Ok. This is the final straw.
I was kind of trying to stay above the fray regarding the presidential election that is now less than a month away for several reasons. One of which is there are so many other blogs out here in the diaspora that do a tremendous job of dropping social commentary like the Field Negro, Jack and Jill Politics, Fackin' Truth Blog, etc. that I feel inadequate. I'm a brother who has knowledge and awareness of self and where I am (or should I say where we are) and I've taken part in some pretty 'radical' activities to express my views, but I wouldn't dare to style myself as an 'activist'. I have too much respect for real ones (and honestly I think I'm better at writing critiques about sports than politics). But with this last round of mudslinging by the McCain campaign I just can't keep silent anymore when I have this forum to vent, especially as this tatic is working.
Back during the Summer Olympics I had a great idea for a post, after I had read an article on ESPN.com that speculated on the idea that fans expectations of the USA Men's basketball team's performance in Beijing were too high. It got me to thinking that that same description could be applied to America's viewpoint on the world in general. When it comes to competition in certain sports fans here feel a kind of sense of entitlement. We kicked the world's ass for so long in basketball in the Olympics we were shocked and kind of took it personally when we lost the gold in '88. We are used to that feeling of superiority, and not just when it comes to sports.
In my experience a lot of my countrymen express befuddlement when it comes to understanding why the world's opinion of these United States and it's citizens is pretty low these days (and to be sure there are a lot of people who could not give a fuck less what any other nation thinks of us). But I believe if the average American citizen is honest with themselves, is interested in having some kind of awareness of the world around them, and is willing to make the effort to not just accept everything mainstream media spurts out as gospel, they would actually be willing to admit that perhaps, just maybe, there is a remote possibility some of this nation's actions in the past have led to this viewpoint.
My point is this: If you are one of those people who actually cares about how the world at-large perceives the U.S., about how you as an individual are viewed when you travel abroad, and you want to dissprove the view that this is one of the most morally bankrupt societies in the world, think seriously about casting your vote with Barack Obama.
Now like I said I know a lot of people could not give a fuck less what other countries think about the good old U.S. of A. I'm not talking to you (and besides I suspect you guys would rather cut off your own genitalia than vote for a black man as President). I'm talking to the people who do care, and most specifically the white people who care. The ones who think our country's reputation for neo-colonialism is undeserved. And the ones who are of the opinion that Blacks need to stop whining about racism and 'stuff' that happened 40 years ago, because the only reason (or should I say the main reason that will never be officially acknowledged) Obama will not (I don't think he will) be elected is because of this society's refusal to deal with it's issues of race.
I had a relationship with a woman once who had a lot of 'issues' on a personal level and they kept manifesting themselves in our relationship. When we used to discuss these issues and I would bring up specific examples to illustrate my arguments she would always evade responsibility for her actions saying that I was being passive aggressive trying to play the victim role and it was I who was really at fault because I didn't love her for who she was, etc. Finally I said to myself, 'fine maybe she has a point' and put aside my issues and assumptions, but you know what she kept proving me right by exhibiting the same behaviors until eventually we ended the self destructive cycle that was our relationship.
I see a lot of (assumedly) white commenters on blogs like Field's going on and on about how it's really black folks who are racist these days and that we keep excusing our own laziness as a people based on events that happened decades ago, and that they can't even take pride in their race without being labeled a racist, and of course that institutional racism is practically non-existant these days and black people are just crying wolf. But when white politicians running against black opponents steady resort to tatics like the ones linked to in this post's first paragraph and I keep seeing these independent documentaries on current.com and other places showing countless white people in America's Heartland solemnley stating that they don't care (or even really know) what Obama stands for but they will not be voting for him because it's "just not right", I know I'm being shown that race is still a deep part of this country's legacy. You guys keep proving people like me, who say that racism is alive and well, right.
And let me just digress here with one of my favorite jewels: A lot of people confuse the concept of racism with prejudice. The basic difference is racism involves the use of power to subjugate a particular group of people based on race. A prejudice is a preconceived stereotype based in ignorance (of which many people of all colors are guilty of possesing). By it's definition African-Americans in this society are not capable of racism because we don't have the institutional power to practice it.
So that's why I say it's not only black folks who need to 'do better'. You want terrorists to stop fucking with this country so our children and loved ones don't have to die in a desert somewhere to defend it? You want some of these other nations to start showing some gratitude for the genuinely good things we do around the globe? Do you care about being perceived as an airheaded member of a decadent society? Then open up your mind to the possibility that a black man can be POTUS. Stop accepting every convenient excuse McCain will hand you to fear an African-American in office. Stop letting them cater to your fears based in ignorance and embrace your higher calling as a human being. If you can do this it will go a long way towards showing the world that this is not the America that they think it is.