_

Vance Gilbert

On presidential campaigns, candidates, elections, and yes, race.

I’ve been watching the Republican candidate for president race with a modicum of interest, as I don’t believe there’s a chance in Hades that the incumbent President will be re-elected.

That said, I am not afraid to have my views of race challenged. Lemme connect these two issues for you...

Let’s be clear - racism is not just a word.

It’s not about white sheets worn or fried chicken the suspected favorite food. It’s not just some centuries old, water cooler proliferated anecdotal evidence that someone has, by birth, better math skills, more prominent athletic buttocks or smaller genitalia.

And it’s not necessarily a bad word either. It can be a springboard. A place to start. You get corrected. You learn.

That’s not to say that it isn’t bad when left uncorrected. If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to occupy a fair-share place with the human next to them in this human life because someone deems their eye shape or skin color a lesser attribute, that is a bad thing.

If someone corrects you by gently touching your arm and whispering to you that this or that group of folks do indeed prefer “Original People”, you are the recipient of great information. Bravo to you, if you’re willing to learn. Thank them for hipping you - you may now stand taller with what you now know.

Now, I know racism. I’ve seen its ugly meant-to-hurt face. I’ve seen it innocently come about out of ignorance or from being out of the loop with current language usage. As with the recent United Airlines thing I went through, I’ve seen it as fear’s roommate. I defended my vision of the event’s racist tone, and there was some Monday morning commentary by some that just can’t see race as part. It’s not sanctimony that drives my irrevocably clear view of what happened. It’s just the truth, and I made it clear that the disagreers were welcome to disagree, but in the final analysis I ask them to please keep their speculation off of my reality. I’m just right. Not particularly arrogant, just there at the time. I know that kind of racism when I see it.

But all this time, as I have been viewing this country’s election of, and subsequent excoriation of its first African American president, I fell in line with those that feel that this president has been railroaded, stonewalled, and thwarted by any right-winged means necessary because of the bottom line. And that bottom line was that these “thwarters” just couldn’t deal with a Black President. Period. I thought I oh so clearly knew racism here too when I saw it.

Then comes Herman Cain. Every bit as charming, quick on his feet, eloquent, erudite, as his incumbent Black Democratic counterpart. And every bit the front runner, the current Presidential flagship for the Republican Party, and the flag bearer of Conservatism hope in the upcoming election. Even Jon Stewart’s Daily Show has pretty obvious trouble poking holes in this man’s credibility.

And still, I’m left unsettled.

The following are some of the overheard left-wing arguments for this Black man’s popularity amongst conservatives today:

1.) People really are color blind, and he’s just a Conservative guy.

2.) He’s a patsy for the right, a Judas of sorts, a brown Trojan horse to get the conservative agenda done.

3.) Or my favorite, the electorate, Conservative or Liberal, is so dumbed down, that they really just go with what seems familiar, and familiar today means a Person of Color in the White House.

Kindle. Nook.

X-Files. Fringe.

Alias. Covert Affairs. (ok, I watch too much bad TV...)

Obama. Cain.

We have indeed proven to be lemmings over and over again with products and their knock-offs.

I guess I should apologize for how cynical all of the above seems. I wish and pray for #1. But some fearful, race-driven voice in me whispers that 2 and 3 are not absurdly above examination. Damn that voice. I know racism this way, too...

Other than some fiscally tight, socially laissez-fair Republican (like William Weld years ago for Massachusetts Governor) I’ll probably not vote a conservative ticket in this lifetime. But I sure hope that my annoying inner voices are as racist as they can be.
Share on Tumblr

updated: 6 years ago