September 15, 2009

The evidence for teabagger racism

In Decoding the Teabagger Code, I explained the racist "thinking" behind the recent conservative protests. Now here's a small sample of the evidence that teabaggers are racist.

Before the rally

Teabagger Mark Williams says: 'Obama is an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief' and tries to defend it!COOPER:  Do you believe he's Indonesian? Do you believe he's a Muslim? Do you really believe he's a welfare thug?

WILLIAMS:  He's certainly acting like it.

GERGEN:  You think he's a racist in chief? Racist in chief? Is that what you called him? That's unbelievable. It's unbelievable,

WILLIAMS:  Until he embraces the whole country--what else can I conclude? He and guys like James are totally, totally isolating the rest of this country; if you're a working-class American, then you know, that's it.
The Rotting Racist Underbelly of the Tea Party ProtestsHere’s an example of some of the subtle language the Tea Party people are using to describe their own movement (emphasis mine) from the Michelle Malkin blog, a central hive for the poorly informed, wild-eyed, bigoted, Fox News/wingnut blog-driven lynch, ahem I mean Tea Partiers:

In late February, I attended a tea party in Lansing, Michigan, and will be there again next Wednesday. While there, I spoke with several people, and, while everybody attended for the same “big picture” reason, many had their own reason to be there.

For some it was wildly excessive and confusing tax laws. Others were there out of concern for their children and grandchildren. Some were there because they’re maddened that the same glorious policies that have made Detroit look like Bangladesh after a garbage haulers strike are being introduced on a national level, a few were upset because the same people who created these massive problems are charged with fixing them, others don’t want their country sold out to some global entity, and one man I saw had a sign that said “‘Government job’ is a contradiction in terms.” Many were there for the reason of “all of the above.”

There’s real racist animus here: check out the video above of Tea Party nuts convinced that Barack Obama can’t be president because he faked his birth certificate and is actually Kenyan by birth. My God—do you know what that means? It means a black man is illegally president! Because it’s just not possible for a black man to be president unless something has gone horribly wrong with the system! Citizens, act now and get to your local Tea Party!!!
Obama's big silence: the race question

Has the president turned his back on black America?

By Naomi KleinTwo weeks after the close of the Durban Review Conference, Rush Limbaugh sprang a new theory on his estimated 14 million listeners. Obama, Limbaugh claimed, was deliberately trashing the economy so he could give more handouts to black people. "The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. The objective is to take the nation's wealth and return it to the nation's 'rightful owners'. Think reparations. Think forced reparations here, if you want to understand what actually is going on."

It was nonsense, of course, but the outburst was instructive. No matter how race-neutral Obama tries to be, his actions will be viewed by a large part of the country through the lens of its racial obsessions.
And:Americans began the summer still celebrating the dawn of a "post-racial" era. They are ending it under no such illusion. The summer of 2009 was all about race, beginning with Republican claims that Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama's nominee to the US Supreme Court, was "racist" against whites. Then, just as that scandal was dying down, up popped "the Gates controversy," the furore over the president's response to the arrest of African American academic Henry Louis Gates Jr in his own home. Obama's remark that the police had acted "stupidly" was evidence, according to massively popular Fox News host Glenn Beck, that the president "has a deep-seated hatred for white people."

Obama's supposed racism gave a jolt of energy to the fringe movement that claims he has been carrying out a lifelong conspiracy to cover up his (fictional) African birth. Then Fox News gleefully discovered Van Jones, White House special adviser on green jobs. After weeks of being denounced as "a black nationalist who is also an avowed communist," Jones resigned last Sunday.

The undercurrent of all these attacks was that Obama, far from being the colour-blind moderate he posed as during the presidential campaign, is actually obsessed with race, in particular with redistributing white wealth into the hands of African Americans and undocumented Mexican workers. At town hall meetings across the US in August, these bizarre claims coalesced into something resembling an uprising to "take our country back". Henry D Rose, chair of Blacks For Social Justice, recently compared the overwhelmingly white, often armed, anti-Obama crowds to the campaign of "massive resistance" launched in the late 50s--a last-ditch attempt by white southerners to block the racial integration of their schools and protect other Jim Crow laws. Today's "new era of 'massive resistance'," writes Rose, "is also a white racial project."

There is at least one significant difference, however. In the late 50s and early 60s, angry white mobs were reacting to life-changing victories won by the civil rights movement. Today's mobs, on the other hand, are reacting to the symbolic victory of an African American winning the presidency. Yet they are rising up at a time when non-elite blacks and Latinos are losing significant ground, with their homes and jobs slipping away from them at a much higher rate than from whites. So far, Obama has been unwilling to adopt policies specifically geared towards closing this ever-widening divide. The result may well leave minorities with the worst of all worlds: the pain of a full-scale racist backlash without the benefits of policies that alleviate daily hardships.
The Recession’s Racial Divide

By Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick MuhammadWHAT do you get when you combine the worst economic downturn since the Depression with the first black president? A surge of white racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt. An article on the Fox News Web site has put forth the theory that health reform is a stealth version of reparations for slavery: whites will foot the bill and, by some undisclosed mechanism, blacks will get all the care. President Obama, in such fantasies, is a dictator and, in one image circulated among the anti-tax, anti-health reform “tea parties,” he is depicted as a befeathered African witch doctor with little tusks coming out of his nostrils. When you’re going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it’s all too easy to imagine that it’s because someone else is climbing up over your back.

Despite the sense of white grievance, though, blacks are the ones who are taking the brunt of the recession, with disproportionately high levels of foreclosures and unemployment. And they weren’t doing so well to begin with. At the start of the recession, 33 percent of the black middle class was already in danger of falling to a lower economic level, according to a study by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University and Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.
Note that Fox News is the primary source of information for teabaggers. For them, a Fox News article is like a New York Times article for educated people.

Uninsured like me

Diversity is healthcare reform's worst enemy. White America has never liked social insurance for people of color

By Michael Lind
Racial resentments undoubtedly explain the use of "redistribution" and "socialism" as code words by John McCain, Sarah Palin and Republican working-class mascot "Joe the Plumber" during the 2008 presidential campaign. Similar themes have surfaced during the healthcare debate. Among the many popular fears that conservative opponents of healthcare reform play upon is the anxiety that elderly working Americans will have their Medicare benefits cut, or might even be encouraged to volunteer for euthanasia, to subsidize healthcare for the country's 12 million or so permanently resident illegal immigrants: "Kill Grandma to pay for Pedro."

The stereotype of the welfare-dependent Latino illegal immigrant appears to have replaced the black inner-city welfare recipient as the "other" in the imagination of many Americans suspicious of further expansion of the federal social insurance system. This explains Rep. Wilson's outburst that President Obama had to be lying when he said that illegal immigrants would not benefit from healthcare reform.
The Scourge Persists

By Bob HerbertMore than three decades later we have Sherri Goforth, an aide to a Republican state senator in Tennessee sending out a mass e-mail of a cartoon showing dignified portraits of the first 43 presidents, and then representing the 44th—President Obama—as a spook, a cartoonish pair of white eyes against a black background.

When a gorilla escaped from a zoo in Columbia, S.C., a longtime Republican activist, Rusty DePass, described it on his Facebook page as one of Michelle Obama’s ancestors.

These are bits and pieces of an increasingly unrestrained manifestation of racism directed toward Mr. Obama that is being fed by hate-mongers on talk radio and is widely tolerated, if not encouraged, by Republican Party leaders. It’s disgusting, and it’s dangerous. But it’s the same old filthy racism that has been there all along and that has been exploited by the G.O.P. since the 1960s.

I have no patience with those who want to pretend that racism is not an out-and-out big deal in the United States, as it always has been. We may have made progress, and we may have a black president, but the scourge is still with us. And if you needed Jimmy Carter to remind you of that, then you’ve been wandering around with your eyes closed.
On radio show, Beck read "ad" for refinery that turns Mexicans into fuel; posted it on websiteOn the June 28 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck commented on a mock ad--produced by subscribers to his website known as "Insiders"--depicting a "giant refinery" that produces "Mexinol," which, according to the ad, is a fuel made from the bodies of illegal immigrants from Mexico.During the rally

Rapping Joe’s Knuckles

By Maureen Dowd[Joe Wilson] was regarded as a hero at the anti-Obama rally in Washington last weekend that featured such classy placards as, with a picture of a lion, “The Zoo has an African and the White House has a Lyin’ African”; “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy”; “We came unarmed (this time)” and “‘Cap’ Congress and ‘Trade’ Obama back to Kenya!Forget Obama and David Brooks--Because It Is About Race

By David Corn[A]t the 9/12 rally in Washington, my colleague Stephanie Mencimer heard protesters yelling, "Obama's on crack" and "String him up." Would they be saying that about a president who was white? Maybe. But I have my doubts. The color of Obama's skin does seem to get under the skin of some of his detractors.

But even if race is not the overriding issue--as Brooks and Obama appear to agree--Obama hatred is not about heroic small-town Americans rebelling against detached elites. (George W. Bush had impeccable elitist credentials, and he didn't draw this sort of ire.) This is about a clash between two visions of America that has been underway since the 1960s. One is the culturally conservative view of a country made up mainly of traditional families--Christian and white--accepting of traditional values and the perspective of the United States as the center of the universe.

The other is a more secular, dynamic and tolerant society composed of different groups that is part of a changing world with shifting balances of power. At John McCain and Sarah Palin rallies last year, I encountered voters who seemed to believe that their way of life--or view of reality--was threatened by Obama. He's a communist, some said--hurling a loaded term that has been used to demonize people for decades. Obama, they feared, was going to rock their world and deliver America into the hands of its--meaning, their--enemies.

Race is not absent from this face-off. The president is always a symbol of the nation, a representation of the country's self-identity. As a biracial (self-identified black) man from a non-traditional, multinational family, Obama sure represents a changing America. The effort to delegitimize him (beyond just opposing him and his policies) does seem connected to his--shall we say--heritage. Quite literally. Ask the birthers.
"Diversity Is A Disease"

What the 9/12 project is all about.

By Timothy Noah
Driving near the Mall today as Beck's 9/12 protesters milled about, I began to grasp this message when I saw one handwritten sign that said, "Obama: More Dangerous Than Al-Qaida." I finally understood when I saw another handwritten sign that said, "Diversity Is A Disease." Riddle solved. The 9/12-ers are white separatists.Obama as witch doctor:  Racist or satirical?Posters portraying President Obama as a witch doctor may be racist, organizers of Tea Party protests say, but they reflect anger about where he is leading the country.

The posters, showing Obama wearing a feather headdress and a bone through his nose, have recently popped up in e-mails, on Web sites and at Tea Party protests.
There you go. The teabaggers practically admit they're racists, but say they don't care. They aren't denouncing the witch doctor image, they're sharing and spreading it throughout their network. The inescapable conclusion is that teabaggers are just as racist as we think they are.

10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs (PHOTOS)

After the rally

New Jersey Poll:  Birthers, Truthers, And The Anti-Christ--Oh, My!

Eric KleefeldDave Weigel points out that one out of every three New Jersey conservatives think that Obama could be the anti-Christ. To be precise, 18% of self-identified conservatives affirmatively say that Obama is the anti-Christ, with 17% not sure. Among the self-identified Republican label, it's 14% who say Obama has the number 666 hidden underneath his hair, plus 15% who aren't sure.Rush Limbaugh hits racial bottom, digs[N]ow we have Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for black kids beating up a white kid on a school bus. This is what happens in "Obama's America," he said today on his radio show.

How low will these people go? Look, I think it's important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don't think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He's plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?
Limbaugh:  We need segregated busesReferring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses—it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”

Limbaugh also suggested that racism itself was acceptable.

“If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable?” the talk show host asked. “I’m sorry—I mean, this is the way my mind works. But apparently now we don’t choose racism, we just are racists. We are born that way. We don’t choose it. So shouldn’t it be acceptable, excuse—this is according to the way the left thinks about things.”
So the leading voice in the Republican Party spouts pure racism. Do other Republicans denounce him because they're disgusted? Do his listeners turn off the radio because they're disgusted? No. Republicans continue to give Limbaugh their love because he's saying what they're thinking: Minorities are taking over the country.

Does Glenn Beck support the slave trade or is he just an "idiot"?In a chapter in his new book purporting to explain to "idiots" what "our Founding Fathers really intended," Glenn Beck praises an obsolete provision of the U.S. Constitution that prohibited Congress from outlawing the slave trade before 1808 and capped taxes on the slave trade at $10 per slave.

Provision Beck praised actually "barred Congress from ending the international slave trade before 1808."

"$10 per person" provision Beck praised incentivized slave trade.

Constitutional Convention delegate recognized that "$10 per person" provision protected slave trade.
Beck attacks 14th Amendment, complete with picture of man, baby in sombreros

Logical evidence

List of U.S. executive branch czars

Conservative "thinking" in action: Bush appoints the most czars in US history. Conservatives don't utter a peep. Obama appoints almost as many czars. Conservatives erupt in fury, accusing Obama of socialism, fascism, and Nazism.

No rational belief, such as a dislike of liberalism, justifies this dichotomy. As far as I'm concerned, it's more evidence of the right's hatred of Obama. Obama the neo-Stalinist evildoer = pure racism.

Quote of the day:Nothing illustrates right-wing ideological madness in the United States better than calls from some to "keep the government out of my Medicare!"In other words, this isn't a policy disagreement about means and ends. It's an irrational, paranoid attack on a figment of the conservatives' imagination. These people are seeing a boogeyman under the bed and his skin happens to be dark.

Expert testimony

Carter:  Race plays role in Obama dislike"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that share the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans."

Carter continued, "And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."
Unfortunately, Carter's opinion doesn't carry any weight with the teabaggers. He's only a Nobel Prize winner, not a talk-radio host.

Note:  Yes, conservatives--as well as liberals--have genuine doubts about government-run programs and large budget deficits. There's a legitimate core to their protests. But most of the over-the-top, exaggerated, or just plain false claims aren't based on anything rational. They're based on fear and loathing of the "other": blacks, immigrants, Muslims, gays, and anyone else who isn't a white Christian American.

For more on the subject, see:

Birthers = "scared white people"
Limbaugh:  Indians = "redskins," "clowns"
Conservatives' pro-white agenda
Teabaggers support racist imagery
Last gasps of the Class of '94
Racist "jokes" are no jokes
Buchanan:  US "built by white folks"
Palin's "real America" vs. America
Right-wing racism against Obama
Right-wingers foment hate
Sotomayor practices "tribal justice"?
Sotomayor favors "reconquista"?
Teabaggers misuse Indian imagery
Irish cry over White House access
Hate abounds in "post-racial" America