Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Like being a yankee--only worse

"Mom, Bev is a yankee."
"Why son, I wouldn't say that about anybody." 1972, when I first visited Huntsville, Alabama.

From Tuesday, September 16, the National Journal Online

As well organized and impressive as the Denver convention was, it's pretty clear that viewers knew little more about Obama on the Friday after the convention than they did on the Monday morning before it began. The ball was not advanced.

The choice of Palin capped the summer of McCain's resurgence, effectively turning the race from change versus the status quo to two competing visions of change, a necessity if McCain is to win.

Conservatives who have never been enthusiastic about McCain might get energized over Palin. Suddenly, McCain was back on top and Republicans had a bit of a spring in their steps.

Someone please explain to me what is meant by this statement “viewers knew little more about Obama.” This expression used by Charlie Cook in the National Journal reminds me of Pat Buchanan’s mantra about Barack Obama this summer—Americans are saying “We don’t know this guy, Barack Obama.”

We don’t know him, so we can’t be expected to support him, right?

Yet Sarah Palin walks on the stage and all of the sudden, we have someone we know?

This is about race.

It is about the other.

It’s like the family who lived in a New England town for 2 generations, but they are still outsiders. It’s about the Yankee or the Westerner who marries a Southerner and decades later is still not quite one of us.

Only worse.


Location said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

Someone put the link to this essay as a comment on my blog.

I removed the link to following article from my blog because when I skimmed through the article it contained some offensive language. I edited the essay and am including it. The language which is "bleeped" a bit is significant in that it is a widely publicized quote from Sarah Palin's daughter's fiance.

Consider the following;

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

By Tim Wise 9/13/08

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who
are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this
list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen, like Bristol
Palin, and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your
family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or
your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and
Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as
irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f---g' redneck," like
Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with
you, you'll "kick their f….' a..," and talk about how you like to
"shoot s…" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American
boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six
years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of,
then returned to after making up some coursework at a community
college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to
achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as
unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first
place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller
than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about
the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan,
makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss
on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term
state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under
God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the
founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately
disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was
written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until
the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused
criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which
you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), you are a
dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people
immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an
extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the
Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your
patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse
merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids
on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and
the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women
to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child
labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough , but if you merely
question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with
no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the
fact that she lives close to Russia--you're somehow being mean, or even

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even
agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running
mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired
confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a
"second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your
political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a
typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and
merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in
Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to
a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed
as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and
whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if
you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be
interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you
talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no
substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be
considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an
hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy
proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague
about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose
pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize
George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly
Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian
theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who
say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for
rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good
church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black
pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of
Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign
policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black
people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a
reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such
a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give
one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging
the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then
to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just
an average guy (George W. Bush) while being black, going to a
prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and
then to Harvard Law, makes you "uppity," and a snob who probably looks
down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your
college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and
that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're black and
you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be
trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's
disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire
beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be
thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and
married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed
as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called
"terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having
obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat
that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while
being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became
an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and
even ask whether or not you ever sold drugs.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and
still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to
be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should
speak wit h other nations, even when we have disagreements with them,
makes you "dangerously naive and immature."

White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will
always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya know, you
were a POW so you're entitled to your hatred, while being black and
insisting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the
history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has
anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black
and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the
"lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin
explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow
someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90
percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are
losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly
isolated from world opinion, just because a lot of white voters aren't
sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and
ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very
concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.