". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Campaign Pain

The Dominican Republic's having a campaign season as well. The 'dem' party there is a lot more outspoken than the one here. They’re running a commercial that asks people in the street, what public works can you remember that were created by the PRD (basically the Republicans, whose thug president shamelessly looted the country via the banks, ending in . . . yes, a bank bailout)? The interviewee can’t name one. What do you remember about the PRD’s time in office? The cost of food went way up. The punchline: when the PRD goes up, the country goes down. Why can’t the Democrats in the US run commercials like this? Here we bicker about how Obama's supposed to beg forgiveness for an elderly black man's resentment of how white people have treated him, and how prostitution is a good job for women, and who is having affairs.

You cannot believe how poor the people by and large are in the DR. Cubans are poor, so many of them, but nobody in Cuba is living in the degraded conditions that most of the people of the DR are.

It's so important too, to recall that Wright is from at least two generations older than Obama. His life was very different than Obama's. That he might express hatred for what white people have done to him and his shouldn't be shocking. What is shocking is how many African Americans do not.

Obama's speech on race is one of the best things ever spoken or written on this continuing tragedy. It was brilliant. Nor did he kick anyone to the curb for political expediency. Recall what Clinton did with Dr. Joyce Elders? That was shameful.

Obama is to be admired for not throwing away someone he loves for the sake of political campaigning. His speech was admirable. He did not dodge the difficulties, but faced up to them. This is not what we witness these days, from those running for office, or holding office either.

Nearly everyone who could afford to acquire a slave, north or south, had a slave or two through the 18th century at least, and that includes the Adams family. Even if the African Americans working for you were paid, they got paid a whole lot less than white people, and they tended to be sent on the meanest, hardest, dirtiest and most dangerous work. You will be hard pressed to find a bridge or any such structure built here at the height of the industrial revolution that didn't have a lot of black men working on it, and for less wages than anyone else.

Much of this country was built out of their bodies, literally. That's what is meant when reparations for slavery are discussed. It's an historical truth that most of us either ignore or diminish. The truths of the reality of slavery are not fit subjects for children, and thus slavery is not taught in any realistic manner in history classes.

Evidently some dorkdongs have been howling that if Wright doesn't like it here he should leave. It's difficult -- in my opinion, impossible -- to tell people who arrived here via kidnapping and sale, against their will -- so definitely not their their ancestors's choice -- to love it or leave it.


Graeme said...

It's difficult -- in my opinion, impossible -- to tell people who arrived here via kidnapping and sale, against their will -- so definitely not their their ancestors's choice -- to love it or leave it.

wow. Well said.

Foxessa said...

Graeme -- It's so obvious, isn't it? But that's how it goes around here. First you kidnap all these people from Africa. And then you get scared of what this slavery means for your job future, so you want them to go back to Africa, where not they, but their ancestors came from. When that idea was first floated, it was rather shocking to all these white people that people who had been here now for so many generations just weren't that interested in going to place they never had been, had no relatives, didn't speak the language, or -- share the religion.

So you racists out there: which is it? Have you decided? Is he, or is he not, a Muslim? Head hurt from contradictions of cognition?

Awwww, we knew you knew he wasn't a Muslim. You just thought you were being witty and brilliant by insisting on calling him 'Muslim Hussein.'

Maybe now you're feeling just a leeetle stoopid ....

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

You know, in some ways, this self-righteous reaction on the part of certain 'white' people reminds me of somebody who inadvertently overhears a conversation in which he's the subject, among a group of people he doesn't really know and hardly ever thinks about, you know, as people, with ideas and thoughts and so on of their own; sometimes he will make fun of them and tell mean jokes about them, but sheeeit, where's your sense of humor, man!

And it turns out that that this group of people have a low opinion of him in general.


He's shocked, shocked, shocked. Instead of maybe digging into the reasons that this turns out to be, he insists they all be deported. And maybe, whipped too, for good measure.

Love, C.