Here is Part II of my post on this subject.
It was also very troubling to me to hear the gleeful comments from Limbaugh, Beck, Fox News and others expressing joy and gladness that the 2016 Olympics would not be held in Chicago despite Obama’s personal involvement. Fortunately for many, Beck has been terminated from Fox News primarily because of loss revenue, loss viewers and, of course, his racist rhetoric.
Those who know their history will remember that civil rights activists were often accused of being Marxist and Communists in the 1960s as opponents of integration tried whipping up broad, irrational fears against people who wanted to change their way of life. It’s a classic strategy of painting people of color as exotic, dangerous outsiders — something we’ve seen reprised during the 2008 election process.
It seems to be a repeat of the same tactics used against Martin Luther King Jr. more than 40 years ago. Cynics might say those who oppose Obama now are so hungry for support they are willing to overlook insulting language and imagery to serve their greater goals. Too often, these debates occur outside the lens of history. But race friction in America is all about history; there are still plenty of Americans who remember the tactics used to segregate and subjugate people of color over 40 years ago — seeing those surface again, with little official sanction, must feel like a dispiriting sort of déjàvu. The dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the National Mall on August 28, 2011, is a fitting way of memorializing Dr. King’s legacy.
Here are a few additional examples:
Glenn Beck was on a Fox show July 28, 2009, when he referred to Obama as a racist with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” The network immediately distanced itself from Beck’s statement, but Beck didn’t. He used his radio show the next day to explain why he believed that. One company, CVS Caremark, said it advertised on Fox and subsequently informed its advertising agency to inform Fox that it wanted no commercials on Beck program, “We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Castel.
On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama said during his health care speech that insurance company executives are “bad people,” and that Obama’s remarks “took [Hannity] back because it was so harsh.” In fact, as was made clear by the video Hannity himself showed, Obama said just the opposite — that “[i]nsurance executives don’t [treat their customers badly] because they’re bad people; they do it because it’s profitable.”
President Carter said there was some racism against Obama and based on what I have seen and heard over the past 3-1/2 years, he was right. Yet right-wing talk show hosts like Bill O’Reilly deny it and O’Reilly even said President Carter had no evidence to back up his claims. What about the fact that Rush Limbaugh had the Barack the Magic Negro song, what about the Obamabucks with watermelon, chicken, and ribs on them, what about all the racist e-mails sent out by Republicans (Sherri Goforth, a staffer for Tennessee State Senator Diane Black, sent out a racist email demeaning President Obama, using her work computer and state email account. The email was entitled, “Historical Keepsake Photo,” and included a picture of all of our 44 presidents, except that President Obama’s portrait only contained two white eyes against a black background.”
This was not the first instance of racist attacks against President Obama by Tennessee Republicans. Former Tennessee, Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman sent out the “Barack the Magic Negro” song as a “gift” to Republican National Committee members during his bid to head the Committee) or the photo shopped photo of the word “Ni66er” on the tail of Air Force 1 sent out with a North Canton Police email, or the white house lawn watermelon patch photos, or Limbaugh comparing President Obama to Hitler: “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, ruled by dictate.” Limbaugh also said that the “Obama health care log is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo.”
The irony in all of this is that many of these same right-wing radical pundits claim to be Christians, and while I’m not one to question anyone’s religious beliefs, it is obvious to me that they have not read Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood: 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
The 2012 Presidential Campaign has started and the Republican candidates are jockeying for position. Republicans have often been accused of tolerating intolerance to reach their goals. I would hope that visibly denouncing those who may be prone to using race-tinged attacks to criticize Obama during the campaign would offer the strongest step toward inoculating presidential critics from claims of race-baiting.
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