What is normal? On the changing of American social discourse.

I was reminded of this post today and decided to re-up it. Because why not?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the broad American social struggle of the past 60-odd years, about what ties the whole messy package together. I’ve been thinking about how for the vast majority of human history, men have ruled the roost, but only men of a certain socio-economic standing — something that has varied from culture to culture (much as the ethnicity, religion, and geographical seat of these men has varied), but has always translated to “power.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about how, in this country, in this time, when white, Christian men of a certain socio-economic standing (and heteronormative identity) complain that something is being ripped from their hands, that order hangs in the balance, they’re right.

They’re right, because ever since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement (or, in fact, ever since abolition and universal suffrage, but more comprehensively since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement), more and more people have been chipping away – tchink, tchink, tchink – at that order, and the central American discourse has become about who gets to set the boundaries of our discourse, and who gets to determine what is normative behavior.

Like everything else in human history, there’s no straight trajectory, if only because the Human Venn Diagram is too messy. Black men are men; white women are white; rich Asian Americans are rich; Christians with handicaps are Christians; and every one of them is something else besides.

But if we look at the arc of American social and political upheaval since about 1955, that’s what it comes down to: Who gets to set the boundaries of our discourse, and who gets to determine what is normative behavior?

Within those questions are, of course, many other questions (not least, of course: Where does your right to help shape our discourse impinge on mine? And: What are the words with which we may reasonably hold that discourse?), and every individual and community struggle is unique. I’m not trying to draw unwarranted parallels, or erase diversity of experience — it just strikes me that when history looks back in 100, 200 years, that’s what people will see: A massive upheaval of norms and mores, from all corners and all comers, a mighty tussle, often with individuals and communities tumbling over and on top of each other and each other’s needs and rights as we all continue to chip away  – tchink, tchink, tchink – at what was once Normal.

Seeing this arc, seeing a unifying question that goes beyond the rather imprecise metrics of “equality” and “perfecting our union,” helps me also to grasp what we in social justice circles so clumsily call “intersectionality” — because really, if in my struggle to achieve the space to contribute to the social compact and determine its parameters, I leave others behind, what have I accomplished? My struggle to achieve, say, the right to decide my own body’s future is entirely of a piece — is wrapped in the same garment of destiny — as that of a black man to wear a hoodie without suspicion, and a trans* woman to live as her most authentic self, and a Muslim in a wheelchair to both wear her hijab and have access to her classes.

What we’ve been saying for the last six decades, with more and more people listening as the years fly and crawl by, is that all of this belongs to all of us. We all get to say what society is and does. We all get to set and then move the boundaries of what’s ok. We are — all of us, even (often) the straight, white dudes — rethinking and reshaping the social compact itself.

This strikes me as a fundamentally American thing to do — wasn’t Independence the breaking of one compact to build something new? Isn’t our very Idea rooted in an ever-expanding circle of rights and interconnected responsibilities? Our system is flawed, positively riddled with imperfections, but it’s structured to allow us to continuously fix those flaws. It’s fundamentally American to do so.

Maybe this isn’t a particularly new idea. Many people have probably said and written similar things, and I’m late to the understanding. But this has been a fascinating notion for me to consider, and, ultimately, a tremendously hopeful one. This is our conversation, and we’re changing the rules — right now. Together. All of us.

Who gets to decide what’s normal?

whatisnormalI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the broad American social struggle of the past 60-odd years, about what ties the whole messy package together. I’ve been thinking about how for the vast majority of human history, men have ruled the roost, but only men of a certain socio-economic standing — something that has varied from culture to culture (much as the ethnicity, religion, and geographical seat of these men has varied), but has always translated to “power.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about how, in this country, in this time, when white, Christian men of a certain socio-economic standing (and heteronormative identity) complain that something is being ripped from their hands, that order hangs in the balance, they’re right.

They’re right, because ever since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement (or, in fact, ever since abolition and universal suffrage, but more comprehensively since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement), more and more people have been chipping away — tchink, tchink, tchink – at that order, and the central American discourse has become about who gets to set the boundaries of our discourse, and who gets to determine what is normative behavior.

Like everything else in human history, there’s no straight trajectory, if only because the Human Venn Diagram is too messy. Black men are men; white women are white; rich Asian Americans are rich; Christians with handicaps are Christians; and every one of them is something else besides.

But if we look at the arc of American social and political upheaval since about 1955, that’s what it comes down to: Who gets to set the boundaries of our discourse, and who gets to determine what is normative behavior?

Within those questions are, of course, many other questions (not least, of course: Where does your right to help shape our discourse impinge on mine? And: What are the words with which we may reasonably hold that discourse?), and every individual and community struggle is unique. I’m not trying to draw unwarranted parallels, or erase diversity of experience — it just strikes me that when history looks back in 100, 200 years, that’s what people will see: A massive upheaval of norms and mores, from all corners and all comers, a mighty tussle, often with individuals and communities tumbling over and on top of each other and each other’s needs and rights as we all continue to chip away  — tchink, tchink, tchink – at what was once Normal.

Seeing this arc, seeing a unifying question that goes beyond the rather imprecise metrics of “equality” and “perfecting our union,” helps me also to grasp what we in social justice circles so clumsily call “intersectionality” — because really, if in my struggle to achieve the space to contribute to the social compact and determine its parameters, I leave others behind, what have I accomplished? My struggle to achieve, say, the right to decide my own body’s future is entirely of a piece — is wrapped in the same garment of destiny — as that of a black man to wear a hoodie without suspicion, and a trans* woman to live as her most authentic self, and a Muslim in a wheelchair to both wear her hijab and have access to her classes.

What we’ve been saying for the last six decades, with more and more people listening as the years fly and crawl by, is that all of this belongs to all of us. We all get to say what society is and does. We all get to set and then move the boundaries of what’s ok. We are — all of us, even (often) the straight, white dudes — rethinking and reshaping the social compact itself.

This strikes me as a fundamentally American thing to do — wasn’t Independence the breaking of one compact to build something new? Isn’t our very Idea rooted in an ever-expanding circle of rights and interconnected responsibilities? Our system is flawed, positively riddled with imperfections, but it’s structured to allow us to continuously fix those flaws. It’s fundamentally American to do so.

Maybe this isn’t a particularly new idea. Many people have probably said and written similar things, and I’m late to the understanding. But this has been a fascinating notion for me to consider, and, ultimately, a tremendously hopeful one. This is our conversation, and we’re changing the rules — right now. Together. All of us.

Why white people can’t use the n-word.

n_wordMuch of my political commentary really boils down to: Don’t be an asshole.

So, honestly, my personal go-to response to the very notion that white people occasionally get wrought up over the fact that they really-but-really should not say the n-word under any circumstances, “friendly” or not, is: Don’t be an asshole. Because seriously, how hard is that? Millions of people are telling you that when you use that word, it’s painful and offensive. That should, in a perfect world, be enough.

I mean, come on! The n-word isn’t even like, I don’t know, “bitch,” about which there is real disagreement among women. Millions upon millions of black folks are pretty clear on the fact that white Americans should never ever put that word in our mouths. Ever. “But they say it to each other,” you say? So the effing eff what. You are not them. The English language is positively chock-a-block with words — words that don’t carry the lash, and centuries of systematic terrorism, and the rending of families, and the continued devaluation of people who happen to be going about the business of Being Human While Black — that you can use with your black friends. I promise! Do.Not.Be.An.Asshole.

Alas, the world is not perfect, and “don’t be an asshole” isn’t really much of an argument. Indeed, the argument could be made that understanding why a particular behavior is asshole-y is pretty useful in ridding ourselves of said assholery — and as he so often does, Jay Smooth has our backs on this. Give him a listen, and tell all your white friends.

And don’t be an asshole.

Recreating humanity.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Photograph_of_a_baby_standing_in_front_of_a_mirror.jpgOk, here’s what occurred to me the other day: We’re a generation engaged in building an entirely new kind of human society. Possibly an entirely new kind of human.

Consider just a few 21st century facts, and then try to project them back 50 years: Openly gay and transgender people serving in our government and legislative branch as we fight for marriage equality. America’s last two Secretaries of State? Women, one of them black, one of them a serious contender for the White House. Black man in the current White House. Well-known and well-respected women publicly and often angrily expressing women’s right to bodily autonomy; well-known and well-respected men supporting them, publicly, and often angrily.

I know I frequently say some version of “Hey, look, things are so much better than they used to be,” but I’m not saying that here. I’m not comparing today to the day I was born. I’m comparing today to every single moment of human history. And we’re recreating ourselves.

Because every single one of the items mentioned above was effectively unimaginable once, and not at all long ago either. If we consider the entire expanse of human history, and then look at the changes wrought in Western society in the last four decades alone, it’s actually quite startling.

Each of the examples I’ve provided (and many, many others that are not reducible to a single sentence or sentence fragment) represents in turn the hopes and dreams and literal blood and tears of uncounted, uncountable people. People who died dreaming only of the vote. Or of a life lived without violence. Or of the freedom to make decisions based on internal truths, rather than external pressures. People who died never, ever imagining the world as it looks today.

What we’re doing today has never been done before. Sure, there was that thousand year stretch when dudes who were brown (roughly and metaphorically speaking) ruled the known world (starting with the dudes in the Arabian Peninsula and eventually leading to the dudes in Istanbul), and one would be hard-pressed not to notice that Asian dudes ruled the Asian Empires — but: a) DUDES, and b) in each of those cases, one had to be of the right clan/color/faith system/what-have-you to wield power or even personal autonomy. The kind of radical, universal equality that so many of us have begun to see as the default of human existence has literally never existed in human history.

And so my point is: That’s why it’s hard.

That’s why it all moves in fits and starts and we have fights about words and about who gets to say what about whom and every two steps forward serve as but a precursor to one step right the hell back. Because we have never, ever done this before. We are creating something New, and we don’t even, really, know how to imagine it yet.

I’m not saying that the battles have be won. They haven’t. They’ll never be won. Every time that something Gets Better, we’ll uncover something else we didn’t realize we had to do. There are questions that my grandchildren will face that I cannot even imagine in 2012.

And having said that: Wow. Think about it. Think about the fact that gay men and lesbians got married before God and family in Washington state this weekend, and then think about the entire rest of human history.

Holy cow.

Update: Speaking of which…. Just look at these pictures from Seattle’s City Hall.

What is white privilege part the I’ve lost count.

Tagg Romney

As you likely know already, Tagg Romney (son of Mitt and an increasingly high-profile surrogate for his father on the campaign trail) said yesterday that he would “like to take a swing at” President Obama for saying that his dad had lied.

Ok then. Let’s assume that the candidate’s son/surrogate is not going to own the fact that his dad has, in fact, peddled in inaccuracies and untruths for the entire campaign — I mean, that would be nice? But yeah. And let’s put aside the fact that Tagg went on to say that he didn’t act on his impulse because the Secret Service stood between him and the President and “that’s the process” — I believe he was joking, so “I didn’t hit the President because Secret Service woulda clocked me” is all just part of the joke. And let’s even put aside the fact that the man is 42 years old and the father of six children — he should know better than to sound like an aggrieved adolescent, but apparently he doesn’t, so there’s not a lot we can do about that.

But is he a racist? And is it inherently racist to jokingly threaten violence against this country’s first African American President?

As to the first question: I have no idea. I don’t know what’s in Tagg Romney’s heart, but I suspect that his motivation was less racist (“I think it’s funny to suggest that I’d like to beat that black man down”) and more entitled (“No one talks like that about my dad, raggle-snaggle”).

As to the second question, my personal opinion is that: No. It is not inherently racist to jokingly threaten violence against this country’s first African American President. Indeed, I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons to hate Obama that have nothing to do with his skin color, and all kinds of reasons to want to clean his clock. The itch to clean the clock of a man who happens to be black is not, by definition and unto itself, racist.

However.

As some folks have been doing around the web today, let’s flip it: Let’s imagine that President Obama had a grown son who said in 2008 that he’d like to “take a swing at” John McCain.

Or wait. I can’t imagine that. Because it wouldn’t have happened. In no small part because if it had happened, Barack Obama would not be President today.

It seems to me that an American black man grows up learning, at every turn, to control himself and the image he presents to the world: Don’t walk out of the store without a store bag and receipt — someone might accuse you of stealing your gum. Don’t wander aimlessly outside your crush’s house — someone might arrest you. Don’t argue with an authority figure who has it all wrong — someone might shoot you. And don’t ever play to all the worst stereotypes that white people have of you — even in jest — because if you do, someone, somewhere will use it to run you into the ground. And all of this goes double if you have academic, professional, or political aspirations.

Barack Obama’s imaginary son would have learned all of this just as his father, his uncle and his friends did. He would have learned to keep his hands out of his pockets when talking to the police, and he would have learned to never use the language of violence in a radio interview. And if he were serving on his dad’s campaign, he would have come to look not unlike Theo Huxtable, in all his nonthreatening cuteness.

So I do believe that there is racism here: It’s in the society in which a 42 year old father of six with familial political aspirations on the national stage can mouth off about the Commander in Chief without thinking about it because he’s white and has never in his life had to give that sort of behavior so much as a second’s thought. And have it brushed aside by the (white) national press.

It’s a complicated kind of racism, one that involves the way I’m raising my own white son as much as it involves Tagg Romney, and thus it is the kind of racism that is most difficult to discuss. You can’t point at it, and you can’t legislate it away. It’s in the air we breathe and the water we drink.

As an exercise, stop for a minute and try to imagine any prominent African American or prominent African American’s adult child saying anything even remotely like what Tagg Romney said in a frustrated moment: Colin Powell, Cory Booker, Keith Ellison, Condoleeza Rice, Allen West, Maxine Waters. Or, God help her, Michelle Obama (of course, she’s already proven that she knows how to be careful).

Not having to think like that? That’s white privilege.

**********

Earlier:

What is white privilege.

Not getting peanuts thrown at you — white privilege, part the many.

John Lennon, Rick Perry and words that are not ours.

White Americans really need to shut up and listen.

Not getting peanuts thrown at you — white privilege, part the many.

I’m sorry, I just can’t get over how utterly and entirely fucked up the following is.

You may recall that on the first day of the Republican National Convention, two white people threw peanuts at an African American. Here’s how that went down, in case you’ve forgotten:

An African American camerawoman for CNN who suddenly found herself assailed by peanuts at the Republican National Convention Tuesday reacted as many would. “What are you doing? Are you out of your damned mind?” she said, according to a friend.

“Here’s some more peanuts,” responded one of two “older-than-middle-aged white men,” the friend, Jamila Bey, told Journal-isms by telephone on Wednesday. “This is what we feed animals,” they said.

The woman in question, Patricia Carroll, later reported that she had not been handling her camera at the time, and that the peanut-throwers “didn’t know what I was doing. I happened to be standing there.”

And all of that is fucked up. Like, whoa.

But here’s the really and truly fucked up part, the part that should be in the Fucked Up Hall of Fame:

Patricia Carroll, the CNN camerawoman who was assaulted with peanuts and called an animal by two attendees at the Republican National Convention, told Journal-isms on Thursday that “I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised at all.”

Carroll, who agreed to be named for the first time, said she does not want her situation to be used for political advantage. “This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue.” 

She wasn’t surprised. “At all.”

This American woman, a professional doing her job, was “not surprised at all” to have peanuts thrown at her and be called an animal. “This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner.”

It’s not like I didn’t know that racism — real racism, of the kind that limits and delimits and takes lives — is still very much among us in these United States, and that it cares not for your achievements or position. I knew that.

But the fact that I am shocked and horrified that this woman wasn’t at all surprised to be treated like filth in a public setting, right there in front of God and everybody, is a little insight into just how little I really know.

**********

Earlier:

What is white privilege.

John Lennon, Rick Perry and words that are not ours.

White Americans really need to shut up and listen.

Bigotry, today’s GOP, cruelty, and lies.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=politics&ctt=1#ai:MC900301302|mt:0|Over at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates recently posited racism as cruelty — from jokey emails suggesting that the President’s dead mother indulged in bestiality to the cruelty inherent in “sneer[ing] at the unguarded thoughts of dead children,” and so much else besides. He takes the idea further:

[T]his embrace of cruelty is arguably the dominant feature of the present conservative movement. It has been repeatedly expressed in alleged “humor.” The assertion of a right of judgement over the First Lady’s physical person, for instance. Or watermelon patches on the front lawn. Or Obama waffles.  There is little distance from that kind of cruelty to aspirin between one’s legs and from aspirin between one’s legs to transvaginal probes.

I find Ta-Nehisi’s point particularly powerful. Let’s call conservative social attitudes, policies and legislative efforts what they are: Mean. Mean-spirited. Cruel. When you reduce living, breathing human beings to your worst ideas about them, and act on that reduction, you’re acting with genuine cruelty. Plain and simple.

But here’s another thing that I can’t stop thinking about: When you do these things, you’re also lying.

Bigotry is lies.

It doesn’t matter if the bigot actually believes what he or she is saying. When you tell me that black Americans should “demand paychecks instead of food stamps” — you’re spreading lies. When you tell me that “if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage” — you’re spreading lies. When you tell me that Islam and Muslims are “pure, unadulterated evil” — you’re spreading lies.

Spanish is the “language of living in the ghetto“? Women frequently and regularly lie about having been raped? Recipients of unemployment insurance need to “get off their backsides and get a job… [and] stop stealing from their neighbors“? Lies, lies, and more lies.

Cruel lies, at that.

These are not differences of opinion, or legitimate perspectives on the world. These are lies told and perpetuated in order to allow those who tell them to have power over certain classes of human, or, at the very least, to feel superior to said humans. And I’m done pretending otherwise.

I can accept that your religion teaches you that men should control women, and that birth control and abortion are wrong. But when you insist that you have a right to impose that belief on me in this country, a secular nation by definition and design — you’re lying. You can believe in your heart of hearts that homosexuality is disgusting. But when you insist that you have a right to deny LGBTQ Americans their civil rights as a result — you’re lying. On and on and bloody on.

At a certain point, willed and willful ignorance becomes willed and willful deceit, of the self and of others. If you honestly believe that certain people deserve to be denied some measure of human dignity because of how the Good Lord/Mother Nature created them? Then you, sir or madam, are full of it.

And if you’re an elected representative of one of this nation’s two political parties (like every single one of the people to whom I link following the words “bigotry is lies”), I have an even greater duty to call you on it.

But Michelle Obama’s the one with the anger management issues.

So apparently Ann Romney, wanna-be First Lady, said this about the media:

[It's] getting harder and harder to be cheerful…. I am so mad at the press [that] I could just strangle them! And, you know, I think I’ve decided there are going to be some people invited on the bus and some people just aren’t going to be invited on the bus.

As Mother Jones’s Adam Serwer rightly pointed out on Twitter yesterday: Imagine what would happen if Michelle Obama had said anything even remotely similar, adding:

You know, for such an angry black woman, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard Michelle Obama talk about strangling anyone.

But she does like to encourage kids to exercise, and we all know that’s straight-up Kenyan Communism, mirite?!!1!?

Dear Asian-Americans: I am so sorry that I didn’t warn you about the GOP.

Or: The GOP – they really don’t seem to like much of anybody!

Last week, I wrote a post asking the GOP to just shut up about black people, a post which got a surprising amount of attention across the web.

In the aftermath of that, I found myself wondering: “Huh. Who is the GOP going to demonize and belittle next in this election cycle?”

And I knew: Asian-Americans. A post began to form itself in my head, one I intended to write sometime this week.

I mean, they’ve demonized and belittled gay people already:

Michele Bachmann: “If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.” (She said this 2004, but it got a re-airing this summer).

Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus: “We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road.”

Rick Santorum: Families headed by gay parents lead to “great dysfunction.”

So ok. They hate the gays. Check.

And they’ve demonized and belittled Latinos:

Newt Gingrich: “We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.” (He said this in 2008, but again, it’s been re-aired).

Mitt Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act (a bi-partisan effort to resolve the issues facing the children of undocumented immigrants).

All the candidates have completely waffled (and Romney threw in disdain for good measure) on the question of Puerto Rican statehood.

So. Latinos? Good for what are considered their generally conservative social views, but otherwise: Bad for America! Check.

And of course, women, of all colors.

Rick Santorum, regarding wanting to ban abortion even in cases of rape: “We have to make the best out of a bad situation.”

Ron Paul: We should differentiate between “honest rape” and, you know, lie-y rape.

Rick Santorum (again – he’s a peach, ain’t he?): “Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: It is single mothers who run a household. Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government.”

The entire GOP field: “Among the major GOP candidates… not a single one has handed over the title of campaign manager to a female.”

Women – lying bitches who don’t deserve compassion in the face of rape, who foolishly buy the lies peddled by Democrats because they’re so needy with their slutty single-parent families, and don’t really need to be in politics. Check!

AND BLACK PEOPLE – omg! So not-working and gullible and that one in the White House is so worthy of being strung up! Not American. Check.

After all of this (and the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-poor people, anti-union, anti-anyone-not-white-male-straight-and-wealthy palaver as well) clearly, the Asians were next up.

I was going to call the post forming itself in my head:

“Dear Asian-Americans – Look out, I think they’re coming for you.”

I will admit, however, that I was stymied by an inability to figure out just what the slurs might be. It’s the burden, I suppose, of being the “model minority” — you face discrimination and othering and bigotry, but it comes wrapped in words that are meant to sound like compliments. “Good at math” being one example. “Tiger mom” being another.

AND THEN THEY FREAKING CAME. And good lord, how could I have been so stupid?

I refer, of course, to the ad run not by a Presidential candidate, but by Michigan candidate for US Senate Pete Hoekstra, during the Super Bowl.

Of course! Asians are, first of all, Not American. They are Chinese, and they Want Your Economy.

They are Chinese, but in a really oddly Vietnam-y way, one which will remind you that not only are they Not American, they are Inscrutable, and Peasant-y, and Very Very Dangerous.

They are also oddly interchangeable, because the scuttlebutt is that the woman featured in Hoekstra’s ad (in which she says she’s Chinese in pidgin English while bicycling along a rice paddy in a conical hat) isn’t even Chinese-American. It’s just scuttlebutt at this point, but I would be willing to bet that Hoekstra’s campaign didn’t necessarily make a point of looking for an authentically Chinese-American person to use for race-baiting purposes.

Soooo, it’s been a super long walk to get here, but:

Dear Asian-Americans: I am so sorry that I didn’t warn you about the GOP. I could see it coming — I just had no idea how fast the Racism Train was running.

Oh, and PS: To anyone wanting to suggest that Hoekstra’s ad can’t in any way reflect on the Presidential campaign, as he’s not running for President, I say that unless and until the GOP’s Presidential candidates publicly condemn the racism (and homophobia and misogyny) in their midst? They own it. Simple as that.

Dear GOP: Just shut up about black people already. Good lord.

You know…I don’t know the first thing about being black.

I’m whiter than Angel Food Cake and, except for when I lived in a foreign land, have never even lived much around people who are a whole lot darker than Angel Food Cake. My current abode is in a town known for its diversity, and it’s pretty diverse, but white people are still pretty thick on the ground. And even if I were the only white person in all of Prince Georges County, I would still not know about being black.

Because I would still be white, you see.

But here’s what I do know:

Being told who you are, what’s wrong with you and your life and your loved ones and their lives (with the added bonus of unasked for and nationally broadcast advice) by people who clearly have no idea what your life is like is a fucking pain in the ass. I may be White As White Can Be, but I am a woman, and women tend to hear this sort of thing as a matter of course, regardless of color, and so at least I have a little insight into that part of it.

If I had to hear from national leaders that me and mine don’t know how to work, or are forever gobbling up the nation’s food stamp supply, or have too many babies, or let the Democrats abort too many of our babies, or that we are being kept on a political plantation by means of a political party’s wiles and our own native gullibility — when me and mine have an actual history of actual plantations and actual slavery and actual violent control of and sundering of our families — well, I don’t know what I would do. Because I have never had to live with that. Because however enraged I may get with the blatant, noxious, dehumanizing racism that has been pouring out of the mouths of GOP figures like so many sewers over the past few months — it’s never about me.

But I’ll tell you what: It sounds exhausting. And I simply cannot imagine having to face it every day.

Post-racial America, my Angel-Food-Cake ass.

Oh, and happy Black History Month.

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