April 25, 2010

What if the Tea Party Was Black?

I normally don't post on Sundays, but this one was too good to keep to myself (h/t to Tink, bonjouryall.blogspot.com).

Tim Wise, who happens to be white, is one of the preeminent scholars and thinkers on race, specifically the notion of white privilege -- the concept that racism occurs because whites have created a society that gives them an overwhelming advantage because of skin color.

It's a somewhat radical theory that lies mostly on the fringes of the racial debate.  But it's becoming more and more accepted among mainstream race analysts, and it's worth exploring in a wider arena, if only to challenge one's own preconceptions about race relations. 

Wise's essay, which is making the rounds on the progressive far left, is a clear, logical object lesson supporting something I've believed all along: the Tea Party shenanigans and paranoid mind-set feels a lot like a backlash to Obama's historic election, which smashed a racial barrier that generations of African Americans -- myself included -- thought they'd live a lifetime without seeing. 

That notion has been difficult to prove, given that the TP'ers -- and the Second Amendment gun-rights crowd, and the Birthers, and the Deathers, and the rest of the astro-turfed, Fringey McFringerson noise-makers on the far-right margins -- couch their agenda in reasonable calm rational theoretically sane, albeit alarmist, conservative rhetoric that reaches so far over the top that it all but obscures a racist agenda.

But you just have to look carefully -- and sometimes not even all that closely -- to see it. 

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