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Wot’s It All About, B H & D? (5a)

July 7, 2016

Racism (as in murdered for Being while Black) fukks up everything in America, so its no surprise that it complicated the Dem primaries. “Race” is an irrationality that is very easy to manipulate in order to gain power by turning people against other people. Well-meaning politicians, of whatever color, have to be very careful about our color divide; and even then it is fundamentally a trap.

Color-triggered prejudice and discrimination is a very big matter, but in this episode of the narration I just need to try to figure out what I’m thinking about “the black vote” and especially the concept of Hillary’s “firewall” that became omnipresent in the reportage.

Typically being me, I’ll start with basics that I feel fairly clear about, trying to get my footing. Then on page 5b I’ll try the more slippery H v. B.

( 1 ) So first, there is no such thing as “race.” It’s a ghost. The word names an idea without a thing. American “racism,” however, refers to our haunting and stalking by that historical misconception that there exists in nature a biological division of humans into superior or inferior groups, into which we are born. It’s a fantasy of mythic homogeneity of group DNA, invented by a self-identifying and self-congratulating group of people who need something that makes them feel better about themselves. “Racism” names our societal system of institutionalizing and justifying discrimination among those mythical groupings, by using a designated color scheme to mark assigned traits and relative value (as in “good for nothings”).

It’s a weird “mythology” though, because although it plays a major role in our verbally transmitted “origin tale” (and throughout our folklore), it includes names that can’t be named, events that dare not be recounted, and whole swaths of people whom the story pretends didn’t exit.  As a result, it is told differently in major variants.

As I would tell the story: When certain Europeans with superior weaponry wanted to justify their conquest, enslavement, and extermination of nonEuropeans, they invented a divine scheme of Superior Christian Culture, with Right of Cultural Conquest (i.e. people of a divinely ordained superior culture have a divine right—nay, responsibility—to replace an inferior culture with their own). In the U.S. this is also known as “Manifest Destiny.” Conveniently, the people of Europe shared a skin pigmentation that could be viewed as “white” (although Southern Europeans could be seen as “black” when it suited Northerners, and some Americans were able to see the Irish as black; true). People of the militarily inferior cultures shared various other appearances that could be seen as some other color. What could be more obvious—if there’s something invisible-fantastical, that you want to see? (Other) color triumphed over (common) form, as a visual indicator of soul.

Today “whitefolks” have to pretend that nothing every happened. Nobody there.

Egocentricity eradictes empathy.

In America we divide the population into groups by color, place each person in one of the groups, privilege one group, and stigmatize the others. Thereby we motivate people to self-identify as members of “their” group, even vote as a block, even if color is not the best indicator of their individual self-interest.

It’s just as complicated for the voters as it is for the politicians. Their identification is simultaneously with an artifice, an illusion, and with a too, too solid flesh and soul, heir to grinding pain and transcending spirit.

( 2 ) We elected our first black president; but the wealth gap has significantly increased during his presidency, and so has the enforcement of white privilege.

54% of AA workers are paid less than $15/hour; 38% of AA children live in poverty and 25+% regularly experience hunger. Almost no black American has any wealth, or hardly any. And on and on, year after year.

But get that: individuals, families, and whole communities with no wealth. Nothing. Niente. Nada. Rien. Nichevo. Millions of citizens of the richest country ever.

No wealth, no power.

Voting might help remedy that. As Bernie points out: politically, the power of Big Money has to be countered with the power of an overwhelming number of people. The same goes for countering white privilege, and those two problems intersect.

We have to say no—say yes by saying no—say yes.

I’m thinking Bernie’s proposals for the economy would help African Americans more than Hillary’s would, and more than Obama’s have. Bernie would push harder for the significant redistribution of wealth that Obama told Joe the Plumber was needed in 2008.  And as the banksters well know, achieving such a redistribution of power would require justice, including jailing of banksters.  In truth, the opposite has happened.

And B would be more likely to preserve O’s achievements, because B, like O, wants to be a “transformational” president (including transformation of the Dem party), while H presents her strength as being “transactional.”

But AA voters, especially in the early, Southern primaries, gave Hillary the votes that she needed, and when she needed them, to defeat any challenger.

Would color discrimination have so deeply complicated the primaries, if the schedule had evenly spread the Southern states, in which black voters form a major part of the Dem electorate (or if they had been grouped at the end—interesting thought)? Black voters might have known that they had two attractive candidates to choose between (“might,” because of distortions by the media). Would they have voted preponderately for either one?

In that sense, did the DNC’s scheduling of the Southern primaries to optimize support of the DNC candidate disenfranchise black voters, by giving them less choice, even less influence over policy than they would have had in a truly democratic election format? Or did it increase their influence, and the influence of their superdelegates, within the party, by making them into a dependable support group for one candidate, no matter the challenger and challenges?

[2 b continued: racism, classism, and a return to first things. Page (1) of this episode.]

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