During the course of the interview we discussed why she was supporting Senator Hillary Clinton and I shared with her the story of my very stubborn grandfather who, no joke here, thought I would grow up and be a 'fine secretary' one day. I thought it was an important point to make; a 90-year old man with some very 'traditional' ideas was going to vote for a woman. I'd like to think it meant progress.
What I didn't tell the viewer, or the Congresswoman, was that in the same breathe my grandfather championed Hillary, he called Senator Obama (and I'm paraphrasing) slimy like that Jesse Jackson and a typical black politician. Mind you all of this information came to me through my Dad, who I am guessing censored.
While a 90-year old, former Chrysler worker, blue-collar, union, grandfather being racist may not be all that shocking, what happened in my mind is -- I just shrugged it off and accepted it as life.
In my mind, I filed it in the 'some people are just like that' category and moved on.
Now I'm not saying I was going to give my grandfather a call and lecture him, as he is not always very clear on thought these days, but I could have at least processed the gravity of what I had just witnessed.
My grandfather let go of sexism (sort of) before he let go of his racism.
I say 'sort of' because I can't seem to shake conversations I've had over the years. The ones where he would be proud to the point of playing tapes for his friends of my radio news days, yet convinced I should be having more than two children.
I'm also very used to racism in my own family. My childhood memories are littered with my uncle screaming N***** RUN! at the TV while watching football. My cousin knew she was being a rebel by putting a poster of Michael Jordan on her bedroom wall.
As I watch the race issue continue to unfold in this election, I wonder how many more grandfathers and uncles are out there. The ones who would congratulate me on 'marrying well' and then decide voting for a woman was a much better option than voting for a black man.
I don't have the knowledge or the expertise to go into all the reasons why these things are the way they are, but I am watching poll numbers for Senator Obama dip since the Wright flap. It's beyond discouraging. It leaves me without much pride for this nation. It is starting to make me very angry that it matters.
God Damn America, indeed.
There. I said it. Let's see the outrage. Let's see the hate. Tell me how unpatriotic I am and how I'm evil.
Let me say it louder
GOD DAMN AMERICA
Prove me wrong. Show me you're not a bunch of racist idiots.
Don't let them fool you -- the Rev. Wright fiasco is ENTIRELY about race.
How many of you have been to a black church? Show of hands please. How many of you know or even TRY to know the reasons for anything that *may* happen inside a black congregation? How many of you have seen or read the ENTIRE sermon?
I am not an African-American. I am not a minority. I do not even pretend to know the experience. But at the very least I have attempted to educate myself. At the very least I have stepped outside of my safe suburb and stood at First AME in Los Angeles.
Rev. Chip Murray, who has since retired, was one of the most inspirational men I have EVER met in my life. I have struggled with religion since I was a child and I can honestly say the ONLY person who ever came close to bringing me to God was a black preacher in Los Angeles.
That particular church had members doing and saying exactly the words of Rev. Wright and this white girl was always welcome in those doors. Welcomed with hugs and kisses and invitations to picnics after services.
In the end I have to believe that if my 90-year old grandfather can make just enough progress to vote for a woman, the rest of you-who have far longer lives ahead of you and far more clear thoughts left, can go all the way and make enough progress to vote for a person of color.
It is time. Hell, even Dave Winer admits he's racist and voting for Obama.
The discussions are happening. Be real. Get yourself involved in them. Talk about it, write about it, be honest about it ALL.
It is time for this nation to get over this, or at the very least make an honest effort to try. You can't do that if you're afraid to ask or to speak up or to learn.
If not, we are a damned America, for certain.