If I was a professional wrestler, my bio would read "from Connecticut by way of Chicago". "Parts unknown" always makes for an intriguing origin story--rest in peace Ultimate Warrior.
I would like to begin the week with a question. In a recent interview with ABC, Attorney General Eric Holder told the truth about the role played by white racial resentment and racism in the White Right's opposition to Barack Obama where he said how:
“There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."The readers' comments in response to Holder's statement are boilerplate "colorblind" conservative racism: they follow the tired, but still very revealing script, where white racists use racist logic and speech to deny that they are in fact racists.
Movement conservatism is a white supremacist ideology. Its adherents and advocates are unable to reason outside of that framework; white supremacy is their normal and foundational assumption about the nature of empirical reality. Moreover, white conservatives become extremely agitated and rageful when the role of white supremacy as a unifying ideology for their political belief system is exposed.
Religious fundamentalists act the same way when the concept of God is challenged as a childish myth and fantasy. Contemporary conservatism is a cult where white supremacy is one of the godheads. Both rage at their heretics and those others who are non-believers.
This is not the first time that Holder has stated some plain and obvious facts about how the election of a black man to the office of the President of the United States of America has caused a racist fever state among Republicans and Tea Party zealots.
Eric Holder is a "race man" who is more willing to tell the direct and raw truth relative to Obama's more restrained, "politically correct" and (too my eyes) pragmatic and tolerant (in the worst way) political personality. Holder was not elected; Obama has had to navigate the pressures of reelection. Those dynamics have guided how and to what degree both are willing to talk about white supremacy and white racism as the raison d'etre of conservatism in the post civil rights era.
On this point, Politico's very revealing and sharp examination of Holder's tenure as Attorney General suggested that:
But there’s another explanation, and according to the two dozen current and former Obama administration officials and confidants of both men I’ve spoken with in recent weeks, it may well be the main reason the first black president of the United States has stood so firmly behind the first black attorney general of the United States: Holder has been willing to say the things Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t say about race.
“He’s a race man,” says Charles Ogletree, a longtime friend of Holder’s who taught and mentored Obama and his wife, Michelle, as Harvard Law School students in the 1980s. “He’s gone farther and deeper into some issues of race than the White House would like, but I know he has the president’s well-wishes. It’s clear [Obama and Holder] believe in the same things.”
Holder himself recently told another African-American friend that he feels part of his job is “to talk about things the president can’t talk about as easily.” Asked to describe Holder’s role, one of his former top aides described him as “Obama’s heat shield.”There is a paradox at the heart of white racial resentment and rage at Barack Obama and Eric Holder.
Obama has done remarkably little to directly improve the life chances of Black Americans. Eric Holder presides over a prison industrial complex which disproportionately and unfairly incarcerates black and brown people. The White Right should be clapping at the relative lack of racial progress during the last few decades, and Obama's essentially conservative, center right approach to the politics of race in the United States. They instead to choose to hate the United States' first black president. The symbolic politics of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America are too much for those who are psychically invested in whiteness to accept.
Why is Eric Holder finally telling the truth about deep union between white conservatism and white supremacy in the Age of Obama? Is he the mouthpiece for Obama's private frustrations where both men are now thinking about their historical legacies as "race men", either real or perceived? Or is Eric Holder trying to goad and provoke the bigots in the Tea Party GOP into an overreaction, one that will further reveal their white supremacist allegiances?