Posted by: nquest2xl | May 31, 2008

Oh Geraldine, why can’t you be true?

Geraldine Ferraro is in the news again and it’s not because of YouTube and the ever evaporating private moments for public people. No. She wrote her own script this time. Unfortunately, what she wrote, in the Boston Globe, isn’t any better than the “just because he’s Black” controversy that started her descent into permanent dis-credibility.

Of course, I have to loudly agree with Leslie Sanchez (in video below) when she notes how Ferraro has gone off the deep end.

But that was then (back in March) and this is now:

Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama’s historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you’re white you can’t open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama’s playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They’re not upset with Obama because he’s black; they’re upset because they don’t expect to be treated fairly because they’re white. It’s not racism that is driving them, it’s racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don’t believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory “Our Time Has Come” they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.

Now, I started to place more links in Ferraro’s statement but I’m a bit on irony overload. The projection and bs is killing me, so I’ll save my comments about the links and just focus on the last sentence. You see I highlighted the “Our Time Has Come” phrase. It’s something I just can’t let stand, the same way I won’t let Sen. Obama’s distortions regarding Rev. Wright stand. There is absolutely nothing in Obama’s victory speech after Super Tuesday that suggested that “their time had passed.”

“…there is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know. Our time has come. Our time has come. Our movement is real. And change is coming to America.”

That is unless “they” have something against the kind of “change” Barack Obama says he wants to bring which, ironically, extended well beyond rational proportions, IMO, to understand, excuse and accomodate the “divisiveness” of White resentment. First stop, Obama speech on race:

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.”

That’s there for the clowns who would try to pin Father Michael Pfleger’s all too apparent truth about Hillary Clinton on Barack and, worst, try to extend the idea beyond the individual (HRC) cited. Back to the speech:

“Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience — as far as they’re concerned, no one handed them anything. They built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pensions dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and they feel their dreams slipping away.”

By now, I know you’re wondering: what’s the difference between the Ferraro’s concern for “them” and Obama’s. Oh but worry you not, not one Ferraro stone will go unturned.

“And in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.”

Yep! It’s official. It’s an echo. I’m sure someone can still make the argument that Obama doesn’t “understands them and [ALL] their problems” but the anxiety about “their” passing time and the resentment thingy… He has that down pat up to and including the “reverse racism” issue Ferraro suggests is the concern for Reagan Democrats – her second flying fist in her 1 – 2 punch calling for an investigation of both sexism and racism she believes was all directed at Campaign Hillary. Oh but not to worry Reagan Democrats, contrary to Ferraro’s ironic citation of “just words”, Obama was, indeed, “making the case” for consideration of your feelings regarding reverse discrimination:

“Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition . . . yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns — this too widens the racial divide and blocks the path to understanding.”

Feel free to consult the full text, I just had to make the point: that Barack Obama has explicitly spoken and acted in ways to “make the case” Ferraro now insist he has to. And that’s just Exhibit A. In this silly season of gotcha politics, the knee jerk reactions that brought you the ridiculous attacks on Michelle Obama’s comments about how proud she was of her country also jumped the gun (no pun intended) during bitter gate. This is what Obama said, in context, that caused all the stir:

“Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government…”

That’s the context setting statement for everything else he went on to say.  Indeed, English and common sense says he intended and tried to make that very point about government betrayal and the skepticism with which voters treat politicians, including himself, because of the standard empty promises made over and over every election cycle:

“…the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…  And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I’m not done yet but I just have to point out the utter irony of Ferraro’s invocation of “reverse racism”.  What is that but “a way to explain their frustrations.”  No question mark, it’s rhetorical and, at the same time, undeniable (though some surely try).

Something else that’s undeniable is that Ferraro’s advice to Obama about the case he has to make to “these” voters doesn’t tell him anything he doesn’t know and doesn’t point to something he hasn’t done.  The problem is the part I left out of the last quote was where Obama pointed out how the jobs lost in rural, working class America were not replaced by either one of the Bush administrations or the Clinton years.   So, the idea of Hillary “35 years” Clinton being a champion of the working-class just doesn’t pass the smell test and Ferraro’s off-the-wall implication that Obama’s exclamation that “Our Time Has Come” is somehow a racialized view (because he’s Black, I guess) that excludes the White middle and working class people she is concerned about.

Simply, Ferraro’s projection of either her racialized mindset or her projection of what’s pretty much been the case the reverse reality of her “the Black man is going to shut White people out” fantasy:  that all too often, indeed by the very nature of American majority rule, African-Americans as well as other so-called minorities have not been treated fairly.  And such is the insanity of White anxiety about the scary prospects of a Black president to which one commenter on Prometheus 6’s blog noted:

These folks are convinced that black folks are going to dog them out and oppress them in the same exact way that they have dogged out and oppressed black people. And since none of them have a racist bone in their bodies or a racist sentiment in their souls, black folks’ secret plans to seek vengeance against them, which are being held in a secure vault at the headquarters of the NAACP, will be implemented within 72 hours after Obama is sworn in while holding his right hand on the Koran, are unfair and an offense against God and hardworking white people everywhere.

In addition, Obama and Michelle, who are both mentioned in the Book of Revelations, have been secretly transmitting coded messages to black people urging them to stockpile weapons in preparation for the day their one true leader, Louis Farrakhan, issues his final orders to kill white people everywhere. At that time, black folks will reach under their beds and pull out their family heirloom engraved cotton chopping knives, remove the sheaths and proceed to slaughter any white person they encounter.

Obviously, Ferraro hasn’t heard me rant up and down about Obama doing anything but reassuring African-Americans that he has equal concern for their issues and sensibilities as he does the sentimentalities and issues of Whites which he continues to place and “privilege” above African-Americans’, IMO.   And I’m not even close to one of Obama’s most ardent (and cynical) critics in the Black community who insist Obama not only won’t do much or anything for the Black community as president but, given his campaigns aura of post-racialism , will do much to harm Black progress (Obama as president means the end of affirmative action, e.g.).

Unlike them, I just call the fouls I see.  Not the one’s I imagine.  I wish Ferraro and whatever portion of race-paranoid White Americans she represents would do the same.

I typically differ from people who describe racism as the fear of the unknown but I have to concede the point here with a notable caveat (see below).  As I noted, African-Americans have had to deal with having their concerns treated as afterthoughts if not completely excluded in so many presidential administrations.  But, somehow, even the remote possibility of a Black president not treating Whites fairly (and calling it remote is being generous).

I didn’t know presidents get to choose their own Congress and I missed where Obama released his new list of an all Black cabinet, all Black house and senate and all Black supreme court.  Sorry, Clarence but you’d have to go.  The rumors of your blackness have been greatly over-exaggerated.  (Okay, I apologize; but it was funny.)

The way Geraldine Ferraro talks, you’d think Obama whole campaign staff were wearing black berets and holding up the Black Power fist at every rally, press conference, etc.  So, really, this is more than just the “fear of the unknown.”  It’s the fear of the lack of comfort and confidence:  since the beginning of the republic, White Americans never had to worry about any threat to their collective advantage in this society no matter what their exaggerated claims about affirmative action suggested.  And that’s the issue here:  Ferraro et al don’t even want to have to question whether White people will ultimately and always benefit (like they have with affirmative action) when a policy issue comes down along racial lines and all the way around.

The truth Ferraro just couldn’t speak in her revealing op-ed is, ironically, how Whites do feel entitled.  The fact that she felt she, of all people, could preach to Obama about the case he has to make is proof of it.

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Responses

  1. Another description of the Geraldines (Ferraro and all the folks that think like she does) anxieties and how it most definitely was an attack on the Black church and more:

    Afrocentricity has long been a dirty word in America. Its very utterance conjures up images in the minds of many white folks of a mob of wild eyed, spear wielding, black militants storming the village and pillaging and ravaging everything in sight. This fear has been exacerbated by the controversy over Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his “Afrocentric Liberation Theology.” Not to mention the pictures that “mysteriously” started poppin’ up in email boxes, a few weeks back, featuring the senator decked out in his Kenyan garb.

    Could it be that the worst fears of white Conservatives are being realized and the Obama presidency run is really just a front for a well thought out revenge plot to “get whitey” that has been clandestinely planned in the back rows of cotton fields and the back rooms of barbershops for the last 400 years?

    More at No Warning Shots Fired! from TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

    And done started something…
    (see new GENERATIONS thread)


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