I underestimated just how nasty the residual racism in this country was. Hell, I think just about all Obama supporters did. I underestimated less than most because I was convinced that this would make arguments about affirmative action difficult. I thought it would be tough around the watercooler to explain how the president could be black but people needed help getting into a first tier law school. Ya know?
I kinda thought that would be it. Maybe a “he’s a n—–” joke here and there. But I didn’t really think that in the post-9/11 era that so many would so blatantly disrespect the man because of his race.
There was a lot of disrespect of Bush. Because he was a Bush. Because he was stupid. Because he “won” by the skin of his teeth and governed like he won by acclamation. There was even disrespect because he was from Texas. But if you think that the right-wing animus against Obama is driven by these same circumstantial facts (and which circumstances) alone, you’re just closed minded about it.
I thought that while we certainly never properly remedied the legacy of slavery, and while equality under the law was not the same as equality in fact, that America had more or less come to terms with the fact that we were them and they were us, so to speak. Can you imagine American culture without the contributions of America’s blacks? And of course, our history largely turns on the fate of the African slaves. Even if they were on the losing end of that history too much, there were marches forward that were clearly an inspiration to the entire world.
Not that I believed in patting ourselves on the back too much. Bragging about how much I love Miles Davis and how important Martin Luther King was—or how awesome we are because we elected Obama—doesn’t help a star-crossed family in the delta.
But I soooooo underestimated how much of that was racial. I thought it was racial in that it had a disparate impact on different races, but that the cause of it was poverty. When you’re a Gen-Xer and you see what used to be banana republic levels of economic inequality metastasize over your life, it’s easy to attribute that to most or all of our social ills.
It’s silly because the evidence is staring us right in the face. The sort of pointless game we play with homophobia is the same. We pretend that the opponents of things like gay adoption, gay marriage, and not criminalizing gay sex have some kind of good faith point about how these “changes” will “impact” society. We all know they are full of shit and just hate teh gay, right? I mean, we ignore that and pretend it’s a Very Serious Debate, but we know it basically comes down to: is the weird feeling you get when you see two men kiss on TV the political hill you want to die on or not.
We’ve been over this. There’s no harm that will come to anyone (other than that weird feeling) if gay couples can do anything straight couples can. We know that. It’s really just about some kind of reptilian aversion people have.
I always knew that. But what I guess I didn’t know was that people felt so tribal about blacks as well. Really, since the early 70s decision stopping busing at the city limits, people have more or less self-segreated into some kind of equilibrium (ok: whitey left town). So, this went away and people pretended to be nice, but I guess they didn’t get over it.
Nope. Not when some bullshit website written by a bullshit pundit whose only recognizable feature is his bullshit bowtie can send some inbred lemming into the White House press corps to heckle the president. And some people—even at ABC News—can act like this is semi-normal journalism.
Now, if I haven’t implied this image yet: can you imagine this happening 10 years ago? Why, if Kos or Josh Marshall had done that to Shitrub, they’d be in Gitmo waiting to get their anal prolapse repaired by now.
America: please call bullshit on these people now.