OBAMA AND OUR MENTAL HEALTH
Last week many folks were crying and feeling very happy by the events that took place in Denver. Happiness can be a sign of good health. No more blues. Hallelujah Time. It feels good to see a black person achieve success against the odds. But what if Obama's rise is also representative in a shift in how we view race in America? What if someone told you that thinking black was outdated? What if you were told to look beyond race? Could you lose your mind? Would reality as you know it collapse? What if suddenly you found yourself going through your entire day and never mentioning anything about blacks or whites? Would this new condition drive you out of your mind? Remember that Hendrix song about 6 being 9? Might Obama in the White House turn a white person's world upside down? Might they go crazy? Consider the violence that took place after the Supreme Court case of 1954. Might one reclassify many of the acts of white racism as being an indication of mental illness? Did the blow against segregation make white people ill? During my lifetime I've witnessed many acts of racism by folks who were mentally ill. What about you?
What's the connection? Consider black intellectuals who cannot study the world without a reference to blackness. What would happen if the concept became outdated? What if race was nothing but an idea? An idea that might become as obsolete as an old form of energy. Are we still dependent on the steam engine in 2008? One could conclude that whiteness has already become outdated. How many young white people now prefer to be black? Of course we might be back to trying to define blackness again, but leave that to someone getting a degree from Temple University (for the moment). What might happen if black intellectuals could no longer dream a world? How could they lead us?
What we might want to measure over the next two years are racial acts of violence that are linked to Obama's "transforming politics." In November, some people might just lose their minds. Consider how angry black people might become if Obama lost the way Gore did. To have their dream destroyed by what they believe to be evil and simple theft. How many might begin to suffer from depression? The political defeat of Obama no different than a death in the family. And what if Obama wins and there are celebrations around the country but white people feel excluded and angry because they can't stop the motion of history. How crazy might some white people become and attempt to destroy the entire nation?
This is just a probe and a suggestion that we pull our Fanon from our bookshelves. How do we measure mental disorders among the oppressed as well as the oppressor? As we attempt to move beyond our various stages of victimization, we will struggle to think new thoughts. We cannot enter the doors of the future by walking backwards. The challenge is for our imaginations to look beyond blackness and to go in search of color everywhere. The old world was divided into black and white. The new "race" men and women must become digital. Don't be caught with your two rabbit ears and talking analog double consciousness. You just won't work in the future. Click. Click.