Monday, February 23, 2009

Unfounded Racism Not the Same as Unfounded Concern

Let me get this out the way now: Good transparent government is good transparent government regardless of race, and Mayor Nagin is a terrific asshole as well as an out-of-touch, incompetant mayor.

That said, it bothers me that some white people don't take some of these racial issues seriously. Although some white people don't see how race plays into some issues, when white politicians just dismiss the race issue as "unfounded," that adds fuel to the city's race problem as much as the black politicians who cry racism when there is none. It's akin to a doctor telling you that there's no physical cause of the back pain you've suffered for years and that it's really all in your head; but he's not the one experiencing the pain. I don't think the white councilmembers' actions were racially motivated, but that doesn't mean they get to ignore black citizens' suspicions. If I remember correctly, what Hedge-Morrell said was that some of her constituents viewed the issue as a racial one. Good politicians take their constituents' concerns seriously and don't just ignore them (something Mayor Nagin does all the time), which is an extremely patronizing and thing to do and infuriating to the person with the concerns.

Black politicians like Nagin are playing the same games that white politicians have long played in this state. White people in New Orleans have gotten rich off of back room deals for centuries, so you can't just chalk it up to paranoia when black citizens ask why is that white people want to create transparency now that black people have the power to enrich a few other black people -- along with alot of white people who still benefit from being politically connected (e.g., the Business Council of N.O.). Like Oyster said, these are tricky issues and you can't just blow them off without addressing them. As much as it sucks, white politicians have to tell us why their vote isn't racially motivated and they have to be convincing -- as convincing as I have to be that I'm not a thief when pulled over by the police or when I'm followed around the store by white salesclerks. This shit sucks, but you have to deal with it.

1 comment:

Nightprowlkitty said...

Thank you for this. You said what I was thinking and couldn't find words to express.

Whenever I read the word "race card" thrown out by a white person, my response is pretty automatic and my suspicions quickly follow.

You hit the nail on the head.