Racism and Hillary Clinton

If it wasn’t
for seven years of the blatant resurgence of racism in America then we might
not need Hillary Clinton. Sadly Obama’s presence in the Oval Office allowed
racial meanness to rise to the surface in Washington, DC and outside our nation’s
capital. When we should have felt proud of America on the 50th
Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when we should have been celebrating, we
were instead seeing the festering remains of racism being exposed in far too many
areas of American society.
The Supreme
Court struck a huge blow when it said that certain southern states were no
longer subject to clearance before they could change their voting laws. The GOP
shamelessly began passing restrictions on voting in those same southern states
where clearance had been used to guarantee racial fairness in voting. They
justified their actions as necessary to circumvent voter fraud, which turned out
to be almost nonexistent. They said they were not being anti-Black, they were just
making it harder for Democrats to vote, but they knew, all the time, how
important the Black vote was to Democrats. They got two licks in for the price
of one.
We have seen
all too many unarmed Black folks shot under suspicious circumstances by policemen.
It begins to seem as if certain individuals join the police force to
deliberately wipe out Black people, a sort of vigilante routine. I don’t know
if there is a group that has planned this or if this is just lone racists
acting on their own and I admit I may be seeing a trend where there is really
only a series of terrible accidents, but we should not have racists on our
police forces and if there is any way to root them out we should do it.
We have
allowed Black folks to languish in poverty in our inner cities – and I don’t
mean languish in a nice way – I mean it in a hopeless way. We have not found
strategies to entice all young African-Americans into the schools and that is
what we need to do. We also need to learn how to make school relevant enough
that they will stay and go “all the way” through. We need to stop concentrating
poor black, brown, and Asian people in our center cities and find ways, perhaps
through real estate options, to intersperse poor Americans in more affluent
neighborhoods where people can afford to help lift them up.
Yes, we have
finally been made aware of how over-zealously and unequally the War on Drugs
was conducted. We have been shocked by the staggering numbers of Americans of
African Descent incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the role unaffordable
cash bails have played in this. This was one of those cases where a program
that folks thought would help solve a problem, exacerbated the problem and
created new ones. I’m not sure it was intended as a “racist” policy, it was
supposed to “scare people straight” in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, but,
in retrospect, we can see that the enforcement of this program affected
Africans-Americans far more than white Americans and either the program and/or
the enforcement of the program was racist in the way it was implemented in the
lives of real people. In this case a flawed answer intended to solve a social
problem has produced terrible consequences and most of these consequences were
visited upon Black people. If may take decades to turn around the effects of
over-incarceration and inappropriately harsh sentencing.
We have also
seen how we have allowed the South to revere the defeated Confederacy and to turn
the white folks in Southern states into martyrs and heroes in a Civil War we
should never have had to fight. We see how this has become another way to keep
racial hatred alive – to remind Black folks of their “shameful” roots in our
nation and to insure they don’t get “uppity”. How any of this shame accrues to
Black folks is impossible to even imagine, unless you grew up in the South I
guess.
Americans of
African Descent have been here longer than most Americans, although not by
choice. If they did not have black or brown skin they would have blended in
long ago. Why can’t we get over this idea that the more pigment one has the
less human one is? We have to all get past this. What will happen if we are
confronted with a truly alien species?
Because the
GOP has shown itself to be especially prone to letting “racial” traits and
their own fears inform their behavior (or misinform it) we cannot elect a
President from among the Republicans. If you consider all of the candidates for
the 2016 election Hillary has shown the best understanding of what America needs
to do to address fairness, equality, and opportunity for Americans of African
Descent. I don’t think Bernie is any more racist than any of us, but I do think
he believes his policies will lift all boats and perhaps doesn’t understand the
unique obstacles Black Americans face.
I think it
might be true that we are nicer when we feel more affluent, when our economy is
humming along; but how long must these Americans, who have been here since our
beginnings, be kept from the freedoms that should be theirs as well as ours.
Clearly this particularly stubborn issue of “racism” did not disappear in more
prosperous times, but there was a more generous spirit and it looked, for a
while, like things might have turned a corner.
If the existence
of all this hate and inequality and separation had not bubbled up from the
depths it had been stuffed into, up into the light of day – that would be a bad
thing. Let’s not try to contain it away from view of white eyes once again. Let’s
try to solve this and heal America once and for all. At the risk of sounding
corny perhaps that is what Hillary means when she talks about making America “whole”.
By Nancy
Brisson

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

 

The
Democrats have been talking about the restrictions on voting rights for some
time now. This week President Obama called out the Republicans in order to make
it clear that the GOP has passed laws in at least 8-9 states that are against
voting rights previously held by voters. These activities are especially
egregious in these days when America is celebrating landmark actions signed 50
years ago that protected civil rights in the United States.

The
Supreme Court and the Republicans seem to be acting in tandem to implement a
coordinated strategy designed to get Republicans elected and to allow them to
hold sway in Washington once again as in the GW Bush years. The Supremes have
had to be a bit subtle, but not so subtle that they could not assist the GOP. They
overturned only the most pertinent section of the voting rights law, the
“clearance” section which had held voting districts accountable if they had
been proven to favor discriminatory practices in the past. This created an open
season on voting restrictions from requiring new voter ID’s (a burden on many
voters) without a plan to phase in these cards and help citizens deal with
document challenges. In addition, days for voting that had been lengthened over
the past several decades are being cut back, in some cases brutally, with no
acceptable rationale given. Weekend voting is cancelled and Sunday voting is
also out. There are also cutbacks in early voting, regional laws make absentee
voting more difficult and in some cases there is no evening voting (and that’s
just crazy). Local areas governed by majority GOP governments have also cut
back on the number of polling places especially in cities and around college
campuses.

If
you are tuned in to the voting patterns that have dictated the restrictions
engineered by Republicans then it becomes quite clear that they are trying to
make it harder for Democrats to vote. The problem is that this also looks an
awful lot like racism as the GOP is limiting the opportunities for minorities
to vote because they expect minorities to vote Democrat (these GOP policies
target hard won programs that we still need to support not only struggling
minorities, (whose numbers we hope are dwindling) but also women and the poor.
Americans of African American descent remember all too well the Jim Crow laws
used in many states to make it almost impossible for them to vote and these
strategies can’t help but bring back the bad old days, which would suggest that
cultural sensitivity alone should put the kibosh on these reactionary laws.

Why
are the GOP and the Court doing this? Why did the Court pass the law that says
“corporations are people” and the law that says “money is speech”? Do you think
a huge majority of the American people clamored for those laws? The Court is
not passing these laws for the people; it is passing laws that are designed,
once again, to elect Republicans to Washington. Even declaring the individual
mandate in the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, even taking that
individual mandate away, gave Republicans a way to possibly sabotage Obamacare
over time. This ruling takes some of the teeth out of the law and may cause
higher health care prices in the future.

Neither
the Republicans nor the Courts have been taking care of any business that the
people have listed as priorities, so who do they serve – the Tea Party, the
Koch Brother, the Super PACs, the corporations or perhaps all of the above?

Remember
if the Republicans accuse the Democrats of doing something this means that they
are actually the ones doing it. When they accuse Obama and the Democrats of
acting interested in voting rights and the rights of women such as equal pay
and better support services only because it is election time, they are
signaling that they think this might be a winning strategy and that they would
give lip service to certain rights simply in order to get elected in 2014 and
2016. Promise anything to your electorate, says the GOP. Make it look like you
will take care of them after the elections, but the Republicans want you to
believe that these things are just bones that Democrats are throwing to voters
and women so that they can “fire up the base”.

Well
the reason the GOP says this and the reason they would like us to believe this
is because this will distract us from realizing that throwing fake bones to the
American people has been their long game all along. Republicans have not even
been trying to accomplish any of the things that the people consider priorities
because it has been their policy to block all federal law-making. Now, just before the 2014 election they begin to moderate their message – are we supposed to trust this? The only reason
I can think of for middle class or poor people to be Republicans is that white
Americans expect the GOP to protect them from being overrun by minority/nonwhite
Americans which is a scare tactic that has been repeated often enough in recent years to
make white people feel that they will lose any say in America and that they
will become the new bottom class and that Americans will speak Spanish in the near future. I do not believe that even the crafty GOP can
give America permanently back to Caucasians. Diversity is as inevitable as a
global economy although I do not know if we will change our language. Is backlash (real or imagined) inevitable? Perhaps, but let’s
hope we have more interesting things to do, and that will not be what the future is
about.

I
still insist that we need to go to the polls and we need to elect Democrats in
2014 and again in 2016 and on and on until the Republicans no longer control
the courts and until they stop redistributing all the money in America to the
very few at the very top and until they stop trying to engineer elections.

This
is the view from the cheap seats.

By
Nancy Brisson

This
blog post is also available at http://brissioni.com/

 Boston Strong!