October 26, 2021

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The blackwashing of America

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Uday Deb
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Just a few months ago it seemed that the streets of Washington, D.C. were choc a bloc with Black Lives Matter protesters. They were agitating for a just cause, a rightful cause, the inhuman slaying of an innocent black man, George Floyd, by Derek Chauvin, a ruthless white cop. They were tear gassed, battered and bruised. Even the army was called in against them.

Today the streets of DC are full of the kind of people that the BLM protestors were protesting against: right-wing white supremacists. The protesters of today are protesting for an ignoble cause. They want to keep the deposed president, the tyrant Donald Trump, who will rest in infamy as the worst ruler America has ever had and will ever have, in power, by hook or by crook. America today stands shamed before the world, more than ever before.

We always get had by the whites, railed a black commentator on TV. Slavery ended in 1865, to be followed by a brief period of black renaissance called Reconstruction. Whites in America hated Reconstruction so much that they found the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize blacks. They framed segregationist Jim Crow laws, which lasted a century or so, to oppress blacks.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, which event was followed by widespread rioting. And then in 2020, the worst black riots since 1968 broke out in the country in protest against the killing of Floyd and Breonna Taylor and other innocent black people at the hands of white cops. Joe Biden seized the initiative. He promised to reform the police. Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic was the first major reason why Biden won. Reforming the police was the second.

Now Biden is weaseling out. He says that he cannot reform the police with an executive order (similar to a government ordinance in India) alone. He says he needs Congressional approval. But the US Congress is divided. The Senate is probably going to remain in the hands of the Republicans, who are against police reform of any kind. Even moderate Democratic Congressmen and women are against police reform.

So it will not happen. Biden used it as a plank to win, and once he’s won, he’s ditched the plank. The aforementioned black TV commentator was right. Blacks have always been had in America. Say goodbye to police reform. Say welcome to Joe Biden.

I admit that I am a copious watcher of American TV. I have noticed in the last few months a curious, disturbing trend. Almost every TV ad, yes almost every TV ad, features one or more black persons. If I was a Martian descended on planet earth with no idea of the realities of this place, I would think that blacks were the richest, happiest, most good-looking people on this planet.

Yes, Madison Avenue, which is overwhelmingly white, has done its black makeover, its blackwashing. You have blacks pitching everything from cosmetics and health care products to cars and food on TV now. At the height of the Floyd riots, one sensible black TV commentator pleaded with whites: Ok, we get that you don’t like the way we look, but why are you killing us?

You see stuff on TV now pushing the boundaries of imagination, stuff that you seldom see in American society. The forbidden fruit in America has always been the coupling between the white woman and the black man. And some of that was shown on TV and film before. But the black woman? She rests even today at the bottom of the American totem pole.

Relationships between white men and black women have always been uncommon in American history. Not so on American TV today. A white man-black woman pairing is to be found a dime a dozen there. Just what is going on in America? Some people say that black people are killed only because they look, but now whites seem to find blacks so attractive that they are ready to buy anything plugged by black people.

And then there has been the historically frosty relationship in America between white women and black women. Once again it’s a different story on TV. White and black women mix happily, arm in arm, sisters all.

So there goes reform of the police or of systemic racism as Biden had promised. Madison Avenue has cured America of its systemic racism. Madison Avenue has policed the police. Here’s another one of the hypocrisies in which America abounds. In any other country, a liberal or illiberal democracy or even a dictatorship, if a tyrant had been deposed and he did not leave in short order, the streets would be full of protestors forcing him to quit.

Not so in America. A tyrannical ruler has been displaced by the cleanest election possible. Here the tyrant is being implored to stay by his supporters on the streets. No tear-gassing happens against them. No army is called in. The despot is clinging on to power in order to delegitimize the next government so he can plan his own comeback in a few years. Why doesn’t he bow out gracefully? All the TV pundits are watching his next move, guessing which court he will move next, wondering whether he will attend the inaugural of the next president.

Only in America. Only in America can this spectacle happen. Americans need to get their house in order before they hector the world on how to behave. Like undertaking effective police reform. Like eradicating systemic racism. Just like Biden promised. And not the way Madison Avenue is trying to shove America’s dirt under the carpet.

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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