Friday, June 20, 2008

Gordon Gartrelle Says: Six-Degrees of Separation for John McCain--He is a Bad, Bad, Bad, Man

In the spirit of our "Six Degrees of Barack Obama" game, here is a chart (click here for better resolution) of some of John McCain's personal and political relationships (one doesn't get to the top without getting their hands a little dirty do they?). So friends and readers, which relationships did we miss and that should be subsequently added to our chart for Republican presidential nominee Mr. McCain?


For 5 and a half years, McCain lived in close proximity to Charlie, the Commie bastard VietCong. He made a pro-Vietnamese “confession.” What a weak-willed, anti-American pansy. Even worse, he apologized to the PC police for calling his Commie hosts “gooks.”

McCain>>Cindy McCain>> Jim Hensley

According to John, Cindy McCain is a cunt (black people don’t use that word either). But beyond that, she seduced John while he was still married to his disabled wife. Jezebel. Her father was Jim Hensley, owner of Hensley & Co., a major Anheuser-Busch beer distributor. Jim Hensley gave John his first major job (aint nepotism grand?). Anyway, Hensley was a crook, convicted of falsifying invoices, likely to bootleg liquor. Hensley had some shade-tree criminal associates of his own--mob ties, in fact. Bootlegging, ties to organized crime? Who did he think he was, a Kennedy?

McCain>>Bridget McCain>>JMJB, JMB

One day, Cindy McCain just up and adopted a little girl from Bangladesh. John was none too thrilled. Because this little girl, Bridget, is brown and hails from a country that harbors Muslim terrorist groups like the JMB and the JMJB, her addition to the McCain family might prove to be a political liability. Amazingly, it might have been better for John if Bridget actually had been his half black, illegitimate baby. Didn’t seem to hurt Strom’s reputation with the base.

McCain>>Governor Bob Riley>>Jack Abramoff

McCain is buddies with Alabama Governor Bob Riley, and something tells me that this explains the fact that McCain withheld information linking Riley to corrupt Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

John McCain>> G Gordon Liddy

Liddy, right-wing talk radio star, Watergate co-conspirator, ex-con, and all around-scumbag, held McCain fundraisers at his home.

McCain>>Charles Keating Jr.

Should have made the cut but for reasons of space did not--but still worthy of being included.

McCain was one of the Keating Five, and helped Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan out of a jam after Keating had contributed tons of money to McCain’s campaigns and paid for several of the McCain family’s Caribbean vacations.

McCain>>John Hagee>>Hitler

McCain sought the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, who gave bizarre, anti-Catholic sermons. The mainstream media barely noticed. Then Hagee went and said some shit about God sending Hitler to carry out the Holocaust in order to lead the Jews back to Israel…where, when the rapture is upon us, they will have to repent and accept Jesus or spend an eternity in the fires of Hell. Note to AIPAC: these people are not your allies.

McCain>>Richard Quinn

Should have made the cut but for reasons of space did not--but still worthy of being included.

Richard Quinn, described as a “senior political consultant” to McCain, is a former editor and a current owner of Southern Partisan, a Confederate apologist publication that among other things, frequently denies the horrors and injustice of slavery. In addition, Quinn vehemently opposed the MLK Holiday on the grounds that:

…its purpose is vitriolic and profane. By celebrating King as the incarnation of all they admire, they [black leaders] have chosen to glorify the histrionic rather than the heroic and by inference they spurned the brightest and the best among their own race. Ignoring the real heroes in our nation's life, the blacks have chosen a man who represents not their emancipation, not their sacrifices and bravery in service to their country; rather, they have chosen a man whose role in history was to lead his people into a perpetual dependence on the welfare state, a terrible bondage of body and soul.

Said Quinn about David Duke’s political aspirations,“What better way to reject politics as usual than to elect a maverick like David Duke? What better way to tweak the nose of the establishment?” Way to pick ‘em, Johnny boy!

McCain>>George Wallace Jr.>>Council of Conservative Citizens
McCain endorsed Alabama Governor George Wallace Jr., who in turn, spoke at several events hosted by the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (the reinvented White Citizens Council).

McCain>>George Wallace Jr.>>George Wallace
Jr.’s father, (O.G.) George Wallace, was, as we all know, a staunch segregationist turned opportunistic “friend” to black folks (somebody please find a link to the scene in Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls where Wallace dragged his black servant assistant before the camera to prove that Wallace was no longer racist).

Does this one even need an explanation?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Outrage! Not Only Muslim Women Banned by Obama-Bat Boy has also been Excluded from Pictures by Obama Staffers

As was reported today, the Obama campaign has been carefully selecting who gets to sit behind him during campaign rallies, and subsequently to appear in media coverage of these events. Apparently, several Muslim women were prevented from sitting behind Obama during a campaign rally in Detroit because their head scarves would "send the wrong signal" to those who may see the photo--this is polite speak for how Obama's detractors could potentially use the photo to smear the Democratic candidate.

I am of two minds on this one. The secularist in me doesn't "get religion," and sees this as no more offensive than a campaign staffer carefully crafting a photo op based on any number of participants' attributes. The pluralist side of me finds this problematic because if McCain for example excluded black people from his photo ops (because it would alienate some of his base) folks would rightfully be upset. But again, rightly or wrongly (and this is chess not of my favorite phrases) Obama's supporters should understand the political environment in which Obama is running. Perhaps, one may have to make personal sacrifices in order to see their candidate through to victory.

However, these young women were not the only people to have been excluded from Obama's campaign pictures. Apparently, Bat Boy, that legendary figure of Weekly World News fame has also been politely told by Obama staffers, that while his support of Obama is welcome, and in fact, desired, that Bat Boy should not be featured in pictures with Obama because their appearing together could hurt Obama's chances for victory.

In a recent interview, Bat Boy shared his feelings about being excluded from Obama's campaign events. The story follows.

Bat Boy was barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent him from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to Bat Boy, but he feels betrayed by his treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”

Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate’s message.

When Obama won the North Carolina primary amid questions about his ability to connect with white voters, for instance, he stood in front of a group of middle-aged white women waving small American flags.

On the Republican side, a Hispanic New Hampshire Democrat, Roberto Fuentes, told Politico that he was recently asked, and declined, to contribute to the “diversity” of the crowd behind Sen. John McCain at a Nashua event.

But for Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics and to embrace all elements of America.

“I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to,” said Bat Boy. “The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with me or with other supporters who are 'different'"

In Detroit on Monday, two different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that Bat Boy wouldn’t be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding him, one bluntly political and the other less clear.

That incident began when the volunteer asked one of Bat Boy's friends if he would like to sit behind the stage. The young man said he would but mentioned he had a friend.

The men said the volunteer, a 20-something African-American woman in a green shirt, asked if his friend looked and was dressed like the young man.

The friend said no.

The volunteer “explained to me that because of the political climate and what’s going on in the world, it’s not good for Bat Boy to be seen on TV or associated with Obama.”

Bat Boy's friend, said: “I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you serious?’”

After recovering from the shock of the incident, Bat Boy went to look for the volunteer and confronted her minutes later.

Bat Boy, felt “disappointed, angry and let down,” he later wrote.

Bat Boy was “let down that the Obama campaign continuously perpetuates this attitude towards those who are different — as if being merely associated [with] someone like me is a sin.”

Bat Boy's friend was “shocked” by the contrast between Obama’s message and their experience.

Bat Boy complained to the campaign, and after those complaints and an inquiry from Politico, Obama’s director of advance, Emmett S. Beliveau, called him to apologize.

An Obama aide also noted that the campaign has no policy against the candidate’s appearing with Bat Boy.

Bat Boy said he was glad Obama had apologized, but he was not entirely satisfied.

“I think this is a much bigger deal than maybe they’re perceiving it as,” he said, noting that Obama had placed a personal call to a television reporter he’d dismissively called “Sweetie.”

“An apology from him personally would be better,” Bat Boy said, then reconsidered. “If they are true to their word, I think it would suffice to have an invitation to their next rally and have seats behind him and show up on TV.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Matters of Text and Subtext in Battlestar Galactica's "Revelations"

I am still digesting Battlestar Galactica's "final" episode, "Revelations." While other sites have summarized the plot, and detailed the happenings of what was an amazing 60 minutes of television, in my thinking through of Revelations I am going to take an alternative route. As I have previously made clear through the voluminous praise which I have already lavished on the show, Ronald Moore in his reimagined BSG has on more than one occasion surprised, shocked and amazed me through the boldness of his storytelling and his repeated and brazen courtship with "jumping the shark" (a phrase which is television speak for that definitive point of no return from which a television show will never return to form--James's death on Good Times; The Fonz literally jumping the shark in Happy Days; Mr. Drummond getting married on Different Strokes).

To this point, Moore has never failed to maintain the show's momentum and to elevate the quality of its storytelling and vision. Consider for a moment the risks taken by BSG: Kill Starbuck--no problem we will bring her back as a herald; split the fleet in order to follow prophecy--a small feat easily remedied; a coup against the President, a rigged election, mutiny?--easily fixed; an occupation and temporary peace with the Cylons, a New Caprica which is actually a thinly veiled metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq--could be a disaster, but why not? And now, during the final season of this much too prematurely canceled television show, Moore gives the viewers what they have always wanted. He completes the quest, brings our characters some closure, and the ragtag fleet arrives at their supposed new home. But of course, it is never that simple.

Here is the real joy of Battlestar Galactica. Because it is serious, smart, genre television there are rules of format, plot, and narrative to be obeyed. Because it is so good at being what it is--sophisticated and challenging fare, Battlestar Galactica is conscious of both plot and subplot. Or alternatively stated, Battlestar Galactica consists of two parallel and overlapping narratives.The first consists of what is plainly visible (robots chasing humans; a version of the television show Wagon Train now set in outer space). The second consists of what is visible, but not often as clearly stated (Exodus retold; monotheism versus polytheism; existential questions of existence and being; the dire consequences of technology mated with sentience). In short, Battlestar Galactica rewards careful viewing, because it is through this close attention to detail that the tension between text and subtext are made readily apparent (random thought: BSG also reminds me of the movie Collateral and its explanation of how to properly listen to Jazz):

Battlestar Galactica's subtext has always been one where difference and race are central. The finale provided more evidence for this claim. For example, the pain of awareness, of finding out that a close friend, a family member, a colleague, or a partner is the Other. And moreover, that you have hated, killed, and despised this Other, and where this engagement and intimacy (because do not delude yourself for intimacy is indeed a prerequisite for hatred) only amplifies the pain of regret and remorse. He or she has lived this lie of sorts, forced for whatever reasons to conceal their true selves. When Tigh "outs" himself he embodies the gay or lesbian friend finally unburdened from the mask of pretending. By contrast, when Tory embraces her Cylon nature she falls prey to the temptations of moral superiority, a feeling often smug and off-putting to others, when one realizes they are indeed different, that they are the Other, and are now righteous in their new found identities.

Again, Battlestar Galactica is a show whose center of gravity rests upon questions of difference, inclusion, and on the broader struggle to reconcile who we are, with who we imagine ourselves (and by extension our community) to be. The final five have played a dangerous game of racial passing. Tigh, Tory, Tyrol, and Anders are now discovered, and in a moment of release, of almost cathartic freedom they can now simply "be." In "Revelations" these moments of peace were among the most compelling and well acted. For example, Tigh wanting, yearning to confess to Adama and to make peace with his identity through an act of suicidal self-sacrifice. The relief in the glance between Tyrol and Anders when they were arrested by the Colonial Marines was palatable in its moment of acceptance, of a liberation born of not having to pretend any longer, that it resonated for anyone straining, as many of us do, under a lie--a lie so great that it almost compels us to pray that it will be discovered, and we then will be unburdened.

Race and racial difference are the most powerful subtexts operating in Battlestar Galactica. The idea that race is "real" is the lie that has motivated the war between humans and Cylons. Both species are virtually identical, yet have a deep belief in the permanence of their biological and philosophical differences. As humans our differences are only skin deep, a function of melanin, geography, happenstance, and genetics. However, we have embraced race and racial ideologies and their accompanying (and for some comfortable) sense that race is real and fixed, rather than arbitrary and contingent. This idea is so compelling that the modern world is largely based on this one, true, lie (notice the emphasis).

Ronald Moore as a master manipulator of his audience is certainly privy to how science fiction as a genre has always spoken, in often veiled ways, to the illogic, hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of colorism, in general, and white supremacy, in particular. As I watched Battlestar Galactica, I could not help but consider how this Star Trek veteran (Moore was a writer on Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation) has mined science fiction lore and signified on its narrative conventions. For example, the tensions between the Cylons and the humans evoked the classic Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" where two beings, and their respective civilizations, destroyed each other over (what is to the viewers) an absurd difference in skin color:

The conclusion of "Revelations" where we arrive at Earth and see the Brooklyn Bridge destroyed, one of the few identifiable landmarks on a now irradiated planet, is an unsubtle wink to the Statue of Liberty reveal during the climax of The Planet of the Apes. Again, a reference in the subtext (or perhaps more explicitly the text) to a movie which itself was a thin allegory for the racial tensions tearing apart 1960's America:

Ronald Moore in his fake climax sent an additional signal which further solidified and demonstrated a mastery of his craft. The false reveal, the sense of rushed urgency where at the 45 minute mark of the show all seems resolved, the characters celebrate, and all things end well, is a montage common to the prematurely canceled television show. The studio pulls the plug, and the writers and producers have to rush to a neat conclusion which resolves (but usually not in a convincing fashion) the loose ends. Not here. Instead, Moore's conclusion was the proverbial middle finger to the Sci-Fi Network ("Sure, you can cancel the show, but I won't give you what you want"). I liked that--sharp and biting, but also calm and cool. Now, we only have to wait until 2009 to see how BattleStar Galactica really, and truly, ends.

Some thoughts:

1. Who is the final Cylon? I still vote for Gaeta, although, it could be the collective consciousness of the Basestars. Outrageous, impossible? Could the 5th Cylon be a collective Cylon identity? The Cylon so to speak?

2. Who or what destroyed Earth? And is Earth really the 13th colony? Could it be that the other Cylons reached Earth before (maybe following Starbuck) and nuked it?

***A quick addendum***

Perhaps, we need to also consider the role of time travel in Starbuck's visit to Earth? One could hypothesize that she returned to Earth in the past (which would explain its "healthy" state) where she then met the final five. Starbuck remained there, her ship was preserved (thus explaining why it was identical to the one she left with). Centuries or thousands of years could have passed and the "new" Starbuck was sent back to find the fleet by the final five at a time just before the apocalypse occurred, and the final five escaped Earth. Therefore, a great amount of time could have passed on Earth and a far shorter amount of time would have passed from the perspective of the humans in the fleet.

3. Starbuck is "the herald of death"...hmmmm, did she bring death to Earth by setting into motion a series of tragic events? or is she bringing death to the fleet? If so, who?

4. Again, I say the smart money is on the fact that the Cylons and humans are basically the same. The Cylons and humans inter-bred, began a new line of humans, and then sent them off to the stars. How ironic if Earth was in fact the source of life on Caprica?

5. What to make of the "head-Six," "head-Leoben," and "head-Baltar?" Are they angels guiding the fleet, leading them to their destinies? Could it be that this is another nod to the original plot, the Iblis character, and the ships of light? Again, perhaps Adama's sometime confidant Romo Lampkin is actually one of the final five? Or is Romo a new incarnation of the Iblis character and he has been manipulating events all of this time?

6. Is StarBuck dead or alive? Yes, she is "alive" but is this the "real" Starbuck?

7. September 11th is now fixed in our collective memory and visual lexicon isn't it? Starbuck looking at the pictures of those lost in the human-Cylon War, and those eerie images of a devastated New York, show that we indeed are never going to be same again, are we?

8. In my opinion, the peace and resolution between the rebel Cylons and the humans was too quick to take hold. We must not forget that old feelings and old hatreds die quite hard. And what of the mechanical Cylons? Where is their allegiance? What will be the consequences of Baltar's proselytizing to the Centurion on the basestar?

9. When Cavill and the other Cylons make their inevitable return, who will side with whom? Will there be a Cylon Civil War Part 2? Will some of the rebel Cylons return to their people? Or will some of the remaining Cylons join the rebel upstarts on Earth?

10. How would you choose to end the show? Should the human/cylon fleet realize that home is where you lay your head and simply put down roots on a new planet? Or, should they find a way to return to Caprica and reclaim their collective home? For the curious, Aint it Cool News has a great suggested timeline of events here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: Barack Obama is Down with the 'Cos

Funny ain't it? Those voices of anger, upset, discord, and general dismay at my man the 'Cos seem to be silent and (un)critical of Obama's Father's Day speech where he demands that black men act like men and not like boys. Obama's call to action is compelling because it represents a simultaneous appreciation for the fact that while history, social structures, and racism impact the lives and life choices of black people, that we as people of color also have agency and free will. Consequently, the members of these communities are not excluded from the both consequences of, and burdens necessitated by, personal responsibility. Perhaps, the similarities in their messages aside, Obama's critique of black men simply does not reach the minimum threshold necessary for Cosby haters to engage him in battle.

How ironic, if Cosby was demonized because he dared to air the black community's dirty laundry, how much grander is both the attention given, and the stage afforded, to presidential candidate Barack Obama? Makes one think, does it not, about consistency of ethic and purpose, or perhaps a lack thereof, on the part of Cosby's critics?

While Cosby was attacked for "picking on the black poor," etc. etc. etc.--the extra emphasis signifies my dismay and disgust at how some critics attack Cosby while secretly agreeing with his message--Obama's speech will likely be heralded by these same critics as one more example of his presidential character, intellectual sharpness, and potential for real statesmanship and leadership.

Where are the haters? Where are the critics? Is Obama's criticism of those black men whom believe that parental responsibility ends and begins with ejaculation all that different from the warnings and challenges made by Billy Cosby? Where are those very public critics of Bill Cosby who while throwing stones at his proverbial glass house, themselves live a comfortable distance away from the crime, social dysfunction, and breakdown in morays common to underclass communities?

As Obama said, brothers need to step up. Brothers needs to act like men and not act like boys. As a public service, we respectable negroes are going to provide these wayward young ign't cum-droppers (that is Gordon's phrase not mine) with some role models for black fatherhood.

Example Number One
I am a man! (This is an inside joke for my smart mark, professional wrestling fans) Kamala as father figure, cultural critic, and Lothario:

Example Number Two
Black Town.Net--they need no introduction:

Example Number Three
Black men, yield and kneel to the wisdom of ATLAH:

Example Number Four
Enter Panthro, a brother, a strong black man, and the coolest of the Thundercats:

Example Number Five
The ultimate soul brother, the black male role model of role models, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader:

The only reason Vader has white kids is because in a moment of weakness, he decided to share his black love with a Caucasian temptress...they are black men's kryptonite after all:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday Five: 5 Derogatory Terms for White People That Black People Don't Really Use

When rumors of a video showing Michelle Obama using the term "whitey" surfaced, my first thoughts were, "bullshit." My skepticism stems from the fact that, outside of George Jefferson, whose lines were written by white people, black people do not use the term "whitey." The only people who use "whitey" are corny, self-deprecating white liberals and dim-witted white conservatives who believe that black people blame whites for all of their problems. As a matter of fact, black people don't really use any of the derogatory for white people, probably because white privilege renders them ineffective. Thus, I present the subject of this week's Friday Five. The following five items are racial slurs against whites that black people don't actually use outside of Hollywood and talk radio.

1. Whitey

2. The Man

3. Honky

4. Mr. Charlie

5. White Devil

Any others?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chauncey's World of Ghetto Nerds: R. Kelley is Found Innocent...Long Live the Chewbacca Defense!

Senior, Chicago-based ephebophile (as opposed to pedophile--I like showing off my vocabulary) R. Kelly was acquitted (although certainly not found innocent) of child pornography charges earlier today.

I offer no comment on the verdict. However, I have been fascinated by the various defenses offered by Kelly's attorneys. As detailed by Slate's wonderful coverage of the trial (coverage which detailed R. Kelly's sex acts on a "Space Jam" themed basketball court, perhaps he is either a "furry" or a connoisseur of hentai?), Kelly's counsel deployed several lines of defense which included such strategies as: "The 'Little Man Defense;" "The Shaggy defense;" "The Sparkle Defense;" and the "The Ghost Sex Defense."

Whatever their labels in the R. Kelly trial, these defense strategies were actually mere iterations of the greatest, most infallible, and fool-proof legal strategy of all time, The Chewbacca Defense:

It works every time, all the time...

We ghetto nerds love us some Chewbacca--the man, the myth, the legend, the icon:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: "You Know I am Not A Racist, But..." or Alternatively Titled, "Why I like Honest Racists"

When I read articles like the following on Obama and white racial attitudes, I just smile because some folks are so predictable.

These comments where race is coded--and not even subtly--go into either of the following 2 columns. One: my "I have black/gay/non-Christian/Other friends" preface column. Two: the "It's not that he/she is black, it is that {insert comment here}...

The following piece, appropriately titled, "Racial attitudes pose challenge for Obama" has some great examples of racism by proxy/laziness/evasion. For example:

1. "I don't think our country is ready for a black president," Susick, who is white, said in an interview in the paint store where she works. "A black man is never going to win Pennsylvania."

Decoded: I am not ready for a black president, but I am not honest enough to tell you that. Moreover, if the rest of us aren't ready, then it really is the force of numbers and I share no personal responsibility for how my one vote really doesn't matter (do my political scientists friends get the joke? aren't I witty?)

2. Susick said her personal objection to Obama is his inexperience, not his color. "It has nothing to do with race," she said.

Decoded: "He better not try to date my daughter."

3. A few, like Susick, suggested the nation needs more time to prepare for a black president — and perhaps a woman as well. "I don't think we're ready for either one yet," said Doug Richardson, 62, a contractor from Latrobe. Obama "just hasn't impressed me," he said over midmorning coffee with a friend at Denny's. "His middle name bothers me a lot." That name is Hussein.

Decoded: The Denny's proof is in effect here, i.e. eating at Denny's is an a priori indicator of white racial hostility towards people of color. Plus, "I don't think we're ready" really means "hell no, I ain't ready." And of course, he isn't impressive, and he has that damn funny middle name--I love this latter observation because Mr. Richardson isn't bright enough to shut up while he is ahead. Ain't prejudice and stupidity (to the degree they can be separated) grand?

4. "I think he's a snake oil salesman," she said. "He's a little too slick and smooth."

Decoded: "We like our politicians stupid and simple, just like El Presidente Bush. Plus, Obama may just be a pimp or a thief. And you know, those coloreds carry knives, oops, wait a minute, they carry guns, it's them Mexicans that carry knives."

5. "He just doesn't appeal to me, and not because of race, definitely," she said in an interview in which race had not been mentioned.

Decoded: It isn't his race=it is his race.

6. "To me, it was almost a code," Akers said. "'He doesn't wear a flag pin.' It seemed like code for 'He's not one of us.'"

Decoded: He isn't one of us? Huh, not human? Not qualified? Not intelligent? Not accomplished? Ooh, yes, flag pins, now that seals the deal because blind nationalism and unwavering patriotism is always synonymous with good leadership.

7. Dixie Pebley of Johnstown, 71, explained her distaste for Obama, saying, "black doesn't bother me, but Muslim does." When reminded that Obama is a Christian, she conceded the point, but added: "He was born Muslim and raised Muslim, that's enough for me. He just scares me to death."

"He doesn't taste good, no I mean that literally! Because he is really a Muslim he doesn't eat pork. This means Obama doesn't eat bacon. Therefore, he is all dried out, and wouldn't make a good meal at all!"

Now you know why I prefer honest bigots. They are much less work and because of their honesty, that species of mouth breathers generally respects you enough to tell you how they really feel:

The entire story follows here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sometimes We Can Only Shake Our Heads In Disbelief: Albinos Hunted and Killed In Africa To Obtain Their "Magical" Powers

Police officials are at a loss to explain precisely why there is a wave of albino killings now. Commissioner Paul Chagonja said an influx of Nigerian movies, which play up witchcraft, might have something to do with it, along with rising food prices that were making people more desperate.
“These witch doctors have many strange beliefs,” he said. “There was a rumor not so long ago that if you use a bald head when fishing, you’ll get rich. There was another one that said if you spread blood on the ground in a mine, you’ll find gold. These rumors come and go. The problem is, the people who follow witch doctors don’t question them.”
From the New York Times: in Tanzania albinos are now being hunted, killed, and their body parts sold as magical fetishes and medicinal aids. Damn, I never thought I would get to write that sentence .

And you know, sometimes stereotypes persist because they contain a grain of truth.

Perhaps, we should inaugurate a series of posts where we thank God above that we respectables negroes were brought to America?

And in other "how sub-Saharan Africa is so messed up that sometimes we secretly thank God that the boat dropped us off here" news:

1. Penises are being stolen in the Congo and these foul stealers of men's organs are being lynched! This story gives me some peace of mind because at least I know there is an explanation for where my penis disappeared to...

2. You know they burn witches in Kenya don't you? Well, now you do...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We Respectable Negroes do Indeed Predict the Future--Obama made Possible by Hollywood?

It seems that we are indeed Negro Nostradamuses. A few months ago, Zora observed that Bro'Bama's candidacy was enabled by Hollywood's fictionalized portrayals of black men as the president of the United States. Now it seems that CNN is channeling our respectable negro-powered, future-predictive powers.

From CNN (Zora's original post follows)

Black presidents nothing new to Hollywood

By Lola Ogunnaike
CNN's American Morning

(CNN) -- Voters will determine if America is ready for a black president come November, but Hollywood, often ahead of the national curve, made up its mind about the issue ages ago.


Dennis Haysbert played the accomplished President David Palmer in "24."

On television and in film, black actors as acclaimed as James Earl Jones and as obscure as Tommy Lister have played commanders-in-chief.

Sammy Davis Jr. was only 9 when he assumed the top office in the 1933 satire "Rufus Jones for President." The film was as short as its adorable star.

But those 21 minutes were all too long on racial stereotypes. Chicken, watermelon, dice playing -- funny back then to many. Now, not so much.

Fast forward a few decades and the notion of a black man in the Oval Office provides ample joke fodder for comics such as Richard Pryor and Chris Rock.

On one episode of "The Richard Pryor Show," the comedian's short-lived '70s variety hour, he played a president hosting a press conference. During the sketch, he tells a corps of reporters that he'd seriously consider Black Panther Huey Newton for the job of FBI director -- and nearly decks one journalist who inadvertently insults his momma. And when he's asked about his fetish for white women, he jokes, "They don't call it the White House for nothing."

In the 2003 film "Head of State," Chris Rock's president, Mays Gilliam, is an even more exaggerated caricature. His populist talk is glazed with hip-hop slang. Gilliam, a community organizer, is also partial to baggy jeans and Kangol caps and looks less like the leader of the free world than the latest signing of Def Jam Records. His running mate, played by Bernie Mac, thinks NATO is a person and not an acronym.

Gilliam is catapulted onto the public stage after the sitting president dies in a plane crash. It is not the first time a black man on screen has risen to power amidst calamity. Video Watch how Hollywood has been featuring minority presidents for decades »

In "The Man," James Earl Jones receives the big gig after the entire cabinet perishes in a series of freak accidents. In "Deep Impact," Morgan Freeman has to calm the nation as he contends with wayward comets threatening to destroy the planet. And in "The Fifth Element," set in 2263, Tommy Lister's President Lindberg has to battle asteroids and an enemy appropriately named The Great Evil.

It's not until the hit series "24" that things start looking up for the black president. Dennis Haysbert's character, David Palmer -- in the first season a senator running for the presidency -- is handsome, composed and ready to lead on Day One. His race is a non-issue as he grapples with modern-day threats such as terrorism, bomb scares and a social-climbing wife.

Yes, he's eventually assassinated, but only after he leaves office. And Palmer's equally self-possessed younger brother, Wayne, takes the reins shortly thereafter.

Will these depictions make any difference to Barack Obama's candidacy? Who knows? But what was once the stuff of joke and fantasy could be months away from being the real thing.


Zora on Film: Has Hollywood Helped Pave the Way for Obama?

After voters have seen several black presidents on screen, are they more likely to elect one in real life? NPR's Michele Norris recently raised this question to Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts aka The Notorious PhD. "I'm a bit hesitant to say that because James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert played a president on a TV show or in a movie, it means Barack Obama can be president," Boyd responded. "I think that's a bit of a stretch."

Boyd goes on, though, to say that such representations — especially those like 24's, beamed weekly into American living rooms — "may have unconsciously made some things in society seem less troubling" than if there'd been no pop-culture pictures of a black president.

I'm betting that a lot of folks will take issue with Dr. Boyd's response. Leaders within the African-American community have been pushing for decades to have more positive representations of Negroes in the media. The result is that we regularly see African-Americans playing the roles of well-to-do professionals who are in positions of power. (For some reason, television casting directors love seeing African-American women in the role of judges -- the Law & Order spin-offs must be the most consistent employer of middle-aged, black female extras in the industry.) The irony is that the majority of the most blatant stereotypical imagery we see in popular culture today is produced by ourselves and for ourselves --> T_ler P_rry.

With Hollywood favorites like Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby and Will Smith, we've been looking pretty damn good on television and film over the last two decades (local news broadcasts not included). Some might say, too good. The problem is that the progress we've made on the cinematic screen does not reflect the progress we've made on the street. Liberals in Hollywood are producing symbols that are not grounded in reality. These symbols may actually be negatively affecting African-American progress.

The power of the media in shaping American perceptions of reality has been a regular theme on this blog. Because we are still a very segregated nation, most white Americans get a lot of their information about black Americans from the television. In places with marginal black populations like New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Utah and New Mexico, media images are even less likely to be balanced by real life interactions with African-Americans. If all they're seeing is images of well-off, powerful Negroes, then tales of black poverty and racial discrimination must fall on deaf ears.

I live in a small, New England town where I can count the number of African-Americans on my fingers and toes. All of us are professionals who are associated with the local college. We are surrounded by a lot of deep and profound poverty. It is nearly impossible to talk with Whites who have grown-up in this area about racial inequality and discrimination. From what they can observe, African-Americans have actually moved ahead of Whites. Most of them barely have a high-school education, so you can forget about discussing symbolic imagery and media manipulation with them.

All of the positive images of African-Americans are surely feeding what social theorists would term realistic group conflict. This is especially likely in this time of economic difficulty with the competition for jobs and benefits growing more fierce each day. We should not have been surprised at all that Obama lost in New Hampshire. Bill Clinton wasn't surprised. He knew immediately why Obama lost and sought to nourish the seeds of conflict with his comments on the "race card." The Clinton camp knew that they couldn't win the South Carolina battle, but they are looking long-term at the war. For all of Obama's talk about "hope," he has to also acknowledge (at least among his strategists) that he also inspires a lot of fear.

With all of the black presidents we have seen on screen, only African-Americans are more likely to elect a black president. For them, the symbols represent possibilities that were perhaps unimaginable before: "Maybe we can win? Maybe we can be successful?" For other groups, the media symbols of Negro success are more likely to inspire fear, or apathy at the very least. I would argue that the lack of support for Obama among Latino Democrats is further evidence of this.

Does this mean that we should go back to being portrayed as maids and field hands? Of course, not. We do, however, have to make sure that we are portrayed in a balanced and realistic manner. It doesn't serve any of us to live in a "fantasy land."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A World of Ghetto Nerds Tribute to Barack Obama's History Making Nomination as the Democratic Nominee for President!

Talk about an earlier post being rendered temporarily irrelevant by the tide of history. We will get serious at some point later on, but right now let's enjoy the moment. Brother Obama, the only presidential candidate that in my short life I (like a few in our fair city) have had 1 degree of separation from, here is some ghetto nerd, random goodness that goes out from us to you:

Obama is to Hillary as Han Solo is to Greedo:

Warm it up Bro'Bama:

Do it to death!!!!

We/You/I love music:

Love from Chi-town..even if it is from R. Kelly (but the art is greater than the man):

This is once in a lifetime--I hope not!

Are we free falling?

Maybe we just want to celebrate:

We've got to give it up to you:

Did you learn the rope-a-dope from Muhammed Ali?

But we are all gonna need some soul power for you to win:

Let's change it up because you have universal appeal--and rock is black music after for now we are thunderstruck:

Why not?

Freddy Mercury seems appropriate--at least for the moment:

One more, because we respectable negroes can't get enough of this song:

The professional wrestling smart mark version of the U2 song played before and after Obama's acceptance speech:

Today is a good day to be a proud American because sometimes we do better than we should, and certainly better than we deserve:

In true geek fashion, perhaps Barack Obama is our generation's Rodimus Prime?

Congrats Mr. and yes, I mean Mr. Barack Obama!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: Six Degrees of Separation for Barack Obama: He is one Respectable Negro who is in Big Trouble!

While we celebrate the fact that Obama has effectively clinched the Democratic nomination, we should also be mindful of the dirty tricks, circuitous logic, and swift boat style attacks that will await Bro'Bama. In an effort to help the brother out, as well as to anticipate the attacks of McCain, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, et al., I have prepared this handy flowchart (be sure to click on it for better resolution).

Given that Obama is deemed by the Right as having been/will soon be associated with every type of miscreant, radical, and "troublemaker" (that is Conservative speak for "intellectual") it seemed appropriate to detail some of these relationships. As this (less than comprehensive) chart makes clear, Bro'Bama is in big trouble...

The Barack Obama Six Degrees of Separation Life Chart

Some "dangerous" relationships

1. Barack Obama-->Michelle Obama--> Princeton University
(where she wrote her "unpatriotic" senior thesis)--> Cornel West
(a dangerous Democratic Socialist who makes lots of money on the lecture circuit and from his hip hop cd's)-->either Karl Marx (Cornel has probably read Marx)--> or even worst to Black Jesus (the Black church is going to be the end of Obama isn't it?):

2. Michelle Obama-->Black people (yes, "real" black people)...

3. Obama-->1960s radical and (now) Professor Bill Ayers-->Father Pfleger-->Reverend Wright (via Trinity Church) and to Louis Farrakhan ('nuff said)-->Libyan President Muamar Quaddafi (remember Farrakhan was getting bankrolled by the now cross-dressing and somewhat insane Libyan leader-->the terrorist organization Hamas-->Yasser Arafat-->Osama Bin Laden. This one could be the end for Barack because Osama is far worse and far more dangerous than Black Jesus...

4. Obama-->his white, hippy, race mixing mother (she had a thing for the brown folks)-->Marx (she is an anthropologist by training)-->Dirty Hippies. We all hate dirty hippies:

5. Obama--> his African, lapsed-Muslim, apostate, father-->Hamas-->Arafat-->Al Queda. This is an easy one because many Americans already believe Obama is a Muslim, that Muslims are all terrorists, and that Obama could be a closet supporter of Islamic terrorism (or alternatively that Obama's father and by extension Obama could somehow be targets of suicide bombers because of dad's status as an "apostate"). The Right has been on this one since jump street so they will only increase their emphasis of this point in the coming months:

6. Obama-->his African father-->his African extended family-->Shaka Zulu. I love Shaka Zulu and in fact believe that any link to Shaka should give a candidate instant credibility. While all folks may not agree with the power of Shaka, I couldn't resist sharing it:

This chart is less than comprehensive. For example, I left out the noted scholar Rashid Khalidi and how from Obama to Khalidi one can go instantly to Osama and Al Queda (because of course, anyone that is critical of either the Israeli occupation or of political zionism is anti-Semitic:

One could also instantly go from Marx to just about anything that the Right would find threatening, problematic, scary, or unsettling (full employment, yikes!!!), but that link was too obvious.

Respectable Negroes and our friends, who else should we include in version 2.0 of our Obama Six Degrees of separation chart? And, what relationships should we include in our John McCain Six Degrees of Separation chart?

In short, if this handy chart is at all telling, I think Barack Obama, presidential candidate to be, is in some perilous waters. Your thoughts? Is there a way to fix this "problem"? Who else should he disassociate himself from? Should he just withdraw now? Should Obama change his name to "Berry," disappear, and then come back in a decade or so with a new persona? An "Obama-lite" without baggage, attachments, or "troubling" relationships?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Political Rule # 384: Never appease a tyrant

Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity are community building blocks that the right wing has turned into bricks to be thrown at presidential candidate Obama from now until the general election ends in November—and perhaps beyond.

So in an attempt to turn manufactured right-wing ammo into blanks, Obama has completely separated himself from his minister and his church. What worries me is this: Can we expect a President Obama to cave in to the whims and will of the right on policies and issues he knows are important, if this nation is to move forward in a progressive and compassionate manner? Can we expect him to genuflect to negative reports by an uninformed, misinformed or ill-willed media? Is the candidate of change willing to go-along in a willy-nilly get-along fashion?

I hope not, but I’m not sure.

…Should this become his practice as president, then for those who have invested so much hope in him, his victory will only be a pyrrhic one.

--Monroe Anderson

Tell me that’s not the realest shit you’ve heard.

Resigning from his church is the single worst move Obama could have made (aside from telling the press corps that Louis Farrakhan is a great man).

Sure, Obama’s decision won’t sit well with many of his black supporters, but this isn’t actually as big a deal as it might seem. Black people have been extremely practical about the media’s bullshit surrounding Obama and his “radical” associates. For the most part, we understand the impossible situation facing Obama.

Running away from his “controversial” church isn’t going to appease the right wing, and it isn’t going to appease the media.

Obama had better be prepared to hear the following two questions ad nauseum:

1.) What took you so long?

2.) What do you stand for?

Allowing the media to dictate what church he attends only fuels those who think that he is a secret Muslim and that his commitment to Christianity is one borne chiefly of political expediency.

Moreover, it makes the dim right wing pundits and the mainstream media (when it comes to race, same thing, really) even more apt to attack and problematize other aspects of his blackness that are too “exotic” and “angry” for white America.

This decision marks the beginning of the end of Obama's presidential run.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let's Play the Barack Obama Write Your Own Photo Caption Game!

Courtesy of the Washington Post:

What would be a good caption for this photo?

My entries:

1. "Damn! Even 5th graders know I can't win."
2. The American Flag and the Stars and Bars officially brought to you by Chinese prison labor
3. Truth in advertising?
4. Quintessential irony...
5. The Odd Couple: Blue States + Red States = Divided States

Your suggestions?

Monday, May 26, 2008

For the Sake of All that is Good and Decent, Please Stop!: Hillary Clinton and Beetlejuice--A Brother and A Sister from Another Mother

Hillary, my dear, please stop. I sincerely beg you to stop, because if you continue with this nonsense it will become even more apparent that you are as detached from reality as my boy Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern show.

In denial example 1

from the New York Daily News

Hillary: Why I continue to run


Sunday, May 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

Presidential-hopeful Hillary Clinton vows to fight on despite calls for her to pull out of the race.

This past Friday, during a meeting with a newspaper editorial board, I was asked about whether I was going to continue in the presidential race.

I made clear that I was - and that I thought the urgency to end the 2008 primary process was unprecedented. I pointed out, as I have before, that both my husband's primary campaign, and Sen. Robert Kennedy's, had continued into June.

Almost immediately, some took my comments entirely out of context and interpreted them to mean something completely different - and completely unthinkable.

I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual. Both the executive editor of the newspaper where I made the remarks, and Sen. Kennedy's son, Bobby Kennedy Jr., put out statements confirming that this was the clear meaning of my remarks. Bobby stated, "I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."

I realize that any reference to that traumatic moment for our nation can be deeply painful - particularly for members of the Kennedy family, who have been in my heart and prayers over this past week. And I expressed regret right away for any pain I caused.

But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for - and everything I am fighting for in this election.

And today, I would like to more fully answer the question I was asked: Why do I continue to run, even in the face of calls from pundits and politicians for me to leave this race?

I am running because I still believe I can win on the merits. Because, with our economy in crisis, our nation at war, the stakes have never been higher - and the need for real leadership has never been greater - and I believe I can provide that leadership.

I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nomination - but this race remains extraordinarily close, and hundreds of thousands of people in upcoming primaries are still waiting to vote. As I have said so many times over the course of this primary, if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, I will support him and work my heart out for him against John McCain. But that has not happened yet.

I am running because I believe staying in this race will help unite the Democratic Party. I believe that if Sen. Obama and I both make our case - and all Democrats have the chance to make their voices heard - in the end, everyone will be more likely to rally around the nominee.

In denial example 2

from The New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton honchos say Obama's campaign fans flames of RFK gaffe

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton's campaign brass blamed their counterparts on Barack Obama's team Sunday for fanning the firestorm over her gaffe about Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's assassination.

The counterattack came even as Clinton struggled to put the flap behind her with just 10 days left in the Democratic primaries marathon. Obama is within reach of clinching the nomination early next month.

"It's unfortunate - a hyped-up press over Memorial Day weekend, the Obama campaign inflaming it, tried to take these words out of context," Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe snapped on "Fox News Sunday."

Shortly after Clinton's remarks to a Sioux Falls, S.D., newspaper were reported last Friday, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton fired off a press release: "Sen. Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."

Clinton communications chief, Howard Wolfson, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," said Burton's missive was "unfortunate and unnecessary and, in my opinion, inflammatory."

Neither Burton nor Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, would respond to McAuliffe's complaint Sunday.

"It was an unfortunate statement, as we said, as she's acknowledged. Let's move forward," Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week."

Clinton's stunner came when she was explaining her decision to stay in the race against all odds.

"You know my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere around the middle of June. We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," she said.

In an opinion piece in Sunday's Daily News, Clinton said she was just making a historical point - that the length of this year's primary campaign "is nothing unusual."

Her words were taken "entirely out of context," she complained.

Clinton's detractors have said whatever the context, she made a ghastly error by matter-of-factly citing the 1968 assassination of Kennedy while he was running for President.

Obama's historic bid for the White House has been accompanied by worry for his safety as the first black candidate with a strong chance to win.

Obama has not asked for a personal apology from Clinton and does not expect one, his campaign indicated.

Clinton did not address the issue while campaigning in Puerto Rico Sunday, but when she spoke at the Pabellón de la Victoria evangelical church, her latest stumble may have been on her mind.

"There isn't anything we cannot do together if we seek God's blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life," Clinton told the congregation.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Racial Terror, September 11th and Cornel West

Hillary's debased fantasies of Obama's death, and the liberal racism on display at The Daily Kos, reminded me of one of my favorite Cornel West moments where he links the history of racial terror in these United States to Al Queda's attack on September 11th 2001.


Hillary Clinton's Spiritual Ugliness--More on her Hopeful Reflections on the Possibility of Obama's Assassination

More on this point. A little earlier I posted something written.

Now, we will post something visual.

Keith Olbermann, you are my favorite news broadcaster. You are a beacon of light and excellence in a sea of mediocrity. You aren't perfect, and you are still learning your game, but you have my respect:

As I watched your broadcast on Hillary's ugliness, her deep seeded resentment and hostility towards Obama (and her black heart, notice not her "Black" heart), I thought of one, if not THE greatest newsman of either the 20th or 21st centuries:

Yeah, that pairing just may (one day) be right.

Some print for you--in a moment when print is ostensibly dead, Michael Goodwin of The New York Post knocked this one out of the park:

Hillary Clinton's colossal blunder simply the last straw

Saturday, May 24th 2008, 4:00 AM

SICK. Disgusting. And yet revealing. Hillary Clinton is staying in the race in the event some nut kills Barack Obama.

It could happen, but what definitely has happened is that Clinton has killed her own chances of being vice president. She doesn't deserve to be elected dog catcher anywhere now.

Her shocking comment to a South Dakota newspaper might qualify as the dumbest thing ever said in American politics.

Her lame explanation that she brought up the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy because his brother Ted's illness was on her mind doesn't cut it. Not even close.

We have seen an X-ray of a very dark soul. One consumed by raw ambition to where the possible assassination of an opponent is something to ponder in a strategic way. Otherwise, why is murder on her mind?

It's like Tanya Harding's kneecapping has come to politics. Only the senator from New York has more lethal fantasies than that nutty skater.

We could have seen it coming, if only we had realized Clinton's thinking could be so cold. She has grown increasingly wild in her imagery lately, invoking everything from slavery to the political killings in Zimbabwe in making her argument for the Florida and Michigan delegations. She claimed to be the victim of sexism, despite winning the votes of white men.

But none of it was moving the nomination needle, with Obama, despite recent dents, still on course to be the victor.

So she kept digging deeper, looking for the magic button. Instead, she pushed the eject button, lifting herself right out of consideration.

Giving voice to such a vile thought is all the more horrible because fears Obama would be killed have been an undercurrent to his astonishing rise. Republican Mike Huckabee made a stupid joke about it recently. Many black Americans have talked of it, reflecting their assumption that racists would never tolerate a black President and that Obama would be taken from them.

Clinton has now fed that fear. She needs a very long vacation. And we need one from her.

Say good night, Hillary. And go away.

The original story can be found here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: On Liberal Racism and the "Lynching" of Michelle Obama

I can laugh at anything. But, I cannot laugh at this. It seems that someone at the self-consciously "hip," "sharp," and "snarky" liberal website The Daily Kos thought this insightful and ironic. It is not. Simply put, photoshop trickery evocative of the book The Clansmen does not reach the minimum threshold for good taste or whit.

Humor is one of the most important of human gifts because it allows us to deal with the challenges, difficulties, and disappointments that come with our day to day lives. I consider myself lucky because I can harness my sense of humor to deal with just about any disappointment or life challenge. However, there are moments, real moments which demand that we drop the mask of humor-and it is a mask we people of color wear out of necessity-- and to show our true and real selves, to feel pain, to feel and express anger, and to be vocal in our disappointment.

As our readers know, I, me, being Chauncey DeVega in both the "online world" (we all want to be internet celebrities, don't we?) and in the "real world" am usually able to snicker, to mock, to have what I like to call an "Incredible Hulk moment" when confronted by the various absurdities of American life.

When I happened upon this picture and its accompanying story at The Root and at What About Our Daughters, I really tried to go to that place where humor and irony provide insight, comfort, and a bit of protection. I desperately wanted to find some sharp popular culture reference that would symbolize my feelings about the (not) closeted racism on display by our (liberal) friends at The Daily Kos. I simply couldn't go to that place. Certainly not now, and absolutely not in regards to this most blatant of offenses against good taste and common decency.

My friends and I have shared a long running conversation about liberal racism. It is a peculiar beast. Conservatives, who are the most frequently tarred, and with good reason, by the label of being "racist," display a variant of white supremacy born of a willful historical myopia that couches white racism as being a mere "inconvenience" or historical oddity (when in fact white supremacy is the dominant historical narrative in the modern world).

By comparison, liberals are hyper-conscious of race and racial inequality. "Progressive" attitudes on race are central to liberal-left identity. However, this race consciousness does not immunize them from being active racists or from holding beliefs that are deeply informed by a premise that people of color are inferior, or perhaps stated in a more benign fashion, are merely "different." Here, difference becomes a signifier of a compelling and curious Other. This Other needs saving, this Other needs to be understood, and this Other needs help. He is pathological and cannot escape the myriad of limited life choices that await him. She is damaged by the dual oppressions of white racism and black male sexism. They cannot overcome racial adversity and white supremacy without our help.

The danger of this paternalistic attitude is that for some self-consciously progressive members of the Left, they, like their conservative nemeses, are also afflicted by a myopia that works to preclude self-reflection. These good liberals believe they have a pass which excludes the possibility of racist thought, speech, or action. Ultimately, these good liberals are incapable of being racists because they are the friends of the poor coloured folk of the world. These good liberals are supposedly our most erstwhile allies.

Ultimately, the image of Michelle Obama being lynched and raped is sickening because there is no humor in the image. It is utterly "real." Because it is "real" there is no possibility of irony. In its utter "realness" it speaks to an ugly reality. In turn, this truth lacks even the barest possibility for humor because it lacks both insight and subtext.

Moreover, I believe it is important to write Michelle's name because it removes the protection and insulation offered by historical abstraction (read: black people were lynched; read: black women were lynched; see how this is different from writing Michelle Obama was lynched?). She is a human being, a real person being threatened with murder and violence. This threat, a threat through implication and historical allusion is no less hurtful, real, or shocking--notice I did not say surprising--than one made through active speech in the present. And thinking through this example, an inability to make this connection perhaps speaks to an even more troubling and deep disconnect between the races in this country than we dare to acknowledge.

The image of Michelle Obama's defilement speaks to the particular grotesqueness of America's racial order, and how for some three hundred years, systematic, State sanctioned, violence denied an entire class of human beings their rights as human beings and citizens. I emphasize again, the violence of Jim Crow, of slavery, of lynch law were not anomalies. The semi-permanence of America's racial order was enforced by murder. It was enforced by rape. America's white supremacy did and does the work of political and economic exploitation and exclusion: to deny this fact is to deny a central truth in American history. This racial regime ruled by terror and enforced its order through the willingness of white citizens to support a "natural order of things" where they benefited from the psychic and material wages paid by white supremacy.

Imagine if you will, the public spectacle of lynching where whole white communities, often numbering in the thousands (as in the oft cited lynching of Sam Hose) would celebrate the murder of innocent black men and black women. Their bodies would be burned and shot. Body parts would be cut off and sold as souvenirs. Genitalia would be mutilated. Photos would be taken and sold; postcards mailed; train schedules modified as to allow the largest number of attendees possible; fairgrounds equipped and provisioned; the spectacle of racial violence would initiate white children into their future roles as adult enforcers of white supremacy; white men of all classes would be further elevated and their bond as social equals and brothers in the service of American democracy reinforced (even as capitalism tore at this exaggerated sense of common interest); and white women would be further "protected" and "elevated" as literal vessels for white men's honor. And of course, this wanton violence taught black people "to know their place."

How simultaneously grotesque (because no other word so precisely captures the feeling of spiritual ugliness encapsulated by this spectacle) that a truly, national, American commercial and popular culture, was in many ways born through this ritual of blood and violence.

I anticipate that my detractors will argue in quite typical fashion that this was a moment in history, and that black people (and others of good taste) are merely being overly sensitive. The KKK is irrelevant. Racism is dead. Violent racism is in the past. We may elect a black president. This is a colorblind society. In fact, for arch-Conservatives, in a perverse deployment of Martin Luther King Jr's vision of a just society, may argue that "reverse-racism" is the social evil most worthy of spirited confrontation.

Rather than unpack the errors in both fact and reasoning displayed by these predictable responses, I would rather turn to the question of memory and relate it to the basic premise that racism is real, active, and alive in the present.

What has astounded me about the white public's response to the Reverend Wright debacle was how it laid bare the clear divergences in the historical and lived experiences of black and white Americans in this country. In a similar vein, the surprise which greeted the reality that large segments of the white public will not vote for a black president (as demonstrated by Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia) inspired a similar moment of head-shaking consternation. Interestingly, the racist vitriol directed at Obama's campaign workers, and their accompanying surprise, only prompted a half-smile on my part at the depths of their naivete.

You see, America is a sick society. We are all deeply afflicted by white supremacy. Black people, white people, brown folk, all of us, have internalized and reproduced this social order. Some of us are more conscious of it than others. A rare few try to speak truth to power so that we can overcome this debilitating social ill by bringing it to the light, by exposing it, and by challenging it whenever we see it. This divide in experience, how white supremacy impacts us differently, operates in our lives, structures our memories, and gives some more voice than others--and by doing so simultaneously precludes both empathy and sympathy (note the difference) from the empowered towards those less so--is how white supremacy operates as a lived system in this country.

The label of Conservative or Liberal does not make one immune from this sickness, it merely filters and shapes how it is expressed.

As brother Malcolm said, liberals are also invested in this system of inequality and they should own and confront it:

And they wonder why we are so angry?