Anti-Racist Credentials

I have bitten my ABW (angry black woman) tongue as long as I can.  I am thrilled to see that many people are out supporting Obama. Let’s just face facts, he is the lesser of two evils, but he is not the messiah from on high.  That said,  I feel that I must once again point this out, voting for Obama does not mean that I should take you at your word that you’re a devoted anti-racist.  Yes it is nice that you can put aside your white privilege to consider being lead by a black man for four years, but this does not mean that you will not daily profit from the systemic racist imbalance in the system.

I am tired of hearing white people go on about the positive racial vision that Obama has given them, without thinking of the substantive changes that need to be made. Lets be really clear, after Obama gets elected blacks will still be over represented in the prison population, education will still be segregated by class and colour, and black women will still be facing higher rates of violence. 

Some white people are so myopic when it comes to anti-racism that they cannot see that this issue involves more than black and white.  Not only will the black and white divide not be solved, the issues that  other bodies bodies of colour live with that have not even been addressed by this campaign, will still be in existence. Does anyone remember either Obama or Mccain addressing the issues of Indigenous Peoples?  How about the issues of Asian Americans?  Other than denying that he is himself a Muslim how much time has been spent decrying islamofascism for what it is? 

So white people I am begging you, please stop using voting for Obama as some sort of anti-racist credential that you can pull out of your back pocket.  White privilege is something that is not going to be dismantled with a single vote; furthermore continually reminding us that you voted for, or intend to vote for Obama is nothing more than cookie seeking.

If you want to impress me, or any POC for that matter, you will make a concerted effort to try and negotiate your privilege in such a way that you are not daily benefiting from it.  You will do your best to remember that though you daily benefit from the legacy of  slavery, you also owe an unpaid debt to Indigenous Peoples, Pacific Islanders, Asians,  in fact every single body of colour that lives within the borders of the red, white and blue.

You will then need to turn outward and examine the ways in which your current lifestyle continues to impoverish bodies of colour globally.  Yes believe it or not white hegemony is a global phenomenon.  Of course this is not news to the poor living in Calcutta or the starving in Haiti.  They know all to well about the policies instituted by white run western governments that have destroyed their economies, and threatened their ecosystems.

The overvaluation of whiteness is not going to be solved by electing the chosen one on Nov 4.  I know that it will be tempting to pat each other on the back and sing a verse of Kumbaya or hey even a little Michael Row The Boat Ashore, but I promise you that people of colour take a far more realistic approach to this issue than this.  We remember the joy of emancipation which was quickly followed by Jim Crow rules. We remember the promise of the New Deal which offered more jobs, programs, and incentives, for white people, and yes we remember the great society.  How did all of these promises turn out?  They have ended with more blacks in prison than ever before, bad educations, poor living conditions, violence, drugs etc and etc. So as you take the time to celebrate being progressive enough to vote for a black man, and you look around wondering why blacks are still looking at you with distrust; it is because you have broken nearly every single social contract that you have proposed which would honour our common humanity.

So break your glasses into the fireplace in celebration but please don’t expect me to be overly joyful.  Trust is earned, not given and you have a long way to achieve the trust of people of colour.  In closing I would suggest if you really want that brotherhood how about you extend an olive branch for a change instead of asking blacks to turn the other cheek.  One can only turn the other cheek so many times before cringing in anticipation of a slap becomes normalized.

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