Monday, January 19, 2009

inaugural observation

so i've been hesitant to say this, but if not here, where? nacho and i had a brief conversation about this on the drive into work and the conversation has continued here at work.

this has been one hot (not in the Paris Hilton way) election year. like many people i know, i'm still trying to make sense of all the political mumbo jumbo. i can remember the first time i ever voted, many elections ago. i had skipped at least one election before, and under the pressure of relentless friends, i finally did vote. admittedly, it was because i got tired of hearing "you should vote! it's your right! if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain!" all valid arguments. so i voted. and when someone asked me who i voted for, i told them. this was met with "you voted for him? why'd you vote for him? are you crazy? etc." so i learned either (a) voting only really mattered if you voted for the person that those questioning you agreed with or (b) keep yer pie-hole shut! i've since opted for b. i'm also guilty of having the attention span of a gnat, so i can only follow politics in 18 second sound bites and then i'm distracted by something shiny. i committed myself to a handful of political feeds this year to better educate myself. i'm still lost but i've tried. this has been complicated further by many conversations i've been witness to this year pre and post-election.

so i go home in Oct to hang with the family and friends. being so close to the election, it was impossible to attend any get together without politics coming up. i knew this and braced for it. what surprised me the most was the racist rhetoric that i encountered. i know i'm taking a HUGE chance even saying anything here cuz i know family and friends that read this. few though they may be, i know they do. and some of those same family and friends were the ones expressing those opinions. let me make one thing crystal clear though: i think i was even more shocked when i heard some of the same commentary right here in my adopted home town. when i first moved up here, some 15 years ago, i was teaching as part of my graduate assistantship. since it was a communication class, i allowed my students to ask just about anything as long as it was relevant to the topic at hand. every semester, and i'm not exaggerating, i'd have one student who, upon finding out i was from the South, would ask if racism was alive and well. to which i would say yes. i wasn't so naive to think it wasn't and i'd been exposed on a regular basis. sometimes it was a cultural holdover from those who grew up before and after the turn of the century. sometimes it was from those that lived segregation and desegregation first hand. sometimes it was just a typical day at school. and it went both ways people. it's not a one-sided street. so i had mentally confined it to some small town southern thing. my naivete again!

what i found disheartening this election was the jump to race and how awful this election has turned out. weather or not i was rooting for our president elect before, it would certainly be enough for me to root for him now if i wasn't. but as i told nach, 2 things: first, i simply cannot bear to hear the N word one more time. please keep in mind, (1) i was raised in the Rural South so i've heard it before (in derogation and cultural ignorance) and (2) i was raised by a black woman (not African American, just ask her and she'll tell you) who taught me the significance and appropriateness or impropriety of the N word. i used to say she taught me when you could/should use it or not. but because of what i've heard come out of people in response to this election, i've learned there is no okay use. second, in response to one comment in particular i heard multiple times: do you really think that just because your president elect is black/African American, thatHE'S gonna take your guns away? i think that's a party issue, not a racial issue. so ultimately i'd love to know, for those same people pulling the race card, what would you say had a black Republican been elected? would you still be hiding your guns? i'm dying to know!


Anonymous said...

WOW I an afraid to go into all those issues with you and we both know that we have issues. So on a few points

1st the election should be about what is right for the great country that we live in not about black or white, I have seen it since the "Start we are going to get a black man as the man we will show then. No longer will we be held back by the MAN" Well do you think a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School articulated man is going to help one color or one race just because he is black? Barack is sure has the outer skin of a black man but has the genes of many. So I am tired of hearing we got a black man in the White House so watch out WTF. History will judge who is right but for now up is the only way to go.

2nd Guns how narrow minded are some people Billions of dollars are spent to fight gun laws NRA and the ignorance of people to think that one man can take something away is just absurd to me.

Black, White or the color of the Rainbow does not matter what matters is the administration that turns this country around is the one that is right for this nation.

History will be the judge of that

Cookie said...

i couldn't agree more. it's been a very disturbing light shed on people i thought more of than that. i guess we're not as forward as i'd hope we were.

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