January 20th, 2014

Obama and those racist “folks”

Actually, compared to a lot of ways that Obama and his supporters have used the race card, this is relatively mild and balanced:

There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president,” Obama said in the article by David Remnick, appearing in [The New Yorker's] Jan. 27 edition.

“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” Obama said in his most direct comments on how race has affected his political standing since he’s been in office.

If you just look at the literal meaning of what Obama said, it’s certainly true. As a writer, I’ve often noticed people’s word choices, and that word “some” is especially useful. It means anything from one or two to many, and is almost always true, although not especially informative about numbers. As such, it’s a dodgy, safe word.

In other words, I have no doubt that there are some people (Obama likes to use “folks” when he’s feeling especially proletarian and wants to sound—folksy) who “really dislike” him “because they don’t like the idea of a black president.” I happen not to think they are especially numerous in terms of percentages of the populace, but to deny that “some” exist would be absurd. And although it’s rare for him to acknowledge the other side, which is that there are “some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” that statement is also undeniably true. In the latter case, the “some” is probably “many,”—more than the number who dislike him because he’s black.

Most of the anti-Obama racists probably don’t dislike him only because he’s black, of course. There are plenty of other reasons to dislike him. And most of the people who “dislike” him don’t care if he’s black, yellow, white, pink, brown, or green, but “dislike” him because they are against his policies and his power grabs, as well as his divisive rhetoric and his lies. There are even “some” people (and I believe they are very numerous) who detest him and his policies but were originally predisposed to like him and give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s black, but over time he’s worn down their goodwill and now they have no doubt and therefore no benefit to give him anymore.

So, what’s Obama doing in the above statement? Well, it’s a version of something he likes to do quite a bit, which is to bring up a topic such as race in a way that sounds reasonable on the face of it but is actually a call to his supporters to use what he says in a different way: i.e. to continue with their incessant charges that dislike of Obama’s policies is grounded in anti-black racism. He has never to my knowledge spoken out against those who make that charge, and he’s been encouraging them to do so in ways both subtle and un- ever since his campaign in 2008.

I described the phenomenon in some detail in this post from July of 2008. But perhaps the best quote to show you how early Obama was doing this and how basic it was to his campaign is from this post written in June of 2008, which I believe is the first time I remarked on it. It’s not a very long post, so I’ll just repeat it here in its entirety:

Barack Obama, the candidate who wants to end divisiveness, and who wants to run a clean and honorable campaign without negativity, said the following in a recent campaign speech at a Florida fund-raising reception:

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

We have here a truly masterful attempt to flames of paranoia on the part of his followers and adopt the mantle of victimization for himself, thus raising rather than lowering the amount of divisiveness and vitriol in the campaign. Pretty good for just a couple of sentences.

Obama is correct in saying that there have been racist remarks against him. These have originated from fringe elements and/or commenters in the blogosphere and/or anonymous email campaigns. They focus on his “funny name,” for example, or the fact that he’s black.

But in this speech he appears to attribute—or to encourage his supporters to attribute—these charges to the entire Republican Party, couched as a threatening “they.” At the same time, he fails to differentiate these attacks—and actually connects them as part of an undifferentiated list—from extremely legitimate concerns that people have voiced about other characteristics of his, such as his inexperience.

In the final sentence of the paragraph he slyly encourages a phenomenon I’ve noticed happening more and more: the charge that any criticism of Obama emanates from racism. If the racism isn’t overt and clear, as in the emails, then it’s covert; “inexperience” (a valid concern based on the objective facts of his history) becomes a code word (wink wink) for hidden racism and fearmongering.

This is dangerous demagoguery.

Because one so seldom hears overt expressions of racism any more, and certainly not from mainstream candidates, there has been a tendency to imagine it is everywhere, but hidden. Here Obama cynically fosters that belief and encourages the definition of his entire opposition as energized by this impossible-to-prove—or, more importantly, impossible-to-disprove—motive.

No, it turns out that most of them haven’t mentioned he’s black, except in approving terms. But they don’t have to nowadays to be racists; Obama has taken care of that.

Speaking of giving Obama the benefit of the doubt—I continue to be astounded, looking back at 2008, that more people didn’t see the perniciousness of what he was doing at the time regarding race. Compared to what Obama was saying in 2008, his remarks to Remnick were mild. He can afford to be mild now because the damage has been done. The meme he planted so firmly in 2008 has borne tremendous fruit in terms of helping him get re-elected, and helping to further racial tensions in this country rather than dampen them down.

[NOTE: By the way, I'm tired of people writing that the fact that Obama's support from black people is 90+ percent is evidence of blacks' pro-Obama racism because he's a black man. Although it is almost certainly the case that blacks are extra-reluctant to abandon Obama, and that being black only enhances his support from blacks, the percentages of black people supporting Obama are not so very much higher than the percentages of black people supporting other recent Democratic presidents (or presidential candidates) such as Clinton or Gore or even Kerry. In fact, if you look at the following chart, you'll see that ever since the New Deal blacks have been quite solid in their support of Democratic presidential candidates, a support that went even higher after the passage of the Civil Rights Act during the 60s:

BlackVotePres

What's more, in recent years, even white Democrat candidates such as Clinton, Gore,and Kerry all lost the white vote, just as Obama did. If you want some mind-blowing statistics, take a look:

Add Obama's name to a long list of white Democrats who lost that demographic: Humphrey in 1968; McGovern in 1972; Carter in 1976 and 1980; Mondale in 1984; Dukakis in 1988; Clinton in 1992 and 1996; Gore in 2000.

In fact, white voters preferred Obama to Sen. John Kerry — who lost the white vote by 17 points in 2004, while Obama lost it in 2008 by "only" 12 points. Obama improved on Kerry's share of the white vote in every age demographic, including the 18- to 29-year-olds (which Kerry lost).

The truth is that minorities such as blacks constitute the margin of victory for Democratic candidates, black or white, on the national level, and this has been true for quite some time. The racial divide is not mostly about the race of the candidate, although it has a role. It is about the party affiliation of the candidate and the party affiliation of the members of the different races, and how differently the parties are perceived in terms of philosophy and action, including how each party affects each race. The irony, of course, is that black people have done poorly under Obama's watch, and under the welfare state as a whole.

Thomas Sowell wrote the book (literally) on this. Here's a small snippet of his thoughts.]

19 Responses to “Obama and those racist “folks””

  1. Don Says:

    It is very dangerous to have a president who acts this way.

  2. Don Says:

    Also, I was under the impression that blacks were Republican until LBJ and the Civil Rights Act. Guess that isn’t true.

  3. Sgt. Mom Says:

    The thing about Obama that makes me angriest, is that he has set back race relations at least fifty years, maybe more. His administration has empowered black racists to act out in the most damaging ways, starting with the knock-out game and going all the way up to Atty-Gen Holder openly favoring “his” people over any other ethnicity. I don’t see whites flocking to join a new KKK – being called a raaaaacist is still something which can do damage (especially if you are fairly certain in your heart that you are not) but I shouldn’t be surprised to know that whites are quietly and systematically disengaging with blacks whom they do not know and like personally. If there will ever be another black president, it will only be someone like Col. West. My .02 – YMMV.

  4. Matt_SE Says:

    This reminds me of our recent conversations about Democratic Jews: they do not self-identify as Jews so much as liberals. If forced to choose, they would overwhelmingly choose liberalism.

    I guess the same applies to blacks.

  5. Matt_SE Says:

    Also, with the observation that Democrats lose the white vote by double-digit margins each election, a cynic would suggest a direct correlation to Democrat policies designed to import more “people of color.”

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Democrat funded KKK in Reconstruction South did a relatively good job terrorizing the black population into voting for Democrats. Well, Republicans weren’t really a choice in the South. You either voted Democrat or got lynched. It was easier not to vote, due to Jim Crow.

    The Northern Democrats weren’t supporting abolition and equal rights for blacks either, btw.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Obama was helping to further racial tensions in this country long before 2008.

    An audio recording of the October 19, 1998 Loyola College forum on community organizing and policy making during which a future President Barack Obama said he favored the government redistribution of wealth.

    Video: In heated ’07 speech, Obama lavishes praise on Wright, says feds ‘don’t care’ about New Orleans

  8. J.J. Says:

    It’s notable that the per cent of blacks voting for democrats jumps in 1964 and stays high after that. 1964 was when LBJ started his “War on Poverty.” It was also LBJ who pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That was when the black population began to associate the democrats with being pro-civil rights. The south was populated with anti-civil rights democrats and had been the party of discrimination. LBJ managed to change all that. The democrats have managed to maintain that inaccurate picture for the last 50 years. Much to the disadvantage of the blacks as a whole.

  9. DNW Says:

    Yeah, can’t be that fascistic “positive liberty” yoke he wishes to impose on everyone, could it?

    I suppose the question of his melanin level and the amount of personal antagonism it might elicit in certain quarters of the political population might be more easily settled if we had in fact elected a black Baptist constitutionalist/libertarian lawyer farmer whose parents were not either political or moral aliens, and whose admitted role models were not anti-American, anti-freedom socialist subversives.

    But that did not happen. We did not get a black libertarian or conservative; and I doubt one could have been elected.

    Instead, an intellectually and morally degraded electorate, giddy with the prospect of receiving either a secular form of political absolution for their personal sins and conscienceless interpersonal obnoxiousness (the progressive version of salvation through politics), or the prospect of free stuff from others, elected someone who had essentially pledged to make them possessions of the state if he could.

    So, the undisputed facts about Obama, the man who became president of this country and succeeded with the help of the Democrat party in further insinuating fascist principles into law, is nauseating enough.

    Leftists like to seize upon remarks from opponents of Obama, which might be construed as challenging the legitimacy of his presidency. They wish to leverage that challenge into a challenge to the challenger: “Oh, what makes Obama so different, Hmmmm? ”

    The simple fact is that he’s different because he’s our first successfully elected “Manchurian candidate”. A man with absolutely none of the traditional connections to this country in terms of life experience or moral formation and ideology. He’s a man who has sought to, and succeeded in, undermining if not immediately destroying the very legal principle that made this country worth one’s loyalty in the first place.

    It is all quite enough reason to become nauseated at the very sound of his voice, and at the sight of those of our “fellow Americans” who giddily sold their souls, and their and our liberty, for an ersatz version of a love and security they apparently never got, and were probably undeserving of, from their families.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    In so far as zombies have souls, yea.

  11. Don Carlos Says:

    I happened to watch a 1968 movie last night, “In the Heat of the Night”, starring Sidney Poitier. The movie garnered all kinds of awards.
    On viewing it now, I see it appealed to “some white folks” just because Poitier is black. Not only that, he doesn’t speak black, his suits fit beautifully, and he is a force for righteousness when circumstances push him into a murder investigation horribly flawed by bias and error by the Mississippi locals (where the movie was NOT shot). He is of course from the North. Abortion without disapproval, done and defended by a black woman, is a minor plot feature towards the end.

    The Poitier movies of the time sought, nay predicted the rise of Obama, with the approval of some white folks just because he’s black. But these characters were not liars, nor corrupt.
    We are now living the results of Hollywood manipulation. Took 40 years, but they got us there.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    Many Americans were limited by their eugenics based social upbringing that said women and blacks, by nature of their blacks, were not as fully capable of independent judgment and life as other people, such as white property owners, white men, etc.

    The Asians were considered smart and cunning, but with funny eyes and accents. When they started speaking English, that removed most of the issues, especially once Japan and China got an actual industrial economy going that didn’t produce SH. Opium, jade, silk, and spices were considered the only things Asia could produce for Western consumption centuries ago.

    Seeing an individual woman or black, that acted white or like they could form independent judgment, was a novelty. It was similar to a talking dog or a really smart pet.

    People did not believe that you could live life as a servant, beholden to an aristocrat’s economic dependence, and be a person that can make decisions for yourself. While that’s mostly true, it is not always true. Just because women and blacks were not given the opportunities to learn warrior and martial virtues, or to read and write like a male politician, there was no DNA barrier separating them from the rest of the human species. Differences yes, but not natural DNA barriers. DNA is not what people thought it was, especially not the human breeders that called themselves eugenicists and racial supremacists like Margaret Sanger and those various current atheists in science.

    The issue with slavery wasn’t whether it was going to end or not. Slavery hasn’t even ended now. It wasn’t going to end and sex slave hasn’t ended in Arabia or Russia either. The issue with slavery is that American hypocrisy can only go so far, using armies to invade and destroy foreign nations in the name of liberty, while farming a bunch of slaves at home for votes, taxes, and economic profits. That kind of sh can only go so far in the world’s balance of powers. Even if no outside nation took down the US, those internal contradictions would destroy us by itself. Just as it is doing now.

  13. Don Carlos Says:

    You lost me at the end there. American hypocrisy (at home v. abroad) is destroying us how?
    We’re raising pigeons, not doves, at home. That is hypocrisy enough.

    I saw it said that dealing with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon: The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, shits all over the board, then struts and prances like it’s won the game.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    Pax Americana

    The deal was that the world would accept the US as police in return for following America’s lead. The US would get to keep most conflicts off shore via proxies like Israel or Vietnam, and other countries would receive military and economic assistance (money).

    Diem, the Bay of Pigs, Rhodesia, South Africa, Vietnam, Iraq, and soon to be Afghanistan. Libya, Syria. Egypt.

    All are nations/people that might have believed in American promises of justice and peace. Hypocritical promises that cannot be kept, is why America is considered a cowardly nation full of people who want to be the world police, in non English speaking places.

    It doesn’t matter if Americans here refuse to accept the Left or Obama. To the rest of the world, America is Obama’s policies.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    After bringing so much ruin to the rest of the world, and doing nothing to stop the Left in America that was primarily responsible for such, neither God nor universal harmony will allow the people of the United States of America to get off without consequences.

    Iraq and Afghanistan were probably the last chance for American exceptionalism to demonstrates true faith and convince both the nation itself and our allies that we actually mean what we said we would do. Guess how that turned out.

  16. Don Carlos Says:

    Jeez, the Ugly American theme all over again, after what, 50 years? Won’t play with me. The ugliness, the rot, is in DC, not abroad, but to Russians and many others (Chinese, etc.) we are and always will be ugly and rotten.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    You have been conditioned to reject American flaws because the Left has used it to undermine things until they have acquired power.

    You ignore international affairs at America’s peril, Don. Everything to an American, looks like Rome from a Roman perspective. But the world is larger than Rome. And it will come for Rome sooner or later.

    You don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to. Won’t play with you? I don’t give a damn how it plays with you.

    You think people like you can convince Diem that he should care which kind of America got him assassinated? You think people like you can convince those that died at the Bay of Pigs that American Exceptionalism and Pax America was worth their deaths?

    You might as well try convincing women that Ted Kennedy had to kill a woman to save feminism and all of womenkind from American discrimination. That has better odds of success, though I won’t bet on it.

    To the JAPANESE, you as an American are seen as cowards. Not rotten, C O W A R D s. Do you understand what that means on the international level? There is increasing popular views that don’t want American military protection or help, because the strings attached to it are too crippling. To America’s supposed ally in Israel, you are Obama’s lackey and they are going to get rid of your American military and economic aid and trade it in for an alliance with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia?

    Keep thinking the world is 100% composed of Leftists, Russians, and the Chinese if that feels better.

    What you as a citizen of America allow American power to be used for, is the same thing that happened to the Germans and the Japanese in WWII. Just because you think the rot is in DC and the leadership, does not mean the Hammer will not fall on the citizens and the civilians. The rest of the world won’t care which American is guilty of what. Their excuse was always that they were following orders and didn’t know what the leadership were up to.

    What are our excuses going to be?

  18. Mike Says:

    Melanin is a skin pigment. It’s a chemical. Everyone has it.

    Now we are classifying people according to a chemical.

    Martin Luther King – call your office!

    Obama, like all liberals, is a stone cold dyed in the wool racist.

    Liberals are practically the only racists left in America.

  19. Nick Says:

    Michael Kinsley offered up the following definitions:

    many – some people including the author
    some – many people excluding the author

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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