Mitt Romney Talks Race — In Black And White . . .
Mitt Romney told the Nation that, even though his father is an immigrant, like Barack Obama's father, and even though Barack Obama is the President, and he is merely trying to become president, he's treated better than the President, "nobody ever asked me for my birth certificate . . ." and our cultural training told us why, because he's white . . . On another occasion, Romney used Barack Obama's words, as though he thought them up himself, and he confided that the President has a "problem," that excludes him from his own vision of America, namely, "he's still Barack Obama," and our cultural training informed us of what that really means, "he's still black."
Mitt Romney is speaking to our unconscious racial beliefs. He's speaking the trigger language of racism, and he's enlisting the power of definition, tools used by media and Republicans, to bring our unconscious beliefs into play, so that we will behave accordingly.
It's a way of controlling public opinion, that is not unlike Pavlov's ability to control a dog's appetite, by accompanying something with a symbol, every time you present it. Eventually people will respond to the symbol in the same way as they respond to the real thing.
The symbols for negative racial stereotypes, have accompanied Diasporans for so long, until many people see Diasporans as synonymous to these symbols. Even when a person is a living/breathing disclaimer of those stereotypes, like Barack Obama is, they are still vulnerable to racial cliches. All that it takes to bury a Diasporan in negative presumptions, is a strategic phrase like, "he's still Barack Obama," to "remind" the listener that "he's still black," and to act accordingly.
When Romney tells us that he's treated better than the President, he is reminding us of our racial traditions, namely, that white people are accorded quality standards, and black people are not. But because that is a hard reality for decent people, of good will, to embrace, they find "legitimate reasons" to see things differently. Hence, a couple of days after Romney told us of his racial privilege, "the polls shifted so that, for the first time, more people believed the incredible idea, that the candidate, whose running mate has a plan to dismantle medicare, "would do a better job with medicare than President Obama."
Post slavery, an elaborate system of Jim Crow laws, replaced the institutional appropriation of the person and productivity of Diasporan people, with a system of repression, exclusion, humiliation and terror, that was designed to consign Diasporans to a permanent inferior status. Eventually, those laws were defeated, and racism was disavowed, so it went underground, and is expressed covertly, using the Romney brand of repression — speaking trigger language, to inspire racist behavior; and using the power of definition, to distort reality. What once was said out loud, is now said in code.
"You weren't born here," when it is directed at President Obama, is merely code for "you are not white and, therefore, you are not entitled to be president," and when Romney says that sort of thing doesn't happen to him, it is code for his race, and the attendant entitlements. Likewise, when Romney declares the President's exclusion because "he's still Barack Obama," it is code for Obama's race, and the attendant disadvantage.
Romney takes the words out of Barack Obama's mouth, "we are inventors, we are builders, we are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison, we are the Wright Brothers... we are Steve Jobs. That's who we are. That's who we need to be right now," then he used the rhythm of a racial declaration, "still Barack Obama," and the real condition that race discrimination is, a "problem," to exclude the President. Mitt Romney seems to find a happy ending in benefiting from what Barack Obama creates, to the exclusion of Barack Obama — even though "he didn't build it."