Political Propaganda (It Needs to Stop)

I got an e mail last week that really pissed me off. Allow me to vent.

I’m on the mailing list of this peace-love-and-Buddha place, and normally their e mails are about things like yoga classes and reiki sessions. But this one had an atypical subject line. It read “Muslims in England!” and there was only a sentence or so of actual text.

Remember – Mr. Barack Obama was born and is a practicing Muslim when you view these pictures,” it read. And the photos were of Muslim protesters in London immediately following the offensive cartoon debacle, holding frightening signs that threatened to bring jihad, a new holocaust, and horrific terrorist acts to European soil.

So this hippie love-thy-neighbor business is sending out e mails comparing one of the Democratic front runners to incensed fundamentalist terrorists, and using all of the arguments that have been roundly debunked by Snopes and About.com’s urban Legends page. Sending these e mails out to hundreds of people on their mass media list. I couldn’t frickin’ believe what I was seeing.

I was so annoyed, I went against my better judgment. See, when I get intentionally irritating e mails or messages, my friend Melissa appears on my shoulder like a little angel, and repeats her mantra, “take the high road.” I swear, she got me through a masters degree just with that phrase. But I saw red. And decided to reply. Mind you, this happened before the debate where Obama addressed this exact matter — click here for video of that.

I sent the e mail’s originator a CNN link that addresses the madrassa rumors that Obama’s detractors have been spreading, and I said simply, as a member of your listserv and a member of the media, I don’t think these are the kinds of messages I want to receive from you. I got a reply that I will quote from, so excuse the misspelling.

Unfortunately he will be looked as a muslim, simplye becuase of his earlier schooling, radical or not, it is what it is.”

I sent back a longer response.

See, growing up in the multicultural place where I did, we had plenty of Muslim friends. Some of the sweetest, nicest, most considerate, and generous people I’ve known in my life give praises to Allah. In fact, I remember in 1990 after the attempted coup in Trinidad, our neighbor and close family friend, a staunch Muslim, was shattered by the incident. He feared that people would begin to hate and judge his whole family, and assume they were like the radicals in the Jamaat al Muslimeen. I was eleven when this happened, and the experience taught me at an early age that there are fundamentalists and extremists in any religion (even my own), and people of all creeds and cultures will perform horrific acts “in the name of God.” So that ignorant statement, “radical or not, it is what it is,” REALLY pissed me off. Especially considering the source.

I replied to this person and tried to keep my cool. I told them that there ARE peaceful Muslim people who are horrified by the terror that extremists have created in the name of their religion. Just like there are Christian people who completely disagree with their fundamentalist peers. And it really makes me depressed that the people who are spreading these kinds of messages aren’t actually looking at what Barack Obama is trying to say or represent — they are desperately trying to paint this portrait of him as some kind of possible terrorist, and drum up negativity by any means necessary. And that’s wrong.

Well allow me to quote from the response I got, that ignited the flame in my belly to write this post to begin with.

Ok – I know what your saying. Don’t get me wrong – I like the guy, but somehow, I feel like he has a hidden agenda… When I see his body language, I feel his cockiness and his arrogance. Furthermore, I think the hungry one is his wife. She came across to me as being arrogant but more importantly vicious. I wouldn’t be surprised if she put him up to become a candidate…well her and Oprah. LOL.”

OK, deep breath.

Y’all already know how I feel about Michelle Obama. So that description of her as “vicious” seemed to come from nowhere. This e mail started out as a chain letter, similar to the ones being forwarded all over the country. Getting that explanation from the forwarder (who identifies as a Democrat, by the way), really struck me. I could have continued the e mail exchange to ask what in the world did Michelle Obama ever say or do to come across as hungry or vicious, or what exactly did “hidden agenda” mean, but I didn’t want my blood pressure to spike any further and I didn’t have any more time to waste on a pointless argument with an almost-stranger. There’s nothing I can do to change a point of view stained with prejudice. It’d be like trying to reason with Rosanne. SMH.

I wanted to write about this e mail exchange because I think it falls in line with a lot of what I’ve been reading and seeing in the media these days. Politics is an ugly game, but of late this campaign has been downright hideous — in terms of the kind of political propaganda that’s being produced, in terms of how the candidates have been bitterly sparring with each other, and in terms of how the media’s been covering it.

Instead of examining the key political issues at hand, everything is being reduced to race and gender, and disturbing stereotypes are coming into play. To wit — CNN became the topic of their own story after writing a god-awful article that neatly compartmentalized the choices facing black female voters in this problematic sentence — “For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?” As though political issues don’t have a factor in making a decision. GTFOH with that, CNN.

It’s worth noting that Obama isn’t the only victim of negative smear campaigns — Chris Matthews had to apologize to Hillary Clinton, after saying that “the reason she’s a U.S. senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around.” That kind of nasty, sexist attack shouldn’t be in this campaign.

It was really pissing me off to watch the media fan the flames of created controversy, but I gotta be honest, at the Democratic debate in South Carolina, both Obama and Clinton made me cringe with their sparring (NPR does a great job of factchecking their various allegations). I felt relief when Edwards jumped in as the voice of reason, saying, “We have got to understand, this is not about us personally. It is about what we are trying to do for this country.” Somewhere in the swirling mist of fact-twisting, mud-slinging, manufactured drama, and baldfaced viral lies, key issues have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I know I’ve made my political affiliations more than apparent, I’m backing Barack. I’ve chosen Barack Obama because I don’t approve of political dynasties, and I honestly believe in him as a candidate of change. In that regard, I agree with the opinions expressed in South Carolina’s newspaper, The State. But my decision came after a period of reflection and research, it was much more than a mere gut reaction based on gender or race.

In addition to following the news closely and watching the candidates’ television appearances and interviews, I also spent some time on Glassbooth.org, a website I highly recommend if you’re undecided. The site’s list of issues is kind of limited and it doesn’t delve into the candidates’ exact stance on the issues until you’ve been matched, but if you’re not sure where to begin with this political merry-go-round, it’s a great place to start. But hey, what do I know. According to Glassbooth, I should be keeping my fingers crossed for a Kuchinich/Gravel ticket. For the record, I’m only 76% matched with Obama and Edwards, Clinton comes a close third to those two in terms of lining up with my particular political concerns.

I don’t mean to alienate any of you with my views here. The point of this post was to speak out against the poison being poured into our collective ears. If you like one candidate, let it be because of more than the color of their skin or their gender. The next president should be chosen on their capabilities, their convictions, and their character. If the democrats want to win this upcoming presidential election, they need to cut back on the public infighting, and prove to America why they deserve the ultimate seat of power.

Have you noticed political propaganda rearing its ugly head in this campaign? What are your views on this, bellas and fellas?

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Comments

  1. Miss Sonya says:

    I had a very similar discussion about this with a friend of mine just the other day. He posted a blurb on Myspace about how Barack’s middle name is Hussein and that he was born Muslim. Then he went on to say that he wondered what this would do to his support. I couldn’t tell what his opinion was but I still went off! I said that anyone who would judge a candidate based on a circumstance of birth, such as a middle name, or a religion they don’t even practice, is ignorant and doesn’t bother looking at the issues at hand. I also stated that anyone taking this crap seriously probably wouldn’t vote for Barack anyway and just wants an excuse as to why not. This campaign is getting dirtier and dirtier by the minute. I’ve started to lose respect for Bill Clinton because of his “Fairy Tale” remarks. I used to love Bill Clinton! Issues are not being debated and discussed here, it’s just mud and arrows being slung. Even Bob Johnson got into the fray and said the most ridiculous thing ever! I’m disappointed but not surprised about all of this. This race not only has the potential to make history, but it also will change the course of America in regards to Iraq, healthcare, the recession, a declining middle class, and so on and so forth. But to bring it back to what I was saying earlier, Barack has a lot at stake and people see that. That’s why he’s a target. What we need to do is just what you’re doing here. Speak out and make sure we vote!!

  2. what makes me angriest about this picture is that she got her hands all over my man :( GTF OFF!

  3. Brokey, your comment made me LOL. Just checked out your blog. I like it! Will link you later.

  4. I’ve been waiting for you to post about all this mess, Bella! A friend of mine, who is in the Navy, got a mass email showing Obama not putting his hand on his heart in front of the flag, with a line that read something like, “Some Patriot – do we really want this guy as President?”

    Infuriating. And it’s only getting worse… and the media is eating it up. Do you read Jack and Jill politics?

  5. I’ve been getting emails from a lady in a small town in the South where I used to live since early last year which have all kinds of inaccurate statements about Obama, all in relation to his supposedly being a Muslim and a tool of terrorists who are maneuvering things so that we will have a terrorist as president of the United States, whereupon he will then apparently implement the ultimate coupe d’etat. Whatever. I do not even open emails with the subject line “This Guy Scares Me!” anymore. The inaccuracy and ignorance are astounding, but people who swallow that without checking their facts are going to believe what they want to believe. I agree that there is a lot of mudslinging going on in this campaign, which seems to be getting in the way of each candidate’s presentation of what they want to accomplish if elected president. Brokey, your comment made me LOL too, and I can always use one of those!

  6. I am going to be very real about this. I am voting for Obama first and foremost. Call it what you want. I don’t have a clue what the man stands for. I merely like what I see. And I like his wife–iffy hair and all. All of what he’s taking about doing for the country is not going to happen for at least 2 maybe three years. He has eight years of Bush’s mess to clean up. I commend him for even wanting the job. All the mud slinging will only sway the weakminded who wanted a reason other than the fact he’s black not to vote for him.

  7. I meant to say I’m voting for him because he’s black first and foremost. Totally left that part out.

  8. Bella, I used to work in politics and even I am amazed at how ugly this race has become.

    I don’t like how folks are trying to smear Barack. Can we focus on the issues that are important? This country is a mess.

    I am very upset with Billary’s tactic. I worked on Clinton’s 1992 Presidental campaign. I was in Litlle Rock and it was an incredible experience to go to be at that Convention in NYC.

    If the general election were held to today with Hillary as the nominee I would not vote for her, I am that angry. We need to send a clear message to the democrats, do not take our votes for granted

    This cynical attempt by Billary to knock Obama out of the race is unfortunately working. It’s lose-lose for him. If he fights back he’s “an angry black man like Sharpton”. If he doesn’t say anything, his record gets distorted.

    Of course the candidates should point out policy differences but what we are seeing are personal attacks. These attacks will not help us solve the housing/economic problems, Iraq, Iran, immigration, britney, etc.

  9. im glad you guys find my lovesickness funny! :/ lol nah but really, in relation to all this.. i dunno. honestly, its politics; mudslinging is nothing new. i think this *feels* new and different because now we have big issues of ‘otherness’ to pick at, and as a ‘double other’ (black + female), i find myself cringing at the mudslinging more often because when someone makes off-color/implied comments about Obama’s race, it touches me personally b/c i too am black.. and similarly, when someone tries to use hilary’s gender against her, regardless of my personal feelings for her, i twitch a little bit because i, too am a woman. i think i say all that to say that it really, really, sucks, but.. politics sucks in general. this is really irritating though.

    on a random note, kudos to whoever pointed out michelle’s ‘iffy’ hair. id never noticed it before, but it made my heart feel better. :)

  10. Bella, can’t you tell us the name of this wretched institution? If they intend to pollute the intent of informed voters with fraudulent rhetoric, they need to be exposed.

  11. Believe me, Afrobello – I’d love to shout it from the rooftops. But they’re a small locally based establishment with no online presence. I thought long and hard about the ramifications of revealing their identity. It took me forever to write this piece because of that, actually. That and I was so mad I needed to take my time and make sure I was actually saying what I needed to say.

  12. NYC/Caribbean Ragazza — LMAO at “britney” included in there. =)
    Just sharing my opinions with you all makes me feel a bit brighter.

  13. isn’t that photograph so beautiful?! they look so together and satisfied and right, you know…

    yeah, the whole question of race vs gender for black women is a 19th century question, squarely settled by Anna Julia Cooper and many others in the 19th century but who pays attention in school. audre lorde broke it down again in the 1970s and 80s but again, who bothers to take black studies classes where you actually learn about these things. it’s both and it’s neither because we have a lot of problems in this country that require thinking in broad, articulated terms: not race or gender. but race-gender-class-sexuality-age-ethnicity. voters have to understand that their problems cut across lines of race and gender in many ways – which would be easier if the media didn’t cut us up. does Hillary really only represent women? does Barack really only represent black men or black people? i was interested in this whole process because of the Barackness of Barack but the whole stupid ‘race’ thing over mlk and then the stupid reagan thing. ugh.

    afrobella does us a good service with this site and with today’s post.

    but cnn, cnbc and all are wack.

    i mean…there was that one afrobella on cnn who pointed out what toni morrison actually meant when she sort of quoted others saying that clinton was the first black president. but did anyone take her seriously? no they acted like she was talking a foreign language. which she was because she was talking sense.

    and i’m incensed!! right along with you afrobella.

  14. Although I live in Toronto, Canada I am a Muslim woman and it makes me sick how Obama is being discreditd based on an assumed linkage to a faith. But what makes me most upset is that the social and political climate we now live in allows for Islamophobia and discrimination based on faith. I wish Obama all the best and if I were still living in the US you better believe I’d be one of his biggest campaigners.
    ps: Bella I’m leaving for Trinidad and Tobago today!!!!! 1st time @ Carnival….woyyyyy

  15. Esteban Agosto Reid says:

    Excellent post!But guess what!! It is only going to get worse if Obama gets the Democratic nomination.Yes,the Republicans will be very nasty and dirty.I hope he is doing his research on both Mitt Romney and John McCain,because whichever one becomes the Republican candidate/nominee,the Republicans are going to be very dirty with all the mudslinging.Barack better be prepared for a real muddy and dirty fight.RESPECT !!

  16. Brava! I always hate the muddslinging of elections. It always makes me not want to vote because I’m so disgusted with ALL the candidates. Show me a candidate confident enough to run on their own strength without having to put down their fellows and they’d win my vote and ever lasting adoration. I think Barrack and Clinton would make great presidents, however I must admit to being concerned about the Clintons’ recent behavior, causing me to doubt if she’s strong enough to handle the role she’s running for.

  17. I don’t know what is worse–the fact that people are spreading nastiness like this, or that many folks don’t take the initiative to DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH on the candidates.
    ———————————————–
    I love this picture of Barack and Michelle. I got it in an email the other day. Say what you want about the man, but no one can deny that Black love is a beautiful thing.

  18. Afro- bella , I totally agree with you. Coincidently, we spoke about this in class today and guess what some ignorant dude said in my class when i told him Obama has been in the same church for twenty years “well he was a muslim till 20 years ago when he became a politician, he went to say that Obama was/is only 35.hello did he become a politician at 15? Personally i dont get into political arguements a this was one of the most ignorant statements i’ve heard in a while and i felt it was really no use arguing with the dude who did not even have the basic ideas about Obama
    But secondly, So what if he is a Muslim anyways? I also grew up with Muslim neighbors back home and they were very peaceful. I do not believe all muslims are violent or extremists. People always look for a group to discriminate against or pick on
    I’m voting for Obama because i like him and I think he might be able to make a change

  19. That pic is HOT! Wish I were in Michelle’s place, he he! Anyway, I agree that these false accusations against Obama are ridiculous. I’m happy his campaign has formed a “Truth Squad” to fight them! I also agree with Esteban…if Obama ends up being the Democratic nominee, it WILL get worse unfortunately. I think Obama has done an excellent job confronting and addressing the rumors. Oh and i’ve had it up to HERE with Bill Clinton and his dirty dirty tricks. YES, I know Bill wants his wife to win so he can be back in the white house, but as an ex-president, I expect more of him…a lot more. This is outrageous!

  20. This pretty much sums up my feelings towards Bill Clinton right now:

  21. Yep, simone, who does pay attention in school? Boring history, and all that. If it is his supposed Muslim religion that is the problem (which he isn’t, I know), I guess somebody missed the part about the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and heck, the whole Henry VII thing. Not to mention many, many other recent examples of how NOT being a Muslim most certainly does not guarantee a peaceful reign. Hitler, anyone? The killings in Rwanda among the Tutsi and Hutu people? But hey, why pay attention to facts when sensationalism and rumor and hate is, apparently, so much more lucrative?

  22. I can’t stop chuckling at Brokey McPoverty’s first comment, but I digress.

    I got that initial “Obama/Muslim” email too last week and was livid. As if being a Muslim has anything to do with well, anything. Not to point fingers at any religion, but so-called “good Christian” presidents have done a number on this country – particularly the last 8 years. Ahem.

  23. There’s a time to take the high road, and a time to get down and dirty….
    There’s always enough time in my day to enjoy afrobella.com

    xxoo

  24. Obama is being discredited because it is 99% more possible this time around that a Black person can be the next President of the USA…it is the fear of his possible success that is driving these comments/websites/other political parties.

    I believe that even these noose scenarios (blacks finding nooses in lockers etc)are all part of the programme to discredit any black person who may dare to dream to hold high office.

  25. Love that picture. Love the body language in that picture. I can’t remember seeing a picture of Bill and Hillary like that.

    I have been getting the same prejudiced emails as well and have been very thorough in my fact checked responses. Sometimes it seems like people don’t really care about the truth but I hope folks wake up and realize they’re getting played.

  26. Auargirl I totally agree with you about Bill stooping to an all time low. I’m still tripping out about how some African Americans regarded him as the First Black President…Not! I thought Hillary was going to play nice, but team Billary is out of control. I am truly suspect about Hillary…I can’t put my finger on it (maybe I’ll have to find my 3rd eye like Sister Patterson). I hate that the mudslinging is getting so vicious and will only contine to get worse. Bella I also agree with you about political dynasties. Dang…you see what’s going on with Dubya. I am going to keep supporting Obama. America is more afraid of embracing a Black man than a White woman as President (they’d just shrug and say at least she’s still White). If Barack was a Muslim, I’d still support him…the true spirit of the religion embraces peace and harmony…I guess some of the mudslinging Christians forgot about how they bullied many people to embrace Christianity a lot of times by force over choice. They also forgot how the KKK uses Christianity to justify their extreme behavior. I know religion and race shouldn’t factor into the equation, but unfortunately it does. No matter who you decide to vote for, just make sure you check the facts and select the person who closely lines up with your own personal views.

  27. thanks Afrobella.

    I broke up with a guy this week for the same ignorant and prejudice views. It’s interesting how we can use a “War” to support such hatred. It’s also interesting how American history repeats itself again and again and again and again…

    This is the most rediculous campaign i’ve ever encountered. Sickening to see how people carry on when power is involved.
    hairsmystory.com

  28. CurlyHair says:

    Afrobella what a genius way to get everyone talking! Hot Topic! I can feel the excitement building from this campaign and I hope this time around everyone gets out there and votes! We need a strong leader, someone that will make a significant CHANGE in our World. Lets pay attention to the facts and listen to what is being said so that we can make informed decisions when election time draws near. Lets also continue to educate those around us that are ignorant to the facts and hope they see the light. Political Propoganda needs to stop and thank Goodness we have people like Ms. Afrobella herself standing up for the truth! Thank you Bella for a job well done! One more thing, I like Obama, not because he is black but for what he is about. When I look at him, I see a leader first and foremost! The fact that he is black is simply a plus!

  29. “When I see his body language, I feel his cockiness and his arrogance. Furthermore, I think the hungry one is his wife. She came across to me as being arrogant but more importantly vicious.”

    Surely a sista with a masters degree can see this for what it is, a thinly veiled racial attack on a couple of “uppity” negroes.

  30. Oh, trust me Holden — that was my most immediate response. She described his “arrogance and cockiness,” which was a dead giveaway. What politician doesn’t have that swagger? I think self-confidence and inner strength are vital for any politician. And you never hear anyone criticize let’s say Mitt Romney or John Edwards for being arrogant or cocky. That’d be a different rant for me to go on…

  31. flygyrl72 says:

    It’s politics as usual folks. Been doing a lotta volunteer campaign stuff here at the Obama HQ in Los Angeles, & Hillary’s people are doing what they had to do. Hillary was getting spanked in the polls, so they decided to go ahead & play dirty. And it’s working, ya’ll. They have effectively painted him as the “Black candidate”. They’ve woken up all these “liberal” White people “Hello, you’re about to vote a Black man into office!”. They’re gonna be running to the polls to vote for Hil. Ever heard of the “Bradley Effect”? Look it up. It’s basically White voters saying one thing, then going into the voting booth & doing another. They ain’t ready for Barack yet, no matter what they say. It all started w/ the MLK comment, I think she deliberately said it to call him out & it’s been going ever since. And like someone posted earlier, anytime he tries to defend himself, they try to say he’s an angry Black man. Unfortunately, even though I’m gonna fight for him til the last vote is in, she’s probably gonna get the nomination. But you know what? I have a lotta colleagues who work in DC & from what they’re saying, she’s pissed a lot of the other Democrats off, because the bigger picture is, that now, even if she does win, her tactics have pissed off Black voters & we’re not gonna forgive & forget come November & she will need us to beat whoever the Republican nominee is, especially if it’s McCain. I hear that the Democratic National Committee is already working overtime to do damage control on this, cause they don’t wanna lose the Black vote. She better watch her step…I personally already feel like not voting for her behind…& I’m definitely not going to give her campaign money or time like I had originally planned to do even though I’ve always wanted Senator Obama…BTW, all LA folks, it’s all day phone banking tomorrow at the Obama campaign HQ, you don’t have to do it all day, just show up for a few hours & help out. We need all the support we can get…

  32. Amen, Holden.

  33. cheetara2223 says:

    Today I was listening to the radio and a lady called in to one of the random morning radio shows that I listen to. Girlfriend proceeds to say ” Uh, how do you feel about Obama running for president when his name is just like the other guy’s who had all the 9-11 stuff going on?” Child, do u know my yellow self turned cherry red !!! I do not need to hear this first thing in the morning to set my mood all wrong !! She follows this up with”Well he is Muslim and just turned Christian. It kind of makes you wonder what his agenda really is.” If I hear once more about a “hidden agenda”, I am gonna scream. I wish that these politicians could just please stick to the issues and stop trying to twist stories to make themselves look favorable. Barack has my love and support. It has nothing to do with him being black. It has everything to do with his vision for our country and our people- all colors. I really used to like Hillary until these—- SHENANIGANS !! I am disapointed. Her trifling campaign is makkng us look bad as women. And yall are totally right, when he defends himself, he is looked at as aggressive or an angry black man. He says nothing negative unless directly attacked. The other night when the issue came up of BArack defending a slum lord, uh, did yall know that her and Bill took a picture witht he EXACT SAME SLUM LORD??? Child, beleive it. In an undated photo ( Matt Lauer on the Today Show did stress that he did not have a date for the pic) she is posed up grinning with Bill and this same person that she degraded Barack for defending. Hmmm…. Who has the hidden agenda ?

  34. mistress_scorpio says:

    I think the Clintons have the most profound disrespect for the voters in general and black voters in particular. The email “whispering campaign,” the outright mis-characterizations of Obama’s statements, and most of all, the accusation that he injected race into the campaign when THEY were the ones to do it! It’s as though they know that if they can keep the press coverage filled with all these lies, that the electorate will be too busy or too stupid to find out the truth! It makes me so angry, that if the Clintons get the Dem nomination, I will vote Republican in the general election.

  35. You’re the best, thank you for speaking out against the prejudice against Muslims.

    I turned against the Clintons once they sold out Dr. Lani Guinier

  36. coco_fiere says:

    I was never going to vote for Hillary but I was open to see what she’d say and do to try to sway me. Between her and Bill’s ridiculous race-baiting comments and “slips of the tongue” I am more for Barack than ever. It was so funny to see that photo of the Clintons and Rezko (whose bond was just revoked today) after she brought him up in the debate. I am glad Bill is showing his true colors and revealing why he wants Hillary to win–so he can move back into the White House and not have to work in Harlem anymore. I so clearly see how his office in Harlem was part of a strategy to make them both seem more “down” with African-Americans. I can’t wait until next Tuesday so I’m voting on lunch tomorrow. Obama all the way!

  37. Great post. I get incensed when I read those emails with all these bogus facts about Obama. I’m afraid my first reaction is often something like, “If you’re this stupid and don’t even bother to find out the most elementary facts, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.”

    I’ll be voting for him. And part of the reason is because he’s black, though I’m not. I want our president to look like the composite of who we are, to put that kind of face out to ourselves and the world. That’s not the only reason, but it’s one of them.

    But also, my Reagan-Republican brother is voting for Barack because of his honesty, because he’s smart and visionary and doesn’t (or hasn’t) played the nasty poltical games.

    I’m feeling very hopeful.

  38. I’m not American and my coutry Kenya is still struggling to get out of a crisis triggered by a flawed election and I can’t believe the same dirty tricks that our selfish, corrupt politicians are being used by people who aspire to lead the coutry that is supposed to be the beacon of democracy. Its ridiculous and it needs to stop. If she does become president, how is Hillary going to turn around and preach democracy to the world when she was not practising it during her campaign. Makes me damn mad and I’m not even an American.

    On another note, I really hope America gets it right this time. I’m biased towards Obama (ha ha he is part Kenyan after all!! Brokey, maybe you can come look for his cousin!), but i really hope you guys get it right this time. There is so much at stake. Not just for your country, but also for the rest of the world. The world needs an honest and visionary American president now!

  39. I’ll start from early on in my evolution… I am a biracial man whose father is African-American and mother is Caucasian. My parents met in 1959 when my un-wed mother was in a nursing school where my father was employed as a nurses aide… my mother was engaged to a white man who was attending engineering school. My father had an African-American wife and (5) children at the time of his extra-marital relationship with my mother. At some early point of my mothers pregnancy with me she made the decision to marry her fiance, and to lie to everyone about who the father of her un-born child was… she achieved this by claiming that I had been afflicted with a skin-disease called “melanism”.

    My mother and step-father had four more children together in the space of nine years after I was born, and we grew up together in a middle-class household in white america where the subject of “race” was never discussed. My earliest recollections of having to be aware of race was when I was asked questions about the color of my skin by other classmates in first grade… “Why was my skin dark?”, “Was I adopted?” race was certainly a hot-button issue in 1965-66 when I began school , but any awareness that my mother and step-father had achieved from growing up in their white neighborhoods in the 40′s and 50′s was insufficient in preparing them for raising a biracial child… and to complicate things, they were both in complete denial of their complicity in my mis-education. When I came home from school after having been asked questions by fellow students from my all-white school district, my mother then explained “the skin-disease story” to me… “other kids with this disease usually have dark blotches all over their bodies, so you should feel fortunate”. When I would tell my mother about other boys and girls who would call me names or act aggressively for no apparent reason, I began to understand that I would get no further assistance from her to explain this rationale… my step-father was even more removed from the conversation and would only add, “You know what your mother said”.

    By the time that my step-father transferred jobs and our family of (7) had moved from the all-white Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Stow to the all-white school district of Portville in Western up-state N.Y. it was the spring of 1970 and I was in fourth grade, and already the veteran of many racial incidents and altercations between myself, classmates, and even some adults. My four younger siblings had also been told the same story, and had to explain the same things to their friends when asked why they had a brother who was black… “Hey, did your mother fool around a little bit??” I remember how much that hurt me when I heard it, and I’m sure that they felt just as badly when they did… nonetheless, this was a “subject” that we never discussed as a family, not once, at least in my presence.

    I was taught through my observations of my mother and step-father to keep quiet about things that I wasn’t sure about, and I was also taught to ignore the obvious.

    As I matured into my teen-aged years and began to experience societies issues and insecurities in coming to terms with this countries racial in-equalities during the 70′s, I felt an increasing need to rationalize and then codify the information that my mother had given me, regardless of what I was beginning to realize inside… I felt a growing discomfort/conflict, yet there was no one in my life to offer any prospective… I had learned that black people were a part of society that we didn’t talk about. ( There was a black family in my small town, and they were poor and lived in a run-down house near the river…I never had any opportunity or reason to associate with them)

    I was a “B” student and also began taking an interest in sports where I was above average. Meeting other schools and student athletes were opportunities to then be exposed to populations that had not been inured by my story yet…I was just another black kid to them.

    Communicating my experiences to my mother and step-father was difficult because they had no experience with racial prejudice, therefore when I had problems with other children it would be looked at as an issue that “I” had in getting along with others(as well as intra-family sibling issues).
    Because “race” was being ruled-out entirely, by my mothers denial of my father, she could not logically use that rationale to explain any conflicts that I would have. My step-fathers complicity in this was to blindly support my mothers viewpoint.

    The “white” viewpoint has always been that blacks(black society) were pretty well cared for, and what contact they did have would be polite and careful… What, with the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts being passed, the playing field had been leveled.(re: my mother and step-father’s generation)
    The feelings and comfort of my mother were apparently what was important, and her inculcation had to have been partly comprised of the idea that white society acted as the gate-keepers and care-takers of an infantilized black population.

    questions:

    How has black society formed its identity?

    What role models have been used, and how does white society react to positive
    black role models today? (Are they held to a more critical prism??)

    Is there enough information readily available for black people to easily form a
    positive racial identity?

    Is it important that black society is able to connect accurately the dots of its social
    evolution in America? and is it also important that white society can connect those
    same dots??

    What is White Privilege?

    What is White awareness?

    What is Whiteness?

    What about Affirmative Action?

    Is Race just a social construct?

    How do we improve our society in America?

    Is there any other way(besides the attrition of the old guard) to achieve this??

    Dave Myers
    http://www.discussrace.com

  40. I’m totally feeling what all of you are saying over the pond in England – Even over here it’s more a question of ‘The Woman or the Black Man?’ I’ve never seen the newspapers so interested in American politics since the Bush/Gore election (They’ve only just stopped with the Florida jokes) and I was disgusted when I heard those horrible smear campaign adverts.
    And is it just me or has ‘Mr Dave Myers’ highjacked this topic for his own purposes…LOL

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