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Saturday, September 26, 2009

You may be a racist if . . .

I am sick to death of hearing any criticism of Barack Obama being attributed to racism. Jimmy Carter attributed Joe Wilson's exclamation of "You lie!" (during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congresss) to racism.  That inappropriate outburst couldn't possibly have been a reaction to Obama's words, could it?  After all, if Hillary Clinton had been the one who'd said it, Wilson certainly wouldn't have called out, right?  Oh, wait--that would have made him a sexist, which he probably is, since he's a racist.  So we have to think about Bill Clinton.  If Bill Clinton had been saying the exact same words Obama was, Wilson wouldn't have yelled out.  It's only black and possibly female presidents at whom such outbursts would be directed.  White male presidents never endure such attacks.  Just ask George Bush.

I'm very conservative and have never voted for a Democrat for president.  But all of a sudden, I didn't vote for Obama because he's black.  I never saw pictures of Clinton or Bush for sale in a department store, but now, when I see pictures of Obama and express my disbelief while rolling my eyes, my friends shush me and motion toward a nearby black person.  Good grief.  It's not like I'm saying, "Can you believe they have pictures of a black man on sale?"  Hey, ten years ago they could have had tons of pictures of Barack Obama on sale, and I wouldn't have paid a bit of attention.  Well, other than to wonder who this person was whose picture was apparently worth buying.

Why wasn't Kanye West accused of racism?  He jumped up on stage, took the microphone from a white girl, and then praised a black girl.  Why wasn't that racist?  Instead of calling him a racist, people rightly called him a moron.  (Well, that's not the word most people use, but I don't use words like "jackass.")  So why is Joe Wilson a racist instead of a jac moron?  Considering West stole the moment from a white girl in order to elevate a black girl, I'd say that comes a whole lot closer to racism than does the criticism of a black president from a member of the opposing party.  But from what I've read, no one has called West a racist.

The hypocrisy of this whole racism thing kills me.  I remember during the election, on "The View," Elisabeth Hasslebeck asked why race should matter, why it shouldn't be just the person's views, record, experience, etc.  Whoopi Goldberg told her that that was a white person's point of view, that Elisabeth, as a white woman, couldn't understand what it felt like for her, as a black woman, to be able to have a black president.  That would have been fine and dandy if it weren't for my suspicion that Whoopi wouldn't have been singing that tune if Alan Keyes had become president.  A black president proclaiming that sex outside of marriage is wrong, that homosexuality is wrong, that abortion is wrong--somehow, I don't see people like Whoopi Goldberg jumping for joy because Alan Keyes, a black man, had become president.

There's a large percentage of black students that attend the college in Georgia where I teach.  A couple of them I had several years ago got bent out of shape because I said something about Black English.  I informed them that I hadn't coined the term, that it referred to a particular dialect of English, and I essentially used my linguistic terminology to diffuse the situation.  But lately, I've had a number of black students who've been raised to believe that no one is treating them a particular way because of the color of their skin.  These kids don't have a chip on their shoulder, and we can carry on conversations about race and dialects and black vs. white hair and anything else.  I walked in on an argument once in which some of the white males were saying that white people don't riot.  That was an absurd statement, of course, but the three black girls were reasoning with them (no mean feat) rather than taking their ludicrous remarks as a personal affront.  In my linguistics class this semester, one girl said that when she moved from Texas to Washington as a child, she got stomachaches when she went to school because all the kids made fun of her accent, and it upset her tremendously.  I moved from Georgia to Wisconsin as an adult with an M.A. in Hispanic linguistics, and when people would say things like "It's 'pen,' not 'pin'" (in the South, those words are pronounced the same way), I would respond, "Lower mid front vowels don't precede nasals in the southern dialect."  That always shut them up, of course, since no one had a clue what I'd said.  But the point is that I was intelligent and educated, and I had no reason to feel inferior to anyone.  Many of my black students are experiencing that now.  They're intelligent, they're educated, and they don't have any reason to feel inferior to anyone.  Because they don't feel inferior, they don't make assumptions that someone has treated them a particular way because of the color of their skin.  And isn't that better for them and their attitude and self image even if there are some jac morons who do treat them a certain way because of the color of their skin?

7 comments:

  1. this is hilarious

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  2. I think Kanye West is a butthole. and Barack Obama is a terrorist in disguise. thats not racist. i just don't like either of them :) i love kat williams though :)

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  3. This was hilarious. I come from the totally ooposite end of the political spectrum, and even I am tired of hearing people blame things on racism, not to say that it doesn't exist anymore, because it does. I know many people that would have voted Obama if they had not seen him first, which brings me to a proposition. Maybe, to shut everyone up, we should stick politicians in bags untill the day of the election results, that way no one could "cry wolf". This is not to say that we shouldn't acknowledge the fact that he is the first of another race to be elected, because this is progress within our society considering we had to impliment things like affirmative action so that people of other races could get jobs. As we all know affirmitive action should have a blog unto itself.(over compensation to balance out the descrimination and what ammounted to supression of others). I close by saying that some things are racist, and the problem still exist, but not nearly to the extent that it use to be which means it's dying out. So if we move on, hopefully the lamenting will soon quiet, and once they realize that it is the lamenting that is keeping the beast alive, hopefully they will cease to do so.

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  4. If you really want to see something funny, you should youtube alan Keys at the debates. Never seen so many people not care what someone has to say.........

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  5. i believe that some people use the term "rasicm" as a crutch so they can make people feel bad from them or since they don't know any better it's the only thing that they know. now i have been subject to racism on many occasions while visiting my cousin while she was at college in alabama but to be quite honest i found it to be quite amusing

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  6. What does "Lower mid front vowels don't precede nasals in the southern dialect." mean?

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  7. It means that in the south, when there's an "e" that comes before an "n" or an "m" (nasal sounds, because air flows through the nose), we don't pronounce it like the "e" in "pet." Instead, we pronounce it like the "i" in "pit." So "pen" and "pin" sound alike in the south, "ten" and "tin" sound alike, etc. People not from the south like to correct us and tell us that we're pronouncing the words wrong, but if you tell them that lower mid front vowels (the "e" in "pet" is a lower mid front vowel) don't precede nasals in the southern dialect, that shuts them up and makes them realize maybe you aren't so stupid after all, even if you are a southerner!

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