by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
As the presidential campaign heats up, the precarious nature of Obama’s “multiracial coalition” along with the nature of the “racial reconciliation” his candidacy brings becomes more. Under the Obama version of “racial reconciliation” the opinions commonly held by most of Black America are deemed “divisive” relics of the past. Black opinion, wherever it differs from that of white corporate media is off the table. A shrewd and savvy politician, Obama is entitled to make these choices for himself, and for his own reasons. But should the voices of Black America be silenced and banished from the national discourse because they do not serve the career plans or short term interests of the Obama campaign? Just what shots does Black America call in this reconciliation, and what benefits do African Americans receive in this “multiracial coalition”?
Obama’s “Multiracial Coalition” and the Politics of “Racial Reconciliation”
by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
“We took this country (from Native Americans) by terror…”
“We bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We nuked far more than the numbers killed in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye…”
“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and the black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas has been brought back to our own front yards? America’s chickens are coming home to roost…”
These and similar statements by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, the long time pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ are not even particularly controversial in the Black community. They are, as the University of Chicago’s Michael Dawson affirms well within the mainstream of Black opinion, and can be heard on street corners, barber shops, churches and around dinner tables all the time. The fact is, most African Americans agree with Rev. Wright.
But the common and ordinary wisdom of Black America is inadmissible in mainstream US discourse. In the reality-defying bubble of US corporate media, one must never speak of the genocide and dispossession of Native Americans as “terror”. Comparing the atomic bombings of hundreds of thousands of civilians in World War 2, the snuffing out of two million Vietnamese lives in the sixties and seventies or one million plus Iraqis and counting in the current war is, in mainstream media, strictly off-limits. And any suggestion that US imperial policies in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere might provoke justified resistance or understandable retaliation is deemed beyond-the-pale anti-American hate speech.
The foundation of Barack Obama’s electoral strategy is reliance upon a base of voters in black America motivated by a nationalistic desire to see one of their own in the White House, no matter what his beliefs. Thus the black vote, ordinarily the most dependably left wing bloc in the US can be safely and permanently taken for granted, leaving Obama free to move rightward, doing and saying whatever it takes to win white votes and corporate favor. Barack Obama is therefore the establishment’s dream black candidate, almost entirely free of obligation to African Americans and our historic agenda, but getting our votes anyway.
h/t: Cem Ertür
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