Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Buchanan's "Boy"; Obama the "Tar Baby": Forget the Amateurish Racism Chasing, You All Need to be Reading This Piece on Tea Party Confederates Instead



Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.

Some folks have their underwear all up in a bunch over Pat Buchanan calling President Obama a "boy," and the dual foot in mouth moment in which Representative Doug Lamborn called B-Rock a "tar baby."

Let's take a moment to exhale folks. And perhaps it is because I accept the utter disrespect that the Right and the Tea Party GOP hold for President Obama (they might as well just call him THE word that runs through their collective imagination every time he comes on TV), but many of us just need to slow down.

This is all chaff. Moreover, and lightning will strike me for suggesting the following, but Uncle Pat is Uncle Pat, and his mouth utterance was just one more example of feigned brotherly familiarity with Al Sharpton. Doubling down, Representative Lamborn chose a perfect analogy to describe the debt ceiling shit sandwich Satan bill enema for everyone in America who is not rich or a corporation.

To digress, I would have greatly preferred if President Obama were a Br'er Rabbit. Alas. We cannot always get what we want.

I would suggest that our collective attention should primarily be focused on the disaster capitalism and shock doctrine policies of the Tea Party GOP, and the planned destruction their debt ceiling win will bring to the country's economy. But, if we are going to do some critical analysis let's look to something more prescient and wise, with some real explanatory power and teeth for locating the Tea Party faction in the proper historical and political moment.

Salon has a great essay from Michael Lind who simply mercs the Tea Party by combining a great interpretation of history with a compelling argument about their inherent racist bonafides (there is a dissenting argument here which is also worth considering). The Tea Party are neo-Secessionists. We/Us/You here at WARN have sounded that alarm before. It is nice to see that folks are picking up on what is in the ether, hiding in plain sight.

The most telling passage from "The Tea Party, the Debt Ceiling, and White Southern Extremism" is the following:
In light of this recent history, it is clear that the origins of the debt ceiling crisis are to be sought, not in generic American conservatism, but in idiosyncratic Southern conservatism. The goal, the methods and the passion of the Tea Party in the House are all characteristic of the radical Southern right.

From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States.

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 asserted the alleged right of states to "nullify" any federal law that state lawmakers considered unconstitutional. This obstructionist mentality led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina refused to enforce federal tariffs. Civil War was averted only when President Andrew Jackson, a Southerner himself, forced the nullifiers to back down.

In 1820 and 1850 the South used the threat of secession to force the rest of the United States to appease it on the slavery issue. In 1861, the South tried to destroy the United States, rather than accept a legitimately elected president, Abraham Lincoln, whom it did not control.

Following defeat in the Civil War, the former Confederate states regrouped as "the Solid South," a one-party region, first Democratic and now Republican, that has tended to vote as a bloc in national affairs. The South sought to block the federal civil rights revolution by a policy of "massive resistance" to court orders ordering racial integration. Some Southern states went so far as to try to abolish their public school systems rather than integrate them. It is hard to avoid seeing a link between this racist rationale for privatization and modern conservative plans to scale back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, relied on disproportionately by black and brown Americans and low-income whites, while increasing taxpayer subsidies to private retirement and healthcare accounts enjoyed mostly by affluent whites.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Your thoughts?

48 comments:

Tanya said...

My thoughts: I've never understood why there hasn't been a massive emigration of black Americans to other countries. Even if you figure in finances as a barrier, poor people from other countries come here all the time. With the way we treat immigrants, can Canada or Europe really be worse?

Less in left field: I agree. This is the same fight warmed over. Handed down from racist generation to racist generation. Why would it stop?

fred c said...

Tanya, if I may, I think most Black Americans feel better off in America. Better the Devil you know. Those jazzbos that went/go to Europe do okay, but most likely they are like the Herman Cains of the Tea Party, serving to prove somehow that the locals aren't prejudiced. Right below that illusion lies the truth, and it's just as ugly as it is in America.

Professor, thanks as always for your clear presentation of interesting lessons.

Oh Crap said...

@Tanya

"My thoughts: I've never understood why there hasn't been a massive emigration of black Americans to other countries. Even if you figure in finances as a barrier, poor people from other countries come here all the time. With the way we treat immigrants, can Canada or Europe really be worse?"

Yes, it can. Because then we'll get the "stupid yank" treatment on top of their legendary race issues.

My thought: why shell out the expense to move, when I can get the same crappy treatment here?

Plus, someone had to go through HELL so I can have the privileges I do. I'm going to stick around and work so future gens can say at least the same thing.

Tanya said...

I don't doubt that every country has its dominant culture and at least one "hated ethnic group" but I'm just surprised that I've only vaguely heard of a mass movement to Liberia (many years ago) but nowhere else. Other groups, Koreans, Japanese, British etc. leave developed countries to come here for what they consider to be "a better life". Many arrive and realize it's mostly crap but still they've attempted it.

We already get treated like immigrants and guests in our own country so why the hesitation? I just wonder how much of it isn't us [myself included] drinking the proverbial kool-aid in thinking America is #1 and there's no reason to leave it - with the logic that if it sucks here it has to be worse everywhere else. It's like we're sticking with an abusive husband because we've invested so much time and we get a nice gift every so often after a really thorough asswhoopin'.

I'm not even really arguing for or against - clearly since I'm still here. I've just never heard a bunch of black people say, "eF this, let's move to Canada." Ever. Being from New Orleans the most I've heard is, "eF this, let's move to Atlanta."

nomad said...

Yup. The Civil War never ended. It just morphed into the Uncivil War.

But, gee CD, Obama is the consummate Brer Rabbit. "Please, Brer Fox, don't throw me into dat dere briar patch (where I actually want to be)." Matt Taibbi has an article on this. Obama is Brer Rabbit. It's just we are Brer Bear, or which ever of the characters that's always getting duped. Using Sharpton's boxing analogy. Obama's using rope-a-dope; and we is the dope.

Ankhesen Mié said...

@ Tanya

I've often wondered something similar.

About the post...excellent and informative.

Daniel Goldberg said...

I'm a lot more "meh" on the analysis, because I think it really caricatures an extraordinarily complex and multivalent set of communities, practices, and subcultures into some monolithic villain called "The South."

I can barely even bring myself to mention the Tea Party in impolite conversation, so I would be likely to endorse the most vigorous and withering criticisms that could be marshaled, but depicting those many pernicious flaws by reference to a crude and Whiggish metanarrative of "The South" strikes me as a cheap and easy way out, not to mention an oversimplified and inaccurate historicization.

Daniel Goldberg said...

Addendum:

(I'm speaking as someone who lives in the South and is currently studying some aspects of postbellum Southern history, although I am no expert per se).

nomad said...

@Daniel
I have noticed that. I have found some of the least racist white people I've ever met in the most racist town I have ever lived in.

Abstentus said...

For a while there I was working on my own (well, not yet recognized as a proper academic) field of study, that I call "Redneck Studies." And I have been saying similar things on my blog, and to anyone unfortunate enough to let me pontificate on the matter, for years and years.

There is, has been, an easy (for me to see at least) connection, call it a continuum, from The Plantation System, to Jim Crow, to 20th Century racist conservative obstructionism/revanchism, to Dixiecrat, to Reganite Southern Christianist Conservative, to the tea bagger terrorista movement we have to deal with today. It's pro oligarchy and anti-some convenient other, usually race or ethnic based.

And even if poor "rednecks" end up doing more for the benefit of the planter's sons and their papmered dependents, they still toil along, contented to a great part by exerting and wallowing in their sense of innate superiority to others based on the imiginary distinction of the most superficial genetics. Sure, they try to feel superior on account of religion and ideology. But thems just e-cigarettes. When thew want a good "superior" high then need a hit of some good old fashioned racism. That's why so many of these rednecks slip up. And as well, that's why they want the definition of racism so narrowly drawn that only the worst of the worst get "tarred" with that brush. Ya. I went there. I'm allowed! LOL!

Deb said...

"This is all chaff."

Couldn't agree with you more CD - nothin' but chaff /dog-whistles, stirred up in a rich stew of “racial microaggressions” ( http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201010/racial-microaggressions-in-everyday-life) and served up for the purposes of distraction. Yes, Professor, I do pay attention in class! :-)

Lind’s piece is pretty dead-on and I agree with him that the “Fort Sumter Movement,” instead of the “Tea Party Movement” would be the much more appropriate nomenclature. I was born and raised in that charming, port city two years after the Brown v. Board decision. And while many things SEEMED to have changed over the many years I’ve not been living there, much remains the same, not only in SC - but all across “the Solid South,” which is still very much alive and kickin’ (I’m currently living in the “belly of the beast”)!

Interesting that he mentioned the trying to “abolish their public school systems” as if that were some “long-ago” tactic. It is now, as it was then, merely a “recycling” one. Most of the predominantly-Black, public high schools that were in existence during my “School Daze,” no longer exist in the city TODAY (my old alma mater included)!

That the Tea Party is nothing but the recycled “old neo-Confederate Southern right” is obvious. That it is (as Kilgore’s title at the dissenting argument link states) “bigger than the South” is also no big secret (at least not to Black folk) but - it IS a fact that all “Others” would do well not to forget, which brings me to my only nit-pick with Lind. If we’re to discuss the Tea Party’s “inherent racist bonafides,” I submit, 1)we cannot forget from whence the “founders” of the Original 13s came and 2)having said that, we cannot only attribute those "inherent racist bonafides" to the Tea Party (http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/29/haley-race-choice-attacked/).

Kilgore's, "Even some ostensibly Southern or quasi-Southern Tea Partyers aren't Southern in any cultural sense, including the Cuban-American Marco Rubio of Florida..."> is bullshit semantics because we know, or ought to know, that “It’s the overarching culture of racism, Stupid!” – something of which, I’m sure, he, of “a Scot-Irish Southern background” would certainly be aware (see note at bottom of linked essay below).

Rather than take up any MORE space fleshing that out, I’ll let my buddy, Mr. Baldwin expound: http://www.cwsworkshop.org/pdfs/CARC/Family_Herstories/2_On_Being_White.PDF (I’ve also lived in FL a few times over 30 years and trust me, Marco Rubio is a prime example of those, about whom Mr. Baldwin speaks!).

As flip as he sounds, Kilgore’s last sentence should not go unheeded: ”If there are "villains" in this story, and certainly all progressive Americans think there are, it's a mistake to keep looking for them exclusively in the land of cotton. “

(Apologies for takin' up so much space CD, I get a little "full" sittin' here in the Lone Star State!)

Thrasher said...

I don't understand Dan's post it reminds me of people like TNC and others who are always trying to dilute and explain away white racism by giving it the aura of being" extraordinarily complex and multivalent set of communities, practices, and subcultures into some monolithic villain called "The South."

Fuck that long winded narrative by way of disclosure I am not living in the south nor studying on the raw racism the north toward negroes and coloreds..

Oh yeah I know TNC is Black and Daniel is a white and jewish...

chaunceydevega said...

@Tanya. Interesting question. I for one believe that black Americans know that they are the quintessential American, and we built this country and made its democracy more whole, once I put that much labor in I ain't going no where. Maybe that is because of my Lockean roots?

@fred. Jazzbos. I ain't heard that one in a long time! Updating the lexicon.

@Ohcrap. See. like minds. I do keep good company.

@Nomad. I got to check that piece out. Thanks.

@Daniel. Is the South an idea or a geographic space or both?

@Abstentus. We go to be careful to though, some of those rednecks were friends of black folks, many even fought in the Civil War or as guerrillas against the Secesh trash. Random, I generally find his work lacking, but Sowell's book on Black Rednecks, was pretty entertaining...at least the parts I have heard him discuss and have glanced at. I will get from the remainder pile when I next see it.

Deb. Great points, always write, and more when you can. I am going to read that essay. He was so special a talent wasn't he?

Thrasher. Fill me in on your beef with Coates if you would. Also, please work with me re: your curiosity about Jewish folks. Did a moil do you wrong back in the day? Just had to offer that one up...

Daniel Goldberg said...

@CDV: Not sure I understand the distinction you're drawing between geographic spaces and ideas. Are there any geographic spaces that are not discursive products, i.e., that do not reflect, shape, and implicate ideas?

I seriously doubt it.

Christopher Sharp said...

Nomad is 100% correct, those who believe that the Civil War ended with the surrender of the Confederate armies need to study their history. And what better time to learn from the past than on the 150th anniversary of the war that has never ended.

If you look at the 10 years leading up to the Civil war, the political dysfunction bears a striking resembance to 2011, when a small group of vocal extremists on both ends of the spectrum (but mostly the Tea Party side) have hijacked the debate and all but shut down the vast moderate majority in the middle. As a result, we get a series of political "compromises" that please no one and seem to contain the seeds of our country's future destruction. Remember the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, the Dred Scot decision and the Kansas-Nebraska Act? All of these were supposed to settle the question of slavery but it was only kicking the can down the road.

There were remarkably few Southerners who actually wanted to secede in 1861, but once the radicals took over, their voices were no longer heard. However, after Lincoln started freeing (some) of the slaves, the radicals were able to convince many of the poor non-slaveholding whites who opposed secession that free black labor would end the Southern way of life as they knew it. Sadly, it was all too easy to do with people who are (largely) uneducated and willing to put principle over their own self-interest.

The rest is history, and it obviously wasn't the first or last time that the rich have employed hate tactics to pit the poor against one another in order to maintain their own place at the top of the food chain.

The Tea Party reminds me of the Confederate soldiers who knew that it was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight, but who nevertheless died by the hundreds of thousands to preserve the rights of the wealthy who at the end of the day, didn't give a rat's ass about them. Then, when the war finally ended, they became eager and willing pawns in the race war that we are still fighting 150 years later.

I suppose you could call the Tea Party one of the worst unintended consequences of emancipation, but if you know your history and understand human nature, it should come as no real surprise. Sadly, I think that these people will always be out there.

Thrasher said...

CD

I will send you an email about TNC and my personal encounters with him..With regard to jewish folks some of my best friends are jewish..lol,lol,lol, especially those who don't call me a nigger in yiddish..

I have encountered many stripes of white folks being a Black activist.. Quite often the more patronizing and truly nasty have been white jewish males...I have always found it fucking twisted and rich given the insanity that the jewish collective has, have and continue to encountered on the planet..

What I have noticed in a wicked manner is this acute sense of envy, rage, uber competiveness on numerous levels in many situations and circumstances.. Often it feels like they want to be the authority on blackness?? an anger that Black folks have gone toe to toe with white supremacy and yet we still are gifted and iconic..Once I was in a group session and I left the room and returned and overheard them call me a nigger in yiddish ( swartza??) I was stunned of course but it felt like they were at home with this relationship of me being on the end of their whiteness and calling me a nigger was as natural as them being white in america..They crossed over and were now America..

I could gone and gone with tales of woe but at end of the day for me the only constant I know for sure is that RACE trumps everyth
ing in America, religion, gender, etc..

chaunceydevega said...

@Dan. Of course, this sounds like a good time to start talking about the surrealist maps of the world--have you ever seen them? cool stuff. to clarify, i meant does one have to be in the old confederacy for the idea to hold, or can one be sympathetic to its lost cause ideology and its "culture" more generally. Another example, being Germans who are obsessed with the Lost Cause and go out and play dress up as the rebels.

@Chris. Who was the republican strategist who made the quip about the South being the only part of the country to lose a war, and once you understood that fact you could play them? Was that Atwater?

@Thrasher. Jewish folks have earned their whiteness in America in many ways. Some by becoming insincere negrophiles, others by having a deep affinity for black folks. Or would the latter be Americanness as opposed to whiteness? Sometimes I impress even myself ;)

Thrasher said...

One final note according to the myth and tales of the world since Jesus was a Black Jew and according to the myth as a man I am made in his image.. Therefore since I love me and could never hate me..I love being a Black jew like Jesus and I love the rest of my tribe....lol,lol,lol

Enjoy the weekend:-)

Thrasher said...

CD

Our posts cross is that the only options on the table?? I imagine we should get some insight for jewish people..My Black jewish associates share some of my talking points ..I also have some white jewish friends who exhibit both the insincere and affinity postures..

Of course I love being a Black man in any venue I travel and as such I have developed and use my racial antenna to alert me of peril ..You know what I speak of I can smell, sense, feel, know when the presence of racism and negrophobia is in my orbit..Such is the life of Black folks in the place we call America..I am glad to be alive and in the game always!!!

nomad said...

@CD
Correction. Not an article on that per se. But he makes the analogy. In lieu of a link, here's the title: "Obama Doesn't Want a Progressive Deficit Deal". Taibbi was absolutely right. Obama's a conservative. "Please, Brer Boehner, don't throw me into dat dere briar patch!"

Plantsmantx said...

Nomad @10:45- yes, exactly.

Christopher Sharp said...

A little of topic but I have a place down in Belize central America, where I get to be the token white guy in a country that is about 95% minorites, mostly black folks. Although Belize was historically governed by a very small white British minority, they never had slavery and most of the people were Mayan Indians and slaves who escaped from various Caribbean islands.

After the Civil War, some of the "undefeated" Confederates fled the U.S. and tried to establish cotton and sugar plantations down there. Within a few years, they all failed because they could not grasp the concept of free black labor and most of the locals had little tolerance for their racism and white superiority complex. needless to say, the Confederates were incapable of working their own land.

I only mention this because many of us who posted today seem to accept that our present state of race relations is inevitable. Luckily, that is not always the case, though you sometimes have to leave the U.S. too see how it all could have turned out differently. On the other hand, if Belize had been a slave-holding country with a majority conservative white population like the Antebellum South, they might be facing the same issues that we have in the U.S.

Great post, we can all learn something from history, but even if we do, we may still be doomed to repeat it anyway.

dogscantlookup said...

@Tanya
The underground railroad was not to get to the north, it was to get to Canada, out of this country

Daniel Goldberg said...

@Thrasher:

For the record, I'm not sure how you could read my comments and interpret them as a justification for ignoring the obvious racism of whiteness in general or the Tea Party in particular.

My point was rather that we should seek out and hold up such racism, and spare nothing in attacking it, without relying on crude and inaccurate caricatures of "The South" as the Manichean villain, a trope that itself has an old history.

If you think I'm wrong about this, that's cool, but I'd like to hear a bit more about why you think so.

@CDV: No, I think one does not have to be "The South" for the "Old South/Lost Cause" mentality to show. But that's just the point; such a specific mentality is a key subculture, a dynamic within the U.S. that isn't even, as you point out nicely, confined to the geographic space of the Southern U.S. I could see my way to such a point, which is subtle and would have to be explained carefully. But that's not what I see in the Salon piece.

Thrasher said...

@Daniel

Now your talking point has clarity yet from my vantage point as a Black man it is still lacking ...I don't like giving any quarter to racism and if I have to invoke crude caricatures and tropes given the inhumanity and depravity of racism towards my tribe in America I don't have a problem doing that..

Thrasher said...

Addendum...For the record nothing in my posts suggested your comments justified racism.

Oh Crap said...

@CD


@Daniel. Is the South an idea or a geographic space or both?

After today's Rick Perry Overgrown Prayer Meeting, I'm calling them Christian-shariah confederates.

There's a pretty big difference, though, and this is post-New South, and also post-Civil Rights...now it's got out-of-the-kitchen white women, Blacks, Asians, Latinos and white gays (if you want to count GOProud types), all banging the Muslim-baiting drum, and advocating a return to states rights economics and social norms.



@Thrasher

Oh yeah I know TNC is Black and Daniel is a white and jewish...

e_e This old canard...what does it matter what Daniel's religion/ethnicity is.

Thrasher said...

@Oh Crap...It matters to me apparently..I find it interesting your post said nothing of my same comment about TNC...I guess it also matters to you..

Daniel Goldberg said...

Gotcha, Thrasher, thanks for the clarification. We differ on the merits of using what I perceive as inaccurate and crude caricatures in the service of an end I want to say we share -- highlighting the pervasive, constant presence of racism in whiteness and in American society in general.

I think it would be better to point that out and attack it mercilessly without such caricatures, but I understand your pragmatic aim along the lines of "by most means necessary."

Oh Crap said...

@Thrasher

Jew-baiting does matter to me since white is white and white priv is white priv regardless of religion/ethnicity. I'd say the exact same thing to someone coming in here and trying to black-bait you, what of it.

Thrasher said...

Daniel..

Ditto

Thrasher said...

Oh Crap.

Jew Baiting !!! What are you referring to?? Please refrain from inserting your contempt into my comments..I asked you a simple question how come you only focused on my reservations about focusing Daniel's and not TNC?? And what I did I get from you ..Nothing but avoidance and deflection and the need to demonize me because I had an opinion that you did not have the courage and depth to ponder let alone ask in the public light..

I question your claim that you would defend my honor all I see you do is dancing on one foot.

And no I done agree with your myopic axiom that white privledge is white privledge regardless of religion/ethnicity you are so intent of being the noble negro in here at my expense you blind spots is detroying all of your vision..

Constructive Feedback said...

@My Beloved Brother Chauncey DeVega:

I am willing to pay for a 6 week "Pony Lesson" so you can grow beyond your "One Trick".

@ Tonya:
[quote]My thoughts: I've never understood why there hasn't been a massive emigration of black Americans to other countries. [/quote]

The point that you fail to understand is the value of the INDICTMENT AGAINST AMERICA for the Progressive-Fundamentalist.

YIELD your American citizenship and you YIELD your ability to indict over the past in the pursuit of "Social Justice".

More Africans were kidnapped to South America than to North America. What other than America's relative wealth can account for the lack of a "South American Reparations Movement" against their government?

A move would require the Black Progressive-Fundamentalist to actually start DELIVERING human resource development for the little Black boy and girl born today instead of focusing on how our culture was STOLEN 4 hundred years ago.

That original culture was formed BECAUSE our ancestors were placed in inhospitable lands that required a system of human behavior lest they all DIE.

What better time than today to create a functional culture?

Oh Crap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oh Crap said...

@Thrasher

Jew Baiting !!! What are you referring to??

Oh my!

Clutch those pearls!!

Oh Crap said...

And no I done agree with your myopic axiom that white privledge is white privledge regardless of religion/ethnicity you are so intent of being the noble negro in here at my expense you blind spots is detroying all of your vision..

Lol whatever that hasty, irrational sentence was supposed to mean.

Daniel's being [J]ewish is irrelevant to anything, unless you'd like to enlighten everyone who's not a washed up laptop nationalist just why it is. You brought it up, no one else. Why?

Constructive Feedback said...

In my humblest respect to you, my beloved brother Chauncey DeVega -

Can you tell me in your own words why the words said by Malik Zulu Shabazz are less offensive than the words said by Buchanan and the other Republican who referenced "Tar Baby"?


Zulu Shabazz calls Obama a Ninja
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz5BzIrHulE

I am not sure of the answer, CD, but do you recall generating a post on your illustrious blog after Zulu Shabazz said these things about Obama BOMBING LIBYA?

Did you make a post about OBAMA BOMBING AFRICA since the NATO bombing raids of Libya (and Somalia) commenced?

Thrasher said...

Oh Crap...I observe you are still not addressing my direct question..I brought up TNC and you said nothing..I brought up Daniel because I thought his post was lacking...Daniel being white and jewish mattered to me that is why I brought ..

And no I don't agree with your myopic axiom that white privledge is white privledge regardless of religion/ethnicity.. You are so intent of being the noble negro in here at my expense your blind spots is destroying all of your vision..(Just for you in a chat forum I ran a spell check)..SO just answer my questions so far you are in retreat and deflection mode....I am moving on

Deb said...

He was so special a talent wasn't he?”

CD…Yes he was! And quite unlike the “jazzbos” to which fred c referred, Mr. Baldwin was no Herman Cain! He was, however, “absolutely present,” in both his life and ours, and “vividly clear” about that “Devil you know” – wherever it resided.

fred c…If I may ask, ”better off” than whom/what? Given our inauspicious arrival via the Trans-Atlantic, courtesy of the very same “Devil” to which you refer, I think it’s safe to say that Black folk have never, “felt” better off in America - unless you merely mean “materially,” which to me seems, a very “American exceptionalism” road to travel.

I think the answer to (Tanya's thoughts) is as complex and multi-faceted as the question itself, requiring some deep, “Who Are You?” contemplation (over and over again, as necessary!), coupled with some honest, “What do you really want and Why?” considerations.

Tanya…Oh Crap is right of course, throwing “American” into the mix definitely increases the “crappy treatment,” contrary to that whole “exceptionalism” thing this country keeps trying to sell both here and globally.

And while I totally get both his and CD’s rationale for staying - (though Oh Crap, the fine line between rights and privileges being perpetually blurred, I struggle with the “at least the same thing” for future gens - still. And I don’t know CD, adding that, what was good for the “Lockean” goose, certainly was not good for the “Native American” gander - the word Sisyphean immediately springs to mind!) - both you and Ank (thanx for your link! The Gambia?) hit upon a question that’s long been on my mind: “Why BE where one’s not wanted?” The answer again, is “as complex and multi-faceted as the question itself.”

Glad you mentioned Africa though. Seems most people’s ex-pat inclination is to first, think of Europe or Canada – both of their racial histories notwithstanding: http://apastdenied.ca/.

Africa, however, rarely seems a first thought - especially for kinfolk- due in large part I suppose, to that “distance deliberately created” by the slave trade (about which Baldwin so eloquently speaks). Not long ago, I found out for myself, in ways small and large, just how much, “drinking the proverbial kool-aid” of American exceptionalism IS actually “in us” (now I know why I’ve never used African-American as a descriptor!). I can kinda understand Liberia, given that’s what “The Great Emancipator” had in mind for all of us. But it’s a huge continent!

Of course other reasons, too, come into play, such as fear of the unknown as it relates to how/if one can work/live/get medical treatment, etc. – but I think the main reason kinfolk don’t choose Africa first, has to do with the fact that Black as we are, we are still Americans and this is all most of us know, or care to know. I think your “abusive husband” analogy is dead-on in so many ways (not only regarding emigration, but in relation to the Obama presidency as well!). It explains quite nicely the PTSD (post-traumatic slavery disorder) that haunts us here - no matter our level of success (which is absolutely relative, as the title of this post clearly indicates).

More and more though, I’m in agreement with Christopher Sharp’s "…many of us who posted today seem to accept that our present state of race relations is inevitable. Luckily, that is not always the case, though you sometimes have to leave the U.S. to see how it all could have turned out differently.”

And, we don’t have to necessarily “yield our American citizenship” to at least check it out - though I think it imperative that we yield some of our “Americanness!” (Christopher, though Belize was not a British “colony” in the typical sense, they did have slavery – some of them brought from Angola if I'm not mistaken.)

fred c said...

Deb: I have never been an "American Exceptionalist," and by "better off" I mean culturally and emotionally, on an individual basis.

My question is: where should American Blacks go for greater comfort, acceptance and prosperity? And it's a sad question, given that all of these things are compromised in America for its Black citizens. Africa, I'm afraid, is quite out of the question. Africans do not accept American Blacks as Africans, nor even particularly black. They even have a problem with the "shame" associated with having been a slave culture. Europe? You'd volunteer to become part of a Black Immigrant "problem?" I hear that Chile is nice, and not unwelcoming to immigrants (who can lavishly pay their own way), but would you honestly suggest that a Black American should abandon their culture for Chile? How about Brazil? Myself, I live in Thailand, and I may never go back to America, and it works out well for me, but I could live here for fifty years and become a full citizen and I would never be accepted. (Not in the cards at my age, just saying.)

American Blacks are fully-dues-paid-up members of a vast, vibrant and wonderful culture, and I mean your own mostly but also American culture in general, who are intimately familiar with the unique problems of being Black in America and are admirably well suited by nature, inclination and experience to deal with those problems. NOTWITHSTANDING the horrific nature of how you got to America in the first place or the daunting nature of the ongoing problems. So where would you feel better off?

Deb said...

fredc…Didn’t say YOU were, I said IF you merely meant materially, it seemed to me a very “American Exceptionalism” road to travel. Your answer clarified that was not “merely” what you meant.

We can agree to disagree but - as I watch my “culture” continuously being assailed by white folk, all while they simultaneously co-opt and then profit from it greatly, with little, if any of that profit “trickling down” or even at times, not being given credit for “from whence it came” and, with many of our youth being “emotionally” damaged, or worse – killed, because they “fit the description,” are in the wrong place/wrong time or do not strictly conform (while others don’t have to) - I can honestly say that on both counts, as a Black “individual” woman living in America for the past 55 years, I can tell you that I do not feel “better off” - either culturally or emotionally. But that’s just me (not a “melting pot” kinda girl – I prefer a “tossed salad” with each ingredient bringing their own distinctly different flavors to the mix, forming something really tasty and beautiful!).

”…where should American Blacks go for greater comfort, acceptance and prosperity? And it's a sad question, given that all of these things are compromised in America for its Black citizens.”

I can’t say where American Blacks should go. It depends on what one really wants out of life – and why. For me though, comfort and prosperity is relative. Having gone from a slop jar to a porcelain god – I think I can manage. Acceptance, however, is a different sticky wicket. I’ve no burning desire to be accepted where I’m not wanted - that’s just “tolerance,” and who wants to be just tolerated?!

”Africa, I'm afraid, is quite out of the question. Africans do not accept American Blacks as Africans, nor even particularly black. They even have a problem with the "shame" associated with having been a slave culture. Europe?”

Part 1:
We can agree to disagree as to whether it is “quite out of the question.” As I said in the comment to which you are responding - “I think it imperative that we yield some of our “Americanness” should one decide to go. And, while I totally agree that Africans do not accept American Blacks as Africans (also said as much in the comment), I’d beg to differ with your “nor even particularly Black” assessment. At least that has not been my experience. As for their “shame,” again, we can agree to disagree as that has not been my experience. What you call “shame” about slavery, I experienced as a “roiling anger” – at least in West Africa (the only part of the continent in which I’ve actually been). And no, since America is the spawn of that “the very same Devil,” Europe would be where I’d go on holiday – from Africa.

”Myself, I live in Thailand, and I may never go back to America, and it works out well for me, but I could live here for fifty years and become a full citizen and I would never be accepted.”

So it's okay for you to live in a country with which you have no shared history, but out of the question for Black Americans to go to Africa, with which we not only have a shared history (no matter how long ago it was) to include some cultural proclivities - but also shared skin color?? Don't follow that reasoning. No offense intended, but you look white in your picture and as a white guy, I can understand why you’d never be ”accepted” in Thailand no matter how long you stayed! Now if you were born and raised there, you might have had a shot! :-)

Deb said...

Part 2:

”American Blacks are fully-dues-paid-up members of a vast, vibrant and wonderful culture, and I mean your own mostly but also American culture in general, who are intimately familiar with the unique problems of being Black in America and are admirably well suited by nature, inclination and experience to deal with those problems.”

You don’t have to tell ME that! I think it is your brethren who need to get that through their heads! As for the “American culture in general,” I’d have to say that depends on the lens through which you view it.

And as “intimately familiar” as we are (and “admirably well suited by nature(?), inclination(?) and experience to deal with those problems” - not real sure WHAT you meant by that!) - I’d have to say that lynching or killing by other means (like being rolled over by a damned pick-up truck or shot to death while cuffed by a Bart cop! In the late 2000’s!); being either overtly or covertly disrespected on the regular; being abused by police; hoodwinked and bamboozled by a system that never meant to serve us and to which plenty of us ARE STILL trying catch-up because we were closed out for so long - all gets pretty old.

” So where would you feel better off?”

I didn’t know it before I went (that whole “Americanness” thing), but I do now - Africa.

Oh Crap said...

@Thrasher, you brought it up, why not just say why?

What makes you believe anyone is in retreat...from YOU? Rotfl.

Thrasher said...

Oh Crap...It is apparent YOU are becuase YOU are still posting about this....lol,lol,lol

fred c said...

Wow, Deb, thanks for your time, thanks for sharing your insights, and thanks most of all for the gentle handling.

I don't think that we have any real problems here, but I'd like to explain one thing re: "suited by nature and inclination . . ."

Suited by nature because, in my opinion, American Blacks are very intelligent and capable in every measurable way that I am familiar with. Not kissing ass here, it's just obvious to me.

Suited by inclination because, again, in my opinion and experience, Black Americans have evinced a genius for solving problems and enduring hostile environments. How else could I explain how the culture has not only survived, but thrived, for all this time? I have said it before, but perhaps it bears repeating: the culture of Black America is like someone who sat in a poker game for hundreds of years, starting with like no money, never getting the good cards, other players were cheating, etc, etc, and yet they're still in the game. It's almost like a miracle, the fabulous accomplishments of Black Americans over all this time, in spite of it all, and I'm not, repeat, NOT, talking about entertainment and sports figures.

Maybe I'm talking about you, Deb. You sound like an intelligent woman, and kind enough to be tolerant of a fool like me. You sound like you've made your way in this world. Maybe I just want you to stay in my country, because I think you make it a better place, and I'm proud to have you there. Even though I can't afford to live there myself anymore.

Deb said...

fredc…You’re welcome - on all counts. No, no problems here – as long as we, each are clear about where the other stands.

”Not kissing ass here, it's just obvious to me.”

Obvious to me too, but again, it’s your brethren, who have a problem getting that through their heads. Or maybe they DO get it - and that’s why they're so afraid.

”Black Americans have evinced a genius for solving problems and enduring hostile environments…and yet they're still in the game. .. It's almost like a miracle, the fabulous accomplishments of Black Americans over all this time, in spite of it all, and I'm not, repeat, NOT, talking about entertainment and sports figures.”

Yes we have… and yes we are (as much as one wants to be - in “the game”). But when those “hostile environments” won’t just damn die, there’s nothing else to do but survive - or die. And while there’s definitely plenty to be said for our perseverance as compared to others (given how long this shit keeps going on!), we’re neither more, nor less “suited by nature,” than anyone else for whom surviving and thriving is important. It’s the “nature” of human beings (entertainment and sports figures included)!

“…It’s almost like a miracle,” - but not, fred c. It’d take up too much space for me to tell you why not here, so if I may, and when you have time, I’ll let Mr. James Baldwin explain it for me - http://youtu.be/FzxAGuacm18 (this is only Part 1, there are 5, and I strongly suggest you “hear” all).

” Maybe I'm talking about you, Deb. You sound like an intelligent woman, and kind enough to be tolerant of a fool like me.”

I choose to survive and thrive, Man – on my own terms. And I am pretty intelligent, mainly because I understand that I don’t know everything. And I'm also kind (mostly). But one thing I am not, is tolerant – of fools or anyone else. I accept (or not, as is my choice) - because who wants to be just tolerated!

” Maybe I just want you to stay in my country, because I think you make it a better place and I'm proud to have you there. Even though I can't afford to live there myself anymore.”

Now that’s at once, selfish and magnanimous! And hell, with so much materialism-induced craziness going on around here, some of us can’t really afford to live here either! :-)

fred c said...

So Deb, it seems like we agree on everything, semantics and a bit of rhetoric aside. Thanks again for not finding more fault with me than you absolutely had to.

Deb said...

fred c...Anytime!