Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Invisible President


Well...it’s been a while since the last time I posted. Everyone is talking about Osama Ben Laden’s death and as usual the Republicans are trying to discredit the President. Nothing new there, that is a habitual obsession with them. I named this post the “Invisible President” for a reason. Years ago, Ralph Ellison wrote a book called “Invisible Man” and the narrator in the story expressed with symbols a problem that Republicans seem to have with President Obama.

In the story, the “Invisible Man” the narrator telling the story is invisible. His name is never mentioned throughout the book, nor is the town he lives in, or the college he attends, which symbolizes his invisibility to other characters in the book. It is similar to how some folks on the right and in the media refer to President Obama as “Mr. Obama” instead of President Obama or “the subtle claim of the Birther’s conspiracy that somehow implies that he is “alien” because he is invisible to them as the President of the United States of America.

All throughout the book, Invisible Man, the narrator is defined by people who do not see him—that is his real identity because they cannot. Blind people cannot see! The Republicans are blinded by an ideology and racism. Instead, they see him through negative values, racist connotations, and expectations that they are trying to imposed on him. Yet, none of those values, racist connotations, and expectations they are trying to impose on him or the identity they are trying to ascribe to him fit because it is not who he is as a person. The identity they are trying to assign to him is a projection of them.

In the story of the Invisible Man, the narrator finds that, in each case, the prescribed role limits his complexity as an individual and forces him to play an inauthentic part as he passes through different communities in search of his identity. Racism is an obstruction to a person’s identity. The racial prejudice of others causes them to see the President only as they want to see him because theirs is a limitation of vision. However, he is forcing others to acknowledge him, to acknowledge the existence of beliefs and behaviors outside of their prejudiced expectations. The President has forced those folks on the right to show their true beliefs and colors, but they are too blind to see that.

Finally, in the story, Invisible Man,  the narrator realizes that the complexity of his inner self is limited not only by people’s racism but also by their more general ideologies. He finds that the ideologies advanced by institutions prove too simplistic and one-dimensional to serve something as complex and multidimensional as human identity. Racism blinds people and obstructs people from seeing a person’s real identity, but in the same sense it shines the light on those with racist views own insecurities and fears. However, those with racist views cannot see that because of their blindness they are projecting self.

31 comments:

Redeye said...

Racism blinds people and obstructs people from seeing a person’s real identity, but in the same sense it shines the light on those with racist views own insecurities and fears.

Welcome back!

3chicspolitico.com said...

Hi Granny, Welcome back! :-))

You broke it down, like a fraction. No matter how much the right, the white, the baggers, the GOP, and yes, even the house negroes try to diminish, denigrate, and deny the BLACK man is POTUS, he does not accept the limitations, and thus the fear, insecurites, hate, and inadequacies of these folks bouncing right back on them.

Folks, you gotta own your shit, POTUS is made of teflon.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Thanks Redeye and 3chics.

Anonymous said...

Hi Granny!

Love your post! You always write so well. You nailed it.



SouthernGirl2

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Hello SouthernGirl2 and thanks.

kid said...

Hi Granny we missed you. Can't wait to see your book.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

I missed you kid and everyone too.

Since the last time I posted a topic, I've been to Texas for a funeral, and I had been ill for a minute,but nothing major. My computer was acting up again and wouldn't let me post or comment and it is still acting little crazy and won't let me post at times. However, I'm gonna fix it again after I get a few things out the way. I'm not in a hurry this time because I have a lot to do before next month.

I'll be leaving again next month and will be gone until sometime in August. Gotta go back South to do a little research to tie up few loose ends for the book. A few things came up that I need to go back and check into. I'll be going to more than one state this time.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Black Diaspora said...

An excellent analogy, Granny. The connection of the nameless "invisible man" to President Obama is well drawn. Sheer genius!

Ralph Ellison's book is one of my favorites. I'm reminded that the character in the book couldn't get enough light, even tapping illegally into Monopolated Light & Power.

If you're invisible, the light is your salvation, or as Ellison's character puts it: "Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form…. Without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death…. The truth is the light and light is the truth."

The only thing that Obama can do as president is to let his light shine brighter than those around him. If his light shines brighter, it will dim theirs, and that's the only thing that he and us can hope for, as each of us seek to express our unique identify and humanity in a world that would seek to define them for us.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Hey Black Diapora:

Thanks! I liked Ellison too because he was a very talented literary writer. He was deep and his use of symbols and how he tied them together to convey a message was pure genius.

In some ways, you put me in the mind of him BD when you write.

Francis L. Holland said...

Granny:

I read Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man", but I think I was too young at the time to grasp the abstract and symbolic meaning of much of what was there. I was more accustomed to Blacks' autobiographies, like the "Life and Times of Frederick Douglas."

I didn't really get the symbolism of Ralph Ellison at the time, so it would probably be much clearer to me now.

A woman asked me yesterday why I left the United States, so I recounted an experience I had when I went to the office, in Massachusetts, of a Portuguese (white) state legislator, to encourage the passing of a bill that would provide immigrants with help to learn English and naturalize, so that they would become ineligible for various benefits when a Clinton era "transform welfare" bill was passed nationally.

Well, I was chosen by acclamation as the leader of a mostly white group of seven or ten people, to do the talking with the legislator. I told him that I was the legal director for the Immigration Law Education and Advocacy Project (ILEAP), and once again he asked disbelievingly and insultingly, "You're a lawyer?!"

I ignored his ignorance and incredulity and I asserted once again that I am a lawyer and returned to discussing the benefits of the bill.

Once again, when I stopped talking, he asked, You're a lawyer? He could only see my skin color, but he could not see my long struggle to finish law school and pass the Bar. He discounted those efforts because they conflicted with his color-based image of whom I COULD be.

Those details were "invisible" to him, while his perception of my skin color was more crucial to him than anything else that I might say to him.

I never told anyone of that experience until I started blogging. But that experience, and others like them, may well explain why I left the United States in 2000 and have only spent four months there in the last eleven years.

I don't think I ever realized how much that experience affected me, because I never told anyone about it and I can't even remember if we discussed it within our advocacy group that morning. I suspect that none of us could "name" what had just happened, and we all thought it was more positive to go and talk with other legislators who might be more receptive to our message, instead of blinded by my skin color and his ideas about what my skin color meant to him in the context of his white existence.

In retrospect, I think that experience might have been one of the seeds that grew into the tree that was going to crush me unless I left the United States for good.

Thanks for explaining the invisible man and how Obama remains invisible even as he uses the levers of power to do much of what presidents before him did in in similar circumstances, regardless of his skin color. For better or for worse, President Obama understands that his job is to be the President and not "The Black President".

Granny, if you/and or and 599,999 of our Black voting-age readers move to Vermont, we would become the majority there and get two Black US Senators, a House member or two, a governor, and state legislators across the a state prosecutor. Please consider encouraging 600,000 Black voting-age readers to move to Vermont, talking their entire family with you, so that we can have a reliable way to go from zero US Senators to two.

Vermont might seem like a long way and a strange place for Blacks to go, but it is to my knowledge the state with the smallest population and, therefore, the state where the smallest influx of Blacks would make us the voting majority. And it's only across the border from neighboring New York.

Francis

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Frances:

You should get the Invisible Man and read it again. I think you will enjoy it more the second time around, but take your time reading it. His book is the kind that you have to read more than once to grasp his message because he used many symbols throughout the book. For instance, the boys that wear blindfolds, one-eyed Jack who wore eyeglasses and blinding lights are symbols of blindness that persists throughout the book and mainly represents how people willfully avoid seeing and confronting the truth. Some other symbols used in the book are the Sambo doll, the coin bank, the Yam-Yam man, and Liberty Paint.

Dr.Queen said...

LOVE the analogy with Ellison's book!

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Hello Dr. Queen:

Thanks Dr. Queen.

3chicspolitico.com said...

LET IT SHINE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx3nTsFJEQE&feature=player_embedded

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Everyone is talking about Osama Ben Laden’s death and as usual the Republicans are trying to discredit the President.[/quote]

Dear Granny:

Glad to see you posting again after a hiatus.

QUESTION FOR YOU!!
Can you point to ANY PRESIDENT which had no OPPOSITION TRYING TO DISCREDIT HIM?

We went from fake Military decommission papers advanced by Dan Rather (I did not say he created them) over to Donald Trump driving the current president to show his Birth Certificate.

Though I love you and there is nothing you can do about it Granny (HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!) I am forced to ask you WHAT about this present opposition is more about RACISM than about politics as usual?

I have to give you Obama Defenders credit though. This is the first time in MY observed history that the prioritization "Racism Chasing" and "Obama Manhood Protection" has

1) Taken news of the increase in Black Unemployment from 15.5% to 16.1% off of the headlines of the Black community

2) The outrage that the US Imperialist Powers have teamed with former colonialists Italy, France and the United KINGDOM to bomb AFRICA

3) Look past the threat that DOMESTIC AMERICAN SWAT Team/Extraction Police Squads will model their behavior after the Navy Seal Team and will:
* Go into a zone without official permission
* SHOOT an Unarmed Man Of Color in the face
* Trigger JINGOISTIC CHEERS from an overwhelmingly WHITE crowd at the death of such a man- not a damned mention of DUE PROCESS - as they previously lead us to believe THEY believed when it came to Abu Gharab, Camp Gitmo and Santa Rita Jail In Alamida County

At what COST do you seek WHITE PEOPLE to RESPECT A BLACK PRESIDENT, Granny?

At what point do YOU lose YOURSELF in this quest as you lose all that you had stood for?

Constructive Feedback said...

Brother Holland - from Brazil:

I TOO read "Invisible Man" years ago, with my own volition - not in school.

While it has been a while I do recall that the main character lived live in a large city as various STRUGGLES took place around him but he never seemed to fit in.

I don't think that Granny's analysis fits the ACTUAL PLOT of "Invisible Man" beyond the TITLE, which 3Chics clearly was taken by.

YOU SEE - the book focused on the feelings of disconnectedness FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF THE CHARACTER.

When my beloved Granny applies this name to OBAMA - it is HER SENTIMENTS that SHE IS PROJECTING UPON OBAMA.

(Here me on this one - for real - Granny!!!!)

I saw President Obama standing in front of a MONOPOLY MAJORITY WHITE elite US Military Special Operations Team. In nearly all other circumstances - my friends on the left would put THEM as the face of "Western Imperialism / WHITE SUPREMACY's Projection into foreign lands of color".

Mr Holland IF the US ever takes out Venezuela's Hugo Chavez the agents who do the job will have received the same training as the Seals. (I need to add this based on previous attempts to misrepresent my words: I DID NOT SAY THAT CHAVEZ WAS WORTH OF DEATH LIKE BIN LADEN. I am focused on WHO would do the HIT!)

Just months after the hit by Israeli special agents were condemned for assassinating a foreign official inside of Dubai - which triggered outrage on the left wing "Democracy Now" - which I watch everyday - the propensity to condemn THIS hit for the same reasons opposing "state assassinations" seems muted from these same people who had towing the line of DUE PROCESS - regardless of the level of scuriouslessness of the target.

While some Blacks tried to project their own INFERIORITY upon President Obama during the Birther controversy - believing him to be akin to the Negro spread eagle on the hood of a police car and forced to produce ID to PROVE THAT HE HAS A RIGHT to be walking on the street AND NOT LOCKED UP where the Negro should be (per the view of the racist cop)...................

Most of you FAIL TO SEE that the proof that OBAMA IS A FULL AND EQUAL PRESIDENT is that BY HIS COMMAND he can tell the US Military:

* To kill a man using their advanced techniques
* To BOMB AFRICA with France, Italy and the UK

I am forced to conclude that the real issue is not the LACK OF CONSERVATIVE WHITE RESPECT FOR OBAMA but how the BLACK DEFENDERS OF OBAMA are no longer OPPOSED to the points that "The Diary Of An Economic Hitman" had pointed out............as long as a PRESIDENT THAT THEY FAVOR is making the call.

(I challenge ANYONE to cast a rational rebuttal to these FACTS)

"THE INVISIBLE BLACK COMMUNITY STRUGGLE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT DURING OBAMA" is a far more accurate reading.

Black Diaspora said...

I

@CF: "I am forced to ask you WHAT about this present opposition is more about RACISM than about politics as usual?"

CF, it's your shtick to downplay racism as causal factors in your political-determinant world.

You do this, not because racism isn't present in the political process, but because you see the Democrat Party using issues around racism to add more gullible, and easily manipulated blacks to its ranks.

Your premise and your conclusions suffer, because you reached for the most likely explanation--racism.

Someone has stated it this way before, and I'll reiterate: It's the ego-driven character of Republicans, and the divisive nature of Republicanism, as espoused by some of its major adherents, and proponents, that I find objectionable, as do many other blacks.

Black Diaspora said...

II

"This is the first time in MY observed history that the prioritization "Racism Chasing" and "Obama Manhood Protection" has...."

Your premise that blacks focus on issues that are irrelevant--issues that you identify (inelegantly I might add) as racism and support for President Obama, this nation's fist black president, to the exclusion of other, more pressing issues--supports conclusions that fit your ideological predisposition, and jaundiced perspective.

Because you think you see a thing doesn't mean it's actually there, or that causal relations are as you characterize them.

Black Unemployment: It's always been high, a historical reality that no political party or administration has adequately addressed, the causes of which are as multifaceted as must be the remedy, if it's to be effectively addressed at all.

bomb AFRICA: Hyperbole. These nations bombed Lybia, not Africa. It's tantamount to saying because Canada was bombed, North America was bombed. In this instance these nations could do something to stop Gadaffy's (intentionally misspelled) slaughter of his people. Each nation will present its on particular set of problems and require a differing set of solutions. Nothing is ever as black and white as you suggest.

will model their behavior after the Navy Seal Team: Then their behavior will be racist, but, in strict adherence to your implied rule, we won't be able to say it, and a Democrat Party won't be able to address it, without incurring the wrath of those blacks who will insist that we're "chasing racism," rather than focusing on more substantive issues.

*WHEW!* Damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

Black Diaspora said...

III

"At what COST do you seek WHITE PEOPLE to RESPECT A BLACK PRESIDENT, Granny?

"At what point do YOU lose YOURSELF in this quest as you lose all that you had stood for?"

Tell me this: At what point in our long and brutal history in this country have whites voluntarily given up anything to accommodate the civil rights of blacks?

*I hear crickets.*

No matter what blacks do, or don't do, it won't make us more acceptable to whites. But your suggestion that we must follow their dictates to gain their fickle approval is utter folly.

He who sets up these malicious and evil conditions to force acceptance will ultimately "lose" more than those who feel forced.

"I don't think that Granny's analysis fits the ACTUAL PLOT of "Invisible Man" beyond the TITLE."

Having admitted to not reading the book for a while, you're really not qualified to pass judgment, especially under the rubric of "I don't think."

Granny states the Invisible Man's dilemma perfectly and draws a brilliant analogy between the book's character and the Republican Party with this statement:

"All throughout the book, Invisible Man, the narrator is defined by people who do not see him—that is his real identity because they cannot. Blind people cannot see! The Republicans are blinded by an ideology and racism."

Black Diaspora said...

IV

"When my beloved Granny applies this name to OBAMA - it is HER SENTIMENTS that SHE IS PROJECTING UPON OBAMA."

No the "sentiments" are prima facie to those with eyes to see. Are you, too, like most Republicans, in need of bifocals?

"In nearly all other circumstances - my friends on the left would put THEM as the face of "Western Imperialism / WHITE SUPREMACY's Projection into foreign lands of color".

You're flirting with a little projection of your own here, aren't you? A military has many uses. Bush used it to free the people of Iraq, or so he said (It was imperialism pure and simple, but did you object to this naked aggression then?).

Ghadaffy slaughters hundreds of his people and you call our military intervention there "imperialism," and I'm supposed to feel some kind of kinship with this terrorist and murderer because he resides upon the continent of Africa?

Get real!

Black Diaspora said...

V

"the propensity to condemn THIS hit for the same reasons opposing "state assassinations" seems muted from these same people who had towing the line of DUE PROCESS"

Putting aside the greater issue of killing people for whatever reason, let me remind you: bin Laden was a wanted man with a price on his head. Your assassination claims are just that, claims. Claims that are unsupported.

Would you have been happier had the mission gone bad, and bin Laden's extraction foiled in a hailstorm of bullets killing those who sought his extraction?

Democrats, liberals, progressives are as ideologically consistent as Republicans. Are you as willing to condemn Republicans for ideological inconsistencies as you are Democrats?

I'm more concerned with your inconsistencies, since you have on this blog condemned liberals for what you see as hypocrisy. I say: Remove the mote from your own eye.

"While some Blacks tried to project their own INFERIORITY upon President Obama during the Birther controversy - believing him to be akin to the Negro spread eagle on the hood of a police car...."

"Project...Inferiority"? I don't see blacks projecting anything that's not there for all to see--certainly not "inferiority." If anything, I see blacks projecting their humanity, insisting that they be treated with the same respect as those in the mainstream, whether they be the president of the United States or "the Negro spread eagle on the hood of a police car."

The only blacks I witness creating lines of demarcation among blacks are black Republicans and black conservatives.

Recently a black conservative referred to President Obama as the black(ish) president. I reminded that person that blacks are either biracial or multiracial. Very few us, unless recently emigrated from Africa, or purely African. And many blacks in Africa can't boast this, given the years of colonialism in many parts of the continent.

Black Diaspora said...

VI

"............as long as a PRESIDENT THAT THEY FAVOR is making the call.

"(I challenge ANYONE to cast a rational rebuttal to these FACTS)"

Give me a break! What presidents have you favored over the years? Have you "favored" any, and were any of them Democrats? How many passes did you give them?

I find that Obama is more severely criticized by those that purport to be Democrats than Bush was criticized by Republicans. Granny has criticized him, and so have I when it was warranted.

Here are a few: I'd like to see the president get out of Afghanistan post haste. I'd like to see Bush, Cheney, and others in the Bush administration brought up on charges, and prosecuted for the use of torture.

I'd like to see those who brought this country to its economic knees using financial skulduggery in the mortgage and banking sector brought up charges, fined, and given jail time.

As an aside, the movie, "Too Big Too Fail," will be out soon. I'm curious how it will characterize the crooks that have made billions fleecing the American people.

Consider your challenge met: My "rebuttal" has been as "rational" as your assertions, and my "facts" as reliable as your facts.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Thank you Diaspora.

You know the only time CF has anything to say to me is when I start pulling the cover off of GOP party. Other than that he is quieter than a church house mouse.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

I hit a home run, so CF came out of hiding in the background.

Black Diaspora said...

GrannyStandingforTruth said...
"You know the only time CF has anything to say to me is when I start pulling the cover off of GOP party."

Granny, I'd respect CF's opinions more, if his political attacks and criticisms weren't so one-sided.

He's revealed time and again that he's a partisan while at the same denying it.

Obama and Democrats aren't all devils, and neither are all Republicans saints.

"I hit a home run, so CF came out of hiding in the background."

Yes, you did!

Because you did, CF had to try and take you down a notch, clearly revealing that Ralph Ellison's book eluded him, as does the liberal mindset which he thinks he knows so well.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Amen Diaspora!

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Diaspora:

I'll be leaving again next month, so I've been awful busy trying to get a lot of things done before I leave. Hopefully, I'll be able to rest and relax at least a week before I leave.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]You do this, not because racism isn't present in the political process, but because you see the Democrat Party using issues around racism to add more gullible, and easily manipulated blacks to its ranks.[/quote]

Ah, my good man Black Diaspora. I feel honored that you posited so much volume but didn't say much.

You say "Gullible and EASILY MANIPULATED Blacks".
I REJECT THIS!!!!!!

Instead I believe that the Black Rank & File KNOWS FULL WELL what is going on and they are COMPLICIT with the USURPATION that the Embedded Confidence Men are drawing them into.


YOU JUST DON'T GET IT Black Diaspora.

YOU DISMISS "Black Unemployment" as IT HAS AWAYS BEEN HIGH.

In your willingness to DECEIVE you fail to make note, not just of the "OBAMA PROMISES", not just the "Progressive At Every Rung Of Government" PROMISED TO YOU. Brother BD - we must also look at the BLACK RANK AND FILE and that MAGIC PAINT that they used on OBAMA'S BLANK CANVAS, forming it into the IMAGE THAT THEY DESIRED - even beyond what Obama ever said.

HOW DARE YOU!!!!!!
"Blacks have ALWAYS had high unemployment"............"low academic performance" and higher than average violent community - DOES NOT say ANYTHING about how the CONFIDENCE MEN PROMISED otherwise!!!!!

Black Diaspora said...

@CF: "I feel honored that you posited so much volume but didn't say much."

That was my exact assessment of your verbiage, but good manners restrained my saying so. I see you're not deterred by such niceties.

"Instead I believe that the Black Rank & File KNOWS FULL WELL what is going on and they are COMPLICIT with the USURPATION that the Embedded Confidence Men are drawing them into."

What contempt you have for blacks! Your estimate of blacks has reached such a nadir, I'm amazed that you'd want to throw a lifeline to rescue them from the raging waters that swirl around them, after they waded in over their heads.

"YOU DISMISS "Black Unemployment" as IT HAS AWAYS BEEN HIGH."

My statement wasn't dismissive, just factual. You, on the other hand, chose to use it as cudgel to suggest that blacks have misplaced priorities.

What you don't get is that there may exist connections between our stated concerns, and the high unemployment rates we're seeing in the black community.

But to perceive such a nexus requires a free and opened mind.

Yours is mired in an ideological quicksand from which you can't escape, notwithstanding the proximity of a tree branch that extends over the quagmire with the salutary solution of a new, and more accurate perspective.

"[W]e must also look at the BLACK RANK AND FILE and that MAGIC PAINT that they used on OBAMA'S BLANK CANVAS, forming it into the IMAGE THAT THEY DESIRED - even beyond what Obama ever said."

False assumption. Faulty conclusion. Your premise isn't true: Blacks did not, are not, pinning their economic, social, or political hopes on Obama. Were that the case, we would have deserted him months ago.

Yet, that's what you'd like to believe, because it fits the narrative you've contrived, and buttresses your ideological predisposition.

Blacks saw in Obama, not an opportunity to advance so much, but as confirmation that blacks can reach for the highest office in the land and achieve it, despite the obstacles, the hurdles, and the impediments that are often strewn in our path by the majority society.

That assurance along will drive the vision of blacks now being born, and those who, even now, are aspiring to do great things. You can't see that because you're wearing ideological blinders, and can only see what you've placed in front of you.

"HOW DARE YOU!!!!!!"

I dare: to have more faith in our people than you; to believe in their eventual success; to know that a new energy has been unleashed, and a new vision of their potential brought before them.

Where there's a lack of vision, the people perish.

"DOES NOT say ANYTHING about how the CONFIDENCE MEN PROMISED otherwise!!!!!"

You mean the Democrats that we voted for, don't you? Why not just say that? Con men come in many colors, and are embedded in both parties.

If blacks haven't fallen for the Republican con, it's because Republicanism is all con, and very little else.

Republicans have no solutions (except every man for himself, survival of the fittest, greed is good, and that government is for the rich and powerful).

Republicans could very well be the problem, since the content of their character doesn't inspire the call to action that's needed to place the nation on a new path, and our black communities on the road to self-sustainability.

mellaneous said...

Hey Granny thought I would check you out. I think you have a point, folks project on to the president their assumptions about black folks.

I don't get too caught up in this because it is also a convenient game of good cop bad cop that is being played here. The democrats in some parts are just as racist.

And the racism aimed at Obama sometimes distracts us from the larger issues that we have to fight or fight for, you see I can never forget that Obama is the representative of US imperialism. And US imperialism when this all passes away will have some hefty explaining to do about the exploitaitive, oppressive, murderous and down right mean things it has imposed on the world.