So the right wing lost their shit over an impromptu speech that President Obama gave on the Trayvon Martin verdict on Friday. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you watch the whole thing.
The freakout was centered around the assertion that this speech was President Obama’s attempt at race baiting. I have to say that the right wing in America never fail to exceed my expectation of ignorance. In this case, the ignorance runs eighteen levels deep.
Let me start by saying that these attacks are rooted in the belief that if we don’t talk about racism, it doesn’t exist. That’s only true if you benefit from the white (or whitish) privilege that allows you to never experience racism. But it’s not even true for those people, since they feel the need to proactively shut down the conversations about racism. Those conversations intrude on that privilege, and they can’t have that. When a black man tells you about being followed by security in a store and you respond by putting your fingers in your ears and screaming, “LALALALALA”, you are not just ignorant; you’re choosing to be proactively ignorant. The only reason you wouldn’t want to hear it, is because it makes you uncomfortable. And the only reason it’s uncomfortable for you, is because you know that it’s really happening. If you genuinely believed that it doesn’t happen, you would be completely nonplussed by these stories. When someone quotes bible verses to me, I’m completely unaffected by their words because I don’t believe that the bible is anything other than mythology created by primitive people who were trying to explain the unexplainable. I’m neither moved nor angered by it because I put no credence in it. People who want to shut down conversations about race are lying to themselves, and they’re doing a bad job of it.
The other thing that I couldn’t help but notice about the attacks on Obama over the speech, is that no one accused him of lying. No one said that. Not one single wingnut made the assertion that Obama was fabricating his experiences as a black man in America. They’re just pissed off that he shared his experiences. How dare he remind us that he’s black? The manner in which they chose to attack this speech couldn’t have more effectively illustrated the racism that black people in America experience every single day. They didn’t attack the content of his words. They attacked the blackness of his words. I don’t know if that’s simply a function of the fact that he intruded on their white privilege, or that they’re pissed that a black man has made it so much further than they’ve managed to go even with all of the advantages they were born with. I’m not going to speculate on that, nor do I need to in order to make my case for the racist nature of these attacks.
Willfully ignorant is the worst thing in the world that you can be. It’s a life wasted. We’re not on this earth to collect things; animals do that. We’re not on this planet to breed; animals do that. We’re here to exercise our sentience to its fullest extent. We’re here to learn things and to grow, both intellectually and spiritually. And if you’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen, you’ve wasted a life.
These asshats who are pissed off at what Obama said, who didn’t even bother to go to thegrio.com, theroot.com, twib.fm, or any of the dozens of other sites that offer news from the black perspective are proactive racists. They don’t want to be bothered with other people’s issues because those issues intrude into their lives. That’s modern racism. Pretending that people of other races don’t have vastly different experiences with which to draw from is modern racism. Not seeing color is modern racism.
When you hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil, you don’t stop evil. It doesn’t go away because of your failure to acknowledge it. You’re actually giving evil your tacit permission to continue. And you squander your own life by not feeding your mind and your soul with all of the experiences that life has to offer.