Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Race Card Canard

I try very hard not to ascribe racism as the motivation of people with whom I disagree. But when a woman who "can't stand to look at" President Obama is upset because Michelle Obama "doesn't look like a first lady," what else is one to think?
"I just - I don't like him. Can't stand to look at him. I don't like his wife. She's far from the First Lady. It's about time we get a first lady in there that acts like a First Lady and looks like a First Lady." --Bobbie Lucier, interviewed at the American Legion Convention in Indianapolis
Put Mrs. Obama next to either Laura Bush or Ann Romney and tell me what about her doesn't look like a First Lady. Her sleeve length?

Puh. Leeze.

Add to that the incident in which two white men at the Republican convention threw peanuts at a black female CNN cameraman and shouted "This is what we feed animals!" at her. It is not known whether they were delegates or alternates; to the Republican Party's credit, they were escorted from the floor.

The racists in these two incidents are white and around retirement age. Mrs. Lucier is from Manassas, Virginia; and while we don't know where the peanut throwers are from, cameraman Patricia Carroll seems to assume they were from the Deep South:
Carroll said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. "This is Florida, and I'm from the Deep South," she said. "You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."
February, 1989: Klansman David Duke wins the Republican
 primary for a seat in Louisiana's House of Representatives
Retirement-age white southerners are perhaps the most resistant group that President Obama has notoriously failed to win over in the four years since he ran for president. (I can think of several retirement-age white northerners who have been equally skeptical of him from the get-go, too. And young white southerners, for that matter. You can picture the Venn diagram for yourself.) Clearly, the election of Barack Obama as President did not herald the arrival of the long-awaited "Post-Racial America" some were celebrating at the time.

Patricia Carroll is not giving interviews. She's there to record the news, not be the news. But immediately after the peanut incident, she did say this:
"I can't change these people's hearts and minds. No, it doesn't feel good. But I know who I am. I'm a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people. . . . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we're gone further than we have."

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