is Obama being uppity? (on returning America to its rightful owners)

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Obama, politics, racism, the tea party
Tags: ,

Is racism alive and well in the United States? Those who believe that racism plays no part in the unprecedented vitriol toward President Obama seem to think not. “Racism? Here?” they cry incredulously. “No! It’s his policies…his birthplace…his associations… Benghazi…his economic philosophies. But racist? No way!” Kind of reminds me of our Southern brethren, back in the eighteen-sixties, insisting that they were really just concerned about state’s rights.

Jimmy Carter recently stated: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intense animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.” It’s hard to disagree when we hear John Sununu complaining, “I wish Obama could learn to be an American” or referring to the President as “lazy” or as “not very bright” (an accusation made again just yesterday by John McCain against Susan Rice, our current UN Ambassador, also African American) or when we see Tea Party ranks, permeated with concerns about race and national identity, fighting to “take back America” (from whom?) and Karl Rove lamenting the fall of western (read: white male dominated) civilization.

Can we really believe that the relentless attacks on Obama’s national origin, his religion, his work ethic, his “radical black associations” and his intelligence aren’t just new ways of asserting that the president has stepped out of his place and is being an uppity black man?

And what about our friends on the left? “Racist!” is hurled at the “right wing conspirators” with abandon by Liberals who seem ready to play the race card each and every time a conservative gives one of Obama’s policies a dirty look. Does this belie a hidden, reverse racism? Blogger Matt Welch attempts to make the case that opposition to Obama is not race-fueled by pointing to the fact that Obama is consistently much more popular than his policies, while Mitt Romney has been consistently less popular than his. “That’s a mighty odd way for a country to express its racism,” Welch writes. But I can’t help but see an element of racism in this fact itself. Is it Liberal white guilt and an affirmative action affinity that makes them so slavishly supportive of Obama’s every move?

I think Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez got it right when he wrote, “The first black president has challenged Americans’ sense of self.” Our nation is experiencing a seismic shift. White men with money (middle class to wealthy) make up only about 15% of the total population, and even though they are still disproportionately represented in leadership (especially among conservative leadership), they are seeing their long-held power and control begin to wane, finding that their views are no longer this country’s automatic default mode, and realizing that they suddenly can’t count on having the last word in the national discussion. These frightening and shocking developments have made them very, very anxious and uncomfortable and have given them more than enough motivation to work incredibly hard at returning this country to its rightful owners.

And, as I tell students during my management training classes, scared people, who are highly motivated to reduce their own anxiety, tend to not always be on their best behavior.


  1. I’ve wondered more than once if the vehemence in the opposition to our president has more to do with his race than his politics, too. I was shocked when I heard, and I can’t quote it because it was second hand, that a politician on the right was complaining that we needed a first lady who “looks more like a first lady.”

  2. nash says:

    And, oh yes, Latinos got the dream Act, and finally. In the latest survey, 75 percent of the nation, including more than 60 percent of Republicans, approved of letting kids stay here if they’d been here a long time, had come when they were children, and were in the military or in college. So does that make it a “gift” for Latinos, or does that make it a move with broad popular appeal that a super-majority thinks is the right thing to do?

  3. Joe says:

    Actually, the dream act didn’t pass. President Obama took executive steps to make it j\happen, but it could be reversed at any time. Great article, Mike. If you want more proof of the racism, take a look at Bill O’Reilly’s comments after the election about how it just isn’t a “traditional” america anymore, and the “white establishment” isn’t a majority anymore. His racism isn’t even hidden. Of course, its always more enjoyable to get your news through Stewart, so, here you go:

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