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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adventures In Tweeting Pt I : Black Like Me

The racial component in socio-political discourse has been amplified or minimized for a number of reasons. For the most part, liberals/progressives find themselves speaking about race in politics and society as a direct result of statements made by conservatives. A good example would be O'Reilly's shock and awe that a black restaurant in Harlem was just as pleasant as any other eatery that he may find himself in. Though he continues to deny that he ever said this, insisting his context had been distorted, it is a perfect example of conservatives using race as a quantifier for their belief structure.

Conservatives too often use race in socio-political discourse in order to show that those within a minority are often inferior, that they have a hidden agenda that is ultimately anti-American, or to bait those with whom they disagree with. It’s become more prevalent because of the fact that Obama is black. In their minds they think that because we now have a black President that they are free to use racially charged language. They seem to be operating under the assumption that racial animus no longer exists, so their words – no matter how harmful – are validated.

Recently I responded to a tweet posted by someone using the AlinskyDefeater name:

And even though this “connection” between Ayers and Obama was completely overblown from the jump, our intrepid AlinskyDefeater was hell-bent on convince his followers that there was some secret plot that Obama was about to unfold upon us all.

After responding that this link between Ayers and Obama had been seriously distorted, that a few context-shredded lines from a fire-and-brimstone preacher don’t reveal to us that Obama is some evil force that is out to destroy America, I was labeled a racist:

But it apparently wasn’t enough to show that there was absolutely no rationale that could be used to validate this claim being leveled against me. Ultimately, I was no longer just a racist, but a “black racist”:

This is where we come back to the way in which reactionary conservatives use race/racism as a central theme in many of their arguments against Obama and for conservative policies. But there was one problem that our intrepid AlinskyDefeater didn’t bank on – I’m not black.

All one has to do is take a look at my Facebook profile and it becomes quite clear that I am not black at all. So why was this person so eager to label me “black”? The answer is quite obvious.

I was defending Obama against a specious and fact free attack, so in the mind of a fringe conservative that HAS to mean that I am black. To them, this is the only possible reason that someone, that anyone, would stand up against claims that they feel are grounded in reality when all they are are poorly constructed conspiracies designed to divide along racial lines. By and large, reactionary conservatives like this person, like Limbaugh, like Beck, Hannity, and O'Reilly can't seem to grasp that being black isn't a disorder, isn't a state of being that means that you HAVE to act in a certain way. Conversely, simply because a person is white it doesn't mean they have to act a certain way. The problem comes in when people like AlinskyDefeator make assumptions.

Of course, this is not to say that our intrepid AlinskyDefeater is racist, but that they are sorely misinformed and should exercise at least an ounce of intellectual honesty when attempting to debate someone. However, seeing as how this person wants to “defeat” Alinsky while praising Glenn Beck for utilizing his “tactics”, I'm afraid that that’s going to be a little too much to ask.

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