White Like Me was a segment done by anti-racism scholar Tim Wise. He addresses white privilege, the criminal justice system and mass incarceration, and the misconceptions that racism is over, there is such thing as reverse racism, and that colorblindness is the solution. This video connected really well with the Race: The Power of an Illusion documentary. It discussed the policies of the Depression and post WWII and the institutionalized racism that was enacted through these policies.
I was in middle school when Obama was elected. I was very naïve to politics and wasn’t really aware of the discourse around his election (something I had the privilege to be oblivious to), other than that he was the first black president. Watching the clips from the news at the time, and being more informed now, I was shocked and angry that so much of the country thought racism was over and a thing of the past once Obama was elected. This event made people think any black person could pick themselves up by the bootstraps, like we talked about with our last documentary, despite the statistics at the time indicating otherwise. There were still severe disparities in wealth, health and resources.
The segment about the Tea Party was scarily familiar. It was just like MAGA, they want to “take our country back” and go back to the “real America”. Under the guise of wanting lower taxes and less government, their message is a very racial one. The Tea Party and Trump supporters want “Make America Great Again”, referring to going back to a time of white supremacy, and a time where government policies and programs benefitted only certain people- whites. These movements are racist and disillusioned.
Programs are supported based on what bodies they are protecting and serving. Tea Party and MAGA supporters want to go back to a time when programs only benefitted white bodies. Now that programs like welfare are attempting to help all bodies (although mostly still white bodies), they are viewed as black programs for “lazy” and “underserving citizens”. This is similar to how emerging infectious diseases are viewed. Diseases are only considered to be “emerging” and in the public eye if they are affecting the “important” bodies, or the white ones. Along the same vein, when disease affects certain marginalized bodies, for example syphilis in African Americans, it is viewed as a disease for people who are immoral and promiscuous. It’s all about who is benefitting or suffering, and is framed accordingly and racially.