I’ve never been down with Tim Wise. Unlike a lot of African-American commentators who considered him an ally and raised him upon the pedestal of the “good white man”, I found nothing in his self declared white anti-racist
mission hustle that I considered sincere. I saw him and it for what it was: exploiting, appropriating and profiting from the oppression and injustices faced by Black people, while making White people feel good about themselves via the privilege of their white guilt complex. I previously laid this all out here: Tim Wise and The Privilege of White Guilt.
It appears that the dazzlement is beginning to dim and more and more of my African-American brothers and sisters are beginning to see his true light. When I read these two articles at Black Agenda Report, here and here, I saw that the shine was indeed starting to come off Mr. Wise. Then I read this recent article at gradient lair, including the links within the article pertaining to Mr. Wise. I recommend you read them all… eye opening!
A former friend of mine once stated: “time takes time”. Time is certainly catching up with Tim Wise… and his hustle, like all fads… is getting old.
I am looking forward to see Lincoln, the recent film by Steven Spielberg. I want to see it for purely selfish reasons: I am a huge Daniel Day Lewis fan. He plays Uncle Abe and from what I see from the previews, his performance is spellbinding. Those who have followed along with me in this blogging journey from the beginning, know that I used to be a working actor (in what now seems to me like a “previous life”).
I was waiting to see it before writing a review, which most likely would have been from an afro-political rather than an artistic perspective. However I was watching Meet the Press on Sunday and the roundtable panel, which included the Obama apologist and MSNBC sellout Rev. Al Sharpton, were not only praising the film, but the nobility and sacrifice of Lincoln the man, in his fight to abolish slavery in Amerikka. Huh…I could see Sis. Deb shaking her head… and as we Jamaicans say… “sucking her teeth”… at the commentary (i.e. bullshit) they were spewing.
I recall that many, many years ago when I was a university freshman (in what again seems to me like a “previous life”), my final paper in my Political Economics course was based on the premise that Lincoln did not free the slaves for any noble or altruistic reasons, but primarily because he and the Northern industrialists knew that Amerikka could not reach it’s full industrialization potential with a slave based, agrarian economy dominating the South. Cheap labour needed to move North, while capital for industrialization needed to move South and the domestic consumer market needed to be nurtured. My thesis certainly wasn’t an original one, but as a young and very naive Black man living in Canada, who was just beginning to understand the “real” world and how it had been influencing my perspective about myself and those around me, this revelation was a part of the process I had been going through at the time: the stripping away of illusions and lies I had been told about “the good white people” like Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
Now let’s fast forward to the present and speaking of Sis. Deb, let’s be clear. As I watched the Meet the Press segment, I was reminded of an insightful and educational article she did on her blog entitled: Lincoln, the resolute white supremacist — the Changeling’s “homeboy”? I encourage you to read the whole article, including the links… it’s fantastic! It portrays the real Lincoln… in his own words. Another excellent article was previously posted here by brothpeacemaker: Quotations from Abraham Lincoln.
I have come to understand and expect the behaviour of the dominant culture, like that of a drug addict, to constantly feed it’s white supremacy cravings, so as to satisfy its needs to feel superior to the “others”, while at the same time feel comfortable about their white privilege, through the guise of their (supposedly) noble endeavours and sacrifices for these same “others”. We can see this playing out especially among the so-called “White progressives and liberals”. It is their “White man’s (and woman’s) burden”! Hence, no character representing, nor a mention at all of Fredrick Douglass and his influence on Lincoln in the film.
This discussion brings to mind a portion of the lyrics of Fight The Power by Public Enemy, with a couple of minor revisions:
Lincoln was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherfuck him and JFK
Meet John Barr; Ypsilanti Township, Mich racist.
I met John this past Tuesday (Nov 2) when I went to my polling location to vote.
Over the last few months, I had been debating how I would vote for Mich governor. I was or torn between voting for a republican whom I felt was competent and a needed change for the state or voting for the democratic option who reminded me of Rod Blagojevich that makes my skin crawl.
Tuesday: Day One
The day of the vote I kinda just said fuck it all. I can’t vote for any of these fools. Why does it always seem like we have to choose between two evils? With that said, I decided not to vote.
Yeah, I said I decided not to vote.
OK, so now, I’m leaving work headed home and I get near my polling place and did an about face and decided to vote.
I guess karma was on my side because the location was not super busy and I got a parking space right at the door.
As I’m getting out my car, I was approached by a man passing out literature for candidates that he was supporting. Then he took it a step further and said let’s get Virg Bernero (the democrat) in the governor’s office. I explained that there was no way that I was going to vote for him.
After I made my statement, his tone changed and he started acting like he was my real daddy or something breaking down how republicans are not for us, the greater good of Negro people, how he would be better for business blah blah blah!
Then he went on to tell me that he owns a liquor store and funeral home. I was like really? Then I asked if he laid to rest any of his alcoholic customers from his store. I was just being an asshole…
Minutes later, I’m in line to vote.
I hand over my ID and the person looks me up then she hands me my voter application to get my ballot.
I then move to the ballot line, which is where John Barr and I 1st made contact.
I approach John with my ID and voter application in hand and greeted him with a hello. He extends his hands to take my information and reciprocates my greeting.
As he was looking me up, he asked “how is your gangsta’ rap group going?” Taken aback, I said excuse me. He then repeated the question looking me dead in my eyes. I then asked John what made him think that I was in a gangsta’ rap group. He exclaimed “everyone with hair like that is a gangsta rapper!”
At this point, I shouted back “are you racially profiling me as I attempt to vote? Are you serious? Do you really mean to intimidate me at the voting poll in the year 2010?”
All I got back from my line of questioning was a dumb ass blank stare that only an imbecile could give.
I then demanded to see someone in charge!!!
Moments later, a very sweet woman approached me and I explained what happened. All the while she was in utter shock. At the end of my rant, she asked me to not leave so that she could process me personally as she dismissed John.
As she handed me a ballot, she requested that I not leave so that she could get me in touch with the township clerk.
So I now have my ballot and I’m in the booth PISSED off.
As I stated before, I was going to vote for the republican gubernatorial candidate but then I started having civil rights flashbacks and said fuck that, I can’t go that way.
After the ballot was completed, I handed it back to the sweet lady (she had be to in her 70s). She thanked me for my patience and told me that the township clerk; Karen Lovejoy Roe was waiting to see me at her nearby office.
As I was leaving, I spotted John pacing back and forth. I wanted to cuss him out but I kept it moving.
Now I’m at the clerk’s office and Karen walks right up to me, introduces herself and apologizes profusely as we walked to her office.
As we talked her office, I gave my accounting of events and she listened in disbelief. After I was done, she informed me that she spoke with John and he was like yeah, I said it. Then it went a step further by him telling her that I obviously wasn’t in management because people in management don’t look like me.
Really bitch? Are you serious?
I’m just done at this point….. I stayed composed although pissed off and was like so now what.
Karen informed me that she needed to call the state elections board to see what her next move should be and that she would be in touch to keep me posted.
She then explained that this has never happened before and assured me that John would never work for her again.
So as we wrap, she makes a pitch to recruit me as a poll worker and gives me two applications. She then stated that she always needs qualified poll workers who are computer savvy.
I took the applications but in the front, back and middle of my mind, I’m like are you serious. I was just assaulted/insulted and you’re trying to recruit me. Ummmm, no boo.
Wednesday – Next Day:
I get to my day job and tell a co-worker what jumped off and she was like you need to contact the NAACP with the quickness. Before she mentioned the antiquated group I was wondered what else I needed to do.
So now it’s 930am and I call my local office and I got no answer. I then call another nearby office and got no answer. I then call then the Detroit office and got no answer.
I kept called all three offices for the next 4 hours and got NO ANSWER, just a raggedy voicemail.
On my last try at the Detroit office, I finally got someone and explained my issue. The young man requested that I hold the line………. After holding briefly, I was transferred to a voicemail box. Great another roadblock. This time I decide to leave a message.
Thursday – Two Days Later:
I get a status update from Karen telling me that she is still waiting to hear back from the state about the issue and that she would get back with me ASAP. I appreciated her call.
And still no response from the NAACP
Friday – Three Days Later:
No follow up from Karen Lovejoy Roe at all. I’m disappointed. It has been 3 days…
Still no response from the NAACP and I again made repeated calls that all went unanswered.
At this point, I’m disappointed that I have not heard back from Karen but I’m pissed the fuck off over not hearing from the NAACP.
To deal with my pissed offness, I call the state bureau of elections my damn self. Wound up talking to some guy who told me that I could send in a complaint letter or send an email detailing my experience. He then stated that if I wanted a response back that I needed to indicate that in my correspondence.
Really? I have to tell you that I want a response back? No, really? Should you just fucking respond?
I hung up the phone frustrated and turned off.
Lastly, I posted this on the NAACP’s Facebook Page:
“I’ve been upset over the fact that I was racially profiled and intimidated at my polling location this past Tuesday by a poll worker. My frustration has been compounded after I called three local Detroit area NAACP offices whom all failed to return my call after leaving a message. Additionally, I have not been able to reach anyone in an office as the phones ring continually. This cannot be how you conduct business in 2010…”
I feel like I have no advocate, no attention etc. Just not cool!
Next election, I’m voting absentee.
For the record:
- Yeah, John did smile from me when I took the photo.
- I called the ACLU & Urban League & they were not into my issue.
This is a very interesting post at the Unapologetic Mexican. At a blogger’s convention, (I believe it was Netroots) a group of them created a bit of “Political Theater” by making a “check point” at the door of the convention just for the white folks. They were “dressed” as ICE officials with fake paper badges and sunglasses for the full effect.
What was so great to me is they allowed all the brown and black people to pass with no problem. I kinda liked that. ;-)
But for the white people, they told them that they were “Illegal Europeans” on Native Land and would need to show their ID’s. They physically blocked their entry, and had them hold up their hands and took pictures of them. The range of reactions of those white folks was quite interesting. Some felt humiliated but understood what was being done, and others were simply pissed off by the whole thing. It’s worth it to check it out if you haven’t already! :-D