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On MLK Day a report was released based on a New Yorker interview with President Obama where he stated the following fairly obvious point.

“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said in a 17,000-word profile by The New Yorker’s David Remnick in the magazine’s Jan. 27 issue.
Of course in response to this we got the following from Queen Bee Mean Girl of the Wingnuts, Sarah the Palinite.
Happy MLK, Jr. Day!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.

Which generated quite a bit a of talk, and more than a bit a ridicule of Ms. Palin, but not a lot of understanding of the ongoing racial issues that face this nation.  It's particularly unfortunate because it obscured the next set of things that the President actually said.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” he said.
So it's obvious that Obama is far more clear-eyed about the impact of his race than many other people.  It can be a handicap, but it can also be a benefit depending on whom you're dealing with. That should seem obvious, but apparently not to some people for whom admitting that anyone continues to have actual negative racial animus against the President or anyone else, does not exist.

Like Palin the reaction to Obama's comments by other Conservatives similarly missed and obscured his underlying point leading to far from illuminating debates like this one on CNN where the conservative host accused Obama of blaming all of the criticism against him on Race. Which he didn't. And further claiming that NO ONE in the entire Country, is bigoted toward the President. Not nobody.

“He refused to acknowledge the fact that he has made history,” Alice Stewart told CNN host Don Lemon. “He is the first African-American president of the United States — and re-elected. We have gone far beyond where MLK started, and he sees, anytime there is opposition or when he says someone doesn’t like him, he claims it’s because of his race.
Obviously Obama didn't say that.  He said nothing of the kind, but this is the default position of the Right, that anytime he dares to even mention that racial animus still exists in this country is making an excuse and trying to play on sympathies. That they're making themself into a "victim", rather than pointing out a genuine problem that continues to need to be addressed.  It was far from a accident or Freudian Typo for the RNC to proclaim that Rosa Parks "Ended Racism", because from their perspective they show time and time again that they think Racism No Longer Exists in this country unless it's by blacks and progressives against white people.

For once however, the other CNN guests and hosts didn't let her get away with it.

“He’s never said that,” co-panelist Marc Lamont Hill protested. “Not one time has he said that.”,
But then she persisted after being additionally challenged by Don (pants-on-the-ground) Lemon.
“Don’t you think it would be disingenuous to think that all people who dislike the president dislike him because of his policies?” Lemon asked Stewart. “I know people who didn’t like George Bush because he was white. That’s the truth. You don’t think there are white people who don’t like the president because he’s black.

“I think the concerns people have, the reason people don’t like President Obama is because of his policies,” Stewart insisted.

So, you see, it's not cause he's a black guy - it's because of his policies - a few of which just might, eventually, help some black people.  Policies like improved access to Health Care for those blocked by pre-existing conditions and exorbitant costs.  His concern about the racial disparity in marijuana sentencing, is a policy issue - that of course the entire right-wing opposes.  When he talked about Racial Profiling and his own feeling that if he had a son, "he could have looked like Trayvon" and would likely have been treated in the same presumption of guilt manner, that isn't a policy question in terms of how we handle policing and allow laws that have a clear discriminatory outcome such as Stand Your Ground? When the Supreme Court strikes down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act after Justice Scalia calls it a "Racial Entitlement" - that's all about "policy" right?

When he gets called a "Socialist", a "Communist", a "Dictator", a "Kenyan", a "Terrorist Pal", and a "Food Stamp President" - despite like, facts - none of that possibly has anything to do with race?

When people who claim to oppose his "policies" don't even know what those policies are and continue to claim - despite all available evidence - that the IRS kerfuffle, Fast and Furious, and Beghazi were ALL attempts by the administration to gain "political advantage",  that there are "Death Panels" inside ObamaCare, even though there aren't, it becomes increasing difficult to believe the ongoing protestations that "race has nothing to do with it" because when you take these complaints and criticisms at face value they simply don't add up on their own.

Obviously, since so many of these claims have no legitimate merit it can't be an accident, the racial element of all of these false stories is in fact, a feature, not a bug in the overall design. Like the KKK of a century ago, the modern GOP has now rabid gaggle of race baiters at it's core - they have staked their entire future on the exploitation and stoking of white male resentment to minority entitlements. On issue after issue, from immigration, marriage equality, to reproductive rights to law enforcement reform to voting rights - they stand against interests of minorities and the disenfranchised time and time again.

If you actually look at their "policy positions" they are hardly any different from what you would find regularly discussed on StormFront. Yet that is a reality they don't have the courage to face because doing so would completely destroy and undermine the validity of their positions.  Hence, they back-fill, obfuscate and deny even the most obviously racial commentary by their own be it racial signs at Tea Party Rally's, bogus attacks on A.C.O.R.N. or Phil Robertson saying that Black people were "happier and more godly" before Civil Rights.

The truly sad, and even more important element of this is the next thing that Obama said, which in fact, agrees with Sarah Palin's underlying point although she would never fully comprehend or admit such a thing.

“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” Obama told The New Yorker. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government — that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable — and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments.”

“But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun,” the president continued. “There’s a pretty long history there.”


“I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans,” Obama said.

“The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy,” the president added.

I think we as progressives, are capable of following the thread here.  Yes, going all the way back to the implementation of the Southern Strategy under Nixon, the concerns and the legitimate issues and success of the Civil Rights movement were used as a cudgel to drive a wedge between the Liberal Democratic and Conservative Republican parties.  The divide was not just Racial, but also Partisan and Ideological.

Now, some 45 years on, those Partisan/Ideological views and Racial views have become hopelessly enmeshed.  It's nearly impossible to tell, if someone is motivated in their views and actions by a legitimate policy issue, or a racial one. In many cases, they are one-and-the-same.  It's become a chicken-and-the-egg problem.

Do some people support mandatory minimums because they truly think they help reduce crime or simply because they assume black people are "more criminal" and getting them off the street is overall, good policy?  Do people support Stop-N-Frisk because they honestly think getting more and more black and brown kids off the street - regardless of their 4th Amendment rights - is a legitimate law enforcement goal that "makes people safe" or is that outcome just a coincidence?

Perhaps some of them do think they're just "doing the right thing". And I think it's important for us to recognize that fact and openly admit it just as Obama has done.  it's up to us to show them how and why they are factually wrong - without resorting to our own presumptions - even if they themselves refuse to be open to that possibility.

Yes, things have changed since the MLK era.  Racists are now criminally and civilly liable for their actions. The result has been, that the last thing any actual racist will do - Is ADMIT what they have done has been for Racial Reasons.  They have learned over the decades to hide and disguise their true motivations.  They've learned to pretend the reasons for their actions are completely divorced for the outcomes. They've gone underground, and are hiding in plain sight amongst those who actually do have legitimate policy concerns, and there's the rub.

In the MLK era, Racists were pretty clear about who they were and why they did what they did.  They were directly in your face about it.  Nowadays, most of the people who actually are up front about it - are pretty ineffectual at implementing their wishes because they'd be headed to jail or into serious civil proceedings if they were.

Are things better now than then?  Well, that depends on who you ask and where you live.  If you ask Newt Gingrich, Alan West, Rick Santorum or Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson they would say things are worse because of the "Liberal Policies" of Civil Rights protections, Voting Rights and Poverty Programs that have made Black people - as well as the Bla.. people - "dependent on the government", ignoring the underlying reasons for these programs and what would likely happen without them when left to the tender mercies of the Free-For-All Serve-your-Self Market.  

It may be a honest policy position for some to feel that "the Market" would better serve all Americans "equality" despite about 400 years of evidence to the contrary.  Few with that view would be willing to admit that it was the Market that created and enforced both Slavery and Jim Crow, and that the Government simply followed along with the - then - majority view of monied individuals who wished to protect their financial interests in maintaining the status quo.  Even fewer would openly admit that continuing this anti-human, anti-freedom market controlled trend is at the heart of the conservative Republican platform, and that their racism-enabling and excusing is simply a means to a self-aggrandizing financial end.

Yes of course, it is historic that America did elect, twice, an African-American President.  But if you were an African-American trying to Vote in Florida or Alabama in 2012, things weren't really all that much different than trying to vote in 1962. When you look at how much ridiculous guff this President has had to put up with, from a Congress that has more than once attempted to completely sabotage the country economically to people openly calling for him to be arrested and hanged for no clear reason at all and for a military coup to be staged against him - it's not that much better than what MLK himself had to put up with in Selma, or when he was called "Communist", suffered illegal surveillance and blackmail, and was eventually assassinated in Memphis.

It's different, but it isn't exactly "better".

Obama makes the point that we shouldn't necessarily jump to the extreme conclusion that all opposition against him is racially motivated, because not all of it is.  On this, he essentially agrees with Palin that people shouldn't use racial animus as an excuse, that they shouldn't "play the race card" and I think he's absolutely right.  It's difficult to hold your ground in a debate when you're first move when complaining that your opponent continues to assume the worst motives about yourself, is to do the same thing to them.

In the end, making such a presumption isn't even needed, because whether the person is motivated by race or not isn't the most important point.  it's whether their motivated by Reality vs. Delusion.  Bigotry encompasses presumption without proof.  Fact-free conclusions without a foundation.  To assume, before you truly know, then to entrench yourself within a cacoon of factlessness. As I've said many times - all bigotry and racism is Confirmation Bias run amok.

In the end bigotry of a partisan stripe, is no different, and no better than bigotry on the basis of someone's age, gender, orientation, religion, race, or creed.  Even if you take people at their word that their objection to the President is not racial, but partisan - if the facts don't support their views - it's still bias, it's still bigotry and it's still wrong.

You don't have to even call it "Racism" for it to still be Bigotry, even if it is supposed based on "Policy". The difficulty is getting people, anyone, to look beyond their own well-entrenched pre-concieved notions and to look at the facts and reality objectively.  Many of us expect that of others, few of us ever truly accomplish it.  If the GOP rank and file actually started to analyze and comprehend the issues beyond the pandering and biased framing of the Koch Brother's AFP, Heritage and Fox News - if they truly did what they claim and looked at all the facts they actually might starting thinking for themselves, and I don't think they'd continue to support the corporatist and exploitative policies that those entities continue to promote and espouse.

That's when the GOP would be in real serious trouble. but I for one though, am not holding my breath on that.


Originally posted to Vyan on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (137+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    middleagedhousewife, pierre9045, leftist vegetarian patriot, GwenM, Drewid, implicate order, aaraujo, citizenx, tardis10, TomP, Eddie L, Dvalkure, blueoregon, virginwoolf, Gowrie Gal, elwior, swampyankee, Sylv, anna shane, Chitown Kev, tampaedski, Diogenes2008, JusticeSeeker68, Mets102, global citizen, Wee Mama, CFAmick, millwood, La Gitane, navajo, CPT Doom, Kingsmeg, wasatch, cuphalffull, Matt Z, doroma, AsianAfricanAmerican, BvueDem, 1BQ, pileta, GAS, Via Chicago, cotterperson, zerelda, wader, reginahny, avsp, kerflooey, Safina, a2nite, SherwoodB, 2thanks, anodnhajo, kevinpdx, Buckeye Nut Schell, dizzydean, tytalus, gramofsam1, poco, smoothnmellow, jfromga, maggiejean, Mr MadAsHell, kishik, Horsefeathers, Sun Tzu, parse this, wu ming, Jay C, niteskolar, blueyedace2, ColoTim, JayBat, politicalceci, TheHalfrican, sow hat, brae70, DavidMS, Shockwave, NormAl1792, harlinchi, bunsk, wesmorgan1, MufsMom, The Sheeping of America, Chaddiwicker, vivadissent, onionjim, FrankAletha, Onomastic, Front Toward Enemy, smokeymonkey, AnnieR, Laurel in CA, Emerson, EdSF, vcmvo2, yoduuuh do or do not, Elizaveta, Denver11, expatjourno, Siri, Jon Sitzman, TrueBlueMajority, Radical Moderate, SCFrog, DrWhk, begone, Al Fondy, Yasuragi, cfk, rja, Youffraita, ChemBob, Intellectually Curious, Bluesee, misshelly, AoT, Dem Beans, LeftCoastTom, Meteor Blades, Spirit of Life, DebtorsPrison, Molly Weasley, MarkInSanFran, Ahianne, seefleur, NinetyWt, tofumagoo, Gorette, pointilleux, CA ridebalanced, thomask, TheMeansAreTheEnd, Dodgerdog1, Oh Mary Oh, oslyn7
  •  Interesting how the logic gets flipped (27+ / 0-)

    To a republican, Dislike of President Obama automatically disqualifies you from being a racist.  But if you like the president...

  •  Good post. (43+ / 0-)

    Racism still is strong in this nation.  Many whites, especially those in the South, but not just in the South, hate this president because he is black.  But not all opposition to the president on one policy or another is because he is black.  Both statements by Obama are true.

    Disentangling racism from policy disagreement may be hard in some difficult cases, but it's easy when people send emails with racism themes (watermelons on the WH lawn) or attack his legitimacy as not born in the US, or push memos that he is lazy, etc.  

    Barack Obama's election is great progress for this nation, but we had along way to go to decency.  We are not even close yet.

    His election exposed the racist hate of some whites.  On the other hand, the Obama coalition is a rainbow.  Whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, women of all ethnicities, various religions and non-religious, GLBTers and straights, it's all of us.

    The White Losers Party is the Republican Party.  The Kochs work these people, feeding their belief that theri skin privilege will help them, when those days are waning and Big Money is just exploiting them.  


    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:31:32 AM PST

    •  started out overt (15+ / 0-)

      back in the 50's anyone could say anything disgusting anywhere, and it was permitted, considered socially acceptable. The n word, so called jokes, all of it, over the top bad and if you were a kid your parents told you not to listen, to ignore ignorance, at least my parents told me that.

      Then with civil rights and MLK it was no longer socially acceptable to be overtly racist, and some white people struggled with how to mend  those times, no white person over the age of 60 has not heard racist so-called jokes in large gatherings where now that would be unthinkable.  And it was always embarrassing, and when it wasn't acceptable anymore it was a big relief, but there was that, how does one address it, does one address it at all? Because it was still visible, and still unfair, just not so overt.  

      I used to shop and see some people of color given a hard time when they were paying, and wished we'd all be treated equally, and while now a lot more are given a hard time, so it's more equal that way, it hasn't changed in the way it must, for all of us to treat and be treated respectfully.   And we know that young people of color who purchase expensive items still get 'tagged.'

      Now it's a new time, it's mainly old white people who are racist and the oldest ones were around when it was overt and nasty and entirely accepted.  And they're dying out, and that's the promise, that young people aren't very racist. Not very sexist, not even very ageist, a little universally kinkier, and just don't have the same prejudices of the older generations.

      And that's really great.  In time the demographic will solve the problem.  

    •  It's sad that people the Koch money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Jon Sitzman

      manipulates aren't even aware of what is being done.  Their beliefs, interests and racial hatred are being used to get the one percent more money without even lifting a finger.  

      Even more tragic is the fact that the Republican racists are the control group in manipulating the animus against the President and people of color.

      What the one percent truly want are the racists from both sides of the political spectrum.

      "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

      by politicalceci on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:08:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed it is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Some of my brother's in-laws are hardcore racists. His wife is great, as are many of her family, but some of them ... oh meh gerd.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:29:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mentioning Racial Animus Exists (13+ / 0-) the problem, according to the right wing.  Just like mentioning gender bias exists...and so on, and so on...

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:46:16 AM PST

  •  If you disagree with a policy of PBO's (20+ / 0-)

    it seems to me that you would state those disagreements with his policy.

    When you inject the President's race anywhere into the question of PBO's specific policies, you just might be a racist.

    •  You know they are racist when they are "against" (6+ / 0-)

      his policies, except that they not his policies.  When they base their hatred on "facts" that are easily proven to be false.

      When I get emails with outrageous claims about President Obama, I reply with facts pointing out that the email is not true.  If the sender acknowledges the error, they may not be racist, but if they persist even in the face of facts, then I know that it is racism that is driving the opposition.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What scares them is two-fold... (15+ / 0-)

    First is that like previous Democrats, Barack Obama is a president for all the people and not just their sliver of the population.

    Second, they look at his election and they see the future as the country grows less white and they know that their hold on power will progressively diminish.  This, more than anything, scares them.

    The only good thing about people like Ted Nugent is that they're so open about it rather than the majority of the Republican talking heads that try and keep it extremely coded and completely disclaim any link to race.

    Enacting our agenda requires winning elections. Oh, and me on Facebook and Twitter.

    by Mets102 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:55:52 AM PST

  •  Good diary but it begs the question. Has there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, doroma

    been a political scandal the right has rallied around that isn't because of his race?  Every administration has political scandals or critics.  That's the nature of politics.  

    If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

    by thestructureguy on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:58:25 AM PST

    •  Obama administration is relatively scandal free. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, Chitown Kev, Ahianne

      There have been some.

      Geithner's Taxes.
      The BATF idiocy / fast and furious.
      NSA domestic spying.

      Probably a couple of more that I have forgotten.

      But all in all, I would hope that every President would envy Obama's record at clean politics.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:48:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes (7+ / 0-)

        they have so little on him, in reality, so they hype what isn't there, Benghazi, fringe charges, whatever is there they use and since none of it turns out to be factual, they lose credibility.  But, they can't stop trying to find something on him.  

        Obama is a normal guy, kind of square, conventional enough as far as family and duty, he is probably the cleanest male president we've ever had.  I doubt he'd consider cheating on Michelle, he loves her, and he is clearly a doting father.  We've never had such a man in office.  Maybe Ford was a regular decent person, and Carter, but both lacked charisma. Obama is even funny.  

      •  NSA was Bush's mess (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doroma, politicalceci, Diogenes2008

        to start with as a result of the Patriot Act, just like Gitmo, Waterboarding and Rendition.  Remember when they used to listen to the intimate phone calls of our troops from overseas? PBO actually put in some safeguards to prevent that, at least at the administrative level.  That's why he's a lot less freaked out about Snowden than some of us, any unauthorized queries of the the metadata database are recorded and tracked, which help tamp down abuse.

        •  Authorized Queries (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Actually, a lot of the authorized  queries have a lot of us freaked out. We're not as willing as you are to say that after 5 years the NSA, part of the Executive Branch, doesn't belong to Obama now.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:17:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure they do... (0+ / 0-)

            but those do at least depend on FISC authorization, which is renewed every 90 days.  Bush completely bypassed the Court and claimed he didn't need their oversight or approval.  They are now back in the loop.  No, it's not yet where it probably should be - because for one thing what Snowden was talking about was the super-authorities he had as a Systems Admin which go above and beyond what the filters and limits can control, but it's still much better than it was.

      •  Michelle's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chitown Kev

        The Canadian company that botched the Obamacare website rollout is run by Michelle Obama's Princeton classmate.

        The Obama administration has been (no surprise) much less arrogant or careless than the Bush/Cheney admin. Fewer scandals. Lots of big failures among the many successes.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:15:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Recced for (7+ / 0-)

    Queen Bee Mean Girl of the Wingnuts.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:19:55 AM PST

  •  I've been saying this for years. (19+ / 0-)
    When people who claim to oppose his "policies" don't even know what those policies are and continue to [make false or exaggerated claims], it becomes increasing[ly] difficult to believe the ongoing protestations that "race has nothing to do with it" because when you take these complaints and criticisms at face value they simply don't add up on their own.

    I have a dear friend, as liberal as they come, who bristled in 2008 and '09 at being "accused" of "racism" because she "disagreed with" or "criticized" Obama. I pointed out that when "disagreement" or "criticism" is unreasonable, be it based on falsehoods or a lack of understanding, then it's not unreasonable to presume that the "criticism" or "disagreement" must be based on something else.

    I'm sure we've all had this experience. When we ask someone to give greater definition to the term, "his policies," it becomes clear that they either (a.) don't know, (b.) are wrong, (c.) refer only to meaningless unadorned 35,000-foot-high-level abstractions like "socialism" or "big government," or (d.) refer to things that existed long before Obama became President, including things that existed throughout the Bush presidency with nary a complaint from them.

    The reality is that it's not that hard to program people to think this way. People are not first- (or even second-) hand observers of current events; they'll believe whatever you tell them if it validates some prejudice they have, starting (but not necessarily ending) with which political party they identify with and/or prefer to vote for. Confirmation bias is very, very powerful.

  •  Thanks Vyan (4+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:43:43 AM PST

  •  Yep, "prejudice" = prejudging someone you (0+ / 0-)

    don't know based on your own preconceived notions and a finite set of observable facts. He's male, he's African American, he's middle aged, he has brown eyes, he has dark, greying hair, he has a baritone voice, he's "this" tall, he weighs "that" much. If you are biased against any one of these superficial attributes, you are being prejudicial and bigoted. If your bias includes race, you are also being racist.

    This applies equally to being prejudiced in favor of someone based solely on superficial characteristics.

    "'Patriotism' is the last refuge of a scoundrel" - Samuel Johnson, 1775

    preborner: (n.) one who believes that the right to life begins at conception and ends at birth.

    by 1BQ on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:45:18 AM PST

    •  True (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, 1BQ

      and often it's something you can't even put your finger on.

      How many times have you met somebody and just don't like them? They haven't done anything to you, they don't know you, you don't know anything about them, and you just cringe when you see them.

      Sometimes you get to know them and figure out later that they have a voice that sounds like your racist uncle, and you can't stand him. Or they wear the same cologne that he did. Or they kinda look like the guy who bullied you unmercifully in HS. Or they dress goth. Or they have striped hair. Or tattoos. Or piercings.

      They could be smart, and funny, and a lot like you. Except for the striped hair. And the tattoos. And the piercings. And that weird laugh.

      Somebody who realizes they have those reactions will work to not let that control their life. You miss out on a lot of nice people that way. Others never figure it out.

  •  Part of the problem is modern segregation (5+ / 0-)

    Yes, we no longer have legal redlining or "separate but equal" in the law.  But, the GOP base continues to be segregated from the black communities.  This is true in where folks live, where they go to school, where they work.   This lends itself to the "mixophobia" that Zygmunt Bauman has written about--people in the burbs, exurbs or country are fearful of entering into areas where they might mix with people unlike themselves.  Pew found in 2008 that conservatives are the group least likely to want to live in a diverse community.  White conservatives  are also the group most likely to holler about"reverse racism".  They are also far more likely to support "law and order" (see this Pew study on the death penalty).  They are also far more likely to blame the poor individual for "lack of effort".  

    All of these things come together in today's society when looking at ideological differences with regards to race or racism.  Sarah Palin's ridiculous remark about MLK is really where many conservatives are at--if THEY would stop making things about race and get to work, and if the government would stop interfering with business by trying to make things fair, then America would be great again.

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:36:45 AM PST

  •  the implications of the 2nd half of that statement (4+ / 0-)

    are huge, and the GOP should be worried. their whole political worldview is predicated upon all whites being as racist and racially polarized in a partisan sense as their base. the reality, however, is that whites are internally divided on matters of race and party, and many of us did, as obama said, "really like [him] and give [him] the benefit of the doubt precisely because [he's] a black president.”

    the fact that this tendency is more common the younger a white voter one gets has tremendous consequences for the GOP, in the medium and long run. and the democrats, if they have the fucking sense to play to an emerging majority with some political acumen.

  •  Is the Market to blame? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, politicalceci, Ahianne

    I think this is a vital diary to post, and really sums up the issues with the way we discuss race in this country, but I think you're incorrect in one place:

    Few with that view would be willing to admit that it was the Market that created and enforced both Slavery and Jim Crow, and that the Government simply followed along with the - then - majority view of monied individuals who wished to protect their financial interests in maintaining the status quo.
    Looking at Jim Crow laws specifically, it is not the market that created those laws - or the extralegal activities of groups like the KKK that supported white supremacy. In fact, the Jim Crow laws were an explicit attempt to thwart the market and ensure racial differences.

    If an unfettered free market, individuals with the skills, intelligence and ability to move ahead will tend to do so, given similar opportunities. What whites in the post-Reconstruction South feared was exactly that phenomenon. During the time the federal government enforced the 13 - 15th Amendments after the Civil War, we had black leaders, both state and federal, emerge and be elected to office. We saw blacks earning enough to buy land, create new businesses and a few become somewhat wealthy. This record is pretty incredible when you consider the disadvantages of former slaves, who did not have access to widespread education or training.

    Yet all that progress was blocked, and in many cases reversed, in the years after Reconstruction formally ended. The laws, the separate-but-equal doctrine, the minimal financing of black schools - these were all meant to ensure blacks did not have equal opportunity to achieve. Those who did achieve anyway, often through the assistance of parallel institutions created by black communities when whites forced them out, were under the constant threat of retaliation by the KKK or other whites for being too successful. It got so bad it created the Great Migration, where those with the means to do so flooded out of the South.

    Modern-day racists still don't want the market (which I admit is totally flawed and won't achieve equality unaided - it's a human invention after all, with all the associated flaws) to work the way it is supposed to, if that operation will undermine their sense of value or importance. So equality in voting is good, but if too many of the voters are the wrong color or party, time to invent laws to squash that. They fight every policy - food stamps, job training, unemployment benefits, health care access, affirmative action - that could level the existing playing field and undermine their own (rapidly decreasing) power.

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:48:23 AM PST

    •  A completely unfettered market (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CPT Doom, politicalceci, Ahianne

      is one that can, and has more than once, led to wage-slavery.  You can look at the example of the coal miners of Appalachia who were paid bare subsistence salaries while doing dangerous and deadly work, while slipping slowly further and further into debt.

      "I sold my soul to the company store" is not just a song, it was the way of life for millions until the market, become Regulated with features like the minimum wage and the Fed began to manage interest rates.

      Without worker safety, workers compensation, consumer safety, ecological and environmental standards, the inherent drive of the market - via the speculation and greed of Wall Street - drives it against the worker, against spending on their Health Care and their pensions, and toward increasing profits for their shareholders.

      That drive to maximize profits by minimizing "overhhead" today isn't much different from the shift in 1662 in Virginia when Race-Neutral Indentured Servitude change from a temporary condition made by choice to pay a debt, or as punishment for a crime, which would eventually be rewarded with land ownership and a chance for prosperity to a Racial weapon, where all those born of a certain blood line or nationality were slaves by birth, unto death.

      Traditionally, Englishmen believed they had a right to enslave a non-Christian or a captive taken in a just war. Africans and Indians might fit one or both of these definitions. But what if they learned English and converted to the Protestant church? Should they be released from bondage and given "freedom dues?" What if, on the other hand, status were determined not by (changeable ) religious faith but by (unchangeable) skin color?

      Also, the indentured servants, especially once freed, began to pose a threat to the property-owning elite. The colonial establishment had placed restrictions on available lands, creating unrest among newly freed indentured servants. In 1676, working class men burned down Jamestown, making indentured servitude look even less attractive to Virginia leaders. Also, servants moved on, forcing a need for costly replacements; slaves, especially ones you could identify by skin color, could not move on and become free competitors.

      In 1641, Massachusetts became the first colony to legally recognize slavery. Other states, such as Virginia, followed. In 1662, Virginia decided all children born in the colony to a slave mother would be enslaved. Slavery was not only a life-long condition; now it could be passed, like skin color, from generation to generation.

      That transition happened because it made the Rich, richer. it decreased competition and created a permanent source of ready, cheap labor.  It was a market-based decision, the Raciam that followed was and has always been merely an after-the-fact rationalization and justification for inhumanity in the service of greed.
      •  I agree with you, but not as to the cause (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        All of the markets you are describing are not unfettered - in fact, the pure unfettered market does not exist, because it requires that all parties to a transaction have perfect information about that transaction, which is an impossibility. In fact, the rich would hate a purely unfettered market, because it would eliminate their ability to exploit workers or consumers and make more money.

        But in the cases you describe, unequal information (in the case of coal mine owners) or legal strictures (slavery) were created to ensure the market that did exist could not operate freely, so that individuals could not get recognition or monetary remuneration in accordance with their skills, abilities and training.

        This is a great example as to why I, as a trained economist, support all kinds of programs to reduce income inequality and ensure a social safety net. I understand that current market is flawed, because information, power and money are concentrated among the few, so the social safety net exists to create a more level playing field.

        A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

        by CPT Doom on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:12:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By "unfettred" I am probably trampling (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne, politicalceci

          a term of art, but what I mean is unregulated and unrestrained by community or government standards. Would people - when properly and accurately informed - influence the market to create more equity?  I doubt it because so much of the market is based on self-interest, rather than empathy, but as you say - we can never be completely informed, so such a market is a pipe-dream by definition.

          Or to put it another way, fashion, brand loyalty and out-and-out addiction tends to trump pure "information".  People have known for decades of the link between smoking and cancer - yet they continue to smoke.  For a shorter period, we've known - once whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand revealed the evidence - that the industry knew that nicotine was addictive for decades and lied to the public and Congress about it.  That cigarettes are essentially designed as a nicotine delivery system which tends to override and blunt the natural "free choice" of consumer.

          As long as an industry can continue to lie and obfuscate to protect their financial interests (see Walmart's handling of it's internal worker issues or BP on the volume of the Deep Water Horizon Spill), then the market is never truly "Free" and the choices made are not being done with the best evidence available.

          Industry could voluntarily step-up and provide fair and accurate information on the quality, content and even the negative impacts of their products on their workers and consumers - but exact when have they ever done that without government mandates to do so?

  •  a not on this (3+ / 0-)
    Yes, things have changed since the MLK era.  Racists are now criminally and civilly liable for their actions. The result has been, that the last thing any actual racist will do - Is ADMIT what they have done has been for Racial Reasons.  They have learned over the decades to hide and disguise their true motivations.  They've learned to pretend the reasons for their actions are completely divorced for the outcomes. They've gone underground, and are hiding in plain site amongst those who actually do have legitimate policy concerns, and there's the rub.
    Many of "those with legitimate policy concerns" know dam well who the racists are in their midst, and not only don't say anything, but willingly ally with them.

    I don't know if there's a term for this, what I'd call "Not Caring Racism": knowing that policies/actions will harm minorities disproportionately and proceeding anyway. It's a form of silent disregard that is particularly noxious.

    Not surprisingly, its particularly prevalent amongst corporatists, with their sociopathic tendencies.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:26:05 PM PST

  •  Doesn't take much to make conservatives pitch fits (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, dizzydean, Ahianne

    They're very reactionary.  I see it at work all the time.  They don't understand information, they just hear part of something and then fly off the handle at what they mis-heard.

    If Obama had said "People don't like me because I'm black," well, then, that'd be more of a case.  The crucial and key word is "some."  SOME.  There's a lot of weight on that word, and that word bears the truth.

    If I said "Some people hate my guts," well, that's true enough - I can name at least a half dozen people (and fuck 'em all) who'll dance a jig when I'm dead.  If I said "Everybody hates my guts," then I'm a raging paranoid and may need evaluating and treatment.  And, it's also not true.  There are a few people who love the hell out of me.  No accounting for taste, but, there ya go.

    Conservatives just make themselves look silly when they deliberately misunderstand this stuff, or take it personally.  If they're one of the ones who dislike him for a reason other than his race, then they're not one of the ones he was talking about and they've got nothing to be defensive about; they're not part of the "some".

    Why can't they get that concept?  I mean, I know conservatives and in general they tend toward the thick-witted and stupid (not trying to be insulting, just being honest - I live in a state full of 'em and that's how it is... and I'm not saying "all," but I am saying "most"), but, please, they can't be that stupid.  

    Then again, they think this is a good tactic, and that takes a special level of dumb... a Palin-esque level.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:51:48 PM PST

  •  Twisting a simple statement of fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politicalceci, isabelle hayes

    into something ugly for them to attack? Surprise!  It's what they do best.  In all this they don't realize it is them, not the President, who plays the race card, including Sarah Palin.  But then her job is simply to keep the right wing base foaming at the mouth, isn't it.  She does it well.  

    What is the name they give women whose job is to get men excited?  I can't think of it right now and don't want to search for sex terms on my office computer.  But that's what Ms. Palin reminds me of.  Is that bad to say?  Probably, but I'm sick of beating around the bush when it comes to the ugliness displayed on the right day in and out.  I'm sick of being polite when they are just downright ugly.  (Just remembered it - fluffer)

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:52:11 PM PST

  •  Nice diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, politicalceci

    People of all races need to stand up to these Cons that try to say racism is over. Racism is when you can just go to Fox(racist)News and hear stupid sh*t like Jesus and Santa are white.  
     Look at Richard Sherman he was described as a "thug"  because why-why...same old story a black man not talking in a nice voice to a white woman imagine that. Now he has to remind people of his education so they can say well he is intelligent, speaks well, articulate, why again?

  •  It's the height of cognitive dissonance. Look at (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, Ahianne, politicalceci

    the crowds of Republican voters and Democratic voters, or the people at the two party's national conventions.  The Republican group is usually overwhelmingly white, while the Democratic group is usually a mixture of races.

    Yet the Republicans will say they're not racist but the Democrats are.

    And pointing out the cognitive dissonance gets labeled "playing the race card".

  •  What else gives the RW night terrors? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That Mr. Obama has power over them.  They don't acknowledge or respect it, but they know who is still boss.  That angers them and fuels their will to make sure America's leader fails in all aspects of his work.

    Furthermore, it scares the RW that the POTUS has common sense and practicality.  The GOP can say whatever invectives that keep them warm at night, but in the end they cannot accuse Mr. Obama of anything ostentatious (unlike Toronto Mayor Tom Ford has done.).  The President is (and probably by necessity) low-key.

    But that in itself unleashes the glaring line of demarcation between the 44th U.S. Head of State compared to the other 43.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:06:53 PM PST

  •  2012 vs 1962 In Alabama (0+ / 0-)
    But if you were an African-American trying to Vote in Florida or Alabama in 2012, things weren't really all that much different than trying to vote in 1962.

    I wasn't in Alabama on Election Day in 2012 or 1962. But I'd bet things were in fact a lot different. I'd bet things were a lot worse in 1962. Florida too, and many other places, not just in the South.

    That kind of exaggeration discredits the achievements that Dr King died working towards.

    I also think it's bad for people to give a president the benefit of the doubt because he's Black (or for any reason, racial or otherwise). I think that's worse than not liking him because he's Black (or otherwise). Presidents should get only the benefit of the doubt to which they're entitled by law.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:07:05 PM PST

    •  I think everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and what I mean by not that different from 1962 is that in some locales Black people were illegally denied the vote (via Poll Tax and or Literacy Tests) and in 2012 they were denied the vote by ridiculous Voter-ID restrictions, the closing of Early Voting locations and shortages of polling places creating excessively long lines.  The methods may have been different, but the goal and results were the same - deny ethnic minorities (particularly those who may be Democrats) access to vote.

      •  It's Still Different (0+ / 0-)

        In some locales Black people were beaten and killed to keep them from voting. In many locales the percentage who voted was a fraction of those who voted in 2012. There are still unacceptable problems, and the goals are still the same. But its wrong to say that there's no difference. Just as wrong as saying that Black people were happier under Jim Crow, because some White people didn't see them complain.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 06:55:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did say the methods are different (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          my point is that the outccome, to some extent, is the same for those who've been denied their constitutional rights to Vote, to move freely without color of suspicion (Stop-n-Frisk), or their abiiity to live (Stand Your Ground).  It might be more appropriate to say that the number of cases has gone down, and the blatantcy of the malice has changed, but for those on the receiving end - not the result.

          Just like Emmet Till so long ago, many innocent and unarmed people like Leonard Detwieler, Yula Love, Jonny Gammage, Oscar Grant, Patrick Dorismond, Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, Noel Polanco, Renisha McBride, Adbul Arian and Kendrec McDade are all equally dead.

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            I agree that the category they (and thereby we) are in isn't different, even though within the "disenfranchised" category we're better. We need an almost fundamental change, to ensure everyone's vote is effortless and counted.

            I say "almost" because MLK and others, including the roster you enumerated, lived and died to make that kind of change possible, when it wasn't before they gave their lives.

            I think something as simple as making the election last all month until Election Day - voting machines and all, at every post office and school. Just count and release the results when polls close. A lot harder to step on the bottlenecks that way.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:42:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Remarkable piece in NY Times on this subject (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:40:02 PM PST

  •  Great post Vyan! (0+ / 0-)

    Some of your readers might also be interested in this:

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by NLinStPaul on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:03:24 PM PST

  •  Obama is so clear headed here, seeing (0+ / 0-)

    both sides from several directions. Oh the irony when $arah Palin says he plays the race card at times like this, when he actually admits we need to watch out for the danger of that but at the same time acknowledge the existence of racism. He is being much more self (and situation) aware and honest than most people/politicians in his shoes, it seems to me. I'm trying to imagine someone else explaining the situation so well and I can't.

    He usually doesn't dumb down the concepts that he shares, which is laudable. It makes me wonder though if many Republicans who interpret Obama as playing the race card in situations like this simply cannot follow him, did not have the patience, listening skills, or intellect to follow his reasoning. They hear certain key words "race" etc and that's enough for them. Sure they have a preconceived bias against him and hear what they want to hear, but I think some of them actually might not have been able to follow intellectually. We know Palin is not super bright. SHe's manipulative and is feeding her audience what she knows they want to hear (race card), but I wonder if she has the intellectual firepower to actually understand where Obama is coming from.

  •  Vyan, this post is why (0+ / 0-)

    I follow you. Thanks for the clarity and perspective that you bring to these conversations.

    There is no worse enemy of God and Man than zeal armed with power and guided by a feeble intellect... --William James

    by oslyn7 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 12:04:31 AM PST

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