"I'm curious -- has becoming a father again (of a son, and being aware of how hard it's been for black males in our society) made you more aware of racial issues?"
STEVE: Yes, but in most ways I'm happy with what I see. Being married to Tananarive has been more of a focusing influence racially/politically.
"We're at a point today where the only publicly acceptable form of discrimination at this point is against white men -- and since the advantages of being a white man have much outweighed the very modest disadvantages of being a white man, I'd have to be a pretty whiny bastard to focus on the downside instead of the upside...."
Hah! Well said. I definitely see discrimination against the obese, however.
As the country swings toward brown, expect some static. The worst static will be anticipated by closet bigots: you know, the ones who think that whites have treated non-whites better than non-whites would treat whites, based upon some intrinsic superiority. The reality I see is that as people are lifted up from the lower levels of Maslow's Heirarchy, they automatically begin to seek spiritual connection, and to believe in treating others with dignity and love. It is my belief in this that motivates some of my sense that the social safety net should be stronger. If one believes that human beings are, for instance, basically lazy and evil, it would make sense to have the maximum amount of pain anchored to "non-performance." Trust me, the exact same social situations can be interpreted in opposite ways depending on the initial filter, leaving either those who believe in "nature" or "nurture" wondering how in the hell anyone could fail to agree with their position. It's pitiful, really.
But if you look at the slavery, segregation, and Jim Crowe--which are merely the most visible aspects of the phenomenon of human tribalism as it relates to racism in America...and then look at the MASSIVE denial as to the existence of these tendencies (Northerners can believe Southerners are bigoted. Liberals can believe Conservatives are bigoted. People today can believe that folks "back then" were bigoted. Women can believe that men are bigoted. Blacks can believe whites are bigoted. Etc.) and you have a recipe for pain. Hispanics will, rather predictably andunderstandably, do everything in their power to gather all the power to themselves..while pretending not to. Blacks, as they gain more power, will from time to time enjoy twisting the knife and being "HNIC" (ask a black friend if you don't know what that means). It's been interesting noting one of the differences between blacks and Women, power-wise. Both groups have large contingents supporting a Presidential candidate largely on the basis of gender/race identification. However, women have been more able to actually talk about it, to openly demand that women vote along gender lines, or be considered traitors. There is definitely pressure in the black community, but so far I've not heard a single responsible black spokesman suggest it would be a "betrayal" for blacks to vote for Hillary, as I've heard numerous women suggest it would be for women to vote for Obama. Because I assume equal levels of integrity and honesty on both sides, I would assume that this difference exists because in one instance it is a winning game, and in the other, a losing game. In other words, if the election became genderically polarized, and 100% of women voted for Hillary while 100% of men voted for Obama...Hillary wins. On the other hand, if it became ethnically polarized and 100% of blacks voted for Obama while 100% of non-blacks voted for HIllary? Obama loses massively. So it behooves Obama NOT to mention race, if he can, while it is an effective tactic for Hillary's surrogates to bring it up every chance they can.
This is one of the reasons I sneer at people who think Obama is playing "the race card." For Obama, the "Race Card" is a deuce. For Hillary, the Gender Card is a Queen. No comparison.
What this means as the population shifts is that the EXACT same kinds of nasty, lying, back-stabbing, manipulative power-grabbing games will continue, as they have since the beginning of time. And for the first time in this country's history, white children will be on the losing end of a statistically significant part of it. But it will never, ever be as bad for them as it was for Non-Whites unless the direction of progress reverses. Race means less than it did, just as Nationality means less. The effective death of the concept of "Nation" (which I'll put at maybe two generations out) is accompanied by a Trans-or-Post Racial awareness, an international tribe that cares more about your Internet Avatar than your skin color at birth. The kids will work this stuff out. Race just isn't a survival factor in the same way it was for previous generations. Yes, there will be bullshit, but there won't be slavery or Jim Crow or extermination, and I'll settle for that.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:21 AM