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Friday, November 28, 2008

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva: The Problem with Obama!!!

Wow!!! What is there to say? My dear friend and respected colleague, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, has just dismissed the election of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America to be of little or no significance.

The importance of this position is even more important when you consider that it comes from one of our brightest progressive intellectuals, a sociologist whose speciality is one of the most insidious forms of racism -- color-blind racism. This diminishing of the achievement of a black man being elected president of a nation whose 300-400 years of existence has as its foundation white supremacist principles is to miss an important turning point in American history. Such an achievement up until this moment would have been unthinkable.

Is that not important? A nation that historically been a white nation elects a black man as president. It is particularly important that this black man be from the left, a black man with a progressive agenda as the leader of the so-called "free world." Is that achievement not indicative of a changed world?

Professor Bonilla-Silva is correct in example after example in his critique about what an Obama presidency will not do. Barack's being president will not eliminate racism in America. Andrew Hacker has observed that the cure for racism will not be found in a laboratory. There are no magic cures. And it is important to note that even "black folks on the street" know that Barack being president is not THE cure for what faces them.

We must assume that they know that being elected president of the United States is a mainstream endeavor. They know Barack is not a one-man "Poor People's Campaign." They know that one cannot run on an NAACP platform and expect to be elected president of the United States. Obama was not and should not have been running to be president of the OBU (Organization of Black Unity) or RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement). He was appealing to everyday Americans who wanted an alternative to the warmongering, meanness, and racism embedded in right wing ideology. To have expected anything different as a campaign strategy was likely to be a failed strategy. As Bill Clinton pointed out: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina!"

To accuse those who see promise in an Obama presidency as being "drunk with Obama's hope liquor" is in itself a bit mystical. The election of Obama has changed the world. For the last eight years, the world held contempt for America. Today the world is enthralled with the notion that a Barack Obama is President-Elect of the United States of America.

Relative to Barack's election, Bonilla-Silva says: "I suspect Obama's very election as President may become a formidable obstacle to advance a progressive race and class agenda here and an internationalist agenda abroad." With Barack not being a member of America's white elite, and whose roots are working class, instead of being "drunk with Obama," the American people see in Obama "change we need." Obama's candidacy was a referendum on white nationalism in America and white nationalism lost.

Does that mean that racism and economic injustice were defeated in the process? No. But it does mean that the right-wings' white nationalism cloaked as "color-blind racism" will no longer be hegemonic. One can wonder if the loss of this defeated "tactic" is not the problem?

It is not uncommon for intellectuals to be out of step with the general populace. It is the role of intellectuals to reach a deeper understanding than what "is in front of our noses." On the other hand paraphrasing Marx, "the problem [for intellectuals] is to not only understand the world but to change it!" In doing so intellectuals should not contribute to cynicism but take forward "hope" and "change" for what they are, and promote within that populace a progressive agenda, one that populace has a stake for their own betterment.

Micheal Novick, Immanuel Wallerstein, Algernon Austin and other progressive intellectuals whose postings appear on this blog suggest a very different understanding of this election in this period. We moved from protest to politics. Now is the time to move from politics to governance! RGN



The 2008 Elections and the future of antI-racism in 21st century amerika or how we got drunk with obama's hope liquor and failed to see reality

EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA
DUKE UNIVERSITY

Lecture delivered at the Association of Humanist Sociologists' Meeting in Boston, Nov 7th, 2008.

Today I will engage in political sacrilege. Just three days after the event most pundits heralded as a watershed moment in American history; three days after we elected the first African American President in our history, I will criticize President Elect Obama's angelical image and politics, his campaign, and his policies. Today I will argue that Obama's election does NOT mean the end of racism, is unlikely to bring meaningful social and economic change, may continue and even expand American imperialist foreign policy, and, more significantly for me, BLUR the space to talk about race in the public square. I know I will anger some--perhaps many here -who may still be drunk with the Obama-hope-liquor, but the job of the intellectual is to always be vigilant; to always avoid being swept by public opinion. The day we abdicate our critical role, as so many of us DID in this campaign, is the day we die as intellectuals! So with this caveat out of the way, here I go!

George Orwell stated a long time ago that “To see what is in front of one's nose needs constant struggle.” I am convinced that we, people of color AND progressives in the USA, did not see what was in front of our nose in this election cycle. We instead saw what we wanted and longed to see. I am one-hundred percent sure that until about a year ago MOST members of this organization would have agreed with the following proposition: THE RACIAL PROGRESS that followed the social protests of the 1960s stagnated or, worse yet, regressed. Most would have agreed that 40 years after the Kerner Commission Report's stated that “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white--separate and unequal," race matters in this country were still profoundly problematic.

And we had plenty of objective and subjective indicators to make our case. We could have cited statistics on income, wealth, housing, and educational and occupational inequality. We could have cited studies about the persistence of discrimination in the labor and housing markets. We could have explained that racial profiling happens not only when people of color drive a car, but also when they (we) do almost anything in America. In fact, we could have documented that Living While Black or Brown is very taxing to the physical and mental health of people of color as we always need to be watching out; always need to be ready to “fight or flight.” We could have cited data on how whites changed from been mostly Jim Crow racists to becoming color-blind ones and explain that despite the apparent suave character of this new RACIAL ideology, it is still all about the business of defending the racial order.

We were also all keenly aware that the DISCURSIVE SPACE for talking about race had dwindled in post-9/11 Amerika; we recognized the so-called war on terrorism, the anti-immigration mood, and the anti-affirmative action mentality and the reverse racism nonsense that slowly became part of whites' post-civil rights racial imaginary were part of the new, very complicated racial landscape of America. “And then out of nowhere,” as Father Pfleger said in his memorable statement, came this black man and said, “Hey I am Barack Obama” and almost the entire nation said like Hillary, ”Oh damn, where did that black man come from?” For a little over a year, we were all mesmerized by Obama's speeches, by his “YES WE CAN,” by his appeal to our “better angels,” and by his effort to talk about national unity (“I don't see a ...”). And many of us, after 8 years of Bush's imperial policies and his patent stupidity, felt inspired, proud, and a few, like MSNBC' Chris Mathews, even felt a “thrill going up (their) leg.”αΎ‰

But the question we must ponder now that Obama has been elected President of the DIS-United States of Amerika is (with one k) were we all wrong? Were liberal and conservative analysts RIGHT when they claimed America had seen the D'Souza's “the end of racism” or, at least, Wilson's “declining significance of race”? Were the white masses RIGHT when they argued that America had become a color- blind nation and that it was us, minority folks who kept PLAYING THE RACE CARD, seeing racism in everything, and finding racists behind every Bush (pun intended) ?

Analytically and politically, too many of us dug a deep hole for ourselves in this election as we either went with the flow and assumed Obama was truly about SOCIAL and RACIAL CHANGE or took the stand that white racism would prevent Obama from getting elected (Bradley effect, etc.). But there is a more fitting, historically accurate, and more politically relevant explanation of what happened. In my estimation, the seeming contradiction between the FACT that race matters in America in every aspect of our lives yet we elected a Black man as our President is but an APPARENT one. Obama, his campaign, and his “success” are the outcome of 40 years of racial transition in America; of 40 years of transition from the JIM CROW racial regime to what I have referred in my work as the “NEW RACISM”-the post-civil rights racial system or the new face of “white supremacy” ( Charles Mills ). In Obamerica-by which I mean, the fact that Obama was elected president without a social movement behind-racism will remain firmly in place and, even worse, I suspect Obama's very election as President may become a formidable obstacle to advance a progressive race and class agenda here and an internationalist agenda abroad.

In order to make my case, I will do four things: first, describe the context that made possible for someone like Obama to become the President of the USA, second, discuss what Obama did in order to become our President, third, predict a few things that may arguably happen in Obamerica, and, finally, suggest a political way out for progressives.

So what context allowed Obama to become the President of the USA? The Obama phenomenon is the product of the fundamental racial shift that happened in America in the 1960s and 70s. The racial order in place today is the result of various social forces and events that converged in the post-WWII era( overdetermination ): 1) the various social and civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s, both the “We shall overcome” MLK kind as well the more militant Malcolm X-inspired kind ( between 1960 and 1970, 250 race rebellions transpired in cities across America ); 2) the contradiction between an America selling democracy abroad and giving hell to minorities at home-a matter exploited by socialist countries in international forums and a situation that black and Latino organizations had begun challenging forcefully since WWII-which became untenable during the Vietnam War; 3) the black migration from the South where most blacks lived and worked as sharecroppers and agricultural workers since the end of slavery, made Jim Crow practices and politics less relevant and, obviously, less effective as strategies of social control; and 4) the so-called enlightened representatives of capital, which had gone along happy, happy, happy with Jim Crow for a long time realized in the 1960s that in order to maintain production and social peace, they had to retool the racial aspects of the social order, that is, they realized Jim Crow was no longer compatible with the capitalist component of the socio-economic order( elites did in South Africa in the late 1980s-early 1990s ).

We all know the most visible consequences of this change: the slow and incomplete school desegregation that followed the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Decision; the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Housing Rights Act of 1968; and the hap- hazard policy process that led to the idea and practices that brought affirmative action to life. Most significantly, we all know that most whites believe that the elimination of the most brutal forms of racial domination, the enactment of Civil Rights legislation, and the practice of affirmative action represent the elimination racism in America and, for a substantial segment of the white population, the beginning of a period of “reverse discrimination.”

But most people of color, and many race analysts, know that albeit the legislation and policies of the 1960s were important (the struggle of the sixties transformed the racial order for good), they did not eliminate racism from America. Accordingly today, forty years after the Civil Right struggles of yesteryears, people of color lag well behind whites in almost every important social, economic, and political indicator. Conceptually, assuming we all agree with the proposition that racism forms a structure ( Bonilla-Silva ) or is systemic ( FEAGIN ), our analysis must show the mechanisms and practices that reproduce the racial order and its accompanying racial inequality. On this front, analysts such as Robert C. Smith, Patricia Williams, Roy Brooks, Kimberly Crenshaw, and yours truly among many others, have argued that a new system of racial practices emerged in post-civil rights America. This system, which I have called THE NEW RACISM ( I would call it differently today ), is characterized by discriminatory (differential TREATMENT) practices that are subtle or covert, often institutionalized, defended with coded language (those urban people or people on welfare), and is co-structured by a new racial ideology I label color-blind racism ( other terms out there ).

In my White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era, I describe how these new racial practices operate ideologically, socially, economically, and politically. At the political level, I point out the many structural barriers for the election of black and minority politicians, their under-representation among elected and appointed officials, and the limited impact minority politicians can have to enact policies to benefit the minority masses. And one point I make, which has become a reality, is that the REPUBLICRAT corporate rulers have developed a process of selection and vetting minority politicians. After the Democratic Party co-opted many old civil right leaders (John Lewis, Andrew Young, and the like) and made them shadows of themselves, the two parties began manufacturing a new kind of minority politicians. Thus today's minority Party politicians tend not to be the product of social movements, join the party from his/her College days, and move up quickly through the party ranks. The new breed of minority politicians, unlike their predecessors, is not radical but is rather center-to-right on both racial and economic matters. Accordingly, post-civil rights minority politicians are welcomed by “the man” because they do not challenge the WHITE Power structure. More problematic, this new type of minority politician teaches the wretched of the earth the WRONG lesson-that ELECTORAL-rather than SOCIAL MOVEMENT politics-is the vehicle for achieving racial justice. A post-civil rights minority politician, if Republican, is an anti-minority minority conservative such as Michael Steele, Bobby Jindal, Alan Keyes, and J.C. Watts, and if Democrat, is a post-racial leader such as Harold Ford, Cory Booker (Newark's mayor), Deval Patrick (Mass. Governor), D.C mayor Adrian Fenty, and Barack Obama.

Now I move on and discuss what Obama did in order to get elected. Since early last February I expressed my concerns about the Obama phenomenon. As the campaign progressed, my initial PESOPTIMISM about the implications of Obama's potential election as President increased exponentially. The FIRST concern I had was that Obama did not represent a true social movement, but an undercurrent of various ACTORS and CONTRADICTORY forces that did not necessarily agree on fundamental issues. Lacking a social movement with a common agenda, his rise to the top will become problematic as we have no way of predicting what he will do as President.

SECOND, none of the policies Obama offered during the campaign on the crucial issues of our time (health care, jobs, immigration, racism, the War, the Palestinian question, etc.) was truly radical and likely to accomplish the slogan he adopted as the core of his campaign: change.

THIRD, Obama reached the level of success he did in large part because he made a strategic move towards racelessness and adopted a post- racial persona and political stance. He distanced himself from most leaders of the CRM, from his own reverend, from his church, and from anything or anyone who made him look “too black” or “too political.” Heck, Obama and his campaign had to even retool Michelle Obama to make her seem less black, less strong, and more white-lady-like to the white electorate!

As part of his post-racial approach and appeal, Obama avoided the term racism in his campaign until he was FORCED to talk about race. And in that silly speech on race that some of you heralded and likened ( ly-KENN-ed ) to speeches by Malcolm and Martin, he said Revered Wright's statements “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country-a view that sees white racism as endemic...” and classified them as “divisive” (realistic).

FOURTH, as Glen Ford, executive editor of THE BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Adolph Reed, Angela Davis, and a few others suggested, Obamania was-and may still be-a CRAZE where his supporters refuse to even listen to FACTS and acknowledge some of the very problematic positions Obama actually has (“No, Obama cannot be for the death penalty!).

LASTLY perhaps the most important factor behind Obama's success, and my biggest concern, was that he and his campaign meant and evoked different things and feelings for his white and non-white supporters. For the 45% of whites who supported Obama, he was the first “black” leader they felt comfortable supporting because he did not talk about racism; because he reminded them every time he had a chance he is half-white ( signification and history ); because he was so “articulate” or, in Senator Biden's words, echoed later by Karl Rove, Obama was "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"; because Obama kept talking about national unity, and because he, unlike black leaders hated by whites such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and, of course, Minister Farrakhan, did not make them feel guilty about the state of racial affairs in the country. Even for many of the 55% of whites who did not vote for him (Pat Buchanan, etc.), Obama's success has become the final proof they needed to confirm THEIR BELIEF that America is beyond race.

Obama also became, as black commentator David Ehrenstein has argued, the “Magic Negro”-a term from film studies that refers to black characters in movies whose main purpose is to help whites deal with their issues. In this case, voting for Obama allowed many whites to feel like they were cleansing their racial soul, repenting for their racial sins, and getting admission into racial heaven! Obama became whites' EXCEPTIONAL black man-the model to follow if blacks want to achieve in Amerika!

In sharp contrast, for many nonwhites, particularly for blacks, Obama became a symbol of their possibilities. He was indeed, as Obama said of himself, their Joshua-the leader they hoped would take them to the Promised Land of milk and honey. They read in between the lines (probably more than was/is there) and thought Obama had a strong stance on race matters. For the old generation desperate to see change before they die ( Jackson crying, john lewis, etc. ), and for many post-Reagan generation blacks ( will.i.am from THE BLACK EYED PEAS ) and minorities who have seen VERY LITTLE RACIAL progress During their life, Obama became the new Messiah following on the footsteps of leaders they did not see such as Martin and Malcolm. Poor blacks-and I talk to many almost every day-believe Obama will bring economic and social change to them-higher wages, health care, etc., and “the black elite”-and I work with many of them at Duke-savors Obama as a symbol and a confirmation of their own standing, politics, and even behavior and manners-the genteel, aristocratic character of the black elite.
Accordingly, when I debated the Obama phenomenon with people of color and white allies and mentioned that Obama received 46% of his money from corporate America and a LOT of it THROUGH THE MAGIC OF bundling (McCain raised 76 million and Obama 63 as of August but probably top 100M by November-561 elite bundlers) ; or that Obama said in a speech in Selma, Alabama, that we were 90% on the road to RACIAL equality ; or that Obama wanted to expand the military by 90,000 (imperial Amerika) and said he would redeploy troops from Iraq to Afghanistan (a country he knows NOTHING about); or that his opposition to the war after he was elected to the Senate was suspect documented in Matt Gonzales's piece “The Obama Craze”; or that Obama is for free market capitalism albeit with some regulation; or that Obama's Civil Rights program was nothing more than the liberal stance on race matters and not much different from Hillary's program; or that Obama was the darling of the DLC ; or that Obama's economic and health care programs were quite modest and reflected the fact that his chief advisers from Chicago and Harvard are regarded as “non-ideological”; or that Obama supported the death penalty (now we all know); or that Obama's position on Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and Palestine are not better than Hillary's; or that Obama has chided those who talk about race in a straight manner as engaging in “divisive politics”-... and FISA, AND RELIGION, AND HIS FOCUS ON “PERSONAL RESPOSIBILITY,” AND HIS STAND ON WORKFARE, AND on and on and on.
When I raised these issues, FOLKS either did not know them (“Obama DOES not get more money from Wall Street than McCain?”- actually, 58 to 54 million ) or, worse yet, knew them but argued these are TACTICAL positions Obama needed in order to get elected (“He must support the death penalty, be strong on the Middle East, support FISA, and not talk about race or be seen as black in order to get elected.”) They all believed, in AHISTORICAL fashion, that once Obama was elected, he would turn LEFF. For me, coming from the Caribbean where we have had a fair share of elected Black Governors, Premiers, and Presidents, I know that “leaders should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the CONTENT OF THEIR POLITICS.” I repeat “Leaders should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their politics!” Black and progressive America, unfortunately, is destined to learn this lesson after this neo-mulatto rents the white house for a short while and does not do any renovation-I bet he will not even repaint the freaking house!

So what do I think will happen in Obamerica? I believe the voices of those who contend that race fractures America profoundly may be silenced. In a deep sense, Obamerica may bring us closer to an argument I have been articulating for a while-the idea that the racial structure of the United States is becoming Latin America-like. No with Obama as our President we will continue on the road toward symbolic unity without enacting the social policies needed to make sure we truly are “all Americans.” We may become like Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, or Puerto Rico- nation-states that claim to be comprised of "one people" but where various racial strata receive social goods in accordance to their proximity to “whiteness.” And like in Latin American countries, Obama's nationalist stance (“There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America”) will help close the space to even talk about race. Hence, in Orwellian fashion, we may proclaim "We are all Americans!", but in Obamerica, some will still be “more American than others.”

Now I offer a few plausible scenarios of things to come so that we begin pondering-and strategizing-what to do. FIRST, based on promises and remarks made by President Elect Obama during the campaign, he may increase the size of the military, wait longer than planned for withdrawing from Iraq, increase the scope of our military intervention in Afghanistan, and, more problematically, bomb Pakistan if he gets “actionable intelligence.” So will we NOT protest and object to AMERICAN imperialism because “we” want our first black President to be “successful” in foreign policy? Have we forgotten that American imperialism can be carried out by black and brown bodies, too?

SECOND, albeit many of you voted for Obama critically-as I did myself-you thought, “Well...at least he is likely to appoint progressives in various posts.” But this will not happen without pressure. If we want this to happen, we must begin making noise from NOW as he has surrounded himself with center-to-right people in economic matters such as Warren Buffet, Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, and his Chicago and Harvard economists. And in foreign policy, with Susan Rice (a Stanford graduate who may end up in the State Department. She worked for Clinton and many of the members of the Black Congressional Caucus did not trust her because they thought she was part of Washington's “black assimilationist elite”) and with other Clinton people (Madelaine Albright, etc.) as well as Colin Powell (since when do we trust these clowns)? Albright, as you recall, was not a very pluralistic Secretary of State and Powell JUSTIFIED the war effort. Lastly, Obama has said he wants to be Lincoln- like and create an administration that includes all the losers. So, what will we do if many of the same IDIOTS who got us into the mess we are in ECONOMICALLY and POLITICALLY are invited to serve in his cabinet or become policy advisers?

THIRD, Obama has already begun the slippery slope of stating he may defer taxing the rich until the economy improves. Are you kidding me? If Obama and his advisers believe this, then McClain was RIGHT! Wasn't McCain the one who said that taxing the rich is problematic because they are the ones who create jobs and wealth in America? (Come on, folks!)

FOURTH, in the debates Obama stated he may defer dealing with health care until the economic crisis subsides. Again, what are we going to do if he delays this policy matter? We all saw the Obamercial where he highlighted the plight of that poor black family in Ohio. They have the fierce urgency of NOW as they need health care reform TODAY! And, by the way, let me go a bit deeper on this matter-Obama's health care plan is far off from what we need: a truly universal health care plan. Paul Krugman, the 2008 Noble prize in economics, made this point clear in his NYT column where he wrote that Obama had the weakest health care plan among the Democratic Party contenders.

FIFTH, what will President Elect Obama do about race matters in America? What will he do about affirmative action, for example? During the campaign, he did not engage in a dialogue about the significance of race in America and discussed Affirmative Action only ONCE with George Stephanopoulos. As some of you recall, he took an accomodationist post-racial stance on the matter. And because he took such a post-racial posture during his campaign, I do not believe he can take a STRONG stance on race matters NOW. Neither Obama nor his mostly white advisers and post-civil right neo-mulatto associates will push hard on this fundamental issue. For that, he needs what he lacks: a real social movement behind!

SIXTH, we in the left were too comfortable and silly with the amount of money Obama raised (close to 700 million dollars!), with how he raised it (bundlers and small donors-48% who gave $200 or less--who seem like small investors buying shares in Obama Corporation), and with the implications of all this money for his administration and for politics in America. Soon we will see the impact of this money and of these bundlers in his administration and in the policies he “chooses”.

Now I conclude by answering a few questions some of you may have in mind. My answers, I hope, illustrate what we did wrong and point out a path for a “new” political strategy. FIRST, for those of you who agree with a lot of what I said yet find yourselves thinking, “Well, but what was our option, voting for M c Cain?” Progressives in America have been suffering from a political depression since Reagan's election as President in 1980. We all but abandoned social movement politics and replaced it with voting for whatever dud the Democratic Party “chooses” as their Presidential nominee. But our dilemma is a self-made one and, hence, we have the capacity to end it. We must take a dosage of political prozac and stop the madness of choosing every four years among the lesser of two evils. We must work to either radicalize the Democratic Party OR-the alternative I prefer-return to labor, civil rights, gender, environmental, and community-based movement politics and PRESSURE for systemic change. After all, as humanist sociologists know well, fundamental changes in societies ALWAYS follow from social movement- rather than from electoral-politics.

SECOND, those of us who criticized Obama from the left were labeled as “traitors,” “representatives of the old Civil Rights Movement guard,” or as “jealous of Obama's success.” All these accusations were absolute nonsense and a way of avoiding serious debate. Obama is for the death penalty, for offshore drilling, for faith-based initiatives, for expanding the size of the military, for FISA, for bombing Pakistan, for bailing out capitalists, and on and on. So who is then the one selling out at the altar of expediency? But we in the left failed the test of history and remained SILENT and now we will see, as I have already seen and experienced, the crushing hammer of nationalist SENTIMENT against dissenting voices!

LASTLY, if you ponder “Well, but aren't you ignoring the symbolic value of an Obama Presidency?” First, for those who are thinking about little black children..., know that research shows they do not lack self-esteem or have low aspirations, but lack an adequate opportunity structure to realize their dreams. Second, since Obama's candidacy means, as I argued, different things for whites and blacks, the symbolic value of his Presidency also means different things for these groups, too. Obama's weak ass stand on race made many whites happy, happy, happy, but it also reduced his capacity for enacting meaningful race-based policies. Hence, Obama's election will have symbolic value, but folks of color don't eat symbols and will soon ask, “Where is the change candidate Obama promised? President Obama, where's the beef ?”

So what is to be done now? We must organize social movements-the plural is important, resist class/race/gender domination wherever we are at (25% of the pop), radicalize the spaces we inhabit and the people we contact, engage in political discourse (we have become too passive and do not say much), criticize the new President no matter what (he is the representative of capital and of the racial order), and do all these things CREATIVELY - yes we can use humor, yes we can be postmodern in style, and yes we can once again dare talk about the revolution, about democratic socialism, and about the significance of Malcolm X for racial and social change in Our America. If we do this, we have a chance to recover from this moment-a moment I believe may become a huge setback for the American left. But if we remain quiet and, once again, wait until the next election cycle, history is likely to, as Marx wrote, “repeat itself, first as a tragedy (Obama), second as a farce (Jindal).” Thanks!

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Professor
Sociology Department
Duke University

2 comments:

ChiCharo said...

Bonilla Silva did it again, at least one of us has been sober enough to point the way. It is important to elect a Black president, but a president who was speaking about real change and end up selling his soul to second-hand, clintonites (even hillary, LOL) of the country. Social movements, history, and two aspirins in 2009...

Cerulean606 said...

"Whites" this, "whites" that, how can a learned professor from a prestigious university not see the irony of making such statements while denouncing racism? Oh right, only white people can be bigots. Also I think saying things like "we all know whites ____" is intellectually weak, a way of absolving white people in the audience while disparaging them at the same time. Thanks for pointing out that I hate Jesse Jackson, I wasn't aware of that. Here I was thinking I respected him! I can see why this guy is so respected given his uncanny ability to determine how I feel about so many issues based only on the color of my skin. I could go on, but y'know I've got to be getting back to burning crosses and such..