21 January 2009

America Is Finally Growing Up

Inaugurating Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America was like being in a civil rights march without an opposing force; like watching the Apollo moon landing without the need for a telescope; like the end of apartheid, with all of the tears of joy.

America is finally growing up. When we all can acknowledge our entire history, not just the attractive parts, when we all can accept completely the existence of perverse injustices that dominated our pasts - when the entire story of where we came from and how we got to here as a nation is recognized, fully and without restraint - the affirmations we cry out in celebration will ring truer, and the declarations we shout to the rooftops in commemoration shall carry more weight than they ever have before.

Indentured servitude, slavery, segregation, integration - Black America 5.0 is upon us, but even as it includes all of these things, it is bound by none of them. Collaboration is the last mile, the final steps in this journey to be equally accepted into all aspects of American life. Black America 5.0 will be tricky - there are going to be times, in fact, when you will wonder where you end and the rest of the world begins.

Change is good. But it is not quite as simple as flipping a switch in a dark room, instantly turning on the light. I don't know exactly what the steps are that we need to take to travel this final mile, or what order they need to be executed in, or how much the process will demand of us. But what I do know is two things: it will take the willingness and determination of the majority of this country to get there, and we already have all the tools we need right now to get started today.

Congratulations, America, on reaching a milestone for the ages.


  1. LOL, most of America grew up a long time ago and let go of our racial hatred. Seems black people are late to the party. If you need a new messiah to help you come to the same realization the rest of us came to a couple decades ago, by all means. Some of us realized it when our bi-racial nephews and nieces were accepted by the white students and weren't beat up or ridiculed by the black students. Others realized it when a black man could be selected for the highest court in the land and only have to put up with defamation from people in his race. Others still realized it when a Lt. Governor was accepted by the "party of racists" during a failed gubenatorial race where he was pelted by Oreo cookies by blacks, not whites. But hey, unfashionably late still gets you to the party.

    Obama's election is not the growing up of America. It's the bitch slap to the face of the remaining grownups in this country acting like children. Of course, there will still be racists and there will still be people who complain about inequality but there's few of those that will ever be believed again. Basically, Obama's election is the overwhelming proof that liberals and victims have been the most blatantly lazy and devious individuals for the last 20 years, using race as a crutch and a hammer. They should be ashamed of themselves and I hope, if nothing else, once all the hope (hype) dies down, they will remember that Obama didn't do something they couldn't have done all along, he just pointed out how incredibly ignorant their belief system has been all along.

  2. I wish I could agree with you, Brian. I really do.

    If you came here more often, you might see a variety of rhetoric - Our Magic Wands In The Age Of Obama sounds right up your alley.

    I have never heard a mainstream columnist or talking head or politician - anybody who has common sense, for that matter - ask the Jews to just "get over" the Holocaust.

    A human atrocity is a human atrocity, whether it was committed by people in a foreign land who are easy to demonize from afar, or by the people who helped craft the direction of THIS country.

    The benefit that the entire country will get from acknowledging fully, the way it has these past few days, where we have been is a softening of the attitudes that we often use to block out the differing viewpoints and opinions we don't want to see or hear.

    Until you and I can see eye to eye, we are just bullshitting each other.

    We all - you, me, biracial, one racial and multiracial peoples - have to change how we see things, because where we are now is just window dressing.

    Until we can get to some sort of universal subjectivity - an understanding that my viewpoint, though different, may be just as valid as yours - then we are just pretending to be equal.

  3. "Until we can get to some sort of universal subjectivity - an understanding that my viewpoint, though different, may be just as valid as yours - then we are just pretending to be equal."

    I almost pee'd myself when I read that line. A "universal subjectivity" (dude, you have to trademark that term, it is classic) would mean exactly what you think it would eliminate. It would be everyone sitting around saying if you pretend my viewpoint is valid then I'll pretend your viewpoint is valid and we'll all be happy. Nothing will mean anything except for what we decide it means. Good = Bad, Truth = Untruth, Hate = Love, Life = Death.

    What we need, and what (theoretically) most of the worlds philosophers and theologians have been seeking is a "universal objectivity". Objective truth we can all believe in (because it is Truth) and from that point, through the use of reason, come to mutual understanding and respect, without having to pretend that somebody's viewpoint is based in reality when it is obviously a self-serving justification for having things the way they want them.

    Universal subjectivity, lol, I'm still laughing!!

  4. Tim - if you can agree that 9 + 1, 7 + 3, and 10 + 0 all end up giving you the same result - a logically sound conclusion - then you might be able to consider that we can examine the same facts about ourselves as human beings with differing methodologies and both come up with logically sound conclusions. Not necessarily the same conclusion - just one that adds up.

    The "subjectivity" thats got you laughing may be an undesirable component of how we form opinions as individuals, but it's one of the only reasons why otherwise intelligent, sane, truth seeking men could have ever begun to justify the subjugation of slavery.

    In the society we live in today, the subjective opinions of a few still heavily influence the masses, not because they are more logical choices, but because they are the preferred ones.

    If everyone thought like an engineer, we wouldn't have half the problems we have in this country - but "subjectivity" - how we feel about things - dictates a lot of our habits, and colors a lot of our beliefs, in spite of empirical evidence that often contradicts those things that we have convinced ourselves are absolute truths.

  5. So BM, if I read your comment correctly, you believe subjectivity is a bad thing because such thinking allows those in power to justify henious crimes against humanity such as slavery (and I'm assuming genocide, eugenics, and tyranny, etc.). And so your solution is for everyone to wield this subjectivity because if it is a bad thing for a few, it must be a good thing for the many.

    I'm getting the feeling that you don't believe absolute truth is knowable so the only solution you see is for everyone to pretend that everyone's truth claim is valid. And I just can't get behind that, since, taken to its logical conclusion, that would require me to believe that if someone thinks it is okay to summarily execute people in the street I can't argue against it because for that person, his viewpoint is valid.

  6. "Subjectivity" may be the wrong word.

    The conclusion you arrive at by extension actually crosses from the realm of personal preference into the arena we have designated in most societies as illegal behavior.

    If we keep this at a human scaled level - like the one we are at now, just two guys trying to have a conversation on the internet (which is the level of most personal interaction - one on one) - then I guess what I'm really trying to say is that a lot of what we call discourse is really just two individuals trying show each other how right they are. I am often guilty of this myself, especially when I get emotionally involved, to the point where I lose sight of the reason for the conversation in the first place.

    You're right - as far as questions of social interactions go, I feel that the boundaries are to some degree arbitrary.

    I'm thinking of a gay guy I went to college with - smart, well connected on campus, he was not only black but also from my home state, a pre-med student who ultimately went to Harvard.

    We talked all the time. We ate together. Sometimes we would argue on the way to class.

    We never hung out together, because his social scene was different from mine.

    And you probably won't be seeing me in line to join a Rainbow rally, even today.

    But I can accept the idea that he is "right" about his choice to be gay the same way he seemed to accept the idea that I was "right" about my heterosexuality.

    I don't know how you could boil down that kind of scenario to an empirical equation.

    Racial differences are as much imagined as they are real. Some of the things we believe in, whether we are Italian, or Arabic, or African, or Indian, are more mythological than factual, but we believe them anyway.

    I'm kinda getting off track here, but bringing it back to this:

    "And so your solution is for everyone to wield this subjectivity because if it is a bad thing for a few, it must be a good thing for the many."

    What I thought I was trying to say was that its not the thinking that is so bad - it is the imbalance of power that can make "subjectivity" dangerous.

    If I am in possession of an amount of power equal to yours, then being "more right" depends more on whether or not my position has any merit or appeal to you than whether or not one of us will overwhelm the other by virtue of our hierarchy on a societal totem pole.

    Maybe "universal subjectivity" was a long way of saying - "given equal empirical facts, my logical conclusion is just as good as your logical conclusion, even if they are different destinations."

    I guess in the end, as a nation, we have to elevate the ability of all our citizens to at least talk to each other enough to freely share ideas and theories - we don't really make anything but information these days, and we need all the help we can get to stay ahead of the global curve in that department.

  7. brown man, you are indeed close to a saint.

    i'd publish your comments, or make a post from them.

    excellent arguments on your part.

  8. it takes me two stabs to even say something simple:

    what i meant was, YOU should publish your comments, or make a post from them.


  9. No saint here, Karen, but thanks all the same.

    Just because I write it doesn't mean something is so - I can sound persuasive and still be dead wrong, or headed in the wrong direction.

    The good thing about an opposing viewpoint is the way it makes you think harder - going back and forth with Tim probably generated paragraphs that were closer to what I wanted to say in the original post than what I initially wrote.

    Throw your two cents in - they are worth the same as our opinions, in my book.

  10. "...into the arena we have designated in most societies as illegal behavior."

    Yes, I would agree that summarily executing people in the street would be illegal, but you offer the seed to the counter argument when you say "most societies". What do we do when those not under the "most societies" umbrella want to conduct what we consider illegal activities? If all we can offer is that it is illegal here in our society then we have no right to keep the other societies from carrying out things they consider legal, because it is all subjective. It is like saying, yeah, slavery is illegal here in the U.S. but since it isn't illegal elsewhere, it's cool with us.

    We need objective truths that guide our actions and shape our laws. Many of those objective truths are spelled out in the Declaration of Independance and the Ten Commandments. And even if you aren't religious you can delete the first two commandments and consider the last eight as secular truths that address objectively bad behaviors.

    "what I'm really trying to say is that a lot of what we call discourse is really just two individuals trying show each other how right they are"

    I'll have to agree with you on this one. To arrive at objective truth one must remain open to the fact that one might be wrong or that new information may change ones idea of what the truth is. This is something sorely lacking in society and we end up with people fighting verbal fist-to-cuffs that may end up with a "winner" (usually both sides think they won) but does nothing to further the search for truth. But in a world where subjectivity is the standard, truth has no place. Everything is the way we say it is, not as it truly is. Everything is pretend.

    If I have time later I may comment on some of your other comments. All the best.

  11. BM, thought you might find the following article interesting as near the middle it touches on some of the things we've been commenting back and forth about. Starts around paragraph 7.

  12. Thanks, Tim - I hate it when work gets in the way of a good discussion, but you know how it is - will check that link out and continue this a little later today.

    Brown Man

  13. Honestly Brown Man, I think America still has a lot more growing up to do. Reason being, because there is still institutionalized racism being practiced in everyday life, and also the institutionalized system of White privilege that HAS to be broken. True enough it won't be broken overnight, but until those whom harbor hatred against other races whom haven't done anything wrong, then our country hasn't fully grown up to where WE ALL can see past the color of a person's skin, or stereotype them with what I call "pigeonholed logic".


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