Monday, October 18, 2010

Angle's List: All White ( the Right-Wing Left)

I am sure somewhere in the hinterland of northern California there is some ex-Marxist/embryo-fetishist, extolling the virtues of Sharron Angle as a straight-talking moderate, dedicated to the Constitution above all else.  To everyone else in the normal world, she is a right-wing racist, union-busting wretch.  But do not take my word for it.  Here is Sharron herself.

Angle tells Hispanic students they look Asian

LAS VEGAS – Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle told dozens of Hispanic high school students last week that "some of you look a little more Asian to me," inducing gasps from the crowd and marking the latest eyebrow-raising remark she has uttered on the campaign trail.

Angle, a Republican in a close contest against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, met Friday with the group at a Las Vegas high school after students expressed anger with her campaign's anti-illegal immigrant message.
In a video of the private meeting obtained by The Associated Press, Angle defends a series of campaign advertisements that lean on images of dark-skinned men. Angle, who is white and has Mexican grandsons, claims she did not know the people in the TV spots were Hispanic and makes the case that it can be difficult to pinpoint someone's race.

"You know, I don't know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don't know that," she is heard telling the students, who respond with a flurry of gasps and whispers.

"What we know, what we know about ourselves is that we are a melting pot in this country. My grandchildren are evidence of that. I'm evidence of that. I've been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada State Assembly."

She told the students that they are "misinterpreting" the commercials. "I'm not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial."

Angle also claimed she supported a state scholarship that benefited Hispanics, then later corrected herself and noted she voted against the scholarship as a state representative because it allowed non-citizens to receive taxpayer-subsidized tuition, according to the recording.

Rancho High School teacher Isaac Barron said the room of roughly 150 students was "rocked" by Angle's visit.

"Latinos do come in every shape and size," said Barron, whose Hispanic Student Union organized the event. "But it was shocking that she went out of her way to portray Hispanics in her commercials and then she calls us Asian."

Snippets of the brief high school visit have leaked out since Friday. Angle's campaign insisted the interlude not be recorded, but many students secretly taped the discussion on personal cell phones, Barron said. The AP obtained a complete copy of the event from students Monday.

Hispanics are a growing voting bloc in Nevada, where they make up roughly 25 percent of the population. More than 80 percent of the Silver State's Hispanics hail from Mexico.

Reid has attempted to present a balanced immigration record to voters. He has highlighted his votes to strengthen border security to mainstream audiences. To Hispanic crowds, he has vowed to make the road to citizenship more inclusive.

Angle's campaign spokesman said it is Reid's camp that is trying to play "race politics."

Hispanic leaders have blasted Angle's immigration stances.

On the tea party circuit, Angle has extolled strong-handed policies that might encourage illegal immigrants to "self-deport" and advocated for more sheriffs like Arizona's Joe Arpaio, who is under federal investigation for discriminating against Hispanics.

She has recently recast some of her more conservative images in the tight U.S. Senate race where Reid has tried to brand her "too extreme."

Angle's campaign has released more than four TV spots that accuse Reid of offering special breaks to illegal immigrants. In one campaign mailer, Reid is shown holding a map of Mexico with the word "amnesty" scribbled across the country.

One of the most criticized images, a still of three stony-faced Hispanic men from Getty Images, Inc, is of Mexican men in Mexico, according to the caption on the photography site. 

Freshman Silvia Parra said she asked Angle on Friday to pull the "anti-Hispanic" commercials. 
"She said, 'We don't have any anti-Hispanic ads,'" Parra recalled. "I feel like she kind of lied to me in front of my face."


This is where I part ways with Noam Chomsky (as much as I admire him on so many other issues), who encourages us not to make fun of tea partiers, even if they illustrate fascist tendencies.  No, professor Chomsky, our modern day Klan does not deserve and will not receive my respect.  Be it expelling Mexicans, trying to use the power of the government to compel a system of internal passports for all Latinos, spitting on black congressmen, while using racial epithets, or demonstrating in favor of the use of state power to banish Muslims from building an Islamic center three blocks away from where the 9/11 attacks occurred.  These expressions of racism and statism (so long as the government is being used to target, imprison, or exclude those who do not look like 99% of the tea party 'activists') are not my idea of a legitimate group of people, worthy of my positive attention and inquiry.  

If you want to understand our contemporary manifestation of racial nationalism and xenophobia, you are more than welcome to feign bi-partisanship.  I am sure they will value your opinion, while they call you a Communist traitor deserving a lineup against the wall and ditch.  Doubt me?  Again, give credit where it is due.  If nothing else, most of the tea partiers are honest in their racism.

While it may be true that many of the teabaggers should be leftist (how else can you rationalize anyone making under $30,000 whining about socialism?), but the truth is they are not left-wing and they are never going to be.  That is not a failure of the left, Mr. Chomsky, Brennan, Cockburn, et al.  That is the failure of our political culture to forcefully integrate whites into the larger multicultural society.  They reject it for the same reason the majority of whites have been voting Republican since '68 (and almost all of them in the Deep South voted Democratic when the Democrats were the party of Jefferson Davis [before becoming Republicans]).  It is the same reason why the majority of whites ran from our cities after WWII to the suburbs, with most of the developments containing racially restrictive covenants which prohibited home sales to non-whites.  

Whether some of these introspective leftists like to face it, the teabaggers are not progressive because a majority of whites have been from the beginning of colonial times intractably racist against non-white peoples*--be it the natives we (since I am white) killed to wrestle this land from, the importation and use of African slaves, the belief in which 600,000 people had to die in a civil war to end, and runs up to this day in those signs portraying our President as an African tribesman in league with Islamic terrorism.  That is not WEB DuBois's failure or any contemporary progressive, professor.   I do not get to experience the pleasure of being the flavor of the hour for a large news corporation, given a t.v. show with millions of viewers, to propagandize my beliefs (and it certainly is not my fault for lacking the ability to primitively accumulate the resources to subsidize such a venture). Ultimately, that is the failure of whites not agreeing with progressives because so many have allowed themselves to be negatively influenced by race-baiting tactics of the right (the one group of people the Alex Cockburns never seem to want to insult).  For the right-wing left, everyone is a fascist, except the fascists.  

If you think showing false sympathy or entertaining these folk by blaming the victims of this hatred for their racist values will suddenly make them awaken from their false consciousness, you will be sadly mistaken, particularly if/when our Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing Arizona to cantoonize Latinos (with several legislatures in the usual suspect Southern states already prepared to pass their own laws mimicking Arizona).  Those sheriffs will not be profiling and harassing Latinos because some leftist dared to call them out for what they are.  They already have their values instilled in them, since most people (of all ethnic backgrounds) develop their attitudes and perceptions on race at a very young age, usually before they are out of primary school.  

You should know better, professor Chosmky.  You lived through those times.  Well, I live in the Deep South, get an earful from many of my students, and I have no illusion where they developed their attitudes on Mexicans and Muslims--hint, it was not from progressives.  And trust me, remaining silent or pretending that these people are something else is not going to somehow gloss over that obvious difference or make them "just like us."  That is exactly the kind of patronizing attitude that led the Obama administration (with the advise of neo-cons like Rahm Emanuel) down the path of selling out to the insurance lobby on the health care bill.  Tell me, Mr.  Chomsky, how did that accommodation with what you freely admit are fascistic tendencies in this country work out for us?  

You cannot deal with people who do not recognize you politically to begin with, and frankly I do not want it.  The ends of the teabaggers would be best served by us remaining pliant and refusing to hold them accountable for their views.  You do not defeat bullies by embracing them (when they think you are the equivalent of an agent of North Korea for merely supporting Social Security).  You beat a bully by fighting back.  In politics, yes, dare I say it, that includes calling bigots a group of bigots.  If they do not like it, tough.  It is about time we grew a spine and actually stood up for what we believe in,  and put them on the defensive, instead of cowering to reactionary forces out of some Sisyphean delusion that a couple of them might turn out to be like us.

*=This is not a statement of self-hatred, as the white right would accuse any other white person of who is not unapologetically racist, but a simple statement of fact.  Go to any setting in the part of the country where I live, with only whites present, ask them their view of any notable black-majority city in the US, and listen to the responses.  Come back when most of those responses are not negative and filled with collective racial judgments (which they would eschew for themselves if anyone brought up the Trail of Tears or reparations).


JM said...

That's just terrible.

TA said...

In what way?