Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Do Allen West's Wife and Donald Sterling Have in Common? Racism and Housing Discrimination

White racists like Donald Sterling are racial piñatas. They are a fun and easy target. When people like Donald Sterling are hit and burst, a moment of public racial catharsis takes place. 

It is very easy for “good” people to chase the overt, cartoonish, white racist out of the public square on a rail. However, it is far more difficult to examine one’s own complicity with white privilege and white supremacy. The monster is easy to slay; the polite racist who looks like “us”, and behaves “politely”, is far more difficult to confront.

In all, exiling a white racist like Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy is a fun act.

It is harder to talk about substantive matters like structural racism.

Donald Sterling’s racist speech as recorded by his mistress is an easy targetthe white racist who limits the life chances of black and brown people by refusing to rent or sell them homes, or denying them mortgages, is a far more difficult topic for conversation.

American society is extremely segregated along lines of race and class. Unfortunately, both in the present and the past, there are people of color who have made a tactical choice to be complicit with the forces of white supremacy for personal gain. 

As Frederick Douglass so wisely observed, “power concedes nothing without a demand”. By extension, there are individuals who have have decided to surrender to it as a survival strategy and means of personal enrichment.

In that role, Tea Party darling black conservative Allen West is a human puppet for the White Right. He has embraced such contemptible and specious Right-wing beliefs as Birtherism, the Benghazi-fetish, and that white people are somehow “oppressed” in the Age of Obama. If Clarence Thomas is “the worst black man in the history of black people”, Allen West is in his orbit.

Allen West once bragged about being the only black member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang. Reasonable people would be ashamed to make such a pronouncement. Allen West thought it to be an honorable claim, something to be proud of.

Angela Graham-West is no different from her spouse. And like Donald Sterling, she has profited from practicing housing discrimination against people of color.

In support of Cliven Bundy, Angela Graham-West shared the following on her Facebook page:

When I lived in New York I worked at Clairol during the day in the marketing department of the professional products division. I had a great time and LOVED to go to work, but there was one problem........ I only made $38K per year. A real pittance in New York.... so I had to find another way to make money. I started an "apartment matching" business. In other words, I matched people with available apartments for rent. For that they paid me, in cash, 16% of the year's rent prior to getting a lease and keys. I soon made several times my yearly salary, still kept my job and loved it even more because I never suffered from the "short money" syndrome again. AND I met people.... 
My partner was a Chinese woman who owned the real estate franchise of ReMax and basically she told me "this is business and we are the color of green"...... most of the people you meet will "let down their hair" and reveal to you all types of "pettyfoggery" .... actually that was not the word she used but I want to keep it clean. And I found out quickly that the most liberal, ethereal, earth-shoe wearing, animal kissing, vegan, "people loving" liberal landlords wanted me to make sure that I did not bring them "God forbid": Blacks (they never pay on time), Puerto Ricans (they don't pay on time and are too loud); Indians (they pay on time but cook smelly foods), "mixed couples (too much trouble). AND because I have a tendency to never let anyone know what I am thinking...... they let their collective hair down, I stoically stared at them and I got plenty of clients. Everyday as I got into my apartment, there were at least 12 - 20 requests..... on the answering machine.
Angela Graham-West continues with:
There were "code-words" ....."I only want Americans"; "Angela, I love you BUT you are different"....etc... Italians wanted Italians - no Blacks or Spanish; Jewish were stratified by orthodoxy or non-religious as well as original geography; Not all Spanish are the same.... those from Europe are different from the Puerto Ricans or the Dominicans; Jamaicans don't want African Americans.....; Jamaicans don't want Haitians; Jamaicans don't like anyone; Africans don't like anyone but other Africans and so forth. You get the picture.... I complied and made a six figure living.
People have biases. PERIOD.
Angela Graham-West broke the law. And she profited, without consequence, from doing so.

White supremacy, in a manner akin sexism and homophobia, often has allies among those who are being oppressed and discriminated against by the in-group. Why? The material and psychological wages, a feeling by the perpetrators that they are “special” and “not like the other ones”, and the lucre that comes with such surrender, is very compelling for the weak-minded, vulnerable, and easily shamed.

Angela Graham-West is not alone in her behavior.

During the centuries of chattel slavery in the Americans, there were free blacks who would pretend to be the friends and allies of runaways in order to trick them for the purpose of collecting a bounty from white slave catchers. White real estate agents would often hire African-Americans to approach white homeowners, and tell the latter that “they were moving in to the neighborhood” in order to create panic selling-selling for the purposes of “blockbusting”.

Racism is prejudice plus power. Consequently, white men such as Donald Sterling are uniquely capable of racism in contemporary America.

However, day-to-day life is far more complicated than the above academic and scholarly definitions of racism. White supremacy can, and sometimes is, aided and abetted by people of color.

Black conservatives play that role in the post civil rights era United States. 

It would be an error of inference to conclude that because there are black and brown conservatives like Allen West, Herman Cain, Jesse Lee Peterson, Alan Keyes, Michelle Malkin, and Dinesh D’Souza, those who embrace white supremacy, that somehow racism is “everyone’s sin, and thus, no one’s sin at all”.

White racists such as Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have black and brown minions. The former are rational actors of a sort who are advancing their own agenda of maintaining white privilege (and its resources) for themselves (and ostensibly other white people) at the exclusion (and expense) of non-whites.

By comparison, black and brown conservatives are race traitors and mercenaries who, like their white conservative masters, are cashing a check with the full knowledge that people of color will suffer because of their deeds…and they do not care.

Black conservatives such as Angela Graham-West are complicit with white racism. The justification is a paycheck. Donald Sterling is an easy target for public outrage. Unfortunately, there are likely too many people of color like Angela Graham-West, on their knees, doing the bidding of bigots such as Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy.

If Sterling and his ilk are being driven out of the public square on a rail, their black and brown collaborators should be either under the train or near its engine shoveling the coal.


kscoyote said...

"Herman ‘The Train’ Cain, 2012 presidential hopeful and known affectionately as ‘Cornbread’ by many of his snickering fellows, noticed something strange after receiving a letter from GOP headquarters. The list for 2016 ‘potential candidates’ seemed to lack a certain listing of people:

Herman Cain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The RNC sent out a flyer to some of its members talking about potential 2016 presidential candidates. Do you know what they had in common? … ,” “They were all white.” Where was Allen West. Where was Dr. Ben Carson. And have they ruled out the possibility that I might consider another run?” -Herman Cain

Herman Cain is wondering why he was not asked if he may be running for president again and why he wasn’t included on that list. Dr. Ben Carson, a brilliant neurosurgeon who was raised on the street and taught everything he knows by a mother who was secretly illiterate, has somehow segued his career into posterboy for Fox News. Michael Gregory Steele, the guy who put the GOP back into power, is not even a blip on anyone’s radar.

Whatever happened to Allen West? Well, Cornbread, you answered your own question in the following video.

If you want to know the regard that many of your fellow party members have for you, then take a look at message boards where GOP/Republican commentators speak about Obama.

He’s nothing abut a no good mooching Kenyan-national, apparently. You cannot get off a ‘conservative’ discussion about Obama without his race and stereotypes based on that race coming up. And let’s not forget, say what you will about Obama, but he did attend ivy league schools, held a very lucrative career before going into politics, married a scholar, has a beautiful family and even has a dad who is Ivy educated, but then again, all that does not matter: he is black. It is sad, but America still has a long way to go in race relations, and very unfortunately, the GOP has many members who are not helping progress in that regard.

Here is Herman Cain with his moment of realization: "

Elly said...

That doesn't seem to be discouraging Ben Carson, if this is anything to go by:

joe manning said...

The redlining that Graham-West brags about is common business practice. As part of a campaign to desensitized the public the right trots out black collaborators who advocate Randian capitalism unbound by rules of fair play. Meanwhile the the GOP is busy writing white supremacy into law. The right has completely filled the vacuum on the left. Until liberals mobilize an activist base comparable to TP the juggernaut will proceed unabated.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

OMIGAWD! a sterling admission of racial discrimination as normal and good! and conservatives can't even see it!

chauncey devega said...

We all keep trying. Their ilk has always been with us. What is to be done?

chauncey devega said...

Of course they can see it. It is central to their belief system. But they don't "see it" because it is so normal to them.

chauncey devega said...

She was part of an old hustle and admitted to it. Proudly. And folks wonder why I hold black conservatives in contempt.

Nina Flowers said...

Their ilk will never go away and they exist in all different groups. Just like the black tribal members selling their own, all you have to ask of Herman Cain, Allen West, etc. is the same age old question. "How much?"

Cavoyo said...

Speaking of black conservatives, have you seen Corey Robin's article on Clarence Thomas? One of Robin's main arguments about conservatism is that its central figures have always been outsiders. Also, the article explains how Thomas fuses Black Power with originalist constitutionalism.

Sour Kraut said...

They see it all too well--but in their minds, redlining and discrimination are just common sense. After all, you wouldn't want any of "those people" living in your building, would you? Also, Graham-West had an opportunity to make a buck off of it, and her allegedly "liberal" boss told her to, which makes it all ok according to bizarro-world logic.
Me hate hot dog terrible! Me want another.

MaMu1977 said...

Quick note-angela west married her husband in 1989. If we assume (as logic permits) that her time spent in NYC was prior to her wedding, then $38K/year was far from a pittance. It wasn't "monthly shopping binges at Bloomingdale's" rich, but she would've been able to afford a decent outer-borough apartment, a full refrigerator and paid in full utilities + seasonal trips to the non-elite shopping venues of her choice.

Wait, I just saw the flaw in my statement. Would any of the other posters be willingto (or in the case of other New Yorkers, able to) elaborate on the flaw in her claims of "poverty"? It's one simple word.

gregzimmerman007 said...

NEWSFLASH: There are now blacks (Negroes, African-Americans) who are part of the KKK "white supremacist" group because they are so strongly anti-black; It's true.
In the beginning of the Democrat-formed KKK (ku klux klan) group, for a white person to become a member he had to kill at least one black person. Now, as far as I know, this doesn't take place (?)
Celebrations of these things as well as intimidation methods included the burning of the cross in some black person's family front yard while the members were wearing their white conical hats, masks and white-robed costumes.
But, to think that a liberal group could put something like this together SO long ago AND they STILL are not able to stop it proves to me that the liberals aren't looking for least NOT the right kind of change. They've never even been able to snuff out the KKK.
What else can't the Dem's do?