Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jeremiah Wright was right

I have been trawling through responses to Obama's brave speech on race, and my eyes and my soul are aching. Reading the hateful, vindictive ignorant comments by many white Americans both Republican and Democrat condemning Obama for, well, being black, I realized something: Jeremiah Wright is right. A significant proportion of white Americans (which is where all the vile, disgusting racist comments have come from) *ARE* hateful, vindictive people who believe all brown people are disgusting and should be exterminated.

Oh sure, they hide it behind the "code words", but look, people. I grew up in the segregation-era South. I know *ALL* the "code words" for, "uppity niggers need to know their place." I remember when the bigoted Italian mafioso who was our police commissioner burst in through the doors of a black church at the head of a mob of horseback-mounted stormtroopers, marched up to the pastor, and pistol-whipped him while shouting "I ain't havin' no memorial service for no goddamn commie nigger like Martin Luther King Junior in my town!". I remember when the cops went through "nigger-town" going "nigger-knocking" (busting in the heads of any black person they saw outside their home) and laugh about "man, did you see those porch monkeys run when they saw us coming?". I've had a cousin of mine talk about how she moved out of the projects to a trailer park because "there's too many niggers in the projects" (and this is a woman who barely graduated 6th grade and is cracker trailer trash all the way -- and this was in 1995, folks, not 1955). I've had my property manager call me in a panic because a black man wanted to move into one of my properties, and when I asked him what the problem was, he wailed "but he has a white girlfriend, it just ain't right!" and this was 2005, people, not 1925. I've seen racism and bigotry and hatred up close and personal, and not yesterday either -- today.

Where I, and Obama, disagree with Jeremiah Wright is the notion that it has to be this way. People, give up your hatred, your ignorance, your bigotry. We are all, in the end, human beings. We can do better than this. We can be better than this. Obama laid down the gauntlet: Continue the hatred, continue fighting each other, continue the lies and spitefulness, or join together and make this a better nation. What is your choice? Sadly it seems for most of those who have posted, they choose the path of hatred, lies, and evil. That is sad. That is too, too sad. We can be a better nation. If you choose. If you choose.

If you choose.

What is your choice, America?

-- Badtux the not-so-snarky Penguin


  1. I must say, I expected more snarkiness from you. I think this was a great speech, possibly his best, but the effect of reading about it on liberal media is close enough to suger poisoning. Et tu, Penguine?

    And a personal question, if I may: how old are you? You speak of growing up in the segregated south, but you're a high tech person. This makes you a rather rare specimen.

  2. He has my support, I could care less what color he is. We need something better in the white house than white trash.

  3. I grew up during the civil rights struggle although I was in the north in a very integrated suburb of NYC. Mom always had the news on in the kitchen and they were always talking about "negro protests" in the south. I distinctly remember asking my mom what negroes were and she told me that they were colored people. I still didn't get it and then she pointed out which ones of my playmates were colored. I think I remember becoming suspicious of "them" because of the news programs. You know, that the negroes were disrupting everything (but I didn't know anything about racial segregation first hand.) Mu suspicions didn't last though as I grew older and befriended the militants in the cause, bleeding heart blonde that I was. There was indeed racism in the north too, it wasn't quite so overt, but it was surely there and my childhood playmates didn't have all the opportunities I would have simply because I was white. Their daddies didn't have jobs that would afford their families the lifestyle that I had. I didn't notice that stuff until I was a bit older. But then again I became aware of all the sexism against me because I was female.

    Isn't it interesting though that as a kid, I hadn't a clue that there was supposed to be a difference between black kids and white kids. To me we were all kids who met in the school yard down the block to play... and play we did. Not a care in the world except that we better not be late for supper. It would have been nice we could have just grown up that way... everyone just being equal, no fear, no suspicion.

  4. one very telling moment for me came while i was an undergrad at ASU. i was walking to class one morning and was waylaid by a fetching young thing who was mightily concerned about the injustice and oppression that was happening in south africa under the aparthied regime. she went into great detail about the cynicism and blatant racism of the "homelands" which were nothing more than concentration camps to keep people out of the larger society and ensure that they, as a people, would never be able to enter the mainstream and benefit from the nation's economy. i was enjoying myself watching her perky little nubbins play beneath her perfectly snug t-shirt and let her wax poetical and shit. then i spoiled it all by pointing to the north and saying:

    drive 350 miles that way. what you are describing sound just like fucking home to me.

    i was moved by obama's speech. i was impressed by the way he didn't dodge or skirt the issue, but instead tried to elevate the discussion.

    he can count me the fuck in. i want to give him a chance. it's about time we had somebody in the white house who doesn't look for the simple answers.

    iichá yaa hizdah
    chich'ii bitsen yénaldi'ih

    (the axe forgets
    the tree remembers)


  5. Badtux,
    Could you do us afavor and list some 'code'? I',m unfortunately familiar with "urban, those folks/people" but might miss others. I'd really like to know more.


  6. Yossi, yeah, as I explained in my previous post, snark simply eluded me. It's as if the next head of the largest party in Israel stood up and was brave enough to say that everybody, Jewish and non-Jew, was human and should give up the hatreds of the past and work together to forge a better nation. Obama just touched the third rail of American politics -- race -- and did it in a way that breaks major taboos in American politics while remaining on-message with the same fundamental message he's had since day one of his campaign. It was a masterful speech, yes. But you probably lack some cultural background to understand just how brave it was.

    As for how old I am, well, let's just say that I grew up in one of the last states of the South to have occupation troops withdrawn after the American Civil War, that the segregation era in my home city ended in 1975 when the public parks re-opened after being closed after a federal judge ordered them to be de-segregated (the city fathers said "we aren't going to have niggers and white people swimming in the same water, it just ain't right!" and closed every city park after the desegregation decree came down in 1971), and that my state had the first Computer Science department in the nation in an era where computers were widely viewed as "just a fad" and were covered by a couple of courses in the EE or Maths curriculum by most schools. Odd state. Produced a lot of us odd birds. We all moved away as swiftly as we could flap our little wings and fly, of course, which is why there's just losers and old people left back there now...

    Sad to say, looking at the reactions from ordinary folks (not from liberals), my perception is that Obama may have just wrapped up the Democratic nomination, but our next president will be John McCain. People just don't want to give up their old lies, their old hatreds, their own bigotries and ignorance. The slogan on Orwell's Ministry of Truth -- "Ignorance is Strength" -- appears to be the slogan of vast swathes of the American public. So it goes. So it goes.

    - Badtux the Not-so-snarky Penguin

  7. I just interviewed just such a fellow, who wrote a book basically blowing up Zionism. (Basically, he's exploring that very large historical hole, the non-expulsion of the Jews). And the man is an old professor, came back to Israel from France to write this book, and not only nobody listens to him but he has a reason to fear for his academic position and possibly life.

    You simply do not tell Moroccan Jews they are Berbers, Yemenite Jews that they are the descendants of an Arab tribe, Polish/Russian Jews that they are, um, Turkish-Hunnish, and that the whole "Jewish people" thing was a terrible mistake and we should unite with the gentiles living among us without making yourself plenty of ignorant enemies,

    So, yes, I think I do understand. And I think our next PM will be Bibi "the liberals have forgotten what it means to be Jewish" Netanyahu - and that your next president will be Obama.

    Because, call me a romantic, but there is simply no fucking way you people would elect someone who can't tell the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni in 2008 .

  8. These are the same people who have enjoyed eight uninterrupted years of their every idiotic lamebrained notion being sanctioned by their equally lamebrained idiot Resident. It's tough to give hatred like that up, you know?

    It's simple. Whenever you hear someone say that they WOULD support Obama, but they FEAR that he "lacks experience," what it really means is that the thought of a black man being in charge scares them to the depths of their very soul.

    I don't come from the Deep South, but I was born and raised in Indiana, so I consider myself to unfortunately be a bit of an expert too on the topic of racism...


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.