Conservatives of Color are Angry White People?
September 16, 2009 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Lifestyles of the White & Suggestible opens and closes with a Conservative of Color. The singer heard (but not seen) in the background is Lloyd Marcus, who provides the American Tea Party Anthem. Obama doesn't think it's about racism. Neither does Republican Chairman Michael Steele. An introduction to the beliefs of Conservatives of Color: Emancipation Revelation Revolution
posted by shetterly (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
P.S. That last link was via Afronerd, who I found while googling "conservatives of color" and "multicultural conservatism." The latter brought up an intriguing review of Angela Dillard's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now? Multicultural Conservatism in America.
posted by shetterly at 4:21 PM on September 16, 2009

The video in the last link was disturbing because so grossly incorrect. More whites were on welfare than blacks. Does that mean the Dems trying to get whites onto the plantation too?

Obama and many others (mostly conservatives) sway it is not about race, but I know firsthand from my area of the nation, and in a very liberal state, that there is a lot of anti-black sentiment voiced daily about Obama, blacks, taking over and all that kind of stuff. Of course not all anti-Obama sentiments are racial! But to deny that a lot of it is,is merely an attempt to dismiss
posted by Postroad at 4:40 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Oh gog.

Couldn't make it through the first video. I actually listened to the entire "anthem" and don't think I am better for it.

I don't get a lot of this, just like I don't get gay Republicans or Catholic women (but I also figure, since I am neither of these, or have neither in my life, I don't really need to).

I don't think the "You lie!" comment had anything to do with race either, other than anything to do with this president is going to be racial to some degree.

I've made the joke, "The only black Republicans I've met all make more than $100,000 a year." Actually, that's not really a joke. It's an anecdote (admittedly from my limited exposure to people making more that 100k a year).

And love you to death Will, but I am not exactly sure how all these links go together.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2009

I think the problem is that this is turning into a polarized, yes or no question because of spin in both directions. I think the conservatives are worried that liberals think every conservative is a racist (which is not true), and the liberals are thinking the conservatives are trying to deny that there is any racism in their movement. The truth is definitely somewhere in the middle.

The fact is that racism exists, and it may well motivate some people politically without themselves being consciously aware of it. However, it's not fair to say that race is the only thing bringing the teabaggers out on the street. A lot of it probably comes down to partisan loyalty and misinformation they get on TV and from the internet.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:49 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't think the "You lie!" comment had anything to do with race either

Of course it did -- just not anything to do with Obama's race. It had everything to do with fears of the dusky Latino invasion from the South. You think Wilson had illegal Swedish nannies in mind when he yelled that? Nuh uh.
posted by rusty at 4:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [12 favorites]

PS: That's also not to deny that there has been blatant racism and people so naive on issues of race that they think it's okay to joke about it (see the lady with the Lyin' Lion sign from the 9/12 rally). And anyone who strongly advocates birtherism at this point when it's been so dis-proven is pretty much saying they think a black man with a foreign name can't be American. But that's the fringe.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2009

You think Wilson had illegal Swedish nannies in mind when he yelled that?

Being a Republican from South Carolina, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him having young foreign women in mind just now...
posted by qvantamon at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2009

It's funny -- I always suspect that the white folks who point out racism in cases where race isn't specifically mentioned, or indeed where racism doesn't seem evident to the naked eye, probably grew up with lots of casual racism in the home (like I did). We know it when we see it -- though admittedly that's not a really great argument to bring to the table when you're accusing someone of racism.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2009 [5 favorites]

"You lie!" was totally racist, though. Not in that he didn't want to have a black president, but in that he so hated the idea of immigrants and visitors getting healthcare, even if it meant they paid for it themselves with no government assistance, as worded in the bill. Joe Wilson was irate; practically frothing at the mouth. The only reason a person would get so mad would be because he literally thought an abomination was going on. And people who hate immigration that passionately aren't angry about losing the possibility to do dishes for $6 an hour, or that they might end up paying for the DMV to print bilingual driver tests. They're angry that Hispanic people can get into our country and be treated with some modicum of dignity.

And it's fiscally dumb not to provide preventative care for everyone in the country, legal or otherwise, regardless of your view on immigration. Immigrants are a low-income group that are likely to put off getting medical concerns looked at until they have a real medical emergency, meaning they go to the ER and end up costing taxpayers more for their service, and creating WAIT LINES (apparently public enemy number one these days) for emergency care.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:09 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

It's not about racism. It's about rationality vs. insanity.
posted by Eideteker at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

In exchange for listening to my three rants, here's a video of O'Reilly and Glenn Beck trying to figure out how Jay-Z, a man who disagrees with them politically, can also support 9/11 rescue workers. The moneyshot is when Glenn Beck implies that we live in a post-racial America.

This seems a bit like the fatalist conservatives who say that global warming is beyond the tipping point and there's nothing we can do, so we may as well keep driving Hummers. Glenn Beck is saying that as race is over, we no longer need to think about it and apparently can no longer make a big deal out of it. Thus, he should be able to say that Obama is racist with impunity. Granted, that's just what I saw when I decided to go past the logical event horizon of his argument.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:19 PM on September 16, 2009

For a good history of black conservative thought from a fair-handed perspective, I'd recommend Saviors or Sellouts: The Promise and Peril of Black Conservatism, from Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice. I'm not sure that
posted by jedicus at 6:08 PM on September 16, 2009

cjorgensen, I dunno if my intention would've been clearer if I'd put my title for this on the front page. Maybe not, because racism in the US is just so complex, and I get frustrated with people who try to make it simple. I agree with mccarty.tim's first comment, and when time passes, I'll forgive him for making me watch O'Reilly and Beck. :)

Did anyone see the picture of the tea bag protester who had a sign saying something like, "Anything I say, you'll say it's racist"? I should've bookmarked it.

rusty, Wilson might be racist, but his "You lie!" wasn't. If Bill Clinton had given the same speech, Wilson would've yelled at him, too. The basic breakdown for poverty in the US in 2005 was 49% white, 25% black, 23% Hispanic/Latino, and 3% Asian. While the numbers have increased, I suspect the percentages are about the same. Wilson doesn't discriminate here: he thinks no one should benefit from universal health care.
posted by shetterly at 6:11 PM on September 16, 2009

A couple points on this.

First, it doesn't matter what Obama does or doesn't believe in his own heart. He has to say what he said. There's literally nothing else he can say in that position. He's the president. He absolutely cannot stand up there and say, "Yes, the nasty white people are being mean to me, make them stop." You could have the head of the KKK say on CNN that this is all about Obama being black, and the official White House position would still be just what it is.

Second, it's not as though the Republicans and the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and their various secret puppet masters would be playing nice if, just say, John Kerry was the President. Clinton was white and that didn't do him a hell of a lot of good.

But there are a lot of different issues whirling around in all this, and a lot of them absolutely are about race. Interestingly, as has been argued upthread, it's at least as much about white/latino tensions as it is about Obama's blackness. But his race absolutely is one of the strains of this.

Finally, who cares what Michael Steele says? What credibility does he have on anything? Not even his own party thinks he has any credibility and, ironically, that's got more than a little to do with his own blackness. They put him in charge of the party to be their Obama, and he's a freaking idiot. I'm sure he's just confirmed all of Republicans' worst assumptions about black people and their capabilities. Somewhere, a Republican is looking at Michael Steele and thinking, "Christ, someone just like him has his finger on the nuclear button. We are all going to die."
posted by Naberius at 7:56 PM on September 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

A few more links that seem pertinent:

12% Say Most Opponents of Obama Health Care Plan Are Racist

Mason Weaver speaks "prompter free" at the Tea Party. (Don't click if hearing the usual conservative rhetoric from a black speaker especially bugs you.)
posted by shetterly at 9:20 PM on September 16, 2009

merely an attempt to dismiss reality.

You can't tell me that reality didn't have it coming. Did you see its last performance review?

It really isn't completely fair to condemn people as racist for their dislike of this plan. There's no doubt that there were some racists in that crowd, but I really don't think that's what it is about.

That being said, the way that I seem to see racism dealt with always seems really not at all productive. The thought process always looks to me to be:

1. Racism is bad, if you are exceptionally racist you will be correctly condemned by the Disneyesque morality of a society which has no capacity for forgiveness in these areas.
2. I am not bad, at least not like, oh say Jafar, or Voldemort.
3. Therefore, I am not racist. I maintain no capacity for judging my actions individually, for that would be tiresome, and any guilt I might have for not living near, working with, or maintaining any cultural connection to anyone not of my race is easily expunged by such Good Samaritan acts as offering helpful advice to passerbys; like explaining that they might be more gainfully employed if they took better care of their appearance, or cut some of the slang out of their English.

It was particularly frusterating during the campaign, when people would work themselves into knots with euphemisms, like saying "I'm not ready for a black president". If you aren't ready for a president, purely because he's black, that is a racist sentiment. You, being a person who has expressed a racist sentiment, could at least for the moment be described as a racist.

I'm aware it isn't any fun to consider that you aren't a good person, it isn't any fun when I do it, and I can't maintain the effort to keep it up 100% of the time either. But damn, "racist" is a word with a specific meaning. It isn't just a thing you are not. (See, my capacity to write what I just wrote is a subtle form of racism, what if I really think that black people talk poorly and don't care how they look? Son of a bitch, Harry was right to take me out, I totally had it coming...)
posted by SomeOneElse at 9:27 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

> they think a black man with a foreign name can't be American. But that's the fringe.

Not such a fringe idea, it seems.
posted by cj_ at 9:42 PM on September 16, 2009

What an awful video. We get it, the "teabaggers" are stupid. The name they chose for themselves was proof enough of that. Just let their little protests run out of fuel on their own.

(And yet, once I clicked on the link, I watched the whole thing. Damn.)
posted by voltairemodern at 10:04 PM on September 16, 2009

"Black Republican" is a job that pays quite well. Simple supply and demand.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:30 PM on September 16, 2009

Of all of our living presidents, Jimmy Carter walks the talk when it comes to issues of social justice and right and wrong. If he says "an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American" then I think middle America would do well to stfu and listen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Jimmy Havok, it's true. People talk about blacks turning against Obama, but I suspect the ones he's "losing" are Republicans who voted for him. I went looking for the current percentage of blacks in the Republican Party, and it's even lower than I expected. According to Republican Base Heavily White, Conservative, Religious, it's 2%.
posted by shetterly at 11:02 PM on September 16, 2009

He's the president. He absolutely cannot stand up there and say, "Yes, the nasty white people are being mean to me, make them stop."

I agree. I also think that some on the right would just LOVE it if Obama even mentioned racism, so they could jump up and down yelling about "the race card" and how desperate he has become.
posted by orme at 6:47 AM on September 17, 2009

2. I am not bad, at least not like, oh say Jafar, or Voldemort.
It would be great if there was a word that conveyed something along the lines of racism-lite, that allowed people to critically evaluate racialized behaviors and thoughts without admitting to being the cultural equivalent of pedophile-Voldemort. I think people could look at themselves more easily if something like ignorantly but innocently assuming all Black people come from the ghetto was lingustically separated from cross-burning and lynchings.
posted by fermezporte at 8:33 AM on September 17, 2009

Blazecock Pileon: "Of all of our living presidents, Jimmy Carter walks the talk when it comes to issues of social justice and right and wrong. If he says "an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American" then I think middle America would do well to stfu and listen."

That's true, but he was an environmentalist and a Democrat and Reagan was elected after his term. Reagan was elected to counter Carter's policies. Saying good things about Carter is an insult to the Reagan family and everything Reagan stood for, so it's really in poor taste to impugn a national hero like that. Many people haven't finished grieving, so show some respect.


Seriously, Jimmy Carter must be the most underrated president in recent history. Thirty years ago, he wanted to address the issues we're coming to the wire against today. He may not have had the cowboy rhetoric of Reagan, but I feel like Carter really tried to do right by his God and his country. There were no shady backroom dealings to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua by selling arms to Iran. He didn't believe abortion was right, but he wanted it to remain safe and legal so that people who inevitably do get it are safe. Also unlike Reagan, he actually paid off some of the national debt. And when he was out of office, he did humanitarian work even though he could have just spent the rest of his days watching TV in retirement and nobody would hold it against him.

This really comes down to the right being better at branding than the left. Reagan's really a mixed bag, at best, but right wingers act like he was the only recent politician to understand how to run America, and many left wingers get swept along and say stuff like, "Where have all the good, sensible Republicans like Reagan gone?" Meanwhile, we let Carter become the "gag" president, although it seems Bush II may take that spot in future generations.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:46 AM on September 17, 2009

shetterly: Wilson might be racist, but his "You lie!" wasn't. If Bill Clinton had given the same speech, Wilson would've yelled at him, too.

The "You lie!" was specifically a response to Obama's statement that his plan would not cover illegal aliens. It wasn't about poor people generally, it was about illegal aliens. The illegal aliens infesting Wilson's feverish imagination are, I guarantee you, Latino. I'm saying that he is essentially proceeding from a (possibly not even examined) racist premise -- that illegal aliens are inherently less valuable as human beings, to the extent that they should not be extended the human right of basic health care.

Now I agree with you, that he doesn't seem to think a whole shitload of legal americans should either, but he's not uncontrollably yelling out in the middle of a speech by the freaking President about those people.
posted by rusty at 9:48 AM on September 17, 2009

Blazecock and mccarty.tim, I agree the world would be a better place if Carter had had a second term, but his presidency did have some appalling aspects. I sometimes wonder if he's driven now over guilt for his handling of East Timor and his support for the Shah and Somoza.

rusty, good point about the timing of the yell. I'm in Arizona near the border and I lived in California; I've seen the way poor brown-skinned Spanish speakers are treated as cheap, forgettable labor by rich people of all hues. But the conservative hatred of illegal aliens isn't always racist. Black, Asian, and Hispanic conservatives share it. If we had poor Canadians or Norwegians entering the US for work and health care, they'd be just as upset. I think in most cases, it's an extreme form of tribalism or class hatred at work, not racism. (The Bush family has a fine example: Jeb's wife was born in Mexico.)
posted by shetterly at 10:40 AM on September 17, 2009

Huh. I never thought the US Forest Service was prejudiced against HIspanics: US Forest Service apologizes for linking tortillas, Spanish music to armed pot growers But it makes sense: the drug war is the most racist thing I know of in the USA.
posted by shetterly at 1:13 PM on September 17, 2009

Jesse Washington's Dueling 'racist' claims defuse once powerful word.
posted by shetterly at 7:53 PM on September 17, 2009

Obama's got the best line on this subject. From The president and the potato: "First of all, I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election."
posted by shetterly at 4:08 PM on September 21, 2009

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