“Here I am at...Camp Black Powah...”
What is fall-on-your-ass hilarious about the way the campaign season is shaping up is the full-on desperation of many on the right (and a few who purport to be on “The Left”) in their attempts to take down the presumptive front-runner, Sen. Barack Obama.
It's like watching some totally freaked-out kid on the playground spastically windmilling his open, slapping hands—with eyes closed of course—at a much savvier opponent. He hits nothing, and ends up embarrassing himself with the scattershot attempts.
Simultaneously, Barack Obama is being slammed as...
...a milquetoast moderate sellout...
...a Reagan-worshipping caution...
...a literal red-diaper baby...
...a bomb-chucking, dirty fucking hippie...
...a naive, callow know-nothing...
... and lastly, a string-yanked marionette at the beck and call of a secret cabal of takeover-minded “Black Geniuses”.
No, the last one I mentioned there is not a spoof. It was actually said on a major news outlet—albeit FOX News, and from the mustache-awningned mouth of one Geraldo Rivera. But yes, it was said in the heat of frustration over how a Black man could thus far evade the political landmines and bear-traps that have wrecked every other presidential run by a person of color. There's an order to things, and this candidacy is running counter to it—thus eliciting the spluttering wonderment—and naked racist condescension that poured from his mouth late last week.
I know you don't wanna hear it, but here it go anyway...
On the Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends, Geraldo Rivera was keeping the flames of the Barack Obama “plagiarism” story alive. The Fox News commentator argued that the Illinois Democratic senator had developed a “formula” for taking political power, and he knew where that formula came from.
“When I saw that they were the same words that Deval Patrick, the black guy who won the Massachusetts mayor, the Massachusetts governor had used, I said to myself, it seems so premeditated. It's almost as if they went to a camp where these black geniuses got together and figured out how to beat the political system in a sense that alright, let's reference the civil rights movement, let's talk about change, it's almost formulaic," Geraldo argued. "What seems so spontaneous and original now to me seemed kind of driven by advisors and media consultants and premeditated, and it really left a sour taste.”
So, let me see if I have this straight...
Because a Black person succeeds in “beating the political system” (ostensibly admitting that said system/construct is built to work against that ambition), it happens NOT because that particular person may be a quality candidate, but rather, because said Negro is backed by a “Star Chamber” of calculating negro plotters mapping out his every power-grabbing move?
Okay. Let's take that at face value for a minute or two.
Hey, imagine that! It spawns questions.
1. What then, does a seasoned “journalist” like Rivera have to say about the majority of White politicians who succeed?
2. Are they just folk of regular intellect who somehow miraculously get by?
3. Why does it in his mind take NOT MERELY ONE so-called “Black Genius” to make the push, but a shady, invisible team funneling help to their standard-bearer?
4. What does that say about the “political system”?
5. What does it say about pundits like him that the idea of Black folk perhaps finally “breaking the code” leaves a “sour taste in his mouth”?
6. And what does it say about his inadvertent exposing of a rich vein of long-time American fear—visualizing a crafty “Black horde” plotting a takeover of some sort?
The questions sort of answer themselves when you read them—and will probably make your blood boil when you go to the link and see Rivera in the video uttering his concern-troll-cum-town crier act as he lays this crackpot theory out.
In his words, and his intonation you hear three things—Fear, Anger, and finally more than a little Disgust. There's almost a “how dare you” tone in his voice as he tut-tuts the whole un-sporting development.
If you're a Black person who's had to deal in the greater corporate world, academia, journalism or the entertainment industry, you have almost certainly run across that same goggle-eyed wonder/condescension/hostility to your success.
Toss out a ten-dollar word, quote a classic, or in a brainstorming session—craft an ass-kicking idea out of whole cloth and you'll get a back-handed compliment version of Geraldo's shpiel at some point.
“Where did you go to school/grow up/come from?”
Because dammit, you have to justify your ability to cope in “The Man's” world. They must know your provenance, and in that desire—no—oft-times it's spat as almost as a challenge or demand, it reminds one of what a freed Black probably felt like 150 years ago when challenged to show his or her “freed person” papers on a dusty back road somewheres.
Yes, ultimately we're dealing with people whose minds are calibrated to see Black people as intellectual and social lessers and when we fly in the face of those cork-smeared tropes, it is disquieting to those in the power structure. “There must be some beyond the pale (pun unintended) explanation for this person exceeding my expectations of his type.”
Thus, “The Black Genius Camp” silliness.
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson—probably a victim several times over of this exact form of condescending idiocy, took note of it:
Ridiculous? Of course -- this is Geraldo, remember. But it's absurd in a way that's new and refreshing. If Fox viewers are being invited to entertain the notion of a Black Genius Camp where young Afro-brainiacs are busy plotting world domination, something has changed.
Whether Obama wins or loses, his campaign has made it impossible for anyone so inclined to cling to certain racist assumptions -- just as Hillary Clinton has blown some old sexist assumptions to smithereens.
In this day and age, no one can claim to be surprised at encountering an African American man of superior intellect. But whether or not you think Obama would be a good president, his campaign brings the often-overlooked reality of mainstream black America into the nation's living rooms every day -- and into the nation's subconscious.
He (Geraldo) didn't envision a basketball camp, or a prison camp; he saw a genius camp, presumably for African Americans who had figured out just how white America works and just what buttons to push. How diabolically clever.
Hey, if I'm trying to catch a taxi late at night, I'd rather have the cab driver wondering if I'm secretly plotting world domination than thinking I'm about to mug him.
The Obama campaign hasn't had success just on black America's terms but on white America's terms. For all the impact of Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric, he wouldn't be where he is without a campaign organization that is second to none. He's the one with more money and more offices. He's the one who made the better decisions about where to spend resources. Obama has won overwhelming support from black voters, but there's nothing stereotypically "black" about his campaign. It's as if a black American is beating white America at its own game.
Robinson mocks Geraldo and his equally insecure fellow travelers as the idiots they are, but I think misses an annoying undertone in Rivera's ‘realization”. That cab driver he scoffs about certainly does fear that mugging—he's conditioned to. But I would seriously doubt the paranoid thought of so-called Black “domination” (through the election to high office) is any cold comfort to someone so racially twisted about.
What strikes me about this—to go back to an original point at the top, is that racist folk get so Goddamned discombobulated over a person of color breaking the perception chains placed upon them that said racist folk invariably fall over their own feet trying to impugn and hinder the colored folk who so fascinates them.
There is a passive/aggressive power play at work when the majority considers people who break those hoary old molds.
“Read! Achieve! Succeed! Get beyond the ghetto and leave that to your lessers! But hey—now that you've done that, you can't leave your people behind. You have to go back and help them—that's your responsibility. Oh, but isn't it just a tragedy that they dislike you because you are so different from them now? You're not Black enough for them anymore! You must be so conflicted. Wait a minute—you're going back to teach them things? Why them? What are you? Some sort of reverse racist? A radical? I find your focus on them, troubling. It's a bit...insular, don't you think? Separationist? I'm just sayin...”
Geraldo's fear-and-flop-sweat stained yammering was just another example of trying to stifle Black success by stuffing it into a denigrating trick-bag. “It's a secret society of bean pie snarfing seditionists what's behind the dude—watch out!”
I came by what I know, and all of my friends came by what they know the old-fashioned way— we went to school, we read our books and listened to our teachers. We soaked up what we could, when and where we could. There was no “Jared/The Pretender” black-ops (pun again unintended) genius program snatching us up as kids and jacking the Encyclopedia Brittannica into our heads “Johnny Mnemonic”-style. There never has been nor will there ever be.
Take your precious, insecurity-spawned “Bell Curve” and kindly shove it.
Some of us are smart, some not-so-smart, and some are as dumb as a box of rocks—the same as you. When you come across one of us whose intellect or ability to connect and express him or herself gives you pause—a.k.a. bugs you the fuck out—that person is not some freak-tastic evolutionary anomaly to be “ooooh-ed and ahhhh-ed” at.
He or she is simply a person your negative racial pre-conditioning has forced you to see as some bizarre “other”.
Get. The. Fuck. Over. It.
Over the irrational fear of Black people and their bumping up against you in society. 'Cause ultimately—it's confusing and contradictory in mind-boggling ways. Cringe in fright and clutch your purse at the dread-locked dude in the elevator—spazz out and drop your jaw at the brother who casually slips a line of Shakespeare into a conversation. Which is it? Unless...the desire is for us to reside in that easily ignored middle—neither the angry, put-upon underclass or the hyper-achieving, ego-threatening super-n*gger. Hate to tell you this, but we will not live down to a psychosis that swings back and forth between a phobia of Black violence and Black excellence. We will live, and grow, and achieve on our own terms—as we have since the days of slavery when “book-learnin'” was effectively outlawed for the dusky free-labor underclass. It's just what folks do...excel on their own terms, with no need for a “Genius Camp” propping them up and funneling words and ideas into their mouths.
Speaking of which—exactly what was it two years ago when the Right think-tanked the hell out of its slate of contrived, high-profile “Black” candidates? You remember 'em—Michael Steele, Lynn Swann and Ken Blackwell? Remember the fact that this off-key, shitty karaoke, theme-park, pre-fabbed assemblage of funk-free “O'Jays” were being foisted on the voters as the real deal? By yes—a “Star Chamber” of focus-grouping wingnut power-brokers bent on an insipid “Pinky and the Brain” scheme to re-jigger (Sweet God—you can't avoid inadvertent racial wordplay in dealing with this...) the racial electoral dynamic in pushing their own “Idiot Camp” of would be candidates.
Only to see it fail miserably. Totally. Little bit of sour grapes on the part of Geraldo and his peers I think in having to absorb the to-this-point success of the Obama run. “Our Negroes failed—which reflects on us. Their n*gger's succeeding—Grrrrrr! How do we piss on that achievement and simultaneously short-circuit it? Trot out the spectre of a scary dark horde clandestinely backing him. Yeah! That's it!”
Whatever it takes. Shut your eyes. Shake your head. Drink up and pass around the thick, sweet wine of racial fear-mongering. Do what you must...to get rid of that aforementioned “sour taste.”
Do not share that precious recess yard tree. Tie your message-laden nooses in the night and place them accordingly in the pre-dawn light. Careful you don't get caught! Soak in your bitterness. Rag the red-shirted, brown-skinned golfer who out-drives and out-putts you every sunny, Sunday afternoon. Crack wise about lynching being the only way to stop him. And in between bites of falafel and bouts of creepy onanism, bully-mouth a Black candidate's wife with threats of a virtual lynching.
Go for it.
But I ain't goin' nowhere. We ain't goin' nowhere. Yes, I said ain't. Just to make you more...comfortable.
Although I could have gone for a full-out Buckley-ism (and a Harlem-born Black man whipping his language about like a cat-o'-nine tails is I think, a certain sweet post-passing revenge) and said...
In spite of your troglodytic and hyper-pathological zeal to relegate me and mine to the psychological ghetto-comfort-zone of your bigotry-atrophied mind, I...we—refuse to be imprisoned there. Your socio-political dungeon walls are of mere sand. The bars? But brittle straw. It was Bertrand Russell who said: “Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.” I say, Your irrational fears shall not harness my desires.
But I won't, Geraldo. You too, Bill-O, and all the rest quavering in race-struck fear. “I ain't goin' nowhere. We ain't goin nowhere” sums it up just fine.
Besides, I've got things to do “at camp”. Making an aircraft material and ceramic afro-pick/Type 2 superconductor to bring home to Mama. Wish me luck in managing to combine mega-afro blowout tensile strength with those copper perovskites while somehow...somehow maintaining those pesky 2-to-3 metal-to-oxygen ratios and whatnot...