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View Diary: Appalachia: Thoughts on The Land of My Ancestors (184 comments)

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  •  When you won't vote for a man... (18+ / 0-)

    simply because he's black.  That is racism.

    And, I might add...anyone who starts out a sentence with "I'm not a racist, but..."  Is probably a racist.

    The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

    by David Kroning on Fri May 23, 2008 at 04:56:20 AM PDT

    •  So when blacks voter for Obama (0+ / 0-)

      because he is black, is that also racism then?

      If Bill was still in charge, this wouldn't all be happening...

      by letsbepragmatic on Fri May 23, 2008 at 05:09:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree in that you only (6+ / 0-)

      explained the rationale for why an Appalachian will not vote for an African American. The fact that someone will not look at the character of a person because of his or her race is a form of racism, even if the reason has a rational basis or history.  

      •  Maybe they feel that Hillary is more like them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, SottoVoce

        I don't think that is racism, just as blacks voting for Obama because they feel closer to him isn't racism either.

        People vote for a Presidential candidate that they feel comfortable with.  They don't vote as much on issues.  Look at 2004, as baffling as it was, the real reason GWB won was because people felt like he was more like them than Kerry.  

        That is Obama's challenge.  He needs to look comfortable going to the bowling alley or drinking a beer with a bunch of factory guys.  You can't just go do it, you have to look like it comes naturally.  I know this sounds crazy, but that is how people get to be President in this country, it's more important than the issues.

        If Bill was still in charge, this wouldn't all be happening...

        by letsbepragmatic on Fri May 23, 2008 at 05:23:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, then explain what is racisim? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David Kroning
          •  racism (0+ / 0-)

            is when people hate.  Its when people hate someone of another race solely because they are of that race.   Voting for someone, black or white, because you feel comfortable with them and because you can relate to them is not racism.

            If Bill was still in charge, this wouldn't all be happening...

            by letsbepragmatic on Fri May 23, 2008 at 05:32:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hate or consider unimportant (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sweetliberty, David Kroning

              When you vote or otherwise choose to associate with people you can better judge, because their context is the same as yours, it's questionable to call it racism. But when you consider some group's well-baing unimportant compared to most others, regardless of whether you hate, it's bigotry—racism, if the defining charecteristic is race.

              Lobbyists are just the piano players in the whorehouse; you could abolish them and the girls upstairs would still be doing business.--al Fubar -6.50 -5.69

              by Dvd Avins on Fri May 23, 2008 at 05:48:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  racism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dvd Avins
                1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
                1. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
                1. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.


                I don't want to boil this debate down to a simple semantic argument, but the term "racism" is tossed around too much in our politics.  That is because basic identity politics, and the positive biases that come with it, are often mistaken for bigotry of one sort or another.   History shows us that people tend to prefer candidates that look and talk and act like they do.  So Whites tend to prefer White candidates, Blacks tend to prefer Black candidates, Latinos tend to prefer Latino candidates, men tend to prefer male candidates, and women tend to prefer female candidates.  These preferences are not racism, or sexism, they are just a manifestation of humanity's tendency towards tribalism.  

                If a black voter is voting for Barack because said voter either a) doesn't trust white people, or b) believes that blacks are inherently superior in someway, then yes, that is a racist vote.  But if a black voter votes for Barack because he or she identifies more with Senator Obama, then no, that is not racism even if race is a component in that sense of identification.

                Similarly, if a woman votes for Hillary because of a belief that men cannot be trusted or that women are just better than men, then that is a sexist vote.   But, if a female voter simply supports Senator Clinton because she identifies with her more strongly than with her opponent, then no that is not sexism.

                In closing I'd like to acknowledge the simple reality that black voters and female voters in the Democratic party have a long history of supporting candidates who are white and/or male.  That they, in the context of this election, tend to prefer the candidates who are most like them doesn't make them racist/sexist, it just makes them human.

                This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

                by Thought Crime on Fri May 23, 2008 at 07:09:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with your analysis and also say (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dvd Avins

                  that one cannot make an absolute statement whether a particular vote is because of identity politics or racial/sexism beliefs unless the components that you identified here are surveyed. Therefore, you cannot make blanket statements saying that racism and sexism are not factors in voting decisions.

                  Also, in terms of sexism, often women face discrimination not because of a belief of superiorty but because of the role of affinity in the workplace. An equally qualified woman may not receive the same opportunities because Dick is liked more and the boss is more comfortable working with Dick than Sally.

                  The point is that yes affinity and comfort have a lot to do with decisions that occur in our society, but I believe that we need to expand our level of comfort and embrace people who are different if we are to expand opportunities for women and ethnic groups.  

            •  It's the POWER!!! (6+ / 0-)

              Why don't you take this weak and untrue s**t where it belongs--the trashbin!  I think Jim Webb has it right--recognize the legitimate needs and desires of both sides, and make a way for them to work TOGETHER to achieve greater opportunity.

              As Barack so eloquently noted yesterday, when you pull up to the gas pump you pay $4 whether you're Black or White.  We need to recognize this, and move forward together toward a better future.

              Barack Obama is the ideal person to lead that charge!!!

              •  Consider this and tell me what you think (0+ / 0-)

                Senerio One:

                Dick and Sally both work in the same department. Dick has a family and so does Sally. There is a new opening for a job and both apply. The hiring partner is a man. If Dick gets the job because the hiring partner is more comfortable with Dick than Sally is this an example of sexism?

                Senerio Two:

                Dick and Sally are polticians asking for your vote. Dick has the same policy plans as Sally. The number of women voters outnumber men 3 to 1. If Sally gets more votes than Dick because she is a woman is this sexism?

            •  Ok, here were our opinions differ (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Helpless, Liberal Monk, David Kroning
              1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
              1. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.


              I do not believe one must be a hater, to exhibit racial prejudice. Some people who are bigots do hate others based on race and act upon his or her hatred in the form of discrimination or acts of violence. But, others just feel uncomfortable around people of different ethnicities and races soley because of his or her race or ethnicity and not because of the persons character. MLK talked about someday this not being a factor that would continue to separate people and that people would one day be judged by the content of his or her character.

            •  How many people in Appalachia... (15+ / 0-)

              ...have 100+ million in the bank, Ivy League educations, have travelled the world and are so far removed from "real life" that they can neither pump gas nor operate a coffee machine in a convenience store?

              The only basis for those voters to 'relate' to HRC is because she is caucasian. Nothing else in her life (her actual life, not the revisionist version which changes depending on where she is campaigning for the moment) is something they can relate to, in the overall.

              This is as big a canard as GWB saying he's just a regular joe because he wears jeans and flannel shirts and clears enough brush on his ranch for a photo op to happen...despite his prep school upbringing, his Ivy League college and law school, his being a walking, talking object lesson in why patronage and nepotism are bad, etc.

              Racism is more than hate... it's indifference; it's that supercilious smugness that comes with a presumption of superiority of one group and the inferiority of all others based on an accident of birth; it's intolerance; it's inherent advantage given to one and held back from another on the basis of how much melanin one has or lacks in his skin.

              Reducing it to simply hate gives a free pass to all manners of behaviors that are not specifically hateful but are still inherently racist.

              •  awesumtenor -well seen & said. n/t (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jedennis, kyril
              •  Beat me to it :-) n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                You bet your ass I'm bitter. And, yes, middle-america 'values' voters, you *have* been duped. Obama's right. And I'm bitter as hell.

                by ChurchofBruce on Fri May 23, 2008 at 06:51:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You forgot "tough", and "unbending" (0+ / 0-)

                And a pure love for fighting.  Hillary redeemed herself with her lost cause.  Your pretty words sound good, but if your culture is isolationist people are calling you names all the time.    

                •  The tough and unbending thing... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jedennis, shayshay

                  with HRC is a front... she uses it to make political hay... she is equally as prone to play the victim or go passive aggressive if she thinks that will avail her the most benefit.

                  It's something she does... not something she is.

                •  as for the "pure love of fighting" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  That is more a residual of her personality rubbing people the wrong way... when you come to a point where you know people are not going to like you, those like HRC decide people are going to dislike them on their terms... so if detractors are going to say she's a "bitch" then she's going to give them bitchiness like they've not seen

                  Her fighting is neither principled nor pure; she will demagogue boths sides of an issue depending on which way the wind blows and her political need ( see War in Iraq, MI/FL delegates, NAFTA, etc )... and after 16 years, I wont even go so far as to say she loves it but rather it has become a pavlovian response with her where given certain conditions she can't help herself.

        •  You *are* kidding, right? (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kath25, kyril, Liberal Monk, Highwind, shayshay

          Ask yourself this: why would hardscrabble mountain people feel "comfortable" with a rich woman who grew up reasonably well-off (and in Chicago which has exactly nothing in common with Appalachia), went to Wellesley and Yale, and is the ultimate political 'insider'?

          Read the diary again. Hillary is exactly the type of interloper you'd think the people of Appalachia would be suspicious of.

          But they were more suspicious of Obama. Even if you make the case that Obama was as privileged as HRC (which he wasn't--HRC's parents were never on food stamps), what's the only real reason those people would feel more 'comfortable' with HRC?

          Skin color.

          That's it.

          You bet your ass I'm bitter. And, yes, middle-america 'values' voters, you *have* been duped. Obama's right. And I'm bitter as hell.

          by ChurchofBruce on Fri May 23, 2008 at 06:50:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If they think Hillary is more like them, (0+ / 0-)

          then pity on them.  Pathological lies, willingness to divide, lack of education viewed as an aspiration, rather than as an opportunity to strengthen individuals and community, etc.

          If that's the leadership they want, they're welcome to it.  I won't go so far as to say they deserve it, because I'm not that cruel.

          "We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond." ---Gwendolyn Brooks

          by Fasaha on Fri May 23, 2008 at 07:04:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  She isn't. She is a multimillionaire politician. (0+ / 0-)

          Putting on an act.  She just wants them to THINK she is like them.

    •  It is racism (not voting because he is black) but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, cybrestrike, shayshay

      it should be noted that there is a difference between "because he is not one of us" vs.  "blacks are inferior".  I do not profess to know much about the area except by brief visits to West Virginia.  As far as I can tell,  I would say that both attitudes exist there.  I was treated cautiously as obviously a fish out of water when by myself (I'm white), but the one time my husband and I were on a camping trip with friends was when the real animosity was shown (my husband is black, but we weren't a couple then).  Just a mixed group of adults traveling together was a little more than people wanted to appreciate.  No threats or anything, but not a place we wanted to spend time going back to if you know what I mean.

      If Barack Obama was a sexist, Michelle would kick his ass.

      by choochmac on Fri May 23, 2008 at 05:37:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What the hell is it with this silly argument... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FutureNow, kyril

        "He is not one of us."

        For Christ's sakes he's an American!!!! He is one of us!

        The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

        by David Kroning on Fri May 23, 2008 at 06:37:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would that it were so simple. n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  I'm not defending it, I'm just saying that's how (0+ / 0-)

          some people think.  When I married my husband there were members of BOTH sides of our family who were a little uncomfortable at first.  Not out of active hostility, just a questioning of going outside the "community" to find a spouse.  We are a big loving, very inclusive family now, but to ignore the way some felt would be intellectually dishonest.  That's why I am sure once he is president they will get to know him and will bring many along with him (not all, but many).

          If Barack Obama was a sexist, Michelle would kick his ass.

          by choochmac on Fri May 23, 2008 at 07:59:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but to condemn people on that action (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cskendrick, kyril

      and not try to understand them only pours gas on the fire. I am grateful for this diary which explains much to me.

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