Obama Mucks It up on DOMA

states' rights argument for the Defense of Marriage Act?

"This policy of neutrality maximizes state autonomy and democratic self-governance in an area of traditional state concern, and preserves scarce government resources. It is thus entirely rational."

Say what?!

I think what bothers me most about this is the "it is entirely rational" part.  To save money, the government should discriminate? Really?  You really wanna go down that rabbit hole, Barry? 

Get it together, patna!

Quote of the Day – June 11, 2009

William Jelani Cobb compares Obama's incrementalism on gay rights to that of Kennedy with civil rights in the 60s, and warns:

The president would do well to define this moment by taking immediate action to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" or ensure adoption rights for homosexual, bisexual and transgender families. Kennedy believed that promoting civil rights would jeopardize other aspects of his domestic agenda during a national crisis. Barack Obama has a broader set of crises to resolve than any president in modern history, but that is not a rationale for inaction on this issue.

Then he goads us, the people:

Ultimately, the gay rights movement will have to learn something that the civil rights movement learned again and again during the 20th century — it is often necessary to force the hand of even your allies to achieve your goals.

Indeed.

Do Better: Understanding the Sotomayor Cartoon

This post is an entry in a blogging day of action.  Check out more posts and get involved!

When my friend Tanya told me about the Sotomayor cartoon and I looked at it, I wasn’t angry. I'm a Black man living in the United States.  Sadly, I expect this.  Since January, I’ve watched White men lose their damn minds over any little thing Obama has done, racializing everything from economic recovery to the man’s dates with his wife. Unlike most, I do remember what it was like during the election.

The man picked a Puerto Rican woman to be on the Supreme Court. Something like the cartoon was bound to happen. Sad, but inevitable.

We live in a racist, sexist country.

The reason White men are losing their minds over everything that Obama is doing and the selection of Sotomayor is because, to the core of their being, “minority” and “qualified” are mutually exclusive terms. “Qualified” and “woman” are mutually exclusive terms to them.

They so virulently go after Obama and Sotomayor because they really believe that the world is unfair, giving shit to people who don’t deserve it. Destroying our perfect union. Wrecking havoc on the wallets of ordinary Americans and deigning to join a body that has, yes, decided Brown v. Board of Education but also decided Plessy v. Ferguson and Dred Scott. The notion that a woman of color would think she could gain entrance to it literally assaults their sense of balance and rightness in the world.

Or more pointedly, racism and sexism.

See, though far too many people think these terms have become overused and thrown around so much, that is what is at work here. It can’t really be anything else (no matter how much you argue).

It’s crucially important to recognize racism and sexism for what it is.

The image of Sotomayor strung up like a piñata with a bunch of Republican men waiting to hit her with a bat is disgusting and dehumanizing. That’s what racism and sexism are, the notion that the people you don’t like, that aren’t like you, are not even human. Sotomayor becomes an object to beat the shit out of. Literally. Further, the constant conflation of the varied nationalities and cultures of Hispanic people leads to ridiculousness like insinuating that Sotomayor is Mexican. You know, ‘cause what’s the diff, minorities aren’t human the distinction is a nonissue.

I think the reason so many other people are so livid about this cartoon and the new cover of The National Review is because of two things: 1) racism and sexism at this level still seems antiquated to most White liberals and 2) they still understand so little about how racism and sexism works (or ignore it in their neverending quest to tell the world “it’s all better”).  Given these two facts, folks get angry but can't seem to do anything much constructive with that anger.

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Conversating: Obama and Dissident Voices on Race

I am interested in posting some conversations, emails, IM's I have with colleagues, friends, adversaries because often I find I say some dope ass shit when I'm just talkin and vibin off of someone compared to when I say "i'm gonna write a blog post on X thing about race today."  LOL.

To that end, this post is informed by a couple of incidents including, but not limited to, the Dyson verbal beatdown of Obama on race, some (what I would consider to be) problematic critiques of the Dyson beatdown, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell's critique of the latest Smiley effort.

Appreciating what me and a friend are discussing here is not contingent upon reading that stuff, but I wanted to provide context for those curious about why we are talkin about this stuff.

Enjoy and comment freely!

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