Harry Reid and The New and Fake Racism
There is a new and fake *racism, that is the product of the rovian school of deception, perpetrated by major media, and designed to make racism inarticulable, confusing and frightening enough, to stop anyone from attempting an honest dialogue about it — thereby ensuring its survival.
Representative Harry Reid of Nevada was called out for using the word Negro, even though the census uses it, and it is in the title of the American *Diasporan's anthem, and college fund. And even though he did not use it to describe a person, but to define an antiquated linguistic practice. Notice, he called Barack Obama an African American, in the same sentence in which he said that Barack Obama speaks "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." His use of language is meticulous to say, exactly what he meant. Negro emphasizes that the language described, is a relic of the past, as Negro is similarly used to describe old "Negro spirituals." But just like we learned through Isaiah Washington's termination, that he cannot use the word fagot, even to deny that he is one, or to deny that he called T.R. Knight one. We're now learning, through the excoriation of Harry Reid, that he cannot use the word Negro, even if it is to highlight something as belonging to a different era, in the Diasporan experience.
These lessons aren't to teach us anything, they're just a method used to keep us confused. Otherwise, why would the same network that fired Isaiah Washington for using fagot in a non-offensive way, hire Glenn Beck, after he used the word fagot in an offensive way? And where were the people, who think Negro's so bad, that Harry Reid's career should undergo a shakeup, when Don Imus was calling highly achieved Diasporan women, "nappy headed hos"
As for Harry Reid's observation that Barack Obama's skin color, may have advantaged his historic bid for the presidency, before Harry Reid said it, a woman who describes herself as "caramel brown," and not too dark, and "not too light," who grew up in a family that rejected "darker skinned family members . . .for having dark skin" mused, "Truthfully speaking, if Barack was any darker, I bet no one would have voted for him."
Quiet as it is kept, all people, including Diasporans, are propagated to reject dark people. Dark skin is like the Star of David sewn on the lapel of a Jew during the holocaust, it identifies the object of abuse.
While we learn to pretend that racial status, which is primarily identified by skin color, does not exist. It is actually so obvious until, when my daughter was a child, several 4-year-olds attending day camp with her, reacted to her assertive, self-assured ways, by waking her during nap time to announce, “We’re white!” They thought that should count for something, so pardon Harry Reid, for telling the truth.
It isn't racist to call it as you see it, and when folks cry racism, apply this
three prong test for determining whether a cry of racism is true or false:
1) Who is declaring it? If the cries of racism are coming from people and/or institutions that generally supports and promote racism — it's probably not racism.
2) Who or what will be affected by it? If the remedy will cause harm to the traditional victims of racism — it is probably not racism.
3) Does it make sense? If the history, context and attending facts, are inconsistent with a racist agenda — it's probably not racism.
The Harry Reid used the word Negro attack fails the first prong, since the people accusing Harry Reid generally don't give a hoot about anything that concerns Diasporans; consequently, their interest in Harry Reid's use of the word Negro, is probably disingenuous, and therefore inconsistent with a genuine charge of racism.
The Harry Reid used the word Negro attack fails the second prong, because, if it succeeds, it will weaken, Harry Reid, who has been a stalwart in support of civil rights, and it will eliminate him as a strong supporter of the first African American president, who the people crying racism have declared they want to see fail. Also, it will put in jeopardy a Health Care Bill that will significantly benefit the Diasporan community. Since the people most likely to be injured, if the charge of racism is sustained, are Diasporans, it is unlikely that the charge of racism is legitimate.
Finally, the Harry Reid used the word Negro attack fails the third prong, because Harry Reid has been on the right side of civil right throughout his career, including encourage Barack Obama's candidacy, as well as endorsing him, and Harry Reid used that word, in the context of his expressed intent to break the color barrier to the presidency, by supporting Barack Obama in becoming the first African American president. A review of the facts reveals that Harry Reid has consistently supported the full inclusion of people of African descent in American life, and his words reflected his intent to distinguish people of African descent, from the designation, Negro. Also, his words were spoken in the context of his effort to advance the political career of a person of African descent, who Reid diligently supported in his efforts to deliver a health care bill to the American people, driving our legislatures to such an extent that, for the first time, they appeared to be an organized, resourceful, productive and hard working body, seriously engaged in doing the people's work. Harry Reid's history and actions are inconsistent with a racist intent, when he used the word Negro.
The Republicans are good! They have pitted Diasporans against a man who has always supported their full inclusion in American life; they have liberal Massachusetts voters, obstructing the progression of a liberal agenda; they have people who would be reduced to poverty by a catastrophic illness, and who cannot afford separate and additional insurance for their grown children, fighting against a health care bill that prevents insurance companies from dropping customers when they become sick, or from limiting their benefits, and that allows parents to insure their children until they are 27 years old.
How do the Republicans do it? They speak to our fears and our prejudices, by the repetitive use of phrases like: Is he doing enough; Shouldn't he do something else; Is he doing too much? Should he be doing something else first? What just happened that is good doesn't change the fact that things are still bad . . . Then they stir up confusion and doubt: Is the use of the word Negro racist? Can you say the word fagot to say you didn't call somebody that? Is it alright to say that Diasporans are fast runners? Can you mention skin color when talking about race? And when they finally have you where you don't know which end is up, they invite you to join them, in doing nothing . . .
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.
*Diasporan: A descendant of a survivor of the African diaspora.
Copyright Hargrove Jones, January 26, 2010