Political Racism

Barack Obama

Since the results of the 2012 Presidential election were announced and Barack Obama was to remain in office for 4 more years, Republicans have been asking themselves, what went wrong? I’d like to answer that question from my perspective.

In general, I’ve been turned off by the lack of respect for our President, the man the country elected in 2008 and again in 2012. From Mitt Romney at the top down to my friends on Facebook, the attitude from Obama haters has been literally “hateful” and without regard to the opinions and feelings of those that support him (like me).

At the very worst, a graphic showed up in a friend’s Facebook feed portraying Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, JFK, and Obama with the implication (made to be humorous) that he should also be assassinated.

There are plenty other examples of this kind of display, for example, the California man who hung a hanged Obama on a noose as a Halloween decoration.

This is the first black President of the United States. There are implications to hateful criticism and blatant disrespect toward him. There are consequences to hate, and we Americans are smart enough to understand how people of color, Obama supporters, etc. can be sensitive to certain venom. If we blatantly choose to cross so far over the line of basic human respect and decency, we know others can make their own judgments about us.

With both obvious and thinly veiled racism spewing out from Republicans or otherwise opposed people from across the country, you would think political minds, both professional and amateur, would show some sensitivity toward the man, as they fiercely criticize his politics. Instead I see anything but sensitivity. It’s as if these people are using politics to attack and mask their racism.

I realize that Obama put himself in the political arena, thereby opening up himself to attack. Yet I still feel deeply about what I see are issues, so I’m writing this post anyway.

There is a sense of superiority that doesn’t just target President Obama. It’s a feeling of superiority over people with accents that “don’t speak English.” There is a feeling of superiority over people that need financial help, especially people with brown skin and accents that need financial help. Let’s hope these people who are so superior are never laid off of a job and need help to stay afloat while they look for work.

It’s very easy to look down on immigrants when you’ve had the pleasure of being born in the USA, never been in a volatile situation where you and your family are at risk of poverty and violence, desperate to find a way to safety and opportunity. Then try to learn a new language! Sure, Republicans can certainly justify their political views, but to offer no compassion and feeling toward immigrants shows me that these people have never had meaningful, lasting relationships with people that might open their eyes to non-first world problems.

Finally, Republican and religious rhetoric like “Take Back America,” while completely political for some, is convenient racism without having to spell it out for others. I call it political racism. It can be felt by the degree of venom coming from the speaker. If you find yourself utterly consumed with hate for Barack Obama, please read my final paragraph with the Lyndon B. Johnson quote below.

Believe it or not, I have quite a few conservative viewpoints. I’m a work in progress. 😉 I completely understand many Republicans’ strong conviction over the issues of abortion, same sex marriage and other controversial subjects. But after the 2012 campaign, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth for the Republican party. I think this campaign has really tarnished their image and turned off a lot of people due to their pomposity and sense of entitlement.

You may believe that you and the USA are the center of the world. And lucky for you, America is going to fight hard and rape the world to keep it that way (and give you lower gas prices!). But I don’t think Jesus places more value on American lives than those who don’t have the luxury of being born here.

Marching to the Mountaintop

Finally, an excerpt from Ann Bausum’s book, Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours:

President Lyndon B. Johnson had predicted in 1965 that progress for black folks could bring peace of mind to whites too. He explained that segregation grew out of the false presumption by whites of their superiority over blacks. Evidence of that falsehood mounted during the noble, nonviolent advocacy of the civil rights movement. “Men cannot live with a lie and not be stained by it,” observed the President. By admitted that lie and embracing the idea of equality, he said, whites “will find that a burden has been lifted from your shoulders, too.

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2 thoughts on “Political Racism

  1. Mary

    Hello Josh,
    Thank you for your thoughtful article. I understand your frustration. I see a world where racism and segregation are very much a factor…still. I raise my kids to understand how wrong that mindset is. We are all equal. There is only one race that exists..the human race.
    That being said. Let’s take a step back to view a larger picture. This is a world where no candidate or person for that matter is free from pure hatred. I grew up experiencing much hatred and at times poverty and you know what shade I am. I’m sure there are some disgusting people who hate our president due to his color. But there are people from every background who just purely hate others as well. Please understand that some believe that this type of rhetoric actually divides us even more! Would you ban speech that has no intent at all of being racist?
    Let’s take a look at the fact that most people who are not for Obama simply do not like what he stands for. Look up NDAA, Patriot Act…who Authorized WAR WITHOUT going to Congress which is clearly a violation and complete disregard of our Constitution! Please look this up. It’s funny that you mention that America will continue to rape other countries. Who is ordering that? Who ordered the drone strikes in Libya and Pakistan? Yup, Obama.
    Look it up…you’ll find it.
    So, this is a complicated issue. I do believe there are people out there like me who are determined to look at a person’s character content versus the color of their skin. It’s entirely too simple and feeding into the divisive nature of political pundits to say people against Obama are racist.
    -Mary:) just good ol’ healthy debating here

    1. Joshua B Post author

      Hi Mary,

      It’s an honor to have your comment on my blog and it’s great to be back in contact with you after so many years.

      Of course everyone is entitled to their own political beliefs. I’m sure I agree with many of yours, including how little attention the American press gives to the issue of innocents being killed by Obama’s issued drone attacks. And never would I “ban” any speech. I don’t have cable and I don’t watch the political analysts, so these are my personal observation from what I’ve witnessed, so I’m not “feeding into the divisive nature of political pundits.”

      As I wrote, Americans are smart enough to know when they debate politics vs. when they “blatantly choose to cross so far over the line of basic human respect and decency.”

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