White people are evil, yadda-yadda-yadda, SSDD

I wasn’t gonna post about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ earlier post on the same topic, but what the hell:

Racism Plays a Big Part in our Politics. Period.

The power and symbolism of Obama’s election is compromised by the extent to which his presidency has been shaped by white expectations and white racism. Obama can’t show anger, he can’t propose policies tailored to African Americans and he can’t talk about race. In other words, he can’t remind white Americans that their president is a black man as much as anything else.

Really? Why not?

Who decided he can’t do those things?

At the risk of sounding cynical, I expect that Coates will inspire howls of unfairness from the Right. It’s almost forbidden to discuss the role racism has played in shaping opposition to Obama. Conservatives dismiss such concerns as “playing the race card”—and use it as an opportunity to accuse liberals of racism—while more neutral commentators note that Bill Clinton also faced a rabid conservative opposition. But as Coates points out, no one called Clinton a “food stamp president” or attacked his health care plan as “reparations.” Local lawmakers didn’t circulate racist jokes about the former Arkansas governor, and right-wing provocateurs didn’t accuse Clinton of fomenting an anti-white race war.

Maybe it’s not the use of the race card that bothers people. Maybe it’s the cynical use of it. Maybe it’s the overuse of the race card.

With that said, I’m honestly amazed that—for many people—it’s beyond the pale to accuse a political party of exploiting racism for political gain. We’re only 47 years removed from the official end of Jim Crow and the routine assassination of black political leaders. This year’s college graduates are the children of men and women who remember—or experienced—the race riots of the late 1960s and 70s. The baby boomers—including the large majority of our lawmakers—were children when Emmett Till was murdered, teenagers when George Wallace promised to defend segregation in perpetuity, and adults when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed for his belief in the humanity of black people.

I was eight years old when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Now I’m a 52 year-old grandfather. I changed a lot in the intervening years.

Of course there are politicians and political parties that capitalize on racism. Why wouldn’t they? The end of our state-sanctioned racial caste system is a recent event in our history; more recent than Medicare or Medicaid, more recent than the advent of computers, more recent than the interstate highway system, and more recent than Social Security. Taken in the broad terms of a nation’s life, we’re only a few weeks removed from the widespread acceptance of white supremacy.

It wasn’t that many years ago that we fought a bitter war against Germany and Japan. There are still people alive who fought that war. Now Germany and Japan are loyal allies.

Race remains a potent way to activate voters and motivate them to the polls—see Mitt Romney’s current campaign against Obama’s fictional attack on welfare. To believe otherwise—and to see this country as a place that’s moved past its history—is absurd.

Race remains a potent way to activate voters and motivate them to the polls—see Barack Obama’s campaigns against Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Maybe I should have just stuck to my original tweet:

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47 Responses to White people are evil, yadda-yadda-yadda, SSDD

  1. DandyTiger says:

    Wolf, wolf, wolf!!!

  2. myiq2xu says:

    The race baiters are right about one thing – racism is getting worse.

    Just not the way they think.

  3. swanspirit says:

    I have a been a proud “racist ” ever since I supported Hillary . Of course ,the word no longer has any meaning but heck ,who cares.

  4. DeniseVB says:

    Wonder how Hermain Cain was able to climb the corporate ladder ? He probably didn’t NEED management skills because he was black. Yeah, that’s it ! 😉

  5. myiq2xu—-I thought you were an older grandparent. I’m about to turn 60 in a few weeks and I’m still not a grandparent. Lucky you!!

    And I’m glad you wrote about this piece—-loved the graphic!!! I still may write something about it because it unsettled me.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I still have one child that hasn’t spawned yet. He’s almost 30 too.

    • angienc says:

      I’m about to turn 60 in a few weeks and I’m still not a grandparent.

      OMG — mom, is that you?


      • lol!!! But I would never say that to my sons. 🙂

        however, my poor daughter-in-law has caught me with her mother plotting how we will co-grandparent. Busted!!

        • angienc says:

          My mother (who always made me the most gorgeous Halloween costumes when I was young) made her friend’s granddaughter a Cinderella costume a few years back (this friend of my mom’s is the bane of my existence, btw, because my mom always reminds me how she is 4 years older than her friend and yet her friend *already has* 3 grandchildren). I happened to come by the house when my mom was finishing the costume & I told her she had really outdone herself — it was even prettier than any costume she had ever made for me and my mom replied to that compliment with:

          Since I’m in the mood to sew, maybe I should go ahead and make a second one because by the time you give me grandchildren I’ll be too old to do it. . . or dead.

          Absolutely 100% true story.

        • wow—-that must annoy the heck out of you!! Maybe she tries to restrain herself but can’t. Like her saying it is really going to make a difference!!

          I’ve been married 40 years, got married when I was 20. My husband and I just were having too much fun to have kids, so when I finally got pregnant at age 30, my Dad says to me “glad you finally got it right this time.” This from a guy who never mentioned the word sex around me ever. I was mortified…..

          • myiq2xu says:

            I was 21 when my oldest was born. My mom reacted to the news of his impending arrival just like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment.

            “Why should I be happy about being a GRANDMOTHER?”

        • angienc says:

          Annoy me? My mom is Greek, which makes her an expert in the art of guilting her offspring — I’ve never known any other way but it’s gotten to the point where I just laugh about it. I didn’t post that story to disparage her, but because I think it’s funny.

      • myiq2xu says:

        There is a scene in this movie:

        Where Kevin Bacon imagines her parents watching them have sex and giving advice because they want a grandchild.

        “Get your ass up higher!”

  6. myiq2xu says:

    The Other McCain:

    Show of hands: Nearly four years into the Age of Obama, is there anybody — anybody – interested in reading a 9,582-word “What It Means” essay about the racial significance of Obama’s presidency?

    Would you be more interested if I told you that Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the Trayvon Martin shooting as the contextual prism through which he seeks this wisdom? Would your interest be whetted if I told you that Coates name-checks a list of right-wing villains — Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc. — en route to a rather nebulous conclusion about the persistence of white racism as the dominant and defining reality of America’s past, present and future?

    Admit it, honky: You don’t want to read it.

    You “white folks” (yes, he uses that phrase) don’t wish to recline on the psychoanalyst’s couch while Ta-Nehisi Coates explains to you that every reason why you don’t support Obama, when viewed through the lens of history, is irredeemably racist. You “white folks” don’t appreciate your own need for this therapeutic experience.

    Why not? Because you’re in denial about your intractable prejudices.

    So there you are, with Trayvon Martin’s blood on your hands, rejecting Ta-Nehisi Coates’s generous offer to expiate your sins. Confess your racism, whitey, and let Dr. Coates help you understand your “Fear of a Black President.” Because, you see, somehow the death of Trayvon reflects the hatefulness of those right-wing Republicans and their “strategy of massive resistance” — yes, massive resistance, as if suburban Orlando in 2012 were Mississippi in 1955.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Right. I’m 52 and was not yet in kindergarten when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. Is there, “in the broad terms of a nation’s life,” some sort of expiration date on grudge-based politics?

      Or are we not supposed to notice that Jamelle Bouie (University of Virginia, Class of ’09) was born during the second term of the Reagan administration and thus is rehearsing grievances that pre-date his birth by more than two decades? It makes as much sense, really, as invoking the Smoot-Hawley tariff or Bryan’s ”Cross of Gold” speech as the basis of our politics. I’m anti-tariff and pro-gold, but these policy preferences have nothing to do with the interest-group politics of my great-grandfather’s era, and anyone would be puzzled if I were to argue as though we were living in the Gilded Age or the Roaring Twenties: “Standard Oil! Monopolies! Temperance! Child labor! Women’s suffrage!”

      Why, then, do most people not object when youngsters (Coates was born in 1975, and was not quite 2 years old when Jimmy Carter was elected president) invoke an increasingly remote oppression as if they themselves had endured it, or as if there were a danger of its return?

      The politics of nostalgia is the politics of fools.

  7. HELENK says:


    I am getting so sick of the word racism being thrown around every time somebody breathes.

    I have a question, yes it will sound racist.

    what happens when in this age of fewer jobs than job hunters, employers say to themselves, I do not need the headaches, why should I hire a minority. Will I have to question myself or be questioned if someone does not do the job they were hired for and I counsel them or fire them, and get accused of racism.

    backtrack has set minorities back big time.

  8. Obama can’t talk about race, eh? For my money that is just about all this White House ever talks about. And I’m sick to death of it.

    There are other kinds of discrimination in this country. And the world.

  9. angienc says:

    I’m just guessing here, but maybe Clinton wasn’t called the “food stamp president” because unemployment numbers were so low and his bi-partisan welfare reform got a lot off people OFF of welfare & back to work.

    • yttik says:

      LOL, I always think of Bill Clinton when people complain about all the racism Obama has to deal with. Clinton was “America’s first black president” for a reason. He stuck his neck out and he was attacked, impeached even.

      The crap Clinton ( and his family) went through was pretty incredible. Can you imagine any of that happening to President Obama? It’s almost laughable to consider.Seriously, even the most vile attack on Obama would seem to be allegations that maybe he wasn’t born here or that he pal’ed around with terrorists, like Bill Ayers. Heck, Clinton had intimate details of his sex life exposed and his wife was alleged to have killed people and that was just the Monday morning news cycle.

      • angienc says:

        Hell, the most vile attacks are nothing compared to the attacks he & his minions threw at Hillary in 2008.

        99 Problems but a B!tch Ain’t One.

  10. insanelysane says:

    IDEA !
    How about this country focuses on the real ism…
    Where it hurts.

    Where this ISM prevents you from getting an important Job if you are the best qualified for that job.
    Like when a highly qualified, experienced, brilliant person
    (who has been in training for it for 35 years) is vying for a job that also has the exact opposite applying for it. Hurtful ISM is when
    ” the elites” get together in a backroom and they pick the younger guy over the older woman.

    Many of us have seen that happen before our very eyes. So the ISM that counts is when someone is truly denied access.
    I guess we ought to all start shouting the other ISM no one want to acknowledge.

    • HELENK says:

      before I went to work for the railroad , I had that happen to me several times. younger men that I trained were promoted over me. Reason given I was married and had kids.

      • insanelysane says:

        Helen, Most every woman in the work force has seen it happen at least once. It’s as common as white bread.
        Oops. I guess that’s r@cist.

  11. yttik says:

    According to the stereotypes, Obama has to be twice as good and half as black. He also has to pass policies that favor black Americans.

    I give him an F on all three. Twice as good? Nope, mediocre at best. Half as black? Nope, he’s tried desperately to be black, but a fake preacher accent and comments about Popeye’s fried chicken don’t cut it. Favor black Americans? Oh boy, epic fail. Black Americans are facing horrendous unemployment.

    So the entire theory behind this article is false. I don’t know anybody, including rabid right wingers, who believe he’s been twice as good or half as black. However, on the third one, polices that favor black Americans, there are a handful of right wingers who believe that but they are completely wrong.

  12. Lulu says:

    There is a lawsuit that will be heard this fall about affirmative action before the Supreme Court. From all reports it will be a doozy. Many believe that after decades it is time for it to begin being unwound. The ceiling was crashed by Obama and now the same arguments that the highest reaches of our society are closed to minorities is false on its face. Part of the increasing hysteria that racism is still rampant is to protect Obama, but a lot of it is about this court case.

  13. WMCB says:

    HONK! The problem isn’t that a great deal of institutionalized and societal racism still exists (it doesn’t, by and large, except in pockets and isolated instances, or in an ever-smaller number of personal social interactions.)

    The problem is that an entire class of people has developed, in academia and in politics and in govt, that makes their living and receives their grants and garners their votes and publishes their papers predicated upon the suffering of the black man. It’s their entire identity, their profession, their livelihood. I have news for ya. The people who MOST don’t want racism to be a dwindling thing in America are not the toothless white supremacist hillbillies in some southern backwater. No, the people most threatened by the disappearance of real racism, who will have to make the biggest adjustment, rework their lives, and give up on their stubborn archaic attitudes is not the scary redneck dude.

    It’s the people like the man writing this article. Racism going away will shake the foundations of his whole world – much more so than it will Bubba’s. If Coates wants to see someone secretly and subconsciously terrified of the idea of proud and equal black folks living without discrimination he needs to stop looking in the weeds and look in the mirror.

  14. gxm17 says:

    From the article linked in the OP:

    Mitt Romney was 31 when the Church of Latter Day Saints allowed African American priests, and repudiated early leader Brigham Young’s pronouncement that “The Lord had cursed Cain’s seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood.

    Mr. Bouie,

    Let’s resume this discussion when the LDS allows women priests. That should be right about the time that hell freezes over. For now, why don’t you just STFU.


    Beyond Tired of Your Guilt-trippin’ BS

    PS on your BS: For the record, sexist and misogynist jokes about Hillary Clinton and her daughter have been circulating for-freakin’-ever. (Not to mention Sarah Palin, her daughters, and even her special needs toddler.) Obama does not have a monopoly on being the subject of hate humor. Are you really that oblivious or do you just not care?

  15. Okay, wait. Emmett Till was a black political leader? At age 14? News to me. There were two black political leaders killed in the 1960s. One of them was killed by 3 black guys.

    The end of our state-sanctioned racial caste system is a recent event in our history; more recent than Medicare or Medicaid, more recent than the advent of computers, more recent than the interstate highway system, and more recent than Social Security.

    Race remains a potent way to activate voters and motivate them to the polls—see Mitt Romney’s current campaign against Obama’s fictional attack on welfare.

    First, this guy doesn’t know his history. Brown v Board of Education is 1954. The Highway Act came 2 years later. And it was, in fact, those very highways that allowed a lot of black people to escape from the economic conditions that defined their lives, and which could be construed as institutional racism. The 1964 CRA predates Medicare and Medicaid by a year.

    This is the problem with liberal black rhetoric today. It’s riddled with inaccuracies and hyperbole, and that makes the arguments unbelievable. It also makes them easily dismissed.

  16. yttik says:

    “It’s riddled with inaccuracies and hyperbole…”

    It’s lacking women, too. Except for Rosa Parks, everyone else is invisible. Where’s Shirley Chisholm? Oh, that’s right, she thought sexism was a bigger problem then racism, so she’s out of the story. You go back much farther than that, and most of the black women were Republicans, so that just won’t do either.

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