Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kitchen Sink Racism

Barack Obama needs to duck quite often these days as the kitchen sink is thrown at him from every direction. Big mouth right-winger Bill Cunningham using his middle name as if it were his middle finger and that nutcase GOP representative [which one?] in Iowa warning of al-Qaeda dancing in the street. Speaking of big mouth GOP-ers, Rush Limbaugh telling the Republicans to switch over to the Democratic primary slate to vote for Clinton. Twenty-five percent of the white Mississippi Republicans [read: racists] did just that on Tuesday. Add to this the Oklahoma bigot and the comments of both Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro and the result is that Obama has been dodging bullets from all sides for the past few days.

Reminds me of the black young adult male walking down a street in a 'good' neighborhood who has to 'justify' his presence in 'that' neighborhood. Were it Ottawa Hills, the cops would have already stopped and questioned him. He shouldn't be in that neighborhood, you know. Safety and all. You know how they are and you know perfectly well what they are up to. Why don't they stay in their own neighborhoods!

Racial profiling, I'm afraid, is alive and well all across America. We're not ready for one of those to become President. Up here in Northern Ohio I've lived with racial prejudice all of my life. It took quite a lot of prodding to have my mother use the term, blacks, rather than 'colored people' in her references. She said the word oddly just to show us that she dislike the term. My father, dead now for nearly 40 years used the n-word, although not maliciously, if that can be imagined. That was his word for 'them.' My uncle used 'pickaninny.' Charmingly rude and bigoted.

My wife and I taught tolerance to our children and so the family use of terminology abruptly changed with their generation and the next one too. My grandchildren do not categorize the children in their school by skin color which is refreshing.

Nonetheless, there are very many Americans my age and younger who see skin color as a barrier to housing, employment, social standing, and politics. Right here in Toledo we elected our first black mayor in 2001. He served but one term before the citizens voted in the previous white and quirky mayor once again. The city's reputation and financial situation has suffered greatly through that bigoted decision by the voters. His popularity now is in single digits.

Toledo's county, Lucas, was the only county with a large city that did not give the edge to Obama. Folks in the white suburbs preferred Clinton and/or followed Rush's Republican mandate to give her a 52 - 47 edge in the primary. White voters came out in heavier numbers than black voters to counter the black central city vote.

Subtle racism abounds here in Ohio and in Pennsylvania especially as the hard economic times continue to eat up jobs and savings. Scapegoat-ism rears its ugly head not unlike it did in Germany in the late 30's. Lower class whites have traditionally targeted blacks for the ills of society, because, except for the illegal Mexicans, blacks endanger their 'way of life.' Pecking order.

I expect this race issue to continue through these next ugly primary weeks as Pennsylvania approaches. What did I hear about that state? Blue in Philly and Pittsburgh and Alabama in between!

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