In Black and White 9

The Media Cries Racism, I Cry Foul

Some people are claiming that those of us who disagree with President Barack Obama’s policies must be motivated by racism. In the national media, Maureen Dowd in The New York Times on September 12 wrote:

But (Republican Representative Joe) Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

“A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation. Clyburn, the man who called out Bill Clinton on his racially tinged attacks on Obama in the primary, pushed (Democrat Congresswoman and Speaker of the House Nancy) Pelosi to pursue a formal resolution chastising Wilson.

At the Video Music Awards on Sunday, Kanye West disrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech when she won the award for Best Female Video. Simon Vozick-Levinson of Music Mix had some interesting things to say about West’s rude behavior and the resultant public outcry, including this:

When a black man does something impolite, making no reference whatsoever to race, and he immediately gets crucified for “hating white people” or “reverse racism,” that itself is a form of racism.

Here in Idaho, it seems that at least one member of the local media was also quick to jump on the race card when he reported on the 9-12 Project Idaho and Tea Party rally. Is it possible there were some people amongst the huge crowd there who were racist? Probably. Is racism the motivation behind this movement of people who want to take back our government from elite special interests and once again have government of, by and for the people? Absolutely not!

I would suggest that reporters like Maureen Dowd, and the local ones who have picked up on these cries of racism in the political arena, look in the mirror and see if it is not indeed you, who are in fact fanning the flames of racism in our otherwise relatively peaceful valley.

Memo to the media: Attending Tea Party events here in Idaho does not classify me or anyone else in particular as a racist. Next time, why don’t you actually ask those of us who are there why we are there and for what we stand?

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9 thoughts on “In Black and White

  • Chryssa Rich

    Sharon, here's an interesting bit from Cafferty today, with remarks from Jimmy Carter and people all around the country.

    I would rarely expect a racist to recognize him/herself as such. People often can't pinpoint where their hate and anger come from.

    I truly believe racism lies at the heart of much of the hateful, sometimes bizarre speech heard at Tea Parties. And it's not only racism against black people – I'm sure you noticed the anti-Semitic posters as well.

  • Sharon Ullman

    Chryssa ~ Thank you for your ongoing interest in my blog. In my college studies, I was made familiar with the Argumentum ad Hominem: the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument.

    Perhaps you should redirect your arguments toward public policy issues, rather than try to tell a woman of Jewish descent, who has black relatives, that she is racist.

  • Eric

    Sharon…for the record, I didn't read Chryssa's post as an accustion against you personally. As for racism (tea parties aside) I think there is a fair amount of it left in the U.S. (and the world). I do think it's a mistake to focus on it, though–that tends to legitimize it. And I think it's a mistake to try to read it into every situation. West, as Obama said, is a jackass. And some of the tea party participants are nuts. Simple as that. No need to dig any deeper. Thanks for the blog.

  • Chryssa Rich

    Thanks Eric, you're right. Sharon, I have no reason to believe you're racist and I didn't mean to imply as much.

    "Give Obama a Ticket Back to Kenya" isn't about policy, nor is "Israel Caused 9/11" or "Give me back my country."

    In fact, I don't remember seeing any policy-based signs at the rally last week. I'm a moderate Democrat who is always open to hearing out the other side, and I welcome intelligent discussion. So far that hasn't been offered by Tea Party Boise members.

    Perhaps they could take a lesson from Ron Paul supporters, who showed up at City Hall Tuesday evening to respectfully and intelligently voice their objections to universal health care.

  • Sharon Ullman

    Chryssa ~ I'm sorry to have read more into your comments than you meant.

    The Ron Paul folks who showed up at the City Council meeting are some of the SAME folks that are attending Tea Party rallies. I don't agree with everything any of these groups stand for; however, I am pleased that more people are becoming involved and are trying to find out more about what is going on in our government today.

    We won't make any progress unless we seek the common ground and move forward. That won't happen if we continue to focus on the small number of people who bring negative agendas to the table.