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Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Reiding Into Color

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

While there is a recognized ebb and flow to the degree of immersion, my constant interest in matters of politics and all they entail, has failed to be extinct from my conscious since schooling age was attained. Given such an inclination, it should come as no surprise that I, like the majority of Americans, was enthralled by the oft-described “historical” presidential campaign of 2008. While the redundant and somewhat patronizing, seemingly endless historical refrain made it/makes it tempting to state every presidential campaign by nature of its very existence is historical, I shall refrain from base truth and ____ behavior so early in the year and acknowledge the well known facts.

2008 brought America the first realistic chance of having either its first commander in chief with African Heritage, or female leader of the U.S led described free world. During that time (actually 2007) I could care less about historical precedents being set. My political inclinations had me too busy wishing Dennis Kucinich looked like Brad Pitt, and placing my eggs in John Edwards political basket, which proved I’m any and everything but a political insider. While Kucinich was a pipedream, Edwards was about as close as the alignment of my heart and mind could configure with the unavoidable realities of Realpolitik. The ultimate goal; cast a vote for the candidate with the best perceived chance to win who empathized the strongest level of polarization when placed up against the then yet acknowledged utter destruction wrought by Bush II polices. Frankly, If you asked me during that time would I accept/trade Dubba’s 2001-2009 reign if I knew it would ensure the election of the first black president,a lot of you wouldn’t have been pleased with my answer.

Personal political bents aside, I also had serious doubts about my nations to its highest office ability to elect a black man no matter how qualified/unfit he was for the job. There was nothing in that present day reality , or in the background of my land to convince me other wise.  During those most cynical of times I would often hold conversations with a very good friend of mine who happened to be an ardent Obama supporter/optimist. A 20 something, white and a slightly to the left of moderate democrat, this friend would constantly insist what for all intents and purposes became reality would occur. White Americans, by personal desire, or forced hand would haft to vote for Obama, for the sake of their nations well being, or literally push the G.O.P button towards further demise.  I chose hate/dislike over pragmatism, he prognosticated pragmatism > hate/prejudice.  He was right, I’m thankful he was.

During one of those discussions, a point was reached where main talking points (no G.O.P) were no longer suffice, and other rational was brung to the table. “What else do you have?” I asked “I have the electoral history or lack thereof of Black Governors and Senators on my side what do you have?” My friend paused for a second then made a good point, and subjectively perceived weak point in my view, and then stated, “He’s lightskinned, and trust me that will help”.

Insert: Well that was awkward.

I really didn’t know how to react to that statement. I wasn’t angered by it per se, but I found it quite brazen. I proceeded to try to compartmentalize it as a spoken truth, but then I had to really question my standard line of thinking asking “do white people more often then not think like this?” because I hadn’t previously thought so. I decided to let his point dissipate into the air, because my thought process was far to shaken at that time to be rational Dame. I hadn’t thought about that conversation much if ever really, untill…

Harry Reid decided to tell people how he really felt son!

We not really, he kinda got dry snitched in the book “Game Change”  which illuminated the world to such verbal gems as:

the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”

Hmmph…. I’ll take my poly sci pragmatism rare almost raw I guess please garcon, and oh can I please have a side of Negro on the census please?

While general reactions to Reid’s statements was more then predictable, and disingenuous  nature, my first thought was “What is Reid, 70? (71 actually). “This guy comes from a era when the term “Negro” was actually commonly utilized. That thought wasn’t an excuse for the man, but a plausible understanding. If the God forsaken “African-American” term keeps on its pace, 40 years from now, some body will endure undesired intense public scrutiny for referring to a black person as well “black”. Anyway, my second thought was the inquisitive “Was he telling the truth?”

Ludicrous “Negro dialect” statement aside (I’ll get to that later), I can see “America” which Reid subsisted for white people, more likely to cast a ballot for a light skinned candidate then one of a darker skin tone upon further reflection. I always pondered if America would have voted for Barrack if he wasn’t mixed. Why? Well I distinctly remember the focus placed on, for lack of a better phrase, the white side of Obama’s family. Now I understand, the AMAZING job they did raising him and the the logistical and political problems of embellishing the other side of his tree, but the “He’s like us message” seemed a little stronger then the average political inoculation. For a great many it didn’t matter and wasn’t necessary, others were swayed the rest were set in mind-state already, although it created a backhanded delusion  of practical reality in some who asked “why do they call him black when he’s mixed?” Many asked that question went on to be Tea Baggers.  Is there   conscious/ subconscious strain in the general white  American mind that prefers Light Skinned black people on some level? I don’t know, for the most part I thought the whole light skin/dark skin issue was (wait for the the 80’s dialect) a black thing. Bam! I tended to think the fact that our President is literary half white, not the varying substantial percentage of European stock black Americans as a people are, significantly helped his electability. But you never know.

Yet you can mention.

When you place Reid’s statements with the leading men in the black spin off  of the new moderate democrat show, Corey Booker, Harold Ford, Baravk Obama, they all happen to be of a lighter persuasion.  Is there success a result of their extreme dedication, hard work, and displayed talents alone, or did/ does there skin tone make them a lil more palatable?

These are questions that we as a nation haft to answer, although are disdain for the racial press makes the expedient delivery of those answers seem unlikely.

I have far less, no, in fact, no empathy for Sen. Rieds “Negro Dialect” statement. Huh?  Do I seriously haft to wonder how white people think we talk on a general basis? Do they think it might be practical to cop that Rosetta Stone Jive edition?  Rieds statements have shown for as much as the media focuses on black youths who equate certain expressions of the Kings English with whiteness, many whites practice the same ill informed way of thinking.

I’m going to save the “all words have some origin” and “its funny some words are uneducated slang until they are co-opted by larger society (“shout-out” anyone?) for another time. I will state that it is very unhealthy to let particular segments of media, BET, Tyler Perry movies, etc frame your belief of what black dialect is on a near 24 hour basis. That would be like letting Goodfellas and Jersey Shore solely  craft  your view of Italian American vernacular. Not cool.

Also not hot in the streets in the Democratic and Republican responses to the Reid story. The Democrats for political purposes immediately rallied around there needed Senator, exposing themselves to be slightly hypocritical and risking losing the moral ground needed to stand on when accusing others of disdainful statements. The Republicans, who seemingly finally found a good use for the often buffoonish Michael Steele, equated Reid’s use of dialect to Trent Lott’s Strom Thurman praising comments. You don’t haft to be of Michael Steele’s admitted, better then average intellect to know, ignorantly praising a black canidate for the office of president, is different for wishing a devout racist had attained the ultimate seat of power.

But what do I and my Negro dialect know?

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