Thursday, September 06, 2012

Teabaggers And Racism

You've probably seen the picture above. It is just one of the many racist signs seen at teabagger rallies across the country. Birthers and other teabaggers don't like the accusation that they are racists, but their actions, accusations, and signs say otherwise. I believe (and have believed for quite a while now) that the main thing these right-wing nut-jobs are upset about is simply that the people of America actually voted to put an African-American in the White House. That's why their reaction has been so much more vitriolic than when other presidents were elected that they didn't like (like Bill Clinton).

I'm not the only person who believes this. Tim Wise, on his excellent website, has written a great post on this subject. I am only posting part of his wonderful article, and I urge you to go over and read the whole thing (It's great stuff!). Here is some of what he had to say:

I have also long maintained — and what seems increasingly evident as we move into the heart of the 2012 campaign — is that the style of opposition, its specific form, and its particularcontent are too often embedded in a narrative of white racial resentment, white racial anxiety, and a desire to “other” the president in ways that go well beyond the politically partisan. It is not that criticisms of Obama are quantitatively racist, per se, but rather that they are qualitatively so in too many instances; a distinction, yes, but one that does not alter the underlying reality.

In other words, it is one thing to disagree, even mightily, with a president’s policies.
It is quite another to suggest that that president is really a foreign imposter: over, and over and overand over and over and over and over and over and over again. And to accept no proof, no matter how extensive, that he really is an American after all.*
Or to suggest that he is a secret Muslim who wishes to see Sharia Law imposed in the United States, and who is working to usher in just such an outcome, and that he and his wife engage in “terrorist fist jabs” as their preferred form of greeting.
Or a Manchurian Candidate, bent on destroying America, or at least deliberately destroying the economy so as to pay whites back for slavery and racism, and insisting that he only appoints people to his administration if they hate whites, and that he only received the endorsement of Colin Powellbecause he’s black.
Or that he’s the equivalent of an “African colonial despot,” who is “more African” than American, and who chose to go by the name “Barack” rather than “Barry” specifically as a way to thumb his nose at America, and who “hates this country” and is trying to dismantle it “brick by brick.”
Or that his political model is Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, and that soon he, like Mugabe, will be confiscating white people’s farms. Or that, even worse, he is just like Hitler, that his administration is a throwback to the Nazis, and his calls for national service and volunteerism are tantamount to the creation of a new SS.
Or that he uses the New Black Panther Party as his personal “army of thugs”, that he stands by while they intimidate white voters (despite the evidence that utterly contradicts that conclusion), and that his Department of Justice has targeted whites for oppression just like blacks were oppressed in the 1950s.
Or a vampire, sucking the blood of American businesses, who deserves a stake through the heart.
Or maybe even the anti-Christ.
Or that he isn’t a real American because he didn’t sufficiently gloat over the killing of Osama bin Laden, and because he didn’t desecrate bin Laden’s body the way a real American presumably would have.
Or that he’s a “third worlder,” who is “appeasing his Islamic overlords,” who wants to put Jews on trainsto extermination camps because he is an “evil” anti-Semite, who is responsible for “Kick-a-Jew day” hate crimes at certain schools.
Or arguing that his health care reform bill, which will of course amount to literal “armageddon,” is really just about getting “reparations for slavery,” and portraying him on anti-health care reform signs, or mass e-mails, as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose.
Or to claim that his presidency causes black kids to beat up white kids on school buses.
Or that he plans to put whites in slavery.
Or that his proposal to impose a small tax on visits to tanning salons is a racist imposition on whites who comprise the bulk of such customers.
Or that he looks like a “skinny ghetto crackhead,” who by virtue of meeting with an African leader from Gabon, and inviting rapper Common to a presidential event, is hosting “hoodlums in the hizzouse”, and whose drinking of a pint of beer in an Irish pub when visiting that country is derided as “chugging 40s”, as in 40-ounce bottles of Malt Liquor.
Or implying that he didn’t really deserve to get into Columbia or Harvard Law School and that he may have been admitted as an affirmative action case, and that he was “involved with a crack whore” in his youth.
Or choosing to portray him as a pair of white spook eyes against a black background in a picture of the nation’s presidents, or perhaps as a pimp.
Or arguing that he is a “power hungry black man”, or perhaps a “raghead,” one of whose daughters is“ghetto street trash” and a “typical street whore.”
Or that he is waging an all-out assault on the values of the American people, and that he might be planning to replace the annual White House Easter egg hunt with a watermelon hunt instead.
Or wondering whether we should still call the presidential residence the White House at all, given the family that currently lives there.
Or insisting that Obama needs to “learn how to be an American,” as Romney surrogate John Sununu suggested last month, and that he is taking us down a course that is “foreign” in the words of Romney himself.
Or suggesting that the president doesn’t, for some unspecified (and surely not racial reason) “fully appreciate” the “Anglo-Saxon heritage” shared between the U.S. and the U.K., and that he had a bust of Winston Churchill removed from the Oval Office because of his anti-colonial hatred for the West.
Or that he is a “revolutionary” who believes in creating economic hardship as a way to atone for the nation’s founding, which he naturally views as “illegitimate” and “unjust.”
Or joking that he’s thinking of taxing aspirin “because it’s white and it works,” or quipping that the first lady is a close relative of a gorilla, and that Obama himself is a monkey.
Or portraying him as a slavemaster, whipping a white taxpayer.
Or insisting that he doesn’t have a life story that “has much in common with anybody in this country,” (in part because he didn’t grow up in the Midwest) and that he “cannot relate” to the “American Experience.”
How many times, one is left to wonder, must a person be called un-American before it’s accurate to claim that he’s being accused of being foreign, and a danger to the nation? A cancer to be excised from the body politic?
How many times can a man be the butt of racist humor, or likened to black dictators, or accused of seeking racial revenge upon white people, before it is no longer outrageous or the playing of some mystical, magical race card to assert that, indeed, the people doing these things are really just race-baiting white nationalists in conservative garb?
How long, in short, before we call that which walks and talks like a duck, a fucking duck?

I agree. The teabagger right may try to deny they are racist, but far too many of them do very little to hide it. It's ugly, and it shouldn't be tolerated. The last thing this country needs is to go back to electing people (or not electing them) because of their race or skin color.

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