote for the forseeable future with her color aroused appeals." Washington Post

Washington Post staff writer Darry Fears wrote,

There was yet another sign of racial disharmony in the Democratic Party today, as the leader of the influential black online advocacy group ColorOfChange.org lashed out at Hillary Clinton, calling her claim to owning the white, blue-collar vote "race baiting."

"The politics of division now seems to be her core strategy" to overcome Barack Obama's lead in the primary, said James Rucker, a co-founder of ColorOfChange who once worked for the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org. "It's a strategy where everyone loses; we can do better and we should be able to expect better from Senator Clinton."

ColorOfChange, which has 400,000 members and relies on a large network of black bloggers to spread its message, recently circulated a petition warning the Democratic party that adopting rules that would allow Clinton to overcome Obama's lead "could be the worst mistake the party has ever made." Washington Post

The access that afrosphere bloggers now have to the national press means that when Blacks are aggrieved it is not only Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who can speak out on our behalf.  Every Black person with a blog and raise a voice, and these blogs interlinked through the AfroSpear and Color of Change are making Blacks' voices heard as never before in the presidential race.


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Stop Bashing Hillary?

We should all let Hillary bow out gracefully IF that is what she genuinely wants to do.  But, does it seem to anyone today like Clinton is ready to bow out gracefully?  Instead, she's telling America that she is the candidate of hardworking whites, (while Obama must be the candidate of shiftless, lazy Blacks and Latinos?) Is that graceful?

The AfroSpear's African American Political Pundit says,

The Clintons are at it again,  first its Hillary's"white Americans" comments in another color aroused and bigoted statements about her white support. then its Bill Clinton Angrily Defending Hillary's Healthcare History. Yes, its classic Clintons making a classic color aroused case that she is the white women who understands white people. Jack and Jill Politics calls it WHITE APPEAL!As MYDD blogger kbuggy noted, "The broad consensus is that Hillary's comments are clearly deepening rifts in the Democratic party and hurting the party's chances in the fall. Are you listening superdelegates." Yes, she thinks "White Americans" Prefer her. Clinton: The candidate for white voters?
 Hillary and Billl:  The Long Color-Aroused Goodbye
The Too Sense afrosphere blog is furious, too:
I think what irritates me the most about [Krugman's] observations--because it's not wrong--is that while Krugman thinks Obama supporters have to chill out, he has no problem with Hillary telling white working class Democrats their votes are more important, as though the only source of tension was oversensitive black folk and Nintendo Wii liberals*.  Too Sense

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Is Hillary Clinton a Spoiler Yet?

Hillary Clinton said today, "I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee . . . ," which means that she intends to stay in the race until the Democratic Party officially selects its presidential candidate at its August convention, in Denver.    So, does Clinton meet the dictionary definition of "spoiler" yet?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word "spoiler" as:

"one (as a political candidate) having little or no chance of winning but capable of depriving a rival of success" Merriam Webster
The National Review called Al Sharpton a "professional spoiler" in 1992.   In 1996, calling the Democratic Party "the party of spoilers,"Time Magazine said of Jesse Jackson and Ross Perot, "each of them could play havoc with the 1996 presidential race  . . .  each is a failed presidential candidate with no realistic chance to win the White House . . ."

Today, that's what virtually everyone is saying about Hillary Clinton.  The Hutch Report blog has said,

While it is a logical assumption that Hillary Clinton will drop out of the 2008 Democratic race if she does not win in Pennsylvania, that actual announcement will be hard for her to make. Hopefully, friends of Hillary Clinton have already been priming her for a potential defeat in Pennsylvania and telling her what the right thing to do will be if she is not successful there. If Hillary Clinton continues her campaign after a Pennsylvania defeat, then she and yes her husband too will become damaged goods in a political party that stood behind Bill Clinton through thick and thin when it came to his mistakes in moral judgment.

It is clear to most objective observers that both Bill and Hillary Clinton are very narcissistic and getting either one of them to admit they have lost a campaign is something that most people would not even attempt. That said, there is a time for the 'fat lady to sing' and if Hillary loses in Pennsylvania tomorrow night that lady's voice should ring loud and clear even in her own ears.  Hutch Report

Everyone, including now Hillary Clinton's advisers and ex-supporters, now agrees that it is virtually impossible for Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton advisers sketched out a scenario that they said could still deliver the nomination, though they acknowledged privately that the odds are long.

( . . . )

One Clinton adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be frank, said: "If the supers weren't buying it before, it's hard to see how they'll buy it now.  Washington Post

She's just too far behind numerically.
Tuesday's results drastically reshaped the dynamic of the campaign, positioning Obama as the all-but-certain nominee and casting Clinton as a dogged but deluded also-ran. At least one prominent Democrat, Clinton supporter and former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, called on Clinton to quit the race.  Yahoo News
Although Clinton was once known for running a notoriously tight ship that eschewed leaks, her own supporters are telling the media that she just cannot win, and needs to accept it and bow out gracefully.
Another Clinton supporter said privately that the candidate has but one option: "Withdraw gracefully and help unify the party to beat McCain." Washington Post
And yet we're still, still reading headlines in the Washington Post such as, "Clinton Spurns Calls to Quit Race."

More . . .

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Will White Maleness Be an Advantage for J.S.M.?

Assuming that Barack Obama is the nominee, as now seems virtually certain, we in the Democratic Party will enter a new phase in the presidential race and in our history as a Party and as a country.  More than anything else right now, the country wants change, and this is a fact that is not going to change between now and the November election.  

With the Iraq War in its fifth year, health care costs spiraling out of sight and home mortgages being foreclosed at rates that we cannot remember seeing since the Great Depression, Americans have become convinced that George W. Bush policies, and the dubious wisdom of all who support him, cannot and will not bring America out of this deep morass.  George Bush's unpopularity is at levels not seen before since unpopularity was regularly polled, it seems to me.

And yet, once on the table, the issue of change takes on far more fundamental contours.  Among the most fundamental characteristics of the American Government that has gotten us into this mess is its white maleness.  We have elected an unbroken string of 43 consecutive white male presidential and vice presidential terms, and we now find ourselves without the national healthcare that the French and Germans have, with global warming threatening to turn the planet into something unlivable. Our infant mortality rate rivals Cuba's.

Who's responsible for the mess we're in?  Although we cannot say that this would NOT have happened in a more representative government, yet can we ignore the fact that the US Senate is 98% white and 83% male?  

White males and others in the Democratic Party will have a decision to make in the 2008 election cycle.  They can insist that Barack Obama's skin color must be incidental to his appeal, or they can help subtly to remind America that, in a year in which change is the most sought-after quality, electing someone who is not a white man, but who is supported by a Democratic Party that is mostly white, is the most fundamental symbol of change that Americans can hope to see.

Alternatively, we can just hope that the white-news media and the Republicans simply will not notice that Barack Obama's skin is brown. (The challenge would be similar had our nominee been a white woman.)

Of course, many of us will, out of habit, insist that we "don't see color".  But that insistence puts Democrats at a great disadvantage compared to Republicans, because Republican color-based politics are based on a clear and cynically Machiavellian deployment of the lessons of American inter-color history while Democratic "color-blindness" is based on a denial of history.  Those whose "color-blind" ideology is based on a denial of history can hardly use history to their political advantage.

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How Much Affirmative Action for Hillary?

Hillary Clinton came into this race with virtually 100% name recognition, an ex-president husband, the support of women's groups and a nation full of Democrats who owed her family a favor.  She had apparent invincibility and a seemingly endless ability to raise money.  Moreover, as her surrogates so often remind us, she's white!

So, if Hillary Clinton is 150 earned delegates behind and has lost the popular vote when the superdelegates begin to weigh in, then how much affirmative action should Hillary Clinton receive from the superdelegates to put her ahead of Barack Obama?

This presidential race is very much like a college admissions process in which Clinton and Obama are competing to get the most points on the SAT's as well as their grade point averages and personal essays.  But if, after all of her obvious advantages, Clinton is still behind by 150 delegates and 800,000 popular votes when the admissions decision is made, how much affirmative action should Hillary Clinton receive to put her ahead of Barack Obama?  And why?

Have we really gotten to the point in America where a white candidates for the presidency can request and receive affirmative action on the basis of the fact that they are white?  That would certainly be a perverse and ironic twist in America's march toward color-blindness.  Where is Ward Connerly when he is most (for once) needed?

The fact is, Hillary Clinton came to this race with so many advantages in her favor that she doesn't deserve any extra affirmative action at all.  We need a strong president who wins on her own merits; not an affirmative action candidate who gets another leg up in spite of already having started out on top.

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Clinton Struggling in 88.3% White Indiana

UPDATE: 2:49 A.M. According to CNN, Hillary Clinton has gotten just 6% of the African-America vote in North Carolina. George W. Bush got more of the African American vote in 2004 than Hillary Clinton got tonight in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton's campaign argues that this is only because Obama is Black. However, what would happen in the fall if this is not merely a matter of voting FOR Obama, but is also a matter of voting intensely and steadfastly AGAINST Hillary Clinton?

It's clear now that Black people are far more united in our hardened in opposition to Hillary Clinton than white people are united in support of Hillary Clinton. By nominating the candidate who has received the majority of the votes and the earned delegates, the Party can make a decision that is very popular with many whites and receives the solid backing of virtually all of the nation's Blacks. However, by nominating Hillary Clinton in spite of her having lost the primaries, the superdelegates would infuriate the 30% of the party that is comprised of white and Latino and other voters who have supported Obama. And such a decision would be taken as a big F-YOU by the one in five Democrats who are Black.

Now, that reads like a very risky scheme in anybody's book! Even those who most want Clinton for president have to be asking themselves how the superdelegates could possibly hand the nomination to Clinton if Obama is 200 or more earned delegates ahead of Clinton at the time when the superdelegates finally weight in. Does Clinton really need THAT much affirmative action to win the Party's nomination? Is so, will the Electoral College be willing to give her that much affirmative action in the General Election?

UPDATE: At 2:05 A.M. Eastern Time, there are only 16,609 votes separating Clinton and Obama at this hour, with some 55,000 estimated votes outstanding.

With 95% of the vote counted in Indiana, and some 1,500 to 3,000 votes uncounted in all-white Union County, and some 55,000 votes uncounted overall, Barack Obama is just 0.7% away from winning the state. It is entirely possible for Barack Obama to win Indiana at this hour.

Barack Obama can afford to lose Indiana by 0.7 percent, but Hillary Clinton certainly cannot afford to lose Indiana at all.

This is a tremendous repudiation of Hillary Clinton's premise that she will win the white states. There may even be calls for Hillary Clinton to "stand down" now, because she has failed to make any progress today toward decreasing Barack Obama's lead in the popular vote or the earned delegate count.

UPDATE: At 1:10 A.M., the only county not reporting in Indiana is Union County, which is 98.6% white (2006 U.S. Census), based on past voting patterns in other states. There is only 0.9% between Barack Obama and victory in Indian, but it seems unlikely that he will get that victory from Union County.

Although the Clinton campaign has, some say, relentless tried to convince America that Clinton's white skin would make her a more viable candidate in November, she is struggling to win the state of Indiana, which is 88.3% white and only 8.9% Black, according to 2006 U.S. Census figures.  With Clinton losing half of the state of Indiana to Obama, if 18% of the Democrats in Indiana re Black and 82% of the Democrats are of another skin color and ethnicity, and assuming that 90% of Black voters are supporting Obama, then 34% of Democrats who are not Black are supporting Obama, while only 50% of white Democrats and only an estimated 10% of Black Democrats are supporting Clinton.

The vast majority of Obama's supporters in Indiana are white, showing that Obama has a tremendous "cross-over" appeal.  However, exit polls are likely to show that Clinton has almost entirely failed to show cross-over appeal, even though she seeks to represent at party wherein one out of every five voters is Black.  Clinton has an immense problem with Black voters that Obama does not have with white voters.

Meanwhile, the votes of the 59,000 voting age Blacks in Gary, Indiana have not been counted. With 59,000 voting-age Blacks in Gary, assuming that there is a 50% turnout, Clinton's present lead of 30,000 votes could be nearly wiped away, (depending on their voter registration levels) unless virtually all-white counties elsewhere come to her aid.

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White Bloggers' Ignorance Isn't Hillary's Bliss

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

According to a search of Washington Post archives, the Washington Post has never once mentioned MyDD by name.  By comparison, that same newspaper carried two articles this weekend about the political efforts of the afrosphere and the AfroSpear bloggers, here and here.   This might give readers some sense of where the action is right now.  And some of those efforts began in opposition to the policies of MyDD.

It is raging online.

A growing cadre of young black activists is using the Internet in an attempt to eclipse traditional civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and hit the refresh button on the civil rights movement. Bloggers with names such as the Cruel Secretary, and blogs called What About Our Daughters? and the African American Political Pundit, have railed against groups in the "black-o-sphere," saying they do not understand young black Americans, are behind the times and react too slowly to incidents involving the younger generation.

The leaders of the fledgling movement -- Van Jones and James Rucker of ColorOfChange.org -- may not be familiar to many, but their work is. They circulated a letter and a petition last week promising that the Democrats will pay a "political price" if they overturn the will of black and young voters and choose Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y) as the party's nominee over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).  Washington Post, May 4, 2008

Even though Black people constitute twenty percent of Democratic Party voters and twenty percent of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, still color-aroused ideation tells white bloggers that Black voters' real opinions, beliefs and desires are not worth researching or discussing.  In truth, most white-skinned bloggers couldn't care less about what goes on at afrosphere blogs (most whites bloggers don't read or link to Black blogs), and so white bloggers have no idea what Black bloggers are thinking.  

Most white bloggers are as likely to be found at a Black blog as they are to visit a Black church on Sunday morning.  White bloggers get most of their information about Black people from the same MSM white-news media for which the blogosphere was meant to be an alternative.

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McCain Won't Deny calling his wife a "c*nt".

In the above video, a questioner at a McCain town hall meeting asks McCain, "Is it true you called your wife a cunt" in public?

In his book The Real McCain, author Cliff Schecter claims that John McCain made extremely ugly remarks about his wife Cindy McCain during a tirade witnessed by three reporters and two aides. "At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, 'You're getting a little thin up there,'" Schechter writes. "McCain's face reddened, and he responded, 'At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.' McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days."Drudge Report

In the above video, McCain does not deny the accusation, but instead says the question is inappropriate at a town hall meeting. If so, then it would also be inappropriate to hurl that epithet at your own wife in front of a bunch of reporters, right?

The US Supreme Court has declared that "a person accused of crime in a public forum would ordinarily deny or explain the evidence against him if he truthfully could do so".  If he doesn't deny an accusation made in public, it may well be because the accusation is demonstrably true and all denials would be futile.

And therefore,

. . . failure to explain or to deny by his testimony any evidence or facts in the case against him may be commented upon by the court and by counsel, and may be considered by the court or the jury. GRIFFIN v. CALIFORNIA, 380  U.S. 609 (1965)

The Comments to the Federal Rules of Evidence say that:

(B) Under established principles an admission may be made by adopting or acquiescing in the statement of another. ( . . . ) When silence is relied upon, the theory is that the person would, under the circumstances, protest the statement made in his presence, if untrue. The decision in each case calls for an evaluation in terms of probable human behavior. FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

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Would a Delegate "Surge" Be Greeted w/Flowers?


LA Riots

Would Obama supporters become disobedient to the Democratic Party if the super-delegates suddenly gave the nomination to Hillary, in spite of Obama having won the majority of the votes and the earned delegates?

Today, young people, white and Black and Latino, are participating in the nomination contest in record numbers, after a long period of disaffection, because they want to believe that there is a future for America other than endless wars and endlessly shrinking incomes.   In all-white states and mostly-Black cities across America, young people are voting for the first time, because they want to believe in something bigger than the wars that George Bush proposed and Hillary Clinton voted for.

In contrast to older generations, young Americans live in a peer culture where color-aroused social redlining is decreasing, while bi-chromatic social and political relationships are increasing. They want a president who represents their generations' hopes, not their parents' and their grandparents' color-aroused nightmares.

Conservative critics have been lighting up the airwaves and blogs for the last 48 hours after Sen. Barack Obama's speech to the Hampton University Annual Ministers' Conference raised the combustible topic of the burning anger among the nation's poor African-Americans.

Much of this was the result of a terrible story written by Bob Lewis of The Associated Press, who wrote in his lead that "Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a 'quiet riot' among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago."

After seeing the story I was stunned to read such a thing, and immediately sought the transcript of Obama's speech. In reading it, Obama used the word riot nine times; the phrase "quiet riot" three times; and never suggested that America was on the verge of seeing African-Americans lash out like they did during the Los Angeles riots in 1992.

But what he did try to do was give the 8,000 attendees, and anyone else watching, an understanding of what is a real problem in America's inner cities. And more importantly, his blueprint for fixing the problem.

"(Quiet riots) happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates," according to a written version of his speech. "Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better.

"You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home.

"That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, 'not guilty' -- or a hurricane hits New Orleans -- and that despair is revealed for the world to see." CNN Commentary 

And that speech came before the sub-prime loan crisis was acknowledged as truly devastating for inner-cities and nearby suburbs, before an all-white judge declared New York Police not guilty of having pumped over 50 bullets into the body of Sean Bell, on the eve of his wedding, killing him and seriously injuring others.

If any political party considers the social political effects of its decisions, it should be the party of women, the party of workers, the party that is 20% Black.  When Blacks warned Hillary Clinton that a color-aroused scorched earth campaign against Obama would alienate 90% of Black voters, those voices were ignored.   And now Queen Hillary proposes to effect a coup-de-etát in the Democratic Party against the first Black man to win the nomination, in the middle of a long, hot summer?  Has Hillary Clinton completely lost her mind?  Is raw power so dear to her?

It seems like the next 30,000-person Jena Six March may occur at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, if Hillary Clinton has her way.

Just as George W. Bush assured us that the Iraq war would be over in a matter of days, Hillary Clinton once assured us that she would have the nomination rapped up by Super-Tuesday.  Having failed at that, she now assures us that a "surge" of super-delegates can hand her the trophy regardless of the vote and delegate counts, which will unite a Party torn by Queen Hillary's insistence that Barack Obama might be a drug dealer, that Blacks achieve only by dint of their skin color.  "Mission Accomplished."

Those of us with brains are entitled to ask ourselves whether everything will turn out as Hillary Clinton predicts.  There will be immense and intense attention to what happens in the months leading up to Denver, and young people's hopes are already raised, with millions deeply involved in the results, identifying with Obama as their own personal opportunity for hope.   Rather than asking ourselves whether denying Obama the nomination after he won it would provoke riots, we should ask whether we can safely assume that it would not provoke riots.   We should question whether this war will turn out as planned even if its chief proponents turn out to be wrong about their rosy predictions.

When Hillary insists that she has a plan for wresting the nomination from Obama regardless of the vote and delegate counts, we should also ask whether Queen Hillary also has a plan for winning in November, in the aftermath of summer riots provoked by her ascension, and with John McCain running as the candidate of law and order?  Of course, it is also possible that Obama supporters, white and Black, teenagers and elderly, will great a Clinton coup-de-etát with flowers, like the Cheney army was greeted in Iraq with flowers.

Like a petulant child, Hillary (and George W. Bush) have been motivated by their greedy wants, without ever having considered or prepared the nation for the possible consequences.  Is hers a strategy for uniting the nation, or for bringing back the civil strife in America that accompanied the Vietnam War?  Hillary's levees will not hold in the face of the storm she is creating.

Now, some commentators are asserting that the Democrats who support Obama are holding the Democratic Party hostage.  More aptly, those Democrats are holding the superdelegates' feet to the fire of America's legitimate aspirations, based on the hope of America and the established rules of the Democratic Party.

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