The N Word On ‘The View’

Elisabeth Hasselback, the young white woman in the video, does a great job in illustrating the problems of the white worldview as it attempts to relate to race. At a point in the video she states that we, Black and white people, all live in the same world. This, I believe, is what most white people see the racial reality as in the USA. And it is this misunderstanding of reality that is the largest obstacle to reconciliation and racial progress.

Whoopi Goldberg, the Black woman with the dreads, does a decent job of wading through the many ignorant statements made by Hasselback and grabbing the key statement and focusing on it. If we are to ever reach a point where race and its history in the US are dealt with in a progressive fashion, we as a country, must have something of a common narrative.

I think Elisabeth Hasselback’s opinion represents the worldview of most whites on this issue. This idea, that everyone lives in the same world is a more socially acceptable way of saying that racism does not exist. If racism is about power, about which groups have the power to affect/control the lives of people in other racial groups, then we can’t all be living in the same world. The statement is as akin to the stupidity of a prison guard asserting that he lives in the same world as a prisoner. It’s all about power and control. In a country 232 years old that has had nothing but rich white men as presidents it either the height of stupidity or the height of rank arrogance to make a statement as ignorant as Hasselback’s is. But like I said, her statement represents the thinking of most of white America. If we can figure out a way to affect change in the backwards thinking of whites in this country regarding racial reality, then we can begin to make racial progress.

This is not a small task. And it is, not incidentally, a major factor in the aspirations of the possible first non-white president in the history of this country. Barack Obama, although considered Black, repeats the keywords and catchphrases of whites who think like Hasselback. Obama has repeated, in other rhetorical arrangements, the same toxic ignorance that Hasselback gave us in the video. Obama has stated that there is no Black America. When he says this, he means what Hasselback says, that we all live in the same world, that there are no major differences. Barack Obama has also said that Black people are 90 percent of the way to equality, another way of saying that we all live in the same world (90 percent is close to 100 percent parity, right?). So the candidacy of Barack Obama, while it may have some positive psychological effect in that white America will see a Black face in the highest (political) place, it will also serve to reinforce the wayward thinking of the tens of millions of Hasselbacks across the country who think that Blacks and whites and everyone that is a legal citizen in this country (they definitely don’t include folks who don’t have papers in their thinking) is operating, living on the same economic, social and judicial plane. Although this view isn’t supported by anything but imagination, it is believed by most whites. It is the national delusion that created New Orleans after Katrina. It is the delusion that is responsible for the burnt out urban centers across the nation. This delusion fuels racial division on every front in this country. Divisions that have deep and important political ramifications. Like the fact that people haven’t been able to struggle to get good public mass transit, or universal healthcare, or universal secondary education (free college), or stronger labor laws and higher wages for workers. These are all things that require a unified front as working people struggle against our rich landlords everywhere. In a country with a solid third (if not more) being non-white, the racial divisions fueled by Hasselback thinking none of the aforementioned things are possible to get. We’re too divided. Racial divisions are why we still don’t have universal healthcare. So we all, Black, white, brown, red and yellow, all suffer. Hasselback thinking is killing us all.

If nothing else, debates over Black people being allowed to say and write nigga (that is what the debate is about; whites know they better not use it) allow us to dig a little deeper into what the real racial problems are in this country. So if nothing else, I say let’s keep the word around (hehe…for Black use only) just for that.

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3 Responses to “The N Word On ‘The View’”

  1. Chcago60613 Says:

    Is anyone listening to what Elisabeth is saying?? I am the first to admit that some of her comments are over the top and out of tune with reality. In this case this is a woman that really seems to want to resolve what is a source of pain for some and a source of control for others. What is lost by giving up the word??? It is a word!! And as Whoopi stated a word that is only given meaning by those that use it….so if no one uses it does it no longer have meaning?

  2. But ask yourself why Elisabeth and those who agree with her even hold the position that they do.

    The problem here is that Elisabeth Hasselback represents a white worldview that has a problem not controlling any and every domain of life. That is the issue. She doesn’t like that whites can’t use this word but Blacks can. It represents a boundary. A domain that whites do not control. I don’t think she even thinks about this but this is the root of her acting. When you are white you are used to running the show. When that isn’t the case, something just feels wrong about a situation.

    Most whites don’t acknowledge the truth in this because this dynamic is somewhat invisible due to white supremacy being the norm in the overall society.

    Ask yourself something. Is Hasselback and those that agree with her, actually concerned about the plight of Black people in the US? Why does she even care about this issue??? It’s not because she cares about Black people. It is because she cares about not having white boundaries. She cares about white control of social dynamics.

    She probably doesn’t think about this overtly but on a deeper, perhaps even subconscious level, she, like most whites, is concerned about maintaining the status quo.

    A racialized social order controlled by whites that has been the norm since this country’s inception.

    Unless you believe Hasselback’s interest in this is purely the well-being of Black people, then what else could be her motivation?

  3. walterrock Says:

    Obama speaks the way all blacks have spoken since slavery:blackspeak.
    It is a language of survival that we us even today to co exist in this society. Slaves did what they could to get by, to just live in a world where they had little, or no control. So leave Obama alone; his job right now is not to represent the views of black people, even though he KNOWS what our plight is. He made a choice to GO BLACK, as seen by his choice of a sister instead of a white woman, which, I promise you, he could have had.
    I’m just being straight up, he chose BLACK! I have no problem with who a brother marries, it’s not my business (as Cedric said, we blacks get crazy about our business) but again, he chose black. Clarence Thomas didn’t, and in my opinion, kinda hates his darkness! Give him a break and he will do everyone proud.

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