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Inner Vision: Color My World

Inner Vision: Color My World

Writer Lisa B. Valentino says she's decided to step squarely into the political arena. So take a deep breath or a Xanax if you have to… and let the colored girl tell you what’s on her mind. Did she say 'colored?' Oh yes, she did.

You know, I really try to stay out of the political fray. I realize this statement might cause you to fall off your chair and roll on the floor with laughter, so I’ll wait a moment while you collect yourself. Better now? Good.

It’s true. I’ve found that opposing political views ignite such passion and anger that conversations among otherwise rational adults rarely end in consensus or civility. And sometimes I choose to step aside. Perhaps I learned this the hard way years ago when a good friend leapt across the table and attempted to strangle me into submission. Perhaps it is simply that I try to live and let live.

Whatever the reason, and at risk of bodily harm and ostracism, I feel it incumbent upon me to step square into the middle of the arena as we enter the final week before the 2008 presidential election. So take a deep breath or a Xanax if you have to… and let the colored girl tell you what’s on her mind. Did she say “colored?” Oh yes, she did.

For there has been much discussion of how race plays into this race. Race? No. What has insinuated its presence is not race. It is color.

Now, I know there are those of you who think I say this because somehow my judgment is actually colored by my skin. But let me make it clear, so there is no question. Yes, my judgment is colored: It is colored with truth, with justice, with intelligence and with love. Upon these qualities I will always stand, and I make no apologies.

Yet, no matter how educated or insightful or compassionate I may be, it is the color of my skin that has somehow taken the reins when choosing Barack Obama as our next president. Ironically, if I supported John McCain, I would probably be hailed as a poster child for the Right, who has managed to make an intelligent decision -- despite my color.

It’s insulting, yes; but I’m in good company. Colin Powell, a well-respected, long-time stalwart of the Republican party -- someone thought to be one of the greatest statesmen and military strategists in our history -- has been abandoned and accused of throwing his mind out the window for endorsing Mr. Obama. Somehow, a lifetime of credibility and intelligence has been washed away and the only reason he could possibly have for voting for Obama is that he’s black. Oh, did I say that? I meant, “African-American;” that’s what we like to say in polite company.

Well, I’m not in the mood for polite. For it is the polite, politically correct, sanitized subtleties that pervade our national underbelly and spread the lingering parasites of racism to every generation. The code words, the euphemisms, the hypocritical pleas of defense: “I don’t have anything against those people, but I wouldn’t let my daughter date one.”

Let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we? Not me. “Them.” You know who they are. The ones who like to pretend that race has no bearing on everyday life, yet freely admit that a black man cannot win the presidency because he’s black. The ones who think that the Affirmative Action movement was another welfare ploy instead of an attempt to balance the unequal scales of opportunity. The society that almost readily accepts “a black man did it,” for every crime from Susan Smith’s drowning of her children to the latest escapades of a mentally ill McCain volunteer. If there was no chance these types of accusations would stick, they wouldn’t be made. But “they” don’t like to talk about it and “they” dismiss it like so much lint on a cashmere coat.

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I never thought I’d say this, but thank God for fools like Rush Limbaugh. As ignorant and idiotic and dangerous as his hateful rhetoric is, at least you know where he’s coming from. He wears it proudly on his sleeves and never misses the chance to let us know that white is right -- yesterday, today and always. If he wasn’t afraid of the FCC, I’m sure he’d call Senator Obama, General Powell, Jesse Jackson, Janet Jackson, Al Sharpton, Al Jarreau and all the rest of us “those niggers.” Yep, I said that, too. Ugly, isn’t it?

That’s what happens when you rip the Band-Aid off of a scab. Ouch. Yet, the only way to begin healing is to get it out in the open. If hate crimes weren’t considered especially heinous, they wouldn’t have their own classification under the law. And if there was no need for anti-discrimination or equal opportunity laws, they wouldn’t exist.

But what about reverse discrimination, you ask? That’s a fallacy. It’s a term coined by the fast-fading majority of non-colored folks who fear retribution from the colored folks who are rising in numbers and in power. The truth is: Discrimination is discrimination, no matter who perpetrates it. What’s funny is that it’s the colored girl who’s pointing it out.

What’s not funny is that -- even though the Obama campaign can’t acknowledge it -- skin color still plays a role in our lives and in this election. I wish it weren’t true; but alas Rush’s avid, rabid following -- and their counterparts both blatant and underground -- are living proof of how far we have yet to go to achieve humanity and harmony.

What keeps me going is how far we’ve come. And how much farther we’ll get when we accept that skin color is a matter of arbitrary genetics and not the defining point of our similarities -- or differences.

Looking forward

Lisa V.

Miss the last "Inner Vision"?Read it here.

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Lisa B. Valentino