Saturday, 8 November 2008

Politics And Race

Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America and all it right with the world. Except of course it isn't.

I was increasingly disturbed by all the harping on in the media about Obama being the first black President. They seemed to be making out that this was the end of all the silly racism. Bless them for their optimism but the world is the same today as it was the day before the election; there's just a little more hope around. And some of the crap the journalists were spewing was too stupid for words:

"America voted and realised, almost as an exhilarating afterthought, that it had become colour-blind." The Times

If they realised they were being colour-blind then they are not truly colour-blind are they? What a silly statement.

Or those people excited by Obama being black were totally overcome with excitement at the world being "post racial" now too. It can't be both, you can't be excited to have Obama as President because he's black and be post racial. It's a contradiction.

I respect the achievement of Barack Obama of reaching the top in a country with such a racist past as America has. But I don't respect those who focus so much on his race and then claim to be post-racial.

Personally I'm more excited about the following facts:

1) Barack Obama is not Dubya
2) Barack Obama is the first professor President since Woodrow Wilson. Yay for academics in power!
3) Barack Obama has an oratory gift unlike a certain 43rd President of the USA I know...

Over here in Blighty we are being asked "Could we have a black PM?" to which the answer is of course "Yes." But somehow people have managed to fill page after page of newsprint about the subject... as if somehow Britain NEEDS a black Prime Minister and SOON because otherwise we just aren't cool. Needless to say my view on this is: We don't need a white PM, nor a black one, nor do we require a female or a gay or a disabled PM. We need a good one, a decent one, a human one, an intelligent one. We should never judge those running for power on what they are but on who they are.

And finally one of my least favourite men in the country, Trevor Phillips, who seems to lack any of the talent of any member of the American Civil Rights movement. He says Britain's political system is "institutionally racist". For my non-British readers "institutional racism" is a buzz phrase here in Britain which describes racist organisations composed of people who may not themselves be racist. Yes people, organisations have feelings and prejudices too!! He goes on to bemoan the Labour parties lack of ethnic minority candidates (as if Labour should choose people based on their race for office). But he doesn't mind those progressive forward thinkers that live in the Conservative Party:

Mr Phillips said he believed the Conservatives had performed better than Labour in increasing the number of black and Asian parliamentary candidates.
"[The Conservatives] are less democratic. They are happier to impose candidates on the local parties."

Brilliant! Get rid of all that democracy and let's have some good old fashioned benevolent dictatorship. He goes on to say he doesn't favour imposing candidates which sort of makes the whole point of his interview pointless and obviously it's just an attempt to get his voice heard in the wake of Barack Obama's success. A pigmy standing on the shoulders of giants...

No comments: