All in the Family
So the talk around the blogosphere is that Michelle Obama allegedly used the word “whitey” against white people.
As soon as I heard it I had to laugh.
See, this is how disconnected racist white people are from black people. Whitey? Really? Did Obama then come on stage and proclaim that boy was a white racist word a la Michael Evans then they both boogied off stage slapping fives only to be confronted by a gaggle of reporters whom they denounced as jive turkeys.
Whitey. Yeah, right. LOL
Now, I have been on some message boards and seen it written as y-t but that’s totally different than going around and peppering up your language with the term. If she had used the term cracker I’d still be suspect but it’s closer to black vernacular. If they had said she confronted a white female with the term Becky it would have given me pause but whitey just makes me laugh. If someone can find a video with her using the word then I would be the first to say we should drum her and Barack back to the South Side of Chicago to get re-educated in the ways of black America.
And for those white people who wonder what we call you when you frustrate us? We call you white folks. How is that used exactly? Well, let’s say its 10 degrees below zero and you see a a Becky in short skirt or a white guy running down the street in a t-shirt and running shorts like it’s July. You will look at the other black person standing nearest to you. It could be a stranger, it doesn’t matter, but both of you will shake your head as one of you utters, “White folks!”
Why isn’t there a more venomous euphemism than the term whitey? Are white folks really insulted to see the term, does it really pack the same wallop as the N-word? After centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching it would seem that black people would have been able to come up with a better, more hurtful epithet than that but we haven’t. Maybe it’s because we are too busy picking ourselves apart that we haven’t come up with a word inflammatory enough to hurl at white people.
What’s I find more fascinating is not the fact that a certain segment of white people cooked up this inane story but that a small group is sitting there eating it up. In referring to white people as “whitey” wouldn’t that appellation also apply to Barack’s mother, his grandparents and the rest of his extended white family? If so, then Michelle Obama is not just prejudiced but also disrespectful.
It’s what some racist white people expect from black people because deep down in their heart of hearts they feel it’s what they deserve from us because if tables were turned they would be racist towards their past oppressors, ready to commit violent acts against them to show they were no longer downtrodden. Hell, they committed violent acts against us through Jim Crow to let us know who had the upper hand. I have heard political pundits and black (for white) apologists try to claim that white guilt is what buoys Affirmative Action and other public policies that take into consideration the long held state of Black America. But actually, white guilt is what keeps America in a constant state of flux in white-Black relationships. We have never really moved ahead because we have never moved on. Slavery stopped but we put Jim Crow in its place which lasted until the 60s which was followed by white resentment and black distrust and here we are in 2008 with a black man running for president and white people afraid to vote for him because they fear that the retribution they feel have been long overdue may finally come home to hit him. They’ve been waiting for it, expecting it, they know they deserve it so now they are scared.
And actually it’s kind of funny because it’s never been about payback and even if it was Obama is not that kind of person. To make every white person pay for the sins of their forefathers has never been a major black agenda. What they fail to recognize that their forefathers are our forefathers, too. We’ve fought in every war and helped to build this country. We should all be Americans, without the modifiers. Whether directly or indirectly related, slave descendants, descendants of slaver holders, immigrants of all centuries: we are America. We are a family, we are a nation.
So get over it.