Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chris Matthews, post-racialism and acceptable blackness…

Let’s jump right on in.

A bitch didn’t see it…I fell asleep watching the Blues hockey game (we were robbed!!) and wouldn’t have been watching the State of the Union on MSNBC anyway because Chris Mathews works my nerves…but apparently Mr. Matthews defined post-racialness on air last night.

Matthews…
"I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It's interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he's gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and passed so much history, in just a year or two. I mean, it's something we don't even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don't think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It's so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn't talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way."

Cough.

This is America, the land of rich white men who can say anything anytime about anyone without consequences and the television networks that love them, so a bitch doesn’t expect Matthews to get called out for this one.

As a matter of fact, fuck it…why call him out for clarifying his use of post-racial for the masses?

Chris Matthews is all for a post-racial America…hell, he’s been trying to speak it into being since the Democratic primary season began two years ago. He believes that progress is made when folks who can’t deal with difference are able to simply not see difference and thus no longer discriminate based on difference because they can’t act on something they can’t see. That’s post-racialism for ya!

Usually achieving post-racialism is the responsibility of the person or people of color involved in a situation. The same is true here – Matthews explains that Obama has allowed for the fog of post-racialism to set in during the State of the Union…and properly obscure his vision…by being a leader, presenting a broad-reaching discussion and blah, blah followed by blah. As a result, President Obama has proven himself to be acceptably black by creating an environment in which folks like Matthews can forget that he’s…um, black.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Now, lots of folks like this post-racial shit because they like to think that they don’t see color or difference…many of them are trying not to see color or difference…and most of them prefer working toward that goal of non-seeingness because it is easier than working on their issues with race and difference.

A bitch calls that bullshit…post-racialist like Matthews are more than delusional, they are insulting and ig’nant with it.

By his very words Matthews is admitting that he’s got serious issues with race…not the he looks different from me or she sounds so black kind of issues but rather he looks difference and she sounds so black so that makes me uncomfortable because I fundamentally associate blackness with inadequacy kind of issues.

And that, my friends, is my problem with post-racialism – the theory that they only way folks like Chris Matthews can be comfortable with a black man in leadership is by not seeing him as a black man because they fundamentally don’t trust the worthiness of a black man in leadership.

As for acceptable blackness…well, I’m on the record about that shit and damn it all to hell and back if Matthews didn’t prove my point on that shit last night. Acceptable blackness is achieved by not being black.

My response is to say it loud…I’m black and I’m proud.

And if the only way Chris Matthews can deal with that and maintain respect is to ignore it or try to set it aside or sit back and wait for me to create a post-racial fog so his vision is properly obscured from seeing the disturbitude of my chocolate brown skin and fantabulous Afro…well, then he can kiss my black ass.

Different doesn’t mean lesser than.

And America won’t be post-racial until Americans do the inner work on that.

Next up, the State of the Union (FYI, it’s not post-racial).

27 comments:

IseultTheIdle said...

Back in the day when "I Love Lucy" was on the air, I used to have to leave the room occasionally when Lucy and Ethel were up to some particularly egregious hijinks. I couldn't bear to watch.

That's pretty much how I felt about Mr Matthews' statement. I couldn't laugh for cringing.

redneck liberal said...

Guys like Matthews would never think of themselves as racists. But to them 'post racialism' is when black people stop "acting black" and white supremacism wins. Hmm... Funny. I've never heard a black person say 'hey, I didn't even notice he was white'. Even black racists ain't rude enough to do that!

gmftech said...

I stopped going to church when the wives of the so called leadership started sending out bigoted, racist Obama emails. This shit is SO disgusting. Chris M works my last nerve as well.

All I can say is WTF?

KBO said...

If I never hear the phrase "post-racial" again, it will be too soon.

Keep spreading the bitchitude.

RIleysdtr said...

Interesting. As the Dearly Beloved and I watched, I couldn't help but notice the President was black, especially when they kept panning to all the old white guys to whom he was speaking. After a while the cameramen seemed to be working to find the few faces of color in the audience and kept focusing on Danny Davis and the old black guys too. Irony? Trying to show diversity in Chambers? Don't know, but it was pretty obvious to me and the DB. But then I guess we're not post-racial enough.

Dusty said...

I watched the SOTU on Cspan, then MSNBC's post speechifying shows..so when Tweety said that..I recall I had to pick my jaw up off the carpet.

Fucking Moron.

J9 said...

You know Shark Fu, you've given me something to think about today, and for that I thank you! I think you are right, there is a HUGE gap between tolerance and acceptance, and when the old white boys network gets a grip and accepts that being black doesn't mean being less, then things and attitudes will improve. It all has to start at home.

Eduardo Guize said...

Yeah, the old "I'm not racist, I don't see color". f-ck that.

dinthebeast said...

Gee Chris, the speech was so good that you forgot the president was black... Well that leaves me with two questions: First, why should I care what you forgot? And second, what would you have been thinking if the speech turned out to be less than you expected? What bugs me about this is that I really do not want to open either of those cans of worms. Maybe you should spend some time working this stuff out for yourself before you run your mouth about it on TV.
But this is TV, and if what he said has me talking about it, they probably think they did something right.

-Doug in Oakland

kathy said...

It is just such a new phenom for (older white male) Chris, that he doesn't know how to handle it. He is clearly in awe and he honestly thinks that what he said was a compliment. If you listen to his later follow up, he does not apologize. Rather he continues on in the same vein.

libhom said...

Tweety may be able to forget that President Obama is black for an hour or two, but I can't forget that Tweety is a moron.

Anonymous said...

What about that other RACIST, Harry Reid ?Shouldn't he be IMPEACHED for his Racism?

Shark-fu said...

Anonymous...
Please refer to my blog archives for my thoughts on Majority Leader Reid.

As for impeachment...even his colleagues don't think he should be "impeached". Some think he should resign from the leadership like Lott did, but that's very different.

The Gold Digger said...

We'll be post-racial when newspapers will print the race of the suspect they are seeking and when the US census and the county clerk don't ask me my race on official forms. Race matters for the suspect but it does not matter on the census or on my marriage license. I tried putting "human" on both but the clerk wouldn't take that as an answer for the marriage license. A census worker called me for a better answer and I refused to give her one. Told her my race was none of the government's business.

BTW, isn't Chris Matthews and enlightened liberal and hence by definition not racist? :)

Shark-fu said...

Good question, gold digger!

Just like there is no Race Card, there is no liberal vaccine that prevents liberals from being bigots or public displays of ig'nance.

I don't know where that idea came from, but it wasn't me.

b8akaratn said...

If we termed this rhetorical vehicle of privileged white-wash as "post-racism," & folks driving this vehicle as "post-racists," would that finally get the point across to them of what they're doing? *aggravated sigh*

Anita said...

". . . the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life . . "

The fact that he found this surprising, coming as it did from a Harvard Law graduate, former editor of the law review, constitutional law professor, elected state legislator, United States senator and duly elected President of the United States, can only be the most ingrained racism.

What, I wonder, did he expect?

Anonymous said...

Trent Lott's claim that Thurmond would have been a better President than Truman is not racist, but demonstrable on historical grounds.

1) Truman was a worse racist than Thurmond: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/Harry_Truman_civil_rights.htm or www.proportionaltech.com/Top/michael-niggers-richards.html . Clearly, Truman hated Asians worse than Blacks, which doesn't excuse him or make him any better than Thurmond. If anything, Truman is worse than Thurmond because of the extra bigotry.

2) Truman was afraid of Joe McCarthy and appeased him. Thurmond would have put McCarthy in his place.

3) Truman was a total washout in Foriegn Policy. Thurmond, by simply stumbling, would not have made the same elementary mistakes as Truman in Korea. More importantly, Thurmond would not have appeased McCarthy by getting tough with Ho Chi Mihn, the best spymaster that ever worked for the Americans in World War II. Truman made it a point to alienate Ho in order to not appear soft on Communism, evading McCarthy's attention. We paid for this STUPIDITY in Vietnam. Thurmond would have fixed McCarthy's little red wagon, and Ho would have become the Marshall Tito of Asia.

Shark-fu said...

Anonymous...

Trent Lott didn't claim that Thurmond would have been a better President. Lott claimed that we, the people, would have been better off had Thurmond been president.

Now, since I'm one of the people...and Thurmond was a devout racist who must be turning over in his rancid grave to hear so many folks try to make the case that he wasn't something that he was more than proud to publicly be...I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been better off.

Unless you think handing the nation over to a segregationist was a missed opportunity.

Or was that comment one of those "Thurmond was a piece of shit but I can find Dems who were worse pieces of shits" comments?

If so, let's skip that dance and say we went...

All we can do is speculate over the President Thurmond would have been...and I thank the gods for that on a regular basis.

Toodles!

Anonymous said...

For all of Thurmond's shortcomings, he would know better than to run afoul of Eisenhower, who was genetically Black on his mother's side. Can you say the same about Truman?

Black British Chick Online said...

He's representative of the majority of white Brits too. As long as you dont SOUND or LOOK too black here, you with the In Crowd. utter bullshit of the highest order. 'Too black, too strong' thats what i say

thisisthebbconline.blogspot.com -Black British Chick Online!!!

pluky said...

The trick is not to forget that someone is [fill in the blank], but not to care, one way or another, that someone is [fill in the blank].

Shark-fu said...

Anonymous...

Are you a medium channeling Thurmond's spirit?

All of this who would have what and who wouldn't have what is ridiculous...and serves no purpose but to tax my wig.

And how the hell did we get on the topic of Truman v. Thurmond anyway?

Trent Lott, is that you?

Jesus man, give it up!

morganp said...

Awesome - his level of attentiveness is inversely proportional to his awareness of someone's "blackness". What's it like when Chris Matthews "remembers" that the person speaking is black?

Chitown Kev said...

Shark-fu, thank you for this commentary.

As some who has gone through the overwhelming majority of my life as one of those "acceptable blacks" (great article in that link, by the way) or even being "not like THOSE blacks" I want to make a couple of additional observations on this otherwise fine commentary and comments (Trent Lott's comments aside).

1) As one of those good-talking, seemingly educated blacks that's not like THOSE people (I guess lol) one of the things I've noticed is that white folks that say shit like this will occasionally feel oh so free to tell you how they really feel about those OTHER blacks in the 'hood, I suppose...as if it's such an honor that they admitted me to their club or as if I could not possibly be from the 'hood myself.

Comments like Chris Matthews have, in a way, more to do with class than race.

I mean, it's irritating how "white" is coded as rich and good-talking, etc. and then you have the "rednecks"/"white trash" which, well, are a special category of white folks whereas us good talking, educated (seemingly) black folks are the special kind. Thereby reinforcing the notions of white supremacy.

I put comments like Matthews more in the category of "ignorant" than "racist" then again there is usually some racism behind comments like this and I have heard it from their mouths. so...

Great blog, great post, and I read more often than I comment and I will comment more frequently.

S said...

When i was a little kid, i thought of white as the "default" race, i'm sure due in part to my parents, particularly my Korean immigrant mom who believed that _she_ was the different one and i was her "American" kid. I see this guy Matthews' thinking is right on par with mine at seven years old.

Don't "see" color or difference? I've heard that before; i call it UNOBSERVANT. I guess people who think this way cannot separate seeing a difference from making judgments based on difference. My question is, why are people who think like a second-grader doing commentary on television? Maybe this is why i don't have a television.

First time reading your blog. Thanks for introducing me to the hilarious term "post-racial"; i'll see how i can work it into my repertoire.

S said...

. . . the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life . . "

Anita: The fact that he found this surprising, coming as it did from a Harvard Law graduate...

Oh, i can't stop laughing! Who would expect the President's State of the Union Address to be so broad-ranging? I suggest that next year they follow Chris Matthews with Chris Rock.