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Racial vs. Racist

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There’s nothing like getting your blood boiling first thing in the morning and thanks to today’s news about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “racist” remark, as revealed in the new book Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (a critique of the 2008 campaign), I’m seething.

In case you haven’t heard, the book claims: “He [Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a ‘light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one’.”

Naturally, Reid is now backpedaling in response to the heat generated by his comment, apologizing to the nation and the president personally; the Democrats have chided but absolved him; and the Republicans, ever alert to an opportunity to make themselves look good in comparison to the Dems, are calling for Reid’s head on a political platter.

This situation is both the height of stupidity and a sobering reminder that because we still haven’t dealt squarely with the issue of race in America, coming to grips with the history and nuances of racism, we’re literally unable to tell the difference between a remark about race and a racist remark. They’re not the same thing. And when the media and politicians use every instance of racial observation to stir the pot and make trouble where none exists, it only serves to take us further away from understanding and confronting the truth.

Racism in America in regard to African-Americans is and always has been about color and can both fairly and simply be defined as a generally accepted idea that lighter is better than darker. This was true during slavery, when light-skinned (biracial) blacks were given (relatively) special treatment, ergo “house Negroes” vs “field Negroes” (lights got to work in the house while darks toiled in the fields). After the Civil War and ever since, even to some extent in the present, abused blacks bought into this maxi-racist distinction, as well.

Any black person over the age of 40 knows about the old “paper bag test” — blacks believed that if they were darker than a brown paper bag, they were too dark. There is a long history of antipathy between light- and dark-skinned blacks, with the lights genuinely discriminating against the darks. Light-skinned parents didn’t want their light-skinned children to marry dark-skinned blacks, etc. This was an issue that Spike Lee tackled in his film School Daze, about the rivalry between two sororities on a black college campus, one made up of light-skinned girls, the other dark. It was one of Lee’s least successful and popular films because white people didn’t get it and blacks didn’t want to cop to it. All puns intended, it got very mixed reviews.

This attitude among African-Americans took a brief hiatus during the post-Martin Luther King Jr. Black Power movement, when dark-skinned blacks shunned the light-skinned for not being black enough. But as Black Power got beaten down, some of the old attitudes returned – and never left. As far as white people are concerned, studies and experience have demonstrated over the decades that whites are more comfortable with, feel less threatened by, light-skinned blacks. Indeed, until the last 15 years or so, one rarely saw a black newscaster who was not light-skinned and they still remain the majority. And not until Sidney Poitier made an inroad in film did darker-skinned blacks have a respectable place in the movies; they were portrayed exclusively as servants, pimps, whores, and other racial stereotypes. Again, this is still true to a discouraging extent. In every area of American society, light-skinned blacks have had a relatively easier time of it: in employment, education, housing, and integrated social interaction.

What Harry Reid said was a political reality. He wasn’t celebrating or condoning it, he was simply recognizing a racial truth — America was more likely to accept a black presidential candidate who didn’t look or sound “too” black. And he was absolutely right. Jesse Jackson’s presidential ambitions failed for many reasons, but not the least of them is that he comes off (especially sounds) “too black.” Who was the first black person Americans (white and black) were willing to consider for president? Gen. Colin Powell! Need I say more? There’s no doubt in my mind that if Barack Obama had the hue of a Sidney Poitier and the voice of a Jesse Jackson, we would now have either President Hillary Clinton or President John McCain.

As an extremely light-skinned biracial person myself, I know the truth of this much hidden and little understood dimension of racism. When I was in high school during the height of the Black Power movement, I was aggressively put down by the local Black Panthers – until they later invited me to join what they called their Fifth Column: blacks who could pass for white (and therefore be useful as spies, infiltrators, etc.). I passed – on their offer.

America still has a lot of work to do in dealing with its racist past and present. And making a political boogeyman out of Harry Reid is not only not part of the solution, it only serves to highlight the problem. Until we learn to make the important distinction between racial and racist, we’ll never be able to get past the artificial racial barriers that make meaningful dialogue impossible, and which ultimately damage us all.

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About Jeanne Browne

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Interesting take on the controversy, Jeanne, especially in pointing out the subsidiary racism wherein light-skinned blacks get preferred among both whites and blacks, and that this is particularly noticeable in the media.

    This doesn’t seem to have been the case in my native Britain, where among the first black people to achieve mainstream acceptance and success were news anchor Trevor McDonald, actors Rudolph Walker and Norman Beaton and comedian Lenny Henry – all of whom would fall decidedly on the darker side of the ‘paper bag test’.

    Which I think goes to demonstrate the origin of the phenomenon in the American slave hierarchy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeanne –

    I often travel to the Philippines, and one thing that I really don’t like there are these huge billboards advertising ‘skin-whitening cream’…because there, like here, the lighter one’s skin is, the more easily one travels the halls of money, power, and fame. It’s sad…but it’s a fact of life as you well know.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Same thing in Thailand and, I hear, most of Asia. Lighter skin, historically, meant you were well-off enough not to have to work outdoors.

    Until very recently, pale skin was prized among people of European origin for the same reason. Now, of course, it’s flipped, because having a tan conveys the message that you can afford to go on vacation to exotic places.

  • STM

    Or be lucky enough to live somewhere like Hawaii, Australia, Tahiti …

    Actually, down here, we now take great care NOT to be in the sun.

    White folks, especially those of anglo/celtic background, which most of us are in this country, are extremely susceptible to skin cancers caused by the sun.

    My son has olive skin and gets a tan in five minutes. I burn, however, despite not having the red-head celtic-type pigment, and now slap on heaps of sun lotion with a high protection rating.

    I also wear a sun-proof rash vest in the surf in summer rather than just wear boardshorts.

    The other trick, of course, is to be out of the surf by 10am … 11am at the latest, and not back in before 4pm.

    Enjoyed the story BTW Jeanne; an eye-opener, although I’d always suspected that might be the case.

  • The Obnoxious American

    A few problems with this article.

    1) It may have been true that the lightness of skin mattered in the past, but I think it’s close to meaningless these days. With the exception of the black community itself which is still pretty “self-racist”. I think most white’s really don’t care how black a person is, and for that matter Obama isn’t really all that light skinned.

    2) Here is where your anti-GOP argument goes off the rails:

    “What Harry Reid said was a political reality. He wasn’t celebrating or condoning it, he was simply recognizing a racial truth”

    The same recognition of truth that has stung many a white person. Most, if not all cases of whites being ostracized, fired or resigning for their jobs, all for an inopportune racial comment fits this description exactly – often times it’s a political, if inconvenient, truth. So again, why should Reid be treated differently? Oh yeah, because of the left’s double standard.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    The fact that Reid’s comments offended white people most of all tells you this wasn’t a slam on Obama.

  • The Obnoxious American

    No one is saying it is. What it is a slam on, as I suggested in my article, is the intelligence of Americans, white and black.

    What makes Reid’s comments so disgusting is that he was clearly interested in Obama because “he could turn off the dialect.” That’s manipulative. Manipulative using race no less.

    What Reid was basically saying is, wow this guy Obama can sound white when we need him in front of whities, and black to convince the darkies, we can bamboozle all of them, and appear to be racially equal with the selection of this candidate.

    So rather than selecting a candidate based on his views (which are unclear), or his accomplishments (which there are few if any), he selected him, for large part, for his racial appeal. That’s using race to manipulate and puts Reid as well as any other Dems who agreed with him (many) in the same class as other race baiters such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “What it is a slam on, as I suggested in my article, is the intelligence of Americans, white and black.”

    And if a group of people can be so easily swayed by the accent of a candidate … then the slam is entirely warranted.

  • zingzing

    “So again, why should Reid be treated differently? Oh yeah, because of the left’s double standard.”

    no, because it’s the right thing to do. he’s no racist, and it’s blindingly obvious.

    “What it is a slam on, as I suggested in my article, is the intelligence of Americans, white and black.”

    while your article is much the same. stupid people.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Matt,

    I agree, it’s the people’s fault for buying the Democrats BS hope and change rhetoric in 2008. And while I am positive that this generation has learned the lesson of what the Democratic party really stands for, none of that absolves the left of their manipulative, race baiting behavior.

    Zing

    You’re started to get long on emotion but short on facts. Reid isn’t just a racist, but he’s the type of racist that is all for using a black man to gain votes and power. That’s way worse than any redneck who idly and merely hates.

    You can try to recast Reid’s comments any way you like – it really doesn’t change what Reid said. You can call me or my article as an insult to the intelligence of the American people, but the views I’ve raised are starting to come up everywhere in the MSM.

    Note that I typically shy from any topic adequetly covered in the MSM, but posted my article yesterday as a follow on to my article on the same topic (but Gender politics, not race) from the prior week.

  • zingzing

    oa: “Reid isn’t just a racist, but he’s the type of racist that is all for using a black man to gain votes and power. That’s way worse than any redneck who idly and merely hates.”

    politics has been playing this game with race for generations. that you get all up in arms now just shows that you either weren’t paying attention, or are using race to political ends yourself.

    and while politics might be just as bad (in some ways) as plain old hatred, i’m not going to agree with you that it’s worse.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Of course it’s worse. There is legislation attached. And again if you want to compare left v right on this issue, as I admitted IN MY ARTICLE, the right does this too, they just don’t try to pass feel good diversity laws, which are unconstitutional and unneeded.

  • zingzing

    “they [the right] just don’t try to pass feel good diversity laws, which are unconstitutional and unneeded.”

    no, but they do try to pass hateful laws (doma), which are just plain evil.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Well that’s your view of Doma, and you have a right to it. But there is another side that disagrees with you. Personally, I cant see why the state has anything to do with marriage – a religious institution. Nor why they should have any right to define what marriage consists of. It’s simply beyond the U.S. Government’s pay grade, no matter how fashionable gay marriage might be among the hoi poloi. That said, I also know that gay people have real lives and deserve the right to live it in dignity. I just think that since the Bible is clearly anti-gay, some of this debate of gay marriage has an element of sticking it to the religious right, when the adoption of civil unions work just as well and don’t require religion to accept something beyond their texts.

    That said, this is a whole can of worms, not at all related to the article. If you feel strongly about DOMA, write about it and we can bash each other’s heads in the ensuing discussion :>

  • Zedd

    Jeanne,

    I beg to differ.

    It would have not been acceptable for Reid to say “Its time for a slim, busty woman to run for President”. Regardless of our bigoted mindset, as a society, it’s unacceptable for a law maker to promote that type of thinking. We know that in corporations, “boob girls” do well. That neither gives anyone in such a position an opening to make such a statement.

    Also, is Obama that light? There are a lot of articulate brothers who are much lighter than he (perhaps even your sons). That does not make them an ideal candidate. This guy had ideas and was nervy enough to articulate them. If he were brown or Carmel or deep chocolate (breath:o), he may have still resonated – or maybe not. But he’s not so light. His mixed ancestry may have helped though. With that, everyone wins :o)

  • zingzing

    yeah, well, i don’t want to get into that either. but the idea that the right doesn’t try to pass laws that are divisive is just ridiculous.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Excellent and interesting article, as usual, Jeanne.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Reid was definitely clumsy in expressing his idea. But then again, what was his idea given the clumsy expression?

  • zingzing

    when someone on your side says something stupid, you at least try to figure out what they meant by it. if it was said by someone on the opposite side, you blindly call racism. that’s the way it is. everyone knows it. that’s why politics is just bullshit.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Next time someone on the right says something really stupid (I’m sure it’s coming any day now) ask me my views. I’ll try and prove you wrong.

  • zingzing

    if it’s only to make a point, it’s empty. we’ll see how the right wing as a whole responds. goes for the left as well. we’ll see how they respond the next time racism takes a poop in a republican’s mouth. we both know how it’ll go.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Ladies and Gentlemen: Thank you for your comments. I’m pleased that this incident and my article (as well as that of The Obnoxious American) have prompted so many comments. Clearly, a nerve has been hit, and in political discourse that’s always a good sign.

    I want to add [to what I said in my piece] that as far as I’m concerned, a racist person is someone who is irrationally hateful and seeks to harm, oppress or at least snub another person for what they are. I don’t believe Harry Reid is such a person. Naturally, what he said is deemed very politically incorrect in today’s humorless, literal, take-no-prisoners social/political climate. But I still say this is a meaningless red herring in the big picture of racism in America.

    What concerns me about the impact of racism is that millions of blacks still attend bad schools (and graduate without a real education and no skills), find it hard to get good jobs and decent homes, are still largely pariahs in white social circles, and are still oppressed by the criminal justice system.

    You wanna talk about real racism, let’s talk about that. The Harry Reid conversation is just further proof that both the media and the public would rather tussle about the small stuff than confront the really serious and injurious systemic issue.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Next time someone on the right says something really stupid (I’m sure it’s coming any day now) ask me my views.

    Does Glenn Beck count? I hear he opened his mouth this morning.

    Or does it have to be an actual politician?

    :-)

  • The Obnoxious American

    Lollll, I’ll be happy to opine on Beck as well. I’ll say right off the bat that while some of the things I’ve heard him say make sense and are excellent points, and while he’s done the job the MSM has been absent for these last few months, there are times, often, where the things he says makes me cringe. So while I do like Beck, I don’t like everything he says.

    Jeanne,

    I don’t agree that what Reid said wasn’t racism, or that it wasn’t harmful.

    Reid’s comments were:

    1) manipulative, using the specter of race (and thus racism) to promote the liberal adgenda

    2) insulting to the millions of Americans who don’t view everything through the lens of black and white

    3) further divides Americans of all races by creating an atmosphere where the left is actively trying to show how enlightened they are, and using useful idiots (in this case Obama) to prove it

    4) destructive to Obama’s presidency, giving rise to the thought in many minds that Obama was as many actual racists thought he was, an affirmative action pick.

    Bear in mind, it’s not some congressman from the ozarks saying this. It was the active Senate Majority Leader of the Democrats. Any person interested in putting the the issues of race behind us should be outraged that the Democratic leadership, in the 21st century, still sees the world as black and white and still uses that issue to gain votes.

    Black America: Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership has played you artfully. Enjoy.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Black America: Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership has played you artfully. Enjoy.

    Obnox: if, let’s say, the last election had been between Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell, which way do you think the black electorate would have gone?

  • zingzing

    oa, what you’re doing is just as manipulative. you’re raising the specter of racism to make political points. like it or not, you are what you criticize.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Oh Please. [massive eyeroll so big I now have a headache]

    Doc,

    I have a feeling turnout would have been high for Powell. That said, there is a media element here. Look at how the media treated Bush’s selection of Gonzales vs the media treatment of Obama’s selection of Sotomayor. Not totally the same scenario, I will grant, but close. The coverage on the other hand, was not.

    Obama was in the sweet spot because he was the right color AND the right political persuasion. So let me turn this around for you – how would the media have treated a Republican Obama? Now add up however many votes the media can sway with a 2 year GOP bash campaign, and subtract that from 93% and you have the number.

    More to your point, do you really believe that 93% of blacks support Abortion, gay marriage, and higher taxes, (I think we both know they do not) or do most of them just like Obama’s complexion?

  • zingzing

    oa–please, nothing. “identity politics?” you bring up race so often, it’s mind-boggling. everything is race.

  • The Obnoxious American

    No Zing, I actually don’t. I was talking about an issue that Harry Reid created. But thank you for helping to prove one of the premises of my article correct. The last sentence of the first paragraph in my article says “[the left] used political correctness to stifle dissent” and isn’t that, with your claim that I bring up race (Reid?), exactly that? You’ve gone a bit deep end here my man.

  • zingzing

    ever since obama got elected… “obama is a racist,” “obama appoints people based on race,” “black people voted for obama because he’s black,” “obama appointed a transgendered person because she’s transgendered,” “obama backs the black professor over the white cop because the professor is black and the cop is white,” “michelle obama is a racist,” “obama’s church is racist…” it just goes on and on.

    the right manipulates race just as much as the left. just put “obama racist” into google and you get over 10 million hits, the vast majority of the most popular ones coming from the right. so someone on the right is blabbing on and on about race, and someone is paying attention.

  • zingzing

    jesus christ, oa, you’re using political correctness to stifle dissent! do you think reid’s racist? no, you don’t. you understand his point, and you know that it’s a political reality. but you just can’t say what he said and you just can’t use anything to your political advantage. if you’re being politically correct.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    More to your point, do you really believe that 93% of blacks support Abortion, gay marriage, and higher taxes, (I think we both know they do not) or do most of them just like Obama’s complexion?

    Obnox, I think we both know that no future black presidential candidate, irrespective of party, is going to be able to command that huge a slice of the African-American vote. There was a big element of History about Obama, and I think if I were a black voter I wouldn’t want to have to admit to my grandchildren that the year the first black president was elected, I voted for someone else.

    In my hypothetical scenario, I think Powell would have won, albeit not on as impressive a scale as Obama achieved. On balance, African-Americans know which side their bread is buttered as much as anyone else, and that alone would have nibbled away at a Powell victory margin. But I’ve always thought that America on the whole was readier to elect a black man than a woman of any colour.

  • The Obnoxious American

    First off, yes, people have talked about Obama because he’s made race an issue. Explain the hiring of Van Jones (listen to Jones’s speeches), or the new “Diversity Czar” – or Obama’s own affiliation with Wright, a pastor steeped in BLT.

    Don’t blame me for observing what’s in front of my face. If the left didn’t treat people of race as better than the rest of us who were so unfortunate to be born in the majority, I wouldn’t be talking about it. Stop making race an issue and I’ll be HAPPY to stop talking about it

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OA,

    Obama’s spectacular victory, yes, I think it was spectacular, was symbolic. And Dreadful is right, the African-American vote is never again going to be so one-sided in any election, presidential or otherwise. Perhaps it’s all to the good. Now we all know that everyone’s human and that no one walks on water.

    As to your claim that the left treats people of race “better than the rest of us,” I think it’s a gross mischaracterization. You really ought to explain this statement in some detail if you don’t want to lose credibility. As it stands, it’s provocative at best, ignorant at worst.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    And Dreadful is right, the African-American vote is never again going to be so one-sided in any election, presidential or otherwise.

    Well, except perhaps in DC.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Doc,

    I agree about the historic element, and to be quite honest, I’m sad I couldn’t vote for him for this very reason. But I have to vote for candidates based on values, and I do not share Obama’s extremely liberal position on most things.

    That said, I think it’s interesting that you said “African-Americans know which side their bread is buttered as much as anyone else” and I think the truth is, that depends. For successful black americans who have grasped the opportunities that exist and made something of themselves, they know their bread isn’t buttered by Obama. For the wards of the state who happen to be African Americans, then yes you could say their bread is buttered by the government. Not something the black community should be striving to however. They’d be better suited by the GOPs adgenda, in an equal world.

    Zing

    you have gone so far off the deep end I can’t really even respond to your nonsense any longer. Unless you want to talk actual issues and not hurl accusations at me for merely writing about what’s going on in Washington.

  • zingzing

    all the while making race an issue. it’s hypocritical at best, and frighteningly well-played manipulation at worst. race is a political issue so stop pretending like you would EVER stop talking about it.

    “If the left didn’t treat people of race as better than the rest of us who were so unfortunate to be born in the majority…”

    ha! so which is it? are we keeping them down or keeping whitey down? it changes every week… whatever works out for the “RACISM!!!” remark of the day.

  • zingzing

    alright, oa, but i’ll just have to take it that you can’t because you know that the right manipulates race and racism with the rest/best of them, but you just can’t bring yourself to admit it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Why don’t we all agree then and admit that race has been and it’s still being used as political football?

    Despicable, perhaps, but certainly not shocking.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Again, you’re asking me to repeat myself.

    Which party actually passes legislation that claims to promote diversity at the cost of individual choice and often times relations between races? You know, like AA and quotas? How about addressing the root issue, which is racism, which btw is ALREADY against the law.

    Which party passes laws making the penalty for crimes more severe depending on who the victim is? The crime is already a crime and against the law. Are you suggesting that the GOP is soft on crime? No need for such hate crimes bills if we only enforced the law.

    Which party appoints folks like Van Jones, who has stated support for reparations and DIRECT redistribution of wealth, or Mark Lloyd, the so-called diversity czar (that’s not racist pandering?) who has actually called for regulations to ensure diversity of ownership in media. I’m all for diversity but at the end of a gun? This is the same guy who said in his book that freedom of speech is all too often an exaggeration and “the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.”

    You can blame me all you like, but I’m not the problem. As I said, I’ll be happy to stop talking about this nonsense as soon as Obama and his cohorts stop.

  • Ruvy

    Jeanne,

    Interesting article. I knew most of this – I worked with lots of blacks in St. Paul in the ’90s at the anti-poverty agency I was on the board of. I see a similar phenomenon at Desicritics, with darker skinned Indians really sticking the knives into lighter skinned ones and vice versa….

    But it ain’t my problem any more. We Jews have enough conflicts of our own to settle – some of which are around ethnic identity, and some of which are centuries old.

  • zingzing

    ok, so you know how the left manipulates race. now how about the right? turn your mind on your own party and actually look at it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Petty arguments and petty fucking points. Yes, you’re a problem, OA, because you make it a problem.

    Why write an entire article devoted to Reid’s indiscreet and poorly articulated comment? Because Glenn Beck and Fox News have decided to make a great deal out of it?

    It doesn’t really advance the discussion one bit, not at least as regards things that really count – the direction this country should be going, the things that divide us rather than unite us, any score of things in fact which might throw light on the situation we’re in.

    But no, you choose to devote your energies to rehashing the same old partisanship bullshit, thinking somehow that’s the solution to our problems. If we had only a Republican in the White House.

    Is that as far as your imagination can take you?

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger,

    You can attack me all you like but for your info, I wrote the Reid article on Sunday morning after seeing the lame response from Dems on the Sunday shows. The various commentators on Fox had nothing to do with it, and for your information I watch both CNN and Fox, so keep your lame characterization of me as a gop drone to yourself buddy.

    And the only reason for the rehash is Zing who keeps arguing the same points. I’m just re-reminding him.

    Zing

    I got a better idea. Why don’t you write such an article. Chances are, if you’re fair and cite examples of the same on the right (which I don’t doubt exist), I’ll probably agree with you. This isn’t about party or ideology for me. Never has been, never will be. As far as I am concerned, a lousy Democrat is just as bad as a lousy Republican. Actually a lousy Republican is worse because I hold right minded folks to a higher level of accountability than the panderers on the left who can’t even run on their real platform – Obama’s 2003 comments on single payer and his predicable shift to claiming he’s not in support of single payer now, to wit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In that case, I stand corrected, OA. But I wasn’t attacking you, only commented on what I regard as going-nowhere argument.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Sounded like it to me but no worries, I still like you Roger.

    Just as info, typically if a story is being discussed on Beck or elsewhere in the media, I see no reason to write about it. In this case, it wrote this fairly early on, and only as a followup to my other article on the Amanda Simpson appointment (which got no coverage).

    I actually wrote a different article for this week, which right now is winding it’s way through BC’s considerable and vaunted editorial process.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, good timing then. Anytime you can beat Glenn Beck to the punch is good going.

  • zingzing

    “I got a better idea. Why don’t you write such an article. Chances are, if you’re fair and cite examples of the same on the right (which I don’t doubt exist), I’ll probably agree with you.”

    i probably won’t write an article. it’s just not something i’d do. never have written a politics article, probably never will. plus, the right’s manipulation of race is well-documented and pretty easy to find, most easily in the constant, unfounded charges of racism that it levels at the left. and minorities aren’t fooled. from the right’s perspective, they’re either too stupid, too lazy, or just tools of the left. hard to win someone over when you constantly broadcast your negative view of them.

    “This isn’t about party or ideology for me. Never has been, never will be.”

    oh, malarky.

    “the panderers on the left who can’t even run on their real platform – Obama’s 2003 comments on single payer and his predicable shift to claiming he’s not in support of single payer now, to wit.”

    next time a republican changes his mind for political expediency, or reality, i’ll be sure to remind you. “read my lips–no new taxes” comes to mind.

  • mrdockellis

    Z,
    You say “Politics is just bullshit” but seem at least here quite enraptured by it.
    Sadly poor soul that you are, you’ll never write an article on it.
    You’ll just take you’re generalized jabs and be done with it.
    Why not come in the pool? Afraid you’ll get wet?
    Come to think of it in a democracy, the “bullshit” is what makes us different say from Red China, where you might express your views then get a visit from the guys with uniforms and handcuffs. Maybe you’re like Tom Friedman who admires the Chinese way of getting things done without all the “bullshit”. Maybe you could enlighten us as to the advantages of a dictatorship? Power to the people and all that.

    But then again this is all baloney isn’t it?

  • zingzing

    mister, i love politics the same way i love psychedelic drugs and sketch comedy. the absurdity of it all is just hilarious. doesn’t mean i want to write about it.

    american politics is bullshit. bullshit from the left, bullshit from the right. but it’s what we’ve got. and i do love democracy, or at least the plurality of thought we have here. (and i also think china is undergoing major change.)

    but my point, which you fail to address, was that if someone on the right does something, and you’re on the right, it’s ok; but if someone on the left does it, and you’re on the right, it’s not. and vice versa. i’m just as guilty of this as anyone, but i can at least call my own bullshit.

    so, yeah, it’s baloney. we constantly make mountains out of molehills. i’m sure rudy giuliani had some point he was trying to make about there being “no terrorist attacks under bush,” while the underwear bomber constitutes a terrorist attack, just as i’m sure that harry reid had a point he was trying to make about obama when he called him a “negro,” but we get divided down partisan lines immediately.

    so yeah. bullshit. i called it what it is. we’re divided by nothing more than something to argue about 90% of the time.

    and no, i’m not afraid i’ll get wet. when i write for free, it’s for fun, and i don’t relish the idea of writing a politics article. it’s just not fun. but being a reactionary prick is fun.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA’s observation: 1) It may have been true that the lightness of skin mattered in the past, but I think it’s close to meaningless these days. With the exception of the black community itself which is still pretty “self-racist”. I think most white’s really don’t care how black a person is, and for that matter Obama isn’t really all that light skinned.

    That is one of the most ignorant statements concerning race that I’ve heard in many, many years. Anyone who would make such a statement probably either has very little contact with a real variety of minorities, or (if he has had such contact) is simply not observant enough to notice.

    OA, I think your comment shows how you wish things were…but wishing won’t make it so. As long as there are different colors and different shades of those colors, there will be prejudice based on those colors and shades…and advantages and disadvantages of being born with either one.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger #47,

    Not really. I’m not trying to emulate or look up to Beck. I respect him, but would prefer that my articles are not an echo of whatever he says. Or anyone else for that matter. But yes, it does feel good to get my article out there before the others.

    Zing,

    Your comment is a bunch of unfounded assertions about me. You should write about what you know (not me). Yes, Bush Sr. said no new taxes and he served one term. He made a stupid remark, and he paid for it. Of course, just as large of a reason for his one term was Ross Perot stealing a portion of GOP votes, and we can argue about that one all day.

    But the point here is, you don’t know me, and when people on the right do something stupid I dont like it either. Perhaps you should stick to the topic, and stop trying to make this discussion about me.

    Glenn,

    Same goes for you. You call me ignorant, say this is how I wish things were. Provide absolutely nothing to back it up. It’s just meaningless commentary.

    To white people, a black person is a black person regardless of how light their skin is. The only exception is if a black person is so light that they actually look white and the only way to know is to meet their family. But this almost doesn’t even count because it’s not quite the same thing.

    That said there is no question that within the black community, lightness of skin is noticed (Jeanne’s article to wit). Does it matter much? I can’t say. But I can for certain say it matters not at all to whites. Don’t agree? Well the KKK sure doesn’t care. And whites who aren’t racist don’t care. So who does?

    Glenn, I have friends who are black. I live in a building that has many residents who are black. You can make all of the allegations about me that you’d like, try to cast me as a racist or whatever, but I live in the real world with real people and if you don’t want to hear reality, don’t read what I have to say.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    Please understand that when I say ‘ignorant’, that’s not an insult. ‘Stupid’ is an insult, but ‘ignorance’ refers only to one’s lack of knowledge and understanding…and we all have that to some extent. Here’s something I posted in reply #45 in my article in the BC Sci/Tech section:

    “Over in the politics section, I’ve often said that I enjoy being proved wrong, for losing one’s ignorance is far better than winning an argument, and what is being proved wrong but a loss of ignorance? To me, that is a good thing for which I’m always grateful. I try to bear in mind something that Alexander Pope said: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” If one abides too strictly by Pope’s maxim, one may stop questioning. Therefore, in my opinion one should certainly question and consider to fill one’s curiosity…but with utmost courtesy and deference to those who deign to answer, who have drunk deeply from that Pierian spring.”

    I posted that because ‘Duane’ was busy schooling me about just how much I don’t know.

    No, ignorance is not an insult, just a dangerous area to dwell within…and the danger lies when someone who has shown their ignorance refuses to acknowledge said ignorance, and refuses to learn.

    ………..

    Now to your comment:

    But I can for certain say it matters not at all to whites.

    That depends on the level of self-knowledge of those whites, because much racism occurs without our realizing it. It’s a simple matter of psychology – the more different a person is from oneself, the more negative one’s first impression of that person is likely to be. This has always, always been true of the vast majority of humanity. Ask any psychologist – they’ll tell you the same thing.

  • zingzing

    oa: “Your comment is a bunch of unfounded assertions about me. You should write about what you know (not me).”

    i didn’t say anything about you.

    “Yes, Bush Sr. said no new taxes and he served one term. He made a stupid remark, and he paid for it.”

    yeah, well, it’s a classic example (maybe THE classic example) of campaigning on one thing and then doing another.

    “But the point here is, you don’t know me, and when people on the right do something stupid I dont like it either. Perhaps you should stick to the topic, and stop trying to make this discussion about me.”

    shrug. i didn’t. so…

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing:

    “yeah, well, it’s a classic example (maybe THE classic example) of campaigning on one thing and then doing another. “

    It used to be the classic example, until Obama took office that is.

    Glenn,

    So now I’m a racist who doesn’t know it? Or if not that, then others who ascribe to the same view as I are racists without knowing it right? We’re just ignorant, not stupid or evil, right?

    Please dude. I really don’t care what color someone’s skin is. That was my point. When you live with people of all different races and religions, you tend to stop seeing people in that way. I certainly don’t. And I happen to think that most thinking individuals these days don’t either. I’ve heard people suggest that racism probably affected the 2008 election by +- 10% and I’ll easily agree that about that much of the populace is racist one way or the other. But let’s not pretend that everyone who disagrees with Obama or with enforced diversity are either ignorant or unbeknownst to them, racist. It’s absurd.

    When you stop seeing racism behind every corner you stop giving people an excuse to be a victim, and you can actually start dealing with the real inequalities that do exist in society. What the left has done, as evidenced by Reid’s comments, is destroy the meaning of racism and use it as a tool for political advantage. Reid’s the racist, and not just on the scale of denying a single black man a job he’s qualified for, but for scheming with his party to elect a candidate whose clearly unqualified, using the real issues of racism as the vehicle. Sadly, 90+% of the black community proved his scheming ways right.

  • zingzing

    oa–heh. i doubt it. bush put it in such a pithy, quotable way and made it such an overwhelmingly important part of his campaign that it’s pretty much impossible to supplant it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    So now I’m a racist who doesn’t know it? Or if not that, then others who ascribe to the same view as I are racists without knowing it right? We’re just ignorant, not stupid or evil, right?
    Please dude. I really don’t care what color someone’s skin is. That was my point. When you live with people of all different races and religions, you tend to stop seeing people in that way.

    I never said you were a racist…and here’s a little something to back up my point:

    “… Obama is not immune from some stubborn racial attitudes. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November, research participants were shown three photos of Obama — one in which his skin tone was darkened, one in which it was lightened and one in which it was unaltered. Participants were then asked to rate how well each photo represented who Obama “really is.”

    Those who shared political affiliation with the president tended to think the lightened photos were more representative. People who did not share his political views chose the darkened photos.”

    And that’s PRECISELY in line with what I was saying, isn’t it? It’s a psychological fact that the more different someone is, the more likely the viewer is to have a negative impression of that someone. It’s just sad that you’re arguing with this, thinking that I’m accusing you of racism. I never said you were. I never said that the majority of those who voted against Obama were. I DID say, however, that the majority of those who WERE racist against blacks were FAR more likely to vote Republican (as opposed to Democratic) in any given election.

    It’s equally as sad that conservatives look at the incredible degree of diversity in Democratic events, and then at the nearly monochromatic crowd at the Republican events…and yet don’t see a problem. It doesn’t mean that all (or even most) Republicans are racist, just as it doesn’t mean that all or most Democrats are not racist. It DOES mean that most (or nearly all) of those who are racist against non-whites will choose the Republican party over the Democratic party…and given that there’s such a wide diversity within the Democratic party, chances are very good that the level of racism therein is much less.

    Ever been to Japan? That’s a very racist society – polite to a fault, but racist. This is part of an observation I made in the thirteen or so countries I traveled during my Navy career – the more homogenous a society, the more racist that society is. The more heterogenous a society, the less racist that society is. Why? It all goes back to what I said – the more different someone is, the more negative the viewer’s first impression will generally be. This is not true in every instance – you’ll always find an exception to the rule – but generally speaking, this IS a fact. Psychological FACT, OA…psychological FACT.

    Compared to most homogenous societies, America is far less racist, despite the near-constant stream of stories about racism we see in the MSM.

    Now compare the above observation about homogenous and heterogenous societies to the Republican and Democratic parties, to the thousands of those in the ‘Tea-bag’ movement. The conclusion is obvious.

    Maybe you’ll deny it because you’re projecting your own stated lack of racism on most or all of those who share your political views. Or maybe you’ll deny it because of some other reason. But IMO, deny it you will…and you will be denying reality.

    When it comes to ‘excuses’ for victimhood, I have no problem with not giving someone an excuse to be a victim. I have a BIG problem with those who ARE victims not being allowed to speak up when they have been wronged.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    OA said: “When you stop seeing racism behind every corner you stop giving people an excuse to be a victim, and you can actually start dealing with the real inequalities that do exist in society. What the left has done, as evidenced by Reid’s comments, is destroy the meaning of racism and use it as a tool for political advantage. Reid’s the racist, and not just on the scale of denying a single black man a job he’s qualified for, but for scheming with his party to elect a candidate whose clearly unqualified, using the real issues of racism as the vehicle. Sadly, 90+% of the black community proved his scheming ways right.”

    I find this, and the most recent round of comments, fascinating. It all makes me wonder if any of you folks are black and where you live. I’m in NYC, a unique world unto itself, but trust me, racism is alive and well. I’m also frequently told by friends who live Upstate and in several other places around the country that the racist comments they hear from family and other friends are remarkably common; they don’t use the euphemism “the N word,” they just say nigger.

    One doesn’t have to hunt too hard to see very real racism “around every corner”; it’s right there. I’m glad OA is him/herself so colorblind, but in the America I live in, racism is alive and well.

    Also, those of you who are so outraged that Reid was “politically manipulative” kind of crack me up. ALL political groups, all inside strategy, is about deeming who is electable and why or why not, what the issues should be and why or why not, etc. To not recognize that is to be shockingly naive about the political process and how it works everywhere in the world.

    I know there are those of you who dislike Obama and his policies for an assortment of reasons, and I in no way believe that everyone who dislikes or disagrees with the president is a racist. I’m a whole-hearted Obama supporter and I disagree with much that he’s done and/or not done.

    The whole point of my article was to say that we as a culture, a political system, and a media-driven/molded society have taken to often jumping on politicians’ remarks and making them into something they’re not. I think it’s not only unsporting, but unrealistic and dangerous, because we’re starting to be unable to tell a genuine slur from an innocent thought or a standard procedure.

    It occurs to me today, as news of the horrendous earthquake in Haiti takes center stage, that it will be interesting to see what public and political opinion will be when we are suddenly confronted with an inevitable wave of refugees from that island largely comprised of poor, dark-skinned people. In case you haven’t noticed, America’s immigration policies and attitudes have been very different in regard to Haiti and the Dominican Republic (dark-skinned people) than Cuba and other foreign locales (lighter-skinned people).

    Ladies and gentlemen, racism and skin-tone-based color distinctions are not myths or part of ancient history, they’re very real and very much with us here and now. You can chat and bicker amongst yourselves as much as you like, but it doesn’t change those facts.

  • Zedd

    I think I’m the only Black person among the comments. Not sure though.

    Jeanne, most people don’t know what racism is. It’s so ingrained in the fabric of this nation that it is indistinguishable to a lot of people. They bought into the idea (conveniently) that hard work (more hard work than others who are less well off) brought them where they are. Its a load that has been sold by the wealthy to keep the rest of us believing, “if I just toil more, I too can”, so we don’t question the status quo. Unfortunately the lower class Reps are the most duped AND unfortunately the strongest stalwarts, trumpeting this idea to the extent of being the perpetrators of racist ideologies without knowing it.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I think I’m the only Black person among the comments. Not sure though.Not quite, Zedd. There’s Heloise, Cobra, Jeanne herself, Clayton Perry (although he rarely ventures into the Politics section) and, very occasionally, Maurice. There may well be a few others who prefer not to so self-identify.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    I actualy agree with what you said believe it or not. Stranger danger and all that. Totally agree – what you are saying is fact, and I’d argue based perhaps in some caveman style evolutionary thing (i.e. safer to stick with a group that looks like you). That said, my original comment on this article (#5), I said that lightness of skin, especially Obama’s was CLOSE to meaningless. And I stand by it.

    Barack Obama could have been so black he was purple and it wouldn’t have changed anything. And he’s not all that light skinned in the first place. In any case, it’s irrelevant. Who cares what skin color he had – it’s irrelevant to why what Reid did is so wrong.

    Just imagine if it was Dick Cheney instead of Reid, saying the same thing, in the same context as Reid. Just imagine the sinister, manipulating, scheming, old white guys in the boardroom image that this brings up. This isn’t at all about offending Obama, it’s about Reids active conspiring to use race to get votes from blacks and guilt ridden whites. And it’s purely this that is the problem. Hence my article. Reid blatantly used race for political gain, which puts him on the same level as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (and I said that before too (#7).

    Jeanne,

    I’m not black, but we’re in the same city. I never said racism doesn’t exist. In fact, the part you quote from me, I specifically say that situations like Reid’s actually hurt the cause of people who are truly discriminated against. The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    Moreover, liberal solutions consisting of coerced diversity aren’t the solution, and actually lead to a victim mentality. You know this because there are plenty in the black community who have aired this very same observation, and this is my point.

    Let’s just do away with the various bullsh** “justice” and reparations and forced diversity, ensure that there is no discrimination. That’s the issue, and that’s what any person should expect, if they have any self respect, that is all they should want.

    In terms of you and others saying, well all politicians do this, I think thats a joke. Again, if it was Dick Cheney instead of Reid, I suspect you and plenty others would be quite up in arms over this. Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s ok because Reid wants to send everyone Obama money. Got it. (Not saying you necessarily feel that way Jeanne, but others have made this point, saying look at Reid’s voting record.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Zedd, #59

    It’s mainly because most people keep mostly to themselves and their own kind. They never get in situations with others and develop relations with people of different ethnic/cultural backgrounds. If they had, they’d soon realize that for all our differences, we’re basically the same.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Zedd – Thank you for your right-on observations.

    OA — I sense we’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum (smile) and I don’t disagree with everything you say, but I think you’re hung up on the fact that it was Reid who said this and some Dems and Independents are defending him. If Cheney had said the same kind of thing about Gen. Colin Powell, for example, I would indeed probably not regard it as benignly as I do having come from Reid, because I believe Cheney IS a racist. But at the end of the political day, I would still recognize it as insider political strategy-speak, and couldn’t take issue with the truth of it.

    I feel that as large and genuine a problem as racism is, the current hostility, mistrust and disrespect between those of us with opposing political views is just as real, destructive and disturbing. The country and its people are not served by this hateful, take-no-prisoners posture. I hope that the same greater level of civility, decency and fairness that may eventually be able to help us combat racism will also help us overcome the idea that those who feel differently from us (politically) are unpatriotic enemies. We need a return to the concept of the Loyal Opposition and to a willingness to fight fair, not dirty, both in the political arena and the court of public opinion.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re of course right, Jeanne, but it’s still the case that our political attitudes are shaped by our personal experience.

    And so, I’ll continue to argue that at the root of racism, distrust, all of the above, is ignorance pure and simple. And by ignorance I mean either willful or unwillful exposure.

    We keep on breeding people who are committed to their cultural or ethnic enclaves. Consequently, there is no communication going on, no sharing of experiences, just strangeness. And strangeness breeds suspicion and distrust.

    It’s really amazing how our education system has failed the American people. But that’s a topic for another time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    lack of exposure . . . (line four)

  • zingzing

    oa: “Again, if it was Dick Cheney instead of Reid, I suspect you and plenty others would be quite up in arms over this.”

    yep. thing is, i guarantee you that he has said something like this. he’s politically shrewd enough to know what’s up. he’s also politically shrewd enough not to let it get published in a book, but hell… he shot a man in the face, so it’s ok.

    we’d all be hootin and hollerin “racism!” but, you know, it’s pretty hard to call racism when a white man is getting a black man elected president.

    i bet that if clinton had gotten elected instead, we’d be hearing “sexism!” every day.

  • Zedd

    Doc, I meant on this thread.

    Also, I’m guessing she meant sane people. In that case, five people, herself included.

  • Zedd

    roger,

    If there is a benefit to remaining segregated and ignorant then it shall remain. You would be more apt to agree with a person who told you that you were amazing even in an area that you previously didn’t believe you were good in, than a man who told you you were inapt in an area that you thought you excelled in.

    Racism works because there is too much to loose. The automatic superior position that millions find themselves in, without merit, is too intoxicating. It almost goes against human nature to fight against the benefits of a racist society. So it remains and at every stage, it’s potency is denied by its benefactors. There has never been a time in our history when the majority pronounced that the current time, is a racist and immoral time. Racist America is always in the past, never the present.

    I have a neighbor whose 23yr old son cant graduate from Jr. College. When I talk to him, he is blaming the instructors and the guidance counselor etc. Sad to say, he doesn’t sound too sharp at all. Every weekend he is all buff, looking like stud king, tanning at the pool in the backyard with his friends and during the week he’s talking about what he’s gonna do one of these days. His mom on a couple of occasions has come to me (spitting out a whisper from a face of disgust) talking about Mexicans and how they are ruining everything or how she saw some Mexicans standing around, milling around outside not working, near her job doing nothing. Interesting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I suppose you are putting your finger, Zedd, on “the benefits” of racism: “The automatic superior position that millions find themselves in, without merit, is too intoxicating.” And yes, it does explain the state of affairs in a great many cases.

    But I was thinking more of the “ignorant whites,” those who really have nothing to show for themselves, no claim to any kind of superiority, real or imagined.

    And in those, I venture to say, predominant cases, it would seem to me that the interest lies in propagating one’s ILLUSION of superiority. There’s really not much else for such people to fall back upon.

    Hence, they’re going to cling to their willful ignorance, the white trash mentality, because it perpetuates their view of themselves, rather than risk commingling with “strangers” lest they discover, what they all along suspect, that they’re no different or better than the people they despise.

    So shrink this, Zedd, and put it in your pocketbook.

  • Zedd

    roger,

    Yes we are in full agreement. As spot on as your analysis is, I’ll only invite roger into my pocket nothing or no one else.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jeanne,

    You’ll need to provide more than your assertion Cheney’s a racist.

    Zing

    “we’d all be hootin and hollerin “racism!” but, you know, it’s pretty hard to call racism when a white man is manipulating the black vote in order to get a black man elected president. ”

    There, fixed it for you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You do realize, of course, I’m honored.

  • zingzing

    yep, oa, them black folk is so easy to manipulate. all us white folk have to do is make the next leader of the free world a black man… wait! what the devil… he’s the damn president now. oh my, we fudged that one up, didn’t we? haha. now them black folk is in charge. who’s manipulating who, you might ask, you might… golly…

    seriously, oa, you’ve got a pretty dim view of black voters. is it manipulating the white vote every time you put up a white candidate? no. so why is it manipulating the black vote to put up a black candidate?

  • zingzing

    that said, if obama qualifies as manipulating the voters, nominating bush certainly would also have to qualify. not to mention palin…

  • STM

    Doc: “In my hypothetical scenario, I think Powell would have won, albeit not on as impressive a scale as Obama achieved.”

    It would have to be hypothetical Doc; Colin Powell’s family is from the West Indies. Can you imagine the uproar over birth certificates and accusations again of British citizenship?? Imagine the fakes online showing that he wasn’t born in Harlem at all because the long form hadn’t been presented?

    The consipracy theories, and the claims that he’s not REALLY African/American because his folks were Jamaican (part of the Empire back then) and his heritage is British/African.

    My God, man, verily dost thou sticketh thy hand into the nest of stinging hornets with one wing … a right wing.

  • Zedd

    zing and the zingers. perfect!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    I take a dim view of all voters, black or white, who elected this man, with no experience, accomplishments, hell he didn’t even really have much of a platform (unless you call being an empty vessel for vague hope and change as being a platform).

    As far as black voters specifically, who voted largely on the race of the candidate? Well I can understand it. And I don’t really hold it against them, considering black history, as well as the racism they continue to experience in some quarters. To be honest I have a lot more disdain for all the white guilt voters (and there were lots) who ignored all of the obvious signs that this guy was an empty suit.

    And he IS an empty suit. His first year as president has been among the worst of any president, with an endless string of absurd errors, constantly harping on what he “inherited” (good gosh), and the biggest sin? Pushing for a useless stimulus, Cap and Trade and Healthcare when the real crisis was and is jobs and the economy. All the while never living up to any of the rhetoric and extremely high expectations he’s set for himself (remember, changing the tone, new kind of politics? Even Jeannie has acknowledged that the political atmosphere is poison – Obama ran on changing all of this the got in office and told the GOP – I won). He even managed to piss off C-SPAN ferchrissakes.

    Sorry dude, but there is a reason why his disapprove ratings in his first year are almost at the level of Bush’s in his last. Because the American people now realize what’s up. Maybe one day you’ll take the liberal blinders off and join them.

    As far as your point about palin, you’re retreading the same arguments, already agreed IN MY ARTICLE, that this was manipulation as well.

  • zingzing

    did you vote for bush?

  • The Obnoxious American

    What’s Bush have to do with it? Nothing. And I’ll tell you what else. If Bush ran against Obama today, he’s probably win. But go ahead and talk about Bush some more. After all it’s worked for Obama for the last year hasn’t it. In fact the last three – he even RAN against Bush (who wasn’t running against him). Please dude, it’s your turn at the plate and your man is striking out.

  • zingzing

    i’m asking if you voted for bush. he was most definitely an empty suit, who was elected on “folksy charm” and his ability to relate to the undereducated white trash of america. and he fucked this country up.

  • zingzing

    …i’m sure you don’t fail to see the context of why i ask you that…

  • Michael

    Light skinned or dark skinned blacks; it doesn’t matter in this day and age. I am light skinned and run into racism all over, especially in my profession. The white engineering and technology community in the Kansas City area, have always created multiple roadblocks for blacks in the same field. So much so, that several of the light-skinned professionals have moved to other cities where they are excelling.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Michael — Of course light-skinned blacks are discriminated against; I for one never meant to imply otherwise. I’m just saying that now and historically, light-skinned people have had a RELATIVELY easier time of it. But it doesn’t surprise me that you and yours have an especially hard time in the high-tech industry; after all, as Elizabeth Taylor said in “Raintree County,” (in which she played a southern belle on the edge because she was convinced that her mammy was her mommy), “All it takes is one little drop of Niggra blood and you’re a Niggra too.” I didn’t even mention the infamous and actual “One Drop Rule” that was a large part of how slave-owners increased their slave populations. All you white people who know what the One Drop Rule meant and therefore allowed, raise your hands — then tell me again how a political-strategy observation that a black man who looked the least black had the best chance of getting elected is racist rather than pragmatic.

    OA — It’s my OPINION that Dick Cheney is a racist after 8 years of watching that hateful son-of-a-bitch in action. I can’t prove it, I just feel it, the same way you feel the thoughtful and intelligent Obama is an empty suit. He may be a surprise and a disappointment to many of us who voted for him, but an empty suit he ain’t, in my opinion. It never ceases to amaze and fascinate me that people can look at the same thing and see it so differently, but that’s life and politics.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “It’s my OPINION that Dick Cheney is a racist after 8 years of watching that hateful son-of-a-bitch in action. I can’t prove it, I just feel it”

    Jeanne, that’s just as racist as any white person who “feels” blacks are lazy or whatever.

    the same way you feel the thoughtful and intelligent Obama is an empty suit.

    First, I don’t just “feel” this. Originally, I was opposed to Obama purely on policy. Until he was elected president, the only thing we had to go on was his record which was fairly empty, there is no disputing this. But seeing him in action this last year, that’s proof that he’s an empty suit. I’m not saying he isn’t intelligent or thoughtful. I’m sure he is. He is just not very good at doing the things he campaigned on, such as bringing a post-partisan change to America, or changing the nature of politics, or smarter government rather than larger government. He’s gotten into office and followed a completely hard line liberal ideology. And it sucks. And this is why his numbers are tanking.

    Worse, he has been very dishonest on many occassions, blamed his predecessor on virtually every occassion, made stupid remarks during the gates and ft hood events, was absent when we were attacked on Christmas day. None of this has anything to do with the color of his skin (at least for me) but the nature of his presidency.

    Zing,

    For your information, I voted Gore/Lieberman in 2000. However, I voted Bush in 2004, because Kerry was an utter disgrace, and half the things he campaigned on were lies or half truths. Besides, I am not reflexively anti war.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Let me add, I voted Gore primarily because I liked Clinton who was a moderate. The main things I disagreed with the Clinton admin on was:

    1) HillaryCare for obvious reasons
    2) Assault Weapon Ban which is useless and stupid legislation. Just another way for libs to control us
    3) Some of his positions on taxes

    Overall, he was a good president. He did have a particularly easy time to govern, and there might be some case to be made that he didn’t deal with Al Qaeda enough. That said prior to 9/11, Al Qaeda killed a total of 38 Americans, so it’s understandable that both Clinton and Bush (as well as the rest of the world) didn’t take the threat of Al Qaeda too seriously.

    Also, totally disagreed with Monicagate, and in fact think that WH interns should be fair game for Presidens :>

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Jeanne you wrote a spot on, excellent post. Senator Reid’s statements, if they were said as quoted, was absolutely correct. America has been a racist, skin-tone stratified nation since its enception, and listening to White Conservatives claim otherwise is laughible.

    Reagan and Poppy Bush were against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. McCain and Cheney voted against the MLK Day holiday and McCain supported the Confederate Battle Flag at the SC Statehouse. Republicans like Trent Lott, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee made appearances and/or speeches at the White Separatist Council of Conservative Citizens.

    Why on EARTH would a conscious minority with any self-respect sign up to support this nonsense?

    –Cobra

  • zingzing

    oa: so you got manipulated into voting for gore because of who he wasn’t, and you voted for the empty suit in 04, even though he had already proved himself to be an incompetent buffoon by that point.

    “Assault Weapon Ban which is useless and stupid legislation. Just another way for libs to control us”

    mhmm… assault weapons are useless and stupid, but i can see why we’d want to keep them off the streets. i remember when bush let it lapse. one of my friend’s brothers went off and bought an ak-47, or something like that, which he had to keep in the basement until he sold it. he just couldn’t find any use for it… bullets ain’t cheap, so he wasn’t going to go out to the practice range with it. and he just couldn’t find a house he wanted to tear down. and there wasn’t a war on.

    if you need to be controlled to the point where you are told that owning assault weapons is stupid, you deserve to be controlled at least that much. it’s like being told not to drive a tank down main street.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    But at least it would be fun to drive a tank down Main Street, zing, don’t you think?

    AK-47s, OTOH, aren’t even fun. I’ve fired one that belonged (illegally) to a friend of a friend. He couldn’t take it to the range, obviously, and they’re impractical (not to mention illegal) to hunt with, so we ended up just shooting it into a hillside on our friend’s property. Where’s the fun or satisfaction in that? I enjoy shooting with a handgun or a rifle, but this was the armaments equivalent of kicking a can up and down an alley.

    As far as personal defence goes, you’re as likely to destroy your own house and kill your neighbours as repel any burglars with one of those bad boys.

    Certainly there are any number of objects people own which are for all practical purposes useless and devoid of fun, but it’s the useless+not fun+dangerous combination which makes Obnox’s assault weapons lament rather a blunt point.

    …And now we’ve moved on to gun control. Cool.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Cobra — Thank you.

    OA — While I loathe Cheney, I concede that it was improper for me to call him a racist [in a public forum] when I have no remark of his, public or private, to back up that accusation — especially I, who so frequently call for greater civility in public discourse. However, my doing so is not racist and indeed there is no such thing as “reverse racism”; that’s a silly construct of those who oppose affirmative action and white people who feel that they are now being made to suffer for the sins of white people long ago. Racism is not just about disliking persons of a different race, it’s about having the power to oppress them, and blacks have never had, and do not have now, the power to oppress whites. BTW, I don’t dislike Cheney because he’s white, I dislike him (intensely) for the attitudes and politics he stands for, and about which he’s been very vocal.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Folks, I’m very pleased that this post has generated so much response, but given (1) that this was a red herring to begin with and (2) that we are now witnessing the horrors in Haiti: a real crisis, a real issue, I think we should call it quits on this thread. In any case, unless particularly provoked, this will be my own final comment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nice gesture, Jeannie. And I’m not deprecating the idea of gesture.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Forgive my misspelling. It’s the second time. Won’t happen again.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/heloise Heloise

    Jeanne I write about race at the Trough and it’s pretty popular. As a multi racial person his comments did not make me “seethe.” In fact it did not even register. White people of all stripes seem to be getting more bent out of shape over this than black people. That’s odd to me.

    I really don’t see the problem. Where were white people when blacks were being called nigger and getting lynched. Now that’s something to seethe about. I don’t get the outrage. I straight talk about race and even did a “racial rundown” on Rhianna. Race (read politics) is not for the faint of heart I guess.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/heloise Heloise

    Michael and Jeanne: blacks in higher professions and jobs meet with racism we know. In fact it is believed that it’s worse than for blacks in more low level occupations that do not require smarts or a degree.

    Bottom line blacks (light or dark) are treated horribly by whites when they find themselves eye to eye in similar professions that require credentials. I have had to withdraw from my peers because I was kicked to the curb, my ideas stolen, not given credit and treated like merde (shit in French). And I have been mistaken for biracial or white esp. when I lived in Chicago and never tanned up there.

    That’s why this Reid comment is not worth the ink or the think. It’s all about money. Hannity said that his family bought a cottage on Cape Cod for 13K decades ago. And now it’s worth millions maybe. Well, pure racism because no person of color could buy that kind of property in the 50s even if they had the money. Therefore our wealth is a pittance.

    Resources kept from people of color is the real crime. Not some damn words that white people know they live. That makes me mad.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jeanne,

    There’s no such thing as reverse racism? You’ve literally devalued ANYTHING you might have said here, no matter how many likeminded saps agree.

    Zing, Dread,

    I own several “assault weapons” and I love them. Not only are they fun to shoot, but they are technically superior to many other platforms. In any case, they are no more dangerous than any other rifle and knowing as much as I do about guns, I can assure you that the ban is stupid. All weapons are assault weapons.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    There’s no such thing as reverse racism?

    Of course there is. I once lost a prestigious position because of it. To put it in civilian terms, I was the shipboard chief of police, and I made the mistake of conducting a proper investigation that fingered someone strongly favored by the senior enlisted man on board. I laid out all the evidence (and I had him beyond any shadow of a doubt)…and in the next few days the investigation was covered up and I was transferred to a subordinate position. It was well-understood among those who worked with me that investigating someone black was hazardous to one’s career.

    I remember debating one ‘Rev.’ Khandi Paasewe, who argued that whites should be forgiven for what they’ve done against blacks, that white’s “can’t help it” because we’re biologically inferior due to the lack of melanin in our skin.

    Yes, there’s racists among blacks, as there are among every other ethnic group on the planet. But I’m not so ignorant to think that what I lost compares in the least to what the blacks have gone through even in my short lifetime.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    I totally agree with all of the points you made in the above post. The only way what Jeanne says can be accurate is if she’s saying that reverse racism doesn’t exist, because in either direction it’s racism. But somehow I don’t think that’s her point at all – I think she was saying that black people cannot be racist. Jeanne, care to clarify?

    Racism is a human trait, not black or white. And perhaps racism is the wrong word, it’s really prejudice or discrimination that we’re talking about. And no human, black or white, disabled or athlete, can avoid harboring some form of prejudice against others.

  • zingzing

    you guys see rush limbaugh’s comments on haiti? mmm.

  • zingzing

    “I own several “assault weapons” and I love them”

    in nyc? can you do that?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    you guys see rush limbaugh’s comments on haiti?

    Any one in particular? The guy seems to have made a number of comments, not one of which has failed to be idiotic.

  • zingzing

    oh, the one about how obama is using the disaster in haiti to manipulate black voters or some such shit. and then he calls someone who criticizes him a “bigot.”

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    OA — Your distinction between prejudice and racism clarifies my earlier point. As I said, racism is not just about disliking another race, it’s about having power over them; which is why I say blacks are not racist toward whites or others. But blacks, like all other human beings, can be prejudiced. Neither is desirable, but there is that important difference between the two words.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    You can. They are not fully auto, but the left tends to refer to them as assault weapons anyway. This is why the law is stupid. The AWB is superficially based on the look of a weapon, or weather it has a magazine attached to it or whether some part was manufactured in or out of the country. But for all intents and purposes, most weapons that the left terms as “assault weapons” are no more or less powerful than your average semi auto rifle with a wood stock and a scope.

    I’m no advocate of full auto in any case, and in fact many military weapons these days don’t use it either (with the exception of real machine guns – which are not legal anywhere in the country without direct BATF approval), and are often burst (3 shots at a time) capable. Personally unless you in all out warfare, a full auto weapon is worse than useless. Hard to control, not that accurate, lots and lots of expensive ammo etc.

    To give you an idea of why I enjoy shooting, like any sport its fun to be able to put a tight group of holes on a piece of paper from 100 yards away. It’s just like the feeling you get from a jump shot from behind the three.

    So called assault weapons are starting to be used more and more as hunting rifles, the Remington R15 and R25 to wit. These weapons are light, accurate, well made, modular.

    Lastly, the AR 15 and the AK 47 are the two most popular platforms on the planet. There is something to be said for people being trained on the two most popular platforms available.

    Jeanne,

    Fair enough, thanks for clarifying and apologies for any aspersions cast. That said, now that Obama is in power, you can’t quite say that blacks have no power over whites (should you choose to view it that way). So certainly, by your definition, black people could be racist, and not merely prejudice in the current day.

  • The Obnoxious American

    And wanted to add nothing wrong with what Obama is doing for Haiti. No different than what Bush did in response to the Tsunami, and this is a terrible tragedy for the people there. Watching the news is nothing short of horrific. The U.S. should always try to help other nations afflicted with such disasters.

    That said, where’s the help from the so-called international community? We’re sending troops and machines. Where’s the rest of it? Hello Russia, China, Iran?

    How about venezuela and cuba?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ #103:

    Ah, good explanation, Obnox. The types of gun you describe aren’t what I think of as assault weapons, which is why my eyebrows were as highly raised as zing’s.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    OA Said: “now that Obama is in power, you can’t quite say that blacks have no power over whites (should you choose to view it that way). So certainly, by your definition, black people could be racist, and not merely prejudice in the current day.”

    OA et al, I want to say something I hope you’ll note and understand:

    The fact that the president is black is certainly historic and significant. But as we’ve seen in many ways, it is not transformational. We’ve learned that a black president will do the same things a white president would do. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with him, he hasn’t done anything that one would regard as reflecting or stemming from being black. The nation has not suddenly become an even playing field. All the systemic racial ills that existed the day before Barack Obama was elected still exist today. Blacks have something to feel pleased and proud about, but we have just as much to be distressed about regarding presidential policy as anyone else.

    The Washington culture that Obama wanted to change is completely intact, indeed strengthened. The financial and business communities, in the spotlight of crisis, have been revealed as more clueless, self-serving, uncaring, greedy AND POWERFUL than we already knew they were. We are in the midst of a Great Recession with increasing inflation.

    We are also at fundamental social/cultural/economic turning point regarding who and how the American population will be: our work, our education, our homes, our resources, our interaction with each other.

    So please do not, even for a moment, think that racism in America is over or improving or that things are more equal now or any of that. For some Americans, that was the hope. For none of us is it the reality.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jeanne,

    The powerful are still powerful (including Obama), agreed. But that does not mean that the powerful are racist. I’m not sure what kind of transformation you’re looking for but it sure sounds like a utopian’s wet dream, and not the free country of the United States.

    The only thing we should be striving for is an end to discrimination. Everyone should have the same right to pursue their happiness, but they should NOT have the right to happiness as you’re comments seem to suggest (“population will be: our work, our education, our homes, our resources, our interaction with each other.”)

    Some of the things you’re talking about seem to speak to a much much larger adgenda, one that would leave the US a lot less free. If you don’t like the free society of the US, go elsewhere. Our country is founded on laws. I’m sorry that you or your ancestors were once discriminated against, and I vow that I won’t abide by such behavior. Beyond that Jeanne, you can keep your change.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, OA –

    You believe that America’s such a free society…but except for gun ownership, exactly how is our society freer than the countries of the British Commonwealth?

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Obnoxious American — This is what I get for attempting to communicate with a person who loves his assault weapons. The only thing you understand is what you believe. You’re a living, breathing waste of time and live up to your name to a T. Think whatever you like about me and what I’ve said; read into it whatever you like; keep right on commenting if you want. I have nothing else to say to you.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jeanne

    You can attack me all you like (what does guns have to do with it?), this isn’t about me.

    Bottom line, if you support Affirmative Action or any of these so called “justice” initiatives, then you are no better than the people who enslaved blacks.

    People who are wronged want the wronging to stop – for everyone, not to have it inflicted on others innocents and spread around. Otherwise they are no better than the people who perpetrated the sins on them in the first place. It’s that simple. The whole reparations/justice platform is modern day medivality. It’s revenge.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    The UK is close. But high taxes, government healthcare, stringent gun laws (which the brits themselves are starting to rail against) and an actual monarchy. Yes it’s a free society. Not as free as the US though. The question is, will they become more like us, or will we become more like them. Our current president’s adgenda is pretty clearly favoring the latter.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    OA writes:

    “Bottom line, if you support Affirmative Action or any of these so called “justice” initiatives, then you are no better than the people who enslaved blacks.

    Really? Granting access to an ENTRY LEVEL position, promotion or school enrollment slot otherwise CLOSED to a minority candidate is now the “same thing” as generational kidnapping, forced labor, mass rape, human BREEDING, separation of families and DEATH on the scale beyond the Holocaust?

    Obnoxious American, do you have the faintest notion how damnably ignorant and racist that sounds?

    I’ll give you a chance to clarify your comments.

    –Cobra

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed AP
  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    AP — I checked all the links you posted, and before saying anything else, want to say I was delighted to see a site called “Mulatto.org.” When I was growing up in NYC in the late 50s/early 60s, I was told by my interracial parents that mulatto was considered a disparaging term. If you, too, are a mulatto, AP, you can imagine how disconcerting it was for me to discover that the only word I’d ever heard that describes precisely what I am is considered a slur!

    Needless to say, since native Africans are very black in skin tone, the fact that America and slavery “gave birth” to “light-skinned blacks” made it clear that white men were mating with (raping) black slave women.

    However, I have come to view a mulatto as being someone like myself: a person with one white parent and one black parent. As the information cited in your first link explains, there are now generations of light-skinned blacks whose parents, grandparents, etc., were also light-skinned blacks.

    Regarding your other two links…this information: (1) that during slavery, mulattoes were shunned/punished instead of rewarded, and (2) that skin-color “tests” like the old brown paper bag standard, never existed, are frankly news to me, particularly the skin-color tests. You may be correct, but what you cited was an opinion site, not an historical site or other official reference.

    Ultimately, while what you say/cite may be true, the fact is that in modern-day America, 1) light-skinned blacks most certainly do exist and identify as black despite their fairer complexions and 2) they (and we mulattoes) DO have an easier time of it in life, in some important ways, than do darker-skinned blacks.

    What you didn’t address, which I think is another interesting point, is that black Americans who have emigrated to assorted nations in Africa often have a difficult time adjusting and being accepted, because they’re viewed as “whites” by the Africans — and they don’t even have to necessarily be light-skinned; being American, which some regard as a synonym for “privileged,” is condemnation enough!

    It always has been difficult for mixed race people to identify as such and that remains so today. Whites don’t accept it and blacks don’t like it, they think it’s a racial cop-out.

    We can’t resolve this issue, or even discuss it intelligently in depth, in this comments format, but I hope we’ll have a chance to raise and discuss this issue another time. Thanks for commenting.