Life in "Post-Racial" America, 2012 Election Edition
In 2008, I was not connected to any of the social networks that I am currently plugged into other than this blog. Then, MySpace still (kind of) mattered and I still used it. I had not yet started to use FaceBook and at the time REFUSED to use Twitter. I am inclined to think, at times, that my life was actually better for it.
See, in 2008 I remember exactly how Election Day went for me. I woke up, went to work, then home for a moment then to the gym. I had already voted early and therefore missed the crowds at the polls. I stayed in the gym for longer than usual because they’d started reporting from the districts with their counts up really early, and that included several of the so-called “battleground” states with heavier Electoral College counts. It was no later than 9pm that it was becoming obvious who had won the election and the tenor around the gym – say in about 90% or more of the people actually there – was positive. There were those who were not pleased with the outcome, but it was never more than just a non-verbal clue as to how they felt about what was going on, but nothing far out front.
In 2012, though, we play by a whole new set of rules, apparently. Twitter is much more the breeding ground for the uncouth behaviors of those who choose to operate without a brain/mouth filter. Last night, my phone and IM records indicate that I fell asleep sometime around 10pm in my inability to adjust to daylight savings, and the text timestamped 23:18 indicated that Mitt Romney had failed to contribute one more high-profile name to the black unemployment numbers. I was on my couch half-sleep when the President spoke and away from the computer. I would eventually come back alive at about 4:30 and jumped right to my routine of looking through random Tumblr blogs and checking my Facebook feeds over my morning coffee. What you’re seeing here is a sprinkling of the things that came up in my daily journey.
See, after the 2008 election and its well-known outcome we were said to be in “post-racial” America, and the suggestion was that any perceived racism was a creation of the mind on the part of the person who felt they were seeing it. See, if America had come so far as to elect a member of the arguably most marginalized group ever to walk its soil to the highest position in the land, then SURELY racism had been conquered, right?
A lot of black people tend to lack a full amount of trust for other groups, out of this paranoia for a return to past times. The first thing a great many will tell us is to “forgive and forget,” and learn to let the past be in the past. The problem with simply leaving the past in the past and not learning from it is the ease with which forgetting it allows it to become repeated.
Now I’m not saying that this venom is native to the minds of EVERYONE who chose not to vote for Obama, no more than I would say that every black person who DID vote for him did so because he was black. It stands to reason that MOST voted as they did due to political ideologies, or blind party faith. What I am saying is that it was suggested to me that his election in the first place signaled the physical manifestation that racism was no more and that our collective paranoia was no longer warranted.
Funny, I don’t recall even HEARING of shit like this in public discourse before we had a chocolate-colored President. I mean, I knew all along that it existed. I honestly EXPECTED that it would, but before the situation that many apparently most feared became their reality they had no real reason to go about lobbing insults or out-front hatred in this manner.
As I type this, I have been awake about 7 hours today, and I have already seen three passive/aggressive, easily-backed-off-of "you're overreacting!" suggestions that the "problem" be “eradicated,” PLENTY more than these few images from a good friend’s Tumblr blog this morning and the ire of several people who simply refuse to accept that the GOP again fielded a weak candidate who did not have the message or presentation of a plan that anyone with sense would have believed long enough to get themselves elected. I am personally willing to accept a “post racial” America, but when I wake up to things like this – having seen more instances of the word ‘nigger’ in a 1-hour sampling of twitter than I hear in ANY day that I spend 5-8 hours listening to hip hop music – I am pretty sure that we were never in one, and no one who looks like me have been the ones holding up the proceedings this time.
It’s been said that in any confrontation that someone resorts to using that word in anger that you have already beaten that person. To be totally honest, the fact that these people get themselves worked up into such a frothy rage over something that they will not (legally) be able to change is funny. The problem is that despite having “beaten” them, I still don’t feel like I actually won anything.