The use and abuse of racial identity in politics, Atlanta-style

Aaron Turpeau, an Atlanta political activist and strategist, has dropped a little bomb into the middle of the city’s mayoral race in the form of a memo to unknown black leaders in Atlanta. The document, intended to be private, calls on black Atlanta to unite behind a single black candidate to keep the mayor’s office in black hands, allowing the city to pursue what Turpeau calls a “black agenda.”

(Full text available here)

The memo, which came to light Thursday, makes at least two egregious, offensive and dangerous assumptions:

First, it treats the mayor’s office as a black possession, a trophy of sorts that could be surrendered to white Atlantans for the first time in 35 years. That is a cartoonish, archaic approach to politics that, among other things, ignores the humanity of individual mayoral candidates, with all their strengths and weaknesses, and tries to reduce them to mere representatives of their respective races.

That mindset has had its day, and that day is, or ought to be, over. But as the memo reminds us, it isn’t quite. There are those in the black and white communities who still see opportunity, profit and power in extending that day beyond its normal lifespan, and the Turpeau memo lays out one way it might be done.

In fact, the memo is valuable because it brings to the surface a sentiment that is more widely held among black voters than many local leaders, black and white, would care to publicly acknowledge. Many black voters — older voters in particular — take pride in the idea that Atlanta is a black-run city, and for some that sense of pride would be diminished if a white person were elected to lead it.

While such sentiments are not supposed to be acknowledged, they are real and they have a foundation in history that ought to be respected. Trying to judge them out of context is impossible. When Maynard Jackson was elected mayor in 1973, becoming the first African American elected to lead a major southern city, black Atlantans understandably celebrated that day as a mark of progress for a people whose ambitions and abilities had long been suppressed. The city had given the world its native son, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in 1968 King had been returned to Atlanta as a martyr. Five years later, that city had elected a black man to lead it, and a natural sense of black ownership developed almost immediately.

They were not alone. Many white voters at the time invested a similar symbolic power in Jackson’s election. They too believed that what was “ours” had become “theirs,” and they abandoned the city as a result.

So how does that play out today, in the Atlanta of 2009?

To some white voters, the cultural memory of repression among black Americans has become an obstacle to progress and racial harmony. Slavery, they note, ended almost 145 years ago and the Civil Rights Act passed back in 1964.  “Get over it,” in other words, the past is past.

Well, it’s not so easy as all that. In fact, if someone were to propose, say, pulling down monuments to Confederate soldiers at county courthouses around the state, I suspect that white cultural memories from that era would bubble to the surface pretty quickly and pretty passionately. Old times here are not forgotten, and they still have the power to move people. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

On the other hand, it is equally fatuous to claim, as the memo does, that “if a white candidate were to win the 2009 mayoral race, it would be just as significant in political terms as Maynard Jackson’s victory in 1973.” No, it would not. There would be no comparison whatsoever between the two. Such a claim requires you to believe that opportunities and racial attitudes in Atlanta, in Georgia, and in the United States in 2009 are unchanged since 1973, and they are not. It is impossible to sustain such a ridiculous argument in a day when Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office. Americans can, should and increasingly do judge candidates “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” even if a small number of people, black and white both, are not yet ready to live up to that admonition.

It was also hard to miss the undercurrent of pleasure that the memo’s publication inspired in certain quarters. White voters who had cringed for decades at accusations of racism now had documentary evidence that black people too saw things in terms of us vs. them, and they haven’t been shy about pointing out that fact. Personally, I don’t think you can blame them. It is a very human reaction.

But while we’re on the subject, let’s remember that there was also evidence of that “ours vs. theirs” mindset in the reaction of some white Americans to Obama’s inauguration. It would be unfair and harsh to describe that sentiment as racist, at least in the classic sense of believing that one race is superior to the other. Nor was that attitude in many cases even conscious, instead manifesting itself in such nonsense as the claim that Obama is not an American citizen. It was more about a sense of possession and dispossession, the idea that “they” had won and “we” had lost the most valuable and symbolically important post in the land.

It was, in other words, the mirror image of the sentiment expressed in Turpeau’s memo.

It’s no secret: Invoking racial identification makes voters of all colors easier to manipulate. Tom Watson and George Wallace knew that, as did Richard Nixon and Lee Atwater. So does Turpeau. It can blind voters white and black to the failures of leaders who share their background and to the virtues of those of a different skin tone, and for that reason it is dangerous.

In the Atlanta of 2009, we can do a lot better than that, which leads us to the second major problem with the memo.

The memo states explicitly what it calls “an unstated assumption:”

“… having a black mayor in Atlanta is equal to having a black social, economic and political agenda or at least someone in office who would be sensitive to that agenda if not a full promoter of that agenda.”

With that statement, the memo moves the discussion from the symbolism of race politics to its practical impact. It assumes that only a black leader can help black Atlanta, and by doing so it legitimizes the photographic negative of that argument: Only a white leader can help white Atlanta.

Once that mindset takes hold, we’ve all been cheated, white and black both. Mary Norwood, a white city council member who has worked for years to build relationships across racial, class and geographic lines, might as well abandon the effort. The same can be said for Kasim Reed and Lisa Borders, black candidates who have many enthusiastic supporters among white Atlantans. The argument in the memo attempts to negate that success and reduce us to Shiites vs. Sunnis, tribal loyalties overwhelming all.

To some degree, “the black agenda” is also a code term for economic gain. If the office of mayor moves from black hands to white hands, the argument goes, control of jobs and contracts shifts as well. At one level, the Turpeau memo is a warning to black Atlanta not to let that happen.

It is easy to cast that aspect of the memo in the worst possible light, and some will try to do so. But in practical terms, there is nothing unique or surprising about it.  If you’ve ever experienced a county-level election in which one courthouse crowd is challenging the other for control of jobs and contracts, you know how bitter the fight can get without race playing any role whatsoever. Simply put, the winner in politics enjoys the spoils of war. In fact, one of the more remarkable results of the supposed political revolution in Georgia, the shift from Democratic to Republican control, was the fact that the levers of economic power remained in the same hands. Once the smoke cleared, most of the same faces were still in the same places, having exchanged a D for an R, which tells you it really wasn’t a revolution at all.

That faux revolution at the state level was itself inspired in part by sentiments of us vs. them, and I think the fact that nothing has really changed for the better has begun to sink in among many Georgians who supported the change. The state is still beset by a poor education system and for many a stagnant or declining economy, and problems such as transportation and water have gotten noticably worse.

A similar realization is reflected in the Turpeau memo. (For the record, Turpeau claims he didn’t write the memo himself, that it was the product of a group of people, and it does in fact read that way.)

Even after decades of black leadership, the document notes “the persistent poverty in the city, the educational crisis in the schools; the human security/public safety concerns; the type of economic development policies being pursued; and the city’s awful financial management issues.” It acknowledges that “just having a black mayor doesn’t guarantee that African American issues and concerns would be effectively addressed either (as the current administration’s relationship to the African American community clearly demonstrates). In other words, are we simply providing votes without any expectations of the candidate that would enjoy our support?”

That’s a damn fine question, one that crosses racial lines and political boundaries. And the truth is, at the local, state and national level, the emphasis on race-identity politics endorsed in the memo aggravates the very problems the memo outlines. It distracts the attention of voters of all races from the issues that truly matter. At one point the memo’s authors even state that concern explicitly.

“In other words, in 2009 we have arrived at a place in time where we can no longer afford to just look at race in the mayor’s race or individual council races,” it concludes.

So Turpeau and his unknown colleagues get it. They understand the limitations of the politics they endorse, even as they find themselves unable to extricate themselves from it. It is too easy and too tempting, for them and for the rest of us too.

286 comments Add your comment

I Report/ Read It Quick Before The Angry Censor Strikes (-: You Whine )-:

August 28th, 2009
12:39 pm

Even bigger and more consequential is white guilt, which I suspect is how we got an inexperienced America hating socialist elected to the White House.

Nothing is equal, nothing is fair, everybody is out to get everybody else, grievance mongering, race baiting, until we grow up, what else can we expect?

stands for decibels

August 28th, 2009
12:39 pm

At one point the memo’s authors even state that concern explicitly.

Yes. I share your concern.

Troll Chow! Jay’s givin’ out Troll Chow! Eat up, lads.

stands for decibels

August 28th, 2009
12:49 pm

Ok, that was kinda mean.

It’s a thoughtful piece, Jay, it’s just that you and I and all rational people know it will be surrounded by a swarm of Teh Stoopit within a half-hour. The usual white supremacists wetting themselves at the opportunity to call black folks “racist.”

Feh.

ByteMe

August 28th, 2009
12:50 pm

Jay: Well thought-out.

Yes, it’ll be troll chow for those who want to use it for their own purposes.

But at least it was well thought-out troll chow. Not that the trolls will notice.

Night Train

August 28th, 2009
12:51 pm

Racism is alive and well in Atlanta by people of every color. Sad, but unfortunately, not too surprising.

Jay

August 28th, 2009
12:53 pm

I think your problem is fixed, Reporter, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

August 28th, 2009
12:53 pm

Well, now Bookman went and done it. You can keep a pan of water over a hot flame only so long before it starts boiling over. And I been boiling over nigh on 50 years now.

Ever notice when one of Those People say “We got to elect a Black person” no one says much about it? One or two people will say, “Oh, she misspoke” or “She didn’t use the right words,” but most people just brush it off and forget it. But let this woman out in Kansas or somewhere say “Republicans need to find the Great White Hope” and it’s like she cracked a loud one in the middle of a prayer in church and messed her pants besides. The networks and papers are all over it. Everybody’s ready to call her a Racist and talk about what a Race problem we got in this country and how Racist the people that oppose this Obama are. If Obama was to say he’s got to lock most Republicans up and some Republicans opposed it, people would say the people opposed to it are Racists. It’s like God hisself spoke and anybody that don’t like what Obama does are Heathens.

Same thing goes in hiring. If a White mayor don’t hire lots of Those People to help run the city, people are all over him for being a Racist. But ever notice how Those People are hiring Those People for just about every important job in a city? They’ll run a national search for a airport manager. There’s hundreds of White people out there with lots of experience running airports. But it seems like every time Atlanta needs a airport manager the person they bring in just happens to be Black and the best qualified to hear them tell it.
And if a White colledge or university don’t hire plenty of Black faculty and appoint lots of Blacks to help run the place, why, the colledge President just about has to come out and lick the floor to apologize for being a Racist. But let a Black colledge go out and look for a new President, and it’s strange how you can make a safe bet this new President will be Black as the Ace of Spades. They’ll run a nationwide search for the “best qualified” person they can get, and the person they get will always be Black. It’s like Harvard or Princeton or Yale just plumb missed out on the guy and are ready to slit their wrists over it.

Anyhow, I’m sick and tired of being discriminated against and I know there’s plenty of good Conservatives out there that are with me. So I say we need to get our guns and meet up and Take Our Country Back. I’m sorry to be ranting like this, but my gorge is filled up and I was about to bust. Have a good p.m. everybody. I sure hope my boss don’t adopt one of them Affirmative Action programs and fire me and put a Black driver in my place.

jconservative

August 28th, 2009
1:00 pm

Yeah I agree. I will contribute to the discussion my post to Cynthia’s column yesterday PM.

Sure it is a racist remark. This is a racist country. My experience is that most other countries are racist also. As individuals most of us try to overcome racism. A lot of us do not succeed. A lot of us do not try.

The Black Leadership Forum letter is a good example. The letter said black control of the political process is more important than effective leadership of the city. That letter could have said that we have examined all the candidates, their experiences, their ability to get things done & based on our study we believe (insert name) is the best qualified candidate to be the next mayor of Atlanta. But that did not happen. It was all about racial politics.

I Report (-: You Whine )-:

August 28th, 2009
1:04 pm

Taxpayer

August 28th, 2009
1:07 pm

Clearly, what we need here is a white mayor, a black governor and a hispanic Lt. Governor. Then, perhaps an Asian AG followed by an Italian… .In other words, what we need are more directions to point fingers than we have fingers. But, whatever we do, we need to stand behind Oxendine for Governor because I hear he’s part injun and that’s good enough for me.

booger

August 28th, 2009
1:09 pm

I do not understand why this memo got so much attention. Shirley Franklin at a national mayors conference said her biggest fear would be that Atlanta elects a white mayor which would undo all the work on diversity of the black admins. John Lewis and Andy Young joined the Mayor in an ad saying a white Fulton Co. commission head would bring back fire hoses and dogs chasing blacks in the street. Even last year an ajc headline posed the question: should black females vote for Hillary because she is a woman, or for Obama because he is black?

What makes those things any less offensive?

Doggone/GA

August 28th, 2009
1:15 pm

“Sure it is a racist remark”

No it isn’t. It is a bigoted remark, not a racist one.

Matilda

August 28th, 2009
1:21 pm

Terrific commentary, Mr. Bookman! As a progressive white woman actually from Atlanta, I’ve always opted to embrace the “city too busy to hate” mantra, knowing full well that not everyone else did. In a discussion of race, a black friend once said to me, “Well YOU don’t know what it’s like growing up in Mississippi!” I said, “You’re right, I don’t. I grew up here, with a black mayor and an acceptance of our [at least partially] integrated community. I dont wan’t to understand the hatred you witnessed.” When I danced and embraced strangers of all colors in downtown Atlanta the night of November 4th, I felt a strong sense of an “us vs. them” victory. Dark-skinned faces reflected the light of a long-sought dream they never thought they’d see, and it was my joy to look upon those faces that night, through my own sense of relief and a lifetime of nagging ancestral guilt unburdened.

The choice to put the race thing in the past is upon each of us. I can only make that choice for me, but I do wish the hold-outs would get with the 21st century already, and let’s all move on together.

AmVet

August 28th, 2009
1:26 pm

“That mindset has had its day, and that day is, or ought to be, over.”

True, and in a perfect nation, George W. Bush and Barack Obama would never darken the doorway of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But this democratic and representative republic muddles along in spite of itself.

“…even if a small number of people, black and white both, are not yet ready to live up to that admonition.”

Forget hell!

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.shopconfederate.com/images/000_1019.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.shopconfederate.com/index.php%3Fmain_page%3Dproduct_info%26products_id%3D172&usg=__Y_na84N1pG68ZBszL5hilxVLmyE=&h=624&w=1517&sz=209&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=J3kPJhWl82TPnM:&tbnh=62&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dforget%2Bhell%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1

Gale

August 28th, 2009
1:29 pm

The idea that a white mayor would ignore the needs of black citizens is insulting. Atlantans are better than that. Atlanta is a very diverse populations. Yes, blacks may be the majority (I don’t know), but majority is not always best. With all our challenges, we need the best mayor.

Paul

August 28th, 2009
1:29 pm

Nicely-thought analysis. I’m not familiar with the players or the history so I’ll sit back and try to understand from those with first-hand experience.

AmVet

August 28th, 2009
1:29 pm

And yes, matilda, I agree.

An absolutely superb piece, that even the far right wing loonies, “compassionate conservatives” and open minded, “non-bigoted Republicans” here cannot rationally disparage. (As if that has stopped them before!)

And they will anyway…

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
1:31 pm

“and reduce us to Shiites vs. Sunnis, tribal loyalties overwhelming all.”

Alas, sometimes I feel we are already there.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

August 28th, 2009
1:34 pm

’ve have been around the coloured since I was a little boy, in fact, my nanny was coloured, so I really have my thumb on the heartbeat of the coloured community. First, the coloured business class support and will vote for Norwood even though they cannot admit it. Borders should not count on any tangible support from the business class.

Next, I love all people of all kinds, whether its the blacks, the jews, the orientals, or the spanish speakers, but it is clear that the author of the letter and the couloured community do not feel the same way about me and my kind. One only need remember the “firehose” radio ad from Lewis, Young, and Franklin to understand that the current memo is not a one-off incident, but, rather, a bigotry against “whitey.” (One, I might add, I believe the President and First Lady embrace, too.) As such, it is easy to see why the people in North Fulton want to become emancipated from the coloured ruling class.

Tancred

August 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

By this morning the story was on the WSJ, and since it is “all about race,” it will likely become fodder for a “national discussion” about our pitiable city. I remember when I moved down here ten years ago I really thought that Atlanta was part of the “New South.” After all, it hosted the Olympics! I also heard this term “World Class City” being thrown around as if it were true. It didn’t take long to find out that Atlanta harbors the worst of both the Old South with it’s neo-Confederates (remember that whole flag thing) and the worst of the New South with mass white flight and black political patronage. It was probably white political patronage back in the day. Either way, our city has crumbled to become a laughing stock for the nation in almost every area. We “could” be a “World Class City” if people really cared about such concepts as civitas or progressive planning, or superior education, or anything Cultural with a capital C. It’s either Tacky McMansions OTP or hordes of black homeless men spitting at you because you say “no” to their demands for money. This recent memo does not give me hope for anything different. I’ve never seen such a messed up culture as here in The ATL, where “Every Day is an Opening Day.” Remember that one? I think that was 15 million down the tubes. You can’t just say things and hope they will be true, you actually have to work at it. Good luck Hotlanta. I’m moving back to Boston.

Denny

August 28th, 2009
1:38 pm

“….and it was my joy to look upon those faces that night, through my own sense of relief and a lifetime of nagging ancestral guilt unburdened.”

I want to be happy for you that your White Guilt is at last unburdened. However, what your write says that you have not successfully pushed that race thing into your past. The struggle continues.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
1:38 pm

I think Atlanta needs a Canadian mayor. I mean, who doesn’t like the Canadians? they’re friendly, they’re non-confrontational and they’re bad drivers, too, so they’ll fit right in …

… of course, you’ll have to snare one when they’re down in the winter … if you try to lure one in August, they’ll step off the plane at Hartsfield and burst into flame …

Government Control, Baby!!

August 28th, 2009
1:38 pm

Bold article, Jay. Someone speaking the truth about the real political scene in Atlanta. I’m glad a liberal did it because any conservative would be on National News this afternoon for being so racist.

Your first point is staggeringly disturbing on so many fronts.

1. There is a chance for the first time in 25 years that African Americans could lose the Mayoral seat in Atlanta, Georgia, especially if there is a run-off;

It appears that what you are saying is that Blacks could only support Black People. While the numbers definitely agree with you, we just don’t say those sort of things. People that are just narrow minded enough to actually hold African Americans to the same standards that White Americans are held to will crucify you for that kind of talk.

I don’t want to go on, because I am a conservative so my even addressing the points you have brought up will undoubtedly mark me as a life member of the KKK. But I would like to ake one more point:

You support a president that has a guaranteed demographic because of the same sort of selective racism that you discuss in your article. The numbers are constantly changing, but I believe that the most recent numbers say that 96% of African Americans support Obama. If you take away that demographic (which Bush or any Republican has never owned) Obama’s approval ratings drop below 30%. lower than Bush’s rating ever ventured in his worst days, after 8 years of daily attacks by the main stream media.

Needless to say, I would never support ignoring any demographics’ opinion, but your article seems to discredit that opinion of being based on judging a candidate not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
1:41 pm

Doggone brought up a good point – people misuse the word rascist. More people (especially here) are bigots – completely intolerable of anyone who is different than themselves.

Ones who blame the imaginary Welfare Queens and not the corporate CEOs for finanacial problems – ones who will “pray for you” because you believe something outside their religious viewpoint, when we all know that “praying for you” is simply code for “well you’re going to hell because you don’t believe in the one true way [whatever that is supposed to mean.]

pat

August 28th, 2009
1:41 pm

You’re a racist.

Wyld Byll Hyltnyr

August 28th, 2009
1:42 pm

Tancred
August 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

Delta’s ready when you are. Please remember to take your same sex partner with you.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
1:43 pm

sorry, Jay … I’m a’jumpin’ the gun the Friday tunes … (it’s the beginning of a 3-day weekend here and the weather is gorge … )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCvTMqjbT74

no, I don’t like C&W, but this is a kick-butt cover

Government Control, Baby!!

August 28th, 2009
1:50 pm

USinUK

Great Song!!

It’s easy to say that you don’t like C&W. I do it all the time, but in reality, Ray Charles was considered C&W at one time and there are a lot of great covers done by C&W groups.

Are you really in the UK?

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
1:50 pm

USinUK,

OH, I forgot about Dwight Yoakam. I used to wait tables years ago when I was in college and one of his albums was on the jukebox, and he was listen to while we cleaned up and drank.

Tancred

August 28th, 2009
1:51 pm

“Delta’s ready when you are. Please remember to take your same sex partner with you.”

How original. And the presumption of homosexuality is a pitch-perfect example of the cretins that would rather wallow in their own crap rather thn do something to improve their city. As it happens, I do travel to many other cities all the time, that’s why I can compare them to this place and realize there is better.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
1:52 pm

make that he was FUN to listen to while we cleaned up and drank.

ty webb

August 28th, 2009
1:52 pm

Tancred,
bye!

AmVet

August 28th, 2009
1:55 pm

USinUK, I’ll see your lil’ sis and raise you another!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqU9RZqvFKY

Bud Wiser

August 28th, 2009
1:56 pm

A famous guy in these parts once said this:: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

I’m not sure if he was foretelling the last election, but it applies to that as much as when he said it.

And who said it you ask?

Probably the same guy that said the following after reading the above article: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. “

Duh.

3 guesses.

And your hero makes these all look as stupid and classless as they really are.

Anyone wondering why the city infrastructure has collapsed the last 3 decades or so?

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
1:57 pm

GCB –

I am, indeed, in the UK (London, to be precise) – I didn’t know Ray was considered C&W – talk about your fun factoid! Although, I’m sitting here thinking about “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “You Are My Sunshine” and I’m not sure how I would classify them – I guess by today’s standards, they’d be considered Adult Contemporary …

Bosch –

I bought A Dwight Yoakum album for THIS song – tried to like the rest, but it just didn’t take. And you raise an interesting point … (one that would be another plank in my presidential platform) – National Service. I think EVERYone should be required to wait tables for at least a year. We’d have a much better-behaved going-out public, if you ask me.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
1:58 pm

Bud Wiser,

And just who are the good people and the bad people?

ty webb

August 28th, 2009
1:58 pm

D-wight is the man.

Reform Will Happen

August 28th, 2009
1:58 pm

How lathered up the white racist trolls become after revelling in a campaign for President that was overtly racist on the part of the repubos. Enjoy the trolls who will rush in. The “white hope” remark by freshman congresswoman Rep. Lynn Jenkins from Kansas a Repubo was a dandy.

“Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope,” Jenkins said last week. “I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”

Should always be about the best qualified. Melanin content in skin not the issue.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
1:59 pm

AmVet –

talk about 2 brilliant musicians that were called home WAY too soon … (and, yes, when my time comes, that’s the first thing I plan on asking the Big Man – what the heck was he thinking taking SRV and leaving us with David Lee Roth!!!)

mike

August 28th, 2009
1:59 pm

“It is easy to cast that aspect of the memo in the worst possible light, and some will try to do so. ”

Right, and this is the same guy who took Westmoreland’s off-handed “uppity” remark and made a big stink about it.

Jay’s hypocrisy is only matched by his ideological soul mate, Cynthia Tucker.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:00 pm

Reform Will Happen –

Thanks for sharing your own intolerance with us and demonstrating that you, like Bookman, are a ridiculous hypocrite.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:01 pm

mike,

You read the Harry Potter books? Do you know what a Dementor is? They are creatures that such the cheeriness and happiness away – I swear everytime I read one of your posts, I feel like I’ve been attacked by a Dementor.

You’re a Debbie Downer dude.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:02 pm

USinUK,

Oh the stories I could tell from those days — never piss off a waiter.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:03 pm

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:03 pm

Whoops – Dementors SUCK the happiness away – not such them away. D’oh!

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:04 pm

Bosch –

“More people (especially here) are bigots – completely intolerable of anyone who is different than themselves.”

You mean like you and your bashing of Christians who don’t share your view of spirituality?

Like many of the “tolerant” liberals here, your idea of tolerance does not extend to tolerating views that you don’t share. Instead, it is a one way street where you insist that others tolerate your views without any reciprocity.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:05 pm

Bosch –

Wahhh. I guess I should be positive like you.

Thanks for sharing more of your hypocrisy..

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:06 pm

Bosch –

“Oh the stories I could tell from those days — never piss off a waiter”

oh, honey. you weren’t the only one who worked your way through school slinging long-necks and burgers… ;-)

AmVet

August 28th, 2009
2:06 pm

“…what the heck was he thinking taking SRV and leaving us with David Lee Roth!!!)”

VERY LOL!

I alwasy thought that performance was a real jaw-dropper.

Won’t be able to stay for long, duty calls, so in lieu of tonight here are a couple of other tunes dedicated to the topic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBD4EKoiY_M

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSEgFCFZU-Q

(For the totally irreverent)

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

“Atlanta is a black-run city, and for some that sense of pride would be diminished if a white person were elected to lead it.”

Atlanta has been run into the ground by Jackson, Campbell and Shirley-Girl. Now we have this memo. Not surprised one bit. We will see how mature, intelligent and, I hate this word, fair the citizens of Atlanta will be. I fear the status quo will be the victor.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

Don’t cry mike, it’s okay.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

Bosch –

Look if you want an echo chamber where everyone shares your very narrow views, go to Daily Kos with the rest of the “tolerant” folks. The fact that you don’t view all of the hate speech of those who share your narrow views as a “downer” demonstrates how mindless partisanship impacts your view of the world.

ty webb

August 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

Ah yes, the old moral equivalency arguement on display yet again.

“Ted Kennedy killed someone= so what, so did laura Bush”
“Black politico writes racial memo= so what, kansas republican made racial comments.

and around and around we go.

Normal

August 28th, 2009
2:09 pm

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
1:38 pm
I think Atlanta needs a Canadian mayor. I mean, who doesn’t like the Canadians? they’re friendly, they’re non-confrontational and they’re bad drivers, too, so they’ll fit right in …

… of course, you’ll have to snare one when they’re down in the winter … if you try to lure one in August, they’ll step off the plane at Hartsfield and burst into flame …

USinUk: My Dad’s family is from Canada, maybe I’ll run for Mayor.

“Normal for Mayor, they call him Normal, but go figure” Hellava slogan, huh?

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:09 pm

Bosch –

Actually, you are the one doing the whining and crying. Is there any bottom to your well of hypocrisy?

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:10 pm

Reform Will Happen

August 28th, 2009
1:58 pm

Regarding the “Great White Hope” comment…I suggest you read Ms Tuckers comments. You can read, correct?

GOP is Gone

August 28th, 2009
2:10 pm

Byll,

Y know you are rather backward in your knowledge of racyal yssues but yn case you have not notyced yet, the term “colored” ys not yn current use wythyn the black communyty you obvyous whytey

Normal

August 28th, 2009
2:11 pm

Mike, bless your heart…

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:11 pm

mike,

If I wanted an echo chamber where everyone shares my same world view – do you think I’d blog here everyday?

And I never claimed I wasn’t a hypocritical bigot about some things – we all are – at least I’ll admit it.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:11 pm

Everyone be careful not to say anything that dares to conflict with Bosch’s views. Anyone who dares to disagree with this hypocrite is a “downer”. LOL

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:12 pm

All these wonderful scholars like Andy Young, John Lewis etc are finally showing their true colors. Those colors were always present yet some couldnt see the forest for the trees.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:12 pm

Normal –

““Normal for Mayor, they call him Normal, but go figure” Hellava slogan, huh?”

well, I think you’ve got a good start here with the 25 or so Bookmaniacs – :-)

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:13 pm

Bosch –

“And I never claimed I wasn’t a hypocritical bigot about some things – we all are – at least I’ll admit it.”

Sure you deny it. Any time I call you out for your Christian bashing, you keep telling me that said bashing is OK because you grew up a Christian. Is there a time previous to this when you admitted your bigotry?

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:13 pm

mike@ 2:09

Translation: “I know you are, but what am I”

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:14 pm

Reform Will Happen –

“How lathered up the white racist trolls become after revelling in a campaign for President that was overtly racist on the part of the repubos. ”

Any evidence or anecdotes to back up this hateful demonization?

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:14 pm

mike,

Deny what? To be all technical, I still am a Christian – and yes, I’ve admitted my hypocrisy on many occasion.

AmVet

August 28th, 2009
2:16 pm

USinUk, I adore Bonnie Raitt, and have for thirty years.

I’ve notice that mike has developed a new penchant in addition to his time tested old one of proclaiming himself the world’s only “mindful non-partisan”. And that is cutting and running when the heat gets turned up. And then VOILA! Appearing shortly thereafter on a new “mission”, which is of course, the same old “mission”.

Somehow almost magically “forgetting” the last mike-instigated confab.

You can run but mike, but I will not let you hide.

From downstairs:

mike: “I DO believe that the current president in spite of his numerous glaring “short comings” is at least NOT an ill-read, mental lightweight like his predecessor. So, you state that Obama has many shortcomings, yet you excuse that because he isn’t Bush.”

And THAT puerile, inane assertion is the totality of your “argument” that I am making an excuse for “our”side?

AmVet: I voted AGAINST Obama. I’ve only conveyed this to you numerous times.

I have excoriated him repeatedly. I have indicted him on an entire host of issues.

mike, you are so completely invested in this “I am the only non-partisan in blogdom” nonsense that you are more often than not utterly irrational. And oblivious to the realities right in front of your face.

Ask around. I dare say many more than not would agree with me.

But why you constantly beg me, among others, to expose this sophomoric habit is yet another mystery.

PLEASE, do yourself a favor and get one or all of these.

http://www.amazon.com/Logic-Language-Philosophy-Nonfiction-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=11053

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:16 pm

Bosch –

“Translation: “I know you are, but what am I””

Not really. You are the one who was whining that my comments were “a downer”. I’m not crying about anything. The more actual translation is , “No I am not, but you certainly are.”

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:16 pm

Bosch –

“Translation: “I know you are, but what am I””

you think??? I thought it was more of a “I am rubber, you are glue” gambit …

jasper

August 28th, 2009
2:17 pm

Jay, you need to go home and change your shorts. You have equivocated all over yourself. Why couldn’t you just have discussed this from the one angle it deserves, black racism. You had to invoke MLK, slavery, civil rights, and even confederate monuments, to create a backdrop for Turpeau’s stupid remarks. There’s no justification. You say yourself, its 2009 and we can do better. So lets treat this idiot and situation the same way it would be treated if he were white. I just love a parade!

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:18 pm

AmVet –

“And THAT puerile, inane assertion is the totality of your “argument” that I am making an excuse for “our”side?”

Yes. Another great example is that despite the fact that you disgrace your service by calling others “chickenhawks” (if you ever served at all), you always have excuses for why Obama is not a “chickenhawk”.

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:18 pm

I would think the black citizens/voters in Atlanta might be ready for a change as the poor are still the poor, the schools still stink, the kids are churned out with some being almost illiterate. Yet the same groups keep electing the same groups.

Were I a black citizen/voter I would be quite angry at the lack of morals, work ethic and effectiveness of Jackson, Campbell and Shirley-Girl. Then again that stance may be too logical.

Bosch

August 28th, 2009
2:19 pm

mike@ 2:16

Yes, really.

Matilda

August 28th, 2009
2:19 pm

Denny @1:38, You don’t know me. BTW, it’s called a conscience, and yes, I get that not everybody owns one. If you say yours is 100% clear, then you don’t. Everyone has wronged somebody, somewhere, at some time.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:19 pm

USinUK –

Wow! An empty zinger from USinUK? Didn’t see that coming. LOL

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:21 pm

Funny we dont see Jesse and or Al screaming, boycotting, singing, marching, curseing and wetting themselves over this blatant bigotry.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:21 pm

Bosch –

“Yes, really.”

Yes what?

R Cagle

August 28th, 2009
2:23 pm

Jay,

Are we supposed to get worked up about this? You know as well as anyone that the only voters who might be influenced by a revelation such as this are whites who (sadly) figure it is pointless to vote at all in local elections.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:24 pm

Bosch and AmVet –

remind you of anyone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

I’m just sayin.

Mr. Snarky

August 28th, 2009
2:28 pm

A white mayor won’t ignore the interests of black folks for one reason…they’re a politician and they want to get re-elected. Since Atlanta is majority black, they will pay attention to blacks.

It’s pretty simple if you ask me.

Scooter

August 28th, 2009
2:28 pm

G0d intended for Atlanta to be a “chocolate” city just like New Orleans. :twisted:

Jay

August 28th, 2009
2:30 pm

Is this really the best you folks can do with a topic like this?

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:31 pm

USinUK –

Yawn. What because I have four angry liberals attacking me at the same time, I am intrinsically losing the argument? LOL

Tell you what, maybe someday you will be capable of having a fact based debate with me and you will be able to say that you beat me. In the meantime, you can share your chuckling over mindless zingers with the rest of the “tolerant” and “intellectual” liberals.

Doggone/GA

August 28th, 2009
2:32 pm

“Is this really the best you folks can do with a topic like this?”

What do you expect us to DO? After someone (you) has decried it, what’s left? None of us wrote it, none of us can recall it. It’s done and all we can do is talk about it…or not.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:34 pm

“Tell you what, maybe someday you will be capable of having a fact based debate with me and you will be able to say that you beat me”

please. the best I ever see from you is either you clutching your pearls or retiring to a fainting couch over some “uncouth” remark or action.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:34 pm

Jay –

“Is this really the best you folks can do with a topic like this?”

Are you kidding? After you had your glib attacks on Westmoreland for daring to say “uppity”, you have the audacity to question anyone else’s response on this case of true racism?

Can you explain why you think we need to “respect” the viewpoint put forward by this racist memo, but you have no problem smearing a Republican for saying one word that you could twist into a racist remark?

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:35 pm

“Is this really the best you folks can do with a topic like this?”

dude. it’s friday. today is the day for discussions about beer, ginormous fried chicken sammiches and music.

mike

August 28th, 2009
2:36 pm

USinUK –

You suffer from a very, very sever case of cognitive dissonence. You see what you want to see.

Turd Ferguson

August 28th, 2009
2:37 pm

“Is this really the best you folks can do with a topic like this?”

Its Friday, Im tired and getting tired of being correct all the time.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

TF –

so, my market buddy … feeling good this Friday???

Jay

August 28th, 2009
2:40 pm

Mike, I long ago gave up any hope of explaining anything to you ever….
And that’s just fine, by the way.

Doggone/GA

August 28th, 2009
2:40 pm

Mike…would you like some cheese to go with your multitudinous whines?

stands for decibels

August 28th, 2009
2:41 pm

Water

August 28th, 2009
2:41 pm

Very good article Jay. Best opinion piece I’ve seen in the AJC in awhile.

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:42 pm

“You suffer from a very, very sever case of cognitive dissonence. You see what you want to see.”

um. hm. first of all, do you even understand what cognitive dissonance IS??? I’m assuming that, since you can’t spell it, you probably don’t. I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with “seeing what I want to see”

(it’s the conflict of trying to hold 2 conflicting thoughts simultaneously … and, really, when it comes to you, I don’t really HAVE a conflict – you’re pretty 1-dimensional)

Tancred

August 28th, 2009
2:43 pm

Speaking of chicken, I’ve come to call that plaza near the MARTA station (formerly part of Broad St.) as Chicken Bone Plaza, or just “The CBP.” In many other cities a plaza like that adjacent to the major public transport system would be a lively, fun, people-watching kind of place. But it’s become an abandoned eyesore. I see tourists (tourists? seriously?) with their mouths agape as they have their WTF? experience walking through the plaza. I always feel embarrassed for the city, as if it has feelings and all the folks that are supposed to care for it let it down. Whatever mayor is elected, let’s hope they can make that plaza a place where visitors can get at least a small good impression.

Reform Will Happen

August 28th, 2009
2:44 pm

When a repubo calls someone who wants the best qualified regardless of race intolerant, after watching the unemployed Facebook blogger’s comments from her Oprah Watching room and ralleys the opposite is always true. And if I’m associated with any of Jay’s comments or Cynthia’s on race, that’s a great context to be in.

Scooter

August 28th, 2009
2:45 pm

Mike, there are some tolerant bloggers here. ( if you share thier views) :neutral:

USinUK

August 28th, 2009
2:45 pm

dB –

dang. I guess because I always associate C&W with boots and cowboy hats, I never put Ray into that bucket.

learn something new every ding-dong-day :-)

… so, for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8o4os6Um6g

saywhat?

August 28th, 2009
2:47 pm

Jasper writes “Jay, you need to go home and change your shorts. You have equivocated all over yourself. Why couldn’t you just have discussed this from the one angle it deserves, black racism. You had to invoke MLK, slavery, civil rights, and even confederate monuments, to create a backdrop for Turpeau’s stupid remarks. There’s no justification. You say yourself, its 2009 and we can do better. So lets treat this idiot and situation the same way it would be treated if he were white. I just love a parade!”

Looking at events in a vacuum is pointless. Context is everything. By providing background, Jay demontrates that he is actually thinking about this letter, and what it says about Atlanta politics, and not just giving a kneejerk reaction like calling it “black racism”. Until all segments of our society learn to value knowledge of facts and history vs pride in ignorance and demagoguery, the more enlightened of us will have to suffer from hearing the valueless spittle flecked rantings of the terminally stupid.