Our VoiceImmigration

No One (White) is Responsible for Anything


Rev. David L. Ostendorf • Jun 02, 2010

fingerThe recent finger-pointing show put on by the BP oil spill execs from the three primary companies involved in that disaster has provided yet another narrative for contemporary America: no white person is responsible for anything, especially when it comes to corporate or government in/action.  The blame-fixing political show still running in Arizona on SB1070 only confirms what the BP execs revealed—that white “leaders” only know how to use two fingers: the index to appoint blame and… well, you know, that big one in the middle to indicate how much they really care anyway.

On the economy, energy, race, or immigration white “leaders” are amazingly adept at shirking and ignoring their own culpability in creating and sustaining problems, at fomenting and taking advantage of crises, and, then, at shifting responsibility for those problems and crises to others.  For generations whites have followed this pattern on race, having created and sustained slavery, fomented a war over it, nurtured a century of Jim Crow, and then blamed African Americans for their own plight to this very day.  It worked so well on race that the pattern now seems to have application to countless other matters.  Most everything is similarly racialized.

Take immigration.  For years now white politicians and the citizens behind them have cowered and hidden from developing, let alone advancing, any kind of substantive immigration reform at the federal level to address the issue.  Republicans, in particular, have used the problem to their own advantage in countless settings, railing about “the broken immigration system” that, unfixed, has provided them political fodder for the next election.  With the array of white nationalist, anti-immigrant groups in the John Tanton Network, they have fomented the current crisis, and then blamed immigrants themselves for it.

In Arizona the pattern has reached new levels of success, with those two white fingers flying madly about the political landscape.  Here’s how it worked.  A. The federal government has shirked its duty to enforce our border and develop a new immigration policy (subtext: we have been highly successful at making sure there was no federal action).  B. Because the federal government did not act, we have to do so ourselves (subtext: we have successfully taken advantage of the crisis we helped create, in order to get rid of all “those” people we don’t want here).  C. Immigrants are themselves at fault for coming here in the first place (subtext: they’re just like “those other people” who don’t play by the rules).  D. We need courageous white politicians who will stand up to open border advocates and make sure that we can spread our approach to other states, prevent the federal government from doing anything, and perpetuate the crisis for our own benefit (subtext: take back “our government,” of, by, and for whites).

Actually, the same thing goes for the gulf coast disaster.  The U.S. has no discernible energy policy to get it off the oil fix, after decades of inaction by the white-controlled Congress dominated by energy interests, to say nothing of that recent oil-rich President and his Vice.  Comes now the BP crisis.  White fingers are flying everywhere.  But who is really at fault, especially since the crisis hasn’t been resolved?  The federal government, and most especially… President Obama!  (Need it be mentioned that he is the first African American President in U.S. history?)   The Black guy is responsible!  Even those arch-conservatives who want “the government” off their backs are crying for federal help, and pleading for intervention.  If the President does respond, it will be a result of their beckoned call; if not, well, the fingers will fly.

In short, at virtually every level of life in America no white “leader” is responsible for anything—structural racism at work.  You can take that to the bank.  If you do, of course, count your own fingers after you make your deposit; after all, the financial collapse was also at the hands of… no one (white).

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