Saturday, May 24, 2014
Conservatives don't merely refuse to acknowledge the points you make (excellent points, by the way): they acknowledge their legitimacy, but their response is to turn them around and deliberately try to sabotage them. For right-wingers white outrage is the gift that keeps on giving, a propaganda bonanza that allows them endlessly to conflate race with crime, violence, etc., all the while distracting their base from real-world problems that would cost the GOP their votes. They are excited to accuse anyone who objects to this particular tactic of "playing the race card." Over the last half century in particular, the Republican Party has chosen to betray the nation profoundly in race matters, ripping us away from what have been several brief opportunities for an authentic racial reconciliation, one beginning (and, alas, ending), sometime in the mid to late 60s. They could have taken a different direction: instead, they deliberately chose to lob the cultural equivalent of a concussion bomb. So what we got in response to a breakthrough in civil rights legislation--a semi-serious attempt to undo harm and restore comity--was Nixon's Southern strategy, and its cold calculation to play to white outrage, white sexual jealousy, and outright white paranoia on matters of race. It played to these things with a ferocity that tilted the Solid South from a Democratic to a Republican stronghold practically overnight.
The Southern strategy was conservatism's comment on the civil turmoil, on the murdered and tortured martyrs who suffered and died for the right to vote. It was their comment on the bombed little girls in their church dresses and their Sunday shoes, on the hangings, the shootings, the whippings, the burnings, the spitting and screams of racial ugliness, the searing, endless humiliation inflicted on those who simply sought a place at the table, a job, a seat in the schoolroom, a decent place to live. This kind of demagoguery was conservatism's comment on the slaughter of Dr. King, too. Somehow, in a pattern that's become horrifyingly routine by now, Republican tacticians played a game of sleight-of-hand in the aftermath of that murder that left Republican voters fuming and nodding that yup, sure enough, once again, somehow, white folks were the real victims. Nixon and his advisers looked at all those turbulent moments in history--as later Reagan and his advisers, and then both Bushes and their advisers would look, too--and only saw an opportunity to pick up the votes of the rabid white haters by cheering them on, by blaming the 'liberal media,' by romanticizing southern culture, by gibbering about welfare queens, by reviving Gone With the Wind for the umpty zillionth time, by blaming drowned and shot and starved New Orleanians for not escaping their hurricane-wracked city, by doing and saying whatever it took.
Similarly, the right's response to Mr. Obama's victory revealed an absolutely foul racial pathology lodged deep in the right-wing mind. Instead of allowing the nation to celebrate even for a moment what was actually an historic and important event that should have been joyous for us all (as the civil rights legislation of the 1960s should have been)--instead of standing up as a loyal opposition and saying, Mr. President, we will fight hard and fair on policy, but first we would like to congratulate you and this great country for this incredible moment--instead of any of those sane and decent things that people of conscience would have done, the right orchestrated a bizarre, grotesque, incredibly racially-coded campaign full of Kenyans and birth certificates and 'You Lie!' along with despicably vicious personal attacks on the First Lady and the two little girls. They launched it long before the president's inauguration and they kept it running around the clock, 24/7 without let-up for the next two years, culminating in their 2010 'landslide' and the frenzy of gerrymandering and voter-suppression legislation that ensued. There's nothing too small and mean for the right when it comes to race matters. Racializing is what allows them to keep their base angry and active and intact, and they've become terrifyingly good at it. They are actually in the process of evolving a whole new kind of "white identity" that, while based on the old Southern model, absorbs a lot of the craziness of post-Reaganism too--the bizarre repudiation of climate theory and other scientific knowledge, the growing frenzy of Christianism, the cult of 9/11, the gun cult. But race continues to be their most powerful weapon. They would lose most of these people overnight if it weren't for their constant racialization of every social, economic and cultural trauma this country has experienced for several generations. One example much in the news of late because of things like bankruptcies and carjackings: for years, Republican tacticians have gleefully persuaded their base voters to believe that cities like Detroit and Gary are dying because they are majority black and Democratic-governed.
It's a twofer, from their perspective (kind of like the way they're now trying to turn the VA scandal into an attack on any kind of health care reform) In the mind of any Republican voter--and this tells you everything you need to know about the minds of Republican voters-- these bizarre and distorted and unhistorical claims, completely unpinned from reality, make sense. Ya can't argue with 'em. These are surely "facts." Of course, you cannot persuade a Republican ever to open his mind. The thing simply cannot be done. Therefore, you can't show them the history of how industrial cities are born and flourish and then die. You cannot cite, say, the broken, ruined (and white-occupied) cities of the Industrial Midlands--because Republican voters don't know history except from John Ford movies and Glenn Beck novels. Not knowing their own country's history, still less do they know other people's. They don't know how things work--all they know is the bumper-sticker slogan some talk show host has substituted for actual knowledge. So when it comes to these very topical stories, Detroit and Gary and suchlike, you can't break through all the slogans about what happens when black folks and "The Democrat Party" blah blah blah. You cannot show them the dreadful economic ripple effect that began when the corporate boys and the big money boys basking in profits from autos and steel (and the odd government bailout, and massive tax advantages and accounting games) realized their profits could escalate into the stratosphere if they just they retooled their technologies and offshored their workforces, killing the jobs in the process (a workforce is a messy, costly nuisance). Republican voters don't understand about accountants and MBA types working out glorious algorithms, the end result of which is to kill those costly pensions that men and women had worked for all their lives doing dangerous, dirty work.
It was a strategy that started rolling out in earnest in the 1970s and really got going with the rise of Reaganism. Eliminate the jobs; kill the pensions; destroy the tax base; leave the infrastructure to moulder and rot; let the storefronts die, because nobody has money to buy anything all of a sudden; leave nothing behind but scraps and ashes for the people who can't get out and find work elsewhere--who are, these people, overwhelmingly hardworking black folks descended from the great Northern migration, getting the last-hired-first-fired treatment once again without warning. Then there's the coup de grace; all that's left in Detroit is a bunch of broken buildings and a lot of out-of-work black folks and a few desperate Democratic politicians who don't quite know what hit them, and now the talk show types can get to work in earnest, screeching, See what happens when you let black people have nice things, like a nice good old industrial city. In the end, the white workers who were also so profoundly betrayed see it the way Roger Ailes wants them to see it. They don't blame the corporations or the money boys for their dead cities and their vanished pensions--they blame black folks. So it goes. On to the next generation.
-A Wise Person
skilletblonde • a day ago
The white male as victim may have began with the Bakke Case in 1978. This would coincide with the election of Reagan. The culture of wrath was resurrected. Reagan encouraged hatred of the poor, the disabled, your neighbor, your family, and yourself. In other words, Everybody! There is no doubt in my mind that right-wing ideology, with it's rigid, heartless, suffocating policies, is the harbinger for the violence in America. On August 19, 1983, during the throes of Reagan's Voo-Doo Economics, the Post Office mass shootings, or "Going Postal" began. On August 21, 1992, there was the shootout between white supremacist, Randy Weaver, and the FBI, USMS, and ATF. This helped to stoke the flames of anti-government. Hollywood as usual, decided to capitalize on the white man's angst by pandering. On February 19, 1993, they released a movie starring Michael Douglas called, "Falling Down". He portrays William Foster, a middle-aged Defense Engineer, who is laid off from his job. A number of small things happen to Foster, as he tries to attend his daughters birthday party. He basically snaps and goes on a violent rampage. His retribution is not taken out on the systems that caused him to lose his job, but a convenient list of racialized scapegoats. Approximately, 3 weeks later on March 29, 1993, Douglas appears as Foster on the cover of Newsweek. It was titled "(WHITE MALE PARANOIA - ARE THEY THE NEWEST VICTIMS-OR JUST BAD SPORTS?. Now there was no doubt white men were victims, because Hollywood and the media says so. Now take that! What you saw then spreading across the country like a virus, was the continuing rise of Rush Limbaugh and right-wing radio in the 1990's.
When Bubba Skanks Clinton signed the Telecommunication Act of 1996, that enabled the conglomeration of the radio airwaves. White Male Was Done Wrong- And He Hates Everybody- was on about 1200 stations in America. With the amount of hostility and rage that these radio hosts spew, it's a wonder the whole country isn't in flames. After all, violence has always been a reaction when white males have been wronged. Previously, they could massacre native Americans, or lynch black people with no consequences. I daresay that these Mass Shootings typifies exactly what they used to do. You can see it on a foreign policy basis as well. Just like they would falsely accuse black people of a crime to justify lynching, they will falsify crimes to justify war. Crimes like having weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, communist threat, or ruthless dictator, are all used to bomb, pillage, and rape developing nations- whose only crime is not being able to fight back. Moreover, what is absolutely perplexing to me is these men's hatred of government. The U.S. government was founded by, and for, the glorification and prosperity of white males. The entire society is built for their consumption. Television, movies and the Internet were built with their intellect in mind. Television, movies, etc., that claim to be for African Americans or women are usually produced by white men.
The truth is,and you know it, at the core of the anti-government sentiment, is the familiar spirit of racism and sexism. The government about 40 years ago tossed a few crumbs to African Americans and women. Having to surrender an inch of fairness to others seems unbearable to these men. Furthermore, this exploitation of white male fear by other powerful white males is the reason we have a death penalty. It's the reason for the harsh prison industry. It's the source of the obsession with guns. It's the reason you don't have Universal Health-Care, Universal Child-Care, a living wage, decent education, etc., etc. They value racism and sexism more than life. If they weren't so dangerous, it would be funny.
Actually, the Black poor do worry about Black crime, but not much about white crime. And they worry about the oppressive conditions created by racism and economic deprivation which encourages criminality. Their attitude is more rational than is that of the whites. 90% of crimes against blacks are committed by black offenders. Hence you don't find my kinfolk in the projects of east Baltimore getting paranoid about WHITE CRIME, only white RACISM and economic oppression. But whites, who are not oppressed or exploited by Blacks (despite all their talk about "black racism") and who, when victimized by crimes are usually (87% of the time) victimized by other white, are more fearful of Black crime than by WHITE criminals who usually violate them. The Black poor in Lafayette projects in East Baltimore supported NOI anti-drug squads not because they were down with the Nation of Islam (our community is 90% Christian), but simply because NOI drove the drug dealers out of whole sections of the hood. When I was a kid the Black Panther Party was able to get substantial community support because of the breakfast programs for hungry kids, education programs for the semi-literate, patrols which kept an eye on racist cops, and Panther groups which drove the pimps and dope dealers from our neighborhoods, and redirected youth from underworld activity to the Struggle. The image of the hood as "criminal community" is a manifest absurdity and stereotypical hogwash.
Ghettoes were created by racial segregation, both legal and extralegal. The conditions which make for Black on Black crime thus has its roots in racism. But the Black poor do not worry about white crime, only about white racism and economic exploitation and poverty. -Savant