Obama dazu, dass nur Marginalisierte, aber nicht Privilegierte, zu entsprechenden Positionen sprechen dürfen

Der ehemalige Präsident der USA, Barack Obama, hat sich in einer Rede interessant geäußert:

So for those of us who are interested in strengthening democracy, let’s also stop — it’s time for us to stop paying all of our attention to the world’s capitals and the centers of power and to start focusing more on the grass roots, because that’s where democratic legitimacy comes from. Not from the top down, not from abstract theories, not just from experts, but from the bottom up. Knowing the lives of those who are struggling.

As a community organizer, I learned as much from a laid-off steelworker in Chicago or a single mom in a poor neighborhood that I visited as I learned from the finest economists in the Oval Office. Democracy means being in touch and in tune with life as it’s lived in our communities, and that’s what we should expect from our leaders, and it depends upon cultivating leaders at the grass roots who can help bring about change and implement it on the ground and can tell leaders in fancy buildings, this isn’t working down here.

And to make democracy work, Madiba shows us that we also have to keep teaching our children, and ourselves — and this is really hard — to engage with people not only who look different but who hold different views. This is hard. (Applause.)

Das wäre zunächst einmal ein Appell an einen Dialog, auch mit Leuten, die gänzlich anderer Meinung sind. Ich denke er wird dabei auch die gegenwärtige starke Spaltung in Amerika mit Trump-Hassern und „Maga-Enthusiasten“ vor Augen haben

Most of us prefer to surround ourselves with opinions that validate what we already believe. You notice the people who you think are smart are the people who agree with you? (Laughter.) Funny how that works. But democracy demands that we’re able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us so we can understand their point of view. Maybe we can change their minds, but maybe they’ll change ours. And you can’t do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start. And you can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you — because they’re white, or because they’re male — that somehow there’s no way they can understand what I’m feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.

Der Teil zwischen den Gedankenstrichen ist dabei von besonderer Bedeutung. Denn er stellt letztendlich eine Abkehr von einer durchaus zentralen Theorie in den intersektionalen Theorien dar. Obama – immerhin der erste schwarze Präsident der USA – lehnt damit ganz deutlich die Idee ab, dass man als „Privilegierter“ die Klappe zu halten hat und im Wesentlichen den Betroffenen, Marginalisierten, zuhören muss, weil nur sie den tatsächlichen Umfang der Lage erkennen können, weil Privilegierte eben die Unterdrückung nicht wahrnehmen und nicht erleben. Obama spricht sich hier deutlich dagegen aus – und ich gehe davon aus, dass er es auch ganz bewusst so deutlich formuliert hat.

Entsprechend wurde die Rede auch anderweitig aufgenommen:

Obama Rebukes Identity Politics

During a speech celebrating Nelson Mandela’s would-be 100th birthday, President Obama condemned the idea that only people from marginalized groups can comment on marginalized groups’ issues. (…)

It might not seem like all that big of a deal, but what Obama did in that last statement was rebuke a way of thinking that has actually become quite pervasive in social-justice circles. In these circles, it’s often the case that men have no authority to speak out about certain issues just because they’re men, or that white people have no authority to speak out on certain issues just because they’re white.

In fact, some people have taken this view to an even more extreme place. In a recent essay for the blog Everyday Feminism, a self-described “non-binary South Asian scholar and artist” named Ayesha Sharma stated that there is actually no way for a transgender person or a person of color to even be safe in a social-justice space where the majority of the group is white and cisgender.

“No feminist space that is predominantly white and cis is ‘safe’ or ‘open to everyone,’” Sharma writes.

Sharma explains that “the leaders of these spaces” may try and do their best to make those spaces comfortable to everyone, but “white and cis people, for example, end up having cultural and social power in that they’re in the majority.”

In other words: Sharma believes that white, cisgender people who make an effort to involve themselves in social-justice issues can not only make marginalized people feel uncomfortable, but it can also make them unsafe — just because those people happen to be white and cisgender.

On this issue, Obama is right. A white man may not have experienced racism or sexism himself, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be able to talk about it. Yes, there is something to be said for the fact that no one can ever truly understand an issue unless they’ve lived it, but it’s definitely the wrong move to shame people for simply trying to discuss something. Issues such as racism and sexism are huge problems in our society, but the only way that we’re ever going to be able to solve them is by having open conversations — conversations that we encourage everyone to be a part of. After all, the more people we get talking, the better chance we have at coming up with solutions.

Oder hier:

Obama’s claim that we should listen to people, even those we disagree with and despite their race/color/creed, isn’t all that suprising. In 2016, he gave the commencement address at Howard University and he said: „Don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that—no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths. Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk. Let them talk. If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability.“

Das wäre zwar eine etwas andere Zielrichtung, aber immerhin ein Eintreten für  freie Rede, die er mit seiner neuen Rede damit verbindet, dass man versuchen soll, auch die andere Seite zu verstehen und ihr zugestehen soll, dass sie gewisse Einsichten hat.

Gerade weil natürlich auch immer von Anhängern intersektionaler Theorien angeführt wird, dass man als Privilegierter den Mund zu halten und zuzuhören hat ist es gut eine weitere Stelle eines marginalisierten Menschen, also des ehemaligen Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten, zu haben, dass er das anders sieht.