Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A definition of "antidisenfranchisementalism."


I spoke with Chyll Will over the phone today about the subject of one of the blogs I announced here a few days ago. But I found I couldn't give him a quick 20-second pitch on it. So I instead decided to republish a short mini-column of the same title that I wrote for a newsletter I published in 2006 (at right):

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"What the heck IS this 'antidisenfranchisementalism?'"

It’s a term I made up, so don’t bother looking through your dictionary for “antidisenfranchisementalism.” 

On second thought, open that dictionary and find “disenfranchise: to deprive of a legal right or privilege.”

Let me tell you a little open secret: many Black Americans feel somewhat disenfranchised by their country. In the past, this disenfranchisement was literal and actual by way of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

Now, though, our disenfranchisement exists more in our attitudes — our mental “isms” — than in reality. It manifests every time we cry “racism” and allow that as a reason for inaction such as not voting. Or when we break the law; at that moment our mental disenfranchisement becomes real — and self-inflicted. No use in crying racism then.

Therefore, this column stands against the mental “isms” that disenfranchise people of all backgrounds. There are a lot of these isms. That’s why I chose that long, long name. 

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That's the short version. Need to get it a bit shorter still. Suggestions?

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