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Nov 30

Racism by Another Name

Racial Hatred Surfaces—

My view is that the election of Barack Obama has opened Pandora’s Box to the baser side of human character. I attribute this to conscious or subconscious racism. I will say that louder: RACISM!

Some will deny this, but I see no other logical reason. It was only after Obama’s election that the Tea Party gained the dominance it now has in the Republican Party and in the House of Representatives. Some put that dominance as having culminated in the gains that took place in the 2010 midterm elections, an election notorious for its low turnouts except for ginned up rightists . Racism emerged with a more public face. Obama not only identifies himself as black, but he has a foreign-sounding name with the middle name of Hussein. It appears that the devil has emerged and merged with America’s newly aroused fears.

Once the racism I see bubbled to the surface, folks who had that simmering inside them because of the changes they have noticed around them felt free to express their baser instincts. Blatherers like Rush Limbaugh, who is nothing if not an opportunist, have the Clear Channel megaphone that blasts that attitude into the far corners of the land.

Because it is now in the open, those ignorant people who have harbored resentments at the changes they sense now find it easy to put a face to those resentments. The face they see is black or brown, and it’s just a short step to see the poor and homeless as the evil that has stolen their jobs and their security. Those changes now have a face and the new environment gives those baser instincts space to be expressed. This is my view of what Nicholas Kristof refers to as “pushback” from those who object to his columns about the left-outs in American society.

Kristof has hit the nail on the head, but in my view he hasn’t hit it hard enough. It’s the season to emphasize love for one’s fellow man, but either the New York Times has fettered his outrage or he politely refuses to tie the can to the tail of the haters out there who feel free to openly express their poisonous venom. What worries me is that unless those who see the hatred for what it is hit back hard now, the monster is loose in the land and will devour all that is good until there is nothing left but chaos and an inequality that will destroy what little democracy that still exists in America.

That’s my view. Others can feel free to disagree or add layers to that onion. For those who want to take care of my delicate feelings, it’s okay to disagree with what I say. If I haven’t said enough, then it’s okay to point that out, too. If I’ve hit the bull’s eye in your view, then tell me and not sit back and complacently agree. If I seem angry, then you are right. This state of affairs has gone too far for me to quietly murmur my frustration at seeing America hijacked by ignorance and bigotry. Now is the time to speak out.

14 comments

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  1. Dave Meyers

    By George you’ve got it, Mr. Bay. I am in complete agreement with you.
    My conservative friends here in Colorado Springs seem to take a more grown up view of Mr. Obama’s presidency than others I know, at least on the surface. But, when the partiers begin to mingle and form small groups, laughter will blurt out from those listening to an off-color joke describing Obama in a racist way.
    My long-time California friend (friendship fading) cuts right to the chase with occasional barrages of bone-in the-nose images or otherwise obviously doctored photos. And, with jokes that directly point out Mr. Obama’s blackness in negative way.
    You can easily pick out the racial overtones of politicians as well.
    There is not now, nor has there ever been, any doubt in my mind that many folks are not comfortable with ‘one of them’ in the White House…..He’s not from our tribe and therefore cannot be trusted, respected, praised, or tolerated.

    1. Don Bay

      One way of diminishing or even eliminating offensive bigotry foisted on you by friends is to respond with articles by journalists like Charles Blow or Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Attach a note saying something like, “This is a point-of-view I find more to my liking. What do you think?” A few of these and it is likely that your friend will get the idea that you really don’t share his views. This way, you don’t have to be confrontational or pushy. He can read them or not, but he’ll get the idea…unless he’s really ignorant (lacking information). I’d be happy to cite you to articles that are good for this purpose.

      And, it should be noted that too many of us harbor some prejudice. It’s what we do with that discovery that tells us what kind of person we are and what needs changing. How’s that for a look at reality? But then I may be unusual.

  2. Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas

    I am in judgement every day starting with myself.
    Love you Don and Happy Thanksgiving I am thankful for you.

    1. Don Bay

      Good. “Know thyself” is good advice for all of us.

  3. Kathlena Contreras

    Yeah, I find it funny how people had absolutely no problem with government spending, government intrusiveness, government adventures overseas until the Obama administration. Now suddenly there’s all this hand-wringing and outcry over “the debt”– notwithstanding that we’re STILL in the worst economic downturn in 80 years (don’t let anyone convince you otherwise). But hey, you know, it’s all Obama’s fault.

    1. Don Bay

      Strange, isn’t it. The Republicans are slavering to cut or eliminate the safety net and the debt is the way they see to do it: let those lazy welfare cheats work for slave wages or starve. It’s Ayn Rand on steroids and Paul Ryan, a Rand fan from his arrested teen years, will lead the way. But let us not forget that Obama has bought into that “debt” thing and even suggested cutting Social Security. Even with that, he’s still the “black guy in the Oval Office,” and the Tea Partyized Republican Party is determined to undermine him even if it means taking the country down with him. Strange, isn’t it.

  4. Linda

    Absolutely agree with all of you! I recall Gov. Jane Brewer of Arizona shaking her finger in President Obama’s face and being outraged at her disrespectful behavior, as if the President was a child who was in need of a scolding! I don’t recall anyone doing that to any President. I had a friend who would send those ridiculously stupid email chains that claimed this or that about the President as if the statements were true. I would quickly find the email to be found untrue by Truth or Fiction or some other similar site and send it back with a short note that his email is NOT TRUE ACCORDING TO….. I guess I sent enough of those “not true according to…” that he has stopped sending me garbage. I also feel that this President has been referred to as simply “Obama” rather than “President Obama” more than any other President, but that may be my lopsided perception. In any case, when a question for a game show came up with “Obama” in the answer or question, it annoyed me enough to ask that it be changed to “President Obama” and it wasn’t even my assignment! I just couldn’t stop myself. It was changed.

    1. Don Bay

      Good on you! This supports my contention that sending articles reflecting your point-of-view with a neutral message appended is a way to get free of bigoted messages. And while I have used “Obama” as a shorthand way to refer to the president (I did the same with all presidents), you are correct that “President Obama” is more respectful. Still, I wonder if we’re not being a tad too prissy by always being sure to include the office a president holds. I find myself feeling uncomfortable with this dotting the “i” and crossing the “t” by always enforcing respect. Maybe it’s just shorthand. Context is the determinant.

      1. Linda

        Right, I don’t advocate never saying “Obama” just that it seems with this President his title seems to be used a good deal less by politicians and the media.

        1. Don Bay

          I won’t disagree with you on this.

  5. Dave Meyers

    I get your point Don….BUT, any truncation by the haters is a subtle way of affording a duly elected president less than full acknowledgement. In the same way that the term Obama Care is used to focus on the negative sides of the Affordable Care Act, so is the use of Mr. Obama’s full name when trying to question him as an outsider, not-from-around-here, foreign-born, illegitimate President. Nothing like the use of ‘Hussein’ to through a bit of gas on the fire for some.
    So, simply ‘Obama’ without title as full reference is a subtle dig.
    My hands are not clean here. I will fully admit to using BUSCH as a negative term. But, I never questioned his legitimacy.

    1. Linda

      I agree. I think the President was clever in embracing “Obama Care” as a nickname for the Affordable Care Act to try to dismiss it as a negative reference and turn it around as something positive….something he liked having his name attached to but I don’t know that it worked.

      1. Don Bay

        According to what I read, it has worked: “Obamacare” has turned out to be a positive for the president.

        1. Linda

          Good to know!

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