What we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about race

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Shirley Sherrod

Even in intimate discussions among friends, it can be hard to talk honestly and in depth about race and racism.

It’s easy to see why. Irrational sentiments that burble up out of the most primitive recesses of our souls — emotions that are then refracted through personal and collective experience — just don’t translate easily into rational thought.

And once such a thought is formed and expressed, it must then be heard and processed by other minds that are grappling with those same challenges, but from a very different perspective.

A lot can go wrong in that translation from one mind to another. And when you scale that conversation up and try to involve millions in the discussion, the number of ways that things can go wildly wrong increase geometrically, particularly when some in the conversation are trying to manipulate it for economic gain or political ambition.

Those dangers have led many to conclude that in public, it is better to avoid the topic of race altogether than to risk misunderstanding and the inflammation of dangerous passions.

I disagree.

As painful as the Shirley Sherrod case has been, for example, I think the country understands itself better today than it did a week ago.

True, some of what we’ve come to understand is not that pleasant. We’ve seen the power of people such as Andrew Breitbart, who released a harshly distorted video depicting Sherrod as a racist. He almost destroyed her career and her life in the process, yet he still refuses to apologize or take responsibility.

Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart

We also saw elements of the American media as well as the Obama administration leap to conclusions on command, like well-trained poodles wearing shock collars, only to sheepishly reverse course once the truth became known.

In the process, though, we also became familiar with the real story of Sherrod, a black woman who was born and raised in the Jim Crow South and who lost her father in a murder supposedly committed by a white neighbor who was never prosecuted.

In the last few days, hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans have watched the 43-minute videotape in which Sherrod relates her struggle to overcome the resentment and distrust toward white people created by that and other experiences.

It’s a great story, honestly told, and I’d bet that most of those who took the time to watch that tape at one point reflected on their own, perhaps uncompleted journey to that same grace that Sherrod has tried to attain.

That is a good thing. America has never been a static concept. To the contrary, it has existed in a permanent state of transformation politically and economically as well as demographically.

Within the past generation, long-term trends such as immigration, civil rights, gay rights and feminism have transformed the face and power structure of the country. As a result, the ability not just to tolerate but to welcome and celebrate those of other backgrounds has become essential to success.

Until a few years ago, many Americans had talked themselves into thinking that we had put questions of race behind us, that we had already emerged into a post-racial society in which such things no longer matter. And while the election of Barack Obama might have been seen as confirmation of that belief, in fact it has done the opposite. It has brought to the surface elements of racism that many had tried to pretend no longer existed.

It is important to keep that statement in perspective. In uncertain times, strong and sincere disagreement about the nation’s course ahead is inevitable. The political standoff that exists in Washington today would exist even if Obama looked and talked like Mitt Romney, because it is based on honest differences of policy and ideology, not race.

But if we’re honest, we must also acknowledge that race has given some of the opposition to Obama a nasty edge and a passion that at times is out of proportion to its inspiration.

These are tough times. It is a lot easier to trust your fellow man when you feel secure in your job and home than when you wake up each morning fearful it all might be snatched away by forces that you cannot comprehend or control. What we’ve seen in the last few days is the danger posed by those who would profit by stoking and feeding those fears, rather than try to calm them.

542 comments Add your comment

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
7:08 am

well said, Jay

seeitall

July 23rd, 2010
7:13 am

Whites were ready to move forward, but those who make money, garner votes, amass power from racial anomosity were not ready to give it all up.

arnold

July 23rd, 2010
7:15 am

I agree with USinkUK. Very well said. I hope it turns out to be beneficial.

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:16 am

But if we’re honest, we must also acknowledge that race has given some of the opposition to Obama a nasty edge and a passion that at times is out of proportion to its inspiration.

I’ve given this a fair amount of thought, and I think the key here is understanding that this utterly correct assertion is simultaneously a bit too easy for Democrats to make, and a bit too difficult for Republicans to acknowledge.

If anyone has a workaround, I’m all ears.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
7:17 am

“Until a few years ago, many Americans had talked themselves into thinking that we had put questions of race behind us, that we had already emerged into a post-racial society in which such things no longer matter.”

did we, though?

it seems that we’ve only moved from blatant racism (white robes and lynchings) to the more subtle … for instance, we’ve been having discussions about sentencing inequality (crack vs. cocaine) since the mid-80s. add to that issues such as under-representation in professional sports management as well as the ongoing issues of representation in media, and I don’t know that race is as “behind us” as we would like to think.

Granny Godzilla

July 23rd, 2010
7:18 am

I’m with USinUK and arnold.

Well said Jay.

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:24 am

Another thing we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about race (great headline, by the way, Jay):

“Discrimination happens in USDA. . . . And it’s there because the agency never did deal with the people who caused it,” Sherrod said Thursday morning on the “Today” show. “No one lost their job because they discriminated against black farmers, Hispanic farmers, Native American farmers, women farmers. . . . Those individuals . . . some have retired, but many of them are still there.”

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:28 am

And yet another thing we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about race is the ongoing assertion by some on the right, and it is a nasty, unfounded, race-baiting assertion, that “for 20 years Barack Obama attended a church that promoted race hatred.”

I wish that Trinity United Church of Christ could have a nickel for every time it’s been slimed like that.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
7:28 am

dB – my first thought was that I talk about food and cooking when I’m not talking abut race (especially now that the World Cup is over) … but I don’t think that’s what Jay meant …

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:34 am

I don’t think that’s what Jay meant …

No. If that’s what he’d meant, the headline would read “How we fill the nearly-endless rhetorical void when we don’t talk about race.”

No, this is about those topics we decide just aren’t worth dredging up. You think, for example, I’m looking forward to the inevitable poster who’ll hype some stupid thing Rev. Wright said and use that to back up their ridiculous assertions about the entirety of the Obama’s experience at TUCC?

I really won’t be able to hang ’round much longer to see it through (much pressing stuff awaits me at Top Seekret Food-on-FamblyCo), which makes me realize it’ll be more or less for naught if no other rational individual picks up that particular ball and runs with it.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
7:37 am

dB – “You think, for example, I’m looking forward to the inevitable poster who’ll hype some stupid thing Rev. Wright”

about as much as I look forward to the inevitable CRA-bomb whenever we talk about housing.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
7:43 am

“But if we’re honest, we must also acknowledge that race has given some of the opposition to Obama a nasty edge and a passion that at times is out of proportion to its inspiration.”

And if we’re TRULY honest, we must also acknowledge that race has given some of the supporters of Obama a nasty edge and a passion that at times is out of proportion to its inspiration.

Are any of you Obama supporters prepared to admit as much?

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
7:44 am

OMG … is that the lovely and talented BRU-DOG??? Haven’t seen you in WEEKS (and I’ve been asking about you!)

you doing okay?

TaxPayer

July 23rd, 2010
7:48 am

How many on the right have denounced Breitbart for his actions.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
7:48 am

Special hello to USinUK, and thanks again for reacquainting me with Nick Drake. Lately, the “Cello Song” has been well reflecting my mood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1YsFgDaEeo

So forget this cruel world
Where I belong
I’ll just sit and wait
And sing my song.
And if one day you should see me in the crowd
Lend a hand and lift me
To your place in the cloud.

Jay

July 23rd, 2010
7:50 am

I would admit as much Bruno (and welcome back.)

I’d argue that there’s a difference in scale, but yes, the phenomenon does cut both ways.

As Kevin Drum pointed out earlier, “There have been three big conservative outrages that have choked the airwaves over the past couple of weeks. #1 was about a bunch of scary black men, the New Black Panther Party. #2 was about a bunch of scary Muslims who want to build a triumphal mosque on the sacred soil of Ground Zero. #3 was about a vindictive black woman who works for the government and screws the white people she deals with. The running theme here is not just a coincidence.”

Jay

July 23rd, 2010
7:52 am

Taxpayer, a number have done so, or at least have urged him to apologize (he refuses.)

The real question is what price he will pay, if any, within the conservative movement itself.

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:53 am

Are any of you Obama supporters prepared to admit as much?

(raising hand) Sure. I think I actually just did, kinda, in my post @ 7.16.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
7:53 am

“Are any of you Obama supporters prepared to admit as much?”

I’d be willing to admit it…if YOU would be willing to admit that it wouldn’t be either needed or used if Jay’s statement was not needed either.

Or, to use my own words, if race wasn’t brought up either implicitely or explicitely, by the “opposition” we wouldn’t see it being brought up by the “supporters” either.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
7:55 am

“you doing okay?”

Well, I quit my job last week, so it’s a little scary at the minute. I’m digging deep to believe that there’s a place in this world for me, a place of goodness and light.

A love song by Nick dedicated to you, beautiful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtyLL_BE-oo&feature=related

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Bright in my northern sky.

It’s been a long time that I’m waiting
Been a long time that I’m blown
been a long time that I’ve wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind’s eye.

Jack

July 23rd, 2010
7:56 am

If there’s a double standard, its promoters are writers like Bookman.

Lord Help Us

July 23rd, 2010
7:56 am

One of the narratives that have emerged among Breitbart and his apologists is that they have provided exculpatory evidence that ABSOLUTELY shows that Congressman Lewis and others lied when they said that some people attending a tea party rally called them the ‘n’ word and/or spat upon them.

Among John King and others I did not see any pushback to this claim.

Personally, I believe Congressman Lewis has a lot more credibility than either Erick Erickson or Breitbart…

Is there any truth to these ABSOLUTE statements or is their claim that since we do not have video evidence that it did not happen?

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
7:58 am

Off Topic #1:

I assume you guys know about Zombie Nick Drake hawking the glories of AT&T world domination, right?

http://stereogum.com/369262/att-discovers-nick-drake/franchises/commercial-appeal/

TaxPayer

July 23rd, 2010
7:58 am

What price with Breitbart pay! Better yet, I wonder what price some in the media (of course I’m thinking of FOX when I say that) are willing to pay him. After all, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, are getting old and they will need suitable replacements.

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
7:59 am

Well written, Jay. I have been considering my own attitudes about race lately, in light of this latest flair-up. I find myself much more negative about hispanics than blacks. I find this interesting because there is no real oppressive history between whites and hispanics that I am aware of. We have no reason to dislike each other racially. I think my attitudes are primarily because of the people I come into contact with. Blacks I live near and work with every day are fine people. When I look at them or talk to them, I do see a person of color. I do not mean to imply I am color blind. By contrast, there are very few hispanics in my sphere. I don’t come in contact with them so I haven’t been able to form a personal opinion. Because of that, perhaps, the negative press does effect my attitudes toward them as a group. Individually, I hope I could still give each person respect. But even with that, I know that respect is not the same thing as considering them equals. The more we know about people, the more bias and bigotry will dissolve.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:00 am

TaxPayer – “How many on the right have denounced Breitbart for his actions”

flat-out denounced? not many.

Jonah Goldberg: “I think she’s owed apologies from pretty much everyone, including my good friend Andrew Breitbart. I generally think Andrew is on the side of the angels and a great champion of the cause. He says he received the video in its edited form and I believe him. But the relevant question is, Would he have done the same thing over again if he had seen the full video from the outset? I’d like to think he wouldn’t have.”

Erik Erikson “Andrew Breitbart promised he would do to the left what the left has been doing to the right for years. He is gathering quite the collection of leftwing scalps and will forever warm the hearts of the right for the ACORN takedown alone. I’m glad he is on our side. That said, I think Shirley Sherrod has been unfairly characterized as a racist.”

(he goes on to say what IS disturbing is the White House’s reaction)

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
8:01 am

“I would admit as much Bruno (and welcome back.)”

Thank you for the warm greeting, Jay. I’m asking my friends to pray for me right now.

“I’d argue that there’s a difference in scale, but yes, the phenomenon does cut both ways.”

I guess I can’t argue much about the “difference in scale”, although such a perception is usually in the eye of the beholder. If it makes you feel any better, there are times when I’m not proud of my fellow conservatives due to the natural human inclination to want to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, as most politicians who take the “high road” find out, the “low road” gathers more votes.

I’d argue that there’s a difference in scale, but yes, the phenomenon does cut both ways.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

Bruno – 7:55 – that’s my all-time FAVORITE Nick Drake!! awwww. thanks, boo!

meanwhile … wishing you MUCH LUCK in finding something new that makes you happy. Try not to be afraid (hard, I know – I’ve been there, too) – and look at this as an opportunity.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

“(he goes on to say what IS disturbing is the White House’s reaction)”

It looks like it’s going to get better…now the “question” is: was this a White House conspiracy?

http://mediamatters.org/research/201007220054

stands for decibels

July 23rd, 2010
8:04 am

since we do not have video evidence that it did not happen?

Sigh. When the debate has degenerated to an actual question of whether you trust John Lewis when he says someone called him a “n!gg3r”–remember, John Lewis is the same man John McCain cited during the 2008 presidential forum at Rick Warren’s church, as one of three living moral beacons in his life–we are perhaps, as Shakespeare might put it, well and truly FUBAR.

Gotta run. Have fun, kids.

Normal

July 23rd, 2010
8:06 am

Good Friday morning y’all…is it music yet?

When I was in ‘Nam and after Bobby and Martin had been killed, black members of my unit called for a meeting. As a preamble, when Martin had been killed, to them it was a black versus white thing. A black man was killed by a white man because he was getting too powerful and was presenting a message that couldn’t be denied. I won’t detail the months between the assassinations but at the time I felt my unit was falling apart at the worst time of the war, and didn’t know who I could trust to watch my back.
After Bobby died, we all realized that this wasn’t a “black vs white” thing, it was a “us against them” thing (for lack of a better phrase). Good fundimental changes were trying to take place in our country and it frightened some enough to kill to stop it.

Anyway, the question was raised as to how do we, as a unit, go back to where we were before. To me, and I said so, that while the rift was bad, it opened our eyes to our differences, and bottom line, we still wanted to go home. To do that we had to trust each other again. I tried to say, rather poorly at the time, that each one of us had to be measured on how we did our duty. In the bush there was no race. You looked at the man beside you and you measured his heart. By the way, none of my unit lacked heart.

People aren’t often put into those situations that force realizations that knock down the preconceptions your environment taught you, but when they do, to me at least, you learn just how …I don’t know…small race issues really are.

Bottom line, you can’t not talk about race. Constant reminders that we are all the same in our Higher Power’s eyes is needed. School work shops, church meetings, town hall meetings…what ever it takes.

Teach the children so that when their turn comes, they will approach the world knowing that race does not matter. We are all the Human Race.

Ok, so now I’m taking my soap box and going home. :)

Normal

July 23rd, 2010
8:10 am

BTW, when I started “typing” my above there were only four posters. I really need to learn how to type… :sad:

Jacob

July 23rd, 2010
8:10 am

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:12 am

“It looks like it’s going to get better…now the “question” is: was this a White House conspiracy?”

I read that Glenn Beck actually outdid himself on nuttiness last night …

oy.

Jay

July 23rd, 2010
8:14 am

Gale, I appreciate the honesty of your comments. Take a look at last night’s post about the desegregation of the military in the ’40s, and in particular the survey taken of white commanders of black combat troops and how their perceptions changed with greater exposure and familiarity.

It echoes what you’re saying here.

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
8:16 am

Good story, Normal. I believe it is our mistakes that teach us best. When we understand why an attitude is wrong, we are better able to overcome and learn to be better people. That was the gist of Sherrod’s story.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:16 am

G’morning, Normal!! how’s your sister?? my surrogate mom is currently in the N’side Bone Marrow Transplant unit, having finished a round of chemo for leukemia. if you could keep her in your thoughts, that’d mean the world :-)

“Good fundimental changes were trying to take place in our country and it frightened some enough to kill to stop it.”

’twas ever thus. anyone who challenges power or the status quo is always regarded as a heretic and one who must be stopped from changing Life as We Know It.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
8:18 am

“After Bobby died, we all realized that this wasn’t a “black vs white” thing, it was a “us against them” thing (for lack of a better phrase).”

Just my 2 cents, Normal, but I think it all goes back to our human nature of being pack animals. Due our technological sophistication, it’s often easy to forget that we still are animals, subject to the same instincts/reactions that the “lower” animals experience. In that way, we perceive others as either being “in” the group, or “out of” the group. The only difference I find among people is how large their groups are.

“Good Friday morning y’all…is it music yet?”

You know when I’m around, the music’s going to be playing. Much better than TV, IMO…….

Here’s one more that I’ve been saving for USinUK, “Inside My Love” by Minnie Riperton:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1aMSZp_WHc

Such a beautiful, sexy song. Minnie was everything that Mariah Carey tries to be, but so much better, so much more authentic.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:20 am

okay, my sweet “between gigs” friend … I told you weeks ago to go get Corinne Bailey Rae … this is why

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoNli84m1mQ

(btw … don’t know about prayers, but you know I’m keeping you in my thoughts until you post that you’ve gotten THE job you’ve been hoping for!!)

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
8:22 am

Jay, I was reading last night’s posts with my breakfast. Perhaps that is part of my thoughts on this issue. Certainly, some of the same could be said for attitudes about gays. The difference is that gays are not easily identified. If we were pink, we could claim the same issues. :-)

Moderate Line

July 23rd, 2010
8:22 am

A great article until:

But if we’re honest, we must also acknowledge that race has given some of the opposition to Obama a nasty edge and a passion that at times is out of proportion to its inspiration.

Let’s face a reality the people who don’t like him because he is black did not like him because he was black in November 2008.

He is losing moderates and independents.

I honestly can’t tell the difference between the mean spirited attacks on Bush and Republicans or Obama and Democrats. There is a allot of malice in the left and the right often encouraged by the politicians and their apologist. They are both over the top but in a country with 300 million people I am sure that is going to happen. However, it is sad when these people find their way into the traditional mainstream media.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:23 am

ty webb

July 23rd, 2010
8:24 am

Sorry, he doesn’t need to apologize. Nothing was done to her by breitbart that isn’t done to countless other public officials(and many private citizens) everyday. Not saying it’s right, but her case is ahardly a special one. In an odd way, it shows just how “equal” we’ve become. We have finally reached the point when everyone can be falsely called a racist.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:25 am

moderate – I don’t think Jay is saying that there was an increase in the number of people who didn’t like him because he is black – he’s just saying that there are elements in the opposition who don’t like him for that reason.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/conservative_activist_forwards_racist_pic_showing.php?ref=fpa

larry

July 23rd, 2010
8:25 am

There are counties in this state where there are no African-Americans. When i went to school ,in a certain un-named North Georgia county, there were no African-Americans. When i went to college, the number of African-Americans at this un-named two-year school was twelve. At the time, i didnt know why. Until after i dropped out of college, i found out one of my friends wore the sheets and hoods. We were not friends after that.

The point is ……..although i had no say in where i was raised, i was and am a lesser person because what happened above. To me , race does not matter as the why i judge a person. It never has.

Normal

July 23rd, 2010
8:26 am

USinUK,
My little sister is doing good…bald but good. I’m going down to see her and Mom this evening. Feels like an Italian night…

As for your suggogate mom, I’ll send good vibes her way and when I’m out
wood walking, I’ll ask Mother Earth to lend a hand. We will help her make lemonade anyway we can…

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
8:29 am

Interesting thoughts about group behavior, Bruno. I have often thought that human behavior is more effected by lower, primitive mind processes than we like to pretend. Pheromones, air pressure, things like that, effect us at a subconscious level. These, I think, are the basis of deja vu experiences, for example, or the reason we may immediately like or dislike someone for no identifiable reason.

USinUK, I have been reading about high success rates with bone marrow transplants in treating leukemia.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:29 am

Normal – garlic bread and chianti cures what ails ya!

thanks for the good vibes :-)

SOUTHERN ATL

July 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

This is an excellent article. Race relations can be defined by two words;

Attitude and Tolerance!

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

“I honestly can’t tell the difference between the mean spirited attacks on Bush and Republicans or Obama and Democrats.”

One other enduring truth that I’ve discovered, Moderate Line, is that the splinter in our neighbor’s eye always looks so much larger than the plank in our own eyes. I know a lot of conservatives were deeply offended by the Left during the Bush years. It should always be ok to criticize policy, but the personal attacks got out of control. I’m sure it’s just my biased, conservative opinion, but the attacks on Obama seem to be more about policy to me.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:31 am

Gale – well, they say they caught it very early, so she underwent an intense 5 days of chemo (no bone marrow transplant), and is now just hanging out in the ward for the next 3 weeks so that she doesn’t get an infection. after that, they’ll go back and see how she’s doing.

larry

July 23rd, 2010
8:34 am

Southern ATL @ 8:30……….AGREED

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

Bruno – “It should always be ok to criticize policy, but the personal attacks got out of control. I’m sure it’s just my biased, conservative opinion, but the attacks on Obama seem to be more about policy to me.”

and the “attacks” on Bush weren’t about wiretapping, outing of CIA agents, a war based on cherry-picked intel, the economy, what he did or didn’t do before 9/11, etc?? you make it sound like any critics were just being peevish and criticizing his cowboy boots.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

“I told you weeks ago to go get Corinne Bailey Rae … this is why”

Very nice, USinUK. We seem to enjoy the same groove…….

Sorry to hear about the fight with cancer that Normal’s sis and USinUK’s surrogate mom are going through. There’s got to be a better way of checking out of this place than that. If any of you remember, my featured artist this AM, Minnie Riperton also died from cancer at a young age. Her biggest concern about it was that she wouldn’t be around to see her children grow up. When she was in the terminal stages of the disease, she went back into the recording studio one last time, and came out with “Back Down Memory Lane”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z7MaFE-uRQ&feature=related

If you listen carefully at the end, you can hear the pleading in her voice. Very powerful, raw human emotion…..

JP

July 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

BRUNO – good question. I am an Obama supporter and I will admit that I sometimes think about race whenever Obama gets slammed by the right. And that is wrong for me to think like that. I think there will always be people that will not like Obama b/c he is black. Just as there were folks that didn’t like Bush b/c he was white. Both sides are wrong. But I hope and believe that most people who don’t like Obama is b/c of his policies – and that’s OK.

schrutebeets

July 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

How must it feel to know that, whenever you sit down at the keyboard to produce a column, you will be expressing collective spin as personal conviction.
Breitbart’s the bad guy? Breitbart is who he is…a counter to the thousands of Democrats who have signed on to the National Democratic Party website’s call-to-arms to get dirt on Republican and Tea Party principals on tape.
Doesn’t bother you that the Sherrod speech was at a NAACP function…yet it was at the NAACP’s urging that the Obama Administration executed her termination?
And you have the nerve to say that you DISAGREE that “it is better to avoid the topic of race altogether than to risk misunderstanding and the inflammation of dangerous passions?”
I don’t recall you having a lot to say during the disgraceful, self-imposed media embargo of the racially-charged New Black Panther-Department of Justice debacle.
The fact that a respected DOJ attorney resigned in order to testify before the Civil Rights Commission that DOJ managers would not prosecute blacks charged with violations of whites’ voting rights wasn’t newsworthy?
How must it feel?

Fred

July 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

There can never be any HONEST dialog on “racism” as long as idiots like Joseph Lowery make the claim that a black person can’t be a racist. Many like to bandy the “I have a dream” speech about but then they seem to forget a line or two of it:

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

Living in Dekalb County, I experience or witness blatant racism on almost a daily basis. It is NOT limited to white people. Those who pretend so are fools.

Normal

July 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

I heard he wore knee hose under his cowboy boots…

EA

July 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

Racial prejudice goes both ways. That is what is so often left out the discussion of race. The Shirley Sherrod case highlighted that fact. I completely sympathize with racial prejudice, but it important to recognize that both sides are guility.

As far as Breibart, why does the right have to stand up and condemn this man? We did not hear that same argument about Reverand Wright on the left. It is best to leave these type of men alone and refuse comment. Their actions speak for themselves.

Bubba Bob

July 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

Another issue with race is that we can’t trust the media….or at least the right cannot trust the media.

This is from the Journolist situation:

“In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

So, instead of having a real discussion on the issues they decided to pick someone and accuse them of being racist. For no other reason than to help Obama. And this was the media no less. Every one of them.

That’s why I don’t believe anything about race any more unless it’s on tape and I get to see the full, unedited version.

Mark

July 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

Jay, Have to agree with most that this to me is one of your better articles, only a couple a small points that I disagree on though…
1. “Abunch of scary black men, the New Black Panther Party..look, there is wrong doing on both sides of the isle, but the right(repub/conserv)..have every right to be concerned with those nut jobs.When is the last time you heard a repub/conserv say lets kill all the black people and there babies…or, praise Bin Laden..If the Left and this admin. would just publicly denouce these idiots, I think the right would feel alot better..
2..I do believe that Brietbart should apoligize, but so should CNN for the great edit job they did about the “crazy teabagger” with an assault rifle, who turned turned out to be a black man..they conveintly left that out..
Bottom Line if the Right and Left would both hold there sides accountably, I think this country would start moving in the right direction

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
8:41 am

USinUK, I’ll hope for the best, but keep a close watch. Infections acquired ‘in’ the hospital are worse than what we are exposed to on the outside. But given the facility, I will bet they are especially careful about infections. I wish her well.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

“I’m sure it’s just my biased, conservative opinion, but the attacks on Obama seem to be more about policy to me.”

And I don’t think you can make a sweeping statement like that, and be accurate, about either Bush OR Obama.

I, for one, don’t like personal attacks on any politician…there’s enough to attack about their political attitudes and policy decisions. But, just off-hand, I can’t recall many – if any – attacks on Bush that used “race relations” code words for him, as have been used repeatedly against Obama.

How often do you remember Bush being described as “uppity” or “arrogant”? And the people who DO use those words, and others like them, against Obama…can deny it all they want, most of us DO know what they are code for.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

Bruno – 8:38 – that’s why the Eva Cassidy cover of “Imagine” always makes me cry … it’s heartbreaking that she died so young!

Gale – the unit she’s in, you evidently get the full “Silkwood” treatment if you want to visit … me, I think they obviously don’t know this woman – she keeps her home clean enough to do surgery in!

joe

July 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

Seems to me there are still elements of racism out there, but not as much as say 30 years ago. Time seems to lessen the haters out there…as they die off. Younger people don’t seem to carry those feelings around quite as much as back in the day. But, when politics enter this equation, that is a whole other level.

As a white conservative thinking man, part of me was glad we were able to elect a black president. However, I think we just elected the wrong black president because his policies are not a good fit for our country in my opinion. Plus, the way he rams spending bills down our throats is another issue altogether.

Had we elected Colin Powell or Condi Rice or Herman Cain…I would be way more inclined to be happy with the direction of our country and there are many many more who share the same outlook. That is why I believe Nov will be very rough for the Dems and make it hard for BO to do anything in the next two years that would get him re-elected. I just don’t see that happening.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

Doggone – “How often do you remember Bush being described as “uppity” or “arrogant”?”

no, but in all fairness, I and many others called him “intelligence-challenged” … or, my favorite nickname, C+ Augustus.

Bubba Bob

July 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Doggone,

Uppity and arrogant are code words for race? Never heard that one.

Fred

July 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

I found amusing the uproar that ensued when t-shirts where printed with the likeness of President Obama and Curious George. Oh the “racisism.” WHere was the same uproar when President Bush was depicted as Curious George? http://ezineblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/bush-monkey.gif T

The double standard HAS to stop for there to be any meaningful progress.

mike

July 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

First of all, we do talk about race. All the time and to little positive result.

Second of all, perhaps Jay and the rest of those on the left who are suddenly extolling the virtues of not making baseless accusations of racism based on cherry-picked clips from hyper-partisan media might take a second to realize that they have been doing just that for months now.

Nah, that would never happen. That would require both intellectual honesty and self-awareness, things that Jay and his crowd do not posses.

Guess what, race baiters? You were sickened by your own poison. You deserve it too.

Gale

July 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

USinUK, I guess I would avoid the Silkwood treatment and visit from outside the bubble. It sounds like they have learned the lesson well there.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

“Not saying it’s right, but her case is ahardly a special one”

So…because it’s not “special” he owes her no apology for nearly ruining her reputation, for losing her job, and for spreading LIES about her? Sorry, can’t agree with that. He not only owes her an apology, if this was truly a just world, he would owe her a large monetary settlement as well…large enough to make him think more than twice about doing the same thing to someone else.

mike

July 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

Fred –

That’s nothing. Start passing this link around:

http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

mike

July 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

Nice to see that USinUK is hard at work as usual. LOL

jt

July 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

You heard it here first. (I just made it up).

Federo-sexual——–A person who is continually screwed by the federal government but who also continually votes to increase the federal government’s size and negative influence. See Democrat or Isackson supporter.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

Bubba – arrogant, maybe / maybe not … but uppity, definitely.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

nice to see mike has nothing of substance to say and so reverts to personal jabs, as usual.

Bruno

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

“and the “attacks” on Bush weren’t about wiretapping, outing of CIA agents, a war based on cherry-picked intel, the economy, what he did or didn’t do before 9/11, etc?? you make it sound like any critics were just being peevish and criticizing his cowboy boots.”

Certainly, a lot of the criticism of Bush was legitimate, and came from both sides of the aisle. If you recall, I have been vehemently opposed to the Patriot Act from the gitgo, both under Bush and now under Obama. Per the “outing” of Valerie Plame, that was a bit overblown by the Left in relation to the reality of the situation. Per the “cherry-picked intel”, Bush’s assessment of the danger of Iraq was little different from that of Bill Clinton (no-fly zones, anyone?). Per the economy, it was the Democratic leaders in control of Congress from 2007-2008 who continued to whistle past the grave yard despite clear calls to action from the Republicans.

All of those items are legitimate criticisms. And if that’s all I ever heard, I would have great respect for the Left. But it went way beyond that, and you know it. Don’t make me call on the spirit of TOJ/NIF to bring up all the examples of the comparisons of Bush to Hitler. ;-)

Don't forget

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

The biggest consequence for Breitbart is his loss of relative anonymity. There will be significant skepticism for anything he produces if it’s been edited in any way. He’s been shown to have the capability to create an appearance that is totally misleading. In other words, he’s lost any credibility he may have once had.

Gordon

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

First of all, I agree with what Jay said and think this was well written.

The point I want to make is that there is a habit among the right and the left of taking the most extreme people from the other side and trying to portray them as typical. They are not. I am a conservative. I favor limited government. Breitbart in no way, shape, or form represents my views when he does things like he did here, just as Jeremiah Wright or some other extreme leftist represents Jay or others who are not as conservative as I am. I am weary of the extremes getting so much attention and causing division.

Fred

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

Bubba Bob, there are MANY code words you have never heard of. The list changes daily. You can’t keep up with it. I don’t even try. I use the same words for everyone and if someone doesn’t like it then they can kiss my hairy butt. LOL I guess I was a racist on last night’s blog when i called myself arrogant.

You see Bubba Bob, it’s a not so clever ploy that some folks use to try to “win” an argument. WHen they label every word you use as “racist” then they don’t have to do any real thinking on the content of what you are saying. It’s a little control game people use.

Moderate Line

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:25 am
moderate – I don’t think Jay is saying that there was an increase in the number of people who didn’t like him because he is black – he’s just saying that there are elements in the opposition who don’t like him for that reason.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/conservative_activist_forwards_racist_pic_showing.php?ref=fpa
++++++++++++
I didn’t say Jay said “Jay is saying that there was an increase in the number of people who didn’t like him because he is black.” I also acknowledge inderectly that some people dislike Obama because he was black. The numbers of those people did not increase since the election. However, how many black people voted for McCain or any Republican.

I am saying his problem is moderates and independents. He is losing them.

Thanks for the lecturer on what Jay is saying. I would expect the same consideration.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

“If you listen carefully at the end, you can hear the pleading in her voice. Very powerful, raw human emotion”

I hear the same thing in “Who wants to live forever” by Queen. Freddie Mercury knew he was dying of AIDS when he recorded that, and you can hear it in his voice.

Bubba Bob

July 23rd, 2010
8:53 am

USink,

‘Uppity’? Been using that word forever and have never once heard it used in the context of race. Just goes to show that one man’s regular word is another man’s racism.

T-Town

July 23rd, 2010
8:53 am

Progress will be made in race relations when we stop thinking of others, who do not share the same characteristics, as the enemy and start thinking of them as our friends from different cultures. Until we do, fear of others unlike ourselves will rule our behavior.

Moderate Line

July 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

I did a search of comparing Hitler to Bush, Obama and Clinton.

Obama 7.5 mil
Bush 5.9 mil
Clinton 3.5 mil

Mark

July 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

Have to disagree Doggone, while I agree he should apoligize, It’s the White House and Dept of Agrc. that is responsible…Had they done what they were suppose to, launch an investigation first, she would have kept her job, Brietbart would have been dismissed, and this would have been a one day story…They didnt learn there lesson from last year!

SPQR(laissez Faire)

July 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

To Hell with obama and to hell with his minions and followers. (Just checking in, until this idiot sherrod is not the topic).

Scout

July 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

Jay:

Two comments …………….

1) Why can’t we start by using the correct words? Racism really means you believe your race is genetically superior to others. I doubt there are enough people still in that category to even be worth discussing. If you want to talk about bigotry, bias, prejudice, etc. then fine ……….. we ALL (black & white) have some.

2) Don’t lump everything in the same category. Placing homosexuality in the same phrase with one’s skin color is a great disservice to black Americans (just ask some of them). Tolerance is good but it doesn’t ALWAYS mean elevating one’s viewpoint or lifestyle to your own. I “tolerate” smokers but I don’t have to live with their habit for my own good health if I don’t want to.

Just sayin ………………..

TaxPayer

July 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

If only Limbaugh and Hannity and Breitbart, et al, were pink. I hate pink.

Then again, “hate” is such a strong word… and pink is not really that bad once you get to know it. I’m doing pink a disservice by associating it with that pack.

I do hate dayglo orange though especially when I see it all over folks like Chambliss and Boehner. I dislike those two very very much and the more I hear them, the more I dislike them.

USinUK

July 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

letting the Plame situation lie … “Bill Clinton (no-fly zones, anyone?)”

um, that wasn’t because of WMDs – that was because of the Iraqi attacks on the Kurds.

as for the Bush/Hitler comparisons, you’ve seen me go off on one about any comparisons to Nazis / Hitler / the Holocaust, regardless of whether it comes from the left or the right.

there were plenty of jabs about Bush’s … ummm … unfamiliarity with the English language and his apparent lack of intellectual curiousity — are those the personal attacks you speak of? because I sure didn’t hear him criticized for using a teleprompter.

Moderate Line

July 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

Gordon

July 23rd, 2010
8:51 am
First of all, I agree with what Jay said and think this was well written.

The point I want to make is that there is a habit among the right and the left of taking the most extreme people from the other side and trying to portray them as typical. They are not. I am a conservative. I favor limited government. Breitbart in no way, shape, or form represents my views when he does things like he did here, just as Jeremiah Wright or some other extreme leftist represents Jay or others who are not as conservative as I am. I am weary of the extremes getting so much attention and causing division.
+++++++++++++++++
One of the reason the media likes to show the extremes is it drives ratings. That is why these people get on TV. Even the news is driven by ratings.

candide

July 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

You cannot talk about race owing to liberal political correctness. You cannot criticize blacks for their immoral and decadent style of life.. You cannot tell the truth.

ty webb

July 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

Doggone,
yeah, that’s what I’m saying. He didn’t ruin her reputation, he didn’t hastily fire her, and he didn’t spread LIES(all caps for emphasis) about her. He simply used a soudbyte of her own words to score political points. Her case is hardly unique. If she deserves an apology, she should go to the back of the line and wait, like the countless others who’ve had it done to them by your “team”.

Doggone/GA

July 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

“In other words, he’s lost any credibility he may have once had.”

Unfortunately not. Just read back on this blog, and you will find those for whom his credibility has not been destroyed. We can only hope he has destroyed his credibility among those who have the greatest power to spread his lies…the media.

Mark

July 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Gordon, I think thats an excellent point, but to get there I think if both sides would stop making excuses for thee people and just denounce them we could get past it, but they dont

Scout

July 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

P.S.

The word “racism” has been so “watered down” that it hardly means anything anymore.

“I disagree with someone’s economic policy so I’m racist” ………….. give me a break !

SPQR(laissez Faire)

July 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Private sector thinking..customer service and cutting prices will attract the discretionary buyer/user.

Public(MARTA) service thinking..concentrating on the inner city ghetto core routes, and closing all the damn bathrooms, will doubtlessly attract the discretionary user/buyer.

Any questions?

neo-Carlinist

July 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

I think Bruno, via Normal’s story has kinda revealed the sad truth; it is in our DNA to distrust anyone or anything not “like” us. and the lines are not exculisively racial; political (lib v con), theological, (christian v muslim, christian v jew, jew v muslim, etc.). the divising lines can be as silly as UGA vs. GA Tech, or Nike v Under Armour, but human being like a good fight (and I suspect, as Bruno notes, it’s a anthroplogical thing, that probably can be traced back to males). self-preservation and providing/protecting one’s ‘herd’ can manifest itself in some pretty drastics legal (disrcimination) and technogogical (indescriminant total war/terrorism) ways. interestingly enough, my neighbor and I discussed this issue a couple of weeks back (he is black and I am white) at our own “beer summit”. he said; black or white, political or economic, people in power got to be there because they like power, and they’re not going to share their power with anyone. you have to take it, because that’s how they came to be in power.

Jimmy62

July 23rd, 2010
9:02 am

Breitbart didn’t make anyone fire her. The administration made a knee jerk decision to do so without getting all the facts, typical behavior for them. I guess they know there are a lot of black racists out there, so it wasn’t hard for them to believe. And the NAACP members in the audience did in fact cheer when she mentioned her previously racist actions, and the stated point of releasing the video was, in fact, to show racism at the NAACP, not to show Sherrod being racist. The video showed exactly that, NAACP members cheering on someone’s racist actions. You can twist the story to condemn Breitbart, but all he did was release a video. Everything that happened after that is the fault of the people who took action based on that video. Interesting how you shift the responsibility for a firing to someone who didn’t actually fire anyone, and could not have done so in any circumstances, rather than blame the person who actually did the firing. Responsibility is not a big thing for the left wing, it’s always Bush’s fault, or Breitbart’s, no matter who actually did it.

The Truth

July 23rd, 2010
9:02 am

I preface this comment by saying I am an independent who votes his conscience whether it be right or left. I also will say that I was a Journalism major in college in the 70s who was taught to report the facts not rumor or inuenndo.

Now, Jay, having said that, I think it is high time that we begin to classify Fox and MSNBC for what they really are. They are not true ‘news’ organizations that are fair and balanced but entertainment channels that cater to certain crowds. Just like ESPN is to sports, MSNBC is to the left as Fox is to the right. It is just a shame that, in this example, Breitbart is exposed as a gossip columnist that like Walter Winchell, takes some bits and pieces and shapes it into a story. It is time that people stop blindly following these organizations believing everything these guys spout at them….otherwise, we will all become National Enquirer clones. I mean, after all, even Boortz admits he is an entertainer…..