Does anyone seriously doubt the persistence of racism in America? Or the influence of that racism on our politics?
Phyllis Schlafly–never a subtle communicator–responded to news that minority births in the US had outnumbered Caucasian ones by explaining that this is a calamity because “those people” don’t “share our values.”
I devoutly hope they don’t share hers.
A lone statement by a woman who has long been loony-tunes, of course, wouldn’t confirm the persistence of anything. But Schlafly is hardly alone.
Just in the last week, we’ve learned about the gazillionaire from Chicago who was planning to bankroll a SuperPac ad campaign focused upon President Obama’s links to his former Pastor, the not-so-reverend Jeremiah Wright. According to information about the plan leaked to the media, the ads had a decidedly racist cast.
And we mustn’t forget the news that Arizona’s Attorney General is debating whether to place the President’s name on that state’s November ballot, since the AG “isn’t sure” Obama was born in the United States.
The question of Obama’s place of birth is another one of those dog whistles. Most of us hear “place of birth,” but the intended audience hears “doesn’t look like us.” He’s “other.” Not a “real American.”
Look–it is absolutely possible to disagree with Barack Obama on specific policy issues. It is absolutely possible to argue that he has mishandled some governmental function. But most of the crap that gets thrown at this President has absolutely nothing to do with the normal give and take of policy or political disputes. “He’s trying to change America!” “He’s a socialist!” “He’s an elitist!”–all boil down to variants of “he’s black.”
And black people, you know, “don’t share our values.”