The GOP Can’t Help It.

I guess the Republican Party just can’t help it. Making crude comments about African Americans, even one who has reached the position of POTUS, seems to be in their DNA. Consider these clumsy remarks by the Republican Party about Barack Obama and his wife Michelle:

• From Newscoma: Tennessee GOP state Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) sent an email with this image of our country’s presidents.


• From the Indigo Journal: Mike Green, a Republican operative who is helping to run the campaign for GOP gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett, posted the following joke about President Obama on his Twitter account:

JUST HEARD OBAMA IS GOING TO IMPOSE A 40% TAX ON ASPIRIN BECAUSE IT’S WHITE AND IT WORKS. reports: Republican Rusty DePass, a former SC State Senate candidate, supporter of former President George W. Bush, and Longtime GOP activist, made this comment after hearing about the escape of a gorilla from a zoo in Columbia South Carolina:

“I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.

And yet they wonder why they can’t get more black votes…

See also:
WTF?!? Racist Insanity
The Hate That Hate Produced: The Demonization of Barack Obama by the Republican Party


Yes we did! Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. And to the Black Community for Representing.

It’s a done deal!

When it became clear last night that John McCain had lost both Pennsylvania and Ohio, it was all over but the shouting. Barack Obama wound up winning in an electoral college landslide.

The black community deserves some credit for this, in two ways.

First, it’s clear that the black vote was enormous. A combination of a huge black turnout, plus a near unanimous vote for Obama-it looks like as many as 95% of African Americans voted for him-smoothed the way for his victory. (This makes me wonder-why did we have to wait for a black man to run for president, before we turned-out in these numbers? If we had done this in 2000 or 2004, maybe Bush wouldn’t have been elected or re-elected. But that’s a discussion for another day.)

A black woman at a liquor store made a Red Foxx/Richard Pryor “old school” kind of joke that there were so many black people on line to vote, they could have filmed three or four Tarzan movies. Yeah, it’s not PC, but I thought it was funny. Please forgive me for any offense.

But to get serious and back to the point, there is a second reason why the black community was so key to this election. It’s because you represented.

Back in the spring, I was talking with a friend about Obama’s chances of winning the election. I said I was fearful that white Americans might not be willing to vote for a black man for president.

He replied, “I’ll tell you why white people will vote for Barack Obama. It’s because they know you and they know me.”

And I got it. So many of us, myself included, underestimate the impact that we as as competent, articulate, professional, honest, decent, and hard-working black people have on the whites we interact with, in the workplace or other settings.

When white people see Obama, they’re not necessarily associating him with some sorry stereotypical image of black Americans.

They are also associating him with you and with me.

And the good will that we’ve created, in turn, created a reservoir of good will among white voters that Barack Obama was able to tap into, in an apparently successful manner.

So, I want to thank YOU for representing the race, and for making this historic win possible. You deserve those thanks.

Now go ahead and have a good cry.

Black Masculinity: 50 Cent and Barack Obama

This is a very interesting documentary that looks at black masculinity, by comparing rapper 50 Cent and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

It’s very insightful and provocative, and worth noting on your blog. Thanks to the Tariq Nelson blog for the heads-up on this.

The Hate That Hate Produced: The Demonization of Barack Obama by the Republican Party

Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer is in what I call a state of disingenuous denial. Writing in the Washington Post, he said

Let me get this straight. A couple of agitated yahoos in a rally of thousands yell something offensive and incendiary, and John McCain and Sarah Palin are not just guilty by association — with total strangers, mind you — but worse: guilty according to the New York Times of “race-baiting and xenophobia.”

…McCain has never said that, nor anything like that. When asked at the time to produce one instance of McCain deploying race, the Obama campaign could not. Yet here was Obama firing a preemptive charge of racism against a man who had not indulged in it. An extraordinary rhetorical feat, and a dishonorable one.

What makes this all the more dismaying is that it comes from Barack Obama, who has consistently presented himself as a healer, a man of a new generation above and beyond race, the man who would turn the page on the guilt-tripping grievance politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

It’s quite true that McCain has kept his own hands clean of the scurrilous attacks that have been made on Obama. But Palin and other Republican surrogates have had no problems with doing the dirty work, a fact that Krauthammer conveniently ignores.

And their dirty work is plain to see. The Republicans have engaged, and are engaging, in a massive effort to demonize Obama.

As described here,

Demonization is the characterization of individuals, groups, or political bodies as evil or subhuman for purposes of justifying and making plausible an attack, whether in the form of character assassination, legal action, circumscribing of political liberties, or warfare.

That’s the theory. Here’s how the Republicans have put theory into practice.





Republican Scare Tactics, Circa 1949

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about political ads. This is from an earlier blog post, back when this site wasn’t getting a lot hits.

I think this speaks for itself. It almost makes the Willie Horton ads from the 1988 presidential campaign seem tame.

Note the little girl’s doll:

This picture was taken in 1949. Obviously, Republican campaign tactics haven’t changed much.

This is from the excellent book, One Shot Harris: The Photographs of Charles “Teenie” Harris. Harris was a photographer who worked for the Pittsburgh Courier, which was one of the nation’s top black newspapers.

The book contains photographs taken by Harris from the 1940s through the 1960s. Black Issues Book Review said this about Harris and the book:

One Shot Harris is pure soul. Though Harris photographed people living in poverty, most of his photos break away from the all-too-familiar images that oftentimes represent blacks during hard times. Instead, Harris focused on local folk–proud at work and at home–along with numerous celebrities to convey cultural pride. He took particular pleasure in highlighting The Hill District, the Pittsburgh neighborhood where many African Americans flocked seeking employment and entertainment.

“What I’d like for readers to take away from this book,” says writer Stanley Crouch, “is that Harris shows that these black communities, regardless of all stereotypes, were as civilized as any community in the entire western world.”

The book contains an essay by noted writer Stanley Crouch, and a biography of Harris by African American photography scholar Deborah Willis. Highly recommended.

I Feel His Pain: Hurting Vicariously for Obama

I’m trying not to take it personally. But…

But when an ad appears on the TV screen, and a picture of Barack Obama is juxtaposed with images of two blonde bimbos (sorry for the disrespect Britney and Paris), it makes my eyes see red.

I know my reaction isn’t reasonable. After all, It’s not like Obama is my brother, and so “if you start a fight with him, you’d better be ready to fight all of us.” An attack on Obama is not an attack on my family’s honor. I know this.

But darn it, I am pissed off at the McCain campaign’s personal and scurrilous attacks on Obama.

Because it feels like an attack on me. I’m trying to get over that, but it’s been hard.

I’m living vicariously through Obama in the worst kind of way.

Here’s the funny thing about it. I don’t feel that Obama’s success is my success. I don’t believe that an Obama presidency will somehow “make things better” for black people, as some folks think/hope. I don’t think it will necessarily uplift or inspire the downtrodden portions of the black community that could use it most. In fact, just the opposite could happen. There is a real possibility that black Americans will go through a period of despair and even anger when they see the reality that there is very little that Obama can or will do to help the lives of the average person on the street.

And it’s not like I see myself in Obama. His atypical African American experience-raised by a white family from Kansas in the “exotic” state of Hawaii-doesn’t resonate with me at a personal level.

It’s not like the prospect of Obama being elected is moving the needle on my Black Pride Meter.

So no, I’m not “feeling” Obama, to use a recent slang term.

But I am feeling his pain. A lot.

But pain, after all, is a part of the black experience, a universal part of the black experience: whether you live in a mansion in Baldwin Hills or a shack outside of Indianola, Mississippi, you will cringe at the sight of a lynching photo. We can all “relate” to that.

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Two Disturbing Videos About Black Stereotypes

These are two disturbing videos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance.

The first is about Black Stereotypes from prior to the 1960s.

The second video, The Children Are Our Future; The Children Are Freak Dancing, looks at pop culture’s effect on the behavior of black children.

Which is more disturbing, and why?