Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama Didn't Play the Race Card on Trayvon Martin--He Played the History Card

President Obama spoke at the White House today about the Trayvon Martin case saying that 35 years ago, he could have been Trayvon. He said what he had to say diplomatically, making this salient point:
. . . [W]hen you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that -- that doesn't go away," he said.
That last part, "that [it] doesn't go away" seems to be lost on many people enjoying the fruits of white privilege and sometimes even on black people enjoying economic privilege.  History does not go away and wounds with associated memories do not fade unless a healing takes place. America is far from healing from the wounds of racism because too many Americans who have benefited from the oppression of black people would prefer to think the wound will heal by ignoring it. They forget that ignoring a deep wound generally leads to infection and infection spreads.

Already, political conservatives are fighting mad over the president's comments, but as I tried to express on Twitter today, their objections prove racism against black people clearly still exists. The evidence of white privilege becomes more apparent when the POTUS is attacked for sharing his own experiences as a black man in America. Even his voice is discounted, and the objections make it more obvious that the default for human citizen, especially powerful leader, is still considered to be white in many circles of power. There the experiences of those who are not white are considered unimportant, deserving of censure.  Could it be any clearer that conservatives are still smarting over America voting in an African-American president? The criticism swells most when he acknowledges his blackness.

But, God! I'm bone tired of blacksplaining.


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Conservatives are again calling the president the "Racist in Chief," according to reports. How ignorant is that?

I've addressed this kind of ignorance before as well as the verbal shenanigans of more clever racists in a 2010 post, "Define Your Racist: 12 Examples." I should go back to that post and add a Number 13: "The person who calls the president a racist because he acknowledges his own black experience while addressing the killing of a black boy is a "blackflip contortionist racist." But again, I'm tired of blacksplaining. Who has the time? I'll leave it to the people who get paid to do it such as Melissa Harris-Perry. I'll defer to a paraphrase of something she said here, President Obama doesn't have to play the race card here. He can play the history card.

Anyway, I think the supposed conservative leaders who are calling President Obama a racist for discussing historical racism know better. They just don't care because they want this nation to implode. Remember some of them have said of this POTUS, "I hope he fails." They hope, perhaps, that such an implosion, such failure, will give a rebirth to white supremacy as law. At least, that's how it looks from the black seats.

1 comment:

kushibo said...

The first conservative I heard from about this was mocking Obama's comments that he himself could have been Trayvon Martin, so I was not holding out hope that it could be a bridge.

But several other conservatives I know went out of their way to comment that it was "actually a pretty good speech."