• DOUBLETAKE 08: “Taking a second look at race and racism in the 2008 presidential elections”

  • Campaign Events

    Sat, October 25th, 3-6:30pm
    The Ballot Box and Beyond
    UCLA Labor Center
    675 S Park View St [map it]
    Los Angeles, CA 90057

Remember the “Terrorist Fist Jab?” What about the “White Power Grab?”

Earlier this summer, Fox News reported on a simple gesture between Barack and Michelle Obama on stage. It was a fist bump, but the Fox News reporter questioned, “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently.”

Fox News’ coverage of the Obamas’ fist-bump raises serious questions about the implications of such coverage. Why do we need such an elaborate analysis of, what essentially amounts to a goodbye/ good luck send-off gesture? Do we do the same thing when it comes to handshakes?

Of course we don’t because handshakes are the primary greeting among white folks, so therefore they are normal, but “the fist bump” is something that, within the lens of whiteness, is odd or peculiar: it is outside whiteness. More accurately, it is cast as something specific to black folks; not something the majority of white folks would do, much less understand.

Fox’s report sets up the experience of black folks as foreign to what is normal, where normal is equated with whiteness. And the assumption that whiteness is normal is thoroughly racist.

We made this video to point out what it would look like to flip the script on the racist assumptions of Fox’s report. While there are some subtle critiques of white supremacy, we primarily wanted to point out how patently absurd Fox’s coverage of “the fist bump” is, not to mention have a little fun in the name of white anti-racism!

Advertisements

White Democrats and “Obama’s Race Problem”

Let’s tease out some of the information offered to us in the recent interactive AP/Yahoo Survey on race and the elections.

What’s helpful about this poll, from a white anti-racist perspective, is that it focuses on various attitude of white Democrats in particular, how they view the experience of African Americans and how that impacts their vote. As someone who cares about building a culture free of racism among white people, it’s helpful to know how many liberal to centrist Democrats view race.

The survey provides statements about “the Black experience” and tests how much white democrats agree:

“Irish, Italians, Jews and other minorities worked their way up; blacks should do the same without any special favors.”

42 % white Democrats AGREED with this statement;

61% of those are voting for Obama.

“Over the past few years, blacks have gotten LESS than they deserved.”

20% white Democrats agree;

90% of them are voting for Obama.

“Generations of slavery have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way our of the lower class.”

27% of white Democrats agreed with that statement;
93% of those are voting for Obama.

These numbers communicate that most white Dems see racism as a Black person’s problem, and only a minority of white Dems view racism as a systemic issues. The title of the survey itself reflects this “race-as-a-personal-issue”: it’s called “Barack Obama’s race problem.”

I think “the race problem” actually belongs to white people. Such variant responses and perspectives among white Democrats, and also the general denial about the realities facing Black communities across the nation, speaks to the way institutional and cultural white privilege distorts many white people’s understanding of race relations in the U.S.
Continue reading

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

Thank goodness for Tim Wise. Very important read… a laundry list of blatant white privilege playing out in the election.

White Privilege, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election

by Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

Continue reading