Friday, July 24, 2009

Breitbart!!! *shakes fist* [Please, No Lightbulb Puns]

Hello, beloved readers. Did all of you see Andrew Breitbart's appearance on Real Time w/ Bill Maher? [Yes, I know it was in March, but that's beside the point]. He had the misfortune of having to argue with Bill Maher and author/genius Michael Eric Dyson1. I won't comment on who fared better in the discussion. The video speaks for itself.

Let me first state this perfectly clearly: there is absolutely nothing racist about the song "Barack The Magic Negro." The song is based on a paragraph or so from an LA Times opinion article by David Ehrenstein. It's a satire of racial pot-stirrers and opportunists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and, like the article, speaks against the use/embracing of the "magical negro" archetype by guilty white liberals (GWLs). Of course, I can see how a person might think it inappropriate for Paul Shanklin to impersonate Al Sharpton. ["You're out of your element, Shanklin. The racial-tension-exploiter with the funny haircut is not the issue."] After all, what authority does Shanklin have on Sharpton? Do black people in general have the obligation to recognize the moral authority of any white conservative in matters of race? I strongly believe that one needs to have [i.e., earn] a certain amount of credibility with others before s/he can tell them anything with authority. Otherwise, what's stopping the target from saying "You don't know me, motherfucker! STFU!" That is why, when Prop 8 was passed in California, [white] people generally protested at Mormon churches instead of black churches. They thought that they would have more moral authority among people with whom they shared more similar life experiences. Also, the $25 million that the CoJCoLDS [which for some reason retains its tax-exempt status!] donated to the Yes on 8 cause seems slightly more significunt than the 5% of Californians [or something like that] who happen to be black who voted for prop 8. Also... white people protesting/picketing outside of a black church? That wouldn't look right. That is what those who were critical of the Mormon church-protesters simply do not understand.

Breitbart asserts that the worst possible accusation you can level against a person in Amerika today is the charge of racism, because it affixes a Scarlet Letter on a person who is "guilty until proven innocent" and the charge is very difficult to disprove. I believe there is a lot of merit to Breitbart's assertion. But let's be clear on this. Racism nowadays isn't as obvious as it was in the past. No longer is it "get these niggers out of the pool!!" Racism in Amerika today is a lot more subtle. For example, is it racist that black people tend to be pulled over more on the highway than whites or that blacks and Hispanics tend to be arrested on drug charges at a higher rate than whites even though drug usage rates are the same across the board? I think that even if it's not the intent, the result is certainly "racist."

Further, is it racist for Rush Limbaugh to claim that "the advancement of colored people" is sometimes based on the desire of GWLs to see minorites succeed rather than actual accomplishments? I actually think that Rush has a legitimate question (even though in the case of McNabb, it was an assertion rather than a question). I certainly believe that everyone should be judged according to their merits. But as Dyson said, it would appear that, since McNabb did succeed so greatly in his own right, perhaps race was not the reason for the accolades so many bestowed upon him. Let us remember the "glass ceiling" there had been on black quarterbacks for so long that has only [relatively] recently been broken.

And hey. Don't even get me started on the crowds at last year's McCain rallies and the tea parties or certain jackass stunts performed by the elephants during the last election season. You can't tell me there's nothing racist about the Obama food stamps or the "little Hussein" Curious George doll.

On the other side, there is the aforementioned Magical Negro archetype. The most blatant example of this is Michael Clarke Duncan's character John Coffey from "The Green Mile." This is a terribly racist movie. "Oh yes, let's turn the functionally illiterate negro into Jesus titty-fucking Christ. That'll play great in San Francisco!" There has never been a more literal take on the magical negro archetype in any movie I can think of. And what happens? The white guy learns some sort of lesson and gets miraculously cured of dick-infection but is "cursed" with the affliction of having to live for a long time, while the black guy is executed for no reason. No, that's not even the most racist part. At least there's some kind of point to that [yes, the death penalty is bad. We know]. The most racist part is that Duncan's character isn't even a real person! He's more angel than human being. The prevailing theory is that these characters exist so that [some] GWLs can be assuaged with the knowledge that they are not racist without the burden and inconvenience of having to deal with actual black people who may have flaws, etc. Of course, I have no idea how accurate that is.

There is also, as Dubya put it, "the soft bigotry of low expectations," though it can be potentially difficult to distinguish from the simple realization that the system has been gamed in favor of those who have always been running it and that it's not enough to simply say "Everything is equal now, so what are you complaining about!?" This was the subject of Pat Buchanan's last appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, and her subsequent correction of his gross errors.

The problem I have with Rush Limbaugh is that, yes, even though there are those who still see everything in terms of race even though it's not the best explanation for "how the world works," Rush too often accuses people of "seeing everything in terms of race." In my opinion, overuse of the accusation is just as bad as the "crime" itself. On top of that, let's be frank, Rush Limbaugh is clearly an opportunist who is not above using any racism his listeners might have in order to get them riled up. I would assert that this is, in fact, the purpose of his overuse of the accusations I mentioned.

Breitbart: If you're reading this, let me say that I am honored. Let me further say that I'm not quite as sensitive as Dyson was to things like "code words," so I can't really help you there. In case you're wondering, I'm Hispanic, but culturally, almost entirely "American." The only deviations in my upbringing from the "norm" were that we often ate "Mexican food" and my mother would sometimes watch Spanish-language soap operas. My parents both speak Spanish, but they never really taught me. :'( I did not have the good [depending on who you ask] fortune to grow up around a lot of black people, so black-white relations was never one of the top issues I had to deal with.

EDIT: More racism from McCain supporters and/or Obama opponents. [Yes, I'm sure there may have been as much ignorance on the other side. I will definitely post it if given a link.]

1Why is this guy's name so similar to "Myles Bennett Dyson" from Terminator 2? I've always wondered about that.

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