From DailyKos

We knew, and we are watching. Sadly.
by Deoliver47
Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 06:58:48 AM PDT

When I sat “we” I am referring to black people in America collectively. Oh, I know it is presumptuous of me to “speak” for all black Americans, and granted there will be those who don’t agree. But I’d like you to remember, think back to the early days of the primary, and the numerous polls and interviews with AA’s who were fearful of voting for Barack Obama because they thought if he was selected he would become a target for the simmering boiling racism that is not far below the surface, ever, for us, right here in our home.

I stress “our home” since African-Americans are as much a part of the foundation stones and building blocks of the US as any group, and actually more so than many who arrived in later waves.

We have been watching for generations. Like Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” we are ofttimes like anthropologists; participating and observing at the same time. Always wary. Sleep with one eye open. Prayers waft upwards in the hope that there is somebody up there listening from black churches cross America. “Please keep that young man safe” “God, protect him”. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this repeated. Sadly, we know that God don’t seem to protect those we cherish, or put into leadership. Can’t tell you how many shrines I’ve seen in black homes. MLK, JFK and Bobby…Malcolm and others…we know, and feel powerless. The very powerlessness of black folks for centuries has increased our “faith” in the Almighty, since having faith in our fellow humans to behave humanely towards us has shown little reward. Ever think about why black folks are religious? It is a religiosity born of pain, and fear, and resignation. Yes, and “hope”. Hope that somehow, someday…we shall Overcome.

My grandmother cleaned floors and cared for the children of white folks. They talked in front of her as if she was invisible. Then she became a cook. Listened to their conversations at table. My great aunt was also a domestic. Then she was promoted by the white folks kids she raised, and allowed to cut their hair as the first black female barber in a segregated Department store in Washington DC owned by those children she raised. They talked while she snipped, as if she was invisible. My great grandmother a midwife – ushering black and white babies into this world and privy to conversations ofttimes unguarded. My grandfather a chauffeur, in cap and uniform, ferrying white folks hither and yon. Silent, respectful, but not deaf. My other grandfather a Pullman Car porter, shining shoes, making up beds, waiting table in the dining car. Called “George” though his name was Dennis. He could hear. He watched, only stepping forward when fingers were snapped and a tip tossed his way.

My white grandmother, also a domestic, and later employed by the Singer Sewing machine company was our “mole”. Never acknowledging she was married to a black man (she would have lost her job) she spent much of her life in a rage, listening to white people talk about “niggers”. Ironic that she was the most virulently “anti-white” person in my family. She knew.

This reflection this morning is in response to the diary on the rec list about the threats to the life of President Obama and the increasingly overwhelmed Secret Service. Some comments to the diary have poo-pooed racism. “Oh it’s not cause he’s black…it’s cause he’s a Democrat. Or..Hillary would have gotten just as many…or “remember how they hated Bill”.

No. Sorry. Wrong. He’s black. The primary source of “birther” rage, and teabagger ire, and wingnuttery, and “go out and get guns and ammo” is being spurred by something we have known all along. Any black man elected to the highest office in this land would unleash a flood, would take the lid off the kettle, and show the rest of you (though many are still in denial) just what we have known for generations.

Rest of this powerful diary at the link above.

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