Interview with a TPAR
If you've been following this space for any amount of time now, you're probably familiar with TPAR, aka These Posts Are Racist, the guy who pops up in the comments section to feign outrage any time I say anything even vaguely racially insensitive.
TPAR's been pestering me about doing a post on him here for ages now, but he's kind of a flake. A while back, I conducted an interview with him, then, the next day or whatever, when I was about to post it, he was like, "Dude, don't post that interview."
Then he disappeared for a while. I figured Homeland Security might have finally caught up with him, but he claims he was just busy.
The other day, he hit me up again, talking about how he'd just been at Obama's big rally in Grant Park, and how we should discuss this year's historic election and what have you. Hence, today's post.
Bol: Since we only really know you from acting all outraged and self-righteous in the comments section, could you give us an idea of who you are and what it is that you do?
TPAR: I don't think I'm self-righteous at all; I simply give my opinions/thoughts and analyze your posts. About me: I was born and raised in Chicago. I grew up in a bad neighborhood, very poor in a large family. My parents are good people who never used drugs or alcohol but neither finished elementary school – they are both in their mid-70's. My father was a factory worker who was injured on the job and became disabled before I was born. Due to his illiteracy he was tricked into signing away his rights and was left with 11 mouths to feed. As such, he never had a real job and I was forced to work odd jobs to help support the family at a very early age.
I'm 29 years old and worked hard to attend two top schools. I went to the University of Chicago for undergrad and graduated from one of the top 3 law schools in the country. I'm now a corporate lawyer doing Mergers and Acquisitions.
In my free time I work out, rap and volunteer a lot – I tutor, give free legal services to disadvantaged people and educate people on various issues affecting their communities.
Bol: You were at the post-election rally last night, and you volunteered for the Obama campaign. How did that come about? And what was it like? Did you see Oprah, or Jesse Jackson?
TPAR: Many of my friends from law school are politically active and a few have been working for the Obama campaign for quite some time. I actually, am not an Obama supporter. I voted for Ralph Nader. I was asked however, to help out with voters' rights, i.e. if people's voting rights are violated, the Obama campaign had a team of lawyers (of which I was a part of) to answer questions and make sure people don't get screwed. I felt like it was a good cause and participated. As part of the legal team I was given tickets to the rally and was very close to Obama when he spoke. I met Obama a year ago when some big shots at my firm donated a ton of money to his campaign. We got to sit at a table and have dinner with him. He is ridiculously intelligent and an expert politician. I asked him several direct questions and he successfully avoided answering any of them, but somehow made me like him…until I thought about it later and realized he didn't answer any of my questions.
I did not see Oprah or Jesse Jackson. I did see Mr. Jackson a few weeks ago at a restaurant. I actually really like Jesse. I met him as a kid when a factory that employed people in my neighborhood laid off most of the working families. He was the only political figure to come talk to us – and it left an impact on me. I was about 10 at the time and he looked at me and said "young brother, you have to go to school so you never end up like this…"
The Obama rally was pretty amazing. It was the most diverse crowd I have ever been around. There were blacks, Latinos, whites, old, young, Muslims wearing headscarves, Africans, etc. all comfortable around each other and celebrating. The aura of hope and positive outlook was in the air, but I knew this would all fade. Internationally, we also have a unique moment. It reminds me of the post-9/11 support the US had around the world, before Bush and Co. messed it all up. Obama will mess it up too. The same forces that control policy, both domestic and foreign are the same, and thus nothing will CHANGE. Look at Obama's recent pick for Chief of Staff: Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel! Wow, change we can believe in?
Bol: You always give me shit about hating on Muslims, but I consider myself anti-religion in general. Barack Obama, meanwhile, is clearly an anti-Muslim bigot. He spent all year campaigning in churches and synagogues, but he won't be photographed on the same street as a mosque. How do you handle that kind of cognitive dissonance?
TPAR: This is a great point Byron. I do not think Obama himself is an "anti-Muslim bigot", but I do think his desire to get elected caused him to play ball with bigots. Shout out to Collin Powell for saying what is morally consistent: it doesn't matter if you're a Muslim…that's something the Obama campaign did not do, and that is one of the reasons I did not vote for him. His campaign participated in anti-Muslim bigotry and did not stand up/speak up for what is right. He threw Muslim and Arab Americans under the bus.
Bol: Would you agree that hip-hop's support of Barack Obama this year has been a joke, in that people have gotten wrapped up in emotion, and have put the Jesus figure ahead of the actual issues?
TPAR: Yes, it is absurd. Hip Hop is about giving a voice to the voiceless/speaking for the poor and oppressed – Obama is a politician who is controlled by the same forces that control all politicians…these rappers are not critical thinkers nor are the millions of die hard Obama supporters.
Far more then McCain, Obama received unprecedented amounts of corporate contributions. Obama belongs to big business. Look at his state Senate record, his U.S. Senate record and his presidential campaign record. As Nader pointed out in his "letter to Obama": Obama favored nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget – he's more of the same. Internationally, he was an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights, now he's AIPAC's best friend – and agrees with Israel's racist and apartheid policies.
Bol: You're from Chicago, and I notice you've commented before on my posts about the soft, white underbelly of Chicago hip-hop. Why do you think Jennifer Hudson's family was killed? It probably had something to do with the gang problem there, right?
TPAR: I have no idea what happened with Hudson's family, it's a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers remain with Jennifer during this difficult time. I do know that gangs and the mafia do not operate like this, even when they extort people. The neighborhood I grew up in was controlled by the G.D.'s and the Italian Mafia was responsible for much of the drugs that came through. My older brother was a lieutenant in the GD's when they were organized. The GD's, LK's, Black P. Stones, etc. have extorted people, but they would never kill an innocent child or mother (intentionally) in such a fashion. I have not followed the Hudson story closely so I cannot give an opinion on what happened, but I do know that gangs and the mafia in Chicago have never operated like this, so I can say with a high degree of certainty that it was not gang or mafia related. That said, many of the street gangs (e.g. the GD's, LK's, etc.) are no longer organized and lack any type of central authority or leadership – the days of Larry Hover are over…so things have changed, but it would still be a shock to me if people affiliated with these organizations participated in such an act of violence…it would be unprecedented.