Sunday, July 26, 2009
THE WHITE NEGRO
i've have no idea when mike got all kick out the jams radical but his fairly one dimensional, simplistic analysis of the cop/gates/obama issue takes me back to a day when no one thought about the implications of an issue & only wanted to draw a line & jut their jaws in defiance. if it weren't a white guy, ensconced in his comfortable middle class home in front of his bank of apple computers, telling a black man he's morally weak, i'd have let this go. i actually don't think mike sees how morally lame & racist his position is here.
i've already given my take on the actual confrontation. i'm not saying that obama is beyond reproach. in fact, i think what he said at the news conference was stupid. it certainly wasn't a clear moral position he articulated. how could it be? he issued a value judgment w/o knowing all the relevant facts. beyond that shaky position, he torpedoed what he really wanted to have on the table as an issue for discussion: health care. there aren't too many more savvy politicians out there than obama but he spoke from his heart & not his head at the news conference. he was emotional when he shouldn't have been. that has nothing to do w/taking a moral position.
even w/o obama's intervention, the issue was going to go on for a while. skip gates was justifiably angry & he wasn't going to shut up. the cop was feeling the innate entitlement of the police & he wasn't going to shut up either. obama should have been cooling these jets, not stoking the flames. the race issue in america is a powder keg & not something that's going to be settled by inflammatory rhetoric. calling the cops "pigs" or gates "uppity" or either's behavior "stupid" doesn't advance the conversation on the issue.
any attempt to quiet things down a bit & cool things off is just what this situation demands. you're never going to change anything significantly when tempers are flaring & fists are clenched. this isn't an issue to take to the barricades. that's crazy talk & dangerous too. we don't need that from our president, especially under the current circumstances.
obama realized his mistake & is trying to fix it. that's a smart move in more than just political gamesmanship(& no one is saying it's not partly political)because advancing a cause more often than not requires intelligent dialogue w/the opposition. what the president doesn't need is admonishment from white armchair revolutionaries whose only bad experience w/"the pigs" has been a speeding ticket or the cops not showing up quickly enough when they were needed for some complaint. furthermore, what a black man doesn't need is glib & shallow & thoughtless judgment about the strength of their moral positions from white folks who think they have a stronger, purer one, especially when that stronger, purer one is rooted in "fuck the pigs" fantasy.
good white folk like mike just can't help trying to educate their darker brethren to the ways of white folk which, of course in their minds, is w/o doubt the superior way. since blacks have had white boot heels on their throats for the good part of several centuries now, how could we expect them to "see clearly"? it's no surprise that a good white man would counsel confrontation & violence over compromise & peace. that's the great white way w/no possibility for "moral collapse." technically, bush & cheney didn't cave either & that's really where this kind of position bends all the way around & touches in places no one on either end wants or sees. when you take the hard line, even as a soft ass, you wind up mostly nowhere useful.