Friday, September 23, 2011

Electoral Racism

Melissa Harris-Perry lays it out.

The 2012 election may be a test of another form of electoral racism: the tendency of white liberals to hold African-American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts. If old-fashioned electoral racism is the absolute unwillingness to vote for a black candidate, then liberal electoral racism is the willingness to abandon a black candidate when he is just as competent as his white predecessors.

That's just a tease.!


  1. That was a great column, it put in words what I've been thinking and sensing in our politics since he was elected.

  2. I think Obama's problem is not racial. People wanted him to be tough and stop the Tea Party. The fact that stopping the Tea Party may not have been possible is irrelevant to them. They want results, and don't care the reason why when they don't get them.

    Of course, not voting for Obama would have a devastating effect on the nation. If we get one more conservative on the Supreme Court, America will lose a century of progress.

    Also, we don't know what the Obama with nothing to lose will be like and if he can get a democratic congress back, he has the desire and opportunity to do great things.

  3. David Sirota substituted for Randi Rhodes on her radio show tonight. He totally trashed Melissa Harris-Perry AND that is exactly what Melissa is talking about.

    David has a local morning show and often spends a good part of three hours, 5 days a week trashing President Obama. He is a sad example of the Professional Left who can only operate in attack mode!

    Many of the comments on Melissa's article sound like they have personally been attacked. If that is the way that they perceive the article, then they deserve it.

    I wonder sometimes if, when the negativity seems to overwhelm comments, we could somehow band together and offer a different opinion in order to balance things out a little. There is so much out there that it might only be possible if we selected specific bloggers to stand up for; otherwise it would just be too overwhelming. Any ideas? Would something like this even be possible?

  4. Mo'nin', Ms. Pants

    Trustin' you're well today.

    John, as I recall it, Clinton wasn't 100% successful in all he tried. And, because he couldn't manage himself, he managed to get himself impeached.

    I don't, however, recall all of this "I'm sooooo disappointed" business (Clinton couldn't even get Healthcare out of the gate and, through compromise, made it fine to discriminate in the U.S. military - just for example) going on with him.

    So, what would you believe the difference is such that we didn't experience that then, in spite of his failings, but hear this stuff now?

  5. MHP was spot on. I read the comments in that piece and it sickens me to think that the majority of the comments were sooooo defensive. It just proved her point, though.

    Doesn't matter what you name it, as long as you claim it. And from what I read, folks are claiming their racism and are defending it fiercely.

  6. I'm so glad MHP wrote that article. It has started a great conversation and I hope people really think about what she said. Some people are still saying Obama hasn't accomplished anything but he did get healthcare done and Clinton didn't, he did sign the fair sentences law and clinton was responsible for it not being fair, he did repeal DADT and Clinton was responsible for putting that in place.

    But still liberals find something to scratch at to say it's nothing. I think it't time for liberals to stop wanting Obama to be like (whoever) for the day and accept that he's Obama.

  7. Blackman,

    Is there another John here or have you simply started a discussion with yourself and an imaginary John?

    I cannot imagine a greater non sequitur.

  8. No, John Myste I'm talking to you.

    You said: "I think Obama's problem is not racial".

    I'm pointing out how his Democratic predecessor really did a number of things rather poorly. He, as MHP is pointing out re: what Obama is going through with some Liberals, didn't go through this - including when he got his undisciplined self impeached.

    It has nothing to do with any sequiturs non or otherwise.

    I see no need for: "have you simply started a discussion with yourself and an imaginary John?"

    Because of that there all kinds of things that could be said, but I'm not going to do that as it would be attacking and that's not gonna get anybody anywhere.

    If you would, please give your: "I think Obama's problem is not racial" statement some more detail.

  9. Blackman,

    I see you were speaking to me, my mistake. Your comment did make sense and my confusion over it did not.

    I think you misunderstood my original comment, but I have lost some credibility, so I have to be careful, now don’t I? I will elaborate in a minute, but first ...

    As for Clinton, you are correct. He was not always successful. In fact, I don't even give him credit for his legacy, something I just wrote a post about a few hours ago, that I may or may not actually post. I did like him and I hate to defame him.

    I do not hold Obama accountable for being thwarted at every turn by the Tea Party. Clinton never had to deal with forces like that. I intend to vote for Obama and happily.

    However, those who are unhappy with Obama would have been just as unhappy with Clinton if he were in this situation. Clinton presided over an “Age of Prosperity” (the title of my post, should I decide to post it). Obama presided over and age of desperation. Those who elected Obama wanted him to fix it. They were voting for change, a change that never happened.

    I do not blame Obama because the change did not happen. Those who do blame Obama, blame him because the change they expected didn't happen and they found him to be too compromising, and they fear this is the reason. I disagree that this is the reason, so I don’t blame Obama. None of that has anything to do with his race.

    If your argument is that the populace was not too racist to elect Obama, but they are too racist to keep him, then I do not agree. I find that argument, whose ever it is, to be ridiculous.

  10. John - I think you get into trouble when you make a statement like this: "None of that has anything to do with his race."

    Race is ALWAYS involved. You could make an argument about whether or not it has a large or small impact. But to assume it doesn't enter into the equation is just not credible.

  11. Smartypants, you are correct in your assessment. In the case of Obama, I think it is small and more about the politics.

  12. John - I'd just caution you that white people have ALWAYS underestimated the impact of race.

    I know I was shocked when a friend of mine told me that her husband - a lifelong Northern Democrat - wasn't supporting Obama in the primaries simply because he was Black. There's that kind of thing combined with the unconscious affects racism has on all of us that we don't even recognize.

    So I tend to take what I can sense myself and multiply it by some factor just to perhaps be in the ballpark.

  13. I will accept that racism is mus-estimated universally. I suspect the errors exist on both sides of the racist line. If Clinton were president, he would be getting the same treatment Obama is getting. You were correct that some people are swayed by race. Also, some are not and or more passionate about the politics of the situation, and I suspect that is the case now, just as it was in 2008.

    I am sure some people did not vote for Obama because he was black and some voted for him because he was.

    He presented himself as the speaker with the greatest overall long-term vision, and he was very articulate, intelligent, and promising.

    That is why he was a elected. If there had been a white alternative, race may have had an impact, but there was not and the choice was clear.

    Now, many people are disappointed and the majority of them are probably motivated by the politics of the situation today just as they were in 2012.

    I know racism exists and you primarily have convinced me that it is more prevalent that I see from my ivory tower.

    However, I also think that the victims of racism will be the last ones to let it go, and one day, their perspective will be the only one that even considers race. This is not an indictment. It is understandable.

  14. John - I would have been happy to just agree to disagree until you got to that last paragraph. To be honest, I think that kind of assessment is pretty sweeping and comes from privilege rather than experience.

    Being a victim is something that seems to be embraced by our culture these days - no matter your race. So I don't see it as any more prevalent for African Americans or any more affected by the racism they experience.

    Here's something to read that might challenge your thinking about that.

  15. I read the title, so I may see where it was going. I was engaged in about a half a dozen debates today when I realized that I had something due for work today. I withdrew from all discussions, leaving them incomplete, except for this one, as I thought I could wrap it up quickly.

    For this reason, I don't have time to get so heavily into it. I will say this, though:

    I am NOT saying that I think African Americans are crying victim where no racism exists. I am not saying that at all.

    I also am not saying that racism is not common.

    I am speaking mostly from a position of inexperience. I have never been a victim of racism and I probably cannot comprehend it.

    I know racism exists and I know there are people who do not like Obama because he is black.

    I also think that he was elected while these people existed and the forces that are driving the anti-Obama movement on the Left are political, not racial, which is pretty much proven by the fact that he had a high approval rating which dropped as he failed to adequately challenge certain Tea Party policies.

    Is there anything that could happen with Obama that you would attribute to Obama and not his race? Liberals enthusiastically elected him and loved him and now many of them are disgruntled. Do you see this?

    There is an old saying: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” There are lots of tools and hardware that are not racism. Many of the blogs I visit went from loving Obama to hating him. They did not suddenly realize they were racist and had just forgotten. They are judging him on the perceived fact that when he goes toe to toe with the Tea Party, the Tea Party wins.

    Now that argument is not a given, because the war with the Tea Party isn’t over.

  16. I've never claimed that the disappointment in Obama is all and only about race. I'm just not sure I'm ready to see it as an inconsequential factor.

    Most of it operates on that unconscious level, so no - folks didn't just wake up and realize they were racist.

    The Michael Moore/Bill Mahr latest is a perfect example. MM quoted BM saying that they voted for the black half of Obama and got the white half.

    What do you think they mean by that? BM has also been known to talk about wanting Obama to let the "gansta" out.

    So no, I'm not saying there aren't actual politics involved. But this is a theme I see joining with those at times in a way that makes it hard to deny the racism (and sexism for that matter).

    Now...go get that work done!


  17. BM exploit all stereotypes. He is a comedian. This is not racism in my opinion. I think we are not going to agree. I guess you could argue that everyone natural is suspicious and less respectful by default to things that are different than they are. That is human nature for most people. I am a xenophile, so I consider myself the opposite, which is no better.

    I think we both agree that I have little experience on which to base my opinion and that racism exists.

    I just think politics is driving at the moment. OK, back to work.

  18. Goodness!!

    The brotha has a full day (had two services to sing at church - daughter came over - watched Bridesmaids - hiLARious! - I will NOT get into the Rams, though) and alla THIS happens.

    Brav o and a.

    I didn't misunderstand you, John. Just ain't into shenanigans. Plus, Ms. Pants runs an EXcellent joint, I REALLY respect her, and, regardless, I shall always, if I'm gonna be involved in discourse, honor the tone she's set. Now...

    THANK YOU for your response and the excellent back and forth that is enlightening for us all that you and Ms. Pants have had.

    I agree with you re: what Clinton and Obama were/are presiding over. The situations themselves, indeed, do explain a goodly degree of response from the people.

    Now, I may be wrong, but you seem to be arguing a rather common position when race is attempted to be discussed. You acknowledge that racism exists but seem to also be saying: "Does it exist in EVerything? Can't it just be that people are reacting to him because of the situation of it all and his skin color have nothing to do with it?"

    Ms. Pants put it quite succinctly - it's ALWAYS there. So, if we're gonna be honest, re: Obama - we ARE gonna have to look at racial aspects. IF we are gonna be honest. Therein, here's one that always gets me and you spoke to it.

    You point out that The Left is upset with Obama because he compromises with the Tea Party and the Tea Party "always" wins. Now, just to be clear, I'm understanding that you're saying that that's one the The Left's chief complaints.

    As I see it, annnd a number of other analysts do as well - including Ms. Pants - the Tea Party hasn't won at all. Obama has out flanked them time and again. Yet, if we are to visit a number of the "progressive" blogs, we hear, not just disappointment, but negative descriptors of him that have to do with what he looks like or how it's believed he's supposed to act because of what he looks like. ( Frankly, I think the people want VENGEANCE. THAT is what, indeed, he has not done. And, while he is quite fine with winning, he's explained why he's gone about doing it they way he has. And, I believe he'll continue to do so).

    No, sir. Mr. Clinton didn't go through what Mr. Obama is going through - strictly because of how he looks - from the Right and DEFinitely not from the Left. And, lest we forget...

    Clinton himself, while the '08 primary was occurring, had some choice commentary re: Obama after South Carolina. And, of course, there were the comments made by his wife during Penn.

    Race, John, has been at work in our dear country since 1619. And, progress, I would say sigNIficant progress has been made. HowEVer...

    Because of the institutional and subtle aspects that it's now dressed in, if one, either, isn't very familiar with these current presentations or just flat refuses to acknowledge it at all, one can stay in denial.

    You acknowledge that you have little experience in this neck of the woods. Not easy to make that kind of admission. Thank you. But, might I encourage that, then, you consider doing some of these things that Ms. Pants has presented. It's a process and not easy.

    But, I assure you, you will be aMAZED at what you will actually start to see that's always been there.

  19. Mr. Blackman,

    You point out that The Left is upset with Obama because he compromises with the Tea Party and the Tea Party "always" wins.

    I believe if you will review the record, you will find that I did not state that the Tea Party wins, since whether it wins or not is irrelevant to the discussion. What I said, and will now repeat is this:

    They are judging him on the perceived fact that when he goes toe to toe with the Tea Party, the Tea Party wins.

    The left perceives that the Tea Party wins. That is the issue.

    I will say, that even if they have been out-flanked, they have won an awful lot. Obama has Pyrrhic victories under his belt. None were free. Everyone thought Obama was going to be a grand savoir, no matter how much crazy opposition he had. They built a super hero, and he turned out to be a man. They are angry because he did not meet their expectations. He speaks well, heroically, and they judged him on his eloquence, but once in office, eloquence does not seal the deal.

    You acknowledge that racism exists but seem to also be saying: "Does it exist in Everything?

    I am not saying that. Ms. Pants pretty much showed that this would not be an accurate statement. I clarified my position with this:

    I think we both agree that I have little experience on which to base my opinion and that racism exists.

    I just think politics is driving at the moment

    As I see it, and a number of other analysts do as well - including Ms. Pants - the Tea Party hasn't won at all.

    Again, whether the Tea Party is actually winning is not the issue. The issue is that much of the Bush policies remained America’s course. Obama did accomplish many things, some of which I listed at John Myste Responds while trying to get angry liberals to vote for him instead of wasting their vote by “voting Green.”

    Yet, if we are to visit a number of the "progressive" blogs, we hear, not just disappointment, but negative descriptors of him that have to do with what he looks like or how it's believed he's supposed to act because of what he looks like.

    For every one of these you can find, I can find 100 references to his politics that have nothing to do with any of this.

    No, sir. Mr. Clinton didn't go through what Mr. Obama is going through - strictly because of how he looks - from the Right and Definitely not from the Left.

    You are misdiagnosing the political climate on the left. Ms. Pants accurately implied that I could not be objective from my ivory tower. However, you clearly cannot be objective from where you stand. It seems to me that you see all negative results around you as products of racism. Sometimes people dislike black men because of their politics. I am a xenophile and I generally like thinks unlike me. I have not had a white girlfriend in many years. I have had Asian, Hispanic and Black, until four years ago when I married my African American wife. And yet, I cannot stand Clarence Thomas. The fact that I don’t like Clarence Thomas does not make me a racist. If Clarence Thomas were president, I would never convince you that my disgust for him was race-free.

    But, I assure you, you will be aMAZED at what you will actually start to see that's always been there.

    I know this is true. She already shocked me with her prison stats. Largely due to my patronage of this site, I am convinced that racism is far more prevalent than I know. This fact does not mean that politics cannot therefore be the main driver of a situation. Obama is suffering a political nightmare right now, and those politics move people far more than their latent (or transparent) racism.

  20. On, and, my Monday morning deadline is met. Work done. I know everyone was concerned.

  21. 2

    Mo'nin', John

    I have, TWICE now, attempted to respond to you. For whatever the reason - the first was my thumb - my response didn't post.

    I'll REALLY try to capsulize it this way.

    I wasn't as clear as I should've been re: understanding that you were giving a position of The Left. I got you. I knew that that's what you were doing and that it wasn't YOUR position.

    Not gonna go back and forth with you, using this approach - politics - to try to get you to see what MHP, me, and Ms. Pants are talking about. That's not what's gonna work for you. You're quite good at going tit for tat.

    My wife's white. Been married almost 28 years. I'm 60. And, a private practice psycho-therapist. And, therein, is how you're gonna get there.

    Your marriage to your dear bride. And, if you become or are a dad.....

    I'll break this down a LOT more, but I gotta get ready to make it.

    Thank you for your response and QUITE good to meet you.

  22. Yuck!

    TOO rushed.

    Firstly. I apologize for not being more clear. I really did understand you were stating a position of The Left. Again, sorry I didn't do a better job of explaining myself.

    You seem to be saying to me that you'd like to get it better. Arguing politics isn't going to be the way to do that - on it's face - with you. For the reason I did state.

    We're actually having "the classic" argument and we both are taking "the classic" sides. Which is why I'm saying the key, for you, is gonna be through your marriage.

    Didn't like how my previous post came out at all. I'm rushed now. But, I'm not yellin' at you or ticked. My first post, to me, sounds like I am. I'm honestly not

    I'll get back to you and take my time.

  23. Blackman,

    What school of psychology do you embrace? What is y our approach? Just curious.

    As for how to get through to me, I am not sure how long your resume is, but you may need to bring a few colleagues. My skull is thick and gooey.

    I was never offended, sir, and I hope youa aren't either.

  24. Alright....I think I know what the problem is.

    I've, again, typed a response to you. It will NOT post. Believe the issue is the length. It wouldn't even show up as I tried to preview it. So...

    I'd like very much for us to continue our conversation.

    Additional means to get in touch with you? Carrier pigeon? Marathon runner??

  25. And, Ms. Pants

    She's posted another one.

    She wrestled with this because, she acknowledges that it sounds defensive.

    But, I think it's quite good.

  26. I saw her response column earlier today. Its GREAT and I wanted to write about it. But other things have distracted - like what I actually do for a living LOL.

    I'll have to see if I can clear my head and have a go at it this evening.

  27. Blackman,

    I often write posts that are too large, and as you predicted you cannot post them as one chunk.

    Blogger allows a maximum of 4096 characters, so you have to break the comment into pieces.

    Also, blogger does not work very well with IE and it does not give you good feedback.

    If you run Mozilla Firefox and post in 4096 character chunks or smaller, I think you would be OK.