Racism Is Dead


The 19 days since Barack Obama was elected as our first
African- American president have generated a wave of
conflicting emotions across the country. Many people are
still pinching themselves at the gleeful wonder of it all.
Others are flying their flags upside-down in distress. And
some just can’t get past the race issue.

A distressing number of that last group have called or
written here to unburden themselves, some of them stunning
in their narrow-minded fury.

It would serve no purpose to repeat any of the truly
offensive diatribes – it’s embarrassing enough just
listening to them – but I’ll let one of the gentler
comments I heard represent them all: “I didn’t
order the Call & Post! Print a black paper for some
other people to read . . . not me!”

Don’t make me look at reality. Cousin of the critter that hated the AP for taking photos in Iraq and sending them back.


3 thoughts on “Racism Is Dead

  1. I think these stories on racism get it backwards. Obama’s favorables jumped 10% after he won and something like 20% of McCain supporters, voters who choose the Republican Party after these past 8 years, say they will give Obama a chance. That’s a beautiful thing.
    The core number of racists are louder now because they are under pressure from the wider world, forced onto the defensive by the historic Obama victory, operating against a tide of unfavorable demographics. What are they supposed to do? I’d say it’s sound and fury signifying nothing except for the fact that one kook can do a lot of damage.
    I think it’s best not confuse the limited number of hardcore racists being more vocal with an increase in racism. The hardcore are louder because they are under pressure. I spent a fair amount of time on Stormfront and National Alliance doing research when there was a white power rally scheduled for my city in Florida and from what I can tell most of their “events” play out the same way. Giant claims of organizing prowess, then a limp dick reality. They claimed that they would have dozens of organizers handing out fliers at the Daytona 500, then when there were TV reports in advance saying these white power groups were coming and that while they had 1st Amendment rights, absolutely nobody including NASCAR wanted them there — a whopping two people show up to hand out fliers in the K-Mart parking lot down the street. And then they blamed the minorities in the press for trampling their free speech rights. THEN a week later they were saying how their recruitment was really a huge success.
    People like David Neiwert and Southern Poverty Law Center are doing important work watching these assholes every day but I think it’s best not to confuse the diligence of SPLC with the competence of the racist movements in the US. In 2008 they are filled with losers and incompetents whose largest success is getting media attention, not actual support.
    At the end of the day most average people are decent and can smell a skunk and the less informed people can be steered away from these losers with a little prodding from their larger community. Beyond that the hard right xenophobes have 15% of the vote in just about every country on earth that has heterogeneous population. I don’t know what you can do about that other than make sure they can’t embed themselves in a national party coalition as they did with some success when the Dixiecrats all flipped into the arms of the GOP.

  2. This has been bothering me A LOT, so I have a confession to make, and since I respect this blog so much, I figure here is the place to make it. I am a racist. I used to think I was cool, but since Obama’s election, I’ve been looking at the black people I meet on the street, and thinking, “ZOMG! Black person alert! Quick, Tom, avert your eyes!”
    And the thing is, I’m still not sure why. I have a guess, but I’m not sure. I think I used to say to myself, “I’m a good liberal, and I love my African-American neighbors. Why, I’ll do anything to help them. They deserve my condescending attention.” But now it’s dawning on me that my whiteness doesn’t make me de facto in charge any more. I can’t look down on minorities any more, even benificently. And you know what? I bet they’re pissed at me.
    I mean, I would be. So I’m projecting, sure. But I’m not sure that I’m not right. The world is changing, and I’m 40 and white and male, and it discomforts me. I’m losing my privileges. So even though I voted for Obama, and my boss is black, and my boss before him was Indian, and I have oh so many merit badges in multiculturalism, now suddenly I’m facing these f’ing prejudices that I thought I’d graduated from. And it astounds me.
    I don’t know what my point is. But this recent explosion of prejudice — I’ve even been thinking the N-word a lot more than I used to — has me shaken. And I wondered if I was unique, or if other folks who thought they were good white liberals have undergone this too. I’ll get over it. God, I hope I’ll get over it. It shames me to admit this is happening. But ignoring it won’t do any good, I figure. So here I admit the ugly truth.
    Thanks for letting me vent. It’s so much easier to do online than in person.

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