We all know that this election is a big moment in the history of the United States, but I can’t help myself from thinking about my feelings of desperation around this same time in 2004. I was enthusiastically ready for Kerry to defeat Bush, but the feeling in the air was so different. There were more protests and more uncertainty. I knew I wanted some kind of real change but I couldn’t really visualize what that was or how that was going to be delivered.
That year I missed the speeches at the Democratic Party’s Convention. I remember the next day being told about Obama and finding an affinity to the stories that he had told and were recited back to me. Then he won his race for Senator. I saw shots of Midwestern African-Americans, presumably on the Southside of Chicago, cheering in jubilation. It was a celebratory scene in an area similar to neighborhoods I knew, growing up in a Midwestern U.S. city. It seemed a hopeful consolation to the Kerry loss.
More and more I started to hear about Barack Obama. Rapper Common was the first person I heard to make the call for Presidential Election. I read his book and made this mixtape (click on image to download):
Now we’re on the verge of this man making history. I am excited, but have to say that I am bewildered by, saddened by, and in fear of, some of the anti-Obama rantings made by some of my fellow countrymen. Sometimes I want to laugh, but it’s getting harder and harder to do that. I can’t say that I’m surprised by the racism, or the fear, but maybe I’m a little shocked by the passion with which these people profess their hate. Perhaps I’m surprised because these people would not consider me in the same way that I would consider them. I really can’t even picture if I was plopped down in the middle of a McCain-Palin rally how these people would react. That’s scary. McCain in the last days of this race are leaning on the ignorance of people stuck in their grandparent’s America. Where did all these right wing radicals come from?
Every single hate speech launced at Obama stings me personally. I too believe in “spreading the wealth.” I have a similarly sounding name given to me by my African father (which is apparently makes me un-American.) My Grandfather was born into a Muslim family. I am in someways a community organizer. I actually have even met former members of the “domestic terrorist” group the Weather Underground at a talk they did at my college. On the flip-side, I too have a white mother, with working class Midwestern roots. I went to one of the nation’s top Universities and have continued my parent’s goals of pursuing the American Dream. I strive to one day be in a position to help change the world.
In my opinion, I am the definition of America.
So in response, I’ve produced a track with a rapper friend (from Dayton, Ohio) who goes by the name Cracker One. I can’t co-sign all his lyrics, but I love that this guy has made it his personal mission to introduce “Crackah” in the lexicon of Hip Hop loving white folks the world over. He’s making “Crackah” the “Nigga” for white people. Why hasn’t this caught on before? White people need to own this term. I don’t want to hear a single White person use the N-word in any form for the rest of my life. People need to deconstruct and own race in a direct, healthy, and respectful way. Just imagine the conversation. Two white guys meeting on a subway platform, “What up my Crackah!” As a person who is both part “Crackah,” and part “Nigga” this would be the America that I would want to live in. I guess I would have to start using “Mulatto!”
Below is Cracker One’s dedication to all those good folks back in the Midwest, and not to give too much attention to the wackos in Tennessee, but don’t these idiots look like they’re taking a page out of the Al-Qaeda press book? Extremism looks the same wherever you are on this planet. Let’s do this on November 4th.