Sunday, March 11, 2012

Derrick Bell Fallout (Continued): Fighting for the Full and Equal Rights of Black People is Most Certainly Anti-White Racism

In full hazmat suit and knee high waders, I have been picking through the cesspool that is Breitbart conservative Right-wing demagoguing regarding the late Derrick Bell and his "relationship" with President Obama. For folks who are familiar with Dr. Bell's work, were lucky to have met him, been mentored by him, or know anything about Critical Race Theory and Critical Legal studies, the idea that he is some type of dangerous, fire eating, anti-white bigot radical is a joke.

But then again, the vicious efforts by conservative white populists to smear Barack Obama by any means necessary have never been about the world of facts or reason. If the coverage on Fox News and throughout the Right-wing mediascape is any indication, the hug seen around the world--when Dr. Bell and Obama embraced during a rally at Harvard some twenty or so years ago--was the equivalent of a matter anti-matter explosion for the white racial frame.

Ultimately, as Brother Malcolm pointed out years ago, there is nothing more threatening to the White racial imagination than an educated black man. Two of them hugging (accomplished, brilliant, dignified, and professional) boggles the conceptual framework and cognitive map that Whiteness uses to navigate its social reality. Rapscallion and troublesome negroes such as myself cannot help but love such upset, anger, and confusion. Whiteness is so powerful; yet, it is so very precarious.

There are several right-wing websites that maintain an enemies list of evil, dangerous professors and "intellectual types." In a manner akin to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of these sites even maps out the nefarious networks of the Political Left who are undermining American society. I kid you not. There is something menacing about such lists, even if open source. Thus I must ask: why keep an "enemies list" if you are not going to do something about the people included in such a compendium?

In their propagandizing the latest manufactured controversy about the usurper President Barack Obama, several conservative sites have circulated a list of Dr. Bell's racial crimes and grievances against Whiteness. These "bigoted" and "hateful" screeds, which Barack Obama is also guilty of through the ideological osmosis which occurs via hugging, include the following:
  • “Despite undeniable progress for many, no African Americans are insulated from incidents of racial discrimination. Our careers, even our lives, are threatened because of our color.”
  • “[T]he racism that made slavery feasible is far from dead … and the civil rights gains, so hard won, are being steadily eroded.”
  • “[F]ew whites are ready to actively promote civil rights for blacks.”
  • “[D]iscrimination in the workplace is as vicious (if less obvious) than it was when employers posted signs ‘no negras need apply.’”
  • “We rise and fall less as a result of our efforts than in response to the needs of a white society that condemns all blacks to quasi citizenship as surely as it segregated our parents.”
  • “Slavery is, as an example of what white America has done, a constant reminder of what white America might do.”
  • “Black people will never gain full equality in this country. … African Americans must confront and conquer the otherwise deadening reality of our permanent subordinate status.”
  • “Tolerated in good times, despised when things go wrong, as a people we [blacks] are scapegoated and sacrificed as distraction or catalyst for compromise to facilitate resolution of political differences or relieve economic adversity.”

I agree with every one of these statements. I guess I am a dangerous "radical" too.

Here is where the divides of life experience, training, vocation, and upbringing as influenced by the colorline are most revealing: I do not know many black folks who would not take Dr. Bell's claims as givens...if not anti-climactic. I also do not know many people of color generally, and few white folks, who would also not take such observations as basic for anyone that has studied American history.

There is a great irony here for those of us who appreciate Dr. Bell's sense of humor, and share his belief in the ability of speculative fiction and storytelling to highlight deeper truths about power, society, and politics.

Consider: Breitbart, a wicked and rageful white man creates controversy from beyond the grave about a black man who is President who had some peripheral relationship to a "radical" black professor who has the Vulcanesque power to mind-meld with all he touches. Conservative minions and yellow journalists--who are being willingly manipulated by the dead puppet master's spirit--then discover a secret film called The Space Traders (which was hidden in plain sight on HBO). In a twist worthy of The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man," Space Traders is actually the key to understanding Barack Obama's deep hatred of white people and his plot to enslave them.

Fate is a trickster. Professor Bell is likely laughing at these (very predictable) Right-wing shenanigans and related foolishness from beyond the grave. He couldn't have written a better story about the permanence of white racism, and how even in the post-civil rights age, Whiteness damages the ethics, morality, and cognition of its owners and signatories.


Abstentus said...

When I met Professor Bell, back in 1988, he basically recruited me into the conspiracy. And what was that? To fight institutionlized racism in America, which has morphed, and stubbornly made itself more intractable, by shapeshifting into something less obvious than a lynch mob.

But shifting gears to the rednecks like Breitbart, and his minions, and Mrs. Palin, who dared call Bell racist in her appearance on Hannity last week, they really don't care how little their arguments make sense. I believe what I call the more redneck faction of the right wing are doing what ever they can to hold on to the last bits of white privilege here in the USA. And they are willing to go to any insane length, and say any deranged thing to advance that fight. And that is of course including calling a racist, one of the top three civil rights litigators of all time.

It not only makes no sense, but is a total inversion of reality. But then again, they haven't been too enamored of reality for some time now.

Like I said elsewhere? What is next from these damned right wing rednecks? Calling P. Obama a racist for reading King's,"Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Oh. One last thing. I saw that vid of the slimly editor from saying that Dr. Bell and King were not spreading the same message. What the hell? If he had not been shot down in the prime of life, and like Bell, lived to see the 1970s, and 1980s, and 1990s, I am pretty much sure he would have come to many of the same conclusions, about how legal remedies only get us so far. And that there is something deep, wrong, and wicked in the USA's soul, when it comes to the white power structure, and the rest of us.

CNu said...

vicious efforts by conservative white populists to smear Barack Obama by any means necessary have never been about the world of facts or reason.

How about the critical mass of fact-based reporting by leftist progressives;

Is Barack Obama a Fit Role Model for Black Youth?

I have argued from the beginning that the “first black presidency” of the deeply conservative Barack Obama is a detriment for black America and the cause of racial justice. The case for this officially counter-intuitive position has rested on the observation of four problematic developments predicted by a few of us on the seriously anti-racist left.

First, Obama’s ascendancy provides millions of white Americans with what they take to be final proof for their flatly false belief that racism no longer poses relevant barriers to black advancement and racial equality in the United States. The existence of a black president is the last nail in the coffin for many whites when it comes to “proving” that blacks owe their position at the bottom of the American System to their own individual and cultural inadequacies and failures.

The pattern of American atrocities in wartime

In spite of theboasting of former Vice President Dick Cheney that he personally approved and authorized torture, the Obama administration has refused to indict him – even though he has violated US law. Others who participated – the lawyers who justified it,the officers who covered it up – have been granted similar immunity. In short, these guys are getting away with it – so why shouldn’t the grunts? When the rule of law is relaxed so that the elites can literally get away with murder, why should anyone expect their underlings to be on their best behavior? A fish rots from the head down.

I have the sinking feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this American horror show, while – under the pretext of “fighting terrorism” – we act out our sadistic fantasies all over the world. As these outrages against human decency and morality provoke worldwide revulsion at the perpetrators, perhaps one day we’ll go looking for “terrorists” in the vicinity of a mirror – and see ourselves for what we’ve become.

CNu said...

Rapscallion and troublesome negroes such as myself cannot help but love such upset, anger, and confusion. Whiteness is so powerful; yet, it is so very precarious.


rapscallion and troublesome negroes?!?!?!?!,

The moral rectitude of Blackness as a benchmark for idealized and aspirational Americanness - has been damn-near bankrupted by the Hon.Bro.Preznit.

The host of racial apologists who have critically failed to hold his feet to the fire have only further attenuated an already insolvent brand.

While Breitbart was surely concocting some thin and pathetic political gruel because he was evil and that's what evil gnomes do, your polemic is even less substantive and nourishing than his because you're supposed to know better.

Genuinely "rapscallion and troublesome negroes" can not and would not lend their moral and cultural capital to this presidency...,

chaunceydevega said...

@Abstentus. You didn't know that Dr. King was a Reagan voter and a Republican? Where have you been?

@Cnu. Where you been lately? You were missed. Maybe I just wanted to use "rapscallion" in a sentence?

Anonymous said...

Do not judge someone by the color of their skin but by the character of their heart. Is your conscious of sound character? Do not blame society on your or anyone else's limitations of successes and achievement. And do not look to govenment to correct past wrongs. Everything in this life begins with your own choices. Be right by your commitments, care for your family, neighbors and community. Children need a safe environment to grow and love should be the example to put forth not hate.

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon. How childish. I do hope you are kidding.

weirdbeard said...

Your statement can only hold water in some white-washed utopian pipe-dream in which no historical/social/political/racial/economic/gendered/class/etc. reality exists. You are farting in a plastic bubble of white-privilege, huffing your jenkem while donning prophetic airs. You have hosed the room with a trite echo talking point through fetid breath without examining the tic-tacs of knowledge laid before you by those with experience grounded in contextual reality. Partake of their mentos of mentorship.

Anonymous said...

I have much love and respect for Professor Bell for a number of personal reasons.

What is also revealing about the critics of Professor Bell is that many of them are white jewish pundits and intellectuals.

This attack by white jewish intellectuals against Black scholars and Black activists is not new of course but it is also present in appears whenever Black icons emerge on the public stage and in the public square.

What troubles me is that Black pundits always gives these bigots a pass. Why?