Friday, August 15, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Amerika

Eugene Robinson's most recent column for the Washington Post is "Obama Faces The Smear Machine," and I highly recommend it to you. I was moved enough to write him a note of appreciation, and rather than restate what I wrote, please allow me to simply quote my own letter here:

Mr. Robinson,

Thank you for writing your piece on Jerome Corsi and his ugly way of feeding people's fears. I am glad to hear that the unfortunate lessons learned during Mr. Kerry's campaign are being readily applied in the rebuttal of Corsi and his ilk's bullying tactics.

Although I'm not as wild about Mr. Obama as most of my friends, I appreciate he and his team's continued efforts to maintain a positive approach to this campaign, and it is the highest likelihood that he will garner my vote in November. Too long have the people who both understand how, and are willing to manipulate the System to control people's hearts and minds for personal gain been in control of this country. As Frank Herbert said in Dune, "Fear is the mind killer." Indeed.

I believe that Barrack Obama scares a lot of Americans (especially White Americans) because of the suspicion (fear) that he has some hidden agenda borne of racial divisiveness. Rubbish. I honestly don't believe he wishes to visit some pogrom on our heads. Where would be the value, especially to a President in doing such a thing? I am far more fearful FOR Mr. Obama than OF him, given the self-empowered mad dogs in our current society.

Apply Occam's Razor to Mr. Obama and you get an obvious answer; he's an idealist with energy and vision enough to (hopefully) stay the course and make some real differences for the good in our country. Oh right, and he happens to be Black, too.

Although no one could quarrel that race is a decided factor in this election (and pervasive throughout our day to day lives), I continue to witness McCain's camp "play the race card" with just enough subtlety to slide past most peoples' notice. I haven't seen nearly as much evidence of Obama playing that card, though certainly it crops up there, too. The problem is, race is an issue for almost everyone in this country.

I am a middle-aged White woman who has lived all over the world. I was married to a Chinese man, and have been girlfriend to Black and Brown men. I don't consider myself a racist, per se, but I certainly recognise that I have erroneous stereotypes and ideas that affect my thinking.

Race is a political and social construct, and doesn't exist, biologically. I've researched my genealogy fairly thoroughly, and although I appear very White (blond with green eyes and pale skin), I am actually an lovely blend of Native American, Northern and Southern European, Black African, and Russian. If I receive blood from a "Black" person, what visible (or invisible, for that matter) difference has it made in me? The truth is that race was invented, and originally organised by the Catholic Church, for the purpose of giving power to white people, thus legitimizing the dominance of white people over non-white people.

Don't believe me, though. Use that grey matter and do your own research! I recommend a terrific paper written by the Western States Center on this subject.


Bobby_2010 said...

While race may not exist biologically, it does indeed exist in the realm of social interaction in our America. I mean the fact that folks look at me crazy when I use English the way it was meant to be spoken, is enough to convince me that race IS INDEED a real thing in this country. BUT I totally agree with your point about the biological irrelevance of race.

Els said...

Oh, absolutely. I have been both on the receiving end of racism from black colleagues and witnessed the ugly behaviour, so I am too aware that racial b.s. DOES exist. And I don't know to pull the teeth of the monster but through the slow but (hopefully) steady growth of education. Too many people still believe that race IS biologically relevant.

And I haven't beGUN to talk about the importance of compassion and tolerance (aka Love). That's a subject for another day.

Thanks for being such a wise soul in such a young body.