5 Signs Racism Still Rules Politics
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3. A white president would never be criticized for these statements about Trayvon Martin. No white president has ever been blamed for the varied and disparate transgressions committed by white folk. However, Obama is routinely blamedby conservative pundits for any violent or criminal incident involving any black person anywhere at any time in America — because, in their bigoted minds, Black America is a monolith, and all black people know each other. If this isn’t proof enough of a racist double standard, then behold the GOP establishment’s reaction to Obama’s heartfelt comments about the tragic killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
After the incident, Obama said “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together.” As the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates noted:
The moment Obama spoke, the case of Trayvon Martin passed out of its national-mourning phase and lapsed into something darker and more familiar—racialized political fodder. Rush Limbaugh denounced Obama’s claim of empathy. The Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, broadcast all of Martin’s tweets, the most loutish of which revealed him to have committed the unpardonable sin of speaking like a 17-year-old boy. A white-supremacist site called Stormfront produced a photo of Martin with pants sagging, flipping the bird. Business Insider posted the photograph and took it down without apology when it was revealed to be a fake. Newt Gingrich pounced on Obama’s comments: “Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be okay because it wouldn’t look like him?”
Ask yourself: Had these comments been made by a white president of either party after such a tragedy, would anyone denounce that president, to the point of accusing him of supporting the killing of white kids?
4. America would neither ignore nor laugh off a young black male relative of Obama publicly fantasizing about violence against a presidential candidate. As I reported last week, Romney’s son, Tagg Romney, cheerily riffed on his fantasies about committing an act of violence against a sitting president of the United States. This is different than some random Twitterer or Facebook commenter making some hideous remark, and it’s different than him making the comment to a friend in private. He made the comment in his role as an official campaign surrogate, and broadcast it in a public interview. In response, most of the media ignored the story, and most conservatives played it down as nothing but an earnest son defending his dad.
None of this means Tagg Romney is a bigot. But it does highlight the racist double standard in our politics. For if the races were reversed — if a young black male relative of Obama went on a radio show and publicly said he wanted to “jump out of your seat (and) rush down to the stage and take a swing” at Mitt Romney” — it would be an instant national outrage, replete with headlines about an imminent race war and Romney’s desperate need for beefed-up personal security.
5. If one of Obama’s teenage daughters was unmarried and pregnant, it wouldn’t be considered a “private” matter.When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket in 2008, Bristol Palin’s pregnancy did not initiate a national discussion about the issue of teen pregnancy, unprotected sex or promiscuous fornication outside of wedlock. Instead, conservative leaders insisted it was off-limits as a topic, with no less than the leader of the Christian Coalition telling reporters, “I think it’s a very private matter.” Now imagine if instead of Palin’s teenage daughter being pregnant, it was Obama’s teenage daughter. Can anyone seriously insist that such a situation wouldn’t prompt a wave of vitriolic attacks on African-American “culture” and “irresponsible pathologies”?