Sunday, August 24, 2008

obama-biden: it's balanced, alright.

Whaddya know. Obama picked Biden.

I am not bothered by this.
I think it's brilliant, funny and totally expected. In fact, earlier this week, I had called it while emailing with some friends. Friends called it for Bayh, Schweitzer and Webb but I went for Biden.

My reasoning:
As evidenced by an ample Google record, Biden has a long history of saying problematic shit re: people of color. I will not offer an opinion re: Biden's racism - I'm just saying he says problematic shit.

The things he says are not that substantially different from what 98% of the general white population, conservative or self-identifying liberal, say/think about people of color in general, black people in particular. So, in effect, Biden is familiar to most of the population. He's easily recognizable; he is our American mirror.

By choosing Biden, the Obama campaign is saying to America, 'See? We get you. We know you're scared, but it's ok. Joe is just like you, and we like him! Obama's not mad.' By signaling to the electorate that they're overlooking Biden's 'off the reservation' problematic racial shit, they are asking that we also overlook some things - primarily, the color of Obama's skin and all the weight it carries.

Yeah, yeah. Biden brings some bizarro 'connection' to 'everyday' people (pundits need to STFU) and foreign policy experience which is a good thing, but his biggest contribution to the Obama campaign is his whiteness. His benign, problematic, clueless Whiteness. It's a gift and I hope Obama uses it well.

[an extra piece of goodness: today's This American Life about snap judgments that had me shaking my head.]


Songbird said...

I wish you were on TV bringing this perspective.

thesciencegirl said...

ha ha. You are so freakin right. At first, I was like "Obama chose Joe "clean, articulate" Biden?!" And then I was like, "Ah, Obama chose Joe "clean, articulate" Biden. Of course he did.

ding said...

Songbird, if I was on tv and said this, Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews would crap their pants and die.

It's a brilliant move - and it isn't something people of color haven't done in their relationships with white people for ages - using whiteness to our advantage. Do I benefit from making strategic connections to white people, to being their 'exceptional' black person? Hell, yes.

And so had Obama. Good for him.

ding said...

that was meant to read 'from being their 'exceptional' black person.'

Songbird said...

My friend in Delaware (ACLU person who knows Biden professionally) says that he really meant Obama had a clean RECORD, but omg he is not good at filtering his words or thinking about how they sound together. And that's the cluelessness.

ding said...

and, giving Brother Biden the benefit of the doubt, I will buy that. (said with a cocked eyebrow and squinty eye.)

he's the big blustery white dude in the conference room, you know? now, would i want to bring the big blustery white dude to my neighborhood for a barbecue? nope (covering for his blustery cluelessness would give me a headache.) but if the BBWD wants to throw his Whiteness behind my professional goals, then go to it, man.

WRT Biden, specifically, his support alone of VAWA and domestic violence policy gets my support. i think he's a stalwart supporter of mainline feminist issues and that's a good thing.