Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: the politics of race--the human one

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

the politics of race--the human one

Well, along with my flu, there's been an epidemic of Democratic candidates throwing their hats in the ring. Who will know what falls out of all of that? But I do have confidence that the democrats can always pick a loser. sigh. Reading Dickerson's article about Obama yesterday on Salon was very disheartening. I don't always agree with her positions, but I usually find her fair, even-tempered. Yesterday she waxed on and on about what being 'black' really was--and Barack Obama is not it. I am one of those whites who's very sensitive to the priveleges of being white; very aware of the endemic social patterns caused by 350 years of slavery; and in response to Dickerson's article very tired of hearing it all, suddenly.

I don't want to swing to the other side and begin reading Ayn Rand again, but nevertheless, the power of the word is so strong. And the power of our stories is incalulable. But our stories can change--and they must change--in order for us to be free of them. In many ways I am in agreement with those that want restitution--that believe that until the US government, corporations, etc. make a formal restitution, admitting their wrong doing, admitting their profits based on slave labor, admitting their separation and complete decimation of the family unit in slave-holding states, then yes, perhaps the 'black' people of America (see Dickerson's definition) will never be free to re-write their story. But just like the victim of child abuse often has to move on without the restitution and amends of their parents, so, too, it may be time for the 'black' people of America to drop their story and move on--with or without the 'white man's burden' off of their backs. Many have done so--and have often been scorned by their own because of it.

It is the human condition. My own father rose above his background and his parents could hardly forgive him. It wasn't that they weren't kind to each other--but there was always that sense that because he had become a physician, gone to school, travelled the world, that he had made himself better than them and they couldn't forgive him for it.

We are all afraid of change--even though it is the only thing we're guaranteed, along with death and taxes. What I've learned about my own story changes with the waxing and waning of the moon. Sometimes I'm indefatigueable and ready to take everything on--head first. Sometimes I feel so defeated by my story that I can't even lift my head to serve and be a part of life. It's a battle. But the only losers are those who buy into their story 100% without ever questioning the truth, the relevance, the application, or the possibility that perhaps it doesn't fit you any more.

Maybe it's time for a new pair of shoes.


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