Despite the nuance that contemporary culture grants the cluster of white senior citizens currently vying for the democratic nomination, the contemporary election illuminates that old habits die hard. Yes, in a contemporary climate where terms like ” intersectionality” and pronoun use embody a superficial change few saw coming, the once diverse pool of candidates seeking for the democratic nomination quickly dissolved down to two old white men. I, of course, use the term diverse loosely, as the former candidates wished to diversify democratic performance not praxis. From Kamala Harris, the biracial daughter of migrants and HBCU grad, to Julian Castro, who built his campaign as the voice of non-white Americans, the 2020 candidate pool collaboratively existed to provide a flicker of hope for those merely seeking representation. The candidate pool, which at the offset appeared to have something for everyone, quickly revealed the American way as vested not only in white ideals, but espoused to white representation. Thus, these former candidates existed solely to depict a superficial democratic effprt to extinguish the fire of facism which enabled both their entrance and exit into the presidential race.
Nevertheless, I digress.
I recently read Toni Morrison’s essay “Black Matter(s)” where she renders the powerful claim that “the subject of the dream is the dreamer.” This claim substantiates her assertion that “American” means white. America, therefore, remains vested in Americans, and this too means white. Though it is beyond tempting to limit these statements to white male, the same system that enabled Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy also ensured her eventual exit. Warren would not have gotten as far as she did, nor attained the traction she did if she were not a white woman in America. Kamala Harris could have never been Elizabeth Warren. As a mixed-race, migrant, married to a white man—Harris consummated the necessary qualities to be a safe “person of color” to white people, but her hue was not the right shade to consummate American status as woman. Trump’s presidential plight in 2016 symbolized the disgruntled white elderly who felt that a black president elucidated the elderly white man’s return to the position. Therefore, the white woman as president would have to precede the black, or non-black woman of color candidate .
As a white female candidate for president, Warren embodied an opportunity for representational change. Her elimination, in juxtaposition to Joe Biden’s many state victories over opponent Bernie Sanders, betrays an American preference for nuanced nostalgia. A nuanced nostalgia is not change, rather, it is more of the same. A preference for nuanced nostalgia betrays a failure to divert from the racist ideology and documentation that started this country. Moreover, Warren’s elimination personifies an integral part of the American dream, for she is a pillow, not the dreamer. This claim engenders the query as to how Warren differs from 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s elimination was also inevitable, albeit for different reasons. In Clinton’s case it was not that the US was not ready for a female president, it was that the US had no place for a white female president who actualized white masculinity as a political praxis.
But what does this mean for the black voter in America?
It underscores that the American dream must not be our dream. The dream seduces us to believe that American trajectory is linear not circular. The dream ensures that blacks remain utterly asleep as the dreamer continues to actualize peace where the abjected face illusion.
Warren’s omission illuminates ( or reminds some) that it was not Obama’s blackness that made him Whitehouse ready, but this inability to disrupt the dream. Obama’s victory convinced the non-white and white “liberals” of a dream, and to awaken the dreamer to assume and guard its bed.
For the black voter, this is not a time to be despondent, disenchanted or to feel a sense of victory. This is a time to ensure that we understand our expulsion from the American dream is an intractable American fact. In acknowledging this truth, we as a people understand that blackness in America exists to foment the horrid reality we see today. A reconfigured black identity is not idealistic, radical, or fantasy; rather, it is a necessity. We must reshape, not only our voting patterns, but create a reconfigured definition of blackness that is not a monolith but autonomous from the westernized darkness employed for the American dreamer, or remain objected as an amorphous American object.