Posts Tagged ‘ Obama ’

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black

Tim Wise anti-racist writer and activist wrote an interesting piece on the Don’t Tea on Me Blog (my friend Timmy tipped me off to it)

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure – the ones who are driving the action – we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

THOUGHTS?


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Pray for Obama

Has anyone actually seen one of these T-shirts?

Before anyone thinks that folks are actually praying for Obama take a look at the verse and its context.

8 May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.

9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.

10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven [d] from their ruined homes.

11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.

13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.

14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.

15 May their sins always remain before the LORD,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

I don’t have much to say, I am just disgusted with the people of propagate this trash.

It is not funny, it is not poignant, it is not appropriate and, most importantly, it is not Christian.

Bowing

U.S. President Barack Obama bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009.
———–AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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What I love about this picture is the respect and symbolism that is here.

Although folks are upset about Obama bowing to the Japanese Emperor, he was showing a sign of respect. Some commentators have argued that Obama did not bow to the Queen of England. But that was because Obama greeted her in what was a culturally proper manner; he gave her a slight, respectful gesture. In this case Obama greeted the Japanese Emperor in a completely acceptable manner, he was formal and respectful. Obama was stepping on Japanese territory, it wasn’t up to him to dictate the way that he greeted the Emperor. Even, if this meeting was in the United States, the humility to be hospitable to the presence of someone from a different culture and point of view is a valued and important quality.

There is some great symbolism in this photo.

First, I love that they are shaking hands and bowing. This is multiculturalism in action. It is the West meets East in a beautiful way that integrates and values both American and Japanese culture. I also love seeing this because  it occurs when I visit my in-laws; I simultaneously shake hands and bow with my wife’s grandfather.

Second, and more importantly,  there is the issue of humility. Bowing innately represents the lowing of one’s self. It is submissive.  It is easy for me as a Westerner to see humility, lowering and submission  as negative traits, but biblically these are beautiful things.  They are not signs of weakness, but strength. These actions acknowledge that it is not necessary to try to reaffirm one’s power, it is not necessary to try to assert power and it is not necessary to be domineering. These traits show strength comes by understanding one’s self so well – for the Christian this means understanding one’s identity in Christ – that it is not necessary to flaunt power or control. It takes a strong and confident person to bow, to lead by putting one’s self literally and symbolically underneath another.

Interracial Injustice

What is this 1967?

A white Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

. . . Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

. . .  Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.

Read more

This article simple astounded me, not solely because of the interracial marriage issue but because of the nuances and details of the issue.

One the one hand, we have a loving man and woman who want to get married. This is the story of millions of individuals and additionally many interracial couples – I was included in this when I was married.  This couple must have simply been blindsided.  When I was in high school I dated a girl who was euro-American (white) and her step-father had some issues with our relationship,  a couple years ago when I was married to my wife Alyssa there were some minor issues with my wife’s – who is Taiwnese-American – family. But those were unfortunately expected.

What occurred in Louisiana couldn’t have been expected. A governmental agent said “no”. Although he qualified and says that “I didn’t tell this couple they couldn’t get married. I just told them I wouldn’t do it” he is basically thwarting the law. Somehow he has been able to let his personal preference to usurp law.  This situation is simply ridiculous, but what do we take from this, what insight does it give us?

1. Mis-conception of interracial difficulty –

It is interesting that the justice of the peace mentioned the difficulty of the children. This is an age old argument against interracial marriage. It is predicated on assuming that difficulty – if present – is a bad thing and that difficulty will occur in the first place. And although this was a white man saying this – which includes issues of power/history etc. – this sentiment is held by those of all races who oppose interracial marriage.  But this is somewhat of a straw man argument.  Few, is any, proponents of interracial marriage hinge and argument on the difficulty or lack of difficulty in an interracial relationship. Most individuals who enter into interracial marriages are quite aware of the societal push backs (i.e. my wife and I know that groups of black women and groups of Asian men are prone to stare, un-lovingly, at us ). The assumption that someone is protecting the children by opposing interracial marriage is pretty naive , especially given the emergence of multi-racial figure such as Obama, Tiger Woods, Heinz Ward, Jessica Alba, Keanu Reeves etc. Futhurmore it is patronizing and suggest that those getting married don’t care about their children. Again, this is not a white issue it is an issue for folks in various cultures and racial backgrounds.

2. White American individualism –

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

There is no better example than this. First, the comment that he is not racist. There is a difference between being a racist and doing something racist. And this was the latter. I don’t know this man, he may not be a person who is wholly racist, but this act was racist. He and we as a society must address that. Second, claiming that “I have black friends”. This is often a way that white individuals push back. White Americans often  individualize (Divided By Faith). This issue of race, including interracial marriage, is not solely a person to person issue it is a societal issue as well. Individualizing it devalues the societal impacts. It is a both/and nor either/or issue.

3. The importance of slowing assumptions –

I can read this ans assume that this justice of the peace doesn’t like Black people. I can even read into his defense and understand the context of where he is living and assume he has issues with Black folk.

But that would be wrong of me.

This man probably spoke reality when he said folks in BOTH Black and white communities wouldn’t be accepting; in Louisiana – in many states – many from both groups may have issues.  His folly was not having some concern – though he should have kept it to himself – but it was in refusing to marry the couple and various others in the past.  We have to take this issue at that level. No more and no less.

My Thoughts on Health Care

As Christians, as we pursue understanding the issues concerning health care, we must consider our call towards justice and engaging with the alien, poor, and widow. I ask we consider the call of biblical justice and call to serve the poor. My friend recently passed on a verse that seems to be pertinent;

The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern. (Pro 29:7)

As I viewed the news on town hall meetings I wondered if the un/under- insured were actual represented? Or were they serving the food, at the nearby McDonald’s or checking someone out of Wal-Mart?  Implicit in this though is the need to differentiate between under/un-insured.  I grew up in a family that was the former. My mom worked several jobs for the county to make sure we had insurance – my dad was/is on disability –, but the coverage was minimal. My mom shifted coverage between myself in my siblings. Sometimes she perhaps did this illegally,  but this is how we had medical/dental care. The craftiness of my mother was practical, but her working various jobs and piecemeal “ing” health care for us took a toll on her soul.

Politically, we also need to refrain from overstating the idea of public health care – and both sides need to less hastily compare to Canada; we are different countries with different cultures, needs, etc. The option that Obama and others are trying to put on the table is a public option, not a complete “government overhaul”.  When we overstate what is occurring we get into irrelevant ideological battles which, lead us towards divisions rather than decisions. That being said, a public option may not be as dangerous as many may believe.  I think of the parcel industry and the relationship between USPS, FedEx, UPS, and other companies, the public USPS option works with the other options and individuals can choose.

As a young American who has only experienced health care in contemporary age,  here are some imperfect ideas I believe can be utilized with or without a public option;

–          Tort reform. Simply a good idea.Too much money is going to litigation and protection from lawsuits.

–          Adjusting payment of doctors, many doctors are paid hourly, so the more the work the more money they receive. Perhaps setting salaries will help doctors slow down, give good care and cut overall costs. Additionally, despite the worry of litigation driving up doctor’s bills, most doctors are still being paid inordinate amounts – at some hospitals/offices at the expense of RNs, PRNs, CNAs, etc.  Although it would be a massive cultural shift, perhaps we can reevaluate a doctor’s pay scale. Yes, they need to be making enough money to be in line with their schooling and expertise, but what that exactly looks like may still need to be reduced.

–          National health care providers should exist. The model of not being able to go out of one’s state to find health care seems a little silly. Also, the elimination of networks seems like it would provide greater access.

–          Assure essential elements of any health care program. This is sticky; it is complex. There are some things like in-vitro fertilization and abortion that have been on the table concerning this, but need to be taken off.  However, there should be simple basic elements – which I am not qualified to compile – that should be covered in any plan. The issue is not having basics, but what we define as basics – again I acknowledge this is complex.

–          Conversely, we need to put some reigns on Medicare. There are perhaps too many of our seniors using Medicare flippantly because they are in fear of medical problems rather than actually having medical problems and because they can do so. My sister is a CNA and I have a good friend who is an RN, I can’t believe some of the things converged by Medicare – Viagra, to name one. A larger societal (and very much Christian) value would be taking more personal responsibility for our elderly and then allowing Medicare to supplement.

–          An indirect, difficult, but impactful way to deal with health care is to make the FDA do its job and eliminate/reduce the unhealthy food and the ubiquitous fast food market. Everyone knows it is not good for them, but choices are not always made with the head, they are made with the stomach, with what is readily available, and with the norms of our society.

–          Reevaluate our ER policy, it sounds horrible to turn people away from service, but if someone goes to the ER with something that is diagnosed as a non-emergency they need to be sent home.  Otherwise the costs of ER services drive-up cost of health care for everyone. The fear is that people will then not go to doctors, but if we normalize going to family doctors, and other non-emergency services many would begin to attend those first.

We should promote just social systems, but if public systems are unjust we must, as Christians, STILL must provide care for those who need it.  Be it free clinics, alternative insurance agencies, etc. Not having s just political or governmental system does not we are exonerated from creating our own justice systems – not solely being just individuals, because the two are intertwined.

Obama? Pissed?

A facebook conversation sparked by someone being “pissed” at Obama winning the Nobel Prize  – I am Blackwasp19. If anyone wants to join in the conversation go ahead.

——

Blackwasp19 “pissed” ? why should it make you that mad? I disagree with the decision, but I don’t understand why it would “piss” anyone off.

2 Because other people deserved it way more…he hasn’t done anything to deserve such an honor.

3. obviously those who voted think he has done something to receive the award

4.  they don’t. They are just liberal punks who want to further a political waste of space.

5. he is the first US president since the millennium to not start a war?!

6. for real. i was PISSED.

Blackwasp19. I believe it was a presumptuous and premature; though he really has had a big impact on international politics, just look at approval rating of him in various countries. We can disagree with some of his policies and ideology, but we can’t argue that his presence hasn’t had and impact. But Danielle (or others) can you name who these others who … Read Moreshould have won? Again I argue he shouldn’t have won, but if we mention someone else should have won we need to have people and a good argument for them.

I also think to be “pissed” is a bit strong. Who are you “pissed” at? Obama? He didn’t give himself the award. The “liberals” in Oslo? If they are a waste of space then discredit the award and move on. Why does it make you pissed? Just because you disagree?

It is important that we aren’t killing conversation and cooperation by being rash. And that Love permeates our comments and conversations.

4. Is this kid kidding? Obama has done nothing for the US in his international politics except apologize for America, give us a week stand against Iran, and get our economy to the point where China said it was going to stop buying our debt cause we aren’t good for it. His impact = Negative.

As for someone who SHOULD’VE won, Greg Mortenson, has really made an effort in this field and should be commended over someone who has done nothing.

Pissed isn’t strong enough a word people should be outraged by the preferential treatment Obama has got without causing any significant results. Pissed that by giving Obama this award they are trying to secure his not sending troops to Afghanistan where they are needed.

People need to start looking at facts instead of how politically correct someone is when stating something they believe in. He didn’t deserve it, period.

As for him not starting a war….HES ONLY BEEN IN OFFICE ONE YEAR, and even though he promised to pull from Iraq and Afghanistan there are troops still there. … Read More

No one can blame Bush for this any longer…He is a year removed. The unemployment rate is up, taxes are up, and the stimulus bill hasn’t worked, AND Obama’s party controls both houses.

3. kids, no kidding.. just different opinions.. i appreciate debate and the passion for our nation

Blackwasp19

1. I said, twice, Obama shouldn’t have won – and that it was presumptuous and premature

2. “Kid” great way to end a conversation; neither you or are are a “kid”.

3. I actually agree that Greg Mortenson would have deserved it more, and also Hu Jia (but that would have strained international talk with China) or the Zimbabwean President.

4. The … Read Morefacts say Obama IS impacting international politics and diplomacy – again don’t forget that I don’t believe he should have won this year. Countries are reacting differently to the U.S. than they have in a long time. It is not so much that he is unilaterally different, but he provides and is trying to encourage much more multi-lateralism And he didn’t win the Nobel Prize for domestic policies it was for his impact on international politics. Just look at the international response after the election. People were celebrating for an American President’s election, that doesn’t happen all the time. That is something special. Obama’s impact is difficult to quantify, but we can qualify and see that it has been important – again in my mind not enough to win a Nobel Prize this year.

5. I believe Obama should put more troops in Afghanistan, if we are going to be there we need to do what we need to go and have our men and women come home. But, I do think he is still trying to take troops out – per his campaign promise. But it is difficult. But to push back, what did Bush do for abortion laws or really anything that he campaigned for? He got a Evangelical Christian bloc to trust him and vote for him, but then the Christians were hoodwinked because he did little in regards to “family values”. Yes he had republican ideas about taxes and government, but that isn’t what he ran on. All I am saying is that if we call out Obama – which we can – we must call our Bush and others for their incongruency.

6. Even if you disagree with some of the tactics of Obama and the Congress. I think it is a little bit of an overstatement to suggest that the democrats have made the economy worse. There are so many variables and a recession is the product of many factors and builds overtime before it hits – one could “blame” the treasury for not paying more … Read Moreattention to what was going on. One doesn’t have to agree with all the current tactics – I don’t – but regardless we have to allow things to take time.

7. No one in the conversation mentioned Bush, I know some might be, but that isn’t this conversation. But, since you brought t up. I think we treated bush really poorly, I didn’t agree with many of his decisions, but as my President I respected the man. My country elected him, and the war that everyone was flipping out about, was embarked upon because the American people wanted it to happen after 9-11.

7.. I doubt shee is actually “pissed” about this, many of you know here and realize she has already forgot about it. I agree with what you are saying Blackwasp19, no reason to be “pissed” at this. I think the Nobel Peace Prize has been on an obvious decline as last year Al Gore got it for a powerpoint he did on Global Warming, when one of the other … Read Moreindividuals up for it was a lady who had an “underground railroad” type situation in Nazi Germany that literally saved over 2,000 lives.

The problem here with looking at Obama’s approval rating in other countries is that doesn’t matter. Why are we as Americans trying to appease other countries that hate our guts?

Nobody can say that Dems or Republicans are the problem, they all are. Most of the politicians are just that, politicians, and are all liars anyways.

6. i know what you are thinking hahaha. i think she was just saying how she felt…not wanting to start a huge debate via facebook wall posts. we all think what we want to think. and we are all free to think what we want to think. the end. this doesnt have to go on anymore. sorry emily.

4. it would be nice to start a blog and continue, because this is were we get stronger as people. not hiding in groups of people who agree and smile and think the world will get better on it’s own. citizenship is the missing piece in american society. elected officials represent the people. that may be hard for some to admit, but it’s the truth. … Read Morepoliticians must have the support of the people. we have to attack the issues, get educated on processes and upend the forces that make our union less perfect.

and the Winner is . . . RIO!

COPENHAGEN – The 2016 Olympics are going to Rio de Janeiro, putting the games in South America for the first time.

Rio beat surprise finalist Madrid in the last round of voting.

Chicago was knocked out in the first round — in one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee — and Tokyo was eliminated in the second round.

Rio had played heavily on the fact that South America has never previously hosted the games, while Europe, Asia and North America have done so repeatedly. Now, only Africa and Antarctica remain as continents that have not been awarded an Olympics.

AP

Thoughts?