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    Categories: NewsOpinionPoliticsWeekly Columns

Playing the Race Card on a Conservative Friend.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Tom,

I try to avoid bringing race into discussions on issues other than when race is the issue itself, because it becomes a distraction. But in this case, race is the thousand pound gorilla sitting in the corner that no one wants to acknowledge. And besides, we’re close we’re enough not to have to tiptoe around issues with one another, so I’m just going to be candid, but I think I’m going to have to drop the race card on you on this one.
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It is absolutely unbelievable how I can send an educated man like yourself – a scientist, no less – a thoroughly documented and irrefutable article, and then have you come back at me with a bunch of conservative ranting, speculation, wishful thinking, and over-the-top fear mongering. I simply don’t get it. You’re much too intelligent of a man to even entertain some of the nonsense that you send me, much less, disseminate it. But I have a theory – cognitive dissonance.
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I know for a fact that you’re not a virulent racist. One of the reasons that I value your friendship so much is because I’ve never forgotten the time that a group of your conservative friends tried to use the tag team approach to overwhelm me. At first you were supporting them, but when they couldn’t handle me one-on-one, they came together and tried to pile-on. Once you recognized what they were doing, you forgot all about race, or the conservative philosophy that you shared with them, and we fought back-to-back like two Marines fighting off the enemy in combat – and you brought passion to that fight. You argued the progressive point of view as effectively as I could. That’s something that you can’t fake, and your passion was one of the reasons that we won. We exhausted them, so they lost the will to fight.
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I’ll never forget that day. That’s why I take the time to listen to you more patiently than I do any other conservative I know. That’s also why I don’t call you and curse you out over some of the crazy conservative crap that you send me. I just kind of fluff it off, and tell Rita, “Well, Tom’s in his zone again.” My point is, I know you’re not a racist.
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But that said, that’s far from saying that we don’t all harbor subconscious ideas and attitudes that bring comfort to our reality. This is true of all of us, including myself. Even though I know that people are just people, and I always try to be sensible and objective, as a musician, if I come across a White sax player who can out-play me, there’s something deep inside of me that seriously resents it, because all of my life I’ve been taught that Black people are suppose to have more soul than White people. Intellectually, I know that’s not always true – and I’ve had the fallacy attendant that flawed logic painfully demonstrated to me on several occasions. Nevertheless, in my heart, I still wanted to believe it, because that’s what I’d been conditioned to believe, and it served to bestow a “special” status upon me as a Black musician. But unfortunately, Phil Woods didn’t get the memo.
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So reality is reality. It cannot be changed, and it cannot be denied, so we might as well accept it. I’ve experienced the same thing as a writer, because Black people are not supposed to be either literate, or thoughtful, so I’m often nitpicked to death by White writers ( “Wouldn’t it have been better if you’d put a semicolon there instead of a dash?”). But regardless to how much they nitpick, they’ll never be able to nitpick me into a box that will bring comfort to their flawed view of reality, because reality is, what it is, and it doesn’t ask for our permission to be what it is.

 

I think the same is true with many White people on issues regarding race. A White person doesn’t have to be a racist to want to believe that they are somehow special predicated on being born White. It brings them comfort, and it pads their self-esteem. The late psychologist Carl Jung said that once we’ve satisfied our primary needs, everything we do, we do to enhance our feelings of self-esteem, and reduce our feelings of inadequacy. So watching many conservatives trying to come to terms with being out-maneuvered, outclassed, and out-thought by Barack Obama is indeed a phenomenon of human nature that is amazing to behold.
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It clearly shows that some people would rather poke their own eyes out than to be forced to come to terms with a reality that causes them cognitive dissonance, discomfort, or having to confront a truth that they don’t want to accept – and that’s in spite of screaming evidence of that truth being irrefutably clear. The fact that Barack Obama is not only better and more competent than anyone that they’ve been able to put forward in over a century, but could also very possibly be among the top three greatest presidents in America’s history, is literally killing them – “A Black man!!!?”
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They think their emotion-driven motivations are hidden, but they’re glaringly obvious to the entire world. What they really want – other than wanting him to just stop being president, period – is for this first Black president to stay in his place, and stop being smarter than them, and stop out-classing them, and stop being more competent than them. That’s what they really want, and they want it desperately.
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President Obama’s very presence represents such a brutal assault on the concept of White superiority that it’s, literally, driving many ultraconservative Republicans over the edge. They’ve become so distressed over it that they’ve descended into a state of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the emotional stress that results when what one wants to believe doesn’t coincide with observable reality. The late social psychologist, Leon Festinger, the father of the concept of cognitive dissonance, says, “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance.”
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That’s exactly what they’re doing, and it perfectly accounts for why you would send me quotations like the one you sent in your last email: “Obama has grabbed blank-check dictatorship powers that are a violent assault on our personal liberty, property rights and the rule of law . . . By limiting how we travel, what we can eat, and where we can work he can create the communist utopia he has always dreamed about!” And considering, your keen intellect and powerful analytical skills in most other areas, I can’t help by suggest that you’re suffering from a bit of that malady yourself.
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The problem is, President Obama’s very presence is a slap in the face to the concept of White superiority, and that’s a bitter pill for many conservatives to swallow. Because, that means that they’re not special by virtue of birthright after all, and if they want to become special, they’re going to have to invest in themselves as individuals. Obama also represents the fact that their mediocrity is actually true mediocrity, and there’s no hidden reservoir of “specialness” within them that they can take comfort in.
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So Tom, give that some though before the next time you send me any more of these unsubstantiated conservative contrivances. When a man of your intellectual caliber sends me crap like you’ve done of late, it makes me embarrassed for you, and I don’t like feeling embarrassed for you, because you, indeed, are special. But you aren’t special because you were born that way, or because you’re white; you’re special because you made yourself that way as an individual, just like Obama did.
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So you don’t have to try diminish Obama to feel good about yourself. I like you just the way you are, and I like taking pride in the fact that I have a brilliant physicist with a highly trained mind as a friend. Don’t spoil that for me by sending me what amounts to electronic spitballs. You’re better than that – you’re almost as bright as me, even though you are a White boy.
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Your bud,
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E

Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree
 
More thought provoking articles feel free to visit; The Wattree Chronicle.
 
 

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