Into that terrain, I walk in, the Black woman from Georgia, about to explain "Cracker" to White people.
I'm referring to a type of person. If it doesn't apply to you, let it slide off your back.
But I was enraged this morning when I caught Lori Ginzberg's little dog & pony show on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is to transcript, you also have audio option).
Cracker wants to tell America she's soulful, she's down with my peeps, she's not like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, you understand.
OH MY GOD.
I am so damn sick of this insanity.
Lori Ginzberg claims she's a historian, she is a Cracker and she is a bitch. That is the first time I've used the b-word at this site. I use it for a reason.
Black people are not idiots. We know we can trust some people, we can't trust others. On the not to be trusted? Any White person who wants to cozy up to us by explaining how some other White person is a racist.
When you're so busy pointing to someone else and calling them a racist, it usually means you're the racist.
Lori Ginzberg wants you to know that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a racist.
She fought against slavery. She was a White woman who fought against slavery.
Among the bitch's beefs with Elizabeth Cady Stanton? "But when she said women, I think, and I argue this in the book, that she primarily had in mind women much like herself: white, middle-class, culturally if not religiously protestant, propertied, well-educated." When anyone says "woman" or "people," first and foremost the image is of themselves. That's because we all have a sense of self.
That's not racism. If I'm talking about how women can do something amazing and picture myself and my two sisters, I'm not being racist because we're all three Black. I'm using my own point of reference.
Here's the idiot again: "She has one, I think, inexplicable comment about black women would find an even worse slavery under black men than they did under their former white slave owners, which is not a comment that she got from any black woman."
Inexplicable? Maybe to you because you're using your own frame of reference. But when this Black woman here's that statement, I think, "Hell yeah!"
Because a White man owning us and raping us and enslaving us is damn disgusting. And because of what Black women endured in this country (those who were enslaved, not all Blacks in the US were slaves in the days of slavery), any attempt to treat us as less than full persons is offensive. When it comes from Black men, it is tragic and, yes, it is worse because they should know better than any other men what Black women suffered through and they should want to make life better and to lift up our race.
I have no idea why the White professor with the nasal and irritating voice can't grasp that as a possible interpretation of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's remarks but it may have something to do with her desire to prove she herself is not racist. She really seems to have that need.
Not a need not to be racist -- she came off highly racist in her remarks on NPR today -- but a need not to be seen as racist.
Ginzberg ranted and raved: "Well, I would phrase that somewhat differently if I may. African American men were granted the rights of citizens and African American women, of course, weren't. And there were differences among abolitionists in the North about this. Do we hold out for the, as I say, the fullest possible suffrage for all adult Americans, or just do we end the current emergency with terrible news of racial violence coming north? Do we give the black community in some form the voting rights that we're able to gain for them in the current political climate? And it's the political fight that we can - many of us can relate to. Do we hold out for the biggest possible thing or do we recognize the emergency of the moment and get rights or the tool of political power for whatever groups we can? But Stanton didn't just stay on the moral high ground. Instead she talked about how much worse black men would be as voters than the white women about who she was concerned. And she was really quite dismissive of black women's claims."
I thought bitch as a historian. But she can't even grasp historical realities.
I don't know if it's my great-great grandparents or great-great-great grandparents, but I've got slavery in my family, several generations of it. And I know which generation was the first to attend school, which generation was the first to make it through elementary school, which was the first to make it up to high school, which was the first to graduate high school, etc. I'll come back to education in a moment (personal education). But the point here is that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was educated and then she was self-educated. And you can call her statement some form of classicism, but I'm not seeing how you can can call it racists.
Most freed slaves -- male or female -- would not be educated. That's because it was forbidden. They wouldn't know how to read. That's one of the arguments for reparations. We didn't just get enslaved, we got deprived. And, yes, great moment when slavery is ended, but that didn't put us all on equal footing. That's because Blacks who were former slaves might have tremendous common sense and be highly intelligent about planting various things, etc. But we did not get educated in reading and writing.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton is speaking of voting. In the period when the amendments will be passed regarding the end of slavery and the rights of Black men. In that time period, would a man who can't read or a woman who could be the better voter?
I would say the person who could read. And I would argue that is true today but let's stick with that time period because Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn't live in 2012. In that time period, Blacks who were enslaved were forbidden from being taught to read and write. Because it was seen as power. By the society.
If you can grasp that, why would you disagree that those who had that ability -- that power -- wouldn't make better voters than those who didn't?
In Elizabeth Cady Stanton's time, the big issue was slavery. On that issue, she came out against. At a time when a lot of White people didn't. I wish she'd fought for more but we're talking about a woman who grew up before the Civil War. Her being opposed to slavery was huge.
If she had problems with former slaves -- I don't know that she did -- that might have gone to class or intelligence but I don't we can call someone a racist when they lived in the 19th century and advocated for the end of slavery.
Now on education. Black people are not obsessed with Sarah Palin. White peple, like the professor, mocked the woman for her education because she went to several different colleges. That's when you got the biggest disconnect in the electorate, in the Black and White electorate in 2008.
We don't hate Palin. We're not going to vote for her (most of us anyway) but we don't hate her. Why would we? She was mocked for going to three or four different colleges. Apparently in the White world that's appalling.
My brother, my sisters and myself are the first college graduates in my family. No matter what else happened, we were told we would get a college education. We were told, no matter what, we would get the grades needed for that later in life. No matter what we did after high school, we were told we would graduate college. (four year degree. My parents both have their Associates.) Now I had two kids early on. (I have three kids.) And there were times when I was pregnant and I was sick to my stomach and my mother or father would call or come over and say, "Betty, you have to go to class today." And I did. And that's the only way I finished college. It would have been so easy not to, to say, "I've got morning sickness" or "the babysitter didn't show" or "my husband needs ___(whatever)" and just cut class. But my parents didn't let that happen. They valued education and they instilled it into us that we would value it as well.
I love my parents and they are very special to me but, of their generation, they are fairly normal. Meaning their believe in the value of education isn't some stray strand in the Black community. And degrees matter. And it was so puzzling to see a woman attacked for getting a degree. She had to go to several schools? Well to us that showed determination.
But to a pissy little bitchy little group of White people? It showed a snotty, snobby view of life and it distanced us from them. I have said this over and over since 2008 when those attacks were going on -- and I've quoted my father here saying it -- Sarah Palin should be proud of herself for getting a degree. If she struggled (I don't know that she did, I'm not her stalker or her biographer), that's all the more reason for her to be proud. She stuck to it and she got a degree and good for her.
I'm not voting for her, we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. But I have no hatred for the woman and no desire to mock her for having the tenacity and strength to pursue a degree.
Throughout Ginzberg's stupid interview, she showed off a White sense of entitlement and a White framework. While painting Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a racist. That, friends, is what a Cracker is.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):