Monday, June 11, 2012

The Real Elephant in the Room Is Race

I think it's time people addressed racism in America. After all, it's certainly reared its ugly head in the past four years. All it took was the election of an African-American to the highest office in the land to get all the racist cockroaches crawling from the woodwork. There were so damned many of them, some didn't even know they were cockroaches in the first place.

The biggest revelation has been the fact that a fair few cockroaches of racism regularly inhabit the Left's political sphere. From Glenn Greenwald's "Obamalovers" euphemism to Joan Walsh's Twitter war over her petty resentment that the President was deigning to run for re-election which resulted in a totally inappropriate, but very telling remark by Joan about resenting black people to Chris Matthews forgetting the President was black, all of this iteration came from the Left in varying degrees ranging from abject and open racist hatred that inhabited Miss Jane Hamsher's Firedoglake to the Daily Kos's daily patronising rants (including works by Cenk Uygur and Keith Olbermann) not just advising but telling the President how he should govern to the various racist comments hidden under the joke cloak and uttered by Bill Maher (examples here and here); but that was just subtle racism.

We also had to endure 101 new ways of not saying the President should be feared because he was black coming from the Right. He was Kenyan, anti-colonial, socialist, fascist, communist (sometimes all three), anti-American, unAmerican, "not one of us" - anything but the obvious, which was that he was black.

One side feared the idea of a black man in the White House, whilst the other feared that a black man in the White House wouldn't do their own particular brand of radical governing - with both sides absolutely forgetting the role Congress plays in all of this.

However, now, at the eleventh hour, people are beginning either to twig the issue that won't go away or else they've found their balls and now are beginning to address the most obvious obstacle to Barack Obama's re-election: his race.

We certainly kidded ourselves that we'd become all kumbaya and post-racial when we elected an African-American to be our leader.

Some people are beginning to address this issue directly - people like Bill Maher, who has spent the past three years undermining the President's message, is now directly addressing the fact that most Republicans who oppose the President do so because he's black. Even Chris Matthews addressed this in his syndicated broadcast yesterday (all the while pushing Hillary Clinton's candidacy for 2016, as if this year is a political write-off pejoratively).

What's prompted this sudden surge of political testosterone in various pundits and fundits finally addressing the issue of, not just electing, but re-electing a black man as President of the United States.

Mike Lupica, in an article in The New York Daily News cut to the quick of the problem and called it out.

There will be so many things to talk about with Obama vs. Romney from here to November, but the one that nobody will want to talk about very much in polite society, even in what has a chance to be the meanest presidential campaign for all times, is race.

It works against the President this time, in a big way.

Last time, there were just weren’t enough reasons for enough white voters to vote against the black guy, as much as they wanted to. This time there are plenty.

And please don’t believe a single poll on this issue.

If there is one great truth about polling in this country, at least when it comes to race, is that people lie through their teeth. Mostly because they don’t want to look like some lousy, scummy bigot — even talking to an anonymous voice on the telephone.

This is true. Even the most bigoted of bigots deny that they are racist. From the Left, I've had people actually tell me that racism doesn't exist amongst Liberals and certainly not Progressives. Tell that to Melissa Harris Perry, who first addressed this kind of pernicious and subtle racism in an article last autumn in The Nation and promptly got dredged through the mud of denial by various and sundry high-profiled white Progressives, including Joan Walsh's thoughtlessly clueless assertion that she had black friends.

Lupica continues:-

 Two things that nobody will want to talk about so much in the months between now and November? Race and Romney’s religion.

But race wins that one every time, first-round knockout, just because race is always the main event in America, no matter how enlightened we like to think we are.

“You know what race does in this election?” an old Kennedy Democrat I know is saying on Thursday. “It takes Mormonism off the board. Gone, goodbye. So there’s that. And here’s something else that works against the President. Romney’s not picking a bad vice-president. His pick might not be very exciting. But it’s not going to be Palin.”

Suddenly Barack Obama, four years later, is an underdog all over again. It is what he was when he took on Hillary Clinton, took on the Clinton machine, in the Democratic primary season of ’08. It is what he is against Romney right now, will be in the fall unless the economy comes back big.

Of course, we shouldn't talk about Romney's religion, but then again we shouldn't be using the euphemism of "Muslim" to disguise that we really mean that the President is black. And as we rightly shouldn't make Mitt Romney's religion an issue, that doesn't mean that what he did at Bain Capital or his record as a one-term governor of Massachusetts shouldn't be closely examined on the campaign trail either, but Romney's people object to that as personal attacks.

There are as many ways in which we can't address the candidate Mitt Romney as there are ways in which we can disguise the worry about re-electing a black man to the nation's highest office.

It shouldn't be that way either. It's time we started calling the euphemisms for exactly what they are: racism.


  1. Thank you for talking about the elephant in the room our lazy media does the elephant in room also. The dont want to call it along w/others what it is racism

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