Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Fanning the Flames of Racism: Open Thread

There has been enough talk about the possible racial motivations behind some portion of the Tea Bag Express to warrant an Open Thread starting with the basic questions:

How much do you think race is behind the opposition furor?  What do you think could/might be done to counteract these underlying drivers?


The Daily Beast has this from the mouth of the beloved Rush Limbaugh:

Rush: ‘We Need Segregated Buses’

Rush Limbaugh has, predictably, gone there: After the right ran wild with a story about an attack by a black student on a white student on a school bus-an attack that the police denied was racially motivated-Rush Limbaugh said, “We need segregated buses. … [I]n Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.'” He went on to defend racism-or attack homosexuality, we’re not sure-by offering this gem: “If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable?”


  1. creamer

      Rush has made numerous comments shaded in racism. The fact that this doesn’t seem to shrink his audience would seem to support the notion that a fair amount of Americans still find race to be an issue. I know and have met many people who are openly racist. My boss knows business owners in the south who talk in hostile, racial language about Obama. The national media doesn’t seem to get this, but the liberal media/academic establishment is pretty insulated from everyday life in America.

    The Obama administration will not recognize race as an issue in large part because it would totally distract from passing legislation. But the fact that media personalities, cable news channels and politico’s can talk in a racialy disparaging tone without any negative results just drives me nuts.

    Maybe we can outgrow it.

    Maybe some of Obama’s policys making a difference will change things.

    Maybe we need to wade into Tea Partys swinging 2 x 4’s.

  2. will outright admit to racist motivations it is kind of difficult to prove that racism is at the root of the protests. We are left with what has been inferred by their actions and what else we know about the groups involved.

    One thing that is obvious is that there is a very strong element of ‘fear of the other’ running through the tea party protests. They have been calling opponents “socialists, commies, and/or nazis”. The birthers are another strong contingent in the movement. They call Obama a Muslim, Kenyan, Indonesian, etc… There were also signs at this latest protest showing the President in witch doctor dress and others talking about an “African” being in the White House. These all suggest racist motivations by those who made or carried those signs.

    Then we have good ol’ boy Addison Graves Wilson “Joe” Wilson of SC who shouted out “You lie!” during the President’s address to the Joint Houses of Congress. Seems Ol’ Joe may be a bit of a racist. Joe Wilson is a member of a group that the Southern Poverty Law Council labels a hate group. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has morphed from a group that participated in Civil War re-enactments into a group that espouses neo-Confederate views. According to reports from numerous sources the group has come under the control of radicals. Joe is a dues-paying member.

    That membership alone is enough to tar Ol’ Joe with the brush of racism, but there’s more. Joe Wilson was an aide to Senator Strom Thurmond of segregationist fame. When it was revealed that Thurmond had a bi-racial daughter from an affair with a black maid, Wilson said the daughter should have remained silent on this and that by speaking out she had smeared Thurmond’s good name. It also seems that Ol’ Joe has a problem with interracial marriages.

    Now, I have to admit that Ol’ Joe didn’t shout out, “You lie, boy!” But I have to infer that the “boy” part was implied.

    Now for a disclaimer. I do not believe that the opposition to President Obama is entirely driven by racism. I don’t even believe it is mostly driven by racism. However, I do believe a large part of the motivations of many who participate in these events has a racist core.

    There is one more thing that can be inferred from their actions. Those shouts of wanting to “take back our country” are very likely racist in nature. They want to take back their white America.

  3. anna shane

    Barack is the nightmare of reactionaries, all this ‘not the america I know’ is about a man of color ascending to the highest job in the nation, heck, the world, and showing himself to be a man with class and intelligence.  Wow, could someone’s daughter (or great granddaughter) want to marry him and have his children?  

    You can also see it statistically, all the older voters that don’t like him?  Racist beliefs follow birthdates, younger Americans aren’t very racist, older Americans are.  

    I’m one of the oldest baby boomers, born shortly before 1947. When I was little racism was normal, accepted.  Kids with liberal  parents, like I was fortunate enough to have, spoke out against it, but that was liberal, and most white people assumed they were the ‘better’ race, and many ‘liberals’ thought so too, and just spoke to unfairness, not ability.  Black people could not purchase homes, or get loans, or get into schools, or compete for top jobs. It was assumed no white person would take orders from a black person.  At that time interracial marriage was considered to be so disgusting and awful as to be the end of one’s social life.  It was a different world and we don’t live in that world anymore.  This is not the America that was.

    So, whites came to ‘accept’ blacks, certain blacks, like Harry Belefonte, who was the black man white women could swoon over, because he was so non-sexual, so non-threatening.  And sports heroes and comics.  And many whites felt good about themselves for being sooo accepting.

    That was when the joke was, some of my best friends are negroes, and white people who claimed that didn’t hear the insult.  

    So, most of America has come along and farther than many predicted. But there are some mainly older Americans who still think in terms of racial ‘purity’ and think they’re being great if they speak to a black person.  But, they don’t what their children to marry a black person, and they surely don’t want to compete with black men for jobs.  They are ‘uncomfortable’ in these situations, not knowing how to behave or to relate, because they see such a huge divide between who they think they are and who they think the Other guy is.

    So, when Maureen wrote, she heard “you lie boy” she completed the sentence.

    Now this is something Barack can’t speak to directly, because lots of white people still want to deny racism and would find his ‘charge’ unseemly. But, we can, and should.  they need to be outed, each and every time. Time to quit being polite, and quit giving the benefit of the doubt.  Lies only live in the dark.  

  4. sfnhltb

    He went on to defend racism-or attack homosexuality, we’re not sure-by offering this gem: “If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable?

    Of course homosexuality is only tolerated between consenting adults. If you are racist in a way it has no negative impacts on anyone that doesn’t consent to it, feel free.

  5. HappyinVT

    Internets I want to post some of the goodies out of the latest Orly Taitz lawsuit dismissal order.

    After conducting a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims are frivolous. Accordingly, her application for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 3) is denied, and her Complaint

    is dismissed in its entirety. Furthermore, Plaintiff’s counsel is hereby notified that the filing of any future actions in this Court, which are similarly frivolous, shall subject counsel to sanctions. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c).


    Plaintiff’s counsel is a self-proclaimed leader in what has

    become known as “the birther movement.” She maintains that President 1Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution provides in relevant part that “No Person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President.”


    The present action is the second such action filed in this Court in which counsel pursues her “birther claim.” Her modus operandi is to use military officers as parties and have them allege that they should not be required to

    follow deployment orders because President Obama is not

    constitutionally qualified to be President. Although counsel has managed to fuel this “birther movement” with her litigation and press conferences, she does not appear to have prevailed on a single claim.2


    Plaintiff’s counsel speculates that President Obama was not born in the United States based upon the President’s alleged refusal to disclose publicly an “official birth certificate” that is satisfactory to Plaintiff’s counsel and her followers. She therefore seeks to have the judiciary compel the President to produce

    “satisfactory” proof that he was born in the United States. Counsel makes these allegations although a “short-form” birth certificate has been made publicly available which indicates that the President was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961.3

    (This footnote contains a goody:)

    Furthermore, Congress is apparently satisfied that the President is qualified to serve. Congress has not instituted impeachment proceedings, and in fact, the House of Representatives in a broad bipartisan manner has

    rejected the suggestion that the President is not eligible for office. See H.R. Res. 593, 111th Cong. (2009) (commemorating, by vote of 378-0, the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood and stating, “the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August

    4, 1961″). )


    First, Plaintiff’s challenge to her deployment

    order is frivolous. She has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as President of the United States. Instead, she uses her Complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the President is “an illegal usurper, an

    unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter.” (Compl. ¶ 21.)  She continues with bare, conclusory allegations that the President is “an alien, possibly even an unnaturalized or even an unadmitted illegal alien . . . without so much as lawful residency in the United

    States.” (Id. ¶ 26.) Then, implying that the President is either a wandering nomad or a prolific identity fraud crook, she alleges that the President “might have used as many as 149 addresses and 39 social security numbers prior to assuming the office of President.”


    In further support of her claim, Plaintiff relies upon “the general opinion in the rest of the world” that “Barack Hussein Obama has, in essence, slipped through the guardrails to become President.” (Id. ¶ 128.) Moreover, as though the “general opinion in the rest of the world” were not enough, Plaintiff alleges in her Complaint that according to an “AOL poll 85% of Americans believe that Obama was not vetted, needs to be vetted and his vital records need to be produced.”

    There’s lots of other great stuff in there but you get the Judge’s point.

  6. …but the bigger problem still is accepting people who are different. That can operate against women, against liberals, intellectuals, non-intellectuals, black on white, brown on darker brown. We are hard wired to a certain extent to pick an in-group, and the best way of defining that is against a commonly hated outgroup.

    So racism is there, but I think things would be different if Obama was more like a black Schwarzenegger. He combines the Galbraith factor – smooth talking, tall, educated, mellifluous – that has incensed Americans since Nixon cynically but smartly combined all those ‘liberal’ east coast qualities together in his Chequers speech. Come to think of it, except for JFK, all your presidents have been white protestants. Obama is such a step change, in a marvellous radical way that has inspired the rest of the world. But his virtues are also his vices in many eyes. He’s a liberal, professorial, black, foreign Muslim.

    Racism plays here, along with anti intellectualism, anti Yankee feeling, and Islamophobia, just because of Obama’s middle name. A perfect storm in many ways, and it’s created its own retaliatory storm of hate in response.

    One thing I am noticing on British blogs – and it’s something which caught my attention during the primaries – is that accusations of racism are often heard when they’re not made. I can’t tell you how many times, when  lauding Obama or criticising Hillary’s campaign strategy, I would suddenly be met with the response “So you’re calling me a racist” when this was not on my mind.

    In Britain, where the political blogosphere is dominated currently by the right, I’m always coming across (forgive me for saying this because I’m one too) middle aged white men who have a huge defensive reaction when it comes to feminism, LGBT rights, or indeed anti racism. They automatically – for some reason they will have to explain – assume they are being called racist, and quickly cite false allegations of racism as chilling free speech.

    I can’t help feeling this is a form of aggressive victimhood from a group, albeit having lost some status in recent years, can hardly claim to be marginalised.

    And for me, when I look back at my personal and family experiences of the last forty or more years, or look back at the last century, racism and its related categories of xenoophobia, anti semitism and nationalism, have caused so many millions of deaths, I’m afraid that the sensitivities of a few middle aged white men like me, really don’t amount to a hill of beans.

    Hatred of the other has been the curse of the past, and is still a huge threat in many places, from Iran, to India, Western China, Burma, Kenya, Sudan to the West Bank.

    Individual sensitivities must not get in the way of this common struggle to make us receptive the other, tolerant of different, accepting that we live in a world of vastly divergent credos and beliefs.

    And we’ve got to be OK with that. We’ve also got to be OK with the fact that some people, whether its Russians not liking Chechens, or Northern Indians disliking Dravidians,  that these in group formulations will probably never go away.

    (I admit a tacit and unresolved prejudice about Australians and barbecues – but I’m working on it)

    What we can’t be tolerated is xenophobia of any kind having any political traction or power.

    I saw it happen in Bosnia. For years Bosnians, Serbs and Croats all distrusted each other. The problem came when one side had power – i.e. the Serb dominated Jugoslav National Army, which then proceeded to shell Sarajevo, Vukovar and Dubrovnik.

    Prejudice will never go away. We can’t patrol people’s thoughts. But we can patrol their access to legislation, guns and power.  

  7. Anyone else having problems with the NY Times site? I use Firefox and have been having major problems with the site for a few days now. It started before they had the malware ad problem. It seems to eat memory and crash FF.

  8. I came across references to this Dan Riehl article today and decided to read it at the source. It’s hilarious. The guy is a true comedian. Or else, he’s watched Red Dawn too many times.

    Riding out of DC on the Metro, 9/12, there were some folks from South Dakota and also another Mid-West state I can’t recall in the same Metro car. We were talking, nothing special, really – politics, of course.

    In the back were maybe ten or so black kids taking up that section of the car. There was no confrontation, just one or two of them talking loudly enough to make sure they’d be heard.

    Without resorting to the poor diction it was along the lines of, these are the people who think Obama is the anti-Christ. That McCain he wasn’t chit. Obama’s going to be president as long as he wants, so these people better get used to it, etc. It went on but not really to a level that was so loud, or so confrontational that it needed to be addressed.

    We just ignored them without much trouble at all.

    Yeah, they were technically thugs. But the reality was they were still wannabes really, pretty young, not that big, or many. And if the several adults there for 9/12 actually needed to do something about it, the kids wouldn’t have lasted very long. Maybe if they were bigger, or more numerous, it might have been worse. Or it may not have happened at all. Who knows?

    Let’s examine this a bit.

    So we have some older white people (“adults”) riding the subway after a glorious day protesting against the government (Obama).

    They see some scary black kids at the other end of the car. The kids aren’t doing anything threatening other than making fun of the pasty old white folk who are stupid enough to protest against their hero.

    The kids make no threatening gestures or try to intimidate the tea-baggers, but Riehl feels the need to fantasize about what would happen if he decided to confront them.

    So black kids riding public conveyance and making truthful statements are thugs. But the older white people that were shortly before yelling stuff about taking back “their” country and complaining about birth certificates and such are true patriots. Have I got that right? It’s kind of hard to figure out just how these wingnuts think.

  9. the charges of racism in the primaries which in my opinion were unfounded – here not so much. first these people tried to prevent a sitting president from speaking to schoolchildren and calling him a liar during a speech? then they descend onto washington to protest some abstract idea of how messed up the country is at the urging of a complete racist douchebag talk-show host?

    nope – pretty clear-cut to me.

    but since this is an open thread… i want to say this to my american moose-friends and just rant in general. take your country back. you worked hard to get obama elected, now stand behind him and show the media, your fellow citizens and the world you support him. the reason obama is backing away from things is simply because he can’t get them passed.

    these asshats who went to washington are vile, but they are organized. why can’t the people who want UHC do the same and go to the white house as well? its your time and it seems to me that we are letting these people set the narrative and its working in swaying public opinion. seriously though – why hasn’t someone organized a march to washington for support of HC?


  10. from an article on Pam’s House Blend blog.

    Police are investigating a possible hate crime as a white man, Troy Dale West of Poulan, GA, put the beatdown on a black woman, Tasha Hill. He did so in front of her daughter when Hill told West to watch out for her child as the mullet-sporting West swung open a door to leave a Morrow, GA Cracker Barrel.

    She said the man then struck her, knocked her to the ground and continued to hit her while yelling racist names.

    Why can’t these uppity black folk learn to stay in their place? /*snark*/

    News video here

  11. creamer

     My boss commented today on President Carter saying that anyone opposed to health care reform was a racist. I responded by disagreeing, that Carter was speaking of the attacks on Obama by the far right in general, starting with the Palin rallies and returning with the tea baggers. No, he was quite sure it was health care, he watched it three times. The conversation went down hill with him proclaiming tha “maybe I’m a racist.” At that point I steered away from race. He did make it a point to show me that the man with the assault rifle was black.(Apparently proving that race was not an issue.) I either didn’t know this or had forgotten.

    Later a co-worker (boss’s daughter) came in and proclaimed she had watched CNN last night.(I’ve admonished her on not being informed.) She too had seen Carter attacking opponents of health care reform as racist.

    I went back and watched Carters comments about race, heard nothing about health care from him. Did Brian Williams phrase his question in reference to health care?

    Also, if you think you might be a racist…………

  12. DeniseVelez

    and also understand why Barack Obama has to be the “Jackie Robinson” of politics and avoid (as much as possible) addressing race.

    Not all conservatives and right-wingers are racists.  But the crowds of people “anti-Obama” I’ve been watching since the primaries – with monkey/ape posters and bone-in-the-nose photo-shopped pictures, and those who “want their America back” (they mean “white” America – which is a myth they hold dear) are clearly racists.

    As a person of color I’m sick and tired of being told that my hearing is dysfunctional.  Unfortunately, for many of us, when the question of racism is broached, we are told we are either “playing a race card” (a right wing talking point) or whining.

    Time for other leaders (who are not poc’s) to address this.  

    I agree that racism goes hand in hand with other “isms” and xenophobia is part of the problem as well.  But the “birthers” in particular are vehemently racist.

    The fact that each day on our airwaves it is perfectly acceptable for the Limbaughs and Hannittys and Buchanans  and Becks to spew racist filth with no penalty, makes me wish I lived in a civilized society with laws against “hate-speech”

    Frankly, I’m disgusted.

    Just wait till the discussion shifts to immigration reform.  There will be tons more.

    I avoided this thread.

    Simply because I’m tired.


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