Posts Tagged ‘ racism ’

Jumping to conclusions is a fool’s folly. The case of Trayvon Martin.

If you think you know what happened in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26, 2012, you’re probably not fit to serve on anyone’s jury much less the one in question.  Honestly, none of us has enough facts to judge either of the players in this case.  But perhaps something bigger is at play here and I’m talking even more significant than Zimmerman. Continue reading

Real Astroturf, Real Dangerous

I could write a long essay on the “One Nation” rally in DC this past weekend.  Rather I decided to let the images speak for themselves.  Below you’ll find a nice collection of videos from the right and the left covering the “One Nation” rally.  If you want to see what it was like from the perspective of the wandering observer or agenda-motivated interviewer you’ll find it below.  I searched YouTube and collected the best and most descriptive videos.   Continue reading

The Obama Factor

A failure in 1979, Carter thinks he's relavent again

A failure in 1979, Carter thinks he's relevant again. Only one problem, he wasn't relevant then.

Former President Jimmy Carter accused “the overwhelming portion” of Obama opponents of being common bigots.  As a conservative concerned over massive deficits, irresponsible eco-legislation, threats to capitalism, and losing my nice private health insurance policy, I was deeply offended.  My knee-jerk reaction was to become very angry.  After all, this is coming from the worst President in American history*.  Let’s face it no other Administration was able to achieve 7% unemployment concurrent with 13.5% inflation. The relationship is supposed to be inverse. It was like being lectured by Hannibal Lecter about table manners.

I decided not to rush out a reactionary blog essay.  I wanted to wait for President Obama, his cronies in the administration and those in the press to react.  Plus I was very busy in my job.  In this economy it’s best not to let anything – especially a political blog – distract you from work.  Obama reacted appropriately and for that I commend him.  I only wish he would have politely asked the old man to slip quietly off into the sunset.  It’s well overdue.

Having had time to digest the nation’s reaction, I calmed down a bit.  The nation is not overwhelmingly racist.  It was when Jimmy Carter was raised under Jim Crow laws and even when he fumbled through his Presidency, crashing helicopters into the desert and singing “Kumbaya” while holding hands with Sadat and Begin around a Camp David campfire.  But in 2008 the nation turned a corner.  By a margin of 53% to 46% American voters as a whole voted the first biracial President into office.  The black vote alone could not have done this.  Barack Obama won the white vote as well.

Racism on life-support

Does this mean the era of racism is over?  I wish.  Ronald Reagan once said, “fact are stubborn things.”  Racism is waning but its slide into the waste can of history is being jeopardized.  There seems to be an effort to preserve racism in America.  Not just from the skin-heads and rednecks but from unexpected places.  Such as Democrats who want to keep the African-American vote strongly in the “D” column and a press corp who scores viewers whenever race is the story.  Watch them, the press is dying to play race stories.  Race-based news is rushed to headline status whenever it is found.  This is certainly why Carter took the headlines.

The most despicable racists, though, are those who infiltrate the ranks of the Republican party.  They are drawn to Republicans because the Democrats have convinced them that this is their party.  We see their impact in the “birther” movement.  This side show was born from racism, has drawn in conservative conspiracy nuts, and generally been an embarrassment to the party.

Tragically, Obama himself may keep the fires of racism alive.  Had he grown up in a functional family with both his father and mother, perhaps he wouldn’t have grown up confused about his race.  Maybe he would not have been drawn to radical racists like the Rev. Wright.  Maybe he would not have “ceased to advertise” his mother’s race.  It’s even possible he would not have advertised himself in Antebellum terms as a “black” man but rather see himself as a bridge between the races.  He could have been a uniter rather than a divider on this issue.  But he chose to be exclusively African-American and alienated from his white family.  Perhaps not completely but on some level.

An ideologue not an idiot

Obama has rushed head-long and full-speed into social experimentation on a national scale.  His dogma exceeds his common sense.  He and his “evil henchmen” Pelosi and Reid, are working to destroy the engine of American capitalism.  No, not by buying and nationalizing businesses and industries, but through the dogmatic, idealistic, and irresponsible legislation, we call “Cap and Trade.”   This is dangerous and when everyone realizes their cost of living has increased by several thousand dollars per year they might wake up.

Next we have the Obama world apology tours.  He demonstrates to Americans what appears to be ignorance and naivete about foreign policy.  Obama, and by extension, America looks weak and capitulating, both here and abroad.  Racist interpret this as stupidity, congenital because he is “black.”  He is reinforcing their stereotype.  They cannot accept that maybe he is pursuing these policies and taking these actions, not because he lacks understanding, but because he is pursuing his ideological goals – even if those goals might ultimately be harmful to the nation he is charged with protecting.  Missile defense?  Why do we need to protect Europe?  Besides if we just apologize and treat Iran, Russia, North Korea, ect. ect. nicely and show them we mean them no harm, they’ll respond in kind.  Right?  In his mind, perhaps he’s providing the “kinder, gentler America” Bush promised.  Just my theory.

I firmly believe President Obama is an intelligent man, who lacks experience, but is brimming with ideological furor.  I believe he sees America as just another nation among many.  He does not ascribe to the belief that America is special or has any particular global superiority.  He is convinced he is leading America in a post-American world.  One in which America plays a reduced role and is less relevant.  He believes in global warming and has completely swallowed the Gore lie that the world is in eminent danger.  This drives him to take a “damn the consequences” approached on Cap & Trade.  He is completely devoid of trust in capitalism to solve its own problems or to provide for the needs of the masses.  He views government as the only sure trustworthy solution to issues that involve money.  Why shouldn’t he?  Government creates the money and has unlimited power over money.

Civility is dead

Now many will disagree with me and I welcome varied and considered opinions.  Yesterday I might have written a whole different essay on this topic but something happened today.  I clicked on a poll while reading the Washington Post. The poll dealt with Obama’s missile lack-of-defense policy in eastern Europe.  There was nothing special about the poll, however accompanying the poll were comments.  One of the first comments I read referred to the President as a “chimp,” further down one called him a “little black boy.”  My blood ran cold as I read comment after comment from morons who spewed racially tinged hate toward the President.

Let's not imitate the idiots that made this

I disagree with the President on nearly everything but such disrespect and overt racism was deeply offensive to me.  It reminded me of Michael Moore and the MoveOn.org idiots and how they insulted G.W. Bush.  USAToday ran a story entitled, What Happened To Civility? Civility died long ago.  Perhaps it began to die when we shamed parents for spanking their children.  Perhaps it began to die when Clinton disrespected the Oval Office with an intern.  I do not know, but I know it was officially dead when liberals showed no shame in calling the President of the United States an idiot.  I wonder if George Bush had been an African-American would they have hurled the “n-word” at him?  I would bet they would have been no different from the scum bags commenting on the Post’s poll yesterday.

*(Second worst, as a history buff I can’t dismiss Buchanan who really was the worst.)

MSNBC=LIARS

Idiot of the week award goes to MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer for being a complete liar.  Watch this clip:

Click the picture to read Wongs take

Click the picture to read Wong's take

Notice Contessa says, “Here you have a man of color in the Presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists.”  Now hold on a minute, Contessa.  You have made a damning charge and implied racism is the root cause for the Arizona townhall protesters attending the meeting armed.  However, the image you showed us hid the race of the gun-toting protester.  Take a good look at the armed protester in the photo to the right here.

From AZ Central’s Scott Wong comes a close look at the man shown in the MSNBC smear story.  Hmm, he doesn’t look anything like a “white” person.  Maybe long exposure to the Arizona sun has given him an especially dark tan.  Perhaps another angle will help settle this mystery.

This gun-toting radical seems pretty calm to me.

Nope.  The well dressed and respectable looking gentleman is still black.  Well, maybe he is some whacked out, gun-toting, right-wing, president-hating, self-loathing, racist-lovin’, terrorist.

Well maybe?

A Professor, a Policeman, and the President

Harvard Professor Henry Gates. Booking photo released by the Cambridge, Mass., Police Dept

There is no need for me to retell this story.  You can read all about it in the New York Times or turn on the TV, the story is everywhere.  When it comes to race in this country there seems to be no shortage of opinions.  However, there are a few things worth noting here before reaching an opinion.  First, one must consider all the facts and not simply make up your mind based on a knee-jerk reaction.  If your are African-American it might be simple to accept Professor Gates’ story without question.  As the President noted, black have been disproportionately pulled over and arrested in many parts of this nation.  If you are white you might roll your eyes and completely accept the officer’s story.  Perhaps both versions are the truth “from a certain point of view.”

If you have ever been pulled over by a police officer in the middle of the night and randomly searched you might understand the distrust so many have for police.  I tend to distrust traffic police, myself, having been tricked into exiting at a closed exit only to have the officer replace the cones after pulling over four exiting cars.   The officer threaten to arrest me if I exited my car (I expect he feared I would photgraph him positioning the cones.) In spite of my protests the judge would not even allow me to speak in court.  Having never encountered a problem with other flavors of the police, I tend not to be as suspicious of them.

The Professor

Professor Gates Book signingMoving back to Professor Gates, let’s take a look at the Professor’s background.  According to the Harvard website, Gates is the Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard.  He is also the Editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, a publication dedicated to the news and culture of African Americans.  In 2002, (IMDB says 2002 while Harvard shows 2004, I even found one review placing it in 2003, IMDB is generally accurate,) Professor Gates wrote and produced the PBS documentary, American Beyond the Color Line. This documentary examines the history of and contemporary state of race relations in the U.S.  He concludes that Hollywood is a hotbed of racism, although he does detail improvements in these relations as well.  The story is told nearly exclusively through interviews with prominent black Americans, so naturally the story is from an African-American perspective.

The Policeman

SgtCrowleyNow let us look at Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police.  Crowley taught a class on how to avoid racial profile at the Lowell Police Department for five years.  He was hand picked to teach this class by the Ronnie Watson the former Commissioner of the Cambridge Police.  Watson is an African American.  Sgt. Crowley was described by Academy Director, Thomas Fleming, as “a role model” and “very professional.”  Perhaps the best testimonial for Sgt. Crowley comes from fellow officer and witness to the events at the Gates’ home, Sgt. Leon Lashley, a black officer.  Lashley described Gates’ behavior as “a little bit stranger than it should have been.” When asked if he supported Crowley’s decision to arrest Professor Gates, Lashley replied, “100%.”

The Incidence

ProfessorGatesArrestPerhaps Gates was tired as Lashley speculated, but I suspect Gates was predisposed to expect racial profiling.  When Crowley explained he was “investigating a report of a break in progress,” Gates shot back, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”  Clearly, Gates was mentally defensive toward law enforcement and never considered that the officer might just simply be doing his job.  After all, we must understand Gates entire career is built on the premise of racism in America.  His response nearly echoed the theme of his writings.  The overreaction Gates produced would make me wonder if there wasn’t a hostage situation in the other room and perhaps Gates was attempting to get arrested in order to get away from the intruder.

Obviously, Crowley is much more experienced in racial relations and in dealing with these situation, as he appears to have not jumped to arrest Gates.  According to his official police report, he prepared to leave and told Gates he was leaving.  Gates claims Crowley silently turned and left.  I don’t doubt Gates failed to hear anything Crowley might have said.  If the report is true Gates was yelling over Crowley the entire time.  Once outside Gates continued loudly accusing Crowley of being a racist.  Sgt. Crowley twice warned Gates that his disorderly behavior would get him arrested, but no doubt Gates in his rage was unable to hear this warning.

I don’t doubt Gates’ version of the story is anything but true from his perspective, while I also accept Sgt. Crowley’s report as completely true.  The police report is corroborated by other officers at the scene as well as bystanders.  It is sad that Gates has so brain-washed himself with his own negative stereotypes of white police officers that he jumped to the conclusion that Crowley was there because he was a racist.  For Gates, the officer at his door was not there to protect him and his property, but rather he was standing there to harass and torment him.

The Racism

There is absolutely no difference between Professor Gates’ reaction to Sgt. Crowley than that of a white store clerk who carefully watches black patrons due to the conviction that the patron must be there to steal something.  Racism continues to be a problem in this country and this incidence should highlight black racism in America.  However, this aspect of the story is likely to be lost to a biased media that believes racism comes exclusively from whites.  Racism can come from any race and can be directed against any race.  It is wrong and it should be the focus of intense introspection for all of us.  Now is the time for the African American community to address their prejudices.  Have they been victimized, yes.  Is that justification to reverse the racism, no.  As a nation with a bi-racial President it is time to end the racism and move forward not try to turn the tables.

The President

MLKJr-IHaveADreamThat brings me to the most unfortunate example of racism in this story.  President Obama, obviously taking his cue from Congress, decided Wednesday evening to weigh in on this story without having read the report or even having the facts correct.  He responded from his personal prejudice.  He assumed Gates was the victim of “every black man’s nightmare.”  President Obama demonstrated his racial bias, otherwise known as racism.  Image a white President, a white Professor, and a black police officer.  Now imagine if that President were to say, “black cops often harass white citizens, so it is logical to assume the black officer acted stupidly.”  Now imagine the ensuing press coverage and your own reaction.  Flash back to reality.  President Obama has no problem trotting the globe, apologizing for America, yet finds it impossible to apologize when he acts “stupidly.”

I see race relations as a two way street and the best way to operate in those relations is the very way we keep being told we cannot.  That is to be colorblind.  We should not make race a deciding factor in any decision and we should punish anyone who does, even for the best intentions.  I look forward to the day when people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  Obviously, neither the Professor or the President have achieved MLK Jr.’s dream.

Boxed In: Senator Boxer plays the race card

Last Week, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) used race in an attempt to put down Black Chamber of Commerce, President Harry Alford.  She used a classic liberal move, she tried to use one black group’s opinion to counter another on the issue of Global Warming. She wasn’t interested in his scientific study and countered with an NAACP opinion.

The tone of condescension Boxer exhibited was outrageous.  Watch this and pretend Boxer is a Republican.  Now tell me how much press you think this would have received?  Especially notice Boxer’s angry disparaging whispers while Alford attempts to assert his reputation.  People of California, next chance you get you need to send this condescending bigot home.  She’s been in Washington so long she doesn’t even smell her own stench!

Just to complete the story, here is Alford’s comments on this encounter that appeared on last night’s O’Reilly Factor.

It’s O Time

The Big OThe significance of this Tuesday’s inauguration cannot be overstated.  It seems like just about everyone has some level of gushing excitement leading into this big event.  In truth, I believe this is the most historic inauguration since 1861.  However, there has been so much euphoric build up, I fear there is only one direction this administration can go.  No one can live up to the expectations placed upon this man.  When Sean Hannity, labelled Barack Obama “The Messiah” during the primaries I chuckled, true he was promising political salvation, but I didn’t expect people really looked to him as a savior.  Flash-forward to today, clearly now the majority of the Americans see him as just that, THE Messiah.

After his victory world reaction bordered on the ridiculous.  I heard one woman in the Chicago crowd interviewed live on NBC.  She was breathless as she proclaimed that with Obama as President, “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage.”  While she was not alone, she was the most outrageous.

I’m not writing this to rain on Obama’s parade.  I just want the country to calm down and realize this is NOT God we elected.  Obama is a man.  He seems to be an intelligent man but nevertheless a man.  The problem is human nature.  My alter ego works with celebrities.  Over my 30 years around actors, musicians, televangelists, and politicians I have observed the dangers of ego.  I have seen humble people self-destruct after buying into the praise heaped upon them.  As expectations have been elevated into the stratosphere a fast descent could be frightful.  I fear one misstep or failure and the country could be plunged into the depths of despair and possibly depression.  But for now we can all lay back and enjoy the massive national orgasm that will climax on Tuesday.

In addition to the excitement and obsession that is Obama, there are concerns for his safety.  The day after the election I decided to search the white supremacists websites and see how they were thrashing about.  The rhetoric was more muted than expected and I moved on.  Yesterday as I was reading my news I stumbled across this story on CNN.com, “White supremacists watched in lead up to Obama administration.”  The following jumped out at me, “interest in racist ideology was so high right after the election that computer servers for two White supremacist Web sites crashed, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. But the violence and interest soon subsided.”  The implication seems to be that all those white racist were phoning home as it were, afterall, the press seems convinced most whites are racists.  I don’t believe that people were interested in racism at all.  I think in the days following the election everyone in the press, political bloggers, and political junkies were all searching the supremacists websites looking for reactions, just like I did.  (Basically, the press crashed the white supremacist websites.)

Concerns for Obama’s safety should really hit us all.  All it takes is one nutjob to alter the coarse of history.  It is in our interest as  conservatives that no harm come to this man.  Republicans should take care not to demonize Obama in the same way they did Clinton.  Because if they do and some lone wolf acts out against the President it will be the Republicans who bare the blame and suffer the backlash.  The last thing Republicans need now is a Democratic martyr, deserved or not the consequences will last decades.  I am not pleading for kid-gloves but just keep the personal attacks out of the equation.  (If only anyone listened to me.)

The one fact that has bemused me since my youth has been the American method of defining race.  Obama has really brought this into the forefront of my thinking.  Americans hold that a person is “African-American” if they have any African ancestors.  But why is this?  I believe if people knew why, they would not be so quick to label every multiracial person as African-American.  (As a student of American history and well-read in this topic you will find less documentation as compared to my usual essays but you can verify these facts with research.)

Frederick Douglass in 1852

Frederick Douglass in 1852

American racism is deeply rooted in the American slave trade.  Skipping the origins of the slave-trade, let’s begin with the obvious, American slaves in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were overwhelmingly of African descent.  They were easily identified by the color of their skin.  To justify their forced labor and harsh treatment, whites of European descent, made the assumption that Africans were intellectually inferior and somehow less human.  In fact, being denied education and prohibited from any intellectual pursuits, a typical encounter with an African-American slave would have seemed to support that assumption.  Frederick Douglass the intelligent educated abolitionist and escaped slave, must have seriously challenged conventional thinking in the 1850s and beyond.

Humans being sexual creatures and men even more so, meant that probably it was not long before a slaveholder decided to engage one of his slaves in forced sex. Certainly the question of the social status and race of such hybrid offspring must have arisen early in the American colonies.  It was decided that any individual “contaminated” with African blood would by necessity be inferior, having acquired those negative attributes as evidenced by the pigment of their skin.  The labeling of people as “black” or “negro” who had only minor African heritage was done so to oppress and discriminate against them.  Illinois had a law on the books, well into the Civil War, barring anyone with 1/4 African heritage from permanent residence in the state.

So here we sit in the dawn of the 21st century, anxiously waiting the inauguration of the first African-American President.  The application of the label itself harkens back to our dark racist history, – the same history we are desperately seeking to escape.  While I may differ with Obama politically, I cheer the sheer fact we were able to elect him.  Whatever the racial label we put on him, he represents a multiracial future no white or black supremacist can stop.  The future will give us Presidents of every possible racial combination and I hope to live long enough to see the day we stop applying racial labels to them and instead focus on what is important, the issues.

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