Friday, May 30, 2008

Fear of the Black Man

First off, we're in the hospital as scheduled, we're fine. More on that later.

But now ...

MassMarrier pointed to Geraldine Ferraro's latest column. He mocked her as damaging herself and I certainly hope he's right.

For me, her column made my blood run cold.

It's too, too, too familiar. Her words seem carefully chosen to stroke a hidden chord inside white Americans, the chord that says it's normal and understandable to fear the black man. He's coming to take your job, rape your woman, and hurt you. It's acceptable for officers to kill an unarmed black man. Because of the fear, you see.

And Barack Obama? Well, he's coming to change the country. All of you with white skin, you're off the island! From her column:

They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening ... they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white ... they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.
Nowhere in her column does she give examples of how Obama has "played the race card."

Perhaps it is because of his having brown skin. Flaunting it.

There is a wonderful book, someone help me with the title -- I'm in the hospital without my library and having a chemo-parent moment -- full of essays about being a UU person of color. Anyway, there's a fabulous one by Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt about the fear she has of white fear ... of someone she loves not coming home, simply because he was wearing black skin at the wrong time.

I understand that Hillary Clinton's impending nomination loss must be frustrating to Geraldine Ferraro. She probably feels that it's been way too long since she was the vice-president nominee for another woman to be on the ticket. I agree with her.

And there are some genuine race vs. sexism issues through history. I think of Olympia Browne, out on the lecture circuit, speaking of both black and female suffrage, while the black speakers, such as Frederick Douglass, spoke only of black men getting the right to vote.

But this isn't a simple case of female vs. black. These are two different, complex individuals with two different promises for America. To reduce it to sexism vs. racism is facile and makes the writer look shallow.

We're supposed to be better. Rising tide and all that.

For Geraldine Ferraro to try to tap into white fear is beyond disappointing to me. It hurts.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Been in the Storm so Long"

There is a wonderful book, someone help me with the title -- I'm in the hospital without my library and having a chemo-parent moment -- full of essays about being a UU person of color.

Ms. Theologian said...

It's very strange as a piece. I follow it up to the third paragraph from the end, and then my brain cannot make sense of the paragraph, nor the next one.

Anna Banana said...

Thanks for expressing what I've been feeling since someone sent me a racist video (eyeblast or something) about Obama, Barack HUSSEIN Obama. I felt so assaulted. It's going to be a long election season, and I may end up with fewer friends as closet racists reveal their true colors. Good riddance. (Not to mention that California will probably be voting on an anti-gay marriage amendment!)
Sending you ((hugs)) for your time in the hospital.