I don’t know If I could pass as a Dave Matthews fan. I went to a couple of his concerts (for the same reason I went to Yanni – to impress a girl), but even at my lowest liberal-low, I was kind of grossed out by the half-naked stoned hippies squirming around in body paint next to the staggering drunk frat boys and sorority girls. Sure, the guy had a handful of interesting songs, but unless you’re under the influence, trying to impress someone, or a musician yourself, watching 20 minute instrumental solos just isn’t that interesting.
Still, I knew a little about Matthews. He was himself an alcoholic, with whisky being his poison of choice. He was born in South Africa, and lived there on and off. His parents were wealthy – incredibly so, when contrasted to my own upbringing – and he also lived in London and New York. He dated some nurse who lived near me in (Queen Anne) Seattle, and they later married. Matthews is a “Pacifist”, a stance he took when his time for mandatory participation in the South African military. He claims to be “agnostic”. He is also an outspoken party-adherent supporter of the Democratic party, putting a lot of time and energy into supporting its last two candidates for the Presidency.
Knowing what I knew about his unwavering and blind political association, I probably should have ignored the article I saw this morning. After all, “US Racism ‘Everywhere’ Says Dave Matthews” was unlikely to say anything new or informative in this ridiculous debate about whether or not any and all criticism of Obama is related to racial prejudice … but I figured I would read it anyway. After all, Dave Matthews was from South Africa, and being so has a unique perspective on racism.
All hope went out the window, however, when I read one of the first quotes. When CNN asked him if he thinks the animosity toward President Obama is race-related, Matthews responded:
“Of course it is! I found there’s a fairly blatant racism in America that’s already there, and I don’t think I noticed it when I lived here as a kid. But when I went back to South Africa, and then it’s sort of thrust in your face, and then came back here — I just see it everywhere. There’s a good population of people in this country that are terrified of the president only because he’s black, even if they don’t say it. And I think a lot of them, behind closed doors, do say it.”
There you go. With all the scientific fact-gathering of the evolution movement, he states right there:
“There’s a good population of people in this country that are terrified of the president only because he’s black, even if they don’t say it. And I think a lot of them, behind closed doors, do say it.”
Matthews seems to be playing up to the suspicion some minorities have that there are secret clubs of white people who sit around and enjoy life and are racist in secret. As a white myself, just like Matthews, I have to say that his assumption is ridiculous! That “good population” he’s claiming exists is miniscule – they are the white supremacists, the neo-nazis, the aryan nations – and if they were so big, I should hear about them much more than I do, and certainly much more than Matthews, because I live in the heart of the region where they are concentrated, and even I don’t see them or hear them. I do, however, spend a lot more time “behind closed doors” with other whites in this region, and I can sincerely say I have never heard a racist statement made about Obama or any other black, for that matter! Even among those old people who, up until 30 years ago, were fond of saying the n-word. Yes, I’ve seen a single poster and heard one or two drunken rednecks use the phrase “this is America, speak English!”, but that is directed at the large population of migrant Mexican workers in the area (not acceptable, but not anti-black). And yes, in the beginning there were a few people who “worried that he is Muslim”, but that had a lot more to do with a fear of someone (allegedly) belonging to a religion in which some extremists had a threatening and violent hatred toward Christianity– the religion with which most out here are affiliated – and Judaism, but again, that is a prejudicial fear based on religion and not skin color. Even those examples did not represent more than a small fraction of a single percent of the population.
So where are these people who don’t say they are racist, who Matthews thinks admit it behind closed doors? They don’t exist, in any substantial numbers anyway, except in the mind of someone who is delusional or paranoid.
Perhaps Matthews is not talking about actual racists, but instead people like myself who are so anti-racist that we bravely stand up and point out the very real instances of racism, even when those instances are unpopular to oppose. Instances like affirmative action, or those times that are labeled “playing the race card”: when someone commits a very real crime or does some other act that would get any other person into some kind of trouble, but by virtue of their race takes opportunity to play fear of racism in their favor to escape the consequences of their actions. This would be like someone who carelessly speeds at 60 mph in a 20 mph school zone, gets pulled over and then screams they were profiled “because they are black”. Or someone who breaks into a house they are renting, but when their suspicious activity spurs a call to the police, they refuse to cooperate with the responding officer by simply showing some identification, become belligerent and accuse the officer of racism because the officer is white and the suspect black. Matthews elaborates on his theory:
“Maybe I’m paranoid about it, but I don’t think someone who disagreed as strongly as they do with Obama — if it was Clinton — would have stood up and screamed at him during his speech. I don’t think so.”
How ironic, then, that later that same day, Clinton himself offered his two cents on the Larry King show:
"… I don’t believe that all the people who oppose him on health care — and all the conservatives — are racists. And I believe if he were white, every single person who opposes him now would be opposing him then."
I’ve never been a huge fan of Clinton, but compared to Matthews, he sounds like a great guy.
People need to realize that the loud vocalizations of opposition to the president, his policies, his administration and his party are not rooted in race. To brush them off or ignore them altogether, mislabeled as “racially motivated” is ignorant and tyrannical. In a democracy you cannot ignore the voice of the people – yet that is exactly what they are doing, and idiots like Matthews and other entertainers in the music industry and Hollywood are just helping them do that. It’s no wonder the White House thinks they can just call up some NEA artists and rally them into creating propaganda for the OA and its policies … they already get brain-dead “yessirree!” support from other artists.
We’ve got to make our friends aware of the dangers of getting their news from actors and actresses, musicians and bumper stickers! We are being taken advantage of by a very cunning and manipulative administration. They’ve got a huge plan that we can only see pieces of, but we know their first attack is to convince us into complacency. “Our opponents are racist bible slinging idiots! Why are they so afraid of free healthcare and government helping businesses"?” – they say. Beneath the glossy blue and red smile, however, they are enacting laws increasing and extending the power of the president. They are threatening the weakest links in their party into not running for a second term because they don’t want to risk losing their power. They are labeling ordinary citizens – especially those most likely to protect our freedoms from a tyrannical government – as “terrorists”.