In her new book, the former Alaska governor questions the patriotism of African Americans who point out the country's imperfections.
By David Kaufman
Palin clearly thinks not. In fact, on Planet Palin, racism essentially does not exist but is merely a misanthropic by-product of African Americans' refusal to shut up, toughen up and truly become American patriots. This question of patriotism versus racism has been tackled by both white and black leaders since before the Civil War.
Back then, Frederick Douglass rightfully asked, "What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?" during his legendary Independence Day speech of 1852. More than 150 years later, Douglass' desire to rectify the triumphs of American history with the tragedies of African-American history still resonate for many descendants of his enslaved brethren.
Yet in the prose of Palin, any race-based frustration expressed by African Americans is proof positive of dubious patriotism and questionable allegiance. Racism is a ploy, a canard, a smoke screen by "opponents of this new American awakening" to impede intellectual debate and castigate conservatives as "evil … [and] just bad people."
The real "bad people," however, are Palin's anti-patriots, such as First Lady Michelle Obama, whose now infamous 2008 quote, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country," is resurrected yet again in America by Heart. This is Palin's "Gotcha!" moment, confirmation that the Obamas "think America--at least America as it currently exists--is a fundamentally unjust and unequal country."
I suspect that this thought may have crossed the minds of both Obamas--much as it has millions of Americans of every color, every day. Indeed, at a time when increasing poverty on Main Street contrasts with stratospheric salaries on Wall Street, how could it not? And why not?
Demanding justice by refuting the status quo has been a hallmark of American politics ever since those original Tea Partiers were polluting Boston Harbor. Acknowledging fundamental injustices and inequalities has been the first step in every American civil rights movement--from ending slavery and enshrining women's suffrage to establishing worker-protection laws, as well as current efforts to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell."
This is a continuation of Palin's attempt to paint white voters as "real Americans" and minority voters as something else. With rhetoric like that going unchallenged by other Republicans, it's no wonder so many conservatives think Obama is a Kenyan and a Muslim. They believe Palin because she's one of them; they don't know or care that she's a liar.
For more on the asinine claim that racism no longer exists, see Talking About Race Perpetuates Racism?, White Conservatives "Angry About Racism," and Mentioning Race = Dwelling on Past?
For more on Palin's attempts to marginalize minorities, see Palin's "Real America" vs. America and "Real America" = White? For other conservative attempts to marginalize minorities, see:
Obama smeared as Luo tribesman
Beck: God ordered Indians killed
Ron Hart is a racist
Sherrod incident shows conservative tactics
Tea Party leader posts racist "satire"
New Hampshire Republican = racist
Didier: Stop protecting the weak
Arizona's laws = manifest insanity
Rand Paul's pro-racist libertarianism