Friday, March 21, 2008

When Reality is Too Much

We humbly yield the floor to Manuel Garcia Jr.

Obama and the Psychic Auto-Shrink-Wrapping Called Race in America

Garcia has eviscerated the entire ersatz spectacle of political theater with such clinical aplomb - that everything else is reduced to mere conversation. The situation has gotten so deep and so orthogonal to our normative routine, that I feel obliged to provide the following complicated disclaimer;

(Though Garcia is sharply critical - I remain an Obama supporter because I find the folly of war with Iran, and, the sheer moral horror of what the Clintons may be fronting, far more radically repellent than business as usual. Having asserted throughout the democrat nominating process that Obama's primary value is as a psychological rorschach test for America, I believe that this dimension of his candidacy exhibits an emergent vector of an unanticipated magnitude. I am keenly interested in seeing where this emergent vector leads.)
commentary on racism is most incisive when it keeps its focus on the economic dimension -- which I believe is central -- rather than the emotionalism about "hate" wallowed in to excess by infotainment for the unthinking. It is better to focus on the intent and the purposes of the racism, which are to create and maintain economic disparities. From such focal points, one can advance policy and law enforcement arguments to eliminate these imbalances. Then, you are speaking about the here and now in a clear, unvarnished and rational manner. This can be extremely hard-hitting without being pitiful and cloying. This is in the spirit of Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon, and that is momentum, that is self-respect, that is pride. If we got enough of this, it might also be revolution.

Yes, there is White-on-Black racism (along with many other forms), but its root is not primarily simple emotional hatred, rather it is both fear (of two kinds: xenophobia and the historical guilt over slavery that Thomas Jefferson admitted to) and greed. The mania for control is driven by greed, and the essential fear is the anxiety over the loss of that control. Ascribing White-on-Black racism to simple emotional hatred is the most comfortable overt explanation, as is clear from its prominence in the depictions of racism in popular culture (e.g., movies). The dominant culture finds it comforting to imagine that racism is confined to people with ungovernable hatreds and undisciplined minds. This relieves the majority who are comfortable with inequitable economic arrangements from any responsibility for the inevitable consequences of those arrangements; and even from any reproach in the eyes of recognized public opinion.

Racism is an instinctive tool to capture resources and deny them to competitor "species." This is why Obama is backed by the Wall Street bankers. To them, he is a tool to safeguard their fortunes against the rising tide of public resentment. They are excellent psychologists, and psychic abusers of the popular Black mind. They know, through their experts in PR (advertising and the management of the public mind), how the popular Black mind pines for symbols of "hope," for action heros on basketball courts and on the big screen -- Will Smith saving the fantasy worlds Hollywood conjures with smoke and mirrors. Any hero in any arena can be produced to distract and quell the masses, so long as it is not an actual hero in any arena of actual power.

Look at our Black "symbols" in those real arenas today: Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell; they've done precious little for Blacks in America, and have cashed in handsomely for precisely that reason. Most blacks are "supporting" (deluding themselves over) Obama for the same reason that older spoiled whiney white women are "supporting" Hillary: identification, they want what they see in the mirror to be honored, to be loved, to get attention, to be in control.

Obama may have some decent intentions beyond his blatant careerism, but clearly the careerism is primary, and for that he must reassure his sponsors that he can quell the public. The job he is applying for is to keep public affairs calm enough so the same select businesses and the same select gamesters can continue to make the same government-backed mega-profits. In business circles, this is called "maintaining a stable business environment." Obama says "change" but his sponsors know this to mean "stability." "Change" is what we'll get from the billions we are forced to pay into taxes and inflated prices that profit all too few.
It can appear to get very heated out here in the blogosphere. But fret not, that heat you think you feel is purely an artifact of your imagination. This is only text. As you read it, that voice you hear in your head is your own. If what it says to you makes you feel an uncomfortable friction, good. Use that friction and its accompanying heat to light up your own "work" toward understanding the reality of the situation in which we are embedded.