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Racism Is Over! Maybe? Or Not.

February 22, 2009

party-hatNow that we have a black man as president in America (wait, isn’t he equally white? no matter …), it appears that racism is over! Yea! Woohoo!

Breaking News! Apparently in January the unemployment rate for whites rose to 6.9%, while the unemployment rates for African Americans rose to 12.6%.

But how can that be? I’m sure if I think about it I can come up with an explanation that renders this statistic irrelevant somehow; just give me a minute to think …

In the meantime, check out this blog satirizing the “racism is over” nonsense:

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2009 4:05 pm

    You would have had me in total agreement — except for the “wait, isn’t he equally white” bullshit. I have heard that line way too many times from people trying to downplay and trivialize the racial implications of the 2008 election. It’s such a superficial and misinformed thing to say, even in a throwaway comment, that it infuriates me.

    As you either know or should know, the “one drop of blood” rule has historically been the defining and governing principle of race in America. Yes, Obama has one white parent. But if you’ve ever made even the slightest acquaintance with any similarly biracial person living in the United States, you will realize that no one treats them as anything other than black. Race is cultural and not genetic. This is something I have a hard time believing you don’t recognize, and if you do recognize it, then that line is nothing more than a superficial cheap shot.

  2. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    February 22, 2009 4:39 pm

    I agree that racial identity is cultural and not genetic. I didn’t add that throwaway line to dismiss his identity as black or African American but to draw attention to the social construction of those identities—although apparently that was completely unclear.

    I’ve raised the issue of Obama’s racial identity in my classes to draw attention to just the things you mention. Why the one drop rule? Why not have a one drop rule for whites? Why do we identify everyone who isn’t pink-skinned as opposite to white? What are the social effects? Who benefits and who does not from the way we distinguish between or categorize racial identities?

    You said: “But if you’ve ever made even the slightest acquaintance with any similarly biracial person living in the United States, you will realize that no one treats them as anything other than black.”

    EXACTLY! Which goes to show that the one-drop rule and it’s vestigial remains benefit people who look white and puts others at a disadvantage.

    Again, I added that throwaway line just to peel the corner off that can of worms. I’m sorry it came across as dismissive of the racial issues.

  3. February 22, 2009 10:03 pm

    Point taken, although I still can’t see what the point of the remark was. I’ve heard too many people saying, “Hey, look, Obama’s not REALLY black anyway! He was raised by a white mother! Why is everyone making such a fuss about race here?” — as if saying this amounted to some kind of iconoclastic, anti-PC challenge to conventional liberal racial pieties. As if there were such a thing as “really black,” outside of the social construction of blackness. On the face of it, I have a hard time reading your remark in any other way, even though I realize that’s not what you meant.

    Otherwise … like I said, I agree.

  4. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    February 23, 2009 6:36 pm

    I think the way you read my comment is how most people would read it; I’m glad you pointed out how it comes across–I’ll be more sensitive to that in the future.

    The last thing I would want to do is to dismiss the relevance of race in this context.

    Did you see this over at AlterNet before the election?:

    http://www.alternet.org/rights/98915/what_privileges_do_mccain_and_palin_receive_because_they%27re_white/

  5. February 27, 2009 4:14 pm

    Yes, I saw that. Great piece by Tim Wise.

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