The Racism in “The Great White Hope”

Keith Olbermann and Rep. Maxine Waters do a nice job of calling out the use of the phrase “great white hope” as steeped in racism. Here’s a clip on the long side (6:10) but worth watching all the way through if you missed the live broadcast:

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I really appreciate Olbermann saying “as a white guy” the recent political events make him uncomfortable. And, then poses the question to Rep. Waters, “are we going backwards or forwards?” It’s about the frankest discussion of racism on mainstream media that I’ve ever heard.

Something Seems Strangely Familiar Here: Town Hall “Protests”

1. Déjà vu, in Psychology–The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time. 2. An impression of having seen or experienced something before: Old-timers watched the stock-market crash with a distinct sense of déjà vu.

Dull familiarity; monotony: the déjà vu of the tabloid headlines.

Machiavelli once said that “[w]hoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.” So as I have recently flipped through the numerous self proclaimed left and right winged television shows on CNN, Fox, and etc., a chill crept through the nerves within my vertebral column. My eyes were horrified, but at the same moment, not surprised to witness fisted clinched and crocked brows on white Americans at town hall meetings where civilized debates of the proposed health care plan by the Obama administration was to be occurring. Angry rhetoric along side held high posters propagating to on lookers that our president was in essence similar to the paranoid sociopath and war criminal Adolf Hitler. With a critical lens, a psychologists may say that these people are actually guilty of transference (which is a phenomenon in psychoanalysischaracterized by unconscious redirection of feelings for one person to another).

Secondly, what was more troublesome for me were the number of people at these town hall gatherings who were strapping semi automatic side arms and even holding military grade weapons such as AR15s.

Haven’t we been here before? Has history not shown us the damage this sort of anti-social behavior and angry rhetoric can have on people and a country? I feel that the evolution of WWII and the Hitler regime is a perfect example for us to keep in the forefront of our minds. There are enough comparisons between what is happening in our country to what lead to WWII and the slaughter of millions of innocent Jews that should give us pause.

During the rise of Hitler, the economy was in a depression. Hitler’s tactic to blame the Jews for the state of Germany appealed to their emotions and not the true nature of the crisis in Germany. The propaganda that followed that was created by Hitler and Goebbels gave way to a wave of radio blitz, leaflets, movies, and posters that stoked the flames of hatred and misdirection. Are we seeing this today? Yes we are indeed.

The rallies, the nonsensical statements calling the president a racist against whites by Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh can be compared to the radio blitz by Lord Haw Haw and Axis Sally of Germany.

Moreover, the ignorance, frustration, and racism toward Jews allowed for fertile ground for the rise of the Third Reich. As the world knows, here in the U.S. we are too undergoing a scary economic crisis. This is the time of high unemployment, company bailouts, government bank takeovers, increase in spousal abuse, and etc. We have seen throughout multiple media outlets how the country blames in part our first Black president for not helping the government to recover faster. This factor on top of the already dissatisfaction of many Whites having a Black president has caused an alarm to be raised in regards to hate groups. CNN has recently noted that many whites blame President Obama for the economic crisis. Here in the U.S., groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted that “[a]fter virtually disappearing from public view a decade ago, the antigovernment militia movement is surging across the country – fueled by fears of a black president, the changing demographics of the country and fringe conspiracy theories increasingly spread by mainstream figures.”

I am not declaring that another holocaust is imminent. But what is important here is for us to all take a moment and realize that if we are not careful, history could indeed repeat itself.