The students and I are having some lively discussions about President Obama. College freshmen/women are born in 1991 and 1992, have absolutely NO memory of Civil Rights movement (their parents, born late 60s/early 70s are first post-Civil Rights generation), and grew up with MTV-ish reality show representations of diversity.
I've tried to argue that civil discussion about any politician's policies is a healthy part of a democracy. However, I've also tried to argue that the opposition we're hearing to President Obama is louder and more disrecpectful than ANYthing I've heard any U.S. president face in my lifetime (and I have vivid memories from Carter to present day.)
I argue that this opposition is part of mainstream America's "otherizing" people of color, in this case a black man, which makes it "easy" for people with opposing views to show blatant disrespect. We all otherize people -- we do it to women, Asians, Latinos, people with disabilities, immigrants, and gays/lesbians. So black men don't have a monopoly on being otherized.
I can only imagine the kitchen table discussions happening in the households of those who are "othering" President Obama. Imagining the "n" word being used (or thought of) frequently, while in the same sentence saying/thinking, "I have black friends... close black friends. I'm not a racist." I'd love to ask, "Well, have you asked your black so-called friends if they consider YOU a friend? Have you asked what they think of your opinions?"
Some good editorial pieces are emerging that I'm finding interesting.
He's President, He's Black, Get Over It
Is Conservative Obama Backlash The New Racism?
The Racial Context For Joe Wilson's Outburst
Joe Wilson -- This One's Too Easy
OK. Back to books, writing, shows, music, etc... later this weekend. Have a good Friday!