Robert SalaamPosted Sep 8, 2009 •Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version
Obama and Racism - Part II
by Robert Salaam
It’s been a little over two years since my first “Obama and Racism” post, and today well actually several days ago but I’m just getting a chance to blog about it, I felt it appropriate to vent my thoughts concerning the current “political” reality the President (still has a good ring to it) is faced with under this title as opposed to:
“The foolishness of the healthcare “debate”…”
“Silly season in regards to the stay in school speech”
“Birthers are really idiots masquerading as ignorant people”
I decided to forgo the above titles and stick with the “Obama and Racism” title because on those seemingly varied and diverse issues, to me they all have a common theme and it seems crystal clear: Racism
Various close confidants have asked me what I think about the various issues in question and to be blunt instead of giving long platitudes and colorful explanations that are evasive and skirt around this issue, I opted for the direct approach with which I am sharing today that this is utter albeit cleverly masked racism.
The media and the GOP of course would like us all to believe this is not the case, but in my heart of hearts, I have a strong feeling that “conservative” think tanks know that if they want to create a ruckus and find a way to oppose the President and the Democrats that their best bet is to gin up anger amongst their “base” who just happen to be 99% white, southern, “Christian”, “Evangelicals”. This was the exact tactic used during the campaign season and it’s the same tactic being employed now.
Let me be clear, I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting that white people in general are racists. What I am suggesting is that a majority of those hostile to minorities in power and specifically a black man as President mostly reside in the “base” of the GOP. These are people who regularly watch people like Glen Beck, listen to people like Rush Limbaugh, and read people like Ann Coulter. By the way, I’m not suggesting that all their supporters are racist either, but let’s not play dumb either. They know, just like GOP strategists know, that if they want to sell books, drive up ratings, make money, or create political havoc for Democrats and the President, all they have to do is feed this group coded language and innuendo’s that allow them and give them the talking points that will ensure that they can say what they really feel without just plainly stating the obvious: “We don’t want and don’t like the fact that a black guy is the President” so they hide behind ridiculous issues and pretend that’s not the case, but it’s quite obvious what’s going on here.
All one has to do is look at the gatherings, protests, townhalls, etc. in which the “base” of the GOP congregate. Look at their faces, hear their voices, look at the signs they hold. The white rage on display here is so reminiscent of the anti-desegregation protests in this country in decades past that it’s disgusting. Granted, there are no more anti-colored, or n-word chants, but the outrage, commentary, actions, etc. are vaguely, well not so vaguely similar.
And the same group is just as foolish as their forefathers, heck some of those in attendance were protesting then too!
Think about it:
Back then, they didn’t want blacks to sit next to them, drink from a same water fountain, or be served in an equal capacity.
Today their folly now extends to seemingly “important” issues like Obama’s religion, whether or not he really is a naturalized citizen, whether or not he’s a socialist, and Beck actually said he hated white people!
Take the “tea party” idiots for example. What was that all about? Did taxes go up? Did Obama advocate dissolving our democratic system in favor of a Communist one? Did Obama advocate taxes without representation?
No, No, No, and No. Yet, if you were to look at these protests the majority in attendance were of course white and members of the GOP “base” you would have thought we were being invaded or something.
Then there wast Justice Sotomayor…. what was all that about? So she said in context that because she came from a poor immigrant family and busted her butt to scrape and claw her way to the top (isn’t that what we are supposed to do) that she had a different experience than a white man in her current position who probably came from a family who sent him to private school could afford college etc. etc. What’s the problem with that? To suggest that someone is racist because they tell the truth that different experiences give different views is and was just stupid. GOP leaders and strategists knew that. However, they had to hype this thing up because they have to keep the base in a perpetual craze fearful of the latinos and blacks taking over!
Then you have the “birthers” that just won’t go away. He gave a birth certificate and that wasn’t enough. Obama has been challenged, the state of Hawaii has been challenged, they may as well challenge the entire Senate, State of Illinois, Havard, Columbia University, etc. etc. basically every entity that ever overlooked the “obvious” as they claim that Obama really wasn’t born here. Everyone else is wrong, only they are right, because after all, they were present at the hospital in Kenya right? C’mon people, this is obvious it’s another attempt to state that “he is not one of us” except that “us” really means the “us” in attendance of these rallies and support these groups who just happen to be white.
The above applies to his religion as well which they never could really decide on the best approach to scare the bejesus out of white people. First he was secretly a Muslim, that scares white people primarily because in their white washed version of “Christianity” their savior looks like their ideal: blond hair and blue eyes, considering that Islam categorically rejects that and the majority in the religion are non-whites, this just adds to the “foreignness” of the religion. Add to that you have a constant stream of anti-Islam propagandists on Fox “News” giving white people a daily dose of foaming at the mouth clerics and lining that up with Obama made perfect sense until…. it became more obvious that Obama had been attending a black church in Chicago for 20 years. That really scared white-people! Jeremiah Wright doing his best black preacher routine freaked them out! Nevermind that he is a Marine Corps vet, nevermind that he is PhD and scholar in Christianity, but all that talk about a black Jesus and black oppression being linked to the spiritual redemption sought and discussed at length in the Bible freaked them out! So the spin artists and strategists while they couldn’t decide what would scare white people the most, opted for using both, because in the end it really doesn’t matter if Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, the point is to scare white people and gin up the “base” so that they can either gain politically or at least hurt the Democrats which afterall is a gain politically anyway right?
Sarah Palin….nuff said. We know what that was about. She was one of them. McCain of course was not, so he took the crazy I need to win approach and decided to choose one of the least qualified out of the front runners in the party in order to appease the base that was terrified of a President who didn’t look like them. That’s why at their rallies in which McCain would later regret their supporters were able to let it all out as Sarah stoked the flames of ignorance by talking about Obama’s “otherness” see blackness in the RS Dictionary
Now to the more recent folly:
The healthcare “debate”…. What American with a straight face could state that our system is working? My God, as a superpower as wealthy as we are as a nation, why are we ranked in the high 60’s when it comes to a national comparison of healthcare? Shouldn’t we be like in the top 5 if not top 3? So Obama is completely wrong for daring to suggest that we should provide healthcare to all Americans, keep costs down, and provide a public option to compete with private options. What’s the counter ideas? Crickets….
This is the part that gets me, people rant and rave about socialism, yet readily accept public education, public libraries, medicare and medicaid, and host of services provided by the Federal, State, and Local governments across the country. So that is proof that the socialism accusation is a lie first and foremost. Secondly, if government healthcare was really all that bad, why do Republican Senators use it? Why is government healthcare good enough for elected officials, military (not saying the the VA doesn’t have issues…), seniors, etc. but not good enough for joe sixpack (thanks Sarah) average American? Please explain that. Furthermore, if the government could ensure all Americans and prevent and routine care is readily accessible not to mention bank breaking expenses from surgeries, etc. eliminated, wouldn’t that be worth paying a little more taxes? Let’s be real for a moment, if America like other industrialized nations some of whom provide free education through college, universal healthcare, etc. among other things, was able to pull that off and save us the thousands in educational loans, medical expenses, etc. wouldn’t that be worth a couple of hundred dollars more a month in taxes? How many people have student loans that are less than that a month? How many cancer patients who don’t have superior coverage would rather shell out a couple more dollars in taxes than spending their entire savings or retirement? This is just common sense. However, because Obama is proposing it and he isn’t one of them, he’s going to get grief no matter what he proposes.
I’m convinced if Obama wanted to pass a bill declaring that the sky is blue, these same people would be opposing the legislation!
What are all these chants about wanting their country back, from whom we should reply? A black man stole “their” country, that’s what they mean. In “their” country, Presidents should look like them, it’s really that simple when you get down to the bottom of it. In “their” country, they don’t have to accept that one day soon they will not be the majority. Deep down at the core, is their primal fear of genetic annihilation, the fear that their whiteness will give way to more people of color in both the world as a whole but particularly in this nation and in power. It’s akin to a mental illness if you ask me, because the God of whom I believe, revealed that He created us in different hues and tongues so that we may know one another and celebrate our diversity as a gift from the divine that also bears testimony to the greatness of His creation. But when your fears are rooted in being afraid of other because they don’t look, act, or believe as you do, then in my humble opinion you are against God and following the path of Satan.
Which brings me to my last and final subject the God awful education speech! Think about this for a minute: Obama wants to tell kids to stay in school and white parents who no doubt support the GOP are taking their kids out of school! Why? Because they are “afraid” that Obama will say something to their kids other than what he and past Presidents have normally said, such as stay in school!!!!! It would be funny if it were not sad. I wish we really had true journalism that would call this what it is. Let’s be real, they don’t want their kids to be faced with the reality of a black man as President in an environment where their careful coaching will be absent. Obama represents the reality that many of them still have not faced and refuse to accept. The reality that black men can and have been more than criminals, thugs, etc. The reality that black men can and have been good parents, educated, successful, and in this case ascending to the highest office in the land. How dare their kids be exposed to such vile things and hearing vile messages, that if given by any other President (white of course) like in the past, no one would bat an eye.
Now many may say to me, that this is just party politics, and in a way they are right. I believe the majority of Republicans and white people don’t fit these descriptions. However, I firmly believe a significant portion of the GOP “base” does and those Republicans in power know these facts to be true based on reliable demographic data and use their prejudices and racism as a tool to help achieve political advantages. They artfully and skillfully use their politicians, strategists, media personalities, etc. to help stir the pot and keep the hate going so that their political strategy can be sustained. So much so that many in the top echelon of their party have even expressed similar concerns both in the 2008 campaign and now that it may be getting out of hand.
If all these “I want my country back” protests had nothing to do with race and was merely political discontent and/or objection, then where are the counter plans and solutions? The GOP has offered zero solutions to any of these “issues”. All they have been doing is smirking, laughing, and delivering talking points that rile up the base and as Rush Limbaugh the leader of their party so eloquently explained will cause Obama to fail, because right now, that’s the only Republican plan: Cause Obama to fail, so that they can win elections by default.
I must have hit the nail on the head in 2007:
Folks we have to wake up. It’s not so much the words, but the intention and motive behind them, we need to watch out for. The sad thing is I believe this is just the beginning for Obama. Many will show their true colors as these two have surely laid their cards on the table. Like I noted earlier in the post, these guys have millions of listeners, I wonder how many of them were co-signing these comments. (in reference to comments about Obama made by Rush Limbaugh and Don Imus)
Why is it that a black candidate running for President of the United States of America need Secret Service protection before he is even nominated by his party or if he is even nominated by his party? Why is it that similar actions weren’t taken when people like Rev. Al Sharpton or Carol Moseley Braun ran for President in 2004?……White Supremacists are scared to death!!! So scared that they must feel or know something we don’t. They are so fearful that a black man may actually get elected that they are willing to threaten this man’s life even before or if he is nominated…..The main reason IMHO is that Sen Obama is a serious candidate and truly a hopeful for President in 2008, unlike those who campaigned in 2004….What is it about Obama that has America’s backward so scared? I mean, since this guy has come on the scene the book has been thrown at him, from being a “closet Muslim”, to having “a Jew hating name”, to even not being “black enough”….What we like to pretend in America is that racism is dead, that Jim Crow was something centuries ago, along with slavery, lynchings, etc. etc…..Our problem in America is that we have self imposed amnesia about our racist past, present, and future (if we don’t act)…. (In reference to Obama requiring Secret Service protection a year prior to the Democratic primaries)
Visit Robert Salaam’s site at http://salaamsblog.wordpress.com/
Attacks on Obama Highlight Racism and Islamophobia , Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/obama/
The Death Spasms of American Racism, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_death_spasms_of_american_racism/
Is Conservative Obama-Bashing The New Racism?, Bakari Kitwana http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bakari-kitwana/is-conservative-obama-bas_b_279775.html
Obama Speech Controversy Is About Socialism? (Guess Again), Mary C. Curtis http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/09/07/obama-speech-controversy-is-much-ado-about/
Republican Critics of Obama’s School Speech Stoke the Fires of Bigotry in America, Mario Almonte http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mario-almonte/republican-critics-of-oba_b_279533.html