There are two stories that I have arisen in the past two days
that have me thinking about violence in the
presidential election. The first is the story related to the
above image of Michelle Obama. It was allegedly created by an
Obama supporter who is apparently completely
ignorant of the legacy slavery, lynching for African Americans.
Professor Kim wrote an informative piece on it. This quote sums
up my perspective on the the image,
Two final layers. This image flips and merges two of the most emblematic images in our tragic racial history: the black (usually) male victim suffering unjustly at the hands of white racists, and the fragile woman (historically white) being violated by brutish (black, and often imaginary) men. In a provocative 2001 book, Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White From Uncle Tom to OJ Simpson, UC Berkely professor Linda Williams argued that racial melodrama sets the terms of our debates over equality. What we may be witnessing in part, is just how poorly those terms fit our current situation.
Last thing. As I pondered the image, I thought about Sen. Obama's recent call for an end to the attacks on his wife. Bowling Green Daily News columnist Kathleen Parker derided his comments, along with his recent gaffe when he called a woman reporter "sweetie." But look at that image again, and think of another historical echo. During and after slavery and Jim Crow, black women were routinely sexually violated by white men -- and their husbands, fathers and other family members were powerless to defend them.
On another note, there is something about the notion of "defending them"
that strikes me as being uber patriarchal. I think I would reframe it as
"no way of seeking justice" instead.
I was also reminded of violence when I heard Hillary Clinton's
statement that she is she is staying in the race because her
husband didn't win California until June, and that Bobby Kennedy was
assassinated in June. On its face, it seems to be a careless comment,
but then again, Bobby was a young senator who was assassinated.
Obama is a young senator as well.
Given this countries history of violence, what does the fact that she
said this intentionally or unintentionally say about her?
Was she tired? Is the statement in exusable even if she is tired?
I immediately thought, If she is insensitive enough to say this, if she is lacking
in judgment to the extent that these words could come out of her mouth,
we are left to infer, what else is she capable of saying and doing?
Don't get me wrong, last year,in March of 2007 I mentioned how
Obama may be great, but the prospect of him being murdered makes
his viability questionable. I now realize that this reactionary thinking
that has no place in what he is trying to accomplish for if fear was the
determining factor, MLK would have been just another Cadillac driving,
Negro preacher tauting prosperity gospel.
Hillary has apologized, but has the damage been done?
How does one view her apology?