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November 13, 2008

Some (Dull) Silver Linings in Obama's Election

It's something, I guess.

...it's with great relief that I contemplate a forthcoming Obama term in which Democrats control the White House, Congress, and possibly the Senate, and therefore have no one to blame but themselves.

Similarly, the mainstream media, which had a virtual love affair with Obama throughout his campaign, won't have those nasty Republicans to kick around anymore and will instead have to report not only the Democrats' successes, but also their failings. War coverage may also take a turn for the more evenhanded with a Democratic president at the helm. Instead of emphasizing failure, ignoring successes and encouraging defeat, perhaps the media will give the U.S. military its due for a change.

And racial benefits noted by John McWhorter:

One of the strangest things about reading black writings of the old days is the ingrained optimism. W.E.B. DuBois in the aughts highlighted blacks making the best of themselves despite obstacles. Zora Neale Hurston bristled at being expected to write of lynchings rather than self-regard and triumph. Many black literati disowned Richard Wright's Native Son as too pessimistic.

But in the late '60s, just as segregation and bigotry began a rapid retreat, it became fashionable to treat black identity as plangent, wary of celebration where whites could hear it, glumly obsessed with tabulating ever-fraying strands of racism. No matter how successful many blacks are, no matter how many interracial couples there are, no matter how few "firsts" are left, we always have much longer to go than we have come. A shoe still hasn't dropped.

Well, it just did.

A black man is president, and black Americans seem to feel like it really means something. As such, we will expect a sea change in the tone of what is considered the authentic black voice.

Let me sharpen that up: There's no one left to blame. I don't know how long that mindset will take to sink in -- perhaps it never will -- but blacks have long grown accustomed to blaming not failure itself but failure to even try on presumed white racism making such efforts futile.

Well, enough of that.

The worst aspect of racism -- in terms of actual impact -- in this country is not white racism, but hyperbolically overstated black claims of white racism, which in turn create a sense of futility, anger, and ultimately powerlessness and stagnancy in the black community.

The idea that learning or success is "white" is devastating to black advancement, and there's nothing whites or the government can do to change that. Blacks have to change that mindset themselves, and give up on a basically oppositional culture which seems to state that whatever whites might do is haram.


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posted by Ace at 08:37 PM

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