Saturday, April 16, 2011

being honest

Some other notes touching on the subjects of the last couple of days:
--If you're a Republican in Mississippi, odds are you think interracial marriage should be illegal. Let that one sink in for a minute. This is one example of how there's a huge disconnect between what people generally consider to be socially acceptable for public discussion, and what they actually believe. And since the vast majority of Americans like to keep a veneer of decency over their sentiments, racial animosity surfaces in all sorts of weird and unexpected ways. 
--Exhibit A is the "birther" phenomenon. Some polls show a majority of Republicans believing some form of "The President is not a citizen" conspiracy. Again, yes we're easily deluded, but there is one reason why birtherism happens to exist with this President rather than George W. Bush or any previous president. Namely, that the President is a black guy with a funny name. It just shows how shallow and ignorant the perceptions of a significant minority of Americans are. Hopefully true conservatives will work hard at uprooting this cancer from within their party. 
--Weirdly, amidst all the repressed racism that is only allowed to surface in the form of weird conspiracies, some national figures are given a free pass to be explicitly racist. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has stated that the way to understand these past two years is that Barack Obama is a black man with a chip on his shoulder, who is angry about the history of this country, and is thus purposely destroying the American economy as a form of payback.  It would be laughable if it weren't so sad. Did you know the President of the United States, George W. Bush, appeared on Limbaugh's show? And you want to try to tell me racism is no longer a problem in America. Also on the laughable if it weren't so sad front, many Christians value Rush's perspective, apparently unaware that that discredits their Christian witness. 


  1. Of course "bitherism" is ridiculous, and I do think that some of it is racism, but not to the extent that you claim. Have we ever had another president who had a parent who was not a US citizen and spent a significant amount of his childhood in another country? I think these things contribute to the phenomenon. But there is a racial factor as I do not think it would be existent or as strong if his father was English and he spent his childhood in Germany. And considering that George W. Bush's father was president, he might not have been the best example to use.

  2. I was just about to say the same thing Alicia said. (But she said it better.) We must be related.

  3. I actually agree with you guys. A big part of this is just a function of the generally uninformed state of the public. People have heard tidbits about a childhood in Indonesia, then a pollster asks if Obama was born here, and they shrug and say, "I dunno." That's pretty innocuous. Still, I contend that it would be much less salient without the skin color/name component.