October 17, 2008

John McWhorter worries about the way, if Obama loses, black people will (wrongly) say it was racism.

In this TNR piece:
Even now, the idea that white swing voters might pass on him because of his positions or campaign performance is considered a peculiar notion, likely from someone unhip to the gospel that America remains all about racism despite Colin Powell and Oprah. The money question is considered to be why our Great Black Hope isn't polling tens of points ahead of John McCain and his discredited party. But Obama has been a sure shot only with Blue America college-town sorts, animated not only by Obama's intellect, but also by his "diverseness" and its symbolic import for showing that our nasty past is truly past....

The Wisconsin chairman of the Republican Party notes, then, that for lunch pail whites, "I don't think race is an issue at all. A bigger problem is that Barack Obama has a sort of show pony style. The speeches and the classic double speak and being a great orator, that kind of thing doesn't play well in Wisconsin." That is, there are plenty of non-racist whites who need a candidate to show them something more than I.Q. and a poignant multicultural provenance. In not finding Obama's dreams of his father worthy of a vote, they are evaluating him as Dr. King would have counseled.

These are transitional times. In a recent Bloggingheads dialogue, Ta-Nehisi Coates admitted to me that Iowa had forced him to "reassess" his pessimism as to how far America has come on race.
He means this:



Continuing the TNR piece:
If Obama loses, people like Coates will desist in their reassessments, and settle back into their cognitive comfort zone. Whites will cheer on the sidelines: Nothing would establish a Good White Person's bona fides on the race thing more than assenting that the racism "out there" is "still around" and has vanquished the audacity of hope.

The grievous result of this fetishization of racism would be that it would put a kibosh on the upsurge in black voters' political engagement amidst the Obamenon.
(Don't you just hate it when fetishization puts the kibosh on an upsurge? Note: McWhorter is a linguist.)
Newspaper articles would quote blacks disillusioned from getting excited about any future black candidate--e.g. "I thought maybe America was finally getting past racism but it turned out not to be true." 2009 would be a year of countless panel discussions, quickie books, and celebrated rap couplets wallowing in the notion that the white man wouldn't let Obama into the Oval Office where he belonged, urgently reminding us that to be black is still to be a victim.

Promising black politicians like Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Adrian Fenty, and Harold Ford would find it harder than Obama did to attract support for presidential runs: No matter how stirring their speeches, the good word would be, "Look what happened to Obama!" And for years to come, professors would teach the 2008 election as a lesson about racism rather than about a heartening near-victory that no one could have imagined as recently as 15 years ago.
A true vision?

Weird analogy: If Obama loses, you can say it was racism the way you can say "pneumonia is often what kills AIDS patients."
No one would claim that this means that pneumonia... is a grievously urgent medical crisis in America. Yet black America's shorthand consensus will be founded upon just such a logical fallacy: that "Obama lost because America remains a deeply racist country."
McWhorter asks: "Why would such an athletically pessimistic conclusion be so attractive to black people?"

87 comments:

Simon said...

"Promising black politicians ... would find it harder than Obama did to attract support for presidential runs: No matter how stirring their speeches, the good word would be, 'Look what happened to Obama!'"

And if the press and the left are allowed to get away with their shockingly misogynist campaign of violent, personal destruction against Sarah Palin, which is precisely what an Obama victory will mean, will promising female politicians who don't toe the liberal orthodoxy find it harder to attract support for presidential runs, even assuming any can be found who want to subject themselves to similar treatment? "Look what happened to Sarah!"

There are a lot of good reasons to vote for Barack Obama. Fretting that "oh, people might worry that we haven't expurged racism fully if he loses" isn't one of them. To borrow from Lennon, Racism is over if you want it. It's noticable that virtually all of the racist rhetoric this campaign season has come from the left - from the Obama campaign, from the press (but I repeat myself), from John Lewis, who has irrecovably stained his reputation, and (if you believe the insufferably silly idea that talking about Jerry Wright is "racism") from the Clinton campaign.

Expat(ish) said...

Funny in-quote there: The money question is considered to be why our Great Black Hope isn't polling tens of points ahead of John McCain and his discredited party.

BHO has, aside from illegal donations (cough) has, I believe, raised and spent more money than Kerry/Bush combines in the last cycle.

McCain has been the first real president to have only public financing in, well, ever.

So it's not a *money* question.

-XC

Kirby Olson said...

This bit from the Howard Stern show reveals another perspective:

Listen to this . A man in New York went into Harlem and interviewed several Black people about why they would vote for Obama. You won't believe what they said. (Or maybe you will.) It takes a few seconds to load, but it's worth it.



http://www.bpmdeejays.com/upload/hs_sal_in_Harlem_100108.mp3

bleeper said...

Much ado about nothing. The One will win, the world will instantly be at Peace. End of story. Unless you work for a living, in which case, you need to hire a lawyer.

Beldar said...

I don't buy the pneumonia analogy at all.

If your immune system is compromised by HIV/AIDS, but the infection which actually kills you is pneumonia, then both diseases are "proximate causes" in the tort sense. That is, both are "but-for" causes, but they're also foreseeable and direct causes in a natural and continuous sequence.

If Obama loses, racism will only be a but-for cause as to some small -- probably single-digit -- percentage of votes in a few states. And that number must be offset against the additional votes for Obama cast by whites in an attempt to expiate society's racist past (which I contend are also racist votes, even though well-intentioned and pro-Obama ones) and the votes cast for Obama by blacks whose primary motivation is that he's black too (again, these are racist votes). No one will ever be able to do more than guess as to how this netted out.

If Obama loses, the proximate cause will be his failure to obtain a majority of votes from the electoral college, period. There may be dozens, even hundreds, of other contributing and incidental causes, but I reject the notion that racism would be more than just another one of those.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Interesting that it seems only "white" people can be racists according to Coates. Voting FOR Obama because he is black is just as racist as voting against him because he is black. I'm voting against him because I don't like his policies and it has nothing to do with his color.

McWhorter is attempting to look at all sides of the situation and aknowledges that perhaps Obama's skin color could have had a positive effect as well as a negative.

I like the background with all of the books that both guys have in their rooms. It would be interesting to see what they have been reading and what they value so much so that they keep the books handily on display.

MarkW said...

But won't black people have exactly the same reaction, just a bit delayed, if he wins but then turns out not to be a popular president and loses his re-election bid?

Can't we expect the race card to be played over and over by Obama supporters after the election as a way to deflect political criticism?

Murph said...

So, let me see if I get this right - as a white person if I vote for Obama I'm ok; if I vote for McCain I'm a racist.

That makes everything so much easier.

rhhardin said...

"Why would such an athletically pessimistic conclusion be so attractive to black people?"

Nothing works for blacks because being human has not been tried.

garage mahal said...

It's noticable that virtually all of the racist rhetoric this campaign season has come from the left - from the Obama campaign,

Really? Have any handy examples of racism coming from the Obama campaign? I don't think McCain is running a racist campaign [childish for sure], and I don't think liberals are hyperventilating from the few examples like the Obama Food Stamps with fried chicken and watermelon on them from the GOP in Cali. So what's the big deal? The most nauseating charges of "racism" are the constant "we're all racists if he loses!" or "I'm a racist because I'm not voting for him". So dumb.

William said...

Rudy Giuliani was a better mayor than David Dinkins. Blacks are unwilling to study why or, for that matter, even admit to Giuliani's success as a mayor....I understand that whites have elected any number of crooks and incompetents to high office but, as a general rule, they do not get re-elected with a wider margin of victory.

Simon said...

Beldar's comment that "racism will only be a but-for cause as to some small -- probably single-digit -- percentage of votes in a few states" reminds me of a conversation I had recently. Maybe I've recounted this here before, so apologies to the regulars.

Would we say that antisemitism cost Al Gore the 2000 election, and that this proves we're an anti-semitic nation? The idea seems laughable, inconveivable, even. But consider that the 2000 election came to rest on Florida's electors, and Florida's electors came to rest on 537 votes. In 2000, Florida had 12,336,038 persons over the age of 18, 8,282,141 of whom were registered voters and 3,659,294 of whom were registered as Democrats. Is it totally beyond the realm of possibility, is it truly inconceivable, laughable, even, that in the State of Florida, of those 8,282,141, there could have been 269 people - 0.0032% - who would have voted for Al Gore but for his selection of a Jewish running mate? And before you answer (regulars here will know what I mean when I ask this), answer this: do you know which state Cedarford lives in?

I don't think any rational person would bet their life on that proposition. And if that's so, we simply cannot rule out the possibility that antisemitism cost Al Gore the 2000 election. We couldn't rule that out even if those 269 voters were the only voters in the country who cast a vote on the basis of a Jewish running mate. Ultimately, a tiny, tiny number of otherwise insignificant people can have an absolutely enormous impact on an election if they're in the right place.

It's the same thing with race in this election. There are some people in this country who aren't going to vote for a black man, and some of them are going to show up to vote. Now, the truth - the truth that the Obama campaign is going to try to suppress - is that the number of people for whom that is true is tiny - maybe there's a few hundred, a few thousand, tops. But if this election comes to turn on McCain winning a narrow margin in some states - particularly if they're southern states - it will be impossible to truly and accurately say that there is no way that racism cost Obama the election. And the Democrats will blow that harp until the country next elects a liberal President, claiming - totally fraudulently - that it proves we're a racist nation.

Pogo said...

As a white male prejudged to be racist, why should I give a shit about this stuff? Any answer, agreement, rejection, or neutrality equals racism by me.

So my answer is 'go to hell'. I officially no longer care.

Simon said...

garage mahal said...
"Really? Have any handy examples of racism coming from the Obama campaign?"

Sure: his Philadephia speech, for example, where he scheduled a speech to explain his affiliation with Jeremiah Wright and instead scolded America for being insufficiently culturally sensitive. It wasn't that he had anything to explain, he explained, it was that white America just didn't understand.

Or the claims that Bill Clinton had played the race card (he hadn't) that Hillary Clinton was playing the race card (she wasn't) and that the McCain campaign is going to play the race card (he hasn't and isn't).

And those are just the two that spring instantly to mind. It wouldn't take a great deal of research or dredging of the memory to recall the dozens of incidents that dimly suggest themselves.

jdeeripper said...

Ann Coulter has an excellent article now on polling bias in Presidential elections.

Named after Tom Bradley, who lost his election for California governor in 1982 despite a substantial lead in the polls, the Bradley effect says that black candidates will poll much stronger than the actual election results.

First of all, if true, this is the opposite of racism: It is fear of being accused of racism. For most Americans, there is nothing more terrifying than the prospect of being called a racist. It's scarier than flood or famine, terrorist attacks or flesh-eating bacteria. To some, it's even scarier than "food insecurity."


I would like to hear John Zogby's and Scott Rassmussen's explanation for the following:

In addition to the social pressure to constantly prove you're not a racist, apparently there is massive social pressure to prove you're not a Republican. No one is lying about voting for McCain just to sound cool.

Reviewing the polls printed in The New York Times and The Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for the Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter narrowly beat Gerald Ford 50.1 percent to 48 percent. And yet, on Sept. 1, Carter led Ford by 15 points. Just weeks before the election, on Oct. 16, 1976, Carter led Ford in the Gallup Poll by 6 percentage points -- down from his 33-point Gallup Poll lead in August.

Reading newspaper coverage of presidential elections in 1980 and 1984, I found myself paralyzed by the fear that Reagan was going to lose.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan beat Carter by nearly 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. In a Gallup Poll released days before the election on Oct. 27, it was Carter who led Reagan 45 percent to 42 percent.

In 1984, Reagan walloped Walter Mondale 58.8 percent to 40 percent, -- the largest electoral landslide in U.S. history. But on Oct. 15, The New York Daily News published a poll showing Mondale with only a 4-point deficit to Reagan, 45 percent to 41 percent. A Harris Poll about the same time showed Reagan with only a 9-point lead. The Oct. 19 New York Times/CBS News Poll had Mr. Reagan ahead of Mondale by 13 points. All these polls underestimated Reagan's actual margin of victory by 6 to 15 points.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis by a whopping 53.4 percent to 45.6 percent. A New York Times/CBS News Poll on Oct. 5 had Bush leading the Greek homunculus by a statistically insignificant 2 points -- 45 percent to 43 percent. (For the kids out there: Before it became a clearinghouse for anti-Bush conspiracy theories, CBS News was considered a credible journalistic entity.)


If McCain beats Obama it would seem to be following a pattern than has nothing to do with Obama's race.

Not that the MSM would dare talk about that.

Simon said...

MarkW said...
"Can't we expect the race card to be played over and over by Obama supporters after the election as a way to deflect political criticism?"

Of course. I don't understand these people who aren't liberals who say they're voting for Obama based on a prediction that President Obama will do things that Senator Obama has never shown any inclination to do and behave in ways completely contrary to how he has behaved thusfar.

One can't help but think that Italian politics make much more sense. If this was Italy, McCain wouldn't have said "if you wanted to run against Bush, you should have run four years ago," he'd have gone over to Obama, boffed him on the nose, and said "and there's another of those coming to you if you don't stop calling me Bush 3."

oldirishpig said...

The only advantage I personally would find in an Obama Presidency is that the race card would be permanently removed from the deck. I'm not saying that the losers won't try to keep playing it, but my response would now be "Black guy, White House, f@#k off."

Simon said...

By the way, Garage, I know you didn't ask for an example of media charges of racism, but consider the Time magazine cover last week. They ran a headline to the effect that the economy now trumped race in the election. Now think about the assumption necessary for that statement to make any sense: it's a charge that before the economic crisis swooped in, race was the primary issue in the election, and that there are voters who were going to vote against Obama because of race who are now voting for him because they might not like voting for a black man but they feel they have no choice. And this is Time magazine! They had already dishonored themselves this season, so I guess they figured they should go for broke.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As a white male prejudged to be racist, why should I give a shit about this stuff? Any answer, agreement, rejection, or neutrality equals racism by me.

So my answer is 'go to hell'. I officially no longer care.


Ditto.

Roost on the Moon said...

Such refreshing and unpredictable comments! Creative! Way better than Bloggingheads!

Must be an Althouse joint.

I too, am part of the oppressed white majority. A cracker-ass cracker, if you will.

I'm going to get accused of racism no matter what I do! Do you know what that makes me think? All discussions of race are bullshit. Democrats are the real racists. Black people are the real racists. You know who's the real racists? The MSM.

It's a real breath of fresh air, up in here.

yashu said...

If this comes to pass, I would lay a great deal of responsibility on the Obama campaign itself-- for recklessly, cynically, irresponsibly playing the race card so hard, repeatedly sending the message, through Dem spokesmen & the media (starting many many weeks ago, long before McCain or Palin had done anything supposedly "racist") that racism was to be the ultimate explanation for any political critique, opposition, or expression of opposition to Obama. They have themselves constructed & now established the "conventional wisdom" that to vote against Obama is, in & of itself, racist-- i.e. votes against Obama are to be explained by racism (cf. Murtha).

I really find this aspect of Obama's campaign unforgivable-- for the lasting damage it potentially does to race relations, black people's political involvement, etc. It was in his power, and his alone, to frame the election differently-- so I do blame him. If he loses, it's to be expected this is what many people will conclude. His campaign has hammered this meme into "fact". It is what every newspaper, here & internationally, will conclude. And again, this may have been at least in part avoidable-- but it was only in Obama's hands to do so, i.e. to reject (or at least not exploit!) racism as *the* explanation of an electoral outcome in which he loses.

(In a way the MSM is just as responsible, but throughout they've just been following the Obama campaign's lead-- those are the talking-points/ memes they've adopted & promulgated as their own.)

When you last raised this issue, some weeks ago (your concern re what black people will think if he loses), my response was very different-- guardedly optimistic, or at least not pessimistic, no matter who wins/loses. I still highly doubt there will be anything like rioting etc. (of any consequence). But I've been very disappointed, indeed disgusted, by the rhetorical (ab)use of "racism" I've seen since.

junyo said...

But won't black people have exactly the same reaction, just a bit delayed, if he wins but then turns out not to be a popular president and loses his re-election bid?

Actually I think that would be worse. It's one thing to speculate about the inadequacies of an Obama administration, it's another to have proof. If Obama loses lots of people will spin elaborate tales about how good he would have been and how he was setup by racist America (and in your heart of hearts you all know that there's a kernal of truth there, maybe not you but there are some people that won't vote for a black guy, the same as there are people that wouldn't vote for a Mormon, a Catholic, a woman, or a white guy for that matter). But if he wins and is just a crappy President then one can pretty much guarantee that there will be a Hispanic president before another black guy gets a shot, because Obama's poor performance in the big chair will silently be rammed up the asses of black politicians everywhere, "we let one win and this is what happens".

The thing about racism is it's a question of mistrust. You don't trust the other's motives or intents and assume the worst. An action may be ambiguous, or malicious, but devoid of racial content... but you never really know do you? Did you get passed over for that promotion because Jameson worked harder than you, because he played golf every weekend with the partners, or because there's never going to be a minority in senior management at that company? If you don't trust the other guy, human nature assumes the worst. One side's distrust leads to an incident which leads to mutual distrust. And once primed, the cycle will pretty much feed itself. The "race card" is played by blacks and assumed by whites in equal measure.

Pogo said...

Roost, I ain't oppressed, and I ain't claiming to be.

I'm simply aready judged guilty of being a racist, no matter what I say or what I do.

Sentence first, trial later.

So tell me, are the musings about how racist I'm going to seem supposed to have some sort of effect on me?
Like what?
That I'm racist or really really double plus racist?
I give up. I simply don't give a shit about the issue anymore.

I might as well become what people call me, no? I mean, you are doing it right now.

What motivation do I have to behave colorblind like I always have, since I am by definition racist?
Heads I lose, Tails I lose.

jdeeripper said...

Weird analogy: If Obama loses, you can say it was racism the way you can say "pneumonia is often what kills AIDS patients."...

Yet black America's shorthand consensus will be founded upon just such a logical fallacy: that "Obama lost because America remains a deeply racist country."McWhorter asks: "Why would such an athletically pessimistic conclusion be so attractive to black people?"


A 1995 survey of about 1,000 black church members found 35 percent believed the AIDS conspiracy theory and another 30 percent would not rule it out.

A 1999 random door-to-door survey of African Americans in California found that 27% of African Americans endorsed the belief that “HIV/AIDS is a man-made virus that the federal government made to kill and wipe out black people”, and a further 23% were unsure.

It wasn't any better in 2005. Study: Many Blacks Cite AIDS Conspiracy

Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan aren't the only black folks with a racist hatred for White people.

But maybe if the Good White people of America can get Obama elected we.........never mind.

Roost on the Moon said...

Pogo, who has put you on trial? The MSM? What do you care?

This article by McWhorter isn't about racist white people.

And yet the second the word comes up, you become the victim.

SteveR said...

There can be no doubt about which campaign has played the race card in this election and will continue to play it, win or lose. So if we are to evaluate the "change and hope" claim of Senator Obama, he is off to a very bad start.

Brings up the question of judgement, in the desire to win and in fear of losing, he throws people like Bill Clinton, under the bus. Its easy to dismiss the rantings of professional race baiters, but if you are looking for a different political approach from Obama, you need to start accepting it will be just a variation of the "if your against x you're not a patriot" angle. If you're against him you must be a racist.

TMink said...

"fetishization of racism."

What a wonderful phrase. There is also a fetishization of abortion rights on the left. You can tell, because if you try to disagree with someone who has the fetishization problem, they lose their ability to think and just react in angry attacks.

Racists, real racists call Senator Obama a nigger every time they can. They are racists and bad that way. That kind of racism is more rare every day and good riddance.

But the fetishization of racism has led blacks to be less positive about America today than their grandparents were in the 50s! That is fetishization to the point of cultural insanity.

Trey

Lisa said...

The media, Obama's campaign and its supporters have been inciting violence against women all year.

Barely a peep from anyone.

junyo said...

What motivation do I have to behave colorblind like I always have, since I am by definition racist?
Heads I lose, Tails I lose.


I would imagine that a black moderate reading this could say pretty much the same thing.

Racists, real racists call Senator Obama a nigger every time they can. They are racists and bad that way. That kind of racism is more rare every day and good riddance.

That's an extremely limited scope for racism. Does that mean a black person that doesn't call every white person they see "cracker" isn't a racist? If your action toward someone are motivated by their race (or your perception of their race) then it is, by definition racist. If you're not voting for Obama because you believe his policies are bad, then it's not racist. It your not voting for Obama because you're angry at uppity blacks, then it is.

Pogo said...

Roost said:
"This article by McWhorter isn't about racist white people."

Are we reading the same article? The one that says this?

"Even now, the idea that white swing voters might pass on him because of his positions or campaign performance is considered a peculiar notion,"
and this:
"there are plenty of non-racist whites"

Well, maybe strictly speaking the article isn't about racist white people, I guess, it just assumes it. Which is my point.

"Pogo, who has put you on trial? The MSM? What do you care?"
You must not get around much. Try any little 'diversity training class' in business.
All white males are racist and sexist (and abusers) by definition. There was no trial, just the sentence after being pronounced guilty.

So tell me my motivation to behave otherwise, since even this article assumes my racism.

And I don't care about racism anymore. Do not give a shit. That's what I'm saying. The topic as a whole is dead.

Simon said...

Could I interject - since one person has used it and someone else quoted their comment - that Althouse has previously made clear that she does NOT want the N word used here, even in jest, even to make a point. We're all smart enough to get the "n word" euphemism, it doesn't need spelled out.

Chip Ahoy said...

And for years to come, professors would teach [whatever the hell the Left chooses to teach]

So?

Keep racism alive. It's all they've got.

Joan said...

And I don't care about racism anymore. Do not give a shit. That's what I'm saying. The topic as a whole is dead.

The topic should be dead. We've got a black man as the Democrat presidential candidate.

I had a lot more to say on this but decided I don't want to be called racist, so I won't say it.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

I would do McWhorter.

Who is he anyway?

I never know who any of those people are on the blogging heads videos, except the divine Miss A.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

Also, for the most part I find them terribly boring.

I have never got through one of them.

I find them somewhat patronizing.

Simon said...

Joan said...
"The topic should be dead. We've got a black man as the Democrat presidential candidate."

But Joan, what if he's defeated? I mean, what other explanation could there possibly be for not voting for Obama other than racism?

bleeper said...

No "n word"? No Jesse Jackson then, right? Next you'll say that suggesting that cutting a black man's nuts "out" is somehow reminiscent of a lynching. What's a brother to do?

Can I at least quote Jesse? Huh? Please? I do so want to drop some n-bombs in here. He ran for president, you know. According to Bill Clinton, he did well in South Carolina. You liberals are so mean...

m00se said...

"McWhorter asks: "Why would such an athletically pessimistic conclusion be so attractive to black people?""

Uh, because it's a good scapegoat for their horrible cultural problems?

Roost on the Moon said...

Pogo,

The article's major premise is that racism is not a major influence on the election, and that most white people don't even really consider race.

You're so invested in this idea of white male persecution that you can't even read straight.

And so victimized! So whiny! As a fellow white male, I implore you, brother:

Don't pity yourself.


I'm like the white Bill Cosby.

cushing said...

61,776 people died of pneumonia last year. Just a random stat.

Methadras said...

Ah yes. Self-fulfilling prophecies due to delusions of discrimination. If you don't vote for him then your a racist. This is what passes for intellectual thought on the left, blacks notwithstanding. Do blacks not know by now how bought, sold, and used they have been by the DNC and their cronies? How leftist/liberal policies have seen the literal destruction of their cultural and familial virtues.

Pogo said...

McWhorter was saying that,if Obama loses, "bone-deep antipathic sentiment" won't accept that most white people "don't even really consider race."

You no reada so good.

Joan said...

But Joan, what if he's defeated? I mean, what other explanation could there possibly be for not voting for Obama other than racism?

Oh, Simon. I think you know where I stand on the issues, but I'll repeat what is becoming the most compelling argument: selecting Joe Biden as a running mate demonstrates that Obama doesn't have what it takes to be president.

We don't even have to get into 20 years in Rev. Wright's church, his blurbing of Ayers' book and apparent agreement with Ayers' radical education ideas, his to-the-left-of-NARAL position on abortion, his political upbringing within the Chicago machine, his acceptance of millions of dollars of suspect campaign contributions, his role, with ACORN, in the current sub-prime meltdown... there's nothing to see there, it's all to complicated to talk about, anyway. But Joe Biden? He speaks for himself (ha!) and his selection says a lot about Obama.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

What the hell does a linguist do?

Pogo said...

If they're cunning, they don't need to do anything for the rest of their lives.

jdeeripper said...

Even black racist rapist mass murderers think that America is a racist society.

The street gangster received a lethal injection Thursday for fatally shooting three people in the holdup of a Korean restaurant. Kevin Watts, 27, had confessed to the shootings after which one of the victims' newlywed wife was abducted and raped.

Watts had denounced the sentence at the conclusion of his trial in 2003.

Then earlier this year, returning to the court where a jury convicted him of capital murder and decided he should die, Watts confronted the judge scheduling his execution with an obscenity-laced tirade complaining about what he contended was a racist justice system.


"Racist" is the "n-word" for White folks!

Simon said...

Joan, I hope my sarcasm was detected.

Pogo, nothing unpleasent, at any rate!

The Drill SGT said...

Voting against Colin Powell for President (as he was viewed in say 1996 or 2000) would have been racist :)

voting against a leftist, part-tem senator who wants to raise taxes, appoint sensitive judges, meet with our enemies, turn his back on our friends, restrict the 1st and 2nd amendments, give up victory in Iraq and BTW has poor judgement in a number of other thngs...

That is common sense

Shanna said...

As a white male prejudged to be racist, why should I give a shit about this stuff? Any answer, agreement, rejection, or neutrality equals racism by me.

So my answer is 'go to hell'. I officially no longer care.

Ditto.


Third. I’ll add that I kind of already no longer cared since as a freshman college student from the south I had to heard a bunch of yankees insinuating I was racist, when they themselves frequently hailed from towns and schools with a black population of approximately .001%. Whatever. STFU.

Revenant said...

I'm with Pogo, Dust Bunny and shanna. I don't care if blacks think American politics are racist. Tough cookies for them; I'm sick of the whining.

Cedarford said...

All this dialogue is a tribute to the 60s narrative that only black-white relations are discussed because America is only a black-white country.
Which ignores that blacks are now only the 3rd largest group in America. Behind hispanics. And that whites will be a racial minority by 2040.

It will be a great day when all the chattering classes that came of age in the 60s and keep America frozen in the amber of those times, finally die off.

cushing said...
61,776 people died of pneumonia last year. Just a random stat.


DC has a higher AIDs rate than Haiti does.
Asians outperform whites in HS and college. Clearly anti-white racism!
Black women are 15 times more likely to have the AIDs bug than a white woman. 38 times more likely than an Asian.
Black men are 7 times more likely to murder or rape than a white or Asian, 23 times more likely to be an armed robber.
An Hispanic employee is 4 times less likely to be fired than a black one.

junyo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
junyo said...

It's amazing to me to see all the folks here:

A: Singing their sob story about how awful it is to be falsely accused of racism then proceeding to

B: issue a blanket fuck you to all blacks for their assumed racism.

Not even the slightest bit of qualification for the possibility that some blacks might not buy the crock of shit that's being pushed, or are casually throwing around the term "racist". Just the assumption that all backs are a monolithic group that thinks the same way and therefore can be safely taken as a group, based on skin color.

But we're oh so very righteously offended and deeply wounded by people treating whites as a monolithic group that all thinks the same way, based on skin color.

TMink said...

Junyo wrote: "That's an extremely limited scope for racism."

Agreed. I think it is appropriate though! Prejudice is a smaller thing, but racism is a world view, a prejudiced world view written large. The KKK is racist, it is a central part of their world view. Same for Jeremiah Wright, his world view is organized around white bad black good.

We all have prejudices, most of us are not racist.

What do ya think?

Trey

TMink said...

Simon, thanks for the correction.

I sincerely appologize for breaking the blog rules. I will not do that again.

Trey

Dust Bunny Queen said...

B: issue a blanket fuck you to all blacks for their assumed racism.

No. It is a blanket fuck you to all blacks, whites, browns, yellows or greens who assume I am racist without knowing one thing about me and based merely on my Welsh pigmentation. Not just blacks.

Synova said...

junyo... you're liberal, right?

Which means that you are immune. Or used to be. The complete shock expressed by Ferraro and the Clintons at being called racist was what was truly amazing to see. Because it hadn't happened to them before. They were the *good* guys. They'd never had that pulled on them and didn't expect it.

miller said...

Amount of thought I direct towards the statement or people that call me racist sight unseen: 0.00%

Sorry, I don't give a rip. Feel free to fly with your namecalling. It really doesn't matter to me because

I

Don't

Care

At

All

what you think or say.

Verso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Verso said...

You know something funny?

Simon's hero, Sarah Palin, could not comprehend one of Simon's posts without a dictionary and a tutor.

I'm completely serious. Well, okay, maybe she could get through one of Simon's posts without a tutor. But she would have NO CLUE what he was talking about without a dictionary.

And yet he wants her to be VP, or President. Why?

Palin isn't even real, as far as conservatives are concerned. She's merely a cultural totem. A symbol. She represents certain ideas that are important to conservatives, and so they fell in love with her, regardless of what the real Sarah Palin was actually like. (We know this because the conservative embrace occurred instantaneously, before conservatives had anything more than the barest biographical sketch.)

The real Sarah Palin is wholly irrelevant to conservatives. All they care about is what she symbolizes, including traditional femininity, whiteness, fertility, hostility towards the left, and small towns. On this basis alone did conservatives elevate her to her current position of prominence without the conservative movement.

She might as well be a carved staff that the village mystic waves around to cast spells and drive away scientists and teachers.

What I find most amazing is that after dominating the American political landscape for 2 generations, the Republican Party turned to Sarah Palin to run with John McCain, despite her obvious lack of qualification, or even the capacity capacity to grow into the job.

How has the most powerful political movement since 1980 come to a point that it is forced to turn to someone so incapable, unwise, and unskilled?

It's by far the most bizarre thing I've seen in my life.

Revenant said...

Not even the slightest bit of qualification for the possibility that some blacks might not buy the crock of shit that's being pushed, or are casually throwing around the term "racist".

People with a modicum of intelligence, i.e. not yourself, would realize that not caring if blacks accuse me of racism naturally includes the sentiment that blacks who do *not* accuse me of racism aren't beeing criticized.

Blacks "casually throwing around the term 'racist'", on the other hand, are cordially invited to drink bleach.

Mortimer Brezny said...

that no one could have imagined as recently as 15 years ago.

This is empirically false. I am sure there were people 15 years ago who dreamed of becoming President.

Blacks "casually throwing around the term 'racist'", on the other hand, are cordially invited to drink bleach.

Why? So their skin will be lighter, you racist?

Synova said...

And notice, you know, how verso casually inserts racism into the fantasy of why conservatives like Palin.

She's white.

Revenant said...

Why? So their skin will be lighter, you racist?

Drinking bleach doesn't make your skin whiter. It makes you choke and die.

Cedarford said...

That really was a stupid comment from Mortimer.
No doubt he drinks coffee then looks in the mirror to see how his tan is developing.

jdeeripper said...

Revenant said...Why? So their skin will be lighter, you racist?

Drinking bleach doesn't make your skin whiter. It makes you choke and die.


Shush, quiet. On'tday ivegay itway awayway. It'sway artpay ofway ethay epublicanRay anplay otay eliminateway ethay arkiesday.

Capice!

Roost on the Moon said...

Stuff like this really doesn't help the cause, ladies and gents.

Synova said...

roost the moon... you're right, of course.

But when it comes to asking to be punished for the sins of others in an attempt to prove I'm not racist... I'm all out.

Even for that.

If it was even real.

I can't control what other people do. That includes those who say just like it's gospel that we like Sarah because she's nice and white.

And who don't think there is anything wrong with those accusations of racism.

Just like it's not playing a race-card to pre-emptively accuse people of future racism.

Revenant said...

Roost, I've never seen that "Obama dollar". I don't know anyone who would make one, or think it is funny if somebody else did. I'd be surprised if the person who made it was actually opposed to Obama, as opposed to being an Obama supporter imitating how the nasty racists in his mind would act. E.g., ninety-nine percent of the "Obama doesn't look like a normal American" remarks come from Obama supporters claiming that how the rest of us really think.

I'm certainly not going to apologize for, feel guilty about, or be held accountable for the "joke" Coates is complaining about. I don't believe in apologizing for things I never did, or paying for offenses I never commit.

miller said...

I'm sorry Verso, but you might want to look up "strawman argument" on wikipedia before you trot something like that out again.

cheers,

TMink said...

Verso wrote: "Simon's hero, Sarah Palin, could not comprehend one of Simon's posts without a dictionary and a tutor."

Are you writing that as an attack or do you really believe it Verso? Part of my job is giving IQ tests. With kids I can guess their IQ +/- 4 points after talking to them for 50 minutes. I am not as good with adults, and I am biased, but I would estimate Governor Palin's IQ at 120. That is on the brink between High Average and Superior.

But let's not trust me, I am biased. Linguistic analysis of her debate with Senator Biden showed that she spoke on a 10th grade level while Biden was below the 8th grade level. This is a scientific anlysis, and it was reported by CNN of all places!

So it matters if you are just being snarky or are too stupid to recognize that Governor Palin is likely your better.

Well, it might matter to you.

Trey

TMink said...

For the record, some of Simon's posts that are oriented toward legal theory are WAY over my head. But that does not stop me from enjoying them.

Trey

Joan said...

Simon's hero, Sarah Palin, could not comprehend one of Simon's posts without a dictionary and a tutor.

I doubt a National Honor Society Merit Scholar and a voracious reader would need a dictionary and a tutor to understand Simon's posts. Repeating the lie that Palin is an idiot doesn't make it true.

I'm still cracking up at how Mortimer misconstrued Rev's bleach comment. It would've been comment perfection if only Trooper York had posted "If Mort were here, he'd say that was racist," first. Classic Althouse comments, good times.

Michael McNeil said...

If Obama loses it won't just be supposedly because of racism, but also 'cause the election was stolen. The word is already going around on Democratic mailing lists and places like the Huffington Post (circulated by folks like Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) that the “fix” is in — and Obama supporters should act to “steal back your vote.”

If Obama is defeated, there will be a huge hoorah issued by all the leftist smoke-making machines about how the election was stolen from him. But, of course, we're all assured by Dem partisans that voter fraud — from their side of the aisle — is a myth.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I think McWhorter is an opportunist who discovered that writing multiple books that trash antiracism and black people paid more than publishing books about linguistic theory. Nevertheless, I do believe that Obama supporters have overemphasized racism among moderate-to-conservative white Democrats as a reason for their discontent with Obama. These are the same brand of voters who left the party for Reagan, but who returned for Bill Clinton.

Nevertheless, race does impact voter preference -- and it mattered long before Obama's candidacy. Since 1964, no Democrat has won a majority of white voters nationally. A substantial number of political scientists link the reddening of the South with the passage of the 1960s civil rights legislation (among other things). Without the South, the Democrats have had a string of presidential losses. If race took the South away, then race mattered for the Democrats prior to Obama.

I think there is a greater danger concerning race that many academics and people in the media fail to mention. If Obama wins, I believe that this will increase the currency of arguments like McWhorter's that claim we live in a post-racial society ("and if those black people would just get off their ...blah blah blah.....happily ever after"). Alec Baldwin made the stunning observation on Huffington's blog that Obama's election will signal the death of racism and the civil rights movement. I'm more concerned about this thinking than about racism among moderate whites. If powerful whites point to Obama as proof of racism's defeat, this will impact antiracist movements far more than a few poor and middle-class white Democrats refusing to vote for a black man. Perhaps, we hear more about thei "bad" poor and middle-class racists because they are not powerful. Here's more on this: http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2008/10/obama-presidency-would-cause-death-of.html. As if this comment isn't long enough....

jdeeripper said...

The real Sarah Palin is wholly irrelevant to liberal leftists. They hate her for what she symbolizes, including strong femininity, love of nature, whiteness, fertility, and small town culture.

On this basis alone did liberal leftists revile and degrade her. Hating Sarah has become the companion narrative to the Messiah worship of their new found Great Black Hope.

Synova said...

You're right Darren... worst possible thing to happen would be if racism died.

That's why we have to redefine it.

Now a person isn't racist by the virtue of believing that race is a reasonable measure of human value. A person is no longer a racist because they think it's okay to treat people differently because of their ethnicity. A person is no longer racist because they think that people of one race are prone to genetic weakness, or that evolution means that some are more evolved than others and that mental weakness and crime are genetically derived.

No.

Now a person is racist if they think people should be treated equally... because they actually consider this a possibility, or even an attainable goal.

Now a person is a racist if they simply belong to the oppressor class... through no fault of their own but birth.

Supposedly respectable persons explain, actually, without too many people willing to risk a charge of racism by disputing it, that blacks simply can not BE racist... because attitudes and behavior no longer define racism.

Because it would be bad if racism died.

Very bad.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Drinking bleach doesn't make your skin whiter. It makes you choke and die.

So you want black people to choke and die, you racist!?

Zeb Quinn said...

Me, I worry much much more for everybody including black people if Obama wins.

Revenant said...

So you want black people to choke and die, you racist!?

Just the ones who call me a racist.

I recommend Clorox, Morty.

Synova said...

I honestly thought Mort was making a funny.

I guess my sarcasm meter is broke.

Joan said...

Synova, that's Mort you're talking about there. I can't recall seeing any evidence of humor in his previous posts, but I may have just missed that. Besides, his follow-ups make it pretty clear he wasn't kidding.

Simon, yeah, I knew you were kidding back there but I have this hard-to-shake habit of responding to comments like that as if they were serious, even though I know they weren't. I believe this is genetic. Unfortunately I have passed this tendency on to my daughter, but we've caught it early and are working with her so it won't become a social handicap.

Michael McNeil said...

Another piece about the forthcoming “theft” of the election (by Republicans, of course) can be seen in Rolling Stone, in an article also by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast that was (supposedly) posted on October 30, 2008 (good trick, that). Palast touts the Rolling Stone piece at his own site, under the title “It's already stolen,” spouting:

“Don’t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of ‘GOP vote tampering’ on a massive scale.”

The oh-so-reliable leftist Dem propaganda organ Truthout (which still hasn't disavowed their news report some time back revealing that Karl Rove is about to be indicted any day now) jumps on the bandwagon with this interview with the intrepid pair.

The BBC joins the stampede with a two-part investigative report Palast did for BBC Newsnight titled “The Theft of 2008” that one can see at Greg's site, or directly at YouTube.

Then there's the StealBackYourVote.org site that they've launched, as well as a 24-page full-color comic book “Steal it Back!” As Palast writes of that comic:

“Make a $100 tax deductible donation at StealBackYourVote.org and we'll send you 25 to pass out to troublemakers of your choice. And, for every $100 donation, we will give away another 400 to voters to vulnerable voters in swing states. We just sent eight cases to Santiago Juarez. Santiago's working with young Hispanic voters of New Mexico. Can you help us send him more?” […]

“Or give us the donation, we'll send'm to a church designated by our co-sponsor Jesse Jackson's Operation Rainbow/PUSH. Thanks to your prior generosity, we're offering the printing plates FREE of any fee to us to any magazine or weekly that wants to insert comic.” […]

“Coming soon — Greg Palast and Bobby Kennedy in Steal Back Your Vote! — the Film — from the pueblos of New Mexico to Karl Rove’s emails (really!), the real scoop. ‘Stories so relevant they threaten to alter history.’ — Chicago Tribune.”

Supposedly one can donate as little as one cent and download the comic (I haven't wanted to give that group even that much, so I haven't).

Clearly, the leftist propaganda organs are already working overtime on the upcoming theft of the 2008 election — by Republicans, of course, despite all the “troublemakers” they're distributing their helpful “Steal it Back” guide to. Because, always remember: vote fraud from the left is a myth.

fav.or.it said...

Synova - Your response to my post distorts what I said. I never said or implied that the death of racism would be sad/bad. But we are not there yet, and no amount of wishful thinking can change that. As for someone being racist by virtue of them being in an "oppressor class," I cannot speak on behalf of that argument because I never made it. I do believe that terminology matters. When I think of racism, I do not necessarily mean "bigotry," which is probably the more common usage. I think more of social situation of material inequality distributed along racial lines. Some of that disparity -- on either side -- was inherited (generational wealth and poverty), some results from discrimination, and a lot results from the erosion of US manufacturing base (read Wilson, When Work Disappears).
Ultimately, I think the conversation should focus on responsibility - not blame. Generations ahead of us did a lot of stuff that we today have to fix. Our generation will leave an enormous debt and tax burden to young people. Some of us will have to pay for this today. I was not a part of the banking scandal of the 2000s or the 1980s, but they affect me. I did not vote for Bush, but his decision to go to war has affected me. His tax cut - and spend policies have impacted me. In so many ways I am burdened by things I did not do. Taking responsibility seems like it's the American way. But when it comes to race, people view it as blaming, a "debtor/creditor" race scenario (to use Justice Scalia's language), and as social welfare. That's unfortunate.

sent from: fav.or.it

TMink said...

Darren wrote: "Since 1964, no Democrat has won a majority of white voters nationally."

So it must be about race because there is no other possible explaination?

ABORTION?

I know that the supreme court had not made up the abortion "right" in 1964, but there are numerous reasons that the Democrats lost the south. Besides, there are not enough racists left to make a difference.

Trey

Synova said...

So...

Just for kicks, finish this sentence...

Guy walks out of a bar and then right back in. He looks around and then demands, "Who is responsible for keying my car?"

Yeah... the word "responsible" is so much NOT like the word "blame."

Mortimer Brezny said...

I honestly thought Mort was making a funny.

I was. But racists have no sense of humor.