Friday, August 8, 2008

Tim Wise: On The Creation Of Whiteness

Please watch this segment, and then buy the DVD. I will live vicariously, and jealously, through you.

Please also read this brilliant article, also by Tom Wise: Your Whiteness is Showing: An Open Letter to Certain White Women Who are Threatening to Withhold Support From Barack Obama in November.

There are so many things I could talk about in the above video, but there was one thing that rang my bell immediately. I've always watched my parents and family proudly try and associate themselves with the ruling Republican elite. Like when Ronald Reagan died, my mother said, "THAT was a true love story, between Ronnie and Nancy!" as she looked up dreamily towards Heaven. Ronnie. Like he was my mother's actual friend, and she had some personal insight into that marriage because she was one of them. It was like Ronnie hisself said to her, "Clare, please stop with all this Mr. Reagan stuff, this Mr. President stuff. You and I, we is old time friends. You know you can call me Ronnie, anytime."

My family takes up the Republican cause, dissing all those homeless or jobless people and saying, "Get a job, you losers!" They do this because they suffer from the delusion that by parroting the Republican nastiness and talking points, that it instantly makes them a member of the elite and prestigious Republican club. It makes them elite too, even though they can't seem to figure out why they don't have an open invitation to any of those elite parties.

I would sit there listening to my parents pretend they're a member of this club, me, my politically ignorant self, and think, "They are being played. Used. The Republican elite doesn't give three shits about my family, except when they need to manipulate the vote to support their REAL buddies in Saudi, in corporate banking and finance, in the war industry, in the oil industry, in the insurance industry, in the pharmaceutical industry."

But when my sister is out of a job, she has to go and stand in the same line as all those other losers at unemployment. Her pal George Bush is golfing and can't be reached. Hell, my sister is in Arizona. She could just call up her pal McCain and say, "Bro, I just lost my job. Tell me where my next job is and I'll hustle on over there and start working." But ol' Johnnie is avoiding her calls. As my brother's construction business is crumbling because he can't do his usual bridge loan for materials at the beginning of the job because of the mortgage fallout, Dick Cheney is not available for a conference call to tap his bank buddies to help my bro out. My mother has always insisted on driving a huge General Motors car, because she's from Detroit and she worked as a secretary for General Motors years ago. But she was an "executive" secretary, dontcha know. And she was so special that those big important elite car manufacturers let her into the club. She was no loser, she was on the invitation list. She didn't notice that she couldn't enter through the front door of the mansion, though. She had to come in the back door, and clock in. Now, when gas prices as astronomical and are taking a deep cut out of my parent's limited retirement money, those guys at GM, her big pals, don't remember her name.

A few years ago there was a guy at my job named Brent who was the Chief Technology Officer. I've been around software development for more than 20 years, so as a technology guy, I knew he was crap. But he also claimed that he was a member of the elite Hunt (oil) family, which had all the grown men in my company drooling and fawning. During football season, Brent announced that he wouldn't be coming in on Mondays because he would be picked up by the Hunt family jet and taken to wherever the family ball team was playing and sit in the private family box to watch the game. And if the jet could get him home in time, he might show up the next day at work. My boss asked Brent if he could get him free tickets. He never said a word about whether or not Brent had vacation time to cover the absences. I knew, deep down inside, that Brent wasn't just a technological fraud, I also knew that he wasn't a member of the Hunt family. I sat down and talked to my boss and told him what I suspected. My boss said, "But Lisa, if he is a member of that family, think about the benefits of that association!" And I said, "Oh, so you think if you stand next to Brent, that the Hunt money will just leap out of his pockets and drop directly into yours?"

This is why I never made it in corporate America.

Then all my money was stolen out of my bank accounts. It was because I used my bank debit card to test the shopping cart software that Brent developed (badly by the way). So, I did a little Google search: "inmate search arizona," and entered Brent's name, and lo and behold, there he was, having served time for credit card fraud and impersonating wealthy people. The supposedly smart and well educated and sophisticated white men at my company, my "betters," were duped because they thought they could be part of the elite Hunt family club. Fools.

During Katrina, the white people over in Chalmette, Louisiana that Tim Wise mentions, that deluded themselves about being superior to the blacks across the bridge in the 9th ward, also got played. They are just as poor and desperate as the people in the 9th, just as screwed by the levies breaking, the toxic formaldehyde trailers, but they've been convinced that they are members of the big bad white elite, so they believed and still do believe, without a shred of actual evidence, that they are better off than those shifless nigras across the bridge.

But no matter how much they take up and espouse the cause, no matter how much they parrot their "betters," no matter how high they raise their heads (or in the case of Chalmette, their rifles) in "I know the big cheese" superiority, they'll never actually be invited to the party.

The white corporate elite of America is laughing at these fools all the way to the bank (and to the White House), just like Brent did every Monday of football season, as he sat snickering on his couch in his tiny slump block home in the poor area of Phoenix (I Google Earthed his address), watching the game and eating popcorn and sharing a few beers with his former cell mate, and gay lover. So much for Republican elitism.

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