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View Diary: Racist Email Costs Bloomington IN Exec His Job (244 comments)

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  •  Racism has all varieties of kinds and degrees (2+ / 0-)
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    Cory Bantic, Hooscal

    As a white person in Western Pennsylvania--the ethnic, industrial part, not (what I thought) the "Alabama" part, last year I thought I had a handle on the degree of racism where I live.  I knew the African-Americans who lived nearby saw racism that I would never witness.  On the other hand, since much was not overt, I heard many things that wouldn't be spoken in hearing distance of a black person.  So with each segment of the population--black and white--each encountering only a portion of racist sentiments out there, the entirety of attitudes was not fully visible.  (I.e., African-Americans would face everyday slights I might overlook.  On the other hand, I would hear virulent comments, no white person here would make in "mixed" company.)
       Last year's election brought these attitudes all into sharper focus to me.  During the primary, the support for Clinton was, in large part, due to distrust (to use a generalized term) for Obama:    much of it from lifelong Dems who had no particular attachment to Hillary.  During canvassing, some outright racism was encountered but, for the most part, it could be shrouded in support for the other Dem candidate. However, during the June, July, August '08 period, we saw people really wrestling with coming over to Obama, once they no longer had the Hillary candidacy to fall back on.
        During Fall '08, most of the strong Dems were on board, but we still had to win over independents as well as some of the Dems.  Of course, McCain's selection of Palin and his handling of economic issues was key.  But two instances during during canvassing stand out:  one guy said (hell yea, I'm voting for the n-g---).  Another guy I was suprised to see on my canvassing list since (per his daughter who my daughter knows), he's so racist he'll yell out, when clicking through channels, "get that n-g--- off the TV" if Oprah comes on.  He wasn't home, but he had an Obama sign in his yard.  Other attitudes weren't nearly so starkly stated, but perhaps more insidious.  "I have no problem with Obama, but how will the blacks react if Obama wins/how will they react if Obama loses."
     I thought, perhaps too optimistically, that once he was elected, people would see the world didn't end and racial attitudes would soften.  Of course, the state of the economy gave a thin thread for people to attach (racially-motivated) blame to Obama, if one ignored the state of the economy before 1/20/09.  Likewise, those who get their news from Fox or right-wing talk radio perhaps do believe the world has come to an end (as we are living under the jack-boot of a communist or fascist--I keep getting confused which--dictatorship).

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