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It has to be said.  I am going to say it.  Why are so many white well-off people telling the rest of us that the current healthcare legislation deserves to be "killed?"  Why are so few progressives calling these people out on a strategy that is clearly racist and classist in its effect?

For many of us who have been organizing in communities of colors for years, we are familiar with the term "disproportionate minority impact."  This is code and a euphemasm for the notion that the poor and the brown take the brunt of oppression.

I have been working my ass off for healthcare reform for more years than I can count.  I have spent the past 14 months actively organizing in my community.  I have hosted countless events, made calls, and gotten out into the community to talk to people and to listen.

Ever since I started hearing people talk about "killing" the current legislation, I was stunned not at the fact that those voices were so white and so middle class but by the fact that they weren't being called out as such.

I am doing it now and I am certain that I am going to get slammed here by folks who say: No it isn't so.  Luis Guttierez is pissed off, X person of color once said something negative about the bill. I can assure you of one thing, Luis Guttierez will vote for this bill because he knows that his community is DISPROPORTIONATELY negatively impacted by its lack of access to health insurance.  So he will gripe and then he will vote for this bill.

The Limousine Liberals have the benefit of the microphone. Their voices are amplified while ours are muffled. They don't acknowledge their PRIVILEGE (inherent in their racial and class backgrounds).  It is sickening.  Killing this bill will mean KILLING A DISPROPORTIONATE number of black, brown, and working poor folks. That is a fact and these folks need to be called on that.

Dennis Kucinich makes me ill.  I cannot say more than this.  He makes me sick.  Michael Moore makes me sick.  Arianna Huffington makes me sick.

For all of my white and middle class brothers and sisters who have kept their heads about them and have and will continue to organize with those of us from marginalized communities, I say THANK YOU for exhibiting true ally behavior.  I want to give a shout out to Andy Stern for exhibiting ally behavior.  I want to give a shout out to Speaker Pelosi for her pragmatism and her nerves of steele.  I want to give a shout out to Markos.  Thank you for keeping your heads and for moving the ball forward.

I am not happy with this bill but then again I advocate for radical change knowing full well that change is progressive and built upon by every generation.

Al Giordano ultimately speaks for me when he writes:

For now, I’ll just say how encouraged I am to see the authentic base asserting itself and adopting the necessary pragmatism and discipline to go out there and win this long political war over health care.

It has been 62 years since President Harry Truman first proposed national health care reform. And if, as momentum seems to be turning, perhaps as soon as this coming weekend the health care bill pushes through to historic triumph, it will be because pragmatism and discipline are no longer considered dirty words on the US left. That would be a miracle, and also harbinger of better days, and more victories, yet to come.

Update: Thanks for putting this on the rec list.  Thanks also to those who are attempting to engage with the substance of my argument.  

Update #2: For those who are feeling particularly upset about the reality that the loudest voices of the "kill the bill" contingent are well-off WHITE people, you need to search your own souls about that.  Race and class are not invisible constructs in this country.  They operate in ways that serve to structure privilege and underscore oppression.  If you can't handle that, you need to take a step back to reflect on the truth of these words.  There are of course many well-off white people who are not in the kill the bill contingent and some of those have been highlighted in this diary.  However to refuse to see the reality of the overarching argument and to lash out instead is to ignore reality.  Deal with it!

Originally posted to mka193 on Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 10:18 AM PDT.

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