Friday, March 21, 2008

One more thing...

I guess I have to address what Obama said about his white grandmother since everyone else seems to:

This is what he said:

610 WIP host Angelo Cataldi asked Obama about his Tuesday morning speech on race at the National Constitution Center in which he referenced his own white grandmother and her prejudice. Obama told Cataldi that “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, she doesn’t, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know (pause) there’s a reaction in her that doesn’t go away and it comes out in the wrong way.”

He was referring to what he said this in his speech:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Let me say this first. I cannot imagine in a thousand years a grandmother who would use a racial stereotype in front of a grandson who is black. I just cannot. At least not one who described in such a way as Obama describes her, as loving and caring.

I also cannot imagine a grandmother like that who would tell a black grandchild that she was afraid of black men that passed her on the street.

I just find that hard to believe. Sorry. I could see it from some sorry abusive racist grandmother, but one who loves her grandson as much as "anything?" No. it just doesn't fit.

But let me address the "fear of black men who passed her on the street." Let's be honest here. If a black man or black men (or boys) dressed nicely smiling and talking to each other passed by anyone, I can't imagine anyone being afraid. Give me a break. It isn't so much about being black, but about the look. If they look like thugs with their shirts big and pants hung low and they look like freakin gang members, well hell yeah, anyone might be afraid, no matter what color they were.

You cannot tell me that a black man dressed in suit, well groomed, walking down the street gives cause to fear to anyone except the most racist among us, which I certainly don't believe Obama's grandmother to be.

It's starting to really irritate me for us to couch this discussion in terms of simply black and white. It is about so much more. It's about this culture. It's about stereotypes. It's about distortions of racism. It's about what people really believe.

Maybe Obama is really telling the truth. But it strikes me that he is using politically convenient stories to make a point and they being personal makes it even better. It's a typical political ploy. I guess I didn't expect Obama to use it in such a way.