Sunday, November 30, 2008

The audacity of reality

Today's Washington Post has a good essay that points out the very obvious reality that Barack Obama is mixed, not black.

I've caught quite a bit of shit from progressives for making the same point. Of course it's true that racists use that fact to help justify their continued hate and ignorance towards non-whites. It's his white half, they say, that makes him smart. Well, it's true that racists are ignorant assholes but that's no reason for everyone else to deny reality. Obama really is mixed, not black.

Personally, I detest the entire classification of humans based on our ancestry. Who gives a fuck about hue and recent genetic origin? People with fucked up priorities, that's who.

I also find it interesting that so many progressives seem unable to comprehend the possibility of progress, at least in this area. I'm always told that reality-based analysis that shows the unmitigated idiocy of the concept of race is irrelevant to the poor African descendant pulled over for driving while black, or otherwise the victim of racism. Oh hi. Scientific reality is not irrelevant. It is the antiquated notions of race that enable the racists. Progress is embracing and promoting reality, not making excuses for those who refuse to do so.

The rules of journalism require the post to balance an intelligent article about race with an opposing one, so here is the answer from a nice, fucked up woman that speaks for all too many progressives:

For me, the goal has never been negating race through colorblindness -- to do so would take a healthy discussion of existing racial disparities off the table. My aim is not for us to be post-racial but to embrace our cultural heritages while refusing to be confined by them.

I've barely recovered from the epic campaign that led to President-elect Obama, so it's a bit early to be thinking about how cold it will be in Iowa come December 2011 or what the crowds might look like. It's safe to assume that Obama's coalition will somehow be altered by the power of the presidency. Perhaps by the time 2011 arrives, the country will have become less racially stratified.

I hope that by then, we will find that an auditorium of white Iowans cheering on a black, Asian or Latino presidential candidate is commonplace. I also hope that in that auditorium, race and ethnicity will remain valued aspects of our identities, not forgotten or homogenized for the sake of some vague notion of post-racialism.

Note three things. 1. It is now commonplace for white Iowans and people from every other state to cheer a (perceived) minority candidate. Fuck, they even voted for one by the millions, and 2. Ethnicity will always be a part of people's identities and no one is saying otherwise. Race, however, is not even real and it's fucked up for anyone to want it to be a part of his or her identity. Even more so to push those fucked up values on other people and 3. What the hell does any of that have to do with taking the goal of fixing existing disparities off the table? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.