Decision 2008: let’s yank the hood off racist America

First, watch this:

Barack Obama has said we need a national conversation on race. One of the reasons I’m so eager about a potential Obama presidency is that I think it’s time we stood up, went nose to nose with racism, and made clear that while we’re open to a good-faith conversation on race, we’re done tolerating racism.

Make no mistake, in the coming months you’re going to see the ugliest artillery that our nation’s drooling, inbred hatemongers have at their disposal. The looming prospect of a nigra in the White House is going to bring the vermin out of the woodwork, out from under their rocks and out into the light. It’s going to incite the well-heeled country club elite to crank up the meme machine with every sort of subtle, codemongering dogwhistle it can manufacture. The truly ignorant and hateful are going to be liquored up on rhetorical bile of the lowest sort and those who live further up the social ladder are going to be provided with a variety of messages that let them vote white without having to admit to themselves that they’re fundamentally just like the snuff-suckers in the trailer park across the tracks.

This is a good thing. Let me say that again: this is a good thing.

Ignorance breeds in the dark recesses of a culture. It thrives when it’s allowed to grow and fester free of scrutiny. But when you throw harsh light on it, when you force it to stand and face the reality that educated, enlightened, progressive people aren’t afraid of it, that they relish the opportunity to face off, to take a stand on their principles, well, that’s a little different story.

No, you can’t intimidate ignorance into some kind of magical, After School Special transformation just by standing up to it, because you don’t stamp racism out overnight. But that’s precisely the approach that ensures eventual victory. We will not tolerate your ignorance. We will not be intimidated by your threats.

We will not fear your mask. Because what we believe in doesn’t need to hide.

In this election campaign, let’s invite the Klan and its fellow hate groups out into the light. Let’s get their hoods off of them. Let’s show all their videos. Let’s make sure that everybody gets to read their brochures and visit their Web sites. Let’s hand the microphone to their most eloquent speakers and stand aside. Let’s get them front and center and make sure America sees, in all its slack-jawed, toothless glory, precisely what racism looks like.

Let’s understand that the polls are probably going to lie to us – there will be a 5% closet racist error, so a reported 10% Obama lead is really a 5% lead – and let’s all work 5% harder.

And above all, when we hear racist code masquerading as legitimate, issues-based messaging, let’s not be afraid to say “excuse me, but will you take off your hood?”

It’s decision time, and I’m ready for a referendum on hate. How about you?

Advertisements

55 thoughts on “Decision 2008: let’s yank the hood off racist America”

  1. Well said, Sam. The vitriol that counts the most will be encoded in rhetoric.

    I’m curious about the numbers Fox used in its report, noting that the number of hate groups had risen 40 percent from about 600 to more than 800.

    Who defines “hate group”? What is the definition?

  2. You chose a good day for this post to counteract this. . .

    Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan Take On Whitey
    By Larry Johnson

    I learned over the weekend why the Republicans who have seen the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “whitey” describe it as “STUNNING.” I have not seen it but I have heard from five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape. It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church when Michelle makes her intemperate remarks. Whoops!! When that image comes out it will enter the politcal ads hall of fame. It will be right up there with the little girl plucking daisy petals in the famous 1964 ad LBJ used against Barry Goldwater.

  3. It looks like Larry Johnson has been doing the worst kind of intentional misrepresentation here. The “whitey” is actually “Why’d he”. As in:

    Why’d he cut folks off medicaid?
    Why’d he let New Orleans drown?
    Why’d he do nothing about Jena?
    Why’d he put us in Iraq for no reason?

    This is purportedly the quote from her, with “he” being Bush.

    I agree with you Sam. I believe that it will be cleansing to let this all out in the open so it can be driven out. But I don’t think it will be pain-free. Lancing a boil still hurts.

  4. Djerrid,

    I think Booman, like most everone else, is just speculating. I admit to being on pins and needles over this.

  5. Pingback: www.buzzflash.net
  6. I’m just not sure that 5% isn’t seriously on the low side of accurate. A hundred average people (around here, at least) and only five are letting racism, admitted or not, affect their vote? My totally unscientific hunch says more like ten to fifteen…

  7. Euphronsyne:

    I think it varies from place to place. I suspect that you’re right for where you live. Where I live, the number might be more like 2.5%. I think I read somewhere that 5% is the average poll-numbers-to-actual-voting ratio for a black candidate, but I might have dreamt that.

    Let’s face it, Obama is going to lose almost all the South, though he has a chance in Florida and, maybe, Virginia, depending on turnout in the areas outside of Northern Virginia. Arkansas can also be hard to predict. Ohio and Pennsylvania are going to be tough, but I think he takes one of those. Other than Ohio and Indiana, I think he sweeps the Midwest (Missouri is a Southern state and I don’t care what anyone else says, and the other so-called “Midwest” states like Kansas and Nebraska are actually Plains States and have little in common with the traditional Midwest). He’s got a shot at Colorado and New Mexico. The Plains States will vote against him, as well all the Rocky Mountain States except, perhaps, Colorado and N. Mexico. He’ll sweep the West Coast, most of New England, and the mid-Atlantic with the possible exception of Pennsylvania.

    I think that, in the end, it comes down to Ohio and Pennsylvania again. If Florida somehow goes for him, then I think he wins easily. If Colorado and Virginia flip over to him, watch out.

    I can dream.

  8. You say: “In this election campaign, let’s invite the Klan and its fellow hate groups out into the light. Let’s get their hoods off of them. Let’s show all their videos. Let’s make sure that everybody gets to read their brochures and visit their Web sites. Let’s hand the microphone to their most eloquent speakers and stand aside. Let’s get them front and center and make sure America sees, in all its slack-jawed, toothless glory, precisely what racism looks like.”

    No, I disagree. The American electorate is so damned stupid and ignorant that they will buy into the racism. You are expecting – hoping – that putting it out there will expose the ugliness of racism? No. The stupid, ill-educated American voter will buy the racist rhetoric.

  9. I don’t know, Sam. I’ve lived in a lot of different places around a lot of different people. Even in liberal blue state college towns… and they make me nervous, too. In a close race, in the privacy of a voting station – maybe it’s my inner misanthrope, but I’m afraid it takes more generations of education (and the means to get it), exposure (and the willingness to experience it) and general enlightenment to effect real change than most of this country has actually had.

    I’m with you on dragging the cockroaches into the light; I just think there might be more human/cockroach interbreeding in our own backyards than we really want to know about.

  10. On the contrary – we want to know. We MUST know. Enemies like this thrive in secrecy and darkness. It’s hard to defeat an enemy you can’t see.

    That’s the great thing about Obama’s candidacy – whatever the truth is, we’ll KNOW it instead of having to speculate.

  11. Darbydoo, buck up! You’re completely discounting the offputting effects of toothlessness and slackness of jaw. There’s a reason they wear those hoods, you know, besides craven cowardice – meth mouth, beer jowls and angry little piggy eyes are just NOT sexy. Put Bubba on the teevee without makeup and dentures and watch what happens.

  12. See, there’s “must” and there’s “want.” I believe you want to know, and I might, too, but it’s overcoming the general disinclination to upend the rock that’s so challenging. Well, you know that. We’ve all got those relatives…

  13. In your discussion on racism and no longer tolerating it anymore, are you also going to be open to discussing the false cries of racism that have run rampant in your election cycle? Seeing I can not support either candidate, but have been following your race by satellite, I have been astonished at the cries of racism used as a negative weapon that were not racist at all. One of the major ones at the beginning being Bill Clinton called racist for making a comment about Obama’s stance on Iraq being a fairy tale since he had voted the same as HIllary, but then all the black commentators and especially Clyburn were all over the airwaves crying that Clinton was racist in saying that Obama’s run for the Presidency was a fairy tale. And how about him repeating the debunked falsehood right before the voting again in NC? How about calling Clinton for race baiting when he mentionned Jesse Jackson winning yet CNN had discussed this same issue both on TV and their website days earlier? How about Obama’s national co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr. asking why she could shed tears for herself before NH but why had he not seen her shed tears for the black victims of Katrina and that had to be considered before the voting in NC? I could mention more, especially Hillary being called for race baiting when she repeated the data from the exit polling as to who were voting for her in WV. So along with that discussion about race, I hope you discuss how it has been used to the benefit of one campaign as a tool to denigrate the other campaign unfairly, especially by a team that supposedly said they didn’t want race to be a factor in this campaign.
    And as you are discussing this and wondering what people will do in the privacy of the voting booth, just think to yourself how many supporters of Hillary have been called bigots and racists by Obama supporters on line and on blogs because they don’t automatically support him. And perhaps you should really reconsider whether trying to bring this up as a major issue is going to be more of a detriment than an advantage. Start bringing this up and as you are trying to get Hillary supporters to stand behind and support Obama you may further alienate them more than some Obama supporters already have.

  14. The greatest aspect to Obama being picked as a potential President is seeing the black vote truly come alive. If Obama wins…the USA will finally have a face and a brain that can be talked to.

  15. I’d like to answer the last comment. No, were not going to have the same discussion on the “false cries of racism” that we are on the strong undercurrent of genial racism that has been festering in this country for 40 years. One, that is currently exploding into the open hatred it was for the 200 before that. When was the last time people were hanged for “false cries of racism”? And, we won’t be bringing this up as an issue. The issue will become apparent as the reality of the situation approaches. This I believe was the entire point of the piece. You assume it was written to sway opinion rather than be an expression of it.

    Bring it on

  16. foreigner:

    You remind me of the kid I knew from the county where I grew up who, in the 9th grade or so, cold cocked another kid, beating him unconscious, and was expelled from school. The little local papers covered the issue pretty thoroughly as you might imagine, because the beaten kid didn’t reawaken during the weekly news cycle and it wasn’t at all clear that he ever would.

    The father of the perp granted an interview and accused the press (if you can call what we had there “press”) of focusing on the beaten kid’s injuries but ignoring the ones to the perp acquired in the “fight.” It would seem that the perp had a bruise or two on his chest.

    So, I’m not going to focus too much on the issue of false accusations of racism any more than I think the world should have focused on accusations of loan sharking by Jews in Europe prior to the Holocaust.

    But you can focus on those things if you want.

  17. foreigner: I’ve ALWAYS been pretty vocal about “false cries of racism.” And sexism, and a variety of other -isms, for that matter, because in a couple cases I’ve been the victim of that. When you question certain kinds of dogma that’s going to happen.

    And it’s a problem because it trivializes REAL bigotry and makes honest discussion of issues more difficult.

    However, while false accusations are an integrated part of the problem (without racism, there are no false accusations) they’re hardly the worst of it right now. We’ll be happy to call out the BS when we see it, but on the whole I see groups like the Klan and Stormfront, as well as legions of potentially dangerous freelancers, as the far bigger threat.

    So let’s kill Godzilla first and worry about the rabbits that are eating our tomatoes later.

  18. I agree with you Sam. However, this may mean that john mccain will be president. It just depends on how many people who will be honest with themselves and vote for someone who is really loves our country

  19. Yep. Godzilla first. As Sam says and as Argyle points out, this is an opportunity not to be missed; the monster will be right in our living rooms in plain sight. Now is the time.

    And we can talk about misogyny later. It’s always around and always okay. It’ll be there whenever we’re ready.

  20. In response to:
    However, while false accusations are an integrated part of the problem (without racism, there are no false accusations) they’re hardly the worst of it right now. We’ll be happy to call out the BS when we see it, but on the whole I see groups like the Klan and Stormfront, as well as legions of potentially dangerous freelancers, as the far bigger threat.

    So let’s kill Godzilla first and worry about the rabbits that are eating our tomatoes later.
    ————————————————-
    I meant no disrespect with my comment but I am from a very multicultural area and before I retired worked in an area of dealing with the public who were of all races and religions. I personally feel that trying to tackle a large issue that has been pressing as racism for as long as it has been, also needs to be looked at in what we have witnessed all over the airwaves in the recent months. As far as I remember, didn’t Obama’s call for a dialogue on race come after the videos of Trinity Church became widely shown on all major networks? Of course there should be a beacon of light shone on any hate groups whether it be against blacks, jews, etc. However, to me part of the dialogue should also include using those same hate words and tactics even though they are not warranted, which might possiblly ingrain the hatred further in others who are already so inclined.
    It seems my comment already has JSObrien upset saying I remind him of some kid who beat up someone then wondered why noone was worrying about him. I am not sure how my words fit in that category however…All I meant to add to your discussion was what I have witnessed all over the TV and blogs since the campaigning began. Perhaps I am more aware of how some things might be perceived since I don’t support anyone and don’t look at things through the eyes of being a “supporter”. But if a dialogue comes up “now” then the events of “now” also have to be factored in I feel and can’t be ignored in relation to past events as well. But one looming problem is going to be, what is already evident, is that if one supports another candidate who happens to not be Obama, then is the automatic cry going to be that they are automatically racist? That is what I have been witnessing all over the blogs and internet from Obama support sites. Is there no consideration going to be afforded to people who feel he may not be the best candidate for other reasons without them automatically being called out? I have worked my whole life trying to overcome differences and bring people together so I am just concerned what I have been witnessing, and that is all. Once again I apologize if I have offended anyone but that is my perspective from watching your campaign. Hating someone for their skintone or to which church they belong cannot stand in today’s world. However applying those same motives to someone who may not hold them should not be tolerated either. It was the media who divided up your population into camps of white and black, rich and poor, educated or not, good jobs, poor jobs., etc. and when their own exit polls were wrong with one of the states, the first thing that came up was were these people lieing to us in the exit polls about voting for a black? Look at the internet hatred the people of West Virginia got for preferring Hillary… they have generically all been branded racists and bigots, illiterates, dumb and a lots of other vile names I won’t reprint. So I am sorry if my observatiuons have upset anyone here and I will refrain from further additions to your dialogue.

  21. foreigner: But one looming problem is going to be, what is already evident, is that if one supports another candidate who happens to not be Obama, then is the automatic cry going to be that they are automatically racist?

    Sadly, this is probably an inevitable function of a campaign with the first ever viable contender, and to be fair, Sen. Clinton has endured her share of bigotry, as well, being the first viable female candidate we’ve ever had. Some people probably see it as you say – you oppose _______, you must be a _____ist. Others are clearly playing cynical games – fuck the truth, we just need to WIN. And to this add legions of people who aren’t really sure what the hell is going on – all they know is what they see on the news, and the news, by the way, has a vested interest in conflict of ANY sort because it drives ratings.

    So what you describe is real, but it’s also pretty complex and nuanced.

    Is there no consideration going to be afforded to people who feel he may not be the best candidate for other reasons without them automatically being called out?

    I’ve seen plenty of argument that’s exactly that, but it’s also true that not 2% of the population tracks the kinds of resources I do. I think the solution is fairly straightforward. We have to be open to challenges, but at the same time we have to be critical of the challegers as well as the candidates. A charge is made, you vet the charge, evaluate the evidence, consider the source, and make an informed decision. There will be valid charges against Obama. But there will also be faux charges that are essentially racist code. If we can’t tell the difference, well, we’ll pay for our ignorance, won’t we?

    Once again I apologize if I have offended anyone but that is my perspective from watching your campaign.

    No apologies necessary. And please keep reading and commenting. We don’t always agree and never will around here, but as long as we’re debating in good faith all is well.

  22. Oh for the day when the self-described members of the “white race” find themselves in the minority. The behavior changes drastically. As an example, look at Hawaii, where the haoles, being just another “race” here, behave a whole lot more modestly than their mainland counterparts. The racists among them don’t find a welcome from the locals — and that definitely includes Hawaii haoles.

  23. foreigner:

    For someone who’s very concerned about others making false accusations, you didn’t seem to have a problem doing so with me by twisting my words. I used an analogy to demonstrate how ludicrous it is to worry about the bruises when the other party has been badly injured. I was demonstrating that your post was focusing on bruises when the real issue is serious injury. I did NOT say you reminded me of that kid who did the beating.

    You twisted my words.

    As for West Virginia, have you been there? Have you spent any time there? I have. Do you know a significant number of people from there? I do.

    Voters in West Virginia were asked if race influenced their choice in the recent primary, and 20% said “yes.” If you’re at all familiar with social research in this area, then you know that people tend not to self-report racism, so the actual number of people in West Virginia who considered race a factor is certainly higher than reported.

    As for the media creating divisions, I grew up in racially segregated schools, drank at white water fountains, used whites-only bathrooms, sat in white waiting rooms waiting for the doctor or dentist, and even sat at whites-only picnic tables at the nearby lake.

    Can you explain to me how the media caused that?

  24. pookapooka:

    Thanks! I always thought “haoles” was spelled “howlies.” You’ve saved me from future embarrassment.

    But, then, I thought “mahalo” must mean “trash,” since it was on many of the Honolulu garbage cans.

    Assumptions are hell.

  25. “It seems my comment already has JSObrien upset saying I remind him of some kid who beat up someone then wondered why noone was worrying about him. I am not sure how my words fit in that category however…”

    That is because your words do not. So do not worry about it.

    The rest of the FREE world looks to the USA and it’s President so I want every little stone overturned about ALL the candidates. Sitting in England and reading and reading I remain an Obama supporter (to include his wife) in spite of one crazy ex Pastor, an outspoken potential first lady (thank Hils for setting a precedent for that one), his early skirmishes/friendships with folk painted red (communist) and inhaling.

  26. I think there are many Americans who are willing to let their racism vote for them until their greed gets in the way. The Bush years have been bad for business, and when their lifestyle is threatened, Americans will vote for whoever will help them get cheaper gas, widescreen tvs, and maybe some health care. As long as people see McCain as Bush part 3, Obama’s going to get voters he might not have otherwise.

  27. How come when ever there is a republican president the hate groups come out of the wood work , last time Reagan/Bush Portland Or became famous for its skin head nazi groups no I am seeing the same thing. skinhead walking through grocery stores with swastika arm bands. I conservative ideals are what this country is founded on then how come when they have power the antithesis group become prominent its time that the corporate media makes the connection.

  28. Oh b——t, JS O’Brien. I have lived in 6 states, including West Virginia, as well as England – and people are the same everywhere. While in WV a larger percentage of people may have admitted race was a factor in their primary vote, the residents of the state are no more or less racist than anywhere else. It isn’t about racism, it’s about familiarity – Appalachians are not a trusting lot, and are slow to take to people that are not already known to them. It’s not because they are racists, it’s because the Clintons are well known/liked in the state. You claim to know the state and it’s people, but you clearly do not. It’s ridiculous the way people’s bigotry towards Appalachians has affected their perception of the primary – and bigotry is all it is…….You assume they are racist based on silly stereotypes, and you then interpret the facts in such a way as to support an opinion at which you’ve already arrived. Take the numbers from 20 other states and you could say the exact same thing about them. The people of Appalachia do not deserve this slanderous nonsense.

  29. Of course you’re right, Michael. Attitudes and opinions about race and every other subject known to human beings are perfectly, exactly, and culturally equal everywhere.

  30. First of all to Dr. Slammy:
    Thanks for your response and the offer to continue reading and commenting. I appreciate it and thank you.

    Now To JS OBrien:
    Your words as written:
    You remind me of the kid I knew from the county where I grew up who, in the 9th grade or so, cold cocked another kid, beating him unconscious……………………………

    It seems that your words to me mean that I remind you of a kid, whereas you could have stated that my words bring to mind a story about a kid. I did not twist your words but took them at face value as they were delivered.
    To answer your question I have not visited West Virginia, but then again that doesn’t stop me from feeling that the people there have all been branded racists even though some of them might well hold that title while others wouldn’t. You can’t brand a whole state like that unless you also are willing to consider that states where 90+% of the black population are also considered voting on race only. Perhaps also many people who live in WV also have the upbringing or standards that when asked a question you answer truthfully whether the answer is popular or not. What about the people of Pennsylvania who were also called closet racists as well? What label are you going to pin on them? Your mention of the ills of racism over 50+ years ago in relation to my mention of the media race today do not relate at all so I am not even going to address them. The media has made this a campaign of division between the democratic party and have fuelled the fires at every chance they can, in my opinion once again. You cannot have the facts of Obama supporters discussed as mainly black, young, well educated, more affluent, white collar workers, and elite, while having the Hillary supporters branded (and I use that term specifically) as white, older, poor, blue collar working class, less educated, racist. If your party plans on being successful, then please think of what one group of supporters have been classed as because they don’t support the other candidate who happens to be black. Perhaps the fact that Obama is black has nothing at all to do with the decisions of some but the fact that people are being put into a nasty little box as poor dumb and racist that may turn them off enough to vote McCain or stay home. I am sure that the over 17,000,000 who have voted for Hillary are not all closet racists nor should Obama’s race be the only factor taken into account for people not choosing him as their chosen candidate. I still feel you can not heel or cure the ills of the past by using them falsely in a political campaign. I will be extremely honest in saying as a white senior citizen myself, that if I were a Hillary supporter being classed generally as a poor dumb closet racist because I didn’t choose Obama, then I personally would not vote for him now. But then perhaps my decision would be based on my age and life experiences as wll as the decisions of what I would consider the qualifications for a President to be.
    A dialogue on race and even religion is sorely needed in today’s environment but how it will be approached has to be weighed very seriously as to whether the outcome will be more successful than more dismal.

  31. lol, yes JS…..Clearly, that’s exactly what the point I was making. Kudos to you for addressing the issue, rather than engaging in pointless sarcasm and obfuscation.

    Obviously there is context cannot be addressed in one paragraph, but racism exists everywhere, and does to a degree that is (hopefully) unacceptable to everyone here. To single West Virginia out as particularly racist is absurd, especially when ‘supported’ by the silly, superficial points offered by your original post.

  32. Michael: yes, there is racism everywhere. Does this mean, then, that in your view a place that’s comprised of 99% racists is functionally the same as a place comprised of 1% racists?

  33. Obviously not, Dr.S. I hope your point isn’t that this is the case with WV, as that is simply not true. By what scale can a geographic region be accurately judged? Racism is institutionalized everywhere in this country – but the people themselves? I find that they are largely the same everywhere. The type of racism I most frequently encounter is far more subtle/deeper than that of some simple idiot in a hood – and this was no more pervasive in WV than anywhere else.

    My own personal experience in Appalachia has shown me that people there are no more or less racist (whether subtle or overt) in their reaction to me than in any other part of the country. I have also spent time in KY (though I never lived there), and found this to hold true there as well, for the most part. Appalachians don’t trust/like strangers – it isn’t about race

  34. Michael, would you say from your own experience in Appalachia that there are gradations of distrust, depending on the race or sex or geographic origin or whatever of the stranger? Or is it truly a blanket xenophobia, based solely on “you’re not from around here?”

  35. argyle, June 3, 2008 at 6:32 am said:
    “No, were not going to have the same discussion on the “false cries of racism” that we are on the strong undercurrent of genial racism that has been festering in this country for 40 years”

    Yes we will, you cannot stifle the discussion of a valid issue.

    False accusations of racism and sexism dilute the truth and cause harm in the end.

    Obama 08

  36. Dan, I don’t think that Argyle was dismissing out of hand the validity of exposing false accusations of racism; he (or she, I don’t know) was pointing out that a) the overwhelmingly more important issue is the greater one of racism itself and b) if actual racism in all its forms is held up to unsparing scrutiny, false accusations will become so readily apparent as to expose their own illegitimacy.

    At least, that’s what I read.

  37. To answer your question I have not visited West Virginia, but then again that doesn’t stop me from feeling that the people there have all been branded racists even though some of them might well hold that title while others wouldn’t.

    Why is it that we get so many non-Americans here who know little about the place, have visited little or none of it, and yet lecture us on the attributes of our own country and its various parts? And why is it that a media story in which a poll revealed that 20% of the voters in one state claimed that race was a factor in their voting decisions becomes “the people there have all (emphasis mine) been branded racists” by the same foreigner? Tell me, foreigner, do the schools in your country teach you that 20% equals “all”? If so, then perhaps we’ve found the root of our disagreement.

    And how about

    It was the media who divided up your population into camps of white and black, rich and poor, educated or not, good jobs, poor jobs., etc,

    .

    You jump on me for failing in a single word to make an analogy clear, then jump on me again by saying you won’t answer my interpretation of your words which is, simply, that the media caused all the racial problems in America. There are no real underlying grievances, are there foreigner?

    As for all this happening 50+ years ago (your words), I’m 51. I remember these events vividly. I attended a segregated school until 1969, the fall after men landed on the moon. Other school systems didn’t desegregate unti lthe mid-70s. The university in my state didn’t admit ” negroes” until 1970, 38 years ago, I believe. That same university, today, is a place where black students rarely mix with the rest of the student body. Not a whole lot has changed.

    So, why did you say 50+ years? With your deep understanding of the US, its regions, and US history, surely you know better? ‘-)

    Michael:

    I have heard your words (or words like them) since I was knee high to a cypress stump. Let me just recall a few:

    “Yankees is just like us. They hate niggers as much as we do. They just don’t admit it.”

    “I love niggers. I think everyone should own a couple.”

    “I’m not prejudiced, but niggers is lazy. Everyone knows that.”

    “You cain’t hurt a nigger by hittin’ him in the head. He ain’t got nothin’ but bone of there no ways.”

    “People are pretty much the same ever’where. They all hate niggers.”

    You just keep on believing that there is no such thing as cultural norms of behavior and thought, Michael. And keep on believing that these things don’t vary, ever, from place to place. You won’t get any supporters from people who actually research and/or read in the area of cultural anthropology, but that’s no matter, is it?

    Opinion is all, even when it’s unread.

  38. As much as it may pain me to admit it, I think JS has your number, Michael. Unless you have telepathic powers we know not of, I’d back growing up in an area versus passing through it as the more useful set of experiences any day… As for Appalachia, of which I have absolutely no personal knowledge, the kind of hidden attitudes to which Sam and JS refer surely wouldn’t be freely shared with those strangers they mistrust so deeply? How could you truly know? And why can’t we use West Virginia as one example, supported by actual exit polls, of this particular problem in American society? I can’t find any statement in this post or in this thread that West Virginians are the most racist bastards on earth, so why the animus?

    I find it interesting (make that depressing) that false accusations are a recurring theme in this thread, while several of the participants are more than willing to immediately see an anecdote or an analogy as a personal attack and start hurling epithets in return. Can’t we give each other any credit for good faith at all?

  39. “Can’t we give each other any credit for good faith at all?”

    Dr S posts in good faith. As a consequence I’ve visited net places I would otherwise have avoided like the plague.

    Considering how the internet reveals far more about the mind than polls (whether on exit or not and have been known to be wrong on more than one occasion – including getting the results of a British General Election wrong based on poll exit numbers) I think Jonny Foreigner can learn a lot without actually personally interviewing each individual in the entire world. The net has revealed to me just how racist people are. More so than moving in my little world on the ground.

    Obama had/has an uphill struggle but I for one would help him if I were an American. As a Brit I want him in the White House rather than the other 2.

    I believe Obama is running for President in good faith.

  40. Euphrosyne: I would say the biggest factors are geographic/linguistic, and financial. If you are a fellow Appalachian, regardless of what specific city/state you hail from originally, you will be much (much) more readily accepted. Anyone with a distinctly different accent will be met with immediate suspicion, based on the assumption that you are ‘up to something’….That you are there to exploit the locals in one way or another (an antiques dealer from the north trying to buy family heirlooms at drastically under-market prices, for example). Historically, Appalachia and it’s people have been heavily exploited – Couple that with an almost universal lack of respect and persistent stereotyping, and one can begin to understand how a basic mistrust of others has been ingrained in much of the population.

    The attitudes towards wealth are varied and change depending on context. Broadly, the very wealthy are seen as corrupt to the core. When it comes to wealthy locals (born and bred) however, the attitude changes and they are seen with respectful admiration. The view of the very poor seems to be dependent on the reason for their circumstances, real or imagined. Of course, all of this is said in the broadest possible terms, and the people and attitudes there are as varied as they are anywhere else in the world.

    Regarding attitudes towards women, I think that the area’s Christian traditions informs their view of gender roles.

    Beyond that though, I think it’s difficult to say….same old story. My sister visited WV, and was one day subjected to extremely rude treatment at a local BP gas station (by a single individual, in a manner that did not reveal the thinking behind the clerk’s attitude). Was it because she was a female? Was it because she is a person of color? Was the clerk an incredibly sweet person who just happened to be having a horrible day? Who knows.

    edit: Didn’t see your other comment before posting, . RE “I can’t find any statement in this post or in this thread that West Virginians are the most racist bastards on earth, so why the animus?”

    The time surrounding the WV primary saw a barrage of poorly informed attacks on the people of the state. I met so many good people during my time there that I take these attacks very personally. The ‘logic’ I have seen in support of these attacks is consistently flimsy and can be applied to any state, yet the good people of WV are repeatedly singled out as being particularly racist. It’s nonsense, pure and simple. As for you belief that JS “has my number” – you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, as is he/she. I’m so weary of it all – think as you like. I know the people of West Virginia better that most I’ve heard from online – and they will always have my respect and admiration. Adiós.

  41. JS: Just saw your remarkably patronizing comment.

    While you’re welcome to add whever subtext you like to the point I was originally trying to make, I’m done with this conversation. Being one of the unwashed and uneducated masses, my observations and experiences are clearly without value. Congratulations on having the money to get an education with which you can insult and belittle others. Quite an accomplishment.

  42. Michael,

    Now it makes more sense. I didn’t realize your anger was pre-existing, dating back to the actual primary and the coverage surrounding it. I thought it seemed far out of proportion to the possible stimulus of this particular conversation, and that was what I was asking. If descending into personal attacks is not a method of argument you respect, I have to believe it would serve you far better as an intelligent, articulate person to refrain from it yourself, even under provocation – and especially under a perceived provocation of the exact same type. This is precisely what I meant by “giving each other credit.” Maybe it’s an impossible dream.

    Thank you for at least not deleting your original answer before lumping me in with everyone else who wearies you. Serves me right for having a Rodney King moment in public, I guess.

  43. Whatever comes out of the US election, remember this … the US will be the first democratic nation to even contemplate electing a visible minority in the modern age.

    Whatever happens, everyone will be watching. And I, for one, think that the race issue has been rather subdued. For real race-hate politics, please take a look at present-day South Africa some time.

    Congrats, the US is proving its maturity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s