Coming Home to Roost: Defending White Spaces in U.S. Society

The story of the pool party in McKinney, Texas brings to light a number of things about the society we live in: namely, that it is a white racist society that has far more lingering problems than achievements in the realm of race relations. The incident exposes the failed logic of the attempts to roll back efforts to desegregate U.S. society. It also demonstrates how the involvement of ordinary white Americans assists in the maintenance of this racist social system. Finally, the incident teaches us the important role antiracist whites must play in dismantling the racist order.


After a white officer named Eric Casebolt assaults an unarmed teenage girl and draws his weapon on unarmed teenage boys, whites in a variety of outlets defend his actions, including his lawyer. Once again, black teens are viewed with contempt for having fun and are blamed when they are victims of white violence against them. Despite what a variety of outlets have insisted (including McKinney’s own mayor), Casebold is not merely a “bad apple.” People need to understand the role of police since slavery times has been to “protect” white neighborhoods and other social spaces from “invaders.” As shown in the classic study of racism experienced by middle-class blacks (Joe Feagin and Mel Sikes, Living with Racism), suburban conflict is less likely to involve poor blacks but rather middle-class blacks and whites (and the cops who represent them).

Indeed, essentially ALL whites are complicit in the defense of white supremacy and white spaces, not just the individual officer. That is how systemic racism works. To be sure, Casebold must be held accountable for his actions (which remains to be seen), but also the white residents who called the cops in the first place, equating black faces with criminality. While this incident is strikingly similar to the incident back in 2009 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, involving Dr. Henry Louis Gates, I have yet to see any comparison made in the mainstream media. These incidents are treated as isolated, perpetrated by isolated white individuals acting alone, presumably without the approval of anyone.

Some context is helpful in understanding what happened. As of the 2010 Census, McKinney was about 75 percent white and 10 percent black, with 18 percent Hispanic of any race. The white percentage has increased slightly since the 2000 Census, while the black percentage has decreased slightly. The Dallas suburb’s population has exploded since 1990, from around 21,000 to approximately 155,000 today. While cities in the south and west tend to be less segregated than “older,” more established cities in the Northeast or Midwest (for a list of cities ranked by dissimilarity index, see here), McKinney is highly segregated by race; while one side of town is only 50 percent white, the other is 90 percent white. As evidenced by various tweets, white residents have frequently utilized the language of war, speaking of “our” neighborhood being “invaded” by young “outsiders.”

Incidents like these are, at least in part, the product of efforts to dismantle racial desegregation programs and policies, and naive views like that of SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts of the “post-racial” society we live in. The costs of segregation are numerous, including blacks’ often lesser ability to swim vis-à-vis whites. Desegregation is necessary to challenge whites’ view of entitlement and public spaces as their own (and thus off limits to blacks); however, the will of white Americans to support such programs and policies has abated.

Where do we go from here? Will we see a return to the “white citizens’ councils” of the 1940s in communities like McKinney? Probably not, since they have now been replaced by “color-blind” homeowner’s associations and neighborhood watch programs, often run by local police departments. Still, what if they can no longer price “them” out of their development (i.e., use income disparities as a means to maintain racial barriers)?

Finally, a few white teens who were on the scene have stood with their black peers and spoken out against the actions of Casebold. While the response from some white youth in the community is inspiring, note that (white) young people some decades back (in the civil rights era) said the same thing about their parents’ generation. Apparently something happens to whites once they get a little older.

Façade of Tolerance: Donald Sterling, the NBA, and Systemic Racism

Over the weekend, much media buzz centered on the release by TMZ of a recorded conversation between Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano, his girlfriend. In the conversation, Sterling expresses his objection to her posting pictures on Instagram with Black people, including one with Magic Johnson.

Response to the story has varied. Other owners of NBA teams have expressed “disbelief” at the remarks made in the recording. Some have criticized Stiviano for “baiting” Sterling (as Donald Trump called it), as well as choosing to be with him in the first place. Meanwhile, others have placed the onus on Clippers players and coach Doc Rivers to take a stand against Sterling’s comments, even calling them “cowards” for their protest (or lack thereof) prior to Sunday’s game by wearing their practice shirts inside out.

While the debate over how to counter oppression is nothing new and is a worthy endeavor, the onus belongs squarely on the shoulders of white Americans. White folks should take responsibility for the Donald Sterlings of the world: it is our fault that he has been allowed to own an NBA team for all these years.

It is incredulous to hear how shocked people are to learn of Sterling’s racial prejudice, including fellow NBA owners. In fact, racial discrimination helped make his wealth in the first place as a slum lord, an amount now estimated to be $1.9 billion. In 2009, he settled out of court for racial discrimination of Black and Latino tenants in his apartment complex. Elgin Baylor, former player and executive, sued Sterling for age and race discrimination. Former played Baron Davis has made public how Sterling’s heckling would cause him “anxiety” before games. Such facts have been available, and in many cases, for many years now, and yet much of this is news for most people. Why?

The failure to stop Sterling has been systemic. It starts with the good ole (nearly exclusively white) boy network of NBA owners and officials, including former commissioner David Stern (who seemed more interested in maintaining the “plantation” by paternalistically establishing and enforcing dress codes for players). They have peddled the façade of racial tolerance and cosmopolitanism for years, only to have it stripped away in an instant with this recording. The fact that it took this recorded conversation to end Sterling’s reign as Clippers owner shows the failure of the media for failing to pay more attention to Sterling’s transgressions . A double standard exists for elite white men when being held accountable for one’s behavior. Not only have media been negligent in its lack of coverage but complicit in Sterling’s ability to remain owner. And then there are the fans who continue to support an organization that continues to have an owner like Sterling. The white racial frame allows us white folks to allow this man to own an NBA team for this long.

Commissioner Adam Silver announced today that Sterling is banned for life from attending games, practices, and board meetings. He was fined the maximum ($2.5 million) and will pressure the owners to force Sterling to sell the team. Perhaps the NBA survives this and retains the cloak of color-blindness. But is this a victory for racial equality? Hardly…if Sterling did sell he would make good on his investment, having bought the team for $12 million that is today estimated to be worth more than half a billion. But this problem goes well beyond Sterling and the NBA. Maybe we should be wondering just how many more Donald Sterlings exist in this society?

Race, Nationality, & Fertility: The Transnational Value of Whiteness

Surrogacy (the act of a woman carrying a fetus to term for another person) has been a controversial topic for many years now. From a critical race perspective, Dorothy Roberts and others have pointed out how surrogacy and other fertility techniques have been used by mostly wealthy whites to produce blond, blue-eyed white babies while employing black, brown, or yellow women to take the time and effort to have them.

Indeed, surrogacy has gotten so expensive in the U.S. (and elsewhere) that many Americans have sought out surrogates in India, creating “baby factories” and “surrogacy tourists.” Roberts notes how nonwhite surrogates can be used by single, wealthy white men to retain their wealth (as well as genetic) inheritance. Further, affluent women (regardless of race) can avoid the health dangers and inconveniences associated with pregnancy and childbirth, yet still have their own biological children.

In more recent years, however, the use of surrogacy to increase the “lily white” has expanded to affluent nonwhites employing white women. In China, for example, surrogacy is growing in popularity for the upper-class, due to a variety of factors including infertility, China’s one-child policy, and desire to obtain U.S. citizenship for both themselves and their children.

While many couples use their own eggs and sperm, a growing number are accepting egg donations for their surrogates. In fact, some seek tall, blond (i.e., white) donors to produce a Eurasian looking child, whom many clients claim to look smarter and more attractive. Meanwhile, a recent expose of a clinic in Ghana claims to produce “half-caste” babies in order to create a “half-caste world.” The founder of the clinic claims that Africa needs more biracial individuals, while claiming to provide his clients children with “mental and physical beauty.” Additionally, he purports that such biracial individuals would help to improve Africa’s future. Gametes from countries including the U.K. and U.S. are reportedly proffered for $3,000 USD.

While most people think helping people have children is a good thing, there are a number of tricky issues related to this phenomenon. While many of us may wish to ignore this issue and hope it goes away, surrogacy is on the rise in the world. Furthermore, the exploitation of poor women of color is on full display, using them as little more than incubators to produce offspring for mostly affluent white people. Why do some Chinese (as well as other Asians) prefer individuals who have fairer skin and “white” looking features? Why would Africans come to view the continent as too Black? The cases of wealthy Chinese, Ghanaian, or other nonwhites who seek “half-caste” children presents another issue: the effects of white supremacy exported abroad, producing symbolic violence.

Whiteness, Structure, and the Royal Baby Obsession

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now (how could you possibly miss it?), a baby was born in Great Britain, considered to be the third in line to the monarchy.


A story that came to receive almost as much attention as the birth itself was the media coverage of the royal birth, much of it by comics and, thus, not meant to be taken all that seriously (e.g., John Oliver’s criticism). Despite complaints of the coverage, the general attitude was to shrug your shoulders and accept it, like it or not.

There are any number of reasons discussed for the obsession with the royal birth. Some suggest that the death of Princess Diana sparked interest in the royal family in recent years, while others point to the “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S.  Still others point to the appeal of the vivacious young Duke and Duchess (i.e., not as stuffy as Prince Charles). Ultimately, it may be that the royals’ lives speak to some of our deepest cultural mythologies about “fairytales.”


(image from This Charming Mum)


One particular factor that received little if any attention was the role of whiteness in the media coverage.

While Dutch immigrants to the U.S. are among the earliest white settler-colonialists in this country, the standard-bearer of whiteness has always been white Protestants of Anglo-Saxon heritage (or WASPs). The churches that many Americans attend have fairly direct links to the monarchy in Britain, such as Episcopalians, or are denominations with origins in the British Isles, such as Presbyterians.

Of course, this fascination with the royals here in the U.S. is not new. Prince Williams’ birth in 1982 was another royal birth that received much attention. And, Prince Williams’ entire life has been chronicled by the tabloid press, including the U.S.-based People magazine which features his “biography.”

One thing that seems clear with the media surrounding the birth of Prince George Alexander-something or other is how at least some of those covering the story seem to be at least partially critical their own complicity in the spectacle hype.  For instance, many news casters were assigned to watch a door of the hospital awaiting the official announcement of the birth and more than one that I saw seemed chagrined at such a “news” assignment. Of course, plenty of the backlash has as much to do with anti-royal sentiment as with the ridiculous media stunts, but I wonder if there’s something else at play here.

In my new book, White Race Discourse, I discuss how the sample of whites I interviewed seem trapped by a structure that limits their ability to talk rationally and reasonably about race matters and even their own racial experiences.


I see this same concept at play here with the coverage of the royal birth. In other words, for both producers of the story’s coverage as well as its consumers, people are locked into a given structure that limits their possibilities to think and act in rational and reasonable always. It was clearly irrational to be sitting around and waiting for a hospital door to open, but they did it anyway, and for what reasons exactly? This isn’t our monarch (at least not anymore), is it? Or, is there something else afoot here?

As Joe Feagin points out in his book, Racist America, there is a growing sense of insecurity among at least some white Americans over the increasingly majority-minority nation of ours. Whites like Pat Buchanan warn of the coming white minority due to declining birthrates for white women and the ongoing “invasion” of mostly brown people into this country.

Perhaps what the image of the royal baby conjures is white power and wealth, as well as the fertility of white women necessary to maintain white supremacy and dominance. These signifiers of white supremacy continue to proliferate in the U.S. mass media and throughout society. We watch in part because we want to, but we also watch in part because we are compelled to do so by the way white dominance is built into media events, such as the royal birth.

Overboard with “Rationality”: Django Unchained and “Mandingo Fighting”

Quentin Tarantino certainly has a knack for igniting controversy with his films. Perhaps no movie of his has started such a hullabaloo than his latest work, Django Unchained, drawing criticism from a variety of circles, from both the political left and right.

After finally seeing it myself, the film has many issues addressed by critics, including (but not limited to): Tarantino’s gratuitous use of the n-word, excessive violence; being just another white messiah flick, or just plain irreverent.

All of these topics are important, but one issue that interested me was the questioned accuracy of the so-called “mandingo fighting” portrayed in the movie; i.e., fight-to-the-death matches between slave men. A commonly cited article at Slate authoritatively stated that mandingo fighting never existed, paraphrasing David Blight, a historian from Yale, that no such thing occurred because doing so would have been irrational to do so. This take on the film’s mandingo fights got picked up from other outlets, following Slate’s lead. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has a great post at The Root regarding the issue of mandingo fighting, as well as using bloodhounds for tearing apart and eating, not just capturing, runaway slaves. In the post he asks, “Did this happen — could this have happened — given the fact that the ultimate goal of a master was to exploit his human chattel for maximum profit, and destroying property would not be perhaps the best business decision?” Specifically regarding the dogs issue, Gates finds that it did sometimes happen. Certainly this same approach can be applied to the portrayal of mandingo fighting. However, Gates does not go that far, giving support to the Aisha Harris article at Slate and adding, “Destroying one’s property was not the smartest business strategy.” Unfortunately, Gates seems to contradict himself when it comes to the issue of mandingo fighting.

So, did “mandingo fighting” ever take place in the antebellum South? In fact, as Adam Rothman pointed out, new historical texts on the antebellum period describe the situation in Mississippi during the time having been even crazier and more bizarre than that portrayed in the film. Slaveholders constantly feared uprisings and runaways, and they commonly cracked down on supposed wrongdoers to “send a message” to the other slaves.

Still, I think more the pertinent question is: does it even matter whether they existed or not? I think that social scientists like Blight and others need to take great care in stressing the rationality of a social system, whether it be economic, political, etc. A dialectical approach is helpful here, as in George Ritzer’s notion of the “irrationalities of rationality,” in which rationalized structures produce undesired outcomes (such as the horrors of modern warfare). The whole point to take from this is that Americans of African descent, with the exceptions of freedmen and women, were PROPERTY of whites. This means they had no rights. While those fights may not have taken place, it seems folly to believe it never could have happened in such a rational economic system. Even worse, whether intentionally or not such a line serves to whitewash the antebellum South as a land of happy darkies and benevolent—even kindly—slave masters who would never abuse or kill their slaves due to enduring economic losses.

Whatever your thoughts about the film, it certainly was very powerful. Gates finished his piece this way: “Whether you like Django’s post-modern take on slavery or not, one of its most salutary effects is that it has generated a greater conversation about the enslavement of our ancestors than any that I have witnessed perhaps since Roots.”

Moving Towards a “Post-Racial” Society? Not Really.

Based upon the results from Tuesday’s election, are we in post-racial society? As Joe pointed out in his post after the election, of course not. I will take this one step further: is U.S. society coming closer (if not there yet) to being a “post-racial” society? The exit polling from the election Tuesday suggests not. In fact, a preliminary look at the numbers suggest something rather disturbing: that white Americans are beginning to consolidate their support behind the (white) Republican candidate, regardless of a variety of factors.

When interviewing white college students, a common claim I found was that U.S. society is getting more progressive due to the impending deaths of the old racist whites. However, exit polling from the election and comparing it to what happened in the previous cycle (see here), we find that all of the President’s losses were among various groups of white voters, including young white voters. As Joe pointed out earlier, President Obama lost whites aged 18-29 by a margin of 44 percent to 51 percent. This was a complete reversal of 2008, when then Senator Obama carried the same group of voters by a ten-point margin (54-44). Meanwhile, white women’s support for the white Republican candidate this time doubled its spread from 46-53 in 2008 to 42-56. Meanwhile, Independent voters also flip-flopped from supporting Senator Obama 52-44 in 2008 to Romney 45-50 (note: the first number listed is President Obama’s on the chart below).

Group 2012 2008
Whites (overall) 39-59 43-55
Whites (18-29) 44-51 54-44
Latinos (18-29) 74-23 76-19
Moderates 56-41 60-39
Independents 45-50 52-44
Suburban 48-50 NA
Democrats 92-7 89-10

This rejection of President Obama by white America was quite extensive. We must push back against the MSM to paint a distorted picture of how this man won re-election. Besides young voters and women, Catholics is another group the MSM could generalize and say “Catholics supported Obama by a 50-48 margin…” The reality is that white Catholics overwhelmingly rejected President Obama by a 40-59 margin, while white Protestants were even worse at 30-69. After a far too brief look at the exit polls, I see incredible support for the President coming from Blacks and Latinos (considering that the turnout was actually down from 2008 and 2004, see here), and his campaign did a great job of maintaining support among the Party faithful (he won Democrats 92-7) while convincing enough voters that he cared more about them than Romney did (he won those earning below $50,000 60-38).

What we race scholars should be focusing on is the disturbing gap among our young people (e.g., nearly one-third more Latinos 18-29 supported Obama than whites in the same age cohort), and the consequences of such a major gap.

Race-Based Violence: Our Double Standard

Heard any reports of “flash mob violence” in the news lately? Now that “flash mobs” are apparently no longer limited to the “cute” actions of white upper-middle class people, such as dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” now they pose a threat to the social order, and must be vilified. These mobs have been called an epidemic (see here), while some Black leaders like Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia have condemned the participants for their actions. These mobs (or in some cases so-called “flash robs”) have occurred predominantly in big cities like Philly and Milwaukee.

Another important morsel of information concerning this news story is that the bulk—if not all—of the mob participants were young and Black. It did not take long for conservative commentators to jump on the “liberal media” for ignoring the story, or at least glossing over the presumed racial nature of the incidents (CNN did have an extended piece on it though).

Despite the inclination of conservatives like Michelle Malkinand John Bennett to insist that these acts have been racially based—more specifically, black-on-white—the reality is that race might not have been the motivating factor. For example, in response to the flash mob activities in Philly, the First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said the following:

You can’t just simply look at the race of the offender and the race of the victim and say it’s ethnic intimidation. It may be, but we’re not sure…We’re in the business of what we can prove, not what we think.

Nonetheless, conservatives continue to claim a double standard on how news media report on stories such as these. Progressives might even struggle to deal with these conservative claims. Tell them to look at the bigger picture concerning race-based violence in U.S. society.

Tell them about the reality of hate crimes in this country: namely, who is most likely to be victimized. In 2004, approximately two-thirds of victims of race-based hate crimes are African American. This percentage has not changed much: in 2009, out of 4,057 race-based hate crimes, 2,902 were “Anti-Black, accounting for nearly 72 percent of all victims” (note: the FBI reports anti-Jewish hate crimes as religious-based, while anti-Hispanic are deemed as ethnic-based). Only 668 of the victims were classified as “Anti-White,” or about 16 percent (see here).

This discrepancy in the numbers is especially revealing given the fact that white non-Hispanics make up the solid majority of the U.S. population, while African Americans constitute just 13 percent. All I can say to Malkin and others like her is: why aren’t we hearing more about the hate crimes committed against Blacks in this society?

What explains this outcry over the recent “flash robs” apparently committed by Black youths? This response from mostly white conservatives is nothing new: (1) crack-cocaine was never a problem until it began to affect white communities; (2) gun violence in schools was never a big deal until post-Columbine. Now flash mobs have become a problem because, as we have seen in the Middle East and Britain recently, social media can be used to challenge the social order. I think there are a number of factors at play here, including generational differences, cultural lag, and socioeconomic factors.

That aside, we should take Malkin’s and other conservatives’ responses as a reminder that their so-called “color-blindness” is a sham and their allegiance to and defense of the white racial frame continues on.

Racism & Antiracism: New Research

For the annual ASA conference in Atlanta, the session on racism and antiracism (organized by Eileen O’Brien) was divided into two, held back-to-back in the same room. With my presentation in the second of the two, I had a chance to catch the discussion portion of the first session, with Charles Gallagher present. As expected, the room was packed (and unfortunately most left after their session had ended). I was (at least somewhat) taken aback at how optimistic Gallagher was with the alleged absence of racism among young white people today. I wish more had been in attendance for my session that followed (including Gallagher), or that I had presented my material for that session, because my research paints a very different picture of young whites than what Gallagher sees.

Granted, I’m not saying that young whites today are tripping over themselves to join the Klan or anything. But a complete absence of racism? In my presentation titled “‘It’s not on the news, so…’: Ambivalence towards White Supremacy Among White College Students,” I presented evidence about how white college students go out of their way to not see white supremacist activities, while defending their right to exist and even flourish. They seem to feel it necessary to say that white supremacists and their organizations are a serious problem in our society, yet contradict themselves when they call them impotent, ridiculous, limited to the south, etc. This contradiction creates an ambivalence towards these groups, and whether intended or not, this ambivalence towards white supremacy assists in efforts to protect white supremacist speech.

I mentioned a couple of examples from the interviews that I found to be most intriguing. The first was Odella, who told me of an incident involving “good ole southern boys” burning “a black doll” in effigy on the grounds of her high school. She immediately minimized the incident, saying it had been resolved and called it “an isolated event.” Incredibly, later on when discussing the significance of white supremacists and their organizations today, she said:

“I don’t think white supremacy is a serious problem in our society, I know it exists, but um (.) maybe I just don’t see it (.) like maybe in other places it’s more prominent, but…”

After asking her if that incident at her high school constituted white supremacy, she answered “yeah, probably” but said it was “spur of the moment” and that these good ole boys had simply made a bad decision.

The other example came from Troy, who rationalized discriminatory behavior in the pursuit of profit. When he recalled his “training” as a club bouncer he provided extensive details on who he was supposed to keep out of the establishment: baggy jeans, Fubu clothes, and Timbaland boots, and most of all, black skin. Although he seemed to struggle with the racist thinking of his boss at one time, he said “it sounds terrible but it’s kind of like the line from The Godfather ‘It’s business, not personal,’” and saying it’s alright if “they’ve got bills to pay.” He admitted that the whole point of the dress codes those establishments enforce are a way to keep blacks out (“because they can’t just come out and say ‘all right black people [don’t] come in’ so they have to make a dress code and basically they find stuff that applied to [the] black crowd and say ‘you can’t come in wearing that’”).

Although these are just a couple of examples from the research, there were many others that showed young white people are generally ambivalent towards white supremacists and their organizations. I believe that this attitude makes it virtually impossible to get the needed public policies and societal resources to fight these groups and to protect the rights of those they seek to harm. I wish I were as optimistic as Gallagher is about our young white children today, but for now I say wait 10 or 20 years and see where they will be and how they behave.

“All-American” Basketball League? All White?

Last week a former wrestling promoter named Don “Moose” Lewis announced his intention to start up a new basketball league called the “All-American Basketball Alliance,” or AABA. In this league only U.S. born players of Caucasian parents would be allowed to play and coach. The proposal was for teams in 12 cities across the southeast, with its headquarters in Atlanta (See here and here )
News of this proposal first appeared last week in the Augusta Chronicle in which Lewis was interviewed. Since then the story has received little attention from news outlets, especially “major” outlets like CNN. Of those who have covered the story, many say that people like Lewis are ridiculous and/or silly, even to the point where one has assumed it must be a hoax? Perhaps it was, but if so, why would Lewis choose this topic? Is he trying to spark a conversation on the issue?

During his interview with the Chronicle, Lewis made the following comment as to whether he thought such a league would be racist:

There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing. I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.

This comment underscores the point that even when racists engage in overtly racist acts, they refuse to call it racist (Bonilla-Silva, Racism Without Racists). However, I’m interested not so much in Lewis’ comments or the league itself (which probably won’t see the light of day) but the response to the issues Lewis has raised, especially by white Americans. I have yet to see a more developed critique of this line of thinking, such as that from Charles Barkley (from here):

It’s just blatantly racist if you look at the code words used. I don’t take it seriously, but it just lets you know there’s blatant racism out there. It lets you know, as a black man, there are people out there who don’t like you.

Barkley’s reference to “code words” is right on point. The title of the proposed league is a good place to start, and something that one still hears every now and again; i.e., that “American” is synonymous with “white.” Second, Lewis talks about starting such a league because people yearn for “fundamentals” basketball and an alternative to “street” ball, which he argues has taken over the NBA. The notion that black players don’t play with “fundamentals,” while insinuating that white players do, is rooted in the white racial frame that whites are inherently rational and blacks are incapable of “civilized” activity. This frame of thinking continues with the proposed league limiting the amount of tattoos players have. Considering that tattoos have become almost blasé in today’s society, only those worn by African Americans get criticized. Finally, Lewis made reference to unique examples like the recent incident involving Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittendon bringing guns into the team locker room as emblematic of why he feels a need for a new league. This is a classic ecological fallacy in which an exception is used to categorize the entire group.

My concern is our inability to acknowledge just how much support there is out there for Lewis’ opinions, if not for such a league. Perhaps if this was indeed a hoax, the dialogue could be revealing. The white racial frame places a filter over our eyes that affects the way we see things. For example, it is common to hear comments of how a black player is naturally gifted while focusing on the “fundamentals” of a good white player, and how he’s intelligent. Meanwhile, this frame affects our discourse, such as using animal imagery when describing players’ performances, including phrases like “beast on the boards” or calling linemen’s hands “paws” when they knock down balls at the line of scrimmage…do you hear such terminology used for white players?

A Harris Interactive poll taken last year found that pro basketball has declined considerably in popularity . Is this due to white racism? The percentage of black players has actually remained steady over the years (though the NBA has increased its number of international players significantly), so is it something more specific than color of the players on the court?

Obama Painted as a Rapist: White Conservatives

Kudos to Rachel Maddow for her story Friday night’s show (see here , beginning at about the one minute mark) about the way cons on radio and TV have referred to President Obama as a rapist. Much of this reporting was based on the research from the folks at Media Matters (see here). Also kudos to Ana Marie-Cox who rightly points out the obvious “that they’re saying this about a black man.”

For example, Michael Savage said on his radio show that

Obama is raping America. Obama is raping our values. Obama is raping our democracy.

Meanwhile, Neil Boortz said (back in June, mind you)

They’re gonna rape us. They’re gonna bend us over and nail us, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

See here (at 0:16 of the 0:49 clip) for Glen Beck’s rant in which he compares the President to Roman Polanski while “we” are the “little girl.”

Considering how utterly offensive these comments really are, I find it disturbing how little attention they have received from major news media outlets (e.g., the fact that the Boortz quote is nearly five months old now). These statements are straight out of the white racial frame, stoking the centuries-old stereotype of black men as sexual predators. This stereotype lingers on (as these statements show), despite the fact that it is WHITE MEN who are overwhelmingly guilty of interracial rape in four centuries of U.S. history.

Even worse, commentators like Chris Matthews and others continue to give these racists like Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan legitimacy by discussing their latest statements or even inviting them as regular guests on their shows. Meanwhile, they continue to drool over Sarah Palin’s book tour and discuss Lou Dobbs’ hinting at a run for the Presidency. These individuals are profiting off white supremacist fears of a truly democratic society; i.e., one in which non-whites have increased access to the privileges that whites have long enjoyed.