Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In some ways, Rep. Steve King is right

Apparently Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) went on a racist tirade against President Obama recently.
“His vision of America isn’t like our vision of America. That we know,” King said about Obama at an immigration rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to Buzzfeed.
It was racist in that he went on to say that President Obama's experience was not "an American experience." But the truth is, he was right in saying that his own "vision of America" is different from Obama's.

As a white person, I can only speak for myself is saying that my experience of America never included:
  • having my qualifications for a job questioned until I proved my citizenship
  • being racially profiled
  • an assumption that I got into college only because of affirmative action
  • being called "gangsta" if I got angry
  • having to carry my papers with me in case of a traffic stop
  • regularly being followed by security in stores
  • threatened with my life if my music was too loud in my car
  • an assumption that I was a threat because I wore a hoodie
  • a demand that I prove I'm in my own home and subsequent arrest for disorderly conduct when I resisted
  • getting pulled over by police for "driving while black"
  • being stopped and frisked for no reason
I could go on. But perhaps you've gotten the point by now. Those are the kinds of things that are happening to brown/black people in this country. President Obama's vision of America is one where the idea that "all men (and women) are created equal" applies to everyone and those kinds of things don't happen anymore. In that way, his vision of America is very different that Rep. King's - who seems to have no problem with the status quo.

I say all this because it goes to the heart of the challenge we are facing as a country today...who's vision of America will prevail? Does our vision include the experiences of everyone - or only those of white people? The truth is - I don't know what its like to be a person of color in this country because I haven't experienced it. In order to craft a vision that includes everyone, I need to listen to those who have a different experience. That is the only way we'll ever "form a more perfect union."  

4 comments:

  1. That's funny. I haven't had an "American Experience" either due to my childhood in Europe. But my father was military, so can one really say my experience was not American? I know Jim Brown would say I don't understand the culture due to my childhood.

    I'll have to say my vision of the country was like what homegirl was saying about coalitions a few days ago. That's my normal. Steve King and his people are holding on to something that isn't worth holding on to. Those days are not coming back. I see the same thing with the Clinton people and their unwillingness to accept they might just not be good enough to lead.

    I wonder when Steve King and his folks are going to reach the acceptance stage.

    Vic78

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  3. say all this because it goes to the heart of the challenge we are facing as a country today...who's vision of America will prevail? Does our vision include the experiences of everyone - or only those of white people? The truth is - I don't know what its like to be a person of color in this country because I haven't experienced it. In order to craft a vision that includes everyone, I need to listen to those who have a different experience. That is the only way we'll ever "form a more perfect union.

    *********************
    Takes me to that movie based on the book..."Black Like Me"

    http://youtu.be/ZNnS9mOmm5I

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  4. Hi SP
    I feel pretty strongly that we often miss or gloss over all of our "mixed heritages"! Our blood lines are crossed in so many ways! If we would give up the descriptive physical attributes (color. eyes, hair, etc).

    We are people.

    Im Nigerian, Blackfoot, Italian what am I? My children have to add Puerto Rican to their mix what are they? My great-grands have to add Caucasion to their mix what are they?

    Millions of "whites" have all kinds of other blood coursing thru their veins. I am tired of us minimizing each other to fit the boxes. We are who we are. We are going to squeeze all kinds of streams of visions to change this nation and it is going to be what it never could have been without us!
    Smilingl8dy

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