Corey Poitier, A Black Man Perpetuating Republican Racism
When on March 22nd, as a congressional candidate for the 17th District in Florida, Corey Poitier, demanded that the President, "listen up, Buckwheat!" It was no different than if he had said, "listen up nigger." But I don't think he did it because he wanted to call the President names, rather, he was advertising himself as a qualified uncle tom; ready, willing and able, to use his race as a tool to subvert, undermine, diminish and detract from the interest of people like him — for a fee.
After hearing the drum beat of racial animus, led by the Republican Party, in the name of health care opposition, Poitier probably thought that he could stand out in a large pool of *Diasporan democrats, who were appealing to a divided Diasporan base, as someone willing to perpetuate and defend **racism, thereby galvanizing a racist Republican minority, with enough votes and money, to send him to Congress.
Unlike in "the good old days," when Diasporans were so embarrassed by people like Corey, that they contained their outrage, hoping that the racial betrayal would go unnoticed. But in the age of Obama, Diasporans gave him such an earful, that he was driven to defend himself with the same plausible deniability he was selling. The, I'm of African descent, so I could not be against people of African descent — lie. I understand that his denial was accompanied by gazing at his dark hands, while musing, "This isn't a spray tan, this is real.''
My response to Corey boy is, your attitude is more obvious than your skin color.
History has shown us, through Jews in concentration camps emulating Nazis; and women modeling men, while denigrating women; and abused children, becoming child abusing adults, that oppression sometimes breeds oppressors. Even the Bible cautions against envy and imitation of oppressors, Proverbs 3:31.
Just like Corey, the Republicans use representative and symbolic language to call for the preservation of racism. Clearly their followers understand what they mean, because they answer with the n-word, and attacks on Diasporan representatives, including spitting on, the Democratic Representative from Missouri, Emanuel Cleaver. All in the name of a lost vote on health care — Really?
When's the last time that Republicans couldn't agree with anything done by a Democratic leader, including when he adopts their ideas? When's the last time that Americans took to the street on a budget issue, attached to a benefit for them? How about never.
The same people rushing into the street to protest an improvement to their health care, which will cost about $143 billion over ten years, while simultaneously reducing the deficit by $130 billion, increasing the reduction to a whopping $1.2 trillion, in the second ten years, stayed home while George Bush took a Democrat achieved surplus, and turned it into a Republican led deficit. Where were they while Bush initiated costly and meaningless wars, at their expense? Where were they when George Bush gave the richest 5% of the nation, more than half of the $2.5 trillion that it cost to provide them with tax breaks? Perhaps the Republicans failed to rile them up for that fight, because they were too busy voting for it.
To put the tea party types in historical perspective, the only close comparison is the south's opposition to Abraham Lincoln's emancipation initiative, and then, like now, the issue is race!
Americans are afraid of the race issue, and rightly so. In the name of race, we've seen masks come off, and demons emerge that defy our imaginings. We've seen murderous racial enforcement, that inspired a people to shuffle their feet and avert their eyes, to avoid its wrath. But we've also seen a successful civil rights movement; and we've seen a majority of Americans, promote a person of African descent, to the highest office in the land.
Americans want to cross the racial divide, but the tea party types keep getting in the way. Like Jane Velez-Mitchell frequently says, racism is a form of mental illness. A mental health issue that is present in all relationships in which someone depends on the devalued status of others, as a source of their self esteem.
Even in families, when a sibling identifies as the smart one, or the pretty one, they become an opponent of the intelligence or beauty of their siblings, and they can become tyrannical in defending their status. Similarly, for the tea party types, President Obama's election, and his other successes, contradicts who they want to believe that they are, namely, better than any person of African descent.
Racism is not merely what one thinks or believes, it is what one is committed to thinking or believing. The Difference can be identified by a believer's response to the truth. A non-racist, who believes that black children are less capable of learning than white children, will reconsider, and possibly abandon that idea, when exposed to black children who are sophisticated learners. By contrast, the racist will resist that truth. A classic example of this truth resistance is depicted in, "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story."
Before Ben Carson became a world renowned neurosurgeon, he was an underachieving boy, of African descent, living in a low income household, headed by his mother. When events at home propelled him to apply himself academically, he emerged as a gifted student. His science teacher responded to his newly evident ability, by encouraging him. When he rose to the highest achievement in the school, the administrators handed him the award that represented his achievement. But after the fair minded people acquiesced to the truth, the one racist in the room stood up during the graduation ceremony and berated the white children for laziness, her explanation for the rejected the truth, that a child of African descent, could outperform his white peers. Her lone plaintiff voice, changed a warm and cooperative spirit, into anxious division. She was to Ben Carson's junior high school graduation, what the tea party types are to an America that has evolved to select the best man for the job. The tea party types would prefer to see America fail, than see it succeed, under the leadership of a person of African descent.
The antidote to this venomous attitude is truth — we must speak the truth, and expose the lies.
*Diasporan: A descendant of a survivor of the African diaspora.
**Racism is an ideology that attaches value to individuals on the basis of skin color, it is a color hierarchy, that ascribes highest status to people with the lightest complexion, and lowest status to the people with the darkest complexion. The enhanced status given to light skin, encourages light complected people, to incorporate their racial status, into their personal identity. When this idea takes hold, it inspires discomfort when the behavior, achievement, possessions, appearance or experiences of dark people, contradict that idea. In effect, racism requires a diminishment of the identity of dark people, in order to support the false identity of light people as, better than, dark people. Racial contradictions are a threat to the personal identity of the racist, producing anxiety, that is generally characterized by rage, and behavior that humiliates, coerces, demeans, isolates, punishes, or otherwise diminishes the victim, thereby reinforcing the idea of racial superiority. In effect, racism is not a reaction to inferiority, rather, it is a defense of, the self-image of, the racist. Copyright Hargrove Jones 2002