President Obama's words that were particularly offensive to Malkin et al., included;
"Radical Islamists in Africa, believe any efforts to modernize, any efforts to provide basic human rights, any efforts to democratize are somehow anti-Islam."
"And what you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself," Mr. Obama added. "They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."
As commenter tbone at Media Matters said in response to this exchange,
"African audience - "African" adjective. If this has occurred in Norway, he could have said "Norwegian". When we speak of 9/11, the phrase "American lives" or "they want to kill Americans" is and has been used repetitively notwithstanding that they do want to kill the infidels.
Only in the Faux-Bot mind does an adjective for nationality immediately become one for ethnicity. "
The Republicans can't get any traction from the economy or healthcare reform, their apologies to BP and support of the oil companies are drawing the wrong kind of attention, and according to a poll commissioned by the National Employment Law Project, 74% of Americans would prefer that Congress extend unemployment benefits and payments for health insurance subsidies than worry about the deficit.
Immigration reform may play well on the news, but the more experienced Republicans know that, especially in the border states, alienating the Hispanic voters is a good way to lose elections. It may be politic to jump on the teabag bandwagon and behave as if Rush Limbaugh were their BFF, but in their heart of hearts, most Republicans who have been around for any period of time know that true party purity and adherence to the teabag values would be disastrous to the country and to their party.
So, what do they do? Racism is no longer taboo, it's out of the closet since President Obama's speech during the campaign. Too many people don't understand that racism is insidious and just as sexism is more than overt harassment, racism is more than using the "n" word. An organization can claim to be without racism, to welcome all comers, to be diverse, but the proof is in the actual makeup and actions of the organization itself. Thus, completely missing the point, the Republicans have chosen racism as their cause celebre. Unfortunately, they seem not to understand that racism towards Hispanics is still racism.
During the time of Affirmative Action, many believed that it was about quotas and that it was totally unfair to whites - a kind of reverse racism if you will. To this day, many do not understand that opening the doors of opportunity does not reverse hundreds of years of institutional thinking. Social capital (that intangible something necessary to overcome institutional racism) is built out of many things, including a family's position in society, the educational achievements of the parents, and something as simple as whether or not the parents value reading. Because there is so much ignorance over what exactly racism is, and isn't, people are afraid to discuss it and are terrified that by doing so, they may open themselves to accusations of racism.
Racism is when Sarah Palin refers to our president as "half-white" and sees nothing wrong with that comment. Racism is when, because we have an African-American president, that everything is viewed through a racial lens. Racism is when it is still okay for our politicians to say that the "papers please" law in Arizona is okay and that it is not racial profiling and that even if it is, so what. Racism is when members of Congress are spat upon as they walk into the Senate and members of the media say, "there's no video, so it didn't happen," rather than taking the word of the members who were there and saw it happen. Racism is distributing photos of the President wearing African tribal garb or in white-face and thinking that it is okay.
PHOTO: Zina Saunders
A national journalist shows a photo of Sarah Palin that was photo-shopped and goes on air to apologize. President Obama is vilified daily and photos of him as Hitler or in other demeaning ways are shown on national networks and it's business as usual. That is racism. Not only are many of the Republicans racist, they're dinosaurs. They want to return to attitudes and policies of the past that enriched their bank accounts but contributed to the mess this country is in. Half-governor Palin inserts herself into every conversation of the day, has advise for the president at every turn, and now has the gall to tell him that he is a racist because Faux News and Michelle Malkin say so. As commenter tbone said above, were he in America, President Obama would have referred to Americans, if in Norway, Norwegians. How many times does Sarah Palin refer to Alaskans as if they were God's chosen people (no wait, that's Israel)?
Just as with the healthcare reform debates, conversation normally helps more than it hurts. The fear and anger that was generated by the misinformation disseminated by the insurance industries and their lackeys played to people's emotions and when emotion is involved, decisions are based not on logic, but on fear. When every decision the President makes or comment that is heard is viewed through the lens of racism, people respond emotionally.
Decisions made (and votes cast) based on emotion are rarely the right ones. Even votes cast for hope leave us open to turning on (in this case President Obama) him when he inevitably disappoints us when he makes decisions we don't like. We can't ignore our emotions, but we can recognize when our leaders and our media are manipulating us (or trying to) in order to use our emotions to generate anger and fear so that we act in the ways that they choose for us to act.
What do you think? Is it okay for the President to call out others for their racism? What about Sarah Palin and Michelle Malkin? Do they even understand what racism is? Do they care or are they just trying to get attention?
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