November 6th was a HUGE day for me. For the second time in my life, I saw an African American man elected President of the United States. It was inconceivable for him to be elected the first time and yet here we are in midst of yet another historical moment. As the mother of a two-year-old black male, there are so many things I want to share with him about the significance of this political moment. I know he’s too young to understand, but I find myself telling him anyway. He just looks at me and says, “Ummm … okay, Mommy.” And the coolest part of it ALL … he ONLY knows a world with a black president (note: thank you @missjillscott for that revelation)! How insanely cool is that?!
I woke up on November 7th with a feeling of love, joy and peace. I was so giddy I almost couldn’t sleep the night before. As normal, I took my son to school that morning. Upon approaching the front door to the school, I noticed two Moms outside clearly having a discussion about the election and they were NOT happy. I approached and said, “Good Morning!” and got completely ignored. One even “tsked” in disgust. BECAUSE my son was with me (AND ONLY BECAUSE MY SON WAS WITH ME), I turned the other cheek. Sad, right? They don’t see that the country voted and a candidate was selected. They see that they have to deal with a BLACK man for four more years. And seeing my BLACK face that morning was a bit too much to handle. So since they can’t tell HIM what they think, they were rude … to me. Ok. Racism ain’t nothing new to me (and yes I said “ain’t”). I’ve been black ALL my life, but I know this … my son woke up to possibilities on November 7th. My BLACK MALE CHILD will know that ANYTHING is possible if you work for it with integrity. It won’t be easy, but it’s POSSIBLE. He’ll be six-years-old when the president ends his next term. Old enough to see and know. Old enough to be effected by the magnitude of it. That alone … means SO much to me.
And then today happened. I politely inserted myself into a clearly political attack on Obama via a “friends” facebook page. The subsequent conversation was literally the most insane political / racially charged conversation I’ve ever had. I was even called a racist for simply posing a question about race. It threw me for a complete loop. It’s not like I didn’t know this level of political extremism existed in the world, but to be confronted with it was … surreal. I felt angry. I felt fear. I felt “some kind of freaking way” because this is the world my son is growing up in. These people raise the children he will play with, the teens he will one day “kick it with, the girls he’ll date and the execs he’ll work with. It’s scary to know that I can’t protect him from such incredibly ridiculous thoughts.
Below is the Facebook conversation I’m referencing. Kiss your kids and loved ones tonight. When you tell them stories about the “boogie man”, keep in mind that it’s not some scary monster in the closet. It’s the political extremist right in your backyard. Obama’s re-election is bubbling lots of nastiness to the surface. Let’s all remember, as he stated during his victory speech, that we are the “UNITED States of America”. We are the greatest country in the world and together we can do anything.
Original FB Post / LADY 1: And now the stock market plummets to below 13k. No surprise.
GUY 1: Exactly!!! And fuel prices will rise right back up!!
ME: Progress doesn’t come from complaining and naysaying. It comes from EVERYONE joining together to make things right. Perhaps a change in attitude is in order. Together, this country can be great. Divided we’re just another sound bite for news.
LADY 1: Hey AskThePRGirl, my democrat friend, this is just a fact about the stock market. Not naysaying here. See my other posts. LOL
GUY 2: @AskThePRGirl Therein lies the problem. It’s kind of hard to join together to make things “right” when there is a major disagreement on what “right” is, or even what actions to take. Are you willing to give up one of your core beliefs in order to compromise? If so, which one? Be specific, please.
ME: Gay marriage. I was born and raised in hardcore traditionally religious family. To support this President means to respect his choice to support gay marriage. That’s tough when it goes against EVERYTHING I was raised to believe, BUT I support the President. In ALL things. I also believe that we as man have no heaven or hell to put a person in so why waste time with judgment. You have a choice. Do you want this country to succeed or not? If you do, get on board with the President’s agenda. Support it 100% and do all that you can to see it succeed. I would do it for Romney though he was not my choice. Fighting him would have hurt this country and the people in it. I will never contribute to that type of idiocy and shortsightedness. WE are the UNITED States of America. Let’s act like it, shall we?
LADY 1: Hey AskThePRGirl, thanks for answering GUY 2’s question, and I find your answer very interesting about gay marriage and your background. Also, I’m right there with you that supporting any president who is trying to make this country work and succeed is the correct thing to do, and I would never do anything else either, no matter about party lines, etc. That would be really stupid not too. The only problem is, I wholeheartedly believe that Obama is actually trying to destroy America. I really, really do WISH I could say I thought he was trying to make us succeed as a nation. Have you heard about this point of view, or is it new to you? If you’ve heard about it, you probably think it’s crazy, right? It’s best described in Dinesh D’Souza’s movie 2016. That’s not where I get my opinion from, but it pretty much sums things up pretty well, in my view. I think it all depends also on what media you watch. I’m sure you have insight into this also since you are a media relations and public relations professional. I also don’t at all like the identity politics that is happening in America right now. Kevin Jackson of The Blacksphere (facebook page) is big on that as well.
ME: You think Obama is trying to “destroy America”??? Is that a politics thing or a race thing? Forgive me, but when I hear white people say things like that it really speaks to racial fear. Did you feel the same thing about Bush? Because he actually did destroy the country. Either way, I have realized that when it comes to folks like you and Steve who have marginalized the President and his abilities, there really is no moving the needle in any other direction. I have to hope that we can overcome it and do well regardless. There was a time when folks thought Martin Luther King was trying to destroy the country, too. I’d like to challenge you to have vision, not sight. There is NOTHING about this man that says he wishes to destroy this country. It’s that level of fear (which again I feel is racially motivated) that keeps this country bound to failure rather than progress. I wish you peace. Considering the energy in your last post, you’re going to need it to get through the next four years.
LADY 1: Come on AskThePRGirl, that would be like a gay person saying you do not believe in gay marriage because you are straight and have gay phobia and hate gays. In reality, there are certain things that make you believe the way you do. But they can argue against you because you’re straight and say that there is absolutely nothing that would back up being anti gay marriage and that it’s completely okay. No, I do not believe Bush destroyed America, but I do believe that he inherited crap that Clinton, a white man, did to destroy America, and was blamed for it. Racial fear is a myth to me. I don’t really think white people have that, but maybe I’m just naive. I have only one Facebook friend who I consider racially bigoted and I do call him on it. And none outside of Facebook. I don’t respect people like that and I have to say, they are few and far between. I would love nothing more than Obama to restore America. I wonder why I’ve been all for congressman Allen West of Florida if I have racial fear or if I’m racist. He’s an American black man who is very conservative, and who slams Obama himself all the time. Does HE have racial fear? Is he a racist? No, of course not. Is he marginalizing Obama’s success? No, he’s just calling failure what it is. Failure. I was also and still continue to be all for Herman Cain. Herman Cain also slams Obama incessantly so I can you say that he’s racist or has racial fear? No, of course not. It actually IS possible for people to not like Obama who are not motivated by anything racial whatsoever, believe it or not. If there was nothing to support the fact that Obama is trying to destroy America, I certainly wouldn’t just make that up. It would be a lot easier to NOT believe that. Thanks for your wish of peace, I already have it, because it know it’s all in God’s hands. I hope that if we talk about it again, that you will be reassured my views are not because of racial fear or racism and that you won’t accuse me of that again, because it’s not only incorrect, its also very unfair. MLK was not president and I don’t know why he was considered as trying to destroy the country, but it seems that it probably had something to do with prejudiced white people set in their ignorant segregation ideas and racist ways thinking that if we all got together and loved one another America would be destroyed. Even back then there were many, many white’s who were not racist and championed MLK’s cause. Obviously, because they made it happen. Don’t lump everyone together because of their skin color, please. Love you AskThePRGirl. Thought you knew better about me. I can see how you would be defensive about Obama. But, I adhere to Allen West’s views and Herman Cain’s views about him, as well as many other people of color. I wish it was different.
LADY 1: Besides, if I can’t handle the next 4 years, Colorado is only a road trip away. LOL
ME: Now I know you’re desperate to make the point if Herman Cain helps your argument! LOL! Yikes. Well. The country has spoken. Obama gets 4 more years. We shall see who’s right. 🙂
LADY 1: Are you kidding? Herman is AMAZING!!! No desperation here whatsoever. Yes, we shall see who is right. I hope YOU are right AskThePRGirl, and I hope I am wrong. Please Lord!!! Bless this wonderful country America!!!
GUY 2: @AskThePRGirl. Thanks for answering my questions. However, I do not see going along with Barack Obama’s agenda as doing anything to fix this nation, or Mitt Romney for that matter. The problems we have are decades in the making, going all the way back to Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Reserve Act, the 16th amendment to the constitution, FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society poverty programs, and so on. These are all policies cemented in stone for decades, growing out of control, and rushing the nation headlong into bankruptcy. I am against ALL of these programs, as I was Bush’s expansion of Medicare, and Obamacare, etc., etc. You have had the luxury of living in a nation in which all these things are normal, right, and proper to you, and you want more of it. I, on the other hand, am against ALL of these policies, but I have no escape. I must submit to your ideology on a daily basis, under penalty of law, and all you can think of is even more new laws to which I must submit, and ever-expanding collectivist and statists schemes. If I refuse to fund it from money I have earned, I am carted off to jail. I have no relief from that which I abhor, it is at me at every turn. The bottom line is all I want is to be free, and that doesn’t cost you anything. But you don’t give me the same right. If you wish to band together with others of your own free will to provide health care, provide for the poor, or do whatever, in my moral code you are free to do so. But you don’t afford me the same right. You seem quite happy to grant a monopoly to the government to control these activities, and them force me to go along under threat of financial ruin, imprisonment, or both. In other words, you are perfectly happy to enslave me to your will under penalty of law, all because you think you are right. I have compromised this core belief my entire life. You know what? I’m done compromising. I want my freedom from you
GUY 2: Oh, and I almost forgot to add that your accusation of my longtime friend of being a racist because she is white and doesn’t like Obama’s destructive statist policies is racist and insulting. You should stop flashing the race card at white people, because the credit limit was maxed out a long time ago.
GUY 2: @ LADY 1 – It is apparent that you have two racist FB friends, not one. Instead of apologizing for yourself and being made to feel guilty, call them on it. There is no need to try and prove you are not racist when you have done nothing wrong. She’s the one who impuslively suspects you because you are white. She is the racist, not you.
ME: WOW. Well … you know what? You stay right there. Stay in that frame of mind and believe what you believe. It is your extremism and ridiculous fear that lost your party the election. And it will lose elections in the future. White fear is real, sir. You know how I know? YEARS of being a BLACK female in the south. This has nothing to do with generalizing someone as a racist. It’s about addressing underlying fear based on race. I pray for you both. It’s hate speak and extreme politics that you’re spouting that keeps this country and those of us in it from being great. I pray peace and freedom upon. It can’t be easy to carry around thoughts like that.
ME: And by the way, LADY 1 is MY friend as well. You pulled up to the table of this adult conversation. Let’s try to keep our big boy pants on and not throw sand on the playground because we don’t agree. Yet ANOTHER issue with our ability as a country to stand United. I don’t agree with you, but my intent is not to insult you. If I’m wrong, show me. Discuss with me. Don’t hurl insults. It makes you look small.
LADY 1: Wow, there’s some great dialogue going on here and I want to respond but its not even 6 AM here and I’ve been awake since 2:30. I’ll be back in touch soon. Meanwhile let’s stay calm with each other.
LADY 1: One thing, while AskThePRGirl may still be on here, when you say “white fear is real”, can you explain that a little? And is “white fear” referring to white people fearing black people or is it black people fearing white people?
ME: I’m speaking of white people “fearing” any person of color. And when I say “fear” I mean negative perceptions, some prejudice and overt assumptions that keep folks with this mindset from being able to trust any person of color. It’s when I walk into Macy’s to shop, I’m automatically followed at close range because the perception is that I’m going to steal. It’s the automatic profiling as an “angry, racist black woman” because I pose a question about race. It’s underlying negative perceptions that leave you constantly distrustful of a person of color. I think that if Barack Obama were white with the same political platform he has now, the response to his methods would be different. Because he’s black there’s automatically a negative perception and an extreme reaction. “He’s a socialist! He’s not even an American! Show us your birth certificate!!” Those beliefs, in my opinion, speak to an underlying racial fear. I know it’s uncomfortable to discuss and it would be easy to say it doesn’t exist. Believe me, I’d prefer it if I didn’t have to one day discuss with my son that someone automatically assumes he’s a criminal or up to no good at all while just walking down the street simply because he’s black. It’s real. It’s uncomfortable and unfortunate, but it’s real. So … I ask do you think your assessment of Obama’s platform is AT ALL attributed to an underlying distrust of people of color? Would you feel the EXACT same, if he were white? And to be clear, its a question, NOT an accusation.
ME: Also @ GUY 2 – I have to assume that you make a LOT of money or are extremely financially stable with no health issues. Because folks who are fighting to keep their homes, pay for healthcare expenses, put food on the table, keep clothes on their kids backs and pay monthly bills don’t have time to give two shits about FDR or LBJ. How nice for you that your life has afforded you the luxury to be so cavalier and disrespectful of the real human suffering happening ALL around you. I have a man on my block, in my very nice neighborhood, whose home is foreclosing because he lost his job. They downsized. Now, he has NO IDEA what he’s going to do next. He and his wife must figure out how to keep food on table and how to pay the mortgage … NOW! Not tomorrow! Now!! Today!! Now … if invited to a seat at his dinner table, I’m sure he would promptly tell you to leave. He has no time to have some idealistic highbrow conversation about days of old. Does it put food on his table?? Will it pay his kid’s school tuition?? Will it pay his mortgage?? You clearly have no respect for this country or the people in it. We have REAL problems today. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. You want freedom from it? I don’t think anyone is stopping you from traveling the world and finding a place where your views are shared. Clearly the good old USA has disappointed you.
GUY 2: Don’t patronize me. It’s even more insulting and racist. Just keep the There is no teachable moment here for you. You have nothing to teach me that I don’t already know. I am not a “big boy”, I am a man. But the bottom line here is you don’t see it that way. You see a monster. It is obviously inconceivable to you that a person who despises the statism and forced collectivism you so fervently and religiously believe in could even exist. In my mind it is YOU who are the extremist. Racist fear is real, I agree. The reality is that it runs through all of us, and your writing here proves you are steeped in it. I can only imagine what your parents taught you about “the man” at the dinner table, but I am probably not far off in my speculation. I’m not going to argue with you about why I believe that BHO is a socialist, when he freely admits in his own autobiography that he hung out with the radical Marxists and black power types in college, started his political career at a fundraiser in the home of mad communist bombers Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn, and spent 20 years in pews, married, and Baptised his children in the church of the vile racist and communist Jeremiah Wright until he was forced to throw him under the bus. Either these facts don’t matter to you, or you just don’t care about facts. Here’s a quote from you: ” Because he’s black there’s automatically a negative perception and an extreme reaction. “He’s a socialist! He’s not even an American! Show us your birth certificate!!” Those beliefs, in my opinion, speak to an underlying racial fear.” You are so brainwashed and fearful of white people that you cannot even see the unadulterated racism in this statement.
GUY 2: Let’s also not forget that BO has said on more than one occasion that he believes in redistribution. Redistrubtion involves taking by force of law, an act that has its foundation in violence. It is evil and immoral because it gives those who have been taken from NO CHOICE in the matter. It is theft, pure and simple. Theft of property, theft of time, theft of my life and resources that I work to acquire for the well being of my family.
ME: @ GUY 2 – Everything you said is ridiculous. And you know it. You’re making assumptions about me which are from … hmm … perhaps your negative perception of black people? Which proves my point. I’m not fearful of white people. I’m disheartened by some folks fear of me and my race. My comments have been questions. Yours are angry rhetoric. You’re just another person standing on a soap box shouting at the trees. The only thing missing from your argument is a couple more extremists, a few guns and a plot to take down the govt. There are movies made about folks like you. My husband is a federal agent responsible for terrorists operation. I’m very aware of thoughts like yours. I’m not afraid of them and i’m not too set in my ways to listen to them. The fact that you can’t have the conversation without anger or being open to my opinions is sad. I’m sad for you. But … I don’t have to live in that level of hatred and anger. I choose to believe that my country is great, even though it houses people who think like you. And with that … I’m exiting this conversation all together. Thanks folks! It’s been … interesting.
GUY 2: It’s really none of your business how much money I make, as it is none of my business what you do with your life. As far as the poor are concerned, they will always be with us. How we help them is matter of great contention between statists like you and voluntarists like me. A statist’s first impulse is to empower government to use force to solve the problem, while a voluntarist has faith that humanity can live together inpeace and relative prospertity without the need of government intervention.
GUY 2: Take it from, AskThePRGirl. I am in no way afraid of you. I am making assumptions about you from the way you accused my friend of being a racist without a shred of evidence. Face it, you’re a racist.
GUY 2: Folks like me? Thoughts like mine? Thoughts like mine? Are you now threatening me with you husband, the federal agent? Are you calling me dangerous? Have I no right to speak my mind here? What would you suggest be done with people like me? I think it is plain to see for anyone reading this conversation what would happen if either of got exactly the world we wanted to live in. In my world, everyone is free to go their own way and live as they choose, free from federal government attachments or intrusions to their paychecks, property, financial papers, etc. If you are a collectivist, you might seek a community where people share things in common, if you choose to be alone you might seek out a home in the mountains and be a hermit. Many might opt for something between those extremes, or choose to devote their lives to the poor and less fortunate. But all would be free to go their own way. The federal government would levy only taxes on state governments, in proportion to their population, and tariffs, for the purpose of our common infrastructure and self defense, as was done in the days of old. In other words: Freedom. Not so in your world. In your world there is cradle-to-grave Big Daddy Government. The all intrusive overlord, riding herd and keeping an eye on all those scary white people like me, and wiping away your tears if you fall and get a boo-boo. You said it yourself in a not so subtle way, didn’t you? Federal agents like your husband are watching people with thoughts like mine? Big Sis Janet is furiously sending out warnings about us. Did I get that right? No, there’s no room for free people in your world. You believe me to be of sufficient means that I might serve you and your collectivist nightmare. No thanks, I’d rather be free.
GUY 2: BTW, I feel the same way about anyone who thinks like you, regardless of their race.
GUY 2: I want to add a final thought to this conversation for Susan and anyone else who might be reading this. Many have thought and felt much about the predicament in which we find ourselves. The closeness of this election, and the divided government we have are a testament to how differently we see the world, and how we image a new one that is more just that the one we have. The solution to this dire and spiteful predicament is not to force our fellow citizens to live in a way of our choosing, with laws and mandates we demand from on high. Rather we should throw off the stifling structure of our overreaching government and free ourselves to all go our own way. There is nothing to fear in this idea. Have faith in your fellow citizens. There is generosity enough to go around, that the poor will not go hungry, unclothed, or unloved. If you saw a child with no shoes in winter, would you ignore her? We don’t need the federal government to love each other. There is no cracker on horseback, waiting to throw you in chains. The reality is that the chains are already there, you just don’t see them. Even worse, you have demanded them. Take them off. Be free. Love your neighbor, from the richest among them, all the way down to the very poorest. If you do this, and we give ourselves the gift of true freedom, we will not be disappointed.