A poverty of expectations. Why racism did not end on January 20 2009.
I see racists as very different to systematic instutionalised racism. Especially those from poorer backgrounds. The cross burners, the tea baggers and many of their followers are often victims of very similar prejudices to racism. This is why they need to find someone to blame. The only help that a lot of these people get from the Government is hindrance so they expose their frustrations through hate.
Poor schools with a poverty of expectation.
Poor medical treatment.
Bad and or ineffective policing.
Unresponsive bureaucratic local government.
As candidate, this comment drew me to Barack Obama
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 they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that 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.
When Barack Obama made the “bitter” comment, for the first time a main stream politician got it. A Presidential candidate no less. Badly worded or not, the reaction of other candidates who misquoted it and used the misquote for political advantage, at the expense of the very poorest, the people they claimed to speak for proved why they were not fit to be President.
Racism did not end on January 20th. I have seen so called Liberal blogs and reporters claim this to be the post racial Presidency. It is not. In just the same way the election of Clinton would not have ended sexism.
The fundamental system of racism has not changed no matter where you look. France, Britain, the US. All that has changed is that the real power behind racism has been reigned in and controlled by Institutions. I would argue it is more powerful now as a result because you can highlight hate groups, hate sites, idiot racists, but you can not fight corporate racism.
A racist teacher may not express their hate, but they can start with a low expectation of you, so that if you are failing, it is not because something may be wrong, it is because well you were not going to achieve anyway. Thus continuing a racist meme.
January 20th did not make racists in the police dissolve into a steaming pile of dogshit.
The system can still red-line you, it is now just credit scoring, which when you start out is affected solely by the area you live. So your ability to rent or buy somewhere else is affected. You will not see signs that say no Blacks, Irish Jews or dogs, that existed in 1960s England, but the effect is the same. You are red-lined but it no longer called that and even better, it is International and largely unaffected by the laws of any one Nation. Too big to fail, but no individual is safe from being failed by the time they turn 18.
The Anti-Nazi League successfully defeated P*ki bashing in the 80’s. Yet, years later, in the name of 9/11 and the War on Terror, racism against people from the Middle East and Pakistan is now pretty much legitimised. Fox News does everything to demonise the Islamic religion. How much is said about the downright disgraceful proposal of Uganda? Could it be something to do with the dominanceof Christianity in Uganda?
A plane was flown into a Texan IRS building by a lunatic who owed too much in tax. Imagine the reaction if this murderous maniac had been an Asian or African Muslim?
as opposed to an angry white rich guy?
The different treatment of abortion terrorist Scott Roeder, who did kill and the nut who set his balls on fire and thus created a World wide over reaction is telling.
The vast number of anti Islamic internet sites being set up should disgust anyone who knows anything of Second World War history. Since when did it become acceptable to attack entire people based on their religion?
Why is it becomes acceptable for a tv news network to whip up fear and anger against a whole religion, on a daily basis? I do have to ask what lessons did we learn from Germany 1939. All to often, I think the wrong ones.
Institutionalised racism is rarely considered and never blamed. The poor still are. When the housing bubble burst many blamed the poor for the misfortune of being poor and getting kicked out to tent city. Why? Because banks were forced to end much of he blatant discrimination against black people. So poor blacks were being blamed for the housing bubble and few people screamed at the stupidity of that.
The initial sifting of job applications, names can be picked out, or the area you live can in can rule you out. Who picks up the discrimination?
Recreational drug laws that protect the two of the worst drugs, after all there is nothing wrong with big tobacco and the drinks industry, but will put people away in the real still legal form of slavery that is the prison system. In many States you then lose your right to vote and your chance of ever getting a decent job are severely curtailed because of a little weed.
Then there is the acceptable racism. People who defend food stamps (or their even worse cousin the pre-paid credit card, complete with high transaction fees), who argue social assistance needs to be restricted because the poor would just real money it on booze and ciggies. So everyoe else can be free, but the poor, of which many are ethnic minorities can not be trusted, they need to have their freedom to choose restricted and their last vestiges of dignity stripped from them.
The public are increasingly accepting of what would essentially be a whites only line at airports or “ethnic profiling” to give it the more acceptable name.
As for the President, is he being treated differently because he is black? I do not know, but I do not remember Kerry supporters demanding to see the birth certificate of Howard Dean. Nor do I remember George Bush being asked for his. I also seem to remember that the ONLY other candidate whose Church was used against them by another Democratic candidate was Jesse Jackson. The exact same tactics were used all those years later, with attempts to associate the then candidate Obama with Farrakhan.As if he is a monster.
Acorn existed for years in America. McCain when he was a once reasonable person spoke at their functions. Now Obama is elected, it is the most evil thing ever and has its hands on everything. Two rich kids with too much time on their hands should not have been able to get a Democratic Congress in a panic over a dubious tape.
Racists may be fewer in number, they are however be louder when all ganged up, however it is hard to give a fuck about people who hate you anyway. The ironic thing is, many of them are now part of the great suppressed. Institutional, systemic racism has not ended, it is still as pernicious as ever.
All of that however is just a part of what is faced by Barack Obama. He managed to overcome many obstacles, often placed there by his own Party, to become President. On top of all that is the beautification of Saints Hillary and McCain. They would have been perfect Presidents. The blue dogs would have folded, there would have been no division in the House. No divisions in the Senate. The deficit would not be there and full employment would have retuned on January 21 2008. They would have won more votes and seats than the record won by Barack Obama. Hillary would have ben the most Liberal & Conservative President ever. They could have taken down Goldman Sachs (why that bank and not others??) without taking down the whole banking industry. She wanted a no mandate with no mandate on health care. Saint Hillary would have been perfect.
I could go on, a lot of that is just simple jealousy. Their candidate lost. A lot is the bot syndrome that they accuse Obama supporters of. The bitter PUMAs (and they still, like the birthers exist in their own universe) do not see a politician in Hillary, they see someone who could have magically disappeared away the problems that they themselves have if she had been elected.
Regardless of who won in 2008, the problems facing the World today would not have been different.
People wanted change, they voted for it, but that change was never going to be instant. Politics is not like that. When you are in power in politics you realise how little you can affect change, it is piecemeal. Nothing is overnight. Small things can however make big differences. There are issues that can sideline your whole agenda. Yet too few remember that. 30 years of bad policy will not be changed overnight.
For the disappointed Obama supporters on the left, the problem I see is that many heard the stories put round by Fox, Clinton and Mccain, that Obama was the most Liberal Senator and they liked it. They wanted a left wing George Bush.
They believed it in part because he is black. They assumed all black Democratic politicians hold more radical views. They were surprised at his pragmatic approach.
The growing distrust of congress is often blamed on the President. However the President can not be to blame for a Democratic Congress that has spent the last year using the Republican Party as a way of imposing their own personal veto. From Stupak in the house, to Nelson in the Senate, they have decided that their own personal agenda is bigger and worth more than that of the President who got elected with 69 million votes.
The Democratic Party has forgotten how to govern. Just as Republicans did, they needed to get behind their President. Their failure to do so, could cost them dear. Divided parties lose elections. There is time to correct that but do they want to? It is far easier to oppose something than support something.
They either get behind a President who remains vastly more popular than they do and join him in taking small steps towards a better America, viewed as a friend not a foe around the World, or they hand back power to those who spent the last 30 years destroying every bit of progress America has made and whose only lesson from defeat was not to look at how to improve the Country but what could they do to move America ever further to the very hard right.