Remember By Doing

Obama wins the nobel peace prize, and other news

Posted in News by rememberbydoing on October 9, 2009

Well, Obama wins some stuff again.  I think that this win categorizes my ambivalent feelings towards Obama in general, where I identify more with his general political ideology (though his actions aren’t always reflective of his whole “Change” image) than other presidents we may have had, and I respect the huge job he has and the lines he is always walking.  However, he hasn’t stuck his neck out much for the people who need it.  In general, his policies seem to enforce business as usual more than they disrupt through his constant compromising.  But on the left, we walk a careful line of criticizing him, and criticizing what he represents to the general populace.  He represents change and he represents addressing race in America, and these are delicate things.  I find it interesting that anti-government radicals on the right and anti-imperialists on the left are sometimes united in their criticism.  What kind of partnership could that bring?  Anyway, with the nobel prize, I don’t see Obama as having done much in his tortured  political presence.  But I have to hope that his representation as change will be strengthened and enforced, although to many I’m not sure his worth will ever be proven, by prestigious awards or otherwise.  (Race Wire says it better here)

In other news, Obama gets an A in my book for hanging a Glenn Ligon piece in the White House.  And here’s a great article about Gangster Elmo from Racialicious.

Glen Beckypie, what will you do?

Posted in News by rememberbydoing on September 29, 2009

Well well well.  Look at what Glen Beck is afraid to talk about.

It’s hard to be surprised about this, as it’s so easy to fingerpoint and so hard to talk about race honestly, especially when you’re kind of insane and hateful, and you’re making tons of money off of playing on white folks insecurities and ignorance.  What disturbs me about the way Glen Beck is responded to is the way that folks are asking “is he racist?” as opposed to being able to review his comments as racist, or see his effect and placement in the populist right, and critically talk about him.  It all sounds like tiptoing and academic, but the question of “is he racist?” is a big stumbling block.  See more here.

So what the hell is white culture, anyway?  Just because it’s hard to define  (it’s true, Glen, don’t be afraid to admit it), doesn’t mean it’s not worth analyzing.  After all, I believe race exists (as much as it also doesn’t), and I believe culture exists (even though I’m not sure what it means), so somewhere in there there has to be something a little more solid.  I’m going to try to hash it out.

I guess culture is a synthesis of a lot of factors, including race, and can be defined as simply/as complicatedly as race: it doesn’t really have an answer, but we have to make one up in order to operate.  Culture produces how we understand race, and  race produces how we understand culture.  It’s a term that can be thrown around a lot in order to name things, just like race.  Culture is the undefined space that we try to name when we separate out politics, economics, emotions, and identities.  It’s what we can get our hands on, but are also afraid of talking about – because it often becomes seen as personal, and something that is removed from personal choice because it is so shared.  And shared choices often mean its makers lose responsibility.

Here’s bell hook on popular culture.  She has good things to say!