« | »

Everything Said About Obama Is Racist

From Reuters:

RPT-When it comes to race, US politicians talk in code

Thu Aug 14, 2008

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA, Aug 14 (Reuters Life!) – The issue of race in U.S. politics is so sensitive and explosive that it has a language all its own. For outsiders, the code can be hard to break.

Indirect words, phrases and euphemisms have long been used to discuss race in the United States, and the subject has drawn more attention this election cycle because Democratic candidate Barack Obama is black.

Obama has been accused of making subtle references to race in to bid to manipulate sentiment, most recently by saying he would look different than other U.S. presidents.

At the same time, references to his alleged “inexperience” as a one-term U.S. senator and perceived “arrogance” on a trip to Europe and the Middle East last month could also be seen as subtle racial digs, political commentators say.

Inexperience might be a substitute for an idea with roots in the era of U.S. slavery that African Americans couldn’t be trusted, while arrogance can be a way of suggesting that black people are “uppity” or above their station, they said.

“The issue (of race) is there in political campaigns and not just this one. People talk in code. It is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that is ignored by mutual agreement so it never gets dealt with head on,” said Andrew Taylor, professor of political science at North Carolina State University.

Understanding that code can be difficult, but Taylor said it was common because discussions about race in public forums in America were fraught with pitfalls.

“It is very difficult to have a frank conversation about race. Even when you tiptoe around the periphery it … (can) degenerate into a shouting match,” he said…

An advertisement run by McCain’s campaign this month, which portrayed Obama as a celebrity who was not ready to lead, sent a subtle racial message by flashing images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, according to Ronald Walters, professor of politics at the University of Maryland.

Walters said the ad played on deep cultural fears about inter-racial dating and marriage, which was illegal until the 1960s in some U.S. states.

“The code is used to remind people that the opponent is black. One of the reasons why people talk about it in muted terms is because it’s an old racial taboo particularly … in the South,” he said.

At the same time, many people object to language which can be construed as playing on white guilt.

When Obama told an audience last month he would look different as president to his predecessors, some of whom are on U.S. currency, McCain’s campaign said he had “played the race card and he played it from the bottom of the deck.”

Both sides denied they were attempting to exploit race and neither explained exactly how the other side’s words were racially loaded. Instead, they left the media — and voters — to decipher what they meant.

Well, that settles it then.

Let’s not talk about him at all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 15th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Everything Said About Obama Is Racist”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »