Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rallying all those Racisty Racists- The Fringe Effect

It has become clear recently that "fear the black guy" is getting a chorus in the right wing fringe of the teevee and talk radio. It is isn't funny. This is no laughing matter and it should not be taken lightly. This was something the right wing couldn't stick to Bill Clinton back in 90's because he was "Bubba", so they had to cook up conspiracies about murders and money while fetishing over Clinton's penis. However, now, today with the first ever black President Barack Obama, the hate radio has another angle and it is a dangerous one.

Race in America is complex. Understanding race in America is even more complex. What the Beck's. Dobb's, Hannity's and Limbaugh's are doing here is promoting an ideal held deep within the fringe of America, that white is right. Americans are hard working white men. Everyone else is un-American. They insipidly hurl out the word racist to describe our President and in doing so stoke the flames for more racism. They fail to mention how America was founded. They fail to mention years of oppression. They fail to mention laws meant to segregate and alienate Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and those of color. They fail to mention an America built on a history of white supremacy.

To spout out a fit of rage towards the President as racist only furthers a divide which may be what they want. Until of course someone gets hurt or many get hurt.

The talking heads want people to believe Barack Obama hates white people because it boost their ratings, gets them into the spotlight, more dollars signs from the extremists. It leads to a very divisive scenario one America is all too familiar with and cannot accept to take a step back.

I was asked recently by a friend, why I identify myself with my Chinese and Asian heritage so much. It was a unique and challenging question, but my response was it was my life, my culture, my upbringing and my family. I welcome that question more often now because it is way to communicate many misunderstandings with race. While many of my friends who are white identify those things I mention as American, I attribute them to being Chinese American. Like Barack Obama I am half-white, but to be more specific Scottish and Irish. My mother's family line has been in America since the 1790's so the many things that were once exclusively Irish or Scottish melded into a singular definition and became American.

When one of the talking heads espouses that the President is a racist I can't help but think of my own family and my mother and how that must dent the armor just a bit on the ever cool Barack Obama. People that are half and half in America have learned all too often the outside appearance although different is always considered the dominant gene. Barack Obama is black, has been told he is black, has been treated as a black man, but what has made him transcend where others have not is his understanding of what that means in America. His mother gave him insight, love and encouragement to learn; that is part of him as much as his "unforgivable blackness." As a half and half man with a mother who was white Barack Obama gets the complexities, gets the history and above all it is ridiculous to try to pin him as being racist towards white America.

Yes he is a man and is not infallible. However it is safe to say he is not racist, but beginning down such a path stokes the fire for the fringe that could care less about anything I just typed. The fringe made up of guys who buy into the Hannity's, Limbaugh's, Dobb's and Beck's, but these guys don't have a show or a mass audience and that why it is dangerously unacceptable. Giving such fringe ideas weight, giving fringe extremists a message they can latch onto well it only leads to...

Something far worse than intended.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

cross-posted at Asian Pacific Americans for Progress

Update: Joan Walsh was on Chris Matthews and has a nice recap explaining a little more concerning the historical context. Matthews is a hack and Joan does a great job in calling out his nonsense, it isn't a grand theory it is a history lesson. Kweisi Mfume's humpty dumpty moment is perfect. As I said, you push too far, somebody is gonna break.


Paddy K said...

Nice post. Identity is very difficult to debate because it is, by definition, extremely personal. I can empathize with the attitude that says, "I'm just American, why do you have to be BLANK-American?" But then when you look at the history, the prevailing attitude was that whites were Americans and the rest were "others." The great thing about being American, though, is that you can be fully American and still have a cultural connection with another society.

Knowing about my ancestry doesn't take away from my American-ness, it just enhances my life and gives me historical and cultural perspective.

Asian-American Pundit said...

I agree and that is exactly why I think what these talking heads miss. Unfortnuately they aren't alone, people miss that connection which makes us all American.