Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and privilege

Tim Wise absolutely nails the issue of "white privilege" in the context of this presidential election. Here's a couple of examples:

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend five different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

Look, I've been wary of invoking that argument into the equation. But what else could it be? I think the narrative of this campaign - first Obama was Muslim, then inexperienced, then less qualified than the governor of Alaska, now elitist (because apparently education and knowledge are negatives in this election cycle) - goes beyond simple partisan politics. For instance, what does this even mean?

We can argue about whether or not Obama has the best plan for Iraq, or to resuscitate the economy or even lessening America's dependence on foreign oil. Let's debate who has the best grasp of the issues. But we can not - and will not - argue that Sarah Palin has more experience or is more qualified than Obama to be president. It's insulting and it's disingenuous and I can't say this enough.

I must note that over at TNC's spot the commenters are having some interesting conversation about this very topic - I would point out fellow blogger Spottie's comment, in particular.

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