[eDebate] MLK never said...

Amber Kelsie akelsie
Mon Nov 3 09:59:34 CST 2008

you dont think you're an ahistorical revisionist?

just saying...

you just emailed out that there were six black presidents, with the
overt assumption that that means that those (potentially) black
presidents were identified as black and experienced blackness in
mostly a similar way to today, and that societies experienced their
blackness in some way remotely similar to today, without any
discussion or insight whatsoever into the national context, or better
yet, the status of race relations of those time periods.  Seems to me
like someone's got a pretty static notion of history himself, not to
mention very obviously has a static notion of what it means to be
black in America.

i mean, Beethoven was black, and nobody knows that "fact," but that
doesn't make him black in the same way that R. Kelly is (sorry for the
terrible musical comparison).
I feel like there are a billion ways to articulate how the racial
environment of Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln - especially in terms
of "drops" of blackness - were distinctively different than from
today.  Things like blackface (at least in Lincolns time) both prove
that people had no sense of having "black presidents" but rather put
blackness onto "bad whites," and also - that many had a not-talked
about sense that everyone was sorta kinda a little maybe black.  But
blackface, and other cultural methods/rituals/common beliefs were
promoted to sustain a white purity - one drop rule political
environment (a purging of bad blood if you will), and to reaffirm that
white=good, black=bad.  Read some books on that shit.  I'm pretty sure
the state of the world today indicates that neither Andrew Jackson'
nor Abraham Lincoln's celebration or non-celebration of blackness did
much to overcome that (the civil war notwithstanding).

How about how it's probably at the very least intellectually
short-sighted to assume and project that just because we are able to
take accounts today of the supposed blackness of famous peoples in the
past doesn't make it common knowledge at particular time in history -
furthermore, whether or not people in some circles fessed up to it
seems to have little standing, especially given bad forms of
communication.  how about a little more academic integrity.  Not to
mention the fact that people with the power to write history as it
happens (or doesn't happen) already informs how you go back and
re-write that past (Beethoven is a good example) from within your

I highly doubt that you are going to find for me a president that ran
"as a black candidate"  or that was assumed (not just by some southern
bigots who africanized every enemy they had) to be black by the vast
majority of the country.  In fact, just being able to write this
requires so much distanciation simply because of the extreme
offensiveness (and I'm not afraid of that word either, probably
emotions betray an important aspect of thinking)  I feel over the fact
that you just implied that black people had it good enough that they
could freely be president, and while slavery was in full force no
less.  I guess we weren't oppressed after all!  That truly is the
logical limit of the crap you are espousing.
How about that for ahistorical revisionism.

The phenomenon of passing is commonplace in black history.  But you
seem to have really found a way ,i suppose an ingenious way, to
manipulate that phenomenon for your own not-so-subtle bigoted ends.
Passing, did not mean that NO ONE knew your "true identity."  It meant
that you were able to walk the world without "people" knowing.  A
well-guarded secret.  And besides, one that generally would not have
been believed anyway in the right circles.  It's generally hard for
people with power to imagine that they've been duped or their most
dearly held myths shattered.

But really, I think the "truthfulness" of the "facts" you and Dr.
Vaughn seem so bent on (and for very different reasons, which I'll get
to below), are actually completely irrelevant to what's really going
on here and how this is or is not useful to imagining and formulating
"good" politics, much less in determining why or why not Obama is good

The media seems important to you:
First - it may be that the media has in some way (and yes - the media
is totally fucked, but the way you talk about it is very similar to
the way that stormfront or the national alliance talks about
Jew-controlled media.  You scare me.) "repressed" or more likely
simply chosen not to promote and air the beliefs by some academics
that there "really were" other black presidents.  This may be due to
many reasons, let me throw out three:
1) Many many people have little grasp of what is a good way or,
especially in things like media, a "right" way to handle issues
concerning race.  Therefore they would rather leave it alone, or
sensationalize it.  They don't want to be the bad guys, and media
especially abhors controversy that they cant control, channel, and
profit from.
2) They don't even know that people write stuff like this.  It's not
very "normal" for this country to have very smart or deep
conversations concerning race, much less to read anything about the
history of blackness in this country.  You see this issue as
inherently tied to the election because you want to tell liberals (or
maybe just obama supporters? actually in all your rants, I can't tell
who your real beef is with) that they are the "true racists."
CNN on the other hand doesn't know about Dr. Vaughn and couldn't care
less b/c they don't share your liberal/race-card-busting agenda.  (You
seem to see that as the most awful evilest thing, and talk about it as
if that value-judgment were self-evident.  It's not.)
3) People simply don't care, because even without knowing the
"truthfulness" of the claim that some presidents have African
ancestors, it seems apparent that it has little bearing on the either
the state of race today, or the state of race in this election, or the
election proper.

Will it help me contemplate my past and my history?  Sure probably.
Will it destroy my sense of this as being a watershed moment?
Absolutely not.  Because that past non-history (even assuming its
factual-ness)  simply does not denigrate the amazing phenomenon we are
all witness to today.  Obama is not simply the first black
presidential candidate to make it this far simply because he controls
all the media in the world and is the anti-christ with unimaginable
powers of persuasion.  No.  People - whether true or not - whether
black or white - do not have any sense that a black president can or
could be elected.  The xenophobia in this country is out of control,
this particular election bringing it out into the open "on main
street" in a big way, promoted, not just by race-baiting Obama, but
yea, by McCain and his overtly xenophobic advertisements that paint
Obama (as you have also painted him) as
Foreigner/Muslim/Terrorist/Black/Not-So-Black Bad Man.  And this shit
is damn important.  Period.

It's really that simple.

I agree with you that Obama is not the messiah.  He probably gets away
with a lot b/c of racial politics.  I doubt he gets away with any more
than McCain does, but you and most of us are so used to seeing white
people get shit, it's really hard to recognize favors even when they
stare you in the face.  It may be worthwhile to go back and re-write
black people into history, especially since their removal was the
result of a lot of racist knowledge production, but to do so with the
intent of writing Obama's historic run out of history is truly... sad.
 To chalk up why we care to simple emotion (as you tell Josh) is
really selling everyone short.  You seem to really hate on the
"circular xenophobia" of X-ist (liberal?) theory, but it seems like
your only way to really prove that is to pit the good liberal
intellectual pursuits against their very ends.  That is, historical
revisionism (or ie - the liberal/progressive project of writing Others
into history) is noble - (or maybe to you it's not and you're just
using this academic to get your jollies off) - but it's goal is to
rectify endless years of cultural oppressions.  Denying a history
therefore, seems to be something worth interrogating.  But to do so
with the intent of denying that very history in the present, is slimy.
 That is your politics.

I notice you keep talking to people as if this were a debate, which to
me it seems to clearly not be.  So please spare me on that front.  But
for the sake of good honest intellectual discussion, I can see the
value in discussing why Obama is not this and is not that.  I can see
the value in interrogating why it may be that so many people honestly
do seem to think he is the messiah (although even those statements
seem to come with a grain of salt.)  But you want to deny that this
moment is significant?  Now you've clearly lost it.  That is not
education, it is not helpful in formulating a politics, you just
engage in the exact same production of a knowledge designed to write
black people out of history as the people that (supposedly) wrote
jefferson, jackson, lincoln, harding, coolige out of history.  Thanks!

A few more things:
1) Moors were not black in the way that Black Americans are (Beethoven
again - he was a moor).  You can look at many blackness readings of
Othello to see the difference.
2) Claiming Indian ancestry is not the same as claiming black
ancestry.  It may be that your Dr. Vaughn has a little revisionism of
his own.  Which I actually don't doubt, but I'd have to read him I
suppose before I blew up that claim.
3) My great-aunt proves anything you say about "oh everyone knew they
were black" pretty wrong.
4) You evidence says opposite things.  Or rather your evidence doesn't
support your claims.  Whatever link you put up says that those
presidents never revealed their ancestry.
5) This post below wasn't really the one that got me going.

On Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 9:55 PM, Old Strega <oldstrega at hotmail.com> wrote:
> pull-out of vietnam, redeploy to cuba.
> he just said -- pull out of vietnam, war is bad.
> obama is a fucking fraud parlaying mass media confusion.'
> the war in afghanistan is bush's old war, bush's old bad idea.
> in my opininon, given MLK's commitment to non-violence and the strength of his far superior rhetoric to chump boy obama, MLK would be in the streets fighting the afghan war just like he fought against vietam.
> to characterize MLK's resistance to vietnam as "you got the wrong war, whitey" and not "war is wrong" is typical of the poorly educated masses of our day who wouldn't know their asses from their mouths.
> tuna, bear and sanchez are my favorite ones amongst the ahistorical revisionists who would love to identify obama's stance on iraq adopted from brzezinski with MLK's commitment to non-violence and opposition to all imperial wars.
> it's the biggest pile of shit i've ever seen.
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