>Forgive me, but I’m going to do a post entry that’s more of a rant than anything else.
I’m an avid C-SPAN watcher. Today, author John McWorther, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, was a guest on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and he was discussing his new book “All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can’t Save Black America.” McWorther also touched on other issues, including the presidential race and the war on drugs and its detrimental effects it’s had on the black community.
Well, a caller from Tennessee called in and naively asked, “I’m a white, American woman, and I’m wondering what can I do to help the black race? They seem like they are their own worst enemy?” McWorther scoled the woman in a nice manner and told her that her comments were naive.
I’m going to go a little further and tell this woman (and any other people who feel this way) why her comments are inherently racist and naive.
This woman obviously feels some superiority over African-Americans. Her notion that we are “our own worst enemy” exposes her stereotypical view that blacks are savages that kill each other over petty issues and for the thrill.
Her feelings towards helping the “black race” dates back to the White Man’s Burden era (colonialism) when Western countries and its people felt some divine calling to help these poor, uncivilized cultures in the Global South. While Americans weren’t too heavily involved in the conquering (culturally and physically) of these people, they systematically engaged in a campaign to conquer and “help” it’s own “uncivilized” inhabitants of their country by stamping out their inferior culture and promoting the idea that white is right.
Now, feeling some sort of white guilt, women and men like this Tennessee caller feel they need to “do something” to help better the black race. This woman, like other whites in this country, have this pressing need to help the “uncivilized black race” to overcome their struggles and to fit into mainstream society.
This subconscious racial superiority and feelings of guilt in this woman is something many blacks are all to familiar with–the white teacher who feels some sort of responsibility to help his black students overcome racism and poverty or the white employer who feels some degree of guilt for employing a black maid to clean her house.
Now, in an April 24 NY Daily Sun op-ed, McWorther said some white voters, mainly educated voters, like the idea of voting for Sen. Barack Obama because it would signify that racism in this country is heading for a decline:
What we are seeing is that to whites of this stratum, there is nothing especially magic about Mr. Obama. That is, a considerable amount of Mr. Obama’s appeal is based on his charisma, his air of “freshness,” and so on. And yes, a considerable part of that is his color. I have written this before and will write it again: many white voters are stimulated by the idea of voting for a black candidate for president, as a gesture toward getting past America’s racist past.
I would venture to say that many of these voters are “stimulated” by the idea for voting for Sen. Obama because it would help them help the black race. It would help them overcome racism. It would help them release this guilt they’ve carried around for decades. It would prove to the masses that they no longer see color and are willing to help the unwashed masses of the “black race” by voting for one of “them.”