Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rambling about race.

Thanks, new trolls, for inspiring this one. ;)

I'm a middle-class white girl. I like to joke about being downwardly mobile, since my parents are small-business owners who make about $100,000 a year and I'm getting my second degree in a field that averages more like $40,000. Personally, I don't have a heck of a lot of economic privilege at the moment, but I sure as hell have a support system I can turn to, and I'm certainly part of the overeducated blogging class.

I'm also Jewish. Matttbastard joked that we're both "ethnically Marxist," and it's an interesting thought (aside from one that made me laugh out loud). Jewish identity was used two ways in the election--most obviously by the McCain campaign's continued evocations of Iran's threats toward Israel in what several of us called Operation Scare the Jews. I got a mailing a day from the "Republican Jewish Committee" in the last week before the election, usually with a large picture of Obama splashed next to one of Ahmadinejad.

Then there were the high-class articles associating Jewishness with Communism and both with Obama. (That must be why I've dated black men, eh?) And as I wrote about here, blackness was the undertone to McCain's constant comments about socialism.

But I still look like a white girl. (I'm a stealth ethnic Marxist.) Other people don't get to hide their ethnicity, and they're having a rough time of it right now.

Over at bastard.logic, you can check out a lovely sign basically begging for Obama's assassination. (Interestingly, the sign evokes James Earl Ray, the killer of Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than Lee Harvey Oswald, the killer of an actual president. Says something, I suppose, about certain people's inability to see Obama as the president of the country.)

Racialicious has more about hate crimes against South Asian-Americans, many of whom were mistaken for Muslims, and most of whom were blamed for Obama. Muslim has become a stand-in term for frightening difference, and it almost always is equated with dark skin, despite about 80,000 white Muslims in the U.S.

Jack at Feministe has been keeping on top of Duanna Johnson's murder as well as several other murders of trans women recently. One thing I want to stress about these murders is that we should remember that these are not just transgender people. They're trans women of color, mostly. Their bodies are marginalized from so many angles, and that makes them people who can be killed with few repercussions, even from the LGB community.

Renee has an eloquent post up calling for white liberals to stand up for their convictions. One of the things that's disgusted me the most since the election was the backlash against the black community post-Prop 8, and the tendency for white people to act as though they'd done black people a favor by voting for Obama.

Let's be clear. Obama won a majority of the popular vote and a rather large majority of the electoral vote because most people realized that he'd be a better president FOR THEM. I met many people who let out a string of racial slurs before admitting they'd vote for Obama because he'd be better for their economic interest. Gay people didn't vote for Obama to do a favor for black people--they voted for him because he was the only major candidate, even in the primaries (Sorry, Hillary supporters) who supported overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama won as much in spite of his race as because of it.

And there are still many, many people out there in this country who hate him because of it. We are no more in a post-racial society than we are in a post-feminist one (and once I'm done with more of my research on Sarah Palin coverage, we can talk about that too.)