Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Racists, as Far as the Eye Can See

I watched Juan Williams the other night on some Fox show (I think it was Hannity). He's a liberal, but he's typically been someone who says good things (he and Bill Cosby have given talks together about personal responsibility in the black community). So while Williams approaches problems from a different angle than I do, I expect him to speak rationally and seriously.

He said that racism is at the heart of the right's disagreement with Obama.

I didn't know whether to be disappointed or angry; I was certainly shocked. It's the oddest thing to go through life thinking that you're doing your best to judge folks on the content of their characters and not the color of their skin and to suddenly be informed that the political views that you've held--well, since a white guy was at the head of the Democratic Party--are actually racist.

There aren't too many things more universally decried in this country than racism. Everyone except the unhinged believes that racism is wrong. Oh, I'm not saying it doesn't exist. But I don't know anyone who would say racist things out loud and not be called on it--and I live in the heart of Dixie. It's no longer socially acceptable (thank God). To be labeled a racist has been a damning, destructive thing--something that any right-thinking person would go out of his way to avoid.

But you know what? I'm starting to not care. I'm starting to wonder if most of the racism in this country these days isn't coming from a nontraditional direction. And it's like the boy who cried wolf--keep labeling decent folk racists and pretty soon nobody's going to blink when an actual racist comes along and the left tries to point him out.

In fact, all of this hoopla about Tea Partiers being racists has made me want to join the movement even more. It's just one more thing that ticks me off--and I've decided not to take any of this lying down. I'm not a racist and I would defy anyone to produce a shred of evidence that I am, so I'm digging in my heels this time.

The left has over played its hand. Cries of racism have worked in the past, so it was natural that they'd try them again. But this time they've painted with too broad a brush and the label won't stick.

More later...

27 comments:

  1. So true! I was shocked to wake-up the other day and discover the body politic (at least the left side)now considers me a racist.

    Kevin H.

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  2. That IS disappointing...I often respect what Juan Williams has to say. He says silly things, but often times with sincerity and authenticity. Bummer.

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  3. Al Sharpton calls black Republicans "House Negroes"....but that's not racist. *eyeroll*

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  4. First of all, I wouldn't call Juan Williams a liberal. At least, not by my standards. I think he's much more middle of the road. Eh, maybe by Fox's standards he is a liberal.

    Anyway, I see your point. It's not fair to say that anyone who opposes a black president's policies is a racist. It's ridiculous and divisive.

    I didn't vote for Obama, and I don't consider myself a racist.

    Still, I don't think it's ridiculous to say that race IS in fact a factor in this political climate. Why are the most conservative, anti-Obama tea partiers almost 100 percent white? Why are so many poor whites in the south opposed to Obama policies that would benefit them?

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  5. I'm not sure what a liberal is, if Williams isn't a reliable one. I can remember him talking about how the press was unfair to John Kerry while that presidential campaign was going on. It took him months before he could talk about Obama without tears in his eyes. He ranted against the Iraq War when it was popular to do so (in other words, when Bush was in office). He has stated that the health care bill "makes America better." What does he need to do to be considered a liberal in your book -- wear a Che Guevara t-shirt on tv?

    Let's look at your last two questions. First, "Why are the most conservative, anti-Obama tea partiers almost 100 percent white?"

    It's actually pretty hard to get statistics on people who attend Tea Party rallies because it's not a group with organization--it's a movement. There are a lot of independents among its adherents and the rumor is that there are even some moderate Democrats among its numbers. But you're not asking about them, right? Just the "most conservative, anti-Obama" ones? I have two guesses on that. Obama is enjoying a 96% approval rating among blacks. So most folks who are anti-Obama aren't black.

    And the Tea Party movement began after a CNBC analyst (Rick Santelli) did an on-air rant in favor of capitalism and called for a new "Tea Party" while he was on the trading floor. It stands for "Taxed Enough Already" and was a reaction to profligate spending by representatives who have forgotten the folks they're supposed to represent. Since 83% of the folks who pay taxes are white, one would expect an overwhelming white representation in a tax protest group. Wouldn't one?

    And rather than answer your final question, I have one for you: why did so many poor whites in the south oppose Kerry/Gore/Clinton policies that would benefit them? It's not like the south turned red in 2008, after all.

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  6. Molly, I am unaware of any Obama policies that will/have benefit(ed) anyone of any income level in any region of the nation. So I'm not sure upon what you've based your last question.

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  7. Alex, it's the old "What's the Matter with Kansas?" argument. Liberals think that what should matter most to poor people is money, so they should support anything the government does that will shovel more entitlements their way. The thing is, though, that a lot of other things matter to folks. Freedom, for instance. And free enterprise--the hope that if you work hard enough you can lift yourself out of your current circumstances and make a better life. Liberals, as a group, need poor folks in order to justify their desire for huge federal government expansion. It's frustrating for them when some of the poor folks don't play along. So--it must be racism.

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  8. Tangent point: Obama was not on the ticket in Michigan during the primaries--conceding to DNC pressure to boycott because MI moved up their primary. Something like 70% of the black vote in that election went to "undecided."

    One would assume that had these voters been out to vote for Obama because they were so informed on his issues, rather than simply his race, they would have been informed enough to know he wasn't on the ballot.

    I'm just sayin'

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  9. Oh Jesus. One day with this conservative blog and the word "freedom" has already been thrown out there. You're right, liberals do think money matter to poor people. You know who else thinks that? Poor people! Money matters to everyone (just ask Ward!).

    "lift yourself out of your current circumstances," I bet you were just trying not to say, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps."

    It's not that easy, folks. Some of us in this country need help, financial help or otherwise. I can remember when I lived in Mississippi there was a difference between the white (conservative) poor and the black (liberal poor). Just from my experience, it was all race related.

    As far as the tea party goes. The BBC along with NPR took head counts at state Tea Party conferences. In Arkansas, one of the blackest states in the nation, not one person of color attended. Shameful.

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  10. And, if Juan Williams in fact DID wear a Che shirt on the air, he might possibly win me over. But after reading his books, along with Bill Cosby's, they seem a little too in line with one another.

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  11. Okay, let me see if I'm straight on this. Money matters to poor southern whites but not as much as their racism?

    My idea is that there are other things that matter more to them than money and I posited freedom and free enterprise. You scoffed at that but your original question begs some sort of answer. If poor southern whites are against Obama's policies that would benefit them and it's not because they are in favor of other positive things (like freedom -- sorry if that word troubles you -- and free enterprise), you are saying it's because they are racists who would rather be poor than vote for anything that helps black people? I don't think a fair reading of what you've written can come up with anything else (a kinder interpretation might be that you just think poor southern whites are stupid). Either way...hmmm. As a fifth-generation native southerner whose mother was born into a house without indoor plumbing, I'm going to take issue with that. With attitudes like yours, the south will be red for generations to come. We may be southern-stupid, but we know condescension when we see it.

    And -- we're all new here. This blog is less than 24 hours old and the posting rules have not been well defined. But in the future, I will delete any post that uses "God" or "Jesus" in any way that is not either worshipful or biographical. Now that we have a veep who says the f-word at a bill-signing ceremony in front of an open mike, I realize things are changing. But that word is nowhere near as offensive to me as using Jesus' name as an epithet or an exclamation or however you intended to use it.

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  12. Yes, Molly, I agree with you. Money matters to everyone. In plain language, our difference is in a solution for the lack thereof. Most on the left think that by handing out cash every month, that they are helping those without. In reality, what you are doing is perpetuating their dependence on Uncle Sugar, thus perpetuating their vote. Keep them poor and stupid and you get to stay in power.

    Most on the right would rather put limits on the amount you can collect at the handout window, with the emphasis on creating productive citizens of those that previously were dependent on QUIT BITING MY NOSE the dole. The success of any government entitlement (I hate that word) program should be determined by fewer and fewer people dependent on it. Obamacare makes success unattainable by mandating it's acceptance as a condition of living here.

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  13. I never said money didn't matter, btw. I just said it doesn't necessarily matter MOST. I know a lot of people for whom this is true (I hope I'm in that group, too). These days, especially, a lot of folks vote for reasons other than their pocketbooks. We don't have (in any significant numbers) abject poverty in this country--folks starving to death because absolutely no food is available, for example. Folks who live in landfills because they have no other choice. There is poverty and then there's POVERTY and God has blessed this country so much that there's little third-world-type destitution here. The safety nets are in place, there are private charities, etc. That makes it much easier for even poor folks to vote for policies that liberals think are not in their best interests. As for me, I'll let the voters decide just exactly what their interests are, even if they are poor, white southerners.

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  14. You need to pace yourself, can you possibly get this wound up over every blog entry? ;-)

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  15. Oh, she can. I won't be able to maintain that pace but I have no doubt Sharon could. A woman of passion, she is.

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  16. "Need" is not a claim on another person's property. You can "need" my money with every fiber of your being, but that does not give you a right to it.

    When we take from those with the greatest ability, to the greatest extent. And we rewards those with the greatest need, to the greatest extent. We will quickly see men clamoring not to demonstrate the highest levels of ability, but the most depraved levels of need.

    It is rather incontrifutable that welfare works to keep people in poverty by creating what we in the know like to call a "dependent class." If you want to reduce poverty, eliminate welfare. If you want to reduce unemployment, create "workfare." Paying people to get jobs will, without a doubt, encourage them to get jobs where as paying people to sit on their hands...well I'll leave you to solve that riddle. Emotions are not tools given to us for decision making Molly. I know how hard it is to look at the destitute, begging for scraps, and tell them "no." But giving them a hand out is like helping an addict by providing drugs (this is not to imply poor people are poor because of drug addiction--while this undoubtedly plays a part, I am only using a metaphor).

    I will direct your attention to some real-world examples of this trend:

    The World Trade Organization estimates that between 1980 and 1990 over 400million people in China were lifted out of poverty in no small part to what some label "sweat shop labor." On the other hand Africa, the world's greatest recipient of charity, still sucks nearly as much as it did 100years ago.

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  17. I don't know that money isn't what matters most to people. I'd agree to that. But there are other assumptions made here too: that the government can be trusted with money, that by taking money away from us at exorbitant rates, we're going to actually wind up richer. I don't see evidence for either of these.

    I think a lot of "poor southern whites" (and to my knowledge, I have the most present experience with this group as most of my co-workers qualify for numerous government programs) think that their going to see their bills go up, if not their taxes. They expect to see things at the store cost them more and just today on break I was talking with two of the dumbest employees (and people) I have ever met in my entire life, and even they understand that our boss isn't going to want to give us a raise if his taxes and his company's taxes go up sky-high.

    One of these men asked me "How do you spell 'think?' T-I-N-K, right?" and he understands trickle down economics better than our president.

    Money, I think, is the strongest motivator for most people. But that doesn't mean even the least educated among us think money grows on trees.

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  18. So I tried to read all the posts. What are we arguing about now? I agreed that saying people who don't agree with Obama are racist, so we all agree. Let's have a margarita and a group hug.

    Not every southern white is stupid or racist. But racism and lack of education in the South is a HUGE problem... like massive. J----s. Can I say that?

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  19. Ahhhhhhhhh!? Eliminate welfare? Ward, what kinds of people have you got me mixed up with.

    I lived on the Rosebud reservation for nearly a year. People there are living in 80 percent unemployment, and illiteracy rate you wouldn't believe and schools with three grades to one teacher. 11 people in one trailer, no electricity. How would you propose these folks live without welfare?

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  20. Molly wrote:

    "Not every southern white is stupid or racist. But racism and lack of education in the South is a HUGE problem... like massive. J----s. Can I say that?"

    Molly: I've spent decades in the NE, South, and Midwest, and I have to say the south is the least racist today of the 3. Civil rights struggles are certainly in our past, but the great majority of current residents of varying colors actually get along at work and at play better here than they do in places like NYC, or L.A. where gangs of rival ethnicities try to wipe each other out. Northern liberal effetes like to coddle themselves in ethnic isolation with warm thoughts of righting other people's perceived racial wrongs. Here in the south, we actually do get along, and we worry about the beam in our own eyes before complaining about the spec in yours.

    Molly also wrote:

    "People there are living in 80 percent unemployment, ... 11 people in one trailer, no electricity. How would you propose these folks live without welfare?"

    Uh? get jobs? Be like so many of us that had to move to find work. I had to pick up stakes in MI and get down to AL because my employer went out of business. I could have run all my money out and looked for welfare, but ahh, no thanks. Start at low wages and work up? Now, reservation problems are complex and there are no simple 1st causes, BUT, eliminating welfare, or making it harder to get than a job, would go a long way to helping people become more self reliant.

    And is "Jesus" (spelled out or missing letters) the ONLY exclamation you know of?

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  21. Molly, you are ignoring the fact that welfare increases poverty rates.

    You are trying to pull anecdotal evidence out and ask us for a detailed solution to a vague problem you know about that we don't. That's not the substance of this argument on welfare. The point at hand is that if we eliminated welfare, we would have fewer people in poverty.

    And I might point out that Alabama ranks higher in national education scores than great examples of progressivism like California.

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  22. Are you honestly recommending that poor Native Americans be forced to leave the reservation?

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  23. Who said "forced"?

    Everyone makes choices in life, Molly. Our family decided to live apart for two years when Bruce's company closed and he found work in Alabama. You seem to feel that living on welfare with 10 other people in a trailer is better than searching for gainful employment and being able to fend for oneself. I would disagree.

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  24. I think you also need to keep in mind that those ugly conservatives are not suggesting that welfare just be stopped tomorrow. Success should be determined, though, by how many can be weaned off of big government, not how many can become dependant on it.

    Native Americans on the reservation have a significant social problem, as do minorities living in the slums. The problem goes deep into the mindset of generational dependance on the government. As Alex said, if finding work is easier than getting welfare, perhaps this dependance can be eliminated over time.

    I know personally of numerous instances of people fully capable of working, receiving government handouts because they receive just enough to sustain a minimal lifestyle without having to work. Anyone who threatens this, is immediately labelled as cold and racist and rich.

    Come with me sometime as I collect rent in North O. I'll introduce you to the real world. The real world of pot smoke and big screen tvs and cadillacs in the parking lot, as the rent is paid with endorsed welfare checks. It is enough to make a person sick.

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  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0UIUdDMbeU&feature=player_embedded

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  26. AWESOME link, lilismusings. I noticed a number of black protesters, too, which is odd since the Tea Party movement is so racist and all...

    ;)

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