Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Brief Political Digression

What would the media's reaction be if we replaced Scranton with Birmingham or Columbia in this story:

Barack Obama’s campaign opened a downtown office here on March 15, just in time for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was not a glorious day for Team Obama. Some of the green signs the campaign had trucked in by the thousands were burned during the parade, and campaign volunteers — white volunteers — were greeted with racial slurs.

Actually, there is a bit of a sports parallel. We often complain about the media sticking too closely to its narratives about games and teams, but that tendency shows up in politics as well as sports. Racism is often treated as a specifically Southern phenomenon, so when open racism makes an appearance above the Mason-Dixon Line, it doesn't register. That said, racism in Scranton doesn't come with the same legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, so maybe the different narrative isn't entirely irrational.

1 comment:

peacedog said...

The lack of slavery and jim crow, "ago", doesn't make racist actions any less nasty in the present. This is part of the reason why the focus on the past where race is concerned is so ridiculous. We have problems now. We can only fix them going forward. We can't go forward while looking so intently backward. Or else we risk a bizzare ACL incident.

So I say the difference in narrative is foolish, only because the past doesn't matter in so far as racism *now* sucks ass, and no amount of legacy can change that.

Also, Obama is blowing this thing, and that would be a shame.