Will White People Leave the Democratic Party?
We all know ancient history. We have heard the stories about the struggles of the civil rights movement of the 60s. We hail Kennedy as the person who pushed it through, but really it stalled under his presidency. It was when southern President Lyndon Johnson took the helm that civil rights legislation really took hold. Even though he was told not to do it.
Jack Valenti recounts the time when Johnson called Georgia Senator Dick Russell to ask him to not get in his way on the civil rights bill. Russell told him that if he followed that course then he would not only lose the election but he would also “lose the south forever” for the democratic party.
And here we are today, with Barack Obama not really making a big play for the southern states because they generally fall Republican and people assume that white democrats won’t vote for a black man. And they are probably right.
What I wonder about now is if the northern white Democrats will defect to the Republican party. During the primaries, many eastern and Midwestern states fell to Hillary Clinton, saying very loud and clear that they weren’t ready for a President that was black. The AP-Yahoo poll helps to underscore the latent negative racial attitudes that some whites have about African Americans.
The race issue isn’t one that Obama brings up, but seems to be one that whites can’t turn away from. It doesn’t matter that his mother was a white woman and that he was raised with the help of his white grandparents. Really, he’s just as much white as he is black. To white America he is not one of them. He’s one of us.
And we all know what they think about us. They are calling Obama an elitist, which will soon be redefined in the dictionary as shiftless Negroes trying to get something for nothing.
It doesn’t matter how hard we work or how high we climb, our place in the American narrative will always be sidekick, best friend, confidant, magical negro, mammy, and Uncle. Oversexed eunuchs. Uneducated wise elders. Yeah, there was a black President on the tv show 24, but a white guy had to protect his ass. And how much airtime did Dennis Haysbert get? Enough to move on to an even bigger role, schilling insurance for a car company.
To cast off Obama as elitist is to dehumanize him because the black in him makes him inhuman and not someone that anyone white can relate to.
At this moment in time, instead of re-fighting the culture wars we need to be bridging gaps. Instead of figuring out what’s so good about ourselves and horrible about others we should find commonality.
Like it or not America is becoming more brown. Because of that we have to accept that typical American image isn’t necessarily blonde, blue eyed, and pale skin. The future Americans will be olive, tanned, sepia, and dark brown. They may speak more than just English or speak English with an accent. Their comfort foods might not be meat and potatoes but meat and rice or tortillas or couscous. When they talk about their ancestors home country they won’t mean England or Italy but Venezuela or Thailand or Zimbabwe.
We have to find what we have in common with one another because they will all represent Americans. And if we begin to have one political party for white people and one political party for people of color then what will happen to this country that we all love? Could we become like Canada where the people who speak French want to start their own country separate from those who speak only English? Instead we’ll have a country of white people who feel they have nothing in common with their countrymen of brown hues.
If that’s not elitist then I don’t know what is.