Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail in New Hampshire:
Bet you never thought of that, black people! Finding a job and getting paid for it – huh! Whoulda thunk?! Aren’t you glad Newt’s here to help? Of course, he’ll have to explain why this is a good idea at your annual black people get-together. But in the meantime, there’s some food for thought.
Oh wait, what’s that? “Food for thought” isn’t covered under the federal food assistance programs? Oopsie, my bad!
(Friend-of-ABLC Joy-Ann Reid at The Grio reports that, according to the USDA, “when it comes to total welfare receipts, Whites receive 34% of federal food assistance benefits, African-Americans 22%, and Hispanics 17%.” For that, and a few more examples of Newt Gingrich, a leading voice in American politics, equating “poor people” with “black people,” click here).
Crossposted at Emily L. Hauser In My Head.
The disrespect is becoming commonplace
US President Barack Obama delivers his third annual Back-to-School Speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2011. President Obama encouraged students to study hard and take responsibility for their education, urging students to set goals, to believe in themselves. UPI/Shawn Thew/POOL
I was just perusing the wall of a a couple groups to which I belong on Facebook. One friend posted the following about yesterday’s back-to-school-address, which Obama delivered at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington D.C. [video after the jump]:
The TV is currently on an Atlanta station showing the late evening news. It was mostly just background noise until I heard a story that stunned me. Some elementary schools in suburban Atlanta are only allowing children to watch Obama’s news conferences in class with a letter of consent from the parents. A school administrator said this policy is because many parents do not want their children to see or hear Obama’s speeches. WTF !! Has this EVER happened under any other president?? I intend to do some research online to find out what Atlanta area school this happening in.
this happened last year as well, i think. it’s insanity.
That’s it. That was my response. Entire schools and school districts across the country decided to black out President Obama’s back-to-school speech (because of parent complaints, apparently), and that fact — along with the blatant disrespect attendant to that fact — barely registered.
This is what I mean when I say that I’m numb to the dumb.
After a quick google search, it seems only FoxNation is carrying the story (to which I will not link, but an image of which is here):
Yesterday, founder of Salon.com, David Talbot announced that, after six years, he would be returning as CEO of the online magazine:
“In these increasingly hard times, Salon is dedicating itself to an American revival. Our editorial mission will become more explicitly and aggressively populist. We will be publishing more investigative pieces, exposing the shadow dance of power. And both Democratic and Republican targets will be fair game, since both parties are increasingly under the control of the same corporate forces.
It’s time to start our own country.1
Today, Gene Lyons led the charge for Salon’s “new populism” by going all in against Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, and by extension, the scores of black people who agree with her [images of the Lyons article are below; links to Professor Harris Perry's article are here ("Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama") and here ("The Epistemology of Race Talk")]:
This just in: Not all the fools are Republicans. Recently, one Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane professor who moonlights on MSNBC political talk shows, wrote an article for the Nation titled “Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama.”
Joan Walsh and David Sirota will *never* get it, and I am giving up.
This week’s comment of the week comes not from this blog, but from Salon.com. It was submitted in response to Joan Walsh’s meandering and defensive article on Melissa Harris-Perry’s suggestion that maybe — just maybe — race is a factor in the seemingly relentless (and often fact-deficient) criticism of President Obama.
Salon commenter Jcwtts1 writes:
Let me begin in the simplest way. Race and Racism are two different things. What happens in discourse, especially internet discourse, is that those two issues become conflated.
This is dangerous for both sides. On the one hand, you have the dismissive white response that is typical. “Just because I criticize the president doesn’t make me a racist.”
[Martin Veart (@Martin_Veart) tweeted this link to me, and upon reading it, I asked if I could post it. It's a powerful post, originally published on January 21, 2009. Given the current racial storm that is brewing on the left, it is a must read. Thank you, Martin. -ABLxx]
President Obama taking the oath of office with Michelle looking proudly on. Photo credit AFP
This blog entry will not be a comfortable read. The title of this article isn’t about the inauguration of Barack Obama. That for me at least seems to be a joyful and hope-filled occasion in a world where hope has been having a hard time of late. No, the shadow that I refer to is the racism that one still encounters.
When I was growing up, I was taught by my father that people are people and that basically we all want the same thing: a reasonable standard of living, good health and education for our children. That was somewhat at odds with what some of our neighbours were willing to grant us, growing up as we did in England of the 1970s during the Troubles of Northern Ireland. Having a Irish-Catholic background, people were not racist to our face, but often were behind it. My father was not perfect himself: he thought South Africa was the best-run country he had been to on that continent since it brought a better standard of living to more people, both black and white. On that basis, he was content to support the white apartheid government there. Being a marine engineer, he also did not have much time for Indian radio officers and electricians he encountered; considering them mostly lazy and inefficient. For that reason, I came to learn that he too was considered a racist.
It was when I was in my early twenties however, I took a trip down to London with a couple of friends. I had known one of them for years, but the other was relatively new to me. It was all very nice and very civilised until we got to the outskirts of Brentwood. There, they saw the first black man of the day. These nice, civilised people changed instantly. “There’s a nigger! You smell! You stinking gigaboo!” It wasn’t meant as a joke: there was real hatred in the voices. Sometime they were almost screaming. I had heard racist jokes before and had repeated them myself. That was the first time I had encountered serious, heart-felt hatred and I did not find it attractive.
Melissa Harris-Perry responds
This weekend’s post on Melissa Harris-Perry’s piece at The Nation about the lack of real discussion about race among liberals touched a few nerves at ABLC, and I am very glad to see the fact she handily responds to her critics at the Nation today.
I logged onto Twitter on Sunday night and discovered that my recent article for The Nation was causing a bit of a stir. Some members of the white liberal political community are appalled and angry that I suggested racial bias maybe responsible for the President’s declining support among white Americans. I found some responses to my piece to be fair and important, others to be silly and nonresponsive, and still others to be offensive personal attacks. But those categories are par for the course.
I make it a practice not to defend my public writings. Because I often write about provocative topics like race, gender, sexual orientation and reproductive rights, if I defended every piece I wrote against critics I would find little time to sleep. But the responses to this recent article have been revealing in ways that I find typical of our contemporary epistemology of race. Often, those of us who attempt to talk about historical and continuing racial bias in America encounter a few common discursive strategies that are meant to discredit our perspectives. Some of them are in play here.
Do read the entire piece, it’s worth it if only to arm yourself with the knowledge of the fallacies that have been thrown at people who have brought the topic up in the past.
The ending is worth it:
I have a new post up at The Grio:
In an interview with Brent Bozell of the conservative Media Research Center this week, Congressman Joe Walsh (Republican of Illinois) invoked President Obama’s race in an attempt to explain what he views as the media’s refusal to expose the “dishonesty” in President Obama’s deficit reduction plan; the dishonesty being, of course, the president’s recently-stated policy — the so-called “Buffett Rule” that millionaires should not pay a lower tax rate than those in the middle class.
Walsh has a history of disrespectful behavior toward, and of making insensitive racial remarks about, President Obama. He recently claimed that Obama was elected only because he was an articulate black man and appeased “white liberal guilt.”
(click here to read the rest)
[via The Grio]
…the remaining explanation, no matter how bizarre, must be true, according to Sherlock Holmes.
Sometimes that leads to uncomfortable truths. In the Nation this week Melissa Harris-Perry brings up the theory that some liberals turning on the President right now has at least something to do with an unfair double standard based, in part, on race.
Today, America’s continuing entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan provoke anger, but while Clinton reduceddefense spending, covert military operations were standard practice during his administration. In terms of criminal justice, Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which decreased judicial disparities in punishment; by contrast, federal incarceration grew exponentially under Clinton. Many argue that Obama is an ineffective leader, but the legislative record for his first two years outpaces Clinton’s first two years. Both men came into power with a Democratically controlled Congress, but both saw a sharp decline in their ability to pass their own legislative agendas once GOP majorities took over one or both chambers.
These comparisons are neither an attack on the Clinton administration nor an apology for the Obama administration. They are comparisons of two centrist Democratic presidents who faced hostile Republican majorities in the second half of their first terms, forcing a number of political compromises. One president is white. The other is black.
In 1996 President Clinton was re-elected with a coalition more robust and a general election result more favorable than his first win. His vote share among women increased from 46 to 53 percent, among blacks from 83 to 84 percent, among independents from 38 to 42 percent, and among whites from 39 to 43 percent.
President Obama has experienced a swift and steep decline in support among white Americans—from 61 percent in 2009 to 33 percent now. I believe much of that decline can be attributed to their disappointment that choosing a black man for president did not prove to be salvific for them or the nation. His record is, at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton, who was enthusiastically re-elected. The 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism.
Now whether or not you agree with Harris-Perry is actually almost beside the point, the truth of the matter is that if there’s one group of Americans that doesn’t want to have an honest conversation about race in America more than conservative Republicans, it’s liberal Democrats.
I heard this first-person essay yesterday morning on NPR.
I am a New Englander, born and bred, with the accent to prove it. Originally from Massachusetts, I now live in northern New Hampshire, in an area popular with vacationers. However, as a black woman in an overwhelmingly white state, there are times when I feel like a tourist.
Just click on over to NPR Morning Edition where you can read (and even better, listen) to the entire piece.
Thank you to Debra Nunnally Beaupre for sharing your story. Her bio notes she blogs as Teachermother.