Race – excerpts

Updated 3/18/17      see also Culture Wars-Race

The Spirit That Drove Us to Civil War Is Back by Andy Schmookler, Huffington Post, 09/02/2014  Excerpt – …the force that drove us to Civil War more than a century and a half ago, and the force that has taken over the Republican Party in our times…In both cases, we see an elite insisting on their “liberty,” by which they mean the freedom to dominate… the use of the structures of American democracy was combined with a contempt for the democratic values that inspired our founders… the idea of compromise became a dirty word, as the inflamed insistence on getting everything one’s own way took hold of the inflamed side…the powerful elite in the grip of that destructive force refused to accept that in a democracy sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and sometimes you have to accept being governed by a duly-elected president you don’t like. Today’s Republicans have done everything they could to nullify the presidency of Barack Obama, whom the American people duly elected twice. Like no other opposition party in American history, they have refused to accept the temporary minority status to which American voters have consigned them. Blocking the president from performing the function for which the people hired him has been their top priority.

We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People  by Bill Moyers, TomDispatch, September 12, 2016 commondreams.orgExcerpt and highlighting by Phyllis Stenerson, curator of ProgressiveValues.org 9/23/16 Full text Excerpt – They [citizens] simply couldn’t see beyond their own prerogatives.  Fiercely loyal to their families, their clubs, their charities, and their congregations — fiercely loyal, that is, to their own kind — they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. … this is the oldest story in our country’s history: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a metaphysical reality — one nation, indivisible — or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others. There is a vast difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud, a democracy in name only.  I have no doubt about what the United States of America was meant to be.  It’s spelled out right there in the 52 most revolutionary words in our founding documents, the preamble to our Constitution, proclaiming the sovereignty of the people as the moral base of government:  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”What do those words mean, if not that we are all in the business of nation-building together?….And yet, despite the flaws and contradictions of human nature — or perhaps because of them — something took hold here. The American people forged a civilization: that thin veneer of civility stretched across the passions of the human heart. Because it can snap at any moment, or slowly weaken from abuse and neglect until it fades away, civilization requires a commitment to the notion…that we are all in this together. American democracy grew a soul, as it were…President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood the soul of democracy, too.  He expressed it politically, although his words often ring like poetry.  Paradoxically, to this scion of the American aristocracy, the soul of democracy meant political equality.  “Inside the polling booth,” he said, “every American man and woman stands as the equal of every other American man and woman. There they have no superiors. There they have no masters save their own minds and consciences.” God knows it took us a long time to get there.  Every claim of political equality in our history has been met by fierce resistance from those who relished for themselves what they would deny others. So it was, in the face of constant resistance, that many heroes — sung and unsung — sacrificed, suffered, and died so that all Americans could gain an equal footing inside that voting booth on a level playing field on the ground floor of democracy.  And yet today money has become the great unequalizer, the usurper of our democratic soul. No one saw this more clearly than that conservative icon Barry Goldwater, longtime Republican senator from Arizona and one-time Republican nominee for the presidency. Here are his words from almost 30 years ago: “The fact that liberty depended on honest elections was of the utmost importance to the patriots who founded our nation and wrote the Constitution.  They knew that corruption destroyed the prime requisite of constitutional liberty: an independent legislature free from any influence other than that of the people.  Applying these principles to modern times, we can make the following conclusions: To be successful, representative government assumes that elections will be controlled by the citizenry at large, not by those who give the most money. Electors must believe that their vote counts.  Elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people, not to their own wealth or to the wealth of interest groups that speak only for the selfish fringes of the whole community.” Now, I recognize that we’ve never been a country of angels guided by a presidium of saints…And yet, despite the flaws and contradictions of human nature — or perhaps because of them — something took hold here. The American people forged a civilization: that thin veneer of civility stretched across the passions of the human heart. Because it can snap at any moment, or slowly weaken from abuse and neglect until it fades away, civilization requires a commitment to the notion (contrary to what those Marshall housewives believed) that we are all in this together…

The Real Origins of the Religious Right By RANDALL BALMER, Politico.com, http://www.thechristianleft.org/ May 27, 2014    They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation. Posted on Facebook by the Christian Left, 12-9-14 with commentary: We’ve been aware of this for some time but we were recently reminded of it. The “Christian” Right was originally brewed up to defend racism parading as “Religious Freedom.” When the founders realized they couldn’t flaunt racism in the open they threw up abortion instead. They would use whatever issue was handy, and they had tried most of them before. Abortion was their golden egg and they ran with it.

Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America By Sara Robinson, AlterNet, June 28, 2012 full text  Excerpt – It’s been said that the rich are different than you and me. What most Americans don’t know is that they’re also quite different from each other, and that which faction is currently running the show ultimately makes a vast difference in the kind of country we are.

Right now, a lot of our problems stem directly from the fact that the wrong sort has finally gotten the upper hand; a particularly brutal and anti-democratic strain of American aristocrat that the other elites have mostly managed to keep away from the levers of power since the Revolution. Worse: this bunch has set a very ugly tone that’s corrupted how people with power and money behave in every corner of our culture. Here’s what happened, and how it happened, and what it means for America now.

North versus South: Two Definitions of Liberty

Michael Lind first called out the existence of this conflict in his 2006 book, Made In Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics. He argued that much of American history has been characterized by a struggle between two historical factions among the American elite — and that the election of George W. Bush was a definitive sign that the wrong side was winning.

For most of our history, American economics, culture and politics have been dominated by a New England-based Yankee aristocracy that was rooted in Puritan communitarian values, educated at the Ivies and marinated in an ethic of noblesse oblige (the conviction that those who possess wealth and power are morally bound to use it for the betterment of society). While they’ve done their share of damage to the notion of democracy in the name of profit (as all financial elites inevitably do), this group has, for the most part, tempered its predatory instincts with a code that valued mass education and human rights; held up public service as both a duty and an honor; and imbued them with the belief that once you made your nut, you had a moral duty to do something positive with it for the betterment of mankind. Your own legacy depended on this.

Among the presidents, this strain gave us both Roosevelts, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, and Poppy Bush — nerdy, wonky intellectuals who, for all their faults, at least took the business of good government seriously. Among financial elites, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet still both partake strongly of this traditional view of wealth as power to be used for good. Even if we don’t like their specific choices, the core impulse to improve the world is a good one — and one that’s been conspicuously absent in other aristocratic cultures.

Which brings us to that other great historical American nobility — the plantation aristocracy of the lowland South, which has been notable throughout its 400-year history for its utter lack of civic interest, its hostility to the very ideas of democracy and human rights, its love of hierarchy, its fear of technology and progress, its reliance on brutality and violence to maintain “order,” and its outright celebration of inequality as an order divinely ordained by God…these elites have always feared and opposed universal literacy, public schools and libraries, and a free press…perhaps the most destructive piece of the Southern elites’ worldview is the extremely anti-democratic way it defined the very idea of liberty. In Yankee Puritan culture, both liberty and authority resided mostly with the community, and not so much with individuals. Communities had both the freedom and the duty to govern themselves as they wished (through town meetings and so on), to invest in their collective good, and to favor or punish individuals whose behavior enhanced or threatened the whole (historically, through community rewards such as elevation to positions of public authority and trust; or community punishments like shaming, shunning or banishing).

Individuals were expected to balance their personal needs and desires against the greater good of the collective — and, occasionally, to make sacrifices for the betterment of everyone. (This is why the Puritan wealthy tended to dutifully pay their taxes, tithe in their churches and donate generously to create hospitals, parks and universities.) In return, the community had a solemn and inescapable moral duty to care for its sick, educate its young and provide for its needy — the kind of support that maximizes each person’s liberty to live in dignity and achieve his or her potential. A Yankee community that failed to provide such support brought shame upon itself. To this day, our progressive politics are deeply informed by this Puritan view of ordered liberty.

In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. When a Southern conservative talks about “losing his liberty,” the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control — and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from — is what he’s really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can’t help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they’re willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.

Once we understand the two different definitions of “liberty” at work here, a lot of other things suddenly make much more sense. We can understand the traditional Southern antipathy to education, progress, public investment, unionization, equal opportunity, and civil rights

The Civil War was, at its core, a military battle between these two elites for the soul of the country. It pitted the more communalist, democratic and industrialized Northern vision of the American future against the hierarchical, aristocratic, agrarian Southern one. Though the Union won the war, the fundamental conflict at its root still hasn’t been resolved to this day. (The current conservative culture war is the Civil War still being re-fought by other means.)…

post-war Southerners and Westerners drew their power from the new wealth provided by the defense, energy, real estate, and other economic booms in their regions. They also had a profound evangelical conviction, brought with them out of the South, that God wanted them to take America back from the Yankee liberals — a conviction that expressed itself simultaneously in both the formation of the vast post-war evangelical churches (which were major disseminators of Southern culture around the country); and in their takeover of the GOP, starting with Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964 and culminating with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

They countered Yankee hegemony by building their own universities, grooming their own leaders and creating their own media. By the 1990s, they were staging the RINO hunts that drove the last Republican moderates (almost all of them Yankees, by either geography or cultural background) and the meritocratic order they represented to total extinction within the GOP. A decade later, the Tea Party became the voice of the unleashed id of the old Southern order, bringing it forward into the 21st century with its full measure of selfishness, racism, superstition, and brutality intact.

…Buttressed by the arguments of Ayn Rand — who updated the ancient slaveholder ethic for the modern age… — it has been exported to every corner of the culture, infected most of our other elite communities and killed off all but the very last vestiges of noblesse oblige…

We are withdrawing government investments in public education, libraries, infrastructure, health care, and technological innovation — in many areas, to the point where we are falling behind the standards that prevail in every other developed country.

Elites who dare to argue for increased investment in the common good, and believe that we should lay the groundwork for a better future, are regarded as not just silly and soft-headed, but also inviting underclass revolt. The Yankees thought that government’s job was to better the lot of the lower classes. The Southern aristocrats know that its real purpose is to deprive them of all possible means of rising up against their betters.

The rich are different now because the elites who spent four centuries sucking the South dry and turning it into an economic and political backwater have now vanquished the more forward-thinking, democratic Northern elites. Their attitudes towards freedom, authority, community, government, and the social contract aren’t just confined to the country clubs of the Gulf Coast; they can now be found on the ground from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street. And because of that quiet coup, the entire US is now turning into the global equivalent of a Deep South state.

As long as America runs according to the rules of Southern politics, economics and culture, we’re no longer free citizens exercising our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as we’ve always understood them. Instead, we’re being treated like serfs on Massa’s plantation — and increasingly, we’re being granted our liberties only at Massa’s pleasure. Welcome to Plantation America.

The GOP’s Disgusting New Southern Strategy: Take the Vote Away from Blacks, Roll Back the Civil Rights Movement

By Sherrilyn Ifill,  The RootSeptember 4, 2012  |

This article first appeared in TheRoot.com [3].

Excerpt

…Republican Party efforts to diminish minority voting strength for this year’s presidential election are a sobering reminder that the struggle for full civil rights is not over.…The GOP’s war on voting is a serious attack on the fundamental workings of our democracy…

Richard Nixon’s political “Southern strategy” [12] was nationalized….By the 1980s, Republican political operative Lee Atwater had turned the politics of race and fear into an art formit was Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 that was the real political transformative moment…shook the very foundations of the Southern strategy and left the Republican Party reeling.

…The party has, in effect, abandoned serious engagement with the essence of political activism: trying to persuade voters to support the candidates and viewpoints of one or another political party…

As a result, the Republican Party is now a minority party that still demands majority power…This is why the Republican war on voting should not be viewed solely through the lens of race. Instead it should be seen as part of a larger attack on political participation, with deep historical roots that hark back to the darkest days of American democracy….Republican voter-suppression efforts are a sobering reminder that we are only half a century removed from the time when, in many states, voting strength was based on race, wealth and place…This is what voter fraud really looks like, and all Americans, not just African Americans, stand to lose.

Full text

In states from Florida to Pennsylvania, Republican Party efforts to diminish minority voting strength for this year’s presidential election are a sobering reminder that the struggle for full civil rights is not over. But it’s not only black voters who should be concerned about Republican voter-suppression tactics. The GOP’s war on voting is a serious attack on the fundamental workings of our democracy. It is, at its core, an attempt to negate the important victories of the early 1960s that laid the foundation of our modern representative democracy.

To understand the breadth of the threat represented by voter-ID laws and other new practices designed to suppress votes in Democratic districts, it’s important to realize that the effort to dismantle obstacles to voting rights for black voters in the South during the early 1960s did more than just enfranchise African Americans. It exposed the myriad ways in which key aspects of the American electoral system were fundamentally unfair for all voters. In particular, the disproportionate power afforded to underpopulated rural jurisdictions over the more populous cities was corrected by the Supreme Court in a series of cases that dismantled the framework of unequal voting power that had existed in the South since the turn of the 20th century.

The door opened in 1962 when, in Baker v. Carr [4], the Supreme Court decided that it could rule on cases raising constitutional challenges to state apportionment practices. In that case, the challenge was to Tennessee’s failure for more than 60 years to adjust its state legislative districts, despite massive changes in the state’s population. A year later, in Gray v. Sanders [5], the court outlawedGeorgia’s county-unit voting system, a vote-counting scheme that benefited less populous counties in the state.

In the most important and influential of these decisions, Reynolds v. Sims [6], the court announced the now internationally recognized bedrock principle of voting equality: one person, one vote. These cases rooted out practices advanced principally in the South that, by weighting votes in favor of rural areas, gave land and cattle greater voting strength than people.

The principles announced in those cases are now such a part of our understanding of fairness in representative democracy that it’s hard sometimes to remember that they are only 50 years old. In short, the fight to remove obstacles designed to keep blacks and the undereducated from voting — like the poll tax [7], the literacy test [8] and the understanding clause [9] (in which a registrant would be asked to “interpret” a section of the state constitution) — should be understood within the context of the larger effort to bring equity to a voting system that had been fixed in favor of Southern, rural land-owning elites.

By 1966, after the last of these and other barriers had been removed by the Supreme Court [10] and by the passage of the Voting Rights Act [11], we’d begun the decades-long battle — still under way — to ensure that state and federal officials would enforce the laws that the Supreme Court had upheld. Once these structural barriers to voting were removed, those Southern white Dixiecrats (who formed the base of the modern post-civil rights Republican Party) committed to maintaining their political power and shifted their tactics to adjust to the new normal.

Because black and urban voters now proved a crucial vote in elections throughout the country, the politics of race-based fear increased and spread rapidly to the North. There, entrenched powers also sought to marginalize the potential for new voters to change the political landscape.

Richard Nixon’s political “Southern strategy” [12] was nationalized. Candidates who promised “law and order” flourished after the urban riots in Los Angeles’ Watts and inNewark,N.J. The idea of candidates who would “return”America to its former glory grew in currency. By the 1980s, Republican political operative Lee Atwater had turned the politics of race and fear into an art form, with Willie Horton launched as the poster child for how to manipulate white swing voters.

Despite the reference to Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination as a game changer in HBO’s titular movie [13], it was Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 that was the real political transformative moment. Obama’s ability to peel off the support of voters in three states of the old Confederacy [14] — Virginia, Florida and North Carolina — shook the very foundations of the Southern strategy and left the Republican Party reeling.

The party’s initial instinct was to try to undercut the president’s “postracial” appeal, with party leaders asking Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to provide the response [15] to President Obama’s first State of the Union address, and selecting former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as chair of the Republican National Committee [16]. Both of these decisions soon proved hasty and ill-advised.

Now, it seems, the Republican Party is done with politics. The party has, in effect, abandoned serious engagement with the essence of political activism: trying to persuade voters to support the candidates and viewpoints of one or another political party. Urban voters, blacks, Latinos, young people and now perhaps even a majority of women voters appear beyond the reach or interest of the GOP.

As a result, the Republican Party is now a minority party that still demands majority power. And perhaps this is why the party appears determined to shrink the majority, borrowing from pre-civil rights-era Southern states that used voting and election laws to manipulate the voting strength of the electorate.

This is the context in which we should understand Republican election officials’ decision in Cincinnati last month to limit early voting in urban voting enclaves, while they guaranteed weekend voting and more flexible early voting hours in rural and suburban counties [17]. Ending weekday early voting at 5 p.m. and canceling weekend early voting in Ohio’s most populous cities would ensure that working voters in these jurisdictions became second-class citizens to their counterparts who live outside the metro areas. A recent federal court decision [18] requiring uniform early voting hours for all voters in the state may have reversed this plan.

This is why the Republican war on voting should not be viewed solely through the lens of race. Instead it should be seen as part of a larger attack on political participation, with deep historical roots that hark back to the darkest days of American democracy. Combined with the effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United [19] decision, Republican voter-suppression efforts are a sobering reminder that we are only half a century removed from the time when, in many states, voting strength was based on race, wealth and place. These new voter-suppression tactics bring us perilously close to reliving those days.

This is what voter fraud really looks like, and all Americans, not just African Americans, stand to lose.

Sherrilyn A. Ifill is a professor of law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and a civil rights lawyer.

See more stories tagged with:

voting rights [20],

civil rights movement [21],

u.s. supeme court [22],

gop war on voters [23]


Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/gops-disgusting-new-southern-strategy-take-vote-away-blacks-roll-back-civil-rights-movement

Links:
[1] http://www.theroot.com
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/sherrilyn-ifill
[3] http://www.theroot.com/views/ballot-box-tactic-historical-roots?page=0,0
[4] http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/369/186/case.html
[5] http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/372/368/case.html
[6] http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1963/1963_23/
[7] http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/modern/jb_modern_polltax_1.html
[8] http://www.crmvet.org/info/lithome.htm
[9] http://civilrights.uslegal.com/voting-rights/grandfather-clauses-literacy-tests-and-the-white-primary/
[10] http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1965/1965_48
[11] http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/08/voting-rights-act-key-to-rolling-back-new-voting-restrictions-in-the-south.html
[12] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/13/AR2005071302342.html
[13] http://www.hbo.com/movies/game-change/index.html
[14] http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html
[15] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/24/bobby-jindal-respone-to-o_n_169704.html
[16] http://articles.cnn.com/2009-01-30/politics/rnc.chairman_1_michael-steele-party-members-katon-dawson?_s=PM:POLITICS
[17] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/opinion/overt-discrimination-in-ohio.html?src=recg
[18] http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120831/NEWS/308310102/Judge-OK-s-Ohio-early-voting-weekend-before-election
[19] http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/06/25/supreme-court-re-affirms-citizens-united
[20] http://www.alternet.org/tags/voting-rights
[21] http://www.alternet.org/tags/civil-rights-movement-0
[22] http://www.alternet.org/tags/us-supeme-court
[23] http://www.alternet.org/tags/gop-war-voters

 

Culture war – race

Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America By Sara Robinson

The Persistence of Racial Resentment By THOMAS B. EDSALL, Feb­ru­ary 6, 2013 -Although there was plenty of dis­cus­sion dur­ing the 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign about the His­panic vote and how intense black turnout would be, the press was pre­oc­cu­pied with the white vote: the white work­ing class, white women and upscale whites. Largely miss­ing from daily news sto­ries were ref­er­ences to research on how racial atti­tudes have changed under Obama, the nation’s first black pres­i­dent. In fact, there has been an inter­est­ing explo­ration of this sub­ject among academics…Despite how con­tro­ver­sial it has been to talk about race, researchers have gath­ered a sub­stan­tial amount of infor­ma­tion on the opin­ions of white Amer­i­can vot­ers…the evi­dence strongly sug­gests that party attach­ments have become increas­ingly polar­ized by both racial atti­tudes and race as a result of Obama’s rise to promi­nence within the Demo­c­ra­tic Party…At the moment, the pop­u­la­tion of the United States (314 mil­lion) is head­ing towards a majority-minority sta­tus in 2042. The Amer­i­can elec­torate, on the other hand (126 mil­lion) is cur­rently 72 per­cent white, based on the vot­ers who cast bal­lots last Novem­ber …the shifts…within the right wing of the Repub­li­can Party. Many vot­ers voic­ing stronger anti-black affect were already Repub­li­can… Some Repub­li­can strate­gists believe the party’s deep­en­ing con­ser­vatism is scar­ing away voters…what Time Mag­a­zine recently described as the Repub­li­can “brand iden­tity that has emerged from the stars of the con­ser­v­a­tive media ecosys­tem: Rush Lim­baugh, Sean Han­nity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coul­ter, and others.”It is not so much Latino and black vot­ers that the Repub­li­can Party needs. To win the White House again, it must assuage the social con­science of main­stream, mod­er­ate white vot­ers among whom an ethos of tol­er­ance has become nor­mal. These vot­ers are con­cerned with fair­ness and diver­sity, even as they stand to the right of cen­ter. It is there that the upcom­ing polit­i­cal bat­tles — on the gamut of issues from race to rights — will be fought.

What Do We Really Know About Racial Inequality? Labor Markets, Politics, and the Historical Basis of Black Economic Fortunes

Are Humans Hard-Wired for Racial Prejudice? Robert M. Sapolsky, Los Angeles Times, Alternet.org, July 31, 2013   

Tim Wise on White Resentment in a Multiracial Society – interview by Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview, March 2, 2012 …it took America — this place where the old divisions would need to be put aside so as to subjugate indigenous persons and maintain chattel enslavement of Africans in the name of “the white race” — to really bring racism, as we know it to fruition…If the elite could make the poor Europeans believe they were members of the same “white” team as the rich Europeans, then the prospects for class-based rebellion would be dampened…My goal…is to confront us with the reality that, ultimately, racial equity is in the interest of all of us; that the nostalgic remembrance of the past is not only problematic in that it tethers us to a narrative that overlooks the fundamental evil of those “good old days” for millions, but also because it commits us to the kind of nation that is not sustainable for anyone in the long run.…

America’s Ku Klux Klan Mentality By Lawrence Davidson,Con­sor­tium News, Sep­tem­ber 8, 2012 -The Ku Klux Klan… declared mis­sion was to “main­tain the supremacy of the white race in the­United States.” To this end it adopted tac­tics in the South­ern states that would so ter­rify eman­ci­pated African-Americans and their white allies that they would not dare to vote, run for pub­lic office, or inter­min­gle with whites except in “racially appro­pri­ate” ways…It was very rare that those involved…were arrested for their actions much less con­victed and ade­quately pun­ished. This, in turn, was pos­si­ble because of a num­ber of factors: – First and fore­most, the belief that African-Americans, and sub­se­quently all non-whites, were dan­ger­ous to “white civ­i­liza­tion.” This belief was built into the cul­tural per­cep­tions of the majority…The nation’s deep-seated his­tory of racism has helped pre­serve an appar­ent per­ma­nent sub­set of Amer­i­cans who grow up with prej­u­di­cial feel­ings against any­one they per­ceive as a threat to their ver­sion of the “Amer­i­can way of life.” This back­ground can help us under­stand the ongo­ing attacks against Amer­i­can Mus­lims. Since 2010 there has been an increase in the num­ber of attacks on Amer­i­can Mus­lims, their mosques and other prop­erty, as well as Amer­i­can minori­ties (such as Sikhs) who are reg­u­larly mis­taken for Muslims…An impor­tant fac­tor in all of this is the role of a num­ber of cam­paign­ing politi­cians who go around pro­claim­ing the threat that Amer­i­can Mus­lims sup­pos­edly rep­re­sent to the country…the United States, the nation spent…165 years, build­ing up an “Amer­i­can way of life,” which legit­imized dis­crim­i­na­tion against non-whites… there are still those groups of cit­i­zens who are deeply racist…when con­di­tions allow, that racism emerges in a pub­lic way, often in hate speech but some­times more bru­tally. These extrem­ists are the mod­ern day ver­sions of yesterday’s Klans­men and, given a chance, they will hap­pily com­mit may­hem in the name of their cher­ished tra­di­tions. Amer­i­can Mus­lims are now their chief target…

How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane By David Nei­w­ert [2], John Amato [3] Poli­Point Press [1] posted on Alternet.org, May 25, 2010 — The fol­low­ing is adapted from “Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Elec­tion Drove the Amer­i­can Right Insane,” [4]due out next month from PoliPoint Press.On the day Barack Obama was elected pres­i­dent of the United States… those who opposed Obama pre­cisely because he sought to become the nation’s first black pres­i­dent — it went well beyond the usual despair….So maybe it wasn’t really a sur­prise that they responded that day with the spe­cial venom and vio­lence pecu­liar to the Amer­i­can Right…We are see­ing lit­er­ally hun­dreds of inci­dents around the coun­try — from cross-burnings to death threats to effi­gies hang­ing to con­fronta­tions in school­yards, and it’s quite remark­able. I think that there are polit­i­cal lead­ers out there who are say­ing incred­i­bly irre­spon­si­ble things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media fig­ures. On immi­gra­tion, they have been some of the worst. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very likely to lead to scape­goat­ing. And in the end, scape­goat­ing leaves corpses in the street…

Large Portion Of GOP Thinks Obama Is Racist, Socialist, Non-U.S. Citizen: Poll by Sam Stein, Huffington Post, February 2, 2010 February 2, 2010

No Longer a Party of Lincoln: The Racial Politics of the New GOP by John Nichols, The Nation, January 10, 2012

For Politics in South, Race Divide Is Defining ByCampbellRobertson,New York Times, October 2, 2011

Welcome to the Shari’ah Conspiracy Theory Industry by Sarah Posner Religion Dispatches, March 13, 2011

White Democrats Lose More Ground in South by Campbell Robertson, Washington Post, August 31, 2010 August 31, 2010

His Southern Strategy Made a Dent by Byron Williams, HuffingtonPost.com, October 11, 2007 October 11, 2007

Not Afraid to Talk About Race by Charles Blow, New York Times, June 7, 2012

The Racism-Conservatism Link: ‘National Review’ Firestorm Over Racism Calls Up William F. Buckley’s Troubling Legacy By William Hogeland, AlterNet, April 24, 2012

Right-Wing Racism: Past, Present—and Future by Eric Alterman, The Nation, February 29, 2012


Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America By Sara Robinson, AlterNet, June 28, 2012

Fear of a Black President By Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic,The Atlantic, Sep­tem­ber 2012The irony of Barack Obama is this: he has become the most suc­cess­ful black politi­cian in Amer­i­can his­tory by avoid­ing the radioac­tive racial issues of yes­ter­year…This irony is rooted in the greater ironies of the coun­try he leads. For most of Amer­i­can his­tory, our polit­i­cal sys­tem was premised on two con­flict­ing facts—one, an oft-stated love of democ­racy; the other, an unde­mo­c­ra­tic white supremacy inscribed at every level of gov­ern­ment. In war­ring against that para­dox, African Amer­i­cans have his­tor­i­cally been restricted to the realm of protest and agi­ta­tion.…Barack Obama gov­erns a nation enlight­ened enough to send an African Amer­i­can to the White House, but not enlight­ened enough to accept a black man as its president…This is a func­tion not only of Obama’s elec­tion to the White House but of the way his pres­i­dency broad­casts an easy, almost mys­tic, black­ness to the world. The Obama fam­ily rep­re­sents our ideal imag­in­ing of ourselves—an ideal we so rarely see on any kind of national stage. What black peo­ple are expe­ri­enc­ing right now is a kind of priv­i­lege pre­vi­ously withheld—seeing our most sacred cul­tural prac­tices and tropes val­i­dated in the world’s high­est office. Through­out the whole of Amer­i­can his­tory, this kind of cul­tural power was wielded solely by whites, and with such ubiq­uity that it was not even com­mented upon. The expan­sion of this cul­tural power beyond the pri­vate province of whites has been a tremen­dous advance for black Amer­ica. Con­versely, for those who’ve long trea­sured white exclu­siv­ity, the exis­tence of a Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is dis­com­bob­u­lat­ing, even ter­ri­fy­ing…In Amer­ica, the rights to own prop­erty, to serve on a jury, to vote, to hold pub­lic office, to rise to the pres­i­dency have his­tor­i­cally been seen as belong­ing only to those peo­ple who showed par­tic­u­lar integrity. Cit­i­zen­ship was a social con­tract in which per­sons of moral stand­ing were trans­formed into stake­hold­ers who swore to defend the state against threats exter­nal and internal…The idea that blacks should hold no place of con­se­quence in the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal future has affected every sec­tor of Amer­i­can soci­ety, trans­form­ing white­ness itself into a monop­oly on Amer­i­can possibilities…After Obama won, the longed-for post-­racial moment did not arrive; on the con­trary, racism inten­si­fied. At ral­lies for the nascent Tea Party, peo­ple held signs say­ing things like Obama Plans White Slavery…While Beck and Lim­baugh have cho­sen direct racial assault, oth­ers choose sim­ply to deny that a black pres­i­dent actu­ally exists. One in four Amer­i­cans (and more than half of all Repub­li­cans) believe Obama was not born in this coun­try, and thus is an ille­git­i­mate president. More than a dozen state leg­is­la­tures have intro­duced “birther bills” demand­ing proof of Obama’s cit­i­zen­ship as a con­di­tion for putting him on the 2012 bal­lot. Eigh­teen per­cent of Repub­li­cans believe Obama to be a Mus­lim. The goal of all this is to dele­git­imize Obama’s pres­i­dency. If Obama is not truly Amer­i­can, then Amer­ica has still never had a black president…What we are now wit­ness­ing is not some new and com­pli­cated expres­sion of white racism—rather, it’s the dying embers of the same old racism that once ren­dered the best pick­ings of Amer­ica the exclu­sive province of unblack­ness.…An equal­ity that requires blacks to be twice as good is not equality—it’s a dou­ble standard.…politi­cized rage has marked the oppo­si­tion to Obama. But the rules of our racial pol­i­tics require that Obama never respond in like fash­ion…a pres­i­dency that must never betray any sign of rage toward its white opposition. Thus the myth of “twice as good” that makes Barack Obama pos­si­ble also smoth­ers him. It holds that African Americans—­enslaved, tor­tured, raped, dis­crim­i­nated against, and sub­jected to the most lethal home­grown ter­ror­ist move­ment in Amer­i­can history—feel no anger toward their tormentors.…The president’s inabil­ity to speak can­didly on race can­not be brack­eted off from his inabil­ity to speak can­didly on every­thing. Race is not sim­ply a por­tion of the Obama story. It is the lens through which many Amer­i­cans view all his politics. But what­ever the pol­i­tics, a total sub­mis­sion to them is a dis­ser­vice to the coun­try. No one knows this bet­ter than Obama him­self, who once described patri­o­tism as more than pageantry and the scarf­ing of hot dogs. “When our laws, our lead­ers, or our gov­ern­ment are out of align­ment with our ideals, then the dis­sent of ordi­nary Amer­i­cans may prove to be one of the truest expres­sions of patri­o­tism,” Obama said in Inde­pen­dence, Mis­souri, in June 2008. Love of coun­try, like all other forms of love, requires that you tell those you care about not sim­ply what they want to hear but what they need to hear…In a democ­racy, so the say­ing goes, the peo­ple get the gov­ern­ment they deserve. Part of Obama’s genius is a remark­able abil­ity to soothe race con­scious­ness among whites. Any black per­son who’s worked in the pro­fes­sional world is well acquainted with this trick. But never has it been prac­ticed at such a high level, and never have its lim­its been so obvi­ously exposed. This need to talk in dul­cet tones, to never be angry regard­less of the offense, bespeaks a strange and com­pro­mised inte­gra­tion indeed, reveal­ing a coun­try so infan­tile that it can coun­te­nance white accep­tance of blacks only when they meet an Al Roker standard…

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