It has been a while since I involved the world wide web’s blogshphere into my life. I have been spending my free time reading repetitive and often times overly-biased articles regarding the presidential campaign. Which is ironic for me being a filmmaker, and supporter of independent media. All this being said I think that there is a sense of self assurance that is intoxicating when it comes to hearing or reading others who share your ideas. But, recently I have also become very aware of an underground movement that is perhaps more subconscious then conscious in which there are counterproductive progressives in our midst. Underground revolts to me are as dangerous and provocative as mainstream ideology. This week I was faced with having to address these issues while listening to my friends and family members describe what they believed to be the role of white progressives in America.
I would like to preface this story by acknowledging that my minority friends were the main contributors to this dialogue as was my family. One involved a director of a community service center at a university whose mission involved building a relationship between its student body and under privileged communities- primarily minority based communities. A situation occurred when he asked my friend to speak with a coworker (who is a coordinator) about a price tag that was on the coat she was wearing. My friend was baffled and asked the director why he could not tell the worker about her price tag. The response was the director felt that it would be better coming from an associate then him- the director.
At this moment I was reminded of how often I tend to recognize such peculiarities by a sweeping headache turned on by the tales of counterproductive progressives. Being that my friend works as a receptionist, he is often baffled by the way that people interact with him simply because of his title- mind you he has a bachelors and is working on a masters degree. So I asked myself, when did we become so caught up in stature that we can no longer speak to our co-workers let alone our employees? Listening to this story I was truly sickened by the suggestion that class had everything to do with his not approaching his employee regarding a price tag. I presumed this director had spent a great deal of time rationalizing his actions. I imagined him sitting gleefully behind a long L-shaped mahogany based desk and looking online at the hierarchical chart of the institution before skimming to the bottom in search of my friends name. To me that was a great blow to the progressive movement, the idea that someone heading such a revered center would embrace such an illogical concept as this.
Is this the future of non-profits and progressive organizations? To assume that simply working in the field allows you the luxury of being biased and discriminatory? Is this what some assume of the Obama candidacy? That if he is elected, African Americans should stand aside and allow the racism to continue because after all we now have a black man in the white house?
I know that this was perhaps not the message that this director wanted to leave behind, but it is the message that was perceived by his actions. I only hope that others would not act this way- to not talk to a Hispanic person because you are not Hispanic, or a homeless person because you are not homeless. Perhaps then my bolting headaches shall be sufficed to the idiocracy of our politicians.