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The Freedom Party

August 17, 2010

In polite company, there’s a certain way of talking about the differences between the races. 

The guys will laugh about how white men can’t jump. And the ladies will giggle about the fact that a large posterior is a turn on in one community and a turn off in another. 

The silliness can quickly turn serious when a white person makes a comment about “how far we’ve come” in electing a black man as president. 

The quick response from people of color is that racism is alive and well. This comes as a shock to white people, and the intensity with which this is expressed is a double shock. 

“Really? I thought Obama’s election was an indication that we’re moving past racism.” 

“Are you kidding? I can’t believe you even said that.  You think that because you voted for him, everything is fine? Far from it.” 

Consider this gulf in perception in the context of New York City Councilman Charles Barron’s effort to create a new political entity, and his call for minorities to abandon mainstream political parties. 

There are a lot of people, we’re sure, who will simply dismiss Barron’s effort. He’s a radical. He’s polarizing. He’s angry. He’s a fringe candidate. 

Perhaps, but he’s also tapping into a strong sentiment in the minority community that white people simply don’t understand. 

Minorities are not “satisfied” now that Obama is in charge. To the contrary, Obama’s success has made minorities more impatient and upset with racism they see almost every day. 

And that’s what Barron is counting on – that people who are black and brown will want to assert themselves by joining a Freedom Party. 

The timing may seem strange to white people, but this may be the right moment for people of color to finally establish a political party that will allow them to exert more influence on the political system. And why not try?  What about the experience of the Independence Party, Working Families Party and other minor parties in New York should deter Barron and his supporters? The answer is nothing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 18, 2010 11:15 AM

    The gulf you speak of widens when you actually see Barron. He wears what appears to be a Nehru jacket, and he touts Alton Maddox as a hero. Maybe that plays with some, but it will never win broad appeal.

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