''...McWhorter suggests we're in a transitional phase in the way people feel about race as a national obsession. In the short run, "I suspect that where we are going is whites feeling ever more that it's time we blacks get over it, while an ever shrinking population of blacks continue hoping that whites will change their tune and 'wake up,' " he says. But this too shall (eventually) pass. "In about 50 years," he adds, "we will be so hybrid a nation that any idea of black-white relations as a major problem in need of address will seem archaic."
The above comments from John McWhorter, who is often touted as one of the 'moderate' or 'conservative' blacks, are part of the concluding paragraph from a piece called Double Vision: The Race Issue Revisited from AdWeek.
According to Ron Guhname at Inductivist, McWhorter said on the Laura Ingraham show that he is supporting Obama.
...he plans to vote for Obama for president because of the tremendously positive psychological effect that it will have on blacks. Hope will be felt like never before, and race hustlers like nut surgeon Jesse Jackson won't be taken seriously anymore.''
Mr. McWhorter, in all his racial excitement, must have neglected to read yesterday's New York Times poll:
The results of the poll... suggested that Mr. Obama’s candidacy, while generating high levels of enthusiasm among black voters, is not seen by them as evidence of significant improvement in race relations.
For the first time ever, the person who is one step away from the most powerful position in the world is black, but still blacks folks don't think things are getting better?!''
Guhname is skeptical of the 'vote-for-Obama-because-worse-is-better' meme which has taken a stubborn hold among some on the right. McWhorter thinks that an Obama presidency will give blacks 'hope' while polls suggest they don't see the prospect of an Obama presidency as any evidence of 'progress.' So what will change after January 20, 2009?
The AdWeek piece on the race issue contains the usual PC boilerplate. Nothing much to see there, but there is confirmation of some of the trends many of us have noticed:
If some white people are insensitive to the travails of their black compatriots, some are very, very sensitive -- and proud of it. "There's now a kind of white person under 30 who thinks of himself as an 'honorary' black person [because he's so highly aware that] the playing field isn't level," says John McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Race and Ethnicity, and author of the just-published All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America. "Quite simply, the 'playing field' issue means that blackness is thought of as a problem, which is not where we need to go." Moreover, he says, this sort of hyper-consciousness leads to such white people "thinking they can 'be' something that you cannot 'be' unless you were born to it.
There's clearly a sizable white constituency that welcomes the prospect of an Obama victory as a sign that America has already become a post-racial society -- that the struggle of race is behind us. This sentiment also influences the way in which people react to popular culture, advertising included.
It's obvious to anyone who watches TV that the content of advertising has become more inclusive, and not just in the form of "black" versions of "white" commercials. We see easy-going interaction between the races in recent spots for everything from Miracle-Gro plant food and McDonald's Happy Meals to Levi's jeans.
David Lubars, chairman, CCO of BBDO North America, suggests advertising content is a pop-culture leader in its inclusiveness. "Advertising does a much better job of showing diversity and reflects the American fabric better than the movies or TV shows," he says. "You watch any evening of TV commercials, you see a great mix."
The piece is full of the usual smug PC platitudes on race, and it's clear that the advertising industry has an agenda other than inducing people to buy products or services. They are selling an agenda, trying to shape society towards ends that they see as moral and good. Should that not be the province of clergy and philosophers, not advertisers? Oh, for the good old days of advertising when they were merely pushing widgets or toothpaste or soap. Now they are shaping the world we live in, leading us in directions that we might not go if we were approached more directly, rather than insidiously as with today's advertising.
McWhorter's support for Obama is not surprising; blood is thicker than politics, as we've said before. The idea that Obama's election will inaugurate not only the first black president, but new heavens and a new earth, will prove to have been a fantasy, I'm afraid. It is too big a gamble on a long shot to think that some kind of new consciousness will awaken in White people. As the AdWeek article says, we have a large constituency of White people, especially the under-30s, who see themselves as 'honorary blacks', by virtue of their great sensitivity. One of these days, these people will be in the ascendancy, and an Obama presidency will probably be the beginning of the end of the old America.
The idea of hoping for an Obama débâcle to 'wake people up' reminds me of the idea many non-Christians have about Christian believers. I've heard the accusation made that 'fundamentalists', believing in the impending End Times, want to hasten Armageddon in the Middle East so as to provoke Christ's return and thus inaugurate the 'new heavens and a new earth' promised us. The fact is, I've never encountered a Christian in real life or even on the wild-and-wooly internet who thinks that way, or who would say 'bring on Armageddon!' so as to hasten Christ's second coming. But isn't that the thinking behind the 'worse is better' scenario? Bring it on, so that the millennium will follow? As for me, I have no thoughts of hastening the tribulation. I believe we should work to delay this 'worse' that is supposedly inevitable.
And let's keep in mind that last paragraph I quoted at the beginning of this piece. McWhorter thinks that it will take half a century for our people to be 'hybridized' out of existence. I see it happening much sooner, if things don't turn around, and I am not sure that speeding the process up, which is what an Obama presidency would do, is helpful.