Handing racists more ammunition

September 30, 2008

THANKS TO Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and SocialistWorker.org for yet again saying what needs to be said at a time when the corporate media would rather nitpick over lipstick than look the racist reality in the face ("Deciphering their racist code words").

What I really hate about the McCain/Palin package of nastiness is the way it mines the depth of the legitimate anger working people feel about being passed over and abused, and pins it on people of color. Without ever saying "affirmative action," the implication is pretty obvious: while we labor away for an ever-shrinking piece of the pie, the "undeserving" are promoted and coddled.

More than once, I have heard from my friends or coworkers that bosses are now afraid of firing Black workers, and they wish they had that kind of security. Some have even gone so far as to say Black men have it the best of anyone because they can just complain about discrimination and get their way.

The Department of Labor would tend to disagree, since not only is Black unemployment in raw numbers two (or in New York, three or more) times higher than that for whites, Blacks are losing their jobs twice as fast during this recession than whites are.

The working class is all sinking, and I know many of my white brothers and sisters simply feel that "our" issues don't get the time of day--so while "tolerance" and "diversity" are good things, the idea that someone else is going to get ahead burns. You only have to scratch the surface to find that it's not that white folks are satisfied with all the so-called privileges that we have, but infuriated that mainstream politics offers nothing to "hard-working whites," despite being heavily courted by both parties.

The simple truth is that we can only advance together, and not on the basis of ignoring racism, or even just "tolerating difference." That kind of liberal jargon is nonsense. Racism is real and needs to be fought, from the ignorant comments to the biased institutions.

The Obama campaign thinks that it's too risky to acknowledge racial attacks or respond in the national campaign. The right wing will just keep pushing that button, blinding people to the obvious reality that the undeserving who are taking advantage are the ones in boardrooms and political offices and penthouses and private jets.

The Democrats might think that they are just giving the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves, but American history is all about why the last thing you want to hand to a racist is more rope.
Amy Muldoon, New York City

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