Where’s the line between anger over policy differences and racist remarks?

President Obama
REUTERS/Larry Downing
President Barack Obama, who spoke Thursday at a Maryland rally, downplays any racism overtones from critics of his policies, but others, including former President Jimmy Carter, are concerned about the tenor of the debate.

The conversation I had earlier this week was about anger in American politics.

I had a theory that I tried on a young Republican state legislator.

“I wonder if conservatives get so angry at President Obama for the same reason liberals used to get so angry at President Reagan. It’s because he’s so good at delivering his message.”

The legislator was startled.

“I don’t know how you can possibly make that comparison,” she said. “I don’t think Obama is even a good speaker. I think he comes across as condescending and uppity.”

I did a double take and made a mistake.  In a moment of compassion, I told the legislator I wouldn’t use her name.

“I’m going to do you a favor and not use your name, because maybe you’re too young to know the full context of that word ‘uppity,’ ” I said. “The second half of that phrase was ‘nigger.’ Back in the 1960s — and before that — any time an African-American was making progress in our society, there were people who described that person as an ‘uppity nigger.’ ”

“Hadn’t heard that one,” the legislator said without batting an eye.

Where’s the line?
How do you separate race and rage in the current political climate?

The New York Times this week published a piece that grew out of comments made by former President Jimmy Carter in an interview on NBC.

“I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans,” Carter said. “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief of many white people, not just in the South but in the rest of the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves and concerns me very deeply.”

But, the Times reported, the Obama White House wants no part of this discussion. Many liberals distanced themselves from  Carter’s remarks, the Times reported.

The head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, who is black, was quoted in the Times as saying the Carter comments were “a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president’s wildly unpopular government-run health care plan.”

So, that leaves us with a debate over where the proper line is between expressing anger over policy and displaying racism.

Los Alamitos, Calif., Mayor Dean Grose resigned in March after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."
Los Alamitos, Calif., Mayor Dean Grose resigned in March after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title “No Easter egg hunt this year.”

Comparing today’s anger and that in the ’60s
Many of us whose politics were formed in the 1960s can recall the rage we felt every time President Lyndon Johnson would  utter the words, “My fellow Americans …,” and then announce  another expansion of the war in Vietnam. We understand that it’s possible to be outraged over policy without race being a factor.

Is this anger different?

Yes, said Hy Berman, a retired University of Minnesota history professor. And yes, said Minneapolis City Council Member Ralph Remington, who is black. And yes, said Josie Johnson, a quiet-spoken but powerful civil rights activist who also is black. (Peter Bell, head of the Met Council and perhaps the state’s most prominent black conservative, said through a spokesman that he “didn’t have time” to talk about this subject.)

Josie Johnson, who was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, wept with joy on the night that Obama accepted his party’s nomination. Now she’s on the verge of weeping again — for an entirely different reason.

“I feel deeply wounded,” she said. “I think of all the people who died for liberty and justice, and here we are in 2009. We have a president who followed all the rules. He is well educated and has a wonderful family, but here we are with a group of people who feel free to carry guns to public meetings, who feel free to draw these terrible pictures of our president, who talk about monkeys. Why isn’t America outraged?”

A protest holding an "Obama's Plan: White Slavery" sign at the April 15 Tea Party/Taxpayer Rally in Madison, Wis.
A protester holding an “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery” sign at the April 15 Tea Party/Taxpayer Rally in Madison, Wis. http://www.flickr.com/photos/calistan/ / CC BY 2.0

Johnson, Remington and Berman all point to the recent “you lie” moment of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson as a classic example of how contemporary rage has crossed a line. Wilson’s outburst, of course, came when the president was addressing the full House and Senate.

“Nobody has ever said what Joe Wilson said before, and we have seen some liars before,” Remington said. “But now there is Obama. He’s not even lying, and we have this white male, full of Southern privilege, who feels free to shout that out.”

What compounds the deep sense of frustration of the Wilson outburst to Remington and Johnson is that he’s now being portrayed as heroic by many.

“He’s receiving money, he’s signing autographs,” said Johnson. “I can hardly believe what I’m observing. It’s a nightmare.”

To make matters worse, Johnson said, is the fact that the institutions that once would have blasted Wilson for his behavior, that once would have pointed a huge spotlight on some of the blatantly threatening and racist actions of some at recent rallies, have been silent.

“Until Maureen Dowd wrote that column for the New York Times (in which she labeled Wilson’s outburst racist), the media was silent,” she said. “The Republican Party has been silent. What happened to that once-great party? How did they allow people like Rush Limbaugh to become one of their leaders.”

Talking Points memo reports that St. Petersburg neurosurgeon and conservative activist David McKalip David McKalip forwarded this image to fellow members of a Google listserv affiliated with the Tea Party movement. Above it, he wrote: "Funny stuff."
Talking Points Memo reports that St. Petersburg neurosurgeon and conservative activist David McKalip forwarded this image to fellow members of a Google listserv affiliated with the Tea Party movement. Above it, he wrote: “Funny stuff.”

“When you use that phrase ‘playing the race card,’ ” Remington said, “the abuser is suddenly dictating the terms of what the abused feels. Instead of shutting their mouths and listening to what the abused is saying, the abuser is doing all the talking.”

All of it, Remington believes — the “race card” retort, the signs, the outbursts by congressmen, the passions being stirred on right-wing radio and television programs — must be “called out.”

This is not to say that all people who disagree with the president on any given policy are racist, Remington said.

At any given time, 30 percent or 40 percent of the people might disagree with the president. But within that group, he believes, is a subgroup of people, perhaps 10 percent, who disagree with the president because he’s black. And within that group is a subgroup that “hates” all black people.

“In percentage terms, that may not seem like much,” said Remington, but we’re talking a huge number of people.”

What frightens Remington and Johnson is that this group now has a group of either manipulators or bigots in the media giving legitimacy to their beliefs.

“Whole networks of people,” said Remington sadly. “Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, the Fox Network. They all love firing these people up.”

Again, there is a difference between anger toward policy and toward race.

“They are all tangled up,” said Berman, “and it’s very difficult to untangle. … Many were angry at [President George W.] Bush. We knew he was lying through his teeth about the weapons of mass destruction. But nobody thought of shouting out, ‘You lie!’ when he was speaking to the Congress. It’s not by accident those words came out of the mouth of a South Carolinian and that we have a black president.”

The so-called conservative media are playing a role in fanning the flames, Berman said. High unemployment and the unpopular bailouts of Wall Street also are in the mix. In fact, the populist anger isn’t so much directed at efforts at health care reform as it is the bailouts, Berman believes.

Protesters wave signs raising the slavery issue at a "tea party" protest on the grounds of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, April 15, 2009.
REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Protesters waved signs raising the slavery issue at an April 15 “tea party” protest on the grounds of the Colorado state Capitol in Denver.

“You mix those things together, with Fox News and Limbaugh, a black president, it becomes very explosive,” Berman said.

It’s not just the right that is angry at Obama, Berman said. The left has issues, too.

“He’s not pulling out of Iraq fast enough, the war in Afghanistan is expanding, there is no discussion of a single-payer health system,” Berman said. “All of those things upset the left. But those are about policy. The anger from the right is visceral.”

I asked Berman and Johnson about my conversation with the state legislator who used the term “uppity.”

Is it possible she didn’t know the context?

“Maybe she didn’t know it consciously,” Berman said. “But that only shows that it’s deeply engrained in the cultural psyche.”

Johnson was saddened when she heard that a legislator had used the term.

“If she didn’t understand it,” Johnson said, “it shows that we have failed as a nation to continue to teach our history.”

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (35)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 09/18/2009 - 09:04 am.

    People are rarely openly racist – the picture of Obama in African garb aside. They know better than to confront their own fears in public.

    What I’ve learned is that a pattern of not just distraction but outrageous distraction is clearly over the line. Racism is not rational, so when people become full of irrational arguments you know there is something bubbling in their guts that they fear they can’t say aloud.


  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2009 - 09:22 am.

    That overt racism is in play among some who oppose Obama’s plans is undeniable. One only need look at the votes cast last November to know that racism was at work there, as well.

    The sad fact is that racism is alive and well and living in America, to a much greater extent than most whites care to admit. I see it on display frequently, as I (a white male) and my brown-skinned son go about our daily lives. I’ve seen it in the past 30 days, when a group of teens in the Pacific Northwest muttered “nigger” while my Hispanic son skateboarded at a local park; I saw it on display last week, when a white suburban police officer stopped to intervene as my son and his white cousin engaged in a friendly wrestling match in a local park. He’s been stopped for DWB (driving-while-brown)under the guise of checking his age; he’s had police threaten to confiscate his skateboard while white children skated with impunity 20 feet away. He’s been followed in stores while other teens went about their business without a second look. This is part of his daily existence, as it is for so many other minorities.

    Is is any wonder, then, that black Americans see a racist cast to even the more subtle attacks not just on Obama’s plans but on Obama himself? Not to me. To me, it’s imply America as usual.

    I was reminded just a few days ago of how small a distance we have come in this country, as I read letters from military personal published in a 1944 copy of Yank, a WWII army publication. Letter after letter called for an end to the overt, institutionalized racism then in place. 65 years later, it’s about time we found a way to banish it from our hearts and minds as well.

  3. Submitted by Susan Rego on 09/18/2009 - 09:26 am.

    I am struck by the smiles. At public events where those who oppose the President’s policies gather, I have seen holders of the most hateful signs smiling at the camera. I have spoken to others at these events, and as they express their doubts about Obama’s citizenship, they smirk. They do not appear to be angry. They appear to be happy as they reveal their contempt for our president.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/18/2009 - 09:41 am.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking article, Doug, and to those who have already commented speaking about your observations and your direct experiences of racism.

    No doubt, when the conservatives find this article, we’ll have a large number of shrieking, illogical, irrational responses, filled with hatred, all the while claiming to be nothing of the kind.

  5. Submitted by Ann Spencer on 09/18/2009 - 09:53 am.

    While I think Jimmy Carter was wildly overstating the case when he said that the “overwhelming majority” of opposition to Obama is based on race, I don’t see how an objective observer could see the images of Obama as a witch doctor or in whiteface or slogans like “There’s an African lion in the zoo and a lyin’ African in the White House” as anything other than bigotry. More subtle is the stubborn notion that Obama is an undeserving dummy who bamboozled his way into Harvard Law School and the Presidency of the Harvard Law Review through affirmative action. I have no idea how many of Obama’s opponents are motivated in whole or in part by racial prejudice, but to deny that it’s a factor for some is to deny reality.

    At the same time, I understand why the Obama White House doesn’t want this discussion. Not only is it distracting from important policy initiatives (and heaven knows we’ve had enough distractions already this summer), but it’s a highly polarizing debate that inflames all parties and makes negotiation and compromise that much more difficult. It’s an argument that has no winners.

    Responsible conservatives could help cool things down if they called out the more extreme expressions of prejudice among the tea party folks and other Obama opponents. By and large, they’ve kept silence, because they’ve allowed themselves to become dependent on the votes of people who hold these views, and because they’re afraid of denunciation by the powerful right-wing media personalities (Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) who now hold so much sway. Instead, we have Michael Steele in high dudgeon, indignant that people would dare think that those who wave signs saying “go back to Kenya” are not motivated solely by serious policy disagreements with the President.

    Before the 2008 election, psychologist Drew Westen gave a radio interview on the hurdles faced by Obama. He pointed out that the American President, unlike the English Prime Minister, is both Head of State and Head of Government. His (or her!) role in the American psyche is powerful and highly symbolic. The President is the head of the American tribe, the national alpha dog. Was the United States ready to put an African-American in that role? The majority were, but a relatively small but vocal group have trouble accepting it.

  6. Submitted by david granneman on 09/18/2009 - 10:19 am.

    conservatives are not apposed to president obama’s health care because he is black. they are apposed to a government run health care. the same plan was rejected by conservatives when president clinton proposed the same plan.

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/18/2009 - 10:42 am.

    I always thought the coverage of Rev. Wright for example, by the mainstream media was clearly racist. That was something I was reluctant to say at the time because it was important not to be seen “playing the race card”, but clearly the media was uncomfortable with the style of black preaching.

    That said, let’s move on.

  8. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/18/2009 - 10:46 am.

    Interesting read, I feel it important to note my agreement that a certain percentage of the population are racist and would disagree with the President no matter what his policies dictate solely based on the color of his skin. I do disagree with the overly broad strokes the interviewees makes that paints a majority of conservatives that disagree to be racist. As for the uppity reference, where is a list of do not use words? I’m in my twenties and I have never seen the word used in that context. The older generations in America need to understand the do-not-use words list was not taught to that extent when my generation was in school, so the comment that we don’t understand history is completely ridiculous. We were taught not to use race is factor in our decision making and to treat everyone equal regardless. I would think that a word meaning basically presumptuously or arrogant used without regard to the context of race would be a good thing. It represents the we have passed a point in which a word formerly had race implications, at least to older generations, is still as relevant today.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/18/2009 - 12:27 pm.

    Ever hear “smiling faces” by “the Undisputed Truth”?


    Every time I hear that song, I think of the Democrat party.

    Passing nasty little pictures around an e-mail chain don’t put tens of thousands of black kids out on the streets each year without even a rudimentary education; the leftist, trade labor union dominated, public education system does.

    Hoisting a “slavery” sign didn’t condemn hundreds of thousands of black kids to live in fatherless homes, the leftist welfare state did.

    Snickering bigots didn’t build Pruitt-Igoe Towers or the Robert Taylor Homes, or Cabrini-Green, the leftist “war on poverty” did.

    The fact of the matter is, that while there are certainly people that twist the conservative message of self-reliance to serve their own petty, racist worldview, history leaves no doubt as to which political party has brought more despair and destruction to black Americans.

    The Democrat party has methodically used poverty and ignorance to it’s political advantage for more than 50 years.

    Leftists have absolutely no room to point fingers.

  10. Submitted by Annette Costello Lee on 09/18/2009 - 12:27 pm.

    Joe— I’m sorry to see that you didn’t learn in your education the historical meaning of uppity, especially as applied to a black man. There has never been a do-not-use words list, yet somehow my generation got it. And as I have 2 daughters in your generation, (I know) some of your generation did. If you really think that uppity wasn’t chosen for it’s specific (historical) meaning and reference, why wasn’t presumptuous or arrogant used? I think the worst thing of all is that we have an elected official (sadly unnamed), who is as clueless and uses ignorance as justification.

  11. Submitted by Gregory Stricherz on 09/18/2009 - 12:38 pm.

    Perhaps those who see any objection to Obama as racist should spend a few minutes at this site:


  12. Submitted by Brent Lorentz on 09/18/2009 - 01:16 pm.

    “Uppity” is not the problem word; it’s the word that follows it. To automatically attribute racist intent to use of a word which, in and of itself is a perfectly harmless word accepted and used throughout the English language, is to be guilty of the exact prejudice which you are speaking out against. It continues to baffle me that people who deride racism (and rightfully so) do not see the hyporcrisy of harnessing someone with the “racist” label based on a single ambiguous comment.

  13. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/18/2009 - 01:33 pm.

    I can’t imagine too many white bigots have ever voted democrat. I would hate to find myself on the side of the haters and the people who encourage and use them.

    To me it is to some degree a matter of race, maybe a big degree, but one writer was right in that the Republicans opposed health care reform when presented by Clinton. When I see all the right-wing hysteria and stonewalling on an issue like this I find it curious that all these people who claim to be the biggest patriots demonstrate the most fear of our government and do the most to undermine it in so many ways, including yelling, “you lie” at the president. So why didn’t Wilson yell, “you lie” at George Bush when he was starting his war? Maybe because he is a war loving bigot, one who probably spent as much time in the US Army as he spent in the NAACP.

  14. Submitted by William Levin on 09/18/2009 - 01:38 pm.

    Well-written but missing one significant point: the death of civility we see in public, the blurring between private opinion and loud-mouthed self-serving comments made and then apologized for by the young (athletes, musicians) and the not so young (most recently a Congressman). I hope Mr. Sparber reads this comment, because he’s done the same thing today and called it journalism.

  15. Submitted by Ed Stych on 09/18/2009 - 01:43 pm.

    Who made this statement, Remington or Grow? “At any given time, 30 percent or 40 percent of the people might disagree with the president.”

    When has the president had support of 60-70 percent of the people on major legislation? Today’s polls show 56 percent are AGAINST the president’s ideas on health care.

    And Josie Johnson is upset with people “who feel free to draw these terrible pictures of our president, who talk about monkeys.” People are STILL drawing horrible pictures of Bush, and relating him to a monkey from time to time. Does this also upset Ms. Johnson?

    I wish this was a more balanced article. This is mostly politics. It’s simple politics that the Democrats want to paint their opponents as racists. It’s just not true. The vast, vast majority of us conservatives oppose the president’s ideas because they are simply bad ideas. We would oppose the ideas if they were proposed by a president named Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or John Kerry.

    Oh, and the latest polling shows that 88 percent of Americans think Carter et al are off base on their racism charges. I wish Mr. Grow would have at least pointed that out. It would have brought a little fairness to the article.

  16. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/18/2009 - 01:45 pm.

    Annette – There is no point to teach the historical meaning of uppity in school its destructive at best. You would teach kids to be insulted or how to insult. The biggest problem my parents generation is that they think everything that was culturally relevant when they were growing up is still relevant today, somethings are and some are not. In the not category would be part of a derogatory phrase that no one under the age of 40 knows about. Just let it go the way of the kit and kaboodle.

  17. Submitted by Danny McConnell on 09/18/2009 - 02:23 pm.

    I find it hard to believe the representative in this instance had any clue how racially charged her word choice was. I’m 26 and I had no idea that term was derogatory and have used it often, I’m sorry to all those I may have offended. This article is interesting on a number of levels.

    First, I agree with Joe Johnson. Where is the list of do not use words? Lets get them established, because its unfair to judge people on using a word they have no idea has racial connotations.

    I prefer not to look at the specific word choice, but the context of the statement. Substitute presumptuous, or arrogant if it makes you feel better, but give her the benefit of the doubt. The idea that her word choice somehow hinted at a deeper, subconscious racism is unfair. If she would have said, something about “eating crow” would that have been a subconscious hint at Jim Crow laws? Where does it end? I sincerely hope that my generation will get past the “what did he or she mean by that word/expression/look” mindset.

    Perhaps President Obama’s election is the vanguard of my optimistic hope. Perhaps he represents the new generation. That he will give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to word choice missteps. That intense political discourse should rise above petty semantics, lets solve problems not distract from them; allow free dissent, without fear of being labels racist or prejudice.

    And that is the true danger of articles like this, and statements like Jimmy Carter’s; that expressing dissent suggests racism when that dissent is against an African American president. I don’t want that, and more importantly, I don’t believe my president wants that. Can we move past this and focus on whats important?

  18. Submitted by John Roach on 09/18/2009 - 03:00 pm.

    Prior to Obama’s address to Congress, Georgia’s Senator Saxby Chambliss warned that he “better show some humility” when he came to speak.

    What a curious thing to demand of a President. Nope, no racism here. Everyone just move alonng, now.

  19. Submitted by Gregory Stricherz on 09/18/2009 - 04:08 pm.


    You are very perceptive. I didn’t think anyone here would realize I was accusing the listers of being racist. But you saw right through me.

  20. Submitted by Fred Fuhldang on 09/18/2009 - 04:18 pm.

    It’s incredibly disappointing and discouraging to think that an elected official, regardless of age, doesn’t have the most basic grasp of American history. To think that we have a state legislator out there that doesn’t know why using the term “uppity” to describe a black person is really distressing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though. A few years ago, a female Republican legislator used the term “wetback” in front of a Hispanic cafeteria worker in the Capitol. She also claimed she didn’t know the context for the term.

  21. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/18/2009 - 04:30 pm.

    Fred – Are you over 40?

  22. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 09/18/2009 - 05:26 pm.

    Frankly speaking; the folks who are continuing to banter all the talk back and forth about Mr. Wilson; and anyone else who is in disagreement over the presidents proposed rule-making are the ones who are perpetuating racism. Most of us that grew up through the 60’s and later, didn’t learn this garbage, but we sure read about it.

    Those who are senior to me are the folks who can’t seem to muster tolerance, understanding and compassion. Most of us that grew up in the 60s and 70s not really knowing a difference other than skin color, know that these older mentalities are dying off and eventually will be gone.

    It’s funny but I seem to notice all the rhetoric about racism accusations are coming from the liberal left that really doesn’t like a capitalist society but wants in fact, socialized medicine and everything that goes with it just like Canada and Europe. This seems to be where the phrase “race baiting” is coming from.

  23. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 09/18/2009 - 05:28 pm.

    By the way; Jimmy Carter was a stump then, and he is an even bigger stump now. What a chump for even making that over reaching, all encompassing statement.

  24. Submitted by Jeff Cagle on 09/18/2009 - 05:58 pm.

    It seems to me that the young legislature is just too dumb to realize what she said. I would hate to believe she didn’t know the word uppity, especially when the phrase was uttered during the primary season against Michelle Obama.

  25. Submitted by Terry McDanel on 09/18/2009 - 07:54 pm.

    Regarding the “argument” over “uppity”. I am curious if any of those who profess innocent ignorance can site a white politician being called “uppity”?

  26. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 09/18/2009 - 09:17 pm.

    I’ve seen a lot of presidential elections in my life, and I’ve never seen anyone trying to disprove the citizenship of a candidate and refusing to believe what would otherwise be incontrovertible evidence.

    I’ve never seen such vehement and yet self-contradictory beliefs coexisting. Obama is a Muslim–and a member of a black church with a controversial pastor. Obama is a Communist–and a fascist (not that the people who say this could define either term). All this ire is directed at a man who is, in many respects, continuing Bush’s policies on Afghanistan, the Patriotic Act, indefinite detention, bank bailouts, and disdain for real leftists.

  27. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/18/2009 - 09:58 pm.

    Aside the fact that I am as old as dirt. Mr. Johnson has shared a valuable point of view. My grand kids do not have the same context that us seniors have with our life experiences.

    While sweeping generalizations are always dangerous, on the surface these individuals appear to be undereducated, non-critical thinkers that do not tend to be in the upper socio-economic strata, and thus are most immediately impacted by a deterioration of the economy and other government failings.

    The problem is that they have been duped about who the real culprits are. Those talk show hosts and politicians that are building and exploiting these people’s fears are the same people that were clapping like trained seals when these problems were developing. They have miscast history to such a degree that it is almost as if “conservatives” were not in complete control of government from 2001 through 2007 when many of these issues were born.

    Then there is the fact that in a few generations. The minority will be the majority. I think more than few of these folks would like to be transported back to 1959. Where they can watch Dobie Gillis and Wallie and the Beav on black and white television “easy on the eyes and good morals” and then watch June Cleaver wearing pearls while she greets Ward Cleaver @ the door… Maybe a few Dagwood and Blondie shows to boot…..just saying

  28. Submitted by Dan Gerber on 09/19/2009 - 01:46 am.

    I asked my daughter (20-something Boston University linguistics major) what conno-tation the word “uppity” had to her, with
    or without another word. She wanted some context of the word used in a sentence,
    and I sensed that her initial reaction was “racial,” so I told her about having read this post and called it up.

    Her reaction after having read the opening
    section was along the line of “how can it
    not be racial?”

    I brought up that the 20-somethings seemed
    to be making the argument in the responses that the language has changed, words don’t have the same meaning they had years ago, we didn’t learn that growing up…

    Her response to that was they might be valid
    points, but for an elected official (and I’ll use my own dated phrasing here) should
    know better than to use inflammatory speech
    that would alienate voters of a certain age (of which I am one) who are a larger block
    than the 20-somethings, and may I add offend African Americans as well.

    She allowed some “slack” for unaware usage
    through high school, maybe college, but that adults should know better.

  29. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/19/2009 - 05:44 am.

    “STRAPPED FIRST LADY SAYS WOMEN SUFFER UNDER HEALTH SYSTEM” Drudge Report shows picture of First Lady Obama wearing a wide belt while speaking from a podium

    “MICHELLE SHOWS OFF BONDAGE BELT”… Drudge Report referring to the wide belt..

    Taking it to the edge with regards to personal and racial attacks

  30. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 09/19/2009 - 08:03 am.

    The whining liberals like Doug Grow are losing the argument on every major issue that the Obama Administration has screwed up. They are throwing up racism in total desperation to avoid reality that the American people reject the zero growth, anti human policies of the radical ’68ers which now control Congress, and are typified by the most despised politician on the planet, Nancy Pelosi. THe Obama administration is an an exact replica of the Failed Carter Administration, and will suffer the same fate. This will have the positive effect of dragging all the radical 68ers out of American political life.

  31. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/20/2009 - 01:13 pm.

    I find it interesting that some argue for the irrelevance of language, based on the age of the speaker. None of us live in a world consisting solely of our contemporaries. Tens of millions of living Americans have personally experienced the power of verbal bigotry, be they black, brown, jewish, eastern european, asian, or any number of other groups, including many whites. My youth was filled with pejoratives, most of which would still deeply wound residents of my neighborhood today. If our younger generations are not familiar with these terms, perhaps we best teach them, so as not to permit them to again infest our culture, even unwittingly. For that matter, we’re still busy coining new racial and ethnic slurs today, spurred on by immigration, war and economic conditions.

  32. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/20/2009 - 01:29 pm.

    Mr. Kline is far off the mark when he writes:

    “Most of us that grew up in the 60s and 70s not really knowing a difference other than skin color, know that these older mentalities are dying off and eventually will be gone.”

    Racism will not disappear on its own, particularly when so many adults pass it on to their children, consciously and unconsciously, and when one of the most well-known men in America tells his audience that racism is genetic.

    I suggest Mr Kline take a look at the number of hate groups present in America today and do some research on the recent growth of many of these groups. He might start here, at what he may well believe to be a bastion of the liberal left:


  33. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 09/21/2009 - 12:56 pm.

    Mr. Hamilton; You must have lived out here then. Most of us that lived in Texas and California didn’t learn the “hate” that you folks had. I don’t have that. I get a kick out of those who try to insist that I have a problem with hate who don’t know me from Adam. Get a grip; Other folks aren’t like you. Don’t care about the hate groups either because these are all populated by mostly older folks and the young ones are dumb enough to buy this stuff. And lord knows there are plenty of folks out there who “fall for anything”. Oh; and yea, I did research. Even in NY we didn’t have the problems you folks here in the midwest seemed to have.

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