photo courtesy of flickr by Guy as in Gee
The “Safe Negro,” Barack Obama, has declared that Iowa voters are beyond race. He is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “People are less concerned about race and much more concerned about, is this somebody who is going to be fighting for me.” That is an astounding statement of cynical calculation which panders to Iowa’s lily white electorate that is false on its face and goes to the root of why black people like me remain skeptical brotha’s and sistah’s. For the record, all of my closest friends are supporters of the Safe Negro, but I just can’t go there. I probably never will as long as he keeps serving up rhetorical gems like this to a narcissistic and oblivious white electorate.
Let me be clear, y’all. I was born and raised in a neighboring state to a family of southern transplants looking for a kinder and gentler racism so that they might have a fighting chance to raise healthy and happy chirren. My grandparents largely succeeded. After high school, I realized that in terms of a future, there was no there there and decided to strike out for the greener and decidedly blacker pastures in the south.
After a false start in Louisiana, I ended up in the Carolinas. Having four generations of my family living in the rural Midwest, you’d think that our sense of pride in self and community woulda dimmed somewhat, quite the opposite is true. We know exactly who we are, where we came from, and we appreciate it and celebrate it. We’re realists that were raised to see the world as it is, defects and all. It is because we do that statements like Obama’s can be decisively debunked with little effort.
According to Human Rights Watch, it is patently ridiculous for Barack Obama to be giving racial absolution to Iowans, “In every state, the proportion of blacks in prison exceeds, sometimes by a considerable amount, their proportion in the general population (Figure 2). In Minnesota and Iowa, blacks constitute a share of the prison population that is twelve times greater than their share of the state population. In eleven states — Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming –the percentage of the prison population that is black is more than six times greater than the percentage of the state population that is black.”
“Racially disaggregated incarceration rates that measure the number of confined blacks and whites per 100,000 residents of each racial group yield another perspective on the extent of racial disparities in imprisonment. Nationwide, blacks are incarcerated at 8.2 times the rate of whites. That is, a black person is 8.2 times more likely to be in prison than a white person. Among individual states, there are even more extraordinary racial disparities in incarceration rates (Figure 3). In seven states — Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — blacks are incarcerated at more than 13 times the rate of whites.”
“….Nationwide, black men are incarcerated at 9.6 times the rate of white men. In eleven states, black men are incarcerated at rates that are twelve to twenty-six times greater than those of white men (Table 5). Thus, in Minnesota, the state with the greatest racial disparity in incarceration, a black man is 26.8 times more likely to be in prison than a white man. In Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, a black man is more than fifteen times more likely to be in prison than a white man.”
The criminal justice system is always an accurate measure of how deep the sickness of racism is. In Iowa, on the basis of these 7-plus-year-old figures, the sickness is profound. Apparently, Barack Obama is a glass is half-full kinda guy. I’m just the opposite. It’s one thing to campaign on the basis of optimism and hope, its quite another to pander to some white people’s grossly inflated sense of racial fairness and fairplay when statistics clearly show that their “fairness” is a lie from the pit of Hell. Because of these and other reasons, I shall continue remaining skeptical about Barack Obama.