Anti-Obama Racism Gearing Up for November

Well, the Democratic primaries have brought more people out to vote than in recent memory, and now the anti-Clinton and anti-Obama attack machines are heating up dramatically. We are beginning to see just how the attack machines are going to focus in the future on Senator Obama (especially if he is the Democratic nominee), often with only thinly veiled appeals to old white racist framing of African Americans.

In a story on a key Republican event, the Republican National Committee’s “winter retreat,” we get some samples of the coming attacks from Rove-type operatives.  The report first indicates that blatant sexism targeting Senator Clinton was mixed with more subtle racism targeting Senator Obama:

“Plenty of lowbrow Hillary Rodham Clinton jokes were tossed around at the three-day event, but of highest concern was the notion of Obama seizing the Oval Office in a contest against presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.”

Apparently, sexist joking in public is still OK  in these circles, and we can only wonder what goes on in regard to blatantly racist joking among these folks off the public stage.   The report continues with numerous attack issues the Republican advisors suggest in working against Senator Obama.  The anti-Obama presentation accented bullet points about how his “undisciplined messaging carries great risk” and the new cliché that:

“His greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is not ready to be president.”

Certain codewords (“undisciplined,” for example) in these points will likely call up old anti-black stereotypes for many whites from the still-common white racial framing of black Americans, which is centuries-old now.  They seem designed for that purpose, especially given Obama’s substantial experience as a state senator, lawyer, and community activist (say, compared to some recent Republican presidents).

Fox News  has presented Republican leader Ralph Reed repeating President Bush’s false view that Obama “has said that he will embrace [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad.” Numerous other sources, such as arch-conservative Ann Coulter have mockingly attempted to tie Senator Obama to Middle Eastern “terrorists,” by accenting his middle name Hussein. In this crude stereotyping process Middle Eastern peoples are also racially and politically stereotyped.

Media matters  has also documented and countered various other charges against Senator Obama, such as that he is not oriented toward ordinary workers, that his followers are “cult” like, and is the most liberal Senator in the US Senate (on the latter point, he is not).

And then there are the viciously racist comments on various white supremacist Internet blogs such as that of the “vanguard news network” (I will not give the link to such vicious sites), where classic racist stereotyping and epithet-filled racist language and joking are used numerous times to characterize Senator Obama from an extreme version of the old white racial frame. A Google search with Obama and the N-word will doubtless bring up hundreds of thousands of such blatantly racist commentaries and websites, at this early stage already.

And we have nine months to go until November.   Be prepared.   If Senator Obama is the Democratic party nominee, the deep racist realities of this society will once again come out of the shadows into the light of day, much more than at any time in recent years.


  1. Seattle in Texas

    I just wanted to quickly say a couple of things somewhat off topic from the above about the debate in Austin this evening (cheers to Austin!!!) that I thought were interesting. One is with relation to Obama’s stance on bilingual education—he believes all children should learn at least two languages while Clinton stands behind the idea of English as the primary language for all. As of now, there are various bilingual and full immersion programs in the U.S. Native English speaking students, however, are encouraged to learn a second language later on in their school years (even though we know the best time for students to learn a new language is during their early years…go figure…). I will bypass the hegemonic and ethnocentric issues related to forcing all incoming non-English speaking students to be forced to learn English…but did want to bring forth a positive side to Obama’s stance. The idea of “full immersion” was founded in Canada, but it operates quite differently and they argued it could not work in the U.S. For the most part, they are correct because of how the U.S. implements the programs—quite often forcing full immersion in the later years and incorporating various types of punishments for speaking in their native tongues, etc. where Canada does not. How does it work in Canada? Three tracks which begin at the onset of education (students cannot change later). The family makes a decision before their children enters school, then the student follows through on the track until graduation. They are as follows: English speaking children go into the full immersion French speaking education, French speaking children go into a full immersion English speaking education, or each goes into and English speaking/English education or French speaking/French education if that makes any sense…. This has been found to not interfere with the native language and competency of either—rather increase both native and bilingual competencies and skills. Why couldn’t the U.S. do the same with Spanish? If Obama is elected, these types of programs or others would be possibilities (and he wants to do away with the No Child Left Behind Act).

    Second, Teamsters is voting for Obama. There are many reasons for doing so obviously, but Go Teamsters!!! But even more importantly, I just want to say that the politics in Texas are very interesting and exciting from the Democratic camp. Go Democratic Texans!!! (and those who are jumping the fence!!! You are welcomed and embraced!!!).

    On a note related to the above, I do believe that racism will increase against particularly black communities if Obama is elected into office. I think it’s important to be as proactive as possible and think ahead…and it would be wise for all supporters to think about ways to neutralize or counter the conflict in various sorts of situations whether it be with relation to the self or others…this means being willing to engage in civil disobedience when bad things occur and demand they come to a stop—such as, police brutalities, hate crimes, etc. (why this stopped for many people I don’t really know—perhaps simply individualism…I don’t know)…But things are looking very promising for Obama, exciting—yet, bad always seems to come with the good, and it would be wise to buckle down for the bad on behalf of Obama, his supporters, and the most vulnerable in this society…Just my thoughts….

    And lastly, just wanted to mention that the terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” or even “Right” and “Left” seem to have different meanings to different people, regions, and so on? I am far more Liberal on some things and far more Conservative on other things than Obama. But on a some what related, yet different note, I was speaking with a Libertarian *gag* (not to him, but to that particular mindset—and fair enough, he equally thinks the same of the Liberal mindset) and was surprised to find out that he was an Independent, and has been voting Green. What I found out was that we were in about, at least, 50/50 agreement on many issues (a definite “wow”). We split when it came to discussing social issues and the poor (welfare, etc.). His primary reason for voting Green was that he believes we need a third party for reasons of which we both are in agreement on and he’s beyond fed up with the Republican Party. So, we went through whole “Well I’m a definite conservative/I’m a definite Liberal” thing, then were pondering on how we could possibly be in agreement on anything…we concluded that it came down to simply commonsense (getting out of Iraq and shouldn’t have even entered in the first place for example, we should have universal healthcare, and so on). The rest that we didn’t agree on (people need to work harder type of stuff—though suggested every person in the U.S. should have 5 years of unlimited support and they can use it when they wish, but no more—I agree every person should receive support if needed for whatever reason, but do not favor limitations). Quite interesting though and it was fun to speak with a conservative Independent (I guess?) learn some of our differences and the rationales behind them. He would like to see Obama win the Democratic vote—fun to talk politics with the locals down here…well, most…. Just very interesting.

  2. Joe Author

    The main problem with Howard Cossman’s argument is the Senator Obama is NOT Dr. Wright. And Senator Obama’s message is quite inclusive of all Americans, as his multiracial coalition of supporters strongly indicates.

    In addition, Dr. Wright’s views are wildly misrepresented in the media. He is a mainstream Protestant minister with deep concerns for the racism faced by African Americans.

Leave a Reply