Something to Think About

My wife pointed this video out to me. I think that as art it’s quite beautiful and moving. It’s clearly agitprop and, as such, makes me a bit queasy which is why I haven’t embedded it here.

Here’s what I’d like to think about. The song in the video juxtaposes Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack Obama. Am I over-analyzing this or is this a possibly too-true rendering of the history of the African American civil rights movement in the United States over the last 58 years?

Rosa Parks engaged in direct action. Martin Luther King, Jr. engaged both in direct action and in symbolic action. Barack Obama’s election to the presidency, a undeniably great achievement for him, is primarily symbolic for African Americans.

21 comments… add one

  • michael reynolds

    I would look at it as Obama being the completion of an evolution. Of course it started long before Rosa Parks. Nat Turner, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, General Benjamin Davis Jr., Jackie Robinson. . . there are a lot of iconic figures that are all part of the process that moved African-Americans from slavery to equality. But a black president is a visible proof that things have advanced. I think at this point we’re just waiting for some old white folks to die off and we can put a period on black civil rights.

  • Pretty voices.

  • jan

    According to some recent census figures Black Americans comprise approximately 13% of the population. I would construe from this percentage that more than just advancement has arrived in the U.S., regarding societal contributions AA’s have made, along with their exemplary standings in business, entertainment, leadership positions, including the highest office holder in the land

    And, rather than just some old white folk’ dying off, the next stage in creating permanent standards for racial equality should be MLK’s own verbalized request for people to be ‘judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.’ This won’t happen any time soon, though, with the liberal’s incessant political posturing for votes, conjoined with their innately-bred social orientation of making victims, out of people of color, rather than equals on equal footing with everyone else.

  • michael reynolds

    Jan:

    Your refusal to admit that racism is still alive and well and virulent – a fact you could conform in ten minutes online or by actually talking to a black person — reminds me that it’s not just the old folks who have to fade away.

  • jan

    Michael,

    Your arguments seems to revolve around absolutes — all or nothing kind of examples. There are nitches of racism in America. After all, where does purity ever enter the human petri dish, except in theorical discourse? But even in the full scope of racism it is not exclusively held by Everyone vs Blacks, as you seem to imply. In fact there is a lot of Black vs White, Hispanic, Asian, other non-conforming Blacks. Racism is a trait held within individuals, and it becomes far more virulent when it’s used as a lingering wedge to incite broad strokes of bias and misunderstandings between colors of people, rather than looking at each incident objectively on a case by case basis.

    I have friends, have had boyfriends who are black. But I don’t like to differentiate people by a color characteristic. If we get along it’s because we have some kind chemistry — a commonality, belief system equivalence, or just simply like being around each other. If we don’t, it’s because of a lack of such personal hooks. Also, most of the hostility and/or racial indignation I’ve run across is from someone with a chip on their shoulder, an axe to grind, someone not wanting to own something indigenous to their own temperament, personality, weakness or fears.

    Furthermore, while prejudice and race seem to be permanently married (with no chance of a divorce in the near future), in the minds of liberals like yourself, there is an endless list of people being sidelined, passed over, discriminated against because of weight, looks, age, physical defects — fat people, people with acne, bulging eyes, blondes, redheads, people who stutter, middle-aged people. A woman was even fired recently for being too attractive!

    People have their own reasons for rejecting others. But, it is their failure, if it is done so because of some unreasonable bias or adverse reaction to how a person looks. However, it is also a failure to automatically label human interactions, that end up in disappointment for a person of color, as simply acts of racial prejudice leading to inequality.


  • We are willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that legalizing all drugs would in fact seriously weaken the DTOs…

    Just quoting with emphasis.

    Fact 1: Legalizing Marijuana Would Not Alter the Character of the Drug War

    I find this claim laughable. It is like saying if Exxon-Mobil suddenly had a 60% drop in profits they’d not change one little tiny bit.

    Pardon me, I have to go fall down laughing.

  • Dammit, wrong post/thread.

  • TastyBits

    @jan

    I have documented @michael reynolds’ bigotry, and I have also documented that the outcome of the policies he advocates are the goals of racist. Finally, I have shown that he is living the ideal racist lifestyle. The only difference between him and a poor racist is that he can afford to move. When the darkies move in, the poor racist put on sheets and burn crosses, but the rich liberals pack the sheets and burn rubber. If it walks like a racist …

    Racism does exist today, and as @michael reynolds states, there is a lot of it on the internet. I have run across it in some comment sections, and it is bad. Racist will never cease to be racist until they are in the grave.

    There is a lot of ignorant bigotry that has the same result as racism. Some folks do not hate black people, but they do treat them differently. This has tragic consequences for many young black males. In the US, a black life is not worth as much as a white life. The public reaction to all the recent shooting is an example of ignorant bigotry.

    (NOTE: The two previous paragraphs are for a more general audience. A lot of people read the comments without commenting, and it is an opportunity to make people think.)

    The Great and Wonderful Mr. @michael reynolds could have used this as an opportunity to get through to the ignorant bigots, but he is an arrogant bully and an asshole. Like most other subjects, he has no real knowledge of the subject matter.

    I am going to stop before I go off. I hate racists, and I do not like bullies. You are neither.

  • Icepick

    It’s fitting that the President’s election was primarily a symbolic moment. It’s just like his jobs council, which is also symbolic. Of course, he’s even ignoring the symbolism these days.

    Obama Jobs Council hits 1 year without official meeting

    Or perhaps he’s just making a different symbolic statement by ignoring the jobless.

  • jan

    TastyBits

    I see Reynold’s as a signature kind of social progressive liberal. He follows their creed almost to the letter. It’s embossed into his brain, leads to one-sided rationalizations of most national events, and subjects those who disagree with his ideology to a tightly cast character description. distorting who or what they really stand for. It’s what Obama successfully did to Romney (straight out of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals), and what so many far left do to any dissenters of their opinions. Most regular OTB contributors are prime examples of this kind of one-sided, inflammatory discourse. And, they’re not even aware of it!

    For instance, he can’t address someone like me without first painting them as a Limbaugh dolt (who I don’t listen to), a rigid right-winger (have been a dem until recently. now am an indie), have racist tendencies (just look at above comment), and so on. He can’t take on a person who is first not villainized and demonized, because it might call into question the alienating theatrics he then engages in, and the over-the-top quips which spice up his posts.

    Underneath all that roughage, though, I perceive a man with a good heart, as he does seem to feel for humanity, even if he doesn’t partake in many discussions lean with vitriol and more substantial in defending a position. Nevertheless, it continues to be people like Michael who inadvertently safeguards the glue, holding together what racial barriers and proclivities remain in this country, by constantly accentuating the superficial physical differences in people, rather than energizing and unifying what people share in common.

  • Drew

    “Your arguments seems to revolve around absolutes”

    Truer words were never spoken.

    But the racial thingy serves as a hammer to make assertions he cannot argue rationally or on the merits. Shorter: he’s a liberal.

  • Drew

    “In the US, a black life is not worth as much as a white life.”

    A cornerstone of my philosophy. Its easy to invoke racism by the (snicker) “caring class.” But they never stop to think about how godawful most programs they have instituted have been to the poor, and in particular, since they have elevated political stature, minorities. The left has created pets, to be fed and trained as they see fit. But leftist pols actually have a different term for them: “voters.” Its sick and cynical beyond belief. Yet they consider themselves morally superior.

    Despite all the legitimate issues wrt race relations and treatment in US history, just look at the black family today vs the 60s or 70s. Its become a nightmare. Truely cruel.

    The one aspect I do find common ground with Michael is this whole drug issue. Its almost as if the Columbian and Mexican drug cartels strategically identified this creation of an underclass by the left as the perfect breeding ground for their distribution network. The results are horrific.

    The right has been stupifyingly wrong on a morality angle, and the left is so busy congratulating itself as those who “care” that the natural government result has now been several generations of lost souls, murdered as just pawns in an illegal but ultra-lucrative economic (and political) enterprise.

    Ghoulish…

  • TastyBits

    @jan

    On a comment thread in the past month, I tried to get @michael reynolds to stop calling everybody a racist and try to work to ending it. I was told that I was wasting my time. There is a lot of ignorance, but when you insinuate that somebody is a racist, education becomes difficult or impossible.

    I should write a book “How to Destroying an Argument in Five Easy Steps”. Many liberals are arrogant bullies and assholes. They win arguments by cowing their opponents. When they are faced with somebody who will not be cowed, they resort to stereotypes.

  • jan

    The one aspect I do find common ground with Michael is this whole drug issue.

    I admit to having a less than objective opinion about drugs, having close ties for years with families whose lives and relationships have been traumatized, and forever changed, by the drug abuse of loved ones. However, even though I’m aware of this bias, I continue to offer cautionary words that there are unintended consequences for both too little regulation as there is for too much regulation.

    As for the money incentives fueling the illegal drug trade, I’m far from convinced that legalizing all drugs will result in erasing those incentives, enough where it will translate into a net improvement for society. IMO, legalizing drugs, in mass, will create not only a greater ease of access, but also will give a greater sense of legitimacy to experiment with them. Nature (genetic predispositions) unfortunately, more often than not, trumps nurture. And, with this in mind, while there may be less money to be made by illegal transactions, there will be a rise in addiction in the general population — including whatever criminal or mental disturbances that may go hand in hand with an associated up-tick in dysfunctional behavior.

  • jan

    Many liberals are arrogant bullies and assholes. They win arguments by cowing their opponents. When they are faced with somebody who will not be cowed, they resort to stereotypes.

    TastyBits,

    That’s a perfect word to use, “stereotyping,” in conveying how the left prefers insults to reasoned debate, when taking on people disputing their theories or liberal rationales.

    They also have created such a long and growing list of so-called PC “no-nos” in which they can conveniently throw at people, accusing them of racial intent, in dialogues containing serious-minded criticism towards liberal policy and/or their policy makers. “Lazy” is one of the latest words that can red flag a comment, causing the burp of bigotry to erupt from a liberal’s mouth, instantly assaulting the integrity of the person using this benign word.

    It’s simply crazy-making, and deflects from having a real conversation about a commonly shared issue suffering from the political disease of different POVs.

  • jan

    Perhaps a little bit of a side-bar, but I thought this article, by Jonah Goldberg, sets an interesting table in discussing how being socially liberal is not the same as being a libertarian.

    As a gross generalization, libertarianism advocates freedom to do whatever you like (short of harming others). Liberalism supports freedom to do whatever liberals like, everything else is suspect.

  • TastyBits

    @jan

    If you want to bolster your case, you could use the Opium Wars. I only have a passing knowledge of them, but I know they were ugly.

  • jan

    Thanks, Dave, for fixing my italics error.

  • TastyBits

    @jan

    During culture wars, conservatives considered libertarians to be liberals on steroids. During monetary wars. Liberals consider libertarians to be conservatives on steroids.

    Libertarians are also confused with libertines.

  • Thanks, Dave

    You’re welcome. I’m here even when I’m not talking ;-)

  • jan

    TastyBits,

    I can see that kind of thinking looping through conservative and liberal’s discourses. It’s human nature, though, to augment our arguments with the best available examples at hand — even if they become so entangled, with each other, as to create a changing of political chairs from one side of the deck to the other.

    Life is not necessarily a straight line, is it?

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