Sunday, November 27, 2016

White Power

When things get tense or stressful, sometimes my wife encourages anyone within the sound of her voice to "wrap it in white light." It is her version of magic that she hasn't gotten around to fully studying or embracing, graduating from Mills College as she did rather than Hogwarts. It is an incantation that I understand as a protective gesture, one that will hopefully keep anything worse from happening. In this way, it is her White Power.
It is remarkably different from the White Power that has been discussed over the past few weeks, and beyond. This is the "alt-right" which has become such a part of our national politics as the minutes tick by in anticipation of the moment when Barack Obama is no longer President of the United States. First of all, I should say that my first encounter with the phrase "alt-right" was the one in which I assumed I would be learning about obscure keyboard commands for my personal computer. This was not the case. If you have missed the furor, this would be the truncated version of "Alternative Right" in which the "Alternative" has very little to do with Franz Ferdinand and more to to with Breitbart News. Both have a good beat, but one is imminently more dance-able. This is the group for whom Fox News feels just a little too left of center. It is a place where white folks can huddle together and spout their fear-filled rhetoric among like-minded individuals. They're coming to take our guns. They're coming to take our Christmas trees. They're coming to take our freedom. "They" would be anyone whose agenda or skin color doesn't match their own. If you don't find yourself asking any how or why questions upon looking at their web site, then you might be alt-right. If you don't find the appointment of Breitbart's former executive chair of the cornerstone of alt-right media to Donald Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor worrisome, then you may be alt-right. Forgive me if this is all starting to sound a little like a Jeff Foxworthy routine, but apparently Steve Bannon, the previously mentioned appointee, doesn't like the term. Sorry, Steve.
But getting under Mister Bannon's skin is not what I have in mind. Instead, I ask us all to remember what an oppressed minority looks like. It's not the folks at Breitbart or Fox. The chance to react to perceived threats is now upon them, and we don't have to cringe in fear. That's their gig. Here's something to keep in mind: According to science, the combination of all colors of light in the spectrum makes white. It takes a rainbow to make things white. That's the power of white.

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