America’s Ugly Racism

I have always wondered why the election of Barack Obama bothered the GOP and the right wing so much. Charles Pierce has a very good piece over at Esquire that explains a lot.

The country is sitting on a powder keg right now.

Shortly before his death, Thomas Jefferson described the issue of chattel slavery as the equivalent of​ holding a wolf by the ear—you can’t hold him and you can’t let him go. Jefferson, being fundamentally a white supremacist, misread the problem. It wasn’t slavery that was the wolf. That was only the most outward manifestation of the wolf. The wolf was racism, and we’re still just barely hanging on. It has become vivid in the past seven years, since the country had the audacity of electing a black man to be its president. The election of Barack Obama changed the context of the events that occurred during his presidency. All of those events—from the arrest of Henry Louis Gates in his own home, to the rise of #BLM in the wake of the killings of Trayvon Martin and all the rest, to the mass shooting in Charleston—took place in the context of racial opposition to the idea of Barack Obama’s election. It sharpened the racial edge of the political dialogue on virtually every issue. (Ever stopped to count how many synonyms for “uppity” have been used in connection with this president? You wouldn’t think there was a thesaurus that comprehensive.) The grip we have on the wolf is weakening.

Read it.

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8 Responses to America’s Ugly Racism

  1. Thanks for sharing. I liked “a yearning for a past that never was.” Quite generational, really. I think with aging comes a dislike and distrust of the younger folk and their lifestyles. Gotta say I experienced it a bit when my physician was significantly younger than I . . . that was just a little weird, but I got over it. On the other hand, I was one of the first in my circle that wore a T-shirt with a flag on it . . .scandalous to the olders. How have we reached the place where we can’t put ourselves in another’s shoes? How is this sprewing of hatred tolerated ? Unbelievable to me.

  2. Pearl says:

    It’s all true. My Texas brother-in-law bought the most expensive printer he could find to keep all of the racist Obama family memes/drawings he finds on the internet. He has binders full of them. Then it spread to different Fox News talking points which he now has binders full of now too. Every day he prints out more and lugs these binders around to his Tea Party meetings. Now my father, who never acted racist when I was growing up is outwardly racist. Both him and my brother-in-law declare adamantly that they aren’t, they say it’s because Obama is a piece of American hating shit who wants the country to be taken over by his kind, the Muslims. This blatant racism came when Obama was running for his first term. I knew deep down inside that it was because they didn’t mind blacks as long as they knew their place, and that place was not being a leader of our country. They don’t take kindly to blacks being the boss. So sad and tragic. I’m really bothered because I don’t respect my father anymore and I worshiped the ground he walked on. I’m completely broken hearted. I hate Fox News and the far christian right for cultivating this hate and breaking our family apart. They validate people who want to be racist and encourage them to be even more racist by lauding their racism by calling them true Patriots and real Americans. It seriously makes me wish I was dead.

    • titlewave says:

      I’m sorry, Pearl, I too have a few friends that have become something I don’t recognize anymore. I have to wonder how these people became this way. From what I can see, (and I only describe this as people I’ve known- not the determined racists that have been quietly stewing in their own juices until they finally saw it was ok to take it public) it is those who lived in an isolated bubble that didn’t really include other races or people outside their own lifestyle.
      Not that they intentionally isolated themselves, they just were happy in their little communities, doing their everyday routines and not paying too much attention to the anguish of others in this world. Not racist, not hateful, just living day to day unaware of life outside their dinner parties, kids games, clubs etc.

      Suddenly- to those not paying attention- the world has gone mad to them. Blacks, Muslims and others that they never felt hatred toward before are posing a threat to their peaceful little world. FEAR. It leads to anger, hatred and blindness of reality.

      I hope this makes sense. I’m having trouble not just dealing with longtime friends that feel this way, but the fact that I didn’t see it in them so long ago.

      • Pearl says:

        Thank you for that. Dealing with these hate-filled people, it’s all so exhausting. I had to delete my original facebook page over it. Being from Texas I found out that almost everyone I went to school with and almost my entire family became totally racist, rude people full of hate and anger for anyone outside their right-wing echo chamber. I tried to educate them and they just got meaner and now I know they hate me. They tell me that my kind heart is a sign of how stupid and brainwashed I am.

  3. Pearl says:

    Also they say I’m what’s wrong with our country. I keep trying to ignore it but it’s hard to avoid all the subjects that evoke a rant from them. Can’t talk about hardly anything. Like the weather for instance, that use to be a innocuous subject but now… not so much. If I say wow, it’s really hot out today, they go off about how Global Warming is a bunch of bullshit made up by Al Gore so he could scam money for carbon credits. I tried to tell them it wasn’t about money at all but they wouldn’t hear any of that. Then one day I mentioned that Germany is now 78% renewable energy and that the country is really clean now and that it would be a great place to visit. My sister chimes in and tells me that, “You can’t trust the German mind.” What does that even mean? Then we’re sitting in traffic on the freeway in Houston, and sitting, and sitting, barely moving. After about an hour in the gridlock, having to pee,while Rush Limbaugh is ranting on the radio, I mention that Texas should have some trams, subways, or passenger trains like they do on the East Coast and Seattle. I got my ass chewed-out about how nobody would ride those stupid things and then it prompted them to go off about Yankees in general and how effed-up the East Coast is. And then there’s Sarah Palin who they absolutely adore which really pisses me off because they’ll believe her but not believe me. We knew things about her in Alaska that the rest of the country didn’t which I told them back when she was running for VP. They told me I was an evil liar and how dare I stoop so low as to perpetuate lies about her. It became apparent that they put Sarah Palin above me. If Sarah Palin and I both were in dire need of being saved I guarantee they would save Sarah Palin and let me die since I’m what’s wrong with our country anyway. It’s so frustrating and debilitating to be around my family. I have nothing in common with them except for DNA.

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