Lately I’ve been pondering one of the biggest oppression myths – that oppressed folks need to make the case to their oppressor that they should not be oppressed. This myth is rarely stated outright – rather, it is a privileged expectation contained in almost every bigoted campaign.
To the person of color attending college – prove that you are smart enough to be here because the assumption is that you are not.
To the new mother returning to work – prove that you can still do the job, because the assumption is that you can’t.
To the LGBT person in the military – prove that your “gayness” isn’t going to be an issue, because the assumption is that it will be.
To the Latina driving while brown in Arizona – prove that you are in the country legally, because the assumption is that you are not.
To the disabled person applying for a job – prove thyself over and over again and the once more, because the assumption is that you only got the job through unfair legal protections.
And so forth and so on and so it is and so it has been.
Which brings us to the accusation made by so-called birthers that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus should not be president.
For damn near two years birthers have responded to criticism by saying that they aren’t racist, they are just concerned citizens who demand proof and if the President had proof he’d provide it and then they’d be satisfied and let it go.
Folks provided them with a copy of the birth certificate – they responded that it wasn’t official enough.
Folks provided them with birth announcements printed in the local newspaper – they responded that it those were manufactured or not official looking or part of a vast left wing conspiracy dating back decades to elect a black socialist Muslim communist tyrant to the highest office in the land.
Now the President has provided these fools with the official as hell long form version of his birth certificate.
And…wait for it…birthers are still not convinced!
Because this isn’t about proving a damn thing to anyone.
This is about bigotry and oppression, fear and false tolerance…and those things resist facts like a drug resistant yeast infection resists penicillin.
We are within a teachable moment.
Blaming oppressed people for their oppression is intellectually lazy and flawed.
The myth that we just need to calm fears, sooth the beast, and make the case for why we deserve rights is just that – a myth.
The truth is that the President could broadcast video of him exiting the womb and birthers would say it doesn’t look like him.
Anyhoo, now the same media that indulged this rancidbullshit for years is pretending to examine their role in it.
‘Tis laughable and oh so very American.
Will these journalists demand to see the long form birth certificates of every candidate that dips their power hungry toes in the political pool?
Will they hound and dig in and circle and question and attack and scoff and air interview after interview and then start over again to hound and question and blah, bah, bah followed by blah?
What am I thinking?
That’s not the way we play the game, y’all!
We don’t question whether the straight white man waltzing across the campus of Yale got accepted because his family made a donation or his mother is an alumna.
We question the other.
That’s what we do.
The truth be damned.