Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just beneath the surface

It's really interesting (but mostly terrifying) to look at how Obama's candidacy and imminent victory have scraped off the veneer that so many people have precariously painted over their deep-seated racism and hatred.
Obama Assassination Plot

Nathan Johnson, 32, an associate of Gartrell and Adolph, was also arrested Sunday morning. He told authorities that the two men had "planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech." "He don't belong in political office. Blacks don't belong in political office. He ought to be shot," Johnson told Maass.

I see it with people I know. I had one person tell me that "Obama's not qualified to be president because he's black. Maybe president of an Aunt Jemima bottle." What do you even say to someone in their late 40s who would voice a thought like that in public? You know it's not acceptable. You know it's offensive. This type of racism - mostly designed to make others feel uncomfortable - is really no different from the smoker who decides that no one's going to tell THEM they can't smoke, and then lights up on a train or in a restaurant. It's a pure attempt to wield power over others by inviting a challenge to known repellent behavior. The racist slurs are often then followed with "You know I'm just bustin' your chops." Oh, OK then. You're just playing the character of Racist Asshole. You're not actually one yourself.

Man Shot By Racist Gunman

A man told today how he was shot three times in a London street for wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt.

Dube Egwuatu was buying a mobile telephone top-up card in an off-licence when the gunman confronted him and glared at the top, which carries an image of the Democrat US presidential candidate underneath the legend 'Believe'.

The man then launched into a tirade of racist slurs, shouting 'I f***ing hate n*****s' and urging 36-year-old Mr Egwuatu to leave the shop with him.

The McCain campaign isn't being overtly racist, but it certainly is attracting overt racists. And the campaign is to be faulted for letting them fester.

"A Terrorist"

At one point, McCain asked, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” A member of the crowd yelled out, “a terrorist!” McCain paused while the audience laughed at the comment, and then continued with his attack — without condemning or admonishing the audience member.

The GOP has often run on some message of racial discord and undercurrent, from the origins of the "low taxes" quest (high taxes are being spent on THOSE people) to the Willie Horton ads of the 1988 campaign.

"Sit down, Boy."
One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
This isn't an issue of North vs. South, or rich vs. poor. This misbehavior can be found everywhere you look.


7th grade teacher and coach Greg Howard is no longer an employee. He was suspended without pay for 10 days starting Thursday for making racial slurs at presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Howard asked his students what "change" stood for and proceeded to write out the acronym "change"- come help a n(word) get elected.

Sometimes the person involved is directly connected to the campaign, but often they're not.

Obama "spoof"

A local newspaper columnist, in a spoof of Obama’s platform, wrote in one recent piece that the Democrat would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black (a reference to a pro-Obama song by Ludacris), and divert more foreign aid to Africa so "the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream." He joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag "with a star and crescent logo," an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to "raise taxes to pay for Obama's inner-city political base."

What's more upsetting is that in the 1990s, we saw the culmination of the "Patriot Movement," where violent white separatist groups and sympathizers committed major acts of terrorism in Oklahoma City and Atlanta. The language that we're hearing now about Obama is becoming increasingly violent, and the McCain/Palin campaign is not addressing it. Can they? Or is this a small but significant voting bloc that controls them?

"Kill him!"

"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.
. . .

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

One thing is clear. We can't just smile and pretend that no more racial divide exists in this country, because especially in the closing weeks of the campaign, we're seeing increasing numbers of disgusting incidents. Is it the desperation of people who realize that McCain is about to lose big? Or the economic downturn a factor, since hard times tend to lead to people blaming groups they view as outsiders?

Witch doctor

Martin arrived at the conclusion that Obama, whom he called a "media witch doctor," has "locked his granny away and refused to allow her to be seen" in order to "pretend he has no white relatives."

This won't be over in November, and frankly if someone can still make a Jemima joke in 2008, I don't know that it ever will be over. But the McCain campaign sure doesn't help it by ignoring it when it happens right in front of their noses.

Spear catching

Salter said to expect more of the same, saying the campaign was tired of “catching the spears.”


Paul said...

Hey, Cynicor:
Thanks for keeping track of this stuff. It's interesting to see that McCain finally decided to back off (Obama's not an Arab, he told a supporter, he's a family man -- as if those two were mutually exclusive), and now the mainstream media is giving him credit for restraint and, in its obligation to be "fair," covering alleged racism coming from the other side. The old, lazy there must be two sides to every story assumption.

I wrote something on my new blog that you might want to see:


It's about racism in the 1983 Chicago mayoral election.

Expect the stuff coming from the McCain campaign to get nastier as it goes down to the wire. And don't make the mistake of assuming Obama will win.

Kerri said...

BTW, just wanted to come on over for some entertaining reading & got this message from facebook:
The following website has been identified as malicious:
The link you have clicked has been identified by Facebook as a malicious web site. For the safety and privacy of your Facebook account, we strongly suggest you avoid visiting this address.

Cynical, yeah. Malicious? naah.
Gawd, who did You piss off?