Thursday, November 13, 2014

We Are Not Post-Racial, Not Even Slightly

Ferguson, post-Michael Brown. Does this look post-racial to you?

I came upon an interview in the New York Times between George Yancy, philosophy professor at Duquesne University, and Naomi Zack, philosophy professor at the University of Oregon. Naomi Zack:
Let’s work backwards on this. Middle-class and poor blacks in the United States do less well than whites with the same income on many measures of human well-being: educational attainment, family wealth, employment, health, longevity, infant mortality. You would think that in a democracy, people in such circumstances would vote for political representatives on all levels of government who would be their advocates. But the United States, along with other rich Western consumer societies, has lost its active electorate (for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here). So when something goes wrong, when a blatant race-related injustice occurs, people get involved in whatever political action is accessible to them. They take to the streets, and if they do that persistently and in large enough numbers, first the talking heads and then the big media start to pay attention. And that gets the attention of politicians who want to stay in office.
It’s too soon to tell, but “Don’t Shoot” could become a real political movement — or it could peter out as the morally outraged self-expression of the moment, like Occupy Wall Street.
But the value of money pales in contrast to the tragedy this country is now forced to deal with. A tragedy is the result of a mistake, of an error in judgment that is based on habit and character, which brings ruin. In recent years, it seems as though more unarmed young black men are shot by local police who believe they are doing their duty and whose actions are for the most part within established law.
When I read this I'm struck by assumptions of the Roberts Supreme Court. Roberts obviously wants -- and the rest of the conservatives on the Court back him on this -- to move beyond race. The Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act was based on a post-racial view, that we're so over it.

The killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent over-reaction of the police at the riots that ensued put the lie to the Court's central notion. That's what is so shocking about Shelby v. Holder: It's as if the conservatives on the Court announced with that decision that WE'RE POST-RACIAL, GODDAMMIT, NOW GET OVER IT! Shouting it doesn't make it so.

And Ferguson -- and the myriad examples of police shootings of young black men far and wide -- proved it in vivid black and white. Immediately after the decision, a number of states decided, "Gee, we get to be racist all over again." Read about that here in Mother Jones.

Why did five Catholic men on the Court -- I like to call them the Supreme Dicks -- decide that we were beyond racism? Because they could, and so they did.

It doesn't make it so because it ain't. Tell that to the gerrymanderers and the voter-ID fanatics. For them it's PARTY TIME!

Blacks waiting for hours to vote in post-racial America.

Waiting in line to vote in Beverly Hills:

Voting in Beverly Hills. Hmm, a BMW dealership... A test drive with every vote?

Yeah, we're so post-racial. Thanks, Supremes.

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