Thursday, August 28, 2008

Elitist African-American or just Uppity Negro

My fandom for The Onion has waned in recent years, but sometimes they really hit the nail on the head. Here they bill the "elitist" characterization of Barack Obama as a major step forward for black people.

As satirical as that's supposed to be, it still makes a point. The fact that white people in the United States can look at a (half-)black man and say, "he's too sophisticated for me" really says something about the improvement of race relations in the country.

That is, if that's what they are actually saying.

There's another way to look at this. They may merely have found a new rationalization for disliking black people. There's always something in which to cloak racism. Those people are violent or dirty or ignorant or we can't trust them because they come from a place where they {insert dislikable phenomenon}.

There used to be this thing called the Great Chain of Being. Attempting to rise beyond your station was punished almost as a natural fact of the universe or an act of god.

In this case, I find it far more likely that the actual purpose of the "elitist" insult is to remind the racist population that what we have here is really an uppity negro. (I'm betting they don't say negro when they talk to each other).

That's right. Cloak your ignorance and hatred behind a dissonance between your working class roots and Obama's wealth. Hide it behind a veil of disdain for lattes and Ivy League universities. Pretend that your dislike for the man has nothing to do with him not knowing his place and everything to do with his snobbery.

Lie all you like. We know what you mean.

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2 comments:

Skinny Dipper said...
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A Free Man said...

I recently wrote a post about this and I'm still not sure how much of a role racism is going to play in the election. More than it should, certainly.