An Essay from Tim Wise...

Here is Tim Wise's latest essay, "Your Whiteness is Showing: An Open Letter to
Certain White Women who are Threatening to Withhold Support From Barack
Obama in November." I think you can ascertain the content from the
title. I don't have a live link so I won't post it here.

You can find it though at his  website, which is timwise(dot)org

I'm very curious to know what the respose to this is, as it is not talking to me persay so I cannot respond..

 Here is the text:

Your Whiteness is Showing:
An Open Letter to Certain White Women who are Threatening to Withhold Support From Barack Obama in November

By Tim Wise

June 6, 2008

This
is an open letter to those white women who, despite their proclamations
of progressivism, and supposedly because of their commitment to
feminism, are threatening to withhold support from Barack Obama in
November. You know who you are.

I know that it's probably a bad
time for this. Your disappointment at the electoral defeat of Senator
Hillary Clinton is fresh, the sting is new, and the anger that animates
many of you--who rightly point out that the media was often sexist in
its treatment of the Senator--is raw, pure and justified.

That
said, and despite the awkward timing, I need to ask you a few
questions, and I hope you will take them in the spirit of solidarity
with which they are genuinely intended. But before the questions, a
statement if you don't mind, or indeed, even if (as I suspect), you
will mind it quite a bit.

First, for those of you threatening to
actually vote for John McCain and to oppose Senator Obama, or to stay
home in November and thereby increase the likelihood of McCain winning
and Obama losing (despite the fact that the latter's policy platform is
virtually identical to Clinton's while the former's clearly is not),
all the while claiming to be standing up for women...

For those
threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and increase the
odds of his winning (despite the fact that he once called his wife the
c-word in public and is a staunch opponent of reproductive freedom and
gender equity initiatives, such as comparable worth legislation), all
the while claiming to be standing up for women...

For those
threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and help ensure
Barack Obama's defeat, as a way to protest what you call Obama's sexism
(examples of which you seem to have difficulty coming up with), all the
while claiming to be standing up for women...

Your whiteness is showing.

When
I say your whiteness is showing this is what I mean: You claim that
your opposition to Obama is an act of gender solidarity, in that women
(and their male allies) need to stand up for women in the face of the
sexist mistreatment of Clinton by the press. On this latter point--the
one about the importance of standing up to the media for its often
venal misogyny--you couldn't be more correct. As the father of two
young girls who will have to contend with the poison of patriarchy all
their lives, or at least until such time as that system of oppression
is eradicated, I will be the first to join the boycott of, or
demonstration on, whatever media outlet you choose to make that point.
But on the first part of the above equation--the part where you insist
voting against Obama is about gender solidarity--you are, for lack of a
better way to put it, completely full of crap. And what's worse is that
at some level I suspect you know it. Voting against Senator Obama is
not about gender solidarity. It is an act of white racial bonding, and
it is grotesque.

If it were gender solidarity you sought, you
would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come
November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in
overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are
threatening to vote not like other women--you know, the ones who aren't
white like you and most of your friends--but rather, like white men!
Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical,
to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect
McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging
patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white
people.

So here's the first question: What the hell is that about?

And
you wonder why women of color have, for so long, thought (by and large)
that white so-called feminists were phony as hell? Sister please...

Your
threats are not about standing up for women. They are only about
standing up for the feelings of white women, and more to the point, the
aspirations of one white woman. So don't kid yourself. If you wanted to
make a statement about the importance of supporting a woman, you
wouldn't need to vote for John McCain, or stay home, thereby producing
the same likely result--a defeat for Obama. You could always have said
you were going to go out and vote for Cynthia McKinney. After all, she
is a woman, running with the Green Party, and she's progressive, and
she's a feminist. But that isn't your threat is it? No. You're not
threatening to vote for the woman, or even the feminist woman. Rather,
you are threatening to vote for the white man, and to reject not only
the black man who you feel stole Clinton's birthright, but even the
black woman in the race. And I wonder why? Could it be...?

See, I told you your whiteness was showing.

And
now for a third question, and this is the biggie, so please take your
time with it: How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all
these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats
who we knew were horribly inadequate--Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis,
right on down the uninspiring line--and yet, apparently can't bring
yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his
shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by
either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive
than any of those just mentioned. And how are we to understand that
refusal--this sudden line in the proverbial sand--other than as a
racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year
after year--and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a
point--but can't bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose
political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than
do the views of any of the white men you've supported before.

How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing?

See,
black folks would have sucked it up, like they've had to do forever,
and voted for Clinton had it come down to that. Indeed, they were on
board the Hillary train early on, convinced that Obama had no chance to
win and hoping for change, any change, from the reactionary agenda that
has been so prevalent for so long in this culture. They would have
supported the white woman--hell, for many black folks, before Obama
showed his mettle they were downright excited to do so--but you won't
support the black man.

And yet you have the audacity to insist
that it is you who are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic
Party, and the one before whom Party leaders should bow down, and whose
feet must be kissed?

Your whiteness is showing.

Look, I
couldn't care less about the Party personally. I left the Democrats
twenty years ago when they told me that my activism in the Central
America solidarity and South African anti-apartheid movements made me a
security risk, and that I wouldn't be able to get clearance to be in
some parade with Governor Dukakis. Yeah, seriously. But for you to act
as though you are the indispensible voters, the most important, the
ones whose views should be pandered to, whose every whim should be the
basis for Party policy, is not only absurd, it is also racist in that
it, a) ignores and treats as irrelevant the much more loyal
constituency of black folks, without whom no Democrat would have won
anything in the past twenty years (and indeed the racial gap favoring
the Democrats among blacks is about six times larger than the gender
gap favoring them among white women, relative to white men); and b)
demonstrates the mentality of entitlement and superiority that has been
long ingrained in us as white folks--so that we believe we have the
right to dictate the terms of political engagement, and to determine
the outcome, and to get our way, simply because for so long we have
done just that.

But that day is done, whether you like it or
not, and you are now left with two, and only two choices, so consider
them carefully: the first is to stand now in solidarity with your black
brothers and sisters and welcome the new day, and help to push it in a
truly progressive and feminist and antiracist direction, while the
second is to team up with white men to try and block the new day from
dawning. Feel free to choose the latter. But if you do, please don't
insult your own intelligence, or ours, by insisting that you've done so
as a radical political act.

 

 

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