Obama and Racism

Up until recently I’d been inclined to think that the hysterical right wing opposition to Obama was based primarily in its rage at losing power. But a few weeks ago I decided that it had more of the flavor of racism. And now I am fully convinced that this is the greater part of what’s going on. The right wingers will deny it, of course, whether it’s true or not. You don’t go around admitting that you’re a racist anymore. I guess you can call that progress.

Some whites insist that blacks who are pissed off at being treated with hostility are racist. But racism is not mere anger at another race. Technically speaking, racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to others, and I’ve seen very little of that coming from black people. I’ve seen a lot of that coming from white people, though—especially from right wingers and other folks who believe that the race that came up with people like Aristotle, Shakespeare, Bach, and Churchill is clearly superior. I won’t go into the details here, but I think it’s an ignorant position. No race is superior to any other race. We are all human beings, and, in truth, there is little more to be said on the subject.

In any case, I see that Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter have begun to broach the subject (the racist aspect to the opposition toward Obama), and they are having to endure the usual outraged denials. They’re right, though.


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6 Responses to “Obama and Racism”

  1. del Says:

    I’m glad that people are finally starting to talk about the racist undertones of the right. The sooner the real motives behind their shrill attacks and obstructionism are dragged out into the sunlight the better off the country will be.

  2. Susan Says:

    While I would never go so far as to say that all criticism of the President is racist (that sets a very dangerous and ultimately counterproductive precedent), I do believe that there is an element of the extreme right wing opposition that is racist, and you’d have to be naive not to see it. It’s a shame because there are plenty of Americans with legitimate concerns, but their voices are being drowned out. I wish the mainstram Republican party was more willing to denounce these hysterics instead of following their current philosophy of “any warm body will do.”

    By the way, I just saw The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill for the first time last night, and I really loved it. I’m glad so many positive things came out of it for you.

  3. Federal Farmer Says:

    But is he black? if interested, pls see: http://soozah.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/rush-limbough-on-the-banking-queen-and-the-magic-negro/

    • markbittner Says:

      To a sane, intelligent person, he’s of mixed race, which is just a fact, and doesn’t matter. To a racist, he is a “dangerous black male,” and that’s where the problem is coming from.

  4. purecommonsense Says:

    The right is not racist. The right is putting forward legitimate criticism of socialist big spending policies and the left has no legitimate counter-argument, so they play the race card.

    The Tea Party Protests actually started under President Bush to protest his big spending policies, which many Republicans found contrary to their principles.

    • markbittner Says:

      While I don’t believe that every single right-winger is a racist, I believe that most are. To think otherwise would seem rather obtuse. The Southern Strategy, which the Republican Party has been living on for decades, was an overt appeal to racism. If the party were not racist it would have had nothing whatsoever to do with such a strategy. It would have been appalled by the idea.

      The Right is not putting forward any legitimate criticisms. It cannot. Its entire belief system is built on a vast catalog of mistaken ideas about reality.

      While living beyond your means is no virtue, it has nothing to do with socialism or capitalism per se. It’s in our national character to live beyond our means. The problem is our rampant materialism. (Please don’t try to tell me that we are not materialists.)

      While I don’t call myself a socialist—when you say “socialist” people think of a European intellectual system that I don’t subscribe to—I am fed up with and opposed to capitalism. (It was Ronald Reagan who turned me against capitalism, by the way.) The economic system I want doesn’t exist. It’s spiritual rather than materialist. It takes care of needs rather than desires. It encourages cooperation rather than competition.

      Finally: I think it’s true that the Left’s arguments have been compromised. The main reason is that we as a nation are hooked on a level of wealth that is unsupportable, and it’s extremely difficult to tell people the truth about that. The Right encourages people to have pointless desires, while it mocks and denigrates their real needs.

      I’m in a rather humorless mood today. I apologize for that. But these are my real responses to your statements.

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