There’s No Doubt Race Playing a Role in Protests Against President Barack Obama

Another newspaper has joined the fray in stating that much of the uproar against President Barack Obama is race-based. For the record, racism is very personal and subjective and it’s often difficult to quantify. It is difficult to define, but most of us know it when we see it or hear it. It is safe to say that depending on our experiences, biases and personal beliefs, it is often seen differently. As someone who was born in Jamaica and spent my formative years there, I had no concept of what racism meant. I grew up with the mindset that I was limited only by my capabilities, not by the color of my skin. Well, I found that the opposite was true in many circles in the United States when I was called a nigger by a white male one night during my undergraduate years at Ohio University in Athens, OH. I began to realize that what occurred in the early 1900s and at the height of the civil rights movement, still persisted in some form to this very day. Former President Jimmy Carter opened a Pandora’s box earlier this week with his comments about the treatment of Obama as being racist. He was absolutely correct in his assessment and I wonder why many have taken offense to his position and have dismissed them as baseless whining. Racism plays a prominent role in America’s history, that most people would prefer to side-step.

Here’s a portion of the article written by Tony Pugh for McClatchy Newspapers.

WASHINGTON — In the pre-dawn hours of last Nov. 5, while much of the nation celebrated Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president, three white men in Springfield, Mass., doused the partially completed Macedonia Church of God in Christ with gasoline and burned it to the ground.

After their arrest, the men told police they’d torched the black church because they were angry about Obama’s election and feared minorities would be given more rights. At about the same time, newspaper Web sites were filled with millions of hateful messages about Obama, and the computer servers of two large white supremacist groups, the Council of Conservative Citizens and, crashed because they got so much traffic…

For example, a recent poster making the rounds shows Obama outfitted in full African witch doctor gear, complete with headdress, above the words “OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you.” “I certainly detect a racial element in some of the hostility directed at President Obama,” said Richard Alba, the distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York…..

Many, however, think that the Republican Party and its supporters, particularly media personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, have used race most frequently and in the most inflammatory manner to frame their opposition to and displeasure with the president….

(Cartoon appeared in MAARIV, one of Israel’s largest newspapers)

The not-so-subtle incidents are numerous:

  • Last October, John McCain’s campaign ousted a Buchanan County, Va., McCain campaign official, Bobby May, for writing a newspaper column that said that if Obama were elected he’d hire rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black and change the national anthem to the “Negro National Anthem” by James Weldon Johnson.
  • Diane Fedele, who was then the president of a Republican women’s club in San Bernardino County, Calif., resigned last October after she sent out a newsletter with a drawing of Obama on a bogus food-stamp coupon surrounded by ribs, watermelon and fried chicken.
  • In May, Sherri Goforth, an aide to Republican state Sen. Diane Black of Tennessee, sent an e-mail to Republican staffers showing the first 43 U.S. presidents in stately poses, but Obama’s image, as the 44th president, was a pair of bright white cartoonish eyes on a black background.
  • In June, Diann Jones, the vice chairman of the Collin County Republican Party in Texas sent an e-mail to local Republican clubs calling a proposal for a $50 gun tax “another terrific idea from the black house and its minions.”
  • Also in June, South Carolina Republican activist Rusty DePass compared an escaped gorilla from a Columbia zoo to first lady Michelle Obama’s ancestors.
  • At an August political forum, Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas denied any racial intent when she said that the party was looking for a “great white hope” to lead the party into the future. Source: McClatchy Newspapers

I can’t remember a president in recent years being subjected to such treatment. This is, indeed, the summer of discontent stemming from the economic quagmire, massive job losses, among other things, with much of that outrage, rightly or wrongly, trained squarely on President Obama. Sorry, but while serious occupational hazard comes with the digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., some of the criticism of President Obama has the unmistakable and undeniable stench of racism.

Former President Jimmy Carter Says Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) Outburst During President Obama’s Speech to Congress ‘Based On Racism’ (VIDEO)

While many will dismiss former President Jimmy Carter’s comments about race being a big factor in the treatment of President Obama, there is a lot of truth to his claims. Carter, who was responding to a question Carter was responding to a question submitted last night at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta, said that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act “based on racism” and rooted in fears of a black president. He also said the outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

“I think it’s based on racism,” Carter said at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care,” he said. “It’s deeper than that.”

I don’t know Joe Wilson personally and I won’t call him a racist, but his comments add fuel to the fire being lit by the racist people in our country who hate President Obama because he is black. He has had some questionable associations with the Sons of Confederate Veterans group, which as the Southern Poverty Law Center said is being taken over by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Leading this takeover is a radical racist named Kirk Lyons, who’s been an important legal figure on the far right for some years. So, one has to really wonder what Rep. Wilson is really up to.

Radical, Racist Signs Featured At 9/12 March, Will This March Go Down in History?

I am all for people demonstrating in an orderly way to have their voices heard, but when it borders on radicalism and racism, it becomes a move to embolden the extremists in our midst to act. I was appalled to see some of the signs held by some demonstrators, a predominantly white crowd, at yesterday’s 9/12 March in Washington D.C. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) embraced the crowds by saying he was “glad they’re here to take back their country.” He said that the attendees were nonpartisan, adding that “it’s not about President Obama. It’s not about the Democrats.” Wow, really Senator DeMint?

ThinkProgress sent some members to march and the signs carried by these so-called protesters were hardly nonpartisan. Many were downright racist, radical portrayals of Obama, despite DeMint’s claim. Here are some examples of what ThinkProgess saw:

signcomp1 signcomp2

The signs comparing the President Obama to being a communist didn’t rile me the way the signs associating him with Osama bin Laden did. What is upsetting is that this movement of radicals are entangling themselves in the tragedy of 9/11 is what makes this so sickening.September 11, 2001 was the darkest day in American history, but also a day when we must take pride in the heroism of the day, when many gave their lives to save others. That’s why it is repugnant and disrespectful that the tone the 9/12 march took on. Of course, there are many who marched to have their voices heard, but there was an extremist faction that sought to re-appropriate this national tragedy to divide Americans, not to unite us. They claim this was to protest the health care reform, then why hold this event in the aftermath of 9/11? Sorry, but many of these protesters are extensions of the “sore loser” rallies we saw at earlier tea parties and they are 110% partisan.

What is equally sinister and downright disrespectful is the person who wore a t-shirt with “Mississippi Freedom Rider” on the front. That’s a slap to the civil rights movement, when blacks were being killed for no other reason but the color of their skin. That was another dark period in American history. Sorry, but the real freedom riders were civil rights activists who rode buses into the segregated South in the 1960s, knowing that they could be beaten and killed.

This march was nothing more than a shoutfest, with a bunch of misguided people who believe that they made history. They believe that their partisan revolution has begun, in which they will chase the Democrats from Congress and have President Obama whimpering in retreat and high-tail it out of Washington D.C. Sorry. If they fail, and I believe they will, they will be no more memorable than the crowds that rallied against the New Deal reforms.

Let me end on a portion of an article Paul Begala wrote for the Huffington Post: There was not, to my knowledge, a sign that said, “Let’s Bury Medicare,” even though Medicare is precisely the sort of single-payer, government-run, socialized health insurance the whack-jobs say they hate. Nor did I hear about a sign that said, “Let’s Bury Tricare,” although the military health system is as socialized as Britain’s, its beneficiaries (including, according to Newsweek, Congress clown Joe Wilson of South Carolina) are very happy with their socialized health care. Nary a sign, so far as I know, decried the Bush prescription drug entitlement, even though it ballooned the deficit, enriched the pharmaceutical companies and furthered the supposed slide toward socialism. Nor, I’m told, were there any signs criticizing the $2 trillion Mr. Bush’s unjust, unwarranted, unwise war in Iraq will cost our children and grandchildren. Nor ever a single sign about the Bush tax cuts, which helped squander the Clinton surplus. If this were about fiscal policy, the protests would have happened long ago.

Shock Jock Howard Stern Calls Opposition to President Obama’s School Speech ‘Racist’

I didn’t want to pull the race card, but when someone like shock-jock Howard Stern does so. I am sure he ticked off a lot of Republicans when he labeled those who opposed President Barack Obama’s back-to-school speech as racists. Stern stated that the only reason that the Obama school speech has set off a new wave of socialist finger-pointing stems from the fact that President Obama is half black, and that racism has distorted the objectivity of those who are against the Obama school speech.

Howard Stern is no stranger to claims of racism himself. For example he drew such accusations over his roasting of former New York City’s Mayor David Dinkens. To his credit, Howard Stern, who enjoys complete freedom of speech on satellite radio, the one word that Howard Stern still won’t permit to be said on air is “the N-word.”

I have long felt that had this president not been black, we would not be seeing so much opposition to many things he is trying to accomplish. It is as though he is being placed under a microscope and his every move he makes is being criticized, not matter how trivial. People like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, Lou Dobbs and so many others are fanning the flames of hatred in this country.

EMBED-Howard Stern & Sherman Hemsley – Watch more free videos

New York Gov. David Paterson tells Political Blogger "People get Nervous if there are too Many Minorities in Office"

Gov. David Paterson (Xanthos/NY Daily News)
Never mind the fact that New York’s Governor David Paterson’s record of accomplishment is abysmal, he’s now complaining that he’s being sandbagged because of his race. After complaining to the New Daily News’ Errol Louis during a radio interview last Friday that he is the victim of an “orchestrated” campaign to push him out of office, he told political blogger Gerson Borrero that some people are uncomfortable with too many black people in power. Wow, that’s the way to tell ‘em governor. Just go ahead and pull the race card when it’s convenient for you! What a moron. I guess he hasn’t come to realization yet that his tenure in office has not amounted to anything worthy of touting, just a lot of confusion. Apparently the White House has already asked Paterson to tone down his rhetoric after he said last Friday that President Barack Obama will be the next target of a racist media.
Defensive and at time self pitying, Paterson indicated he’s been stewing for some time “I have been quiet for 17 months on this issue,” he said. “I played by the rules. It was a very difficult position to find myself in and I’ve given it my best. I’ve done the best I can under the very trying circumstances the state is facing.”

“It seems I have to work twice as hard as others,” he said in his interview with Borrero. And it still bothers him that people refer to him as the “accidental governor.” He took office in 2008 after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. “It was not an accident. It is a constitutional mandate,” he said. “I became governor by a constitutional mandate.”

He said the successors to disgraced governors Jim McGreevey of New Jersey and John Rowland of Connecticut were not dubbed “accidental governors.” “I’ve had to endure this for 17 months and quite frankly on Friday when I spoke to Errol Louis on his radio show, it all came to a head,” he said. Source: NY Daily News

Gov. Paterson needs to step aside and let Attorney General Andrew Cuomo run for the governorship for the Democratic Party. He has a record of accomplishment. While some of Paterson’s claims of racism may be valid, they are a moot point because he has not accomplished anything since he has become the governor and yes, it was quite by accident. It’s a sad commentary when even people of his own race want him out. His wife, Michelle Paterson pulled the same race card in April, 2009, when she claimed that the reason her husband was unpopular and most likely would not secure the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010 was because he’s black. In all honesty, I think the Patersons’ ability to pull the race card expired on January 20, 2009, at noon, when President Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president of the United States.

Gov. Paterson needs to take a look at the polls and see that his fate is sealed. A new Siena Research Institute poll released this morning shows his job approval rating at 23% and his favorability rating at 32%. A staggering 68% of New Yorkers said that they would prefer someone else if Paterson runs for a full four-year term next year. The same poll also shows that AG Andrew Cuomo would soundly trounce him in a hypothetical Democratic primary match-up. The same poll also found that he would most definitely be beaten by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a general election match-up. So, why should the Democratic Party risk having such a liability on their hands and essentially guarantee the GOP a win in New York?

Black Workers, Including Lawrence "Lonnie" Powell, Say Drinking Fountains, Bathrooms Segregated at Philadelphia Trash-Handling Facility

I came across an interesting article on Philadelphia Daily News’ website and I want to share it with my readers because the allegations are very troubling. Lawrence “Lonnie” Powell, who is employed at the city’s Northwest Transfer Station in Roxborough since 2003, said that since he began working at the trash-handling plant,  he has had to seek the superintendent named as John Gill’s permission to go to the bathroom — then descend five flights of stairs to use it. Powell, 58, who is black, said that the white employees have been permitted to use a bathroom just 25 feet from his work station. He is one of five current and former employees who have alleged in legal documents that the station’s white superintendent has discriminated against them because they are black. Did we revert to the 1950s when the scourge of racism was a bloodstain on the fabric of American life as we knew it?

Clarena I.W. Tolson, commissioner of the city’s Streets Department, which runs the station, declined to discuss the matter and referred questions to the City Solicitor’s Office. An assistant city solicitor has denied the black workers’ allegations.

Among those allegations is that for several years Gill has kept a “supervisor’s bathroom,” one flight up from Gill’s office, that “only the white employees were allowed to use…whether or not they were supervisors,” Powell wrote in an affidavit last month.

“Quite often, while I’m up there, I could be sitting in my booth, and I see white guys going into the bathroom,” Powell said in an interview. “They walk right by the door and go right in the bathroom there. That’s maybe 25 feet away from where I’m at.” But when he has to go to the bathroom, he said, he has to go down to Gill’s office to get permission, then descend five more flights.

Two other black workers, Gibson Trowery, 55, and Leslie Young Jr., 51, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in October 2007 and a lawsuit in January alleging discrimination by the city and infliction of extreme emotional distress by Gill.

Howard K. Trubman, a Center City attorney representing the black workers at the station, said that the law permits Trowery and Young to take their case to court because the PHRC did not rule within a year. But black workers had complained in writing about what they considered racism at the station as far back as 1999, Young and Trubman said. In August 2007, Powell aired the black employees’ grievances in a meeting with Gill and Streets Department Deputy Commissioner Carlton Williams, who then ordered Gill to open the supervisor’s bathroom to everyone, court documents show.

Water cooler in the closet — the building in which the men work, located up the hill from the Schuylkill at Domino Lane and Umbria Street, had been the city’s Northwest Incinerator — the outside wall still calls it that — until the city switched from a trash-burning system several years ago. Meanwhile, white workers were allowed to use a water cooler in Gill’s office, the lawsuit says.

Gill, 53, is a 35-year city employee who was earning $53,585 a year as of last November, according to city records. He succeeded his father, also named John Gill, as the station’s superintendent, documents show. Source: Philadelphia Daily News

The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in February 2010. Wow, this certainly has the appearance of the Deep South in the 1950s. If these allegations are true, this is a disgrace and should not be tolerated one bit. People complain that we have moved into a post-racial America, but that’s wishful thinking if these allegations are proven to be true in a court of law. No one deserves to suffer such indignities in this country.

Black Police Officers’ Group, The Guardian Civic League, Sues over Web Site,, for Overt Racism

Can we all ever learn to get along? Black or white. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian Civic League, an association of black officers, has sued the Philadelphia Police Department in federal court for allowing its officers to post “blatantly racist and offensive” content on, a site devoted to law enforcement topics. The suit says, which bills itself as “the voice of the good guys,” was founded by a Philadelphia police sergeant who uses the screen name “McQ” and “encourages the racially offensive conduct.”

The association also sued McQ and the 10-year-old Web site, which is a forum where officers discuss crime news, police gossip, current events and other topics, often in profane and humorous rants. The group’s attorney, Brian Mildenberg, said that black officers had long reviled the site and that complaints had been been lodged with current and past police administrations to no avail.

Even the word domelights, which normally refers to the police lights on top of cruisers, has taken on an “insulting connotation” among black officers, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit cites several posts, including one showing slain white officers next to black suspects and the headline “Guns Don’t Kill People, Dangerous Minorities Do.” Mildenberg said white officers post and moderate the forums while on duty and on department computers, creating “a racially hostile environment.”

“It’s the same thing as you can’t hang racist material in the workplace,” he said.
The lawsuit does not identify McQ, but his Domelights profile contains the name Fred McQuiggan. In 2004, McQuiggan wrote a letter to the editor published in The Inquirer that included his Domelights e-mail address. Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman, confirmed that McQuiggan was on active duty and worked at Police Headquarters but said he did not know whether McQuiggan was involved with Domelights. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

There is freedom of speech, but shouldn’t law enforcement policy stipulate that its members should avoid engaging in racially offensive speech or conduct in the public? I know that someone can post a derogatory comment on the forum under a nickname, but shouldn’t there be some limits? Why hasn’t this police officer been disciplined for this website, if it has been proven that it belongs to him? I would never tolerate racial comments on my blog from anyone. I block their IP and email addresses so that they cannot comment.

The class-action suit was filed on behalf of 2,300 black Philadelphia police officers and asks the court to order the Police Department to ban officers from operating Domelights or posting racially insensitive material. It seeks an unspecified amount for damages. The Philadelphia NAACP and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers have also joined the civic league as plaintiffs.

Read the lawsuit (PDF) Warning: Contents are offensive

Is the Latest Harry Potter Movie from J. K. Rowling’s Blockbuster Series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Perpetuating Racial Prejudices?

My oldest son went to the midnight release of the latest Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” with his friends and he gave it four out of five stars. I have never been one to join the Harry Potter craze and I certainly never viewed it through racial lens. I came across an article in the Washington Post, written by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite and entitled “Harry Potter: Wizards and Racism,” that focuses on the racial prejudices in the film. Ms. Thistlethwaite states that the use of “Half-Blood” in the title of the film/book specifically refers to racial mixing. She states that in Wizard society (like in human society), persons of mixed race heritage are often the subject of explicit racist prejudice. “Mud-bloods!” is another term for those who share the “blood” of both wizards and Muggles (humans).

Here’s Rowling’s point on “half-bloods.” Wizards may do magic, but prejudice does not magically disappear in their society. Racist prejudice bedevils both wizard and human society. Rowling’s use of the term “half-blood” to vividly evoke the damaging effects of racial prejudice in the life of some of her key characters must be highlighted, especially this week. This is the same week where the American people have been treated to the unseemly spectacle of conservative politicians using “racism” as a club to beat up Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court. These attacks on her, as illustrated but not limited to Senator Sessions’ remarks, illustrate that her questioners have no insight into their own racial formation, and deformation, in a white-dominant American society.

I highly recommend that several of these Senators go see the Harry Potter film–and better yet, read the books where the racial prejudice by some in the wizarding community is horribly illustrated. “Generations of purebloods, wizards all–more than you can say, I don’t doubt…a filthy, dirt-veined Muggle,” says a Wizard racist whose negative attitudes toward racial pluralism have fatal and near fatal consequences for both Wizards and Muggles alike in the film and in the book.
The coming of age theme would not hurt the Senators either. My first reaction to seeing these wonderful young people and how they have grown from film to film was “wow!” They’re gorgeous. And then there’s dating. There’s “snogging” (kissing) and there is a growing maturity about their responsibilities as young adults in what is effectively a war–and like young people living with war in Iraq or Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, they see more death than anyone, especially a young person, should have to experience. Source: The Washington Post

After reading this, I had to ask my son if he saw the racism that the author is referring to? Of course, he said no, but I do see the point Ms. Thistlethwaite is making. We have a responsibility to eradicate our racial prejudices and misconceptions about people because of their ethnic or racial background. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Can we go back to the days when when we went to the movies, we did that just for fun and not worry about being politically correct? So, my parting question to you is do you think J. K. Rowling is sending a message of racial intolerance in her books?

Right Wing Racist Email with Photo of President Obama in Tribal Dress With Bone in His Nose Attacks Proposed Healthcare Plan

Another racist picture of President Barack Obama is making its way around the Internet, thanks in large part, to the conservatives and Rethuglicans. I found this very interesting article on Comedy Central’s Indecision. This racist picture is in the same vein as the offerings from conservative extraordinaire Michelle Malkin. The picture is making its way around under the subject line Obamacare Healthcare is coming soon!

This was not widely reported in the “MSM,” but last month the delightful Michelle Malkin ran a very important “Obamacare poster contest” on her blog, which soars o’er the muck of the Internet like a million eagles screeching into the sunset.

The submissions Michelle received were just as insightful, nuanced and discerning as you might imagine, and obviously this is an excellent way to advance the health care debate in the United States, some fun Photoshopping. It beats a lame sketch about Hitler, right? Really, I couldn’t see how any of it would ever go wrong, this festive mix of rational thought and creativity and free speech and technology and all. Source: Comedy Central’s Indecision

This another dirty and sneaky attack by the right wing. I know that President George W. Bush was caricatured and ridiculed, but it was never racial and racist. This is just plain racist and an insult to Africans, Native American Indians and other ethnicities who still wear their native or tribal costumes. This is just plain sick and reprehensible.