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View Diary: Like white on Rice: Republican critics say there's nothing racist in their digs (135 comments)

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  •  I'm kinda willing to give them the benefit of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345, FiredUpInCA

    doubt here.

    After all, there '90s era attacks on the Clintons were mightily vicious.

    But not necessarily racist.

    •  I wouldn't have expected the attacks against (6+ / 0-)

      the Clintons to be racist, since they were both white.

      "If ye were blind, you would be without sin. But you say 'you see'; therefore, your sin remains" Quoted from that despised Socialist Jesus Christ.

      by Carlo408 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:06:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, exactly, but the attacks came (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, SueDe, FiredUpInCA

        full force.

        Thus, the point being that the attacks against B. Obama, S. Rice, etc being racist in origin ring hollow - yeah, that might be an angle to rile up the neanderthal base (no offense to neanderthals, since we all share 8% of their DNA or whatever) but it's not the root problem.

        •  They don't ring hollow to me. (6+ / 0-)

          What, you expect a southern white man who is attacking a black woman to admit he's being racist?

          "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

          by Snarky McAngus on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:26:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Any critique by a southern white is defacto racist? Talk about soft bigotry.

            •  Not all criticism is racist. (8+ / 0-)

              But most of the criticism of Rice made no sense whatsoever and one must wonder if racism is a factor.

              •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I think there is a lot to be known about Benghazi myself. And  they are partisan and using this as an issue of course.

                However calling it racist just dilutes the legit definition.

                •  It made me wonder because McCain used terms... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neon Mama, PrahaPartizan, Patate

                  ...historically employed to demean Blacks.  An apparent legacy admission to the USNA with his graduation rank calling a PhD-holding Rhodes scholar 'not bright'?  The president, the attorney general and now, Ambassador Rice, three of the highest ranking Americans of African descent, have all been attacked with the slimmest of justifications.

                  Failure to acknowledge racism where its exists can enable its aggressiveness and growth.

                  •  Sorry dude (0+ / 0-)

                    Calling someone Not bright isn't racism. No matter how much you want it to be. Silly? Sure. But I get ticked when people hurl that serious charge when it isn't warranted.


                    •  I empathize with your experience. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Patate, sethtriggs, Snarky McAngus

                      I would imagine having come face to face with racism can make one especially sensitive to false claims just as a female victim of sexual assault might despise that person who makes a false claim of rape.  Nevertheless, the racial threads that were woven into the fabric of this administration and this election were and are such that the usage of historically demeaning terms when describing its principals should be closely examined and, where appropriate, called out.  We've got to call a spade by its actual name.  

                      Why invest in education for Blacks?  From Plessy to Brown we were not bright enough to merit reasonable funding. Before then we were not bright enough to learn involved agricultural tasks and even now we are not bright enough to quarterback in the NFL.  

                      Though the phrase 'not bright' can be and mostly is used in non-racial instances, it undoubtedly is occasionally used with negative racial connotations.  In this case I think it was.  

                      •  I have never ever in my life (0+ / 0-)

                        heard hat phrase used in racial connotation. Ever. Sorry but I'll bet 90% of people haven't either. My point is that with nothing but "my opinion" these politicians made a serious charge on the character of three people without any evidence. Just their "opinions". Its demeaning. And lets not forget they ARE politicians.

                        •  Sorry, (0+ / 0-)

                          but I don't think your individual experience is any more representative of 90% of the people any more than someone's generalization does.

                          "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

                          by Snarky McAngus on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 09:47:53 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  As I requested (0+ / 0-)

                            Of the diarist. How about a list of innocuous words that are actually racist. It's bs. And we all know it.

                          •  Words are neither racist nor nonracist (0+ / 0-)

                            without context.

                            "Chicken" is not a racist word, nor is it a nonracist word.  But if I use "chicken" to establish a negative stereotype, it must be within a context.

                            Another that comes to mind is "watermelon."  Or "lips" or "yellow."

                            Still sticking with your argument?

                            "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

                            by Snarky McAngus on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:31:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                            what is the racist context of "incompetent"? "Not too bright"?

                            much worse has been said about many minority politicians but hue and cry resulted from those demogoging at this moment.


                            Look we can play this game all month but the bottom line is a few of politicians are trying to short-circuit criticism of Ambassador Rice by crying foul on the motives of her critics- ONLY because they say so. No other evidence or "context". Just because... I'll have none of it. Have been on both sides of that type of fight.

                          •  I pity the fool (0+ / 0-)

                            who calls a Rhodes Scholar and one of the most competent and qualified people in the country for the job they're talking about "not too bright."

                            "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

                            by Snarky McAngus on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:57:31 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I never said (0+ / 0-)

                            It was accurate. But it isn't racist.

                          •  In your opinion. (0+ / 0-)

                            "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

                            by Snarky McAngus on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:03:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By any sane rational :-) (0+ / 0-)

                            logic the term 'not too bright" has no racial connotation. Now, on the other hand if you could provide me with some actual examples of people saying that in a clearly racists manner I'll reconsider. But lacking that evidence I'll stick with what words actually mean rather than what (partisan) politicians say what they they think they mean.

                            And As Ive noted elsewhere if the ones hurling these racists accusations (here and in congress and the media) had actually defended another Rice when she was SoS and subject to actual racist slurs they would have a lot more weight with me. Alas they do not.


            •  That's not what I said (0+ / 0-)

              I said "a southern white man who is attacking a black woman" which distinguishes between a particular and a generalization.

              "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

              by Snarky McAngus on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 09:45:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  They IMPEACHED Clinton fer Chrissakes! (3+ / 0-)

          This tactic of the Republicans, constant racial dog whistles, never overt, is doing them no good.  Speculation about just how racist the Republican is or isn't just garners them negative attention.

          But most of all, Republicans have been after Democrats since 1980 when Reagan was elected.  It makes no difference how "bipartisan" the Democrats have been (are you old enough to remember how the Democratic congress worked hand in glove with the Reagan administration?), the GOP has practiced vicious politics since the '80s.  It has become exponentially worse since 1994 when the GOP took over the House and elected Gingrich speaker.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:10:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually some of their attacks (5+ / 0-)

        against the Clintons were racially charged.

        Clinton's mother was called "white trash" (as Obama's mother was), Clinton was called a "nigger lover" not to mention the difficult time that so many of the Clinton's appointees od color received from the right (Ron Brown, Lani Guinier, Dr. Elders, Henry Cisneros)...

    •  Criticism, even vicious criticism, is not the... (16+ / 0-)

      ...issue. It's the coded criticism which is.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:10:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To me, the idea that if - let's say John Edwards (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, FiredUpInCA

        the very epitome of whiteness - had been elected that these attacks would not exist is absurd.

        Racism, or sexism (in the case of HC) is totally not the issue here.   But if that's the meme that in vogue, I suppose I'm fighting an uphill battle to argue otherwise so I will cease and desist at this point.

        •  I would love to see where a Senator called... (28+ / 0-)

          ...Bill Clinton, another Rhodes Scholar, "not too bright" or a "shirker."

          I know that I am fighting an uphill battle. But let me try anyway: Certain terms are loaded. Calling GW Bush a "chimp" or a "monkey" is nasty, to be sure. But, given depictions dating back two centuries, calling Barack Obama a "monkey" is a different kind of criticism. This is not hair-splitting or voguish. It's part of the reality of racism that has not going away despite the strides that have been made.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:25:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  with rice there is intersection of racism/sexism (15+ / 0-)

          women as being unintelligent and incompetent is long-standing sexist stereotype. used all the time. this is why men want to tell us how to manage our bodies, or what we should think, believe or feel, because women are just too incompetent and inferior to men to make such decisions. We need the smart man to come make decisions for us. This is why women don't get equal pay, because our work is just not as nifty as same work by a man. or blah blah blah

          Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

          by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:16:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you're fighting an uphill battle, (4+ / 0-)

          I'm on that hill too.  Look at how every Democratic president since Nixon has been laughed at, demonized, plotted against and disrespected.    Race is only part of the problem here.

          Maybe I'm just old and cynical, but my political memory tells me that ever since Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment, the GOP has had their panties in a twist , and they've been twisting ever tighter since then.  Finally the blood to their brains has been cut off.  

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:24:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joy of Fishes, the good witch, SueDe

            that Watergate made the GOP go really off of the deep end.

            That doesn't mean that they way that their attacks don't have racist/sexist/homophobic overtones as fact, The Nation's Neal Gabler did a story on GOP gay baiting...and it's gone on since...well, forever, really

            The originator of the tactic to characterize Democrats as pansies and sissies may have been Wisconsin’s infamous junior senator, Joseph McCarthy. Though McCarthy’s stock in trade was wild accusations against alleged communists in the Democratic administrations of Roosevelt and Truman, he also brandished another, less remembered weapon: homosexual baiting, on the pretext that communists were often gay. This conflation of “treasonous” with “Democrats” and “gay” has proven to be a powerful one that seems to have had more legs than anti-communism by itself. As David Johnson documents in his history of political gay bashing, The Lavender Scare, once McCarthy publicized the accusations, his fellow Republicans and their allies in the right-wing press joyously leapt in. “Information is accumulating which shows that perversion has been so kindly regarded in the New Deal cult as to amount to a characteristic of that administration,” wrote the rabidly reactionary columnist Westbrook Pegler in June 1950. Along the same lines, Republican Senator William Jenner described the Truman administration as the “Fairy Deal.”

            But the subtler message wasn’t that Democrats were gay. Again, it was that Democrats were like gays—that is, in the bizarre Republican equation, they were womanly, incapable of standing up to communists. Describing how McCarthy would deal with Stalin versus how the Democrats dealt with him, one of the senator’s aides said, “The two would talk man to man, not like a lot of pansy diplomats.”

            The “pansy” in 1952 was Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate and a former State Department official—one of those Ivy League–educated boys in striped pants that McCarthyite Republicans so reviled. Stevenson was divorced and had a reputation as a womanizer, but that didn’t stop Republicans from hurling innuendo. According to Stevenson biographer Porter McKeever, an Eisenhower supporter actively spread the rumor that Stevenson was gay, and someone even sent out an FBI impersonator to interview a friend of a Stevenson staff member about the governor’s alleged homosexuality. When Stevenson challenged Eisenhower again in 1956, gossip columnist Walter Winchell, who had traveled with Eisenhower during the campaign, compared Stevenson to transsexual Christine Jorgenson on his election night broadcast and said the election of Stevenson would put a “woman in the White House.” In four years, Stevenson had gone from being gay to being a woman.

        •  I disagree. It's obvious to me that they are using (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neon Mama, Joy of Fishes

          racist code. I tend to be resistant to interpreting things that way, if I think there's more to it.
          In this case, they're doing a couple of things. One is, they're flinging what they stepped in. It will be recorded as a "fail" by history.
          There is an unbroken chain of events from the beginning of this ...whatever it is."

          First, the video, protest in Egypt, and Romney's overly quick exploitation of that for political gain.
          9/12 and Romney double-stupid downs with his weirdly scripted press conference.
          It backfires and Romney is desperately close to total...well, evisceration.
          Then the weekend, Rice's comments, and Karl Rove invents Benghazi-gate.
          The gop and Fox news picks up the ball and runs with it.
          Now, the victory, and they're stuck with this turkey of a meme.
          However, they need to do anything, anything, to break into the news cycle and try to change the narrative (the Obama wins! narrative).
          So they're going to run with this and try to keep the media from looking back at where this all began.
          So, they'll do the racist dog whistle just to get attention off the reality of the situation. They'd rather have a debate about whether or not their "ambiguous" remarks are racist or not than have us review the history of this whole thing with clear heads.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:49:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What is 'coded" about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, David54

        "Incompetent"?  Really? Can you please post of list of other code words that everyone needs to avoid?

        •  How about "articulate." Perfectly good... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pdxteacher, sethtriggs

          ...word. Praiseworthy even. Except when describing African Americans. Then it's a slur. Here are a few other words that have a special patina when applied to blacks: "Lazy," "shirker," "thug."

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:11:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Chicago" is a code word they use, although it's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            not necessarily racist.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:52:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is a case of the Lee Atwater theory of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades

            politics finally taken to absurdity and eating itself.
            Just as "free market solutions" has been made stupider and stupider over a couple of generations until its foolish skeleton is finally exposed.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:56:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  ok, I'm black and a woman and why exactly (0+ / 0-)

            should I be offended by articulate?  I'm trying to follow how half of these code words are supposed to be racist.

             I get lazy, shiftless and thug.

             However, articulate and incompetent have valid meanings, although they are wrong as far as a description of her in particular, but I see no racial connotation in either word.  Either word could be used to describe anyone of any color or gender in a professional setting, if an assessment of a job or activity is relevant. Incompetent, in itself,  is an extremely harsh and a strong word, but not racial.

            •  Here's Eugene Robinson on the subject: (0+ / 0-)
              For my part, I never made it past "articulate," a word that's like fingernails on a blackboard to my ear. As it happens, President Bush used that same word Wednesday to describe Obama. "He's an attractive guy. He's articulate," Bush told Fox News.

              Will wonders never cease? Here we have a man who graduated from Columbia University, who was president of the Harvard Law Review, who serves in the U.S. Senate and is the author of two best-selling books, who's a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and what do you know, he turns out to be articulate. Stop the presses.

              It's interesting that Obama's reaction dealt solely with the A-word. "I didn't take Senator Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate," he said in a statement. "African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."

              Maybe he heard the screech on the blackboard, too.

              Yes, I'm ranting a bit. But before you accuse me of being hypersensitive, try to think of the last time you heard a white public figure described as articulate. Acclaimed white orators such as Bill Clinton and John Edwards are more often described as eloquent. [...]

              I realize the word is intended as a compliment, but it's being used to connote a lot more than the ability to express one's thoughts clearly. It's being used to say more, even, than "here's a black person who speaks standard English without a trace of Ebonics."

              The word articulate is being used to encompass not just speech but a whole range of cultural cues -- dress, bearing, education, golf handicap. It's being used to describe a black person around whom white people can be comfortable, a black person who not only speaks white America's language but is fluent in its body language as well.

              And the word is often pronounced with an air of surprise, as if it's an improbable and wondrous thing that a black person has somehow cracked the code. I can't help but think of the famous quote from Samuel Johnson: "Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

              Articulate is really a shorthand way of describing a black person who isn't too black -- or, rather, who comports with white America's notion of how a black person should come across.

              Whatever the intention, expressing one's astonishment that such individuals exist is no compliment. Just come out and say it: Gee, he doesn't sound black at all.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 10:02:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Discrimination by any other name... (0+ / 0-)

        Agreed. Racism, sexism, etc. is all just another form of discrimination. It's one "side's" attempt to make the other side feel subservient. It reminds me of the "Brown eye/Blue eye" experiment.

      •  This is about the number of blacks in cabinet, I (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes, sethtriggs

        am certain of this.

        The fact that Obama sent Rice out to deliver State Dept business made it clear that she is on his short list for SoS.

        That's why the attacks intensified after the election.  Obama knows exactly what this is all about, and that's why he was so outraged, as we all should be.  He knows how irrational the attacks are, he understands the racial undertones.  If you listen to his comments to reporters when asked about this, you will see it - he knows exactly what this is about.

        Obama now gets to choose the next SoS, and Republicans do not want another black person in cabinet.  

    •  Roadbed Guy, (8+ / 0-)

      President and Mrs. Clinton were hounded and accused of LOTS of things, but I do not ever remember any of their right-wing enemies accusing them of being "lazy", or "not too bright". Do you?


      But President Obama and Susan Rice have been accused of those things.  They are code words for "dark-skinned", and just as racist as that watermelon "joke" image some Orange County California Republican sent out in e-mail at the beginning of President Obama's first term.

    •  I won't give them the benefit of the doubt... (0+ / 0-)

      that said, Bush was incompetent.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

      by CTMET on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:09:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not willing to give the benefit of doubt. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've heard too many code words and phrases over the years, and this smacks exactly of coding and dog-whistling.  

      Too many of my black friends have been denied promotion because they were 'not smart enough' or would 'attract the wrong kind of student to the program' and such.  It's all veiled speech that translates into 'darkies need not apply.'

      I've heard it, too: "What kind of name is that?"  and ".... the love of The Good Lord ..." or a reference to Jesus Christ or the New Testament, followed by a long look to test my reaction.  It's all to see if I'm Jewish, like some secret handshake.

      When you're on the receiving end of this crap, you can sniff it out pretty damned quickly.

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