“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Left and Race

My step dad is black so I have some protective feelings towards Obama. So sue me. Really nice guy, Maurice, really strong (on the inside), good at fixing things, very grounded.

Don Hubbard manages Hubbard Mansion, a hotel in New Orleans. He has photos of him embracing King, and some really powerful photos from the Civil Rights era.

One photo shows an irate white woman kicking a white guy in the ass for holding a little black girl's hand as she walks to school. Amazing image. We talked about it for a while.

Then I asked Don, “Hey Don, why do you think the left is hating on Obama so much these days?”

His answer was simple: “They want him to be the supernegro.”

Don't shoot the messenger dudes. Everyone can be a bit racist right (cue Avenue Q)?

There's a form of spectacular politics that I really despise. It's the comfy position of rubbernecking catastrophe from the point of view of powerlessness.

Believe me as a poor scholarship boy at a very very posh British public school (St. Paul's), whose mum fed him and his brothers for about ten quid a week, I know about that. And as an immigrant to the States, where my head was placed in a metal clamp in a detention facility outside of Denver, to pose for my Green Card, I know about that. (Foucault eat your heart out!)

One big reason why I became a US citizen was so I could stop feeling totally smug and totally powerless at the same time. Take some responsibility and some blame for the crap we're in.

Now here's my thought, and it's shared by Van Jones. Can we do more than one thing at once? Do we have to be so rigid in our thinking? Can we be a little bit supportive of President Obama, and organize for a better future—the really future future, you know beyond the state, beyond race and class and gender (and I would add species)? At the same time?


khadimir said...

It is not clear what you're asking for with "support."

Timothy Morton said...

If you'd like me to be explicit, I shall. Shall I?

khadimir said...

Yes. Because the argument could go in any direction depending on the premises and goals, and there are too many good yet conflicting ones.

Timothy Morton said...

Okay. I'll give being more explicit some consideration.

John B-R said...

Tim, I'm not sure I understand this post, exactly. Are you suggesting that a white man whose appointments, policies, etc etc were exactly the same as Obama's have been to date would have more, or less, support from the leftish wing of his party?

Ruth Solomon said...

Don't see why all the confusion on this post. It is what it is- says what it says; how to be in the vice and outside the vice at the same time-.

Timothy Morton said...

Slatted Light, neither your name nor your email address were attached.

Timothy Morton said...

Hi David, sorry that wasn't visible in my version. Did you use html code? And I didn't see your name either. I'm not sure how.