Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You’re Surprised

Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of man are never satisfied. – Proverbs 27:20

I find it amazing the degree of surprise so many people are feeling while witnessing the level vitriol being spewed at President Barack Obama the first non-white president in our nation’s history. Who thought that a country who only less than 50 years ago allowed black folks the right to participate in our democracy and still have not fully integrated non-whites into our society would quietly accept this change with open arms. It never fails to amaze me how dumbfounded white folks are when they have to face the racism of their fellow citizenry. I remember the horror of my white friends as they watched the dogs, water hoses, and bombings televised on their television sets as they were forced to accept the hatred that has permeated America for centuries.

The thing that surprises me is that racism is now being used to make a profit for those who are willing to traffic in it. At least in the old days the leaders were true believers and not hucksters marketing gold, books, and other trinkets. Unfortunately, today there are plenty of folks who are willing to exploit the true believers hatred for short-term political and personal gain. Not only do we have individuals willing to profit from the spewing of hatred but also major media outlets in which to disseminate it. My question is how do you win national elections if you continue to alienate persons of color? The demographics of this country do not lie. The days of white majorities controlling elections on a national scale are over and no matter how much the tea-party protests they are not coming back.

My guess is that the only way this strategy can work is by marginalizing the non-whites while you play up the fears of whites to the point that it becomes an us versus them scenario. This strategy may have worked 50 years ago, but today even the white population is too diverse to accept this obvious ploy. How many times have white supremists attempted to start the dreaded race war by providing provocative acts to rally whites only to not be able to find enough takers to materialize. It is difficult to find revolutionaries when you have all the money, systems and power. Despite the claims of the tea party and their ilk that white folks are being discriminated against in this country by this black president and his extremist white sidekicks there appears to be few outside the movement who are taking these claims seriously. And who could argue with the numbers. Nearly twice as many whites as non-whites graduate from college, 91% of the richest 1% of the population is white, and the average net worth of white families is 10 times higher than black families.

There is fear in this country today among whites that they are losing their wealth and it is not completely unfounded. The problem is not that non-whites are stealing wealth from whites. The problem is that rich whites have stolen wealth from middle-class whites. We have witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth in our nation’s history and that wealth has moved from the middle income brackets to the top income brackets. The wealth that middle-class families once had in their homes, stocks, and retirement plans has evaporated. The wealth was not taken by non-white home invasion robbers; no it was taken by greedy white men in suits. You have to admit though that they are good, they have turned attention away from their pillaging of the national treasury by putting the focus on folks who are barely making a living in this country.

Whether it is Arizona or Washington, DC the game is the same. Despite many volumes being written by white authors about the corporate and individual thefts of our economy by their white brethren we still have the racist rants of the tea-partiers and their corporate overlords distracting the debate from the real culprits to some “bogeymen” who are not like us. If we as a nation following this corporate theft of historic proportions cannot recognize once and for all that we are not each other’s enemy but are all at risk from the rich and powerful then we will surely deserve our fate.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic - John F. Kennedy

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