Wednesday, September 16, 2009

News Talk Online September 16, 2009: Is Some Of The Obama Criticism Race Based?

Former President Carter is mouthing off about Congressman Joe Wilson's impolite interruption of President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress by claiming that Wilson's actions were based on racism. Carter believes that there are those in the United States who can't accept that the leader of the nation is a black man.

Wilson's son was quick to retort that his dad is not a racist. I don't know that he is. And neither does Carter. When Carter claimed to have lusted in his heart then I presume he knew what he was talking about. It was his heart, after all, to which he referred. But I don't think he's in a position to know what's in Wilson's.

That being said, the fact that so many Americans, especially a number of blacks, feel that recent criticisms of Obama are racially motivated shows that - whether they are or they are not - the election of a mixed-race man to the White House did not eliminate the nation's racial divide.

The fact is, Obama isn't getting it on the chin any more than did, say, President Bush. In fact, in 2005, during his State of the Union address, Bush was heckled and jeered by Democratic members of Congress. Since he is white, I guess the race motivation accusation couldn't apply. Had he been a minority, perhaps it would have.

I don't doubt that some of those opposed to Obama and his policies are influenced by race. But, then again, some of those who support him are influenced by race as well. He said it himself, when asked about it during the campaign. He acknowledged that some people would probably not vote for him because of the color of his skin while others would - for the same reason.

Wilson was clearly wrong to break protocol as he did during the Obama address. So were the Democrats who interrupted Bush's speech in 2005. Wilson apologized and Obama accepted. It's time to move beyond that incident. Carter's assumption about Wilson's motivations don't help. Another apology is now in order. Carter should publicly apologize to the congressman.

But Carter's comments, the historic election of the first mixed race president and the president's public reactions to a confrontation between a white cop and a black professor all give us an opportunity, as well, to talk about race relations in the United States. Have they improved? Undoubtedly they have. But do stereotypes still exist? Surely they do. There's less overt and institutional racism today. Black people are no longer regulated to the back of the bus and assigned their own drinking fountains. But there's obviously still an undercurrent of racial divisiveness in this country. One that's not resolved just by sharing some beers at the White House. One that both blacks and whites need to address.




5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The accusation of racism is a good stick with which to beat people. I find it a particularly specious argument since it becomes a distraction from what the important issues are.

I can't disagree with what Gary says, that some will have not voted for him because he's black, and some will have voted for him because he's black. The problem is that whilst people are focussing in on the race issues ( or the stimulus or the health care bill) they are missing all the other things that are going on. If I were fighting a battle then I would certainly use diversionary tactics!

Oh, and BTW, maybe Jimmy Carter should stick to peanut farming - he was ineffectual as a President so why would anyone care to take him seriously now? There are idiots, and then there are useful idiots.....................

Anonymous said...

the old saying that patriotism is the ultimate refuge of a scoundrel is now brought up to date; anyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist........

Allen TX said...

It sad to say the issue of racist it is not between the black and white in America
Any more as many as different nationality we have in USA when you are not agree with
One group if you are not one of them you racist and if you are one of them you are trader
I remember when I was younger I use to be manager of pizza place and when I caught a black Employee of main stilling food and fierd her she sued me for being racist and I am not even white

PS:President carter has lot of blood of innocent Iranian in his hand
Helping to bring the worse enemy of human kind KHOMANI to Iran
Don’t have any respect for him at all

FL_Doug said...

Can we really have an African-American president in this country when the constitutional body, the press rolls over and plays dead, becoming propagandists and stenographers -- and then calls anyone who disagrees with that president a racist?
Was Hillary racist when she criticized Obama, too?

I strongly disagree with Obama's political policies just as much if not more than I did with Carter.

Gary Baumgarten said...

Doug,

A recent analysis of news coverage of the presidency finds that in the first 100 days it was generally favorable but was far more critical in the second 100 days.

This is pretty typical of news coverage of the first year of the first term of a presdident.