ROMNEY VS. BIDEN AT N.A.A.C.P. CONVENTION,By Louise Annarino, July 12, 2012

13 Jul

ROMNEY VS. BIDEN AT N.A.A.C.P. CONVENTION, By Louise Annarino, July 12, 2012

Mitt Romney knew to whom he was speaking at the N.A.A.C.P. convention. He spoke to the moneyed-base of the republican party. He did not expect to win the support of the civil rights group with his “self-deportation” policy. Apparently, he would have been a proponent of the “back to Africa” movement  to solve the “problem” of slavery decades ago. Nor did he expect his attack on Obamacare to meet with applause. And, of course he knew the members of an organization which fought for civil rights and faced police dogs and water hoses, beatings-bombings-lynchings, and the murder of its icons would not sit quietly while he called the first African-American president a failure who betrayed them. He had to know his comments would fall like boulders into a sea of opposition. What he did not know is that his policies are racist. Not only his policies, but his very presence.

How can I say his very presence is racist? Because he gave the impression, through his own body language and tone, and the publicly made and well-played talking points used to paint him as brave for going into the sea of blackness, i.e. “We have to give him credit for even attending this event.” Why does he deserve credit for making an appearance and asking for the vote of African-Americans? He wants to be president. Why does he deserve credit for going before this group?  Did we say he deserved credit for appearing before any white group? What is he afraid of? More politically important, what does he want us to be afraid of? He is playing on our own fears, the fears of white Americans of all things black and of African-Americans in groups. Oh, we easily offer, “I have a friend who is African-American”, but how comfortable are we as a lone white person in a black group?

I don’t ask these questions lightly. I spent years on college campuses, among the defamed by Mr. Romney liberal elite, watching students, faculty and administrators separate along racial lines in campus dormitories, study halls, cafeterias, fraternities and sororities, parties and social events at all levels. And, I notice white people move near the emergency call button when a group of African-Americans enter an elevator. I notice white waitpersons avoid taking the orders of African-Americans in certain restaurants. I notice African-American children disciplined by white lifeguards for running at the pool, as a group of white children run past the scene. I notice a white car dealer mistaking an African-American customer in a business suit arriving to pick up his new Lexus for the part-timer newly hired to wash cars. I notice white co-workers inviting everyone but African-American co-workers to week-end party. Even my noticing this last incident is tinged with racism. Why would I think African-American co-workers would want to party with people who treat them badly every day of the week? Do I, like Mr. Romney, expect credit for noticing? Being a white racist is a role with strong cognitive dissonance.

Day after day, in small ways white people don’t even notice, our racism shines through. it is a constant struggle. And Mitt Romney’s advisers know it. When they say “give him credit” we respond positively to Romney. Why? Because we want credit for fighting our own racism. We feel wronged when someone like me alleges racism is an issue in this election. We cannot admit our racism even to ourselves, especially to ourselves. But, we will never overcome it by hiding from it;it will only make us vulnerable to race-baiting like that we watched from a candidate who braved appearing before the N.A.A.C.P.

No one gave Senator Joe Biden credit for appearing before the N.A.A.C.P. Why not? He presented himself differently. He did not anticipate anything special. He came as an equal. He came with a commonality of interest which transcends race, yet addresses  the results of racism. He did not view his presence as a gift deserving of thanks. He came with thankfulness and respect. There was a moment when his tone seemed obsequious, when he shouted out to his friend “Mouse”,but Senator Biden was no stranger within this group. Long ago, Joe Biden faced his own racism and embraced his responsibility to address the results of racism. Joe Biden is a member of the N.A.A.C.P. The lovely thing about sincerely reaching across racial boundaries is the generous acceptance one is given. Senator Biden was well received. Mr. Romney could have been well-received had his appearance been sincere. Given his true motivation, his appearance, with only three sets of boos, was very generously received.

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One Response to “ROMNEY VS. BIDEN AT N.A.A.C.P. CONVENTION,By Louise Annarino, July 12, 2012”

  1. Edith Cooper July 22, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Louise thank you for putting what I was thinking in words. I can’t wait to hear what you think about this proposed overseas trip. The audacity of that man! Anywho… I loved Biden at the NAACP because he was so genuine, very shock not to see more Internet clips on MSNBC. Keep preaching the truth, you’ve got a reader in me!

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