When my mom (Tea Partier) says the movement – and her personal dislike of Obama which has already reached the point of obsession – has nothing to do with racism am I supposed to pretend I don’t remember her warning me as a child about how one day white people weren’t going to be the majority? What exactly is the point of bringing that up if you aren’t operating in terms of race? I fail to see how that even enters your mind.
I mean as I see it there are two ways to look at changing cultural demographics. When I think of a future where hispanics become a much greater proportion of the population than they are now (don’t bother me about links. I’m lazy, but yknow what I mean: blah blah by 2050 comprise 25% of the yadda yadda etc…) I think that more of the country will become like California, or perhaps South Florida. We’ll go to different restaurants and dance different dances and popular music will probably further the trend of ripping off latin traditions rather than black ones and when you channel surf more stations will be in Spanish. Big fucking deal.
Obviously this isn’t the only view though, as some people seem to think that America just naturally belongs to the White People and any of this assimilation/cultural melting pot shit is an affront to their white ancestors and the white founding fathers and the very state of whiteness itself. Another memory that sticks out at me is being a young kid in a Blockbuster and seeing some dude get visibly upset that he had accidentally grabbed a Spanish-dubbed copy of whatever Rob Schneider shitfest was playing at the moment. The clerk points it out to him to check whether he intends to rent that version and the guy gets all “pffft, only in California.” Yes, businesses make decisions that cater to existing markets in order to maximize profit. Holy shit, imagine that… all that free market shit suddenly falls away when the market realizes that motherfuckers who are comfortable speaking Spanish would prefer to watch the same old mind-rotting shit we all enjoy in their native language. I mean it’s not like they went and hired a bunch of illegal immigrants and redid the whole movie on the cheap and somehow took our jerbs in the process… it’s just a fucking dub and most likely the people who worked on it are Spanish-speaking Americans. Holy shit, a job was created! The nice standard acceptable white version of “Deuce Bigalow” or whatever was still available and all he had to do was walk back across the store and grab it (or not, since the clerk offered to do it) but for some reason the simple fact that it existed bothered him. It must be more of that “special treatment” that people are so worked up about.
What a bunch of assholes… why isn’t the practice of defaulting any film/music/work of art/whatever to English seen as a special favor to whitey? I mean for fuck’s sake, I have a collection of odd heavy metal MP3s from all around the world. One thing I find particularly amusing is collecting metal from unlikely-sounding countries. Greek metal, Bulgarian metal, Iraqi metal, or whatever — just the idea that there’s this worldwide common musical language is so cool to me. My point in bringing it up is: guess what? These fucking songs are in English. Fuckers that can’t even speak the language comfortably in a conversation will sometimes labor to translate what they’re trying to say into English so that they can get some commercial success. (Famously, towards the beginning of In Flames’ career their singer had help translating his lyrics into English.)
Anyway, I’m rambling on pretty severely here but what I’m trying to say is that, while I don’t think it’s fair to say the Tea Party is an overtly racist movement and the teabaggers just “hate the black president” or whatever kind’ve anodyne characterization you might get from your friendly Olbermann types, I think a bunch of them do harbor racial resentments that influence their opinions about Obama and social services in general. What we find repeatedly is that these folks have no problem with Social Security, Medicare, etc. when they’re receiving the benefits, there’s just some kind of mysterious other group of unworthy leechers that they’d rather trail off and mumble a bit about than clearly define. There’s some cognitive dissonance going on here or something. I mean I don’t exactly know, but for them to try and claim race plays no part at all when the loss of an election is getting characterized as the theft of an entire country/way of life/whatever (“We have to take our country back!”) and polling consistently shows that race plays a greater role in their decision-making than the average person… come the fuck on. I don’t know if they realize they’re lying — it’s kinda hard to look at yourself and go, yeah, I’m kind’ve a racist shithead — but they sure are doing it. I have trouble finding the right way to describe it — I don’t think it’s fair to just call them racists, because for the most part they’re not sitting around talking about lynching the President and throwing n-bombs and pontificating on the superiority of the Aryan race and whatnot, but they are… I don’t know, racially-influenced? Racially-aware? Semi-racists? Racist-lite? I don’t know where to go with it. They don’t hate brown people, that’s not fair– but they sure are unusually concerned about them, yknow? Maybe we can go with Manchurian Racists — day to day they don’t focus on the subject much, but then Obama gets elected, the GOP suggests they play a little solitaire and before they know it they find themselves going on about how black folks should just try harder and shut the fuck up about that whole lasting cultural legacy of us owning them thing. It’s confusing.
So anyway, back to my original point: next time someone says to me “Tea Party not about racism!” and I have explicit memories of them being racist in the past is it fair to bring it up? I worry that it could get ugly.