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Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Blather about Obama's ascention meaning the end of racism

Oh, boy, here we go again, another AP writer telling us how Obama's election to the highest office in the land means the end of race as the primary organizing principle in our society.
"Obama victory opens door to new black identity" shouts the headline of the article by JESSE WASHINGTON, and the article starts with "Shortly after leaving the voting booth, 70-year-old community activist Donald E. Robinson had a thought: 'Why do I have to be listed as African-American? Why can't I just be American?'

The answer used to be simple: because a race-obsessed society made the decision for him. But after Barack Obama's mind-bending presidential victory, there are rumblings of change in the nature of black identity and the path to economic equality for black Americans.

Before Tuesday, black identity and community were largely rooted in the shared experience of the struggle — real or perceived — against a hostile white majority. Even as late as Election Day, many blacks still harbored deep doubts about whether whites would vote for Obama.

Obama's overwhelming triumph cast America in a different light."

Don't get me wrong: I'm happy as can be that Obama won. I know that his election is a great milestone. It is a sign of how far we've come. But as long as we live in the school and residential segregation we are in, as long as the prisons are filled with black men sentenced 100 times as stiffly for their crack crimes as whites are for their powder cocaine, etc.--Mr. Robinsons can call and think of himself however he wants, but the majority of whites, at least, in this society are still gonna see black first, American later.

Another part of the article got under my skin: "Certainly racism did not disappear after Obama's white votes were counted. No one is claiming that black culture and pride and community are no longer valuable. Many also dismiss the idea of a "post-racial" America as long as blacks and other minorities are still disproportionately afflicted by disparities in income, education, health, incarceration and single parenthood.

But white groups that once faced discrimination, such as the Italians, Jews and Irish, have moved from the margins to the mainstream. America debated whether John F. Kennedy could become the first Catholic president; now that's a historical footnote."

Another tired old comparison of blacks to white ethnics, as if the same route of assimilation and absorbsion into our mainstream society is open to blacks.As if Italians, Jews and Irish were kidnapped, packed like sardines in the hole of a ship, sold as property if they survived the journey, bred like livestock, lynched with impunity, considered more ape than human, etc. Besides that, perhaps assimilation like the Irish would be a BAD thing for blacks, basically a selling of soul for a piece of pie. Anyway, I thought an AP writer would know better than to bring up that argument/hope. Guess I'm naive.

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