“Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering
than outright rejection.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no
right to assume otherwise. If we do not falter in our duty now,
we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare,
and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.
-- James Baldwin
I swear to the Lord
I still can't see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.
~Langston Hughes, The Black Man Speaks
When Congressman Wilson Interrupted
President Barack Obama during his speech
to both houses of congress and called him a liar,
was this about race or racism?
Travis Larimer 09.16.09
I’m from South Carolina. People from outside the South can’t really begin to understand the nuances of racism in Southern culture. In South Carolina, educated, white conservatives of the upper class, like Joe Wilson, in particular have a unique brand of racism, which is usually characterized by an intentional segregation from black southerners in any capacity that would imply the two groups are socially equal.
Living in the same neighborhoods or eating at the same restaurants is something that just doesn’t happen.
I think it’s important to understand exactly how Rep. Wilson’s outburst was a result of racism. It’s not as simple as, “Rep. Wilson believes the President is lying because he is black,” or “Rep. Wilson told the President he is lying because Rep. Wilson is a racist.” Those are oversimplifications of a complex cultural issue.
Joe Wilson’s outburst, the act itself, rather than the words, results from the shattering of his Southern white perspective of racial superiority and entitlement . Joe Wilson would not have felt justified in yelling at a white President. It’s even unlikely that he would have acted in a similar way toward another white congressman. It is because President Obama is a black man that Rep. Wilson feels that it is fully within the scope of his social standing to shout him down and essentially call him a liar in front of the entire world. For an upper class southerner, having a black man in a position of authority over you is completely inconceivable.
This isn’t the overt, KKK/neo-Nazi racism of 60 minutes and television
documentaries. This is a sense of white supremacy that is so firmly
ingrained in Southern culture that it’s doubtful Mr. Wilson
is even aware of it.
stuff white people do
"The ways of white folks, I mean, some white folks . . ."
by executive editor Glen Ford
White people, in the majority,
don't think they are racist
- but they are.
...White folks think they are superior,
the definition of racism.
They are convinced that race relations have been getting better
over the last ten years, and will improve further
in the next decade. Of course, white people
will not have to give up any power to achieve this goal; it is a gift.
The delusions of white America are amazing, and shape a world
view that threatens human existence. White academics constantly
explore the psyche of Black people, but never their own
- the people in power. The Zogby poll shows that whites harbor
deep problems, that can kill us all, if they are not cured.
Racism Alive and Thriving in America,
There is a deep cultural malady in white America, a kind of delusional
disease that prevents them from seeing reality, as it is. They know that
racism exists, but deny any role in it. They recognize that systemic
prejudice has societal effects, but claim they play no part in the process.
They realize that the Republican Party is the party of racism, but vote for
it, anyway. White folks have an unexamined problem. Theyt ought to
stop looking at us Black folks, as if we are the flawed specimens,
and take care of their own contradictions.
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Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
More on Joe Wilson's
Interruption of President Obama
Nana Olson, SC
As working adults, my husband and I raised our three children
and lived in Virginia for nearly 30 years. We witnessed racism
but never defined as we see it living in SC these past 6 years.
I do believe it is good to feel passionate about our birthplace and its lore,
customs, and history. However, in reading about Joe Wilson, and his love
for all that is the South, I find him romanticizing what he refers to as being
a “patriot” and being “proud” of his heritage. From what I read, I believe
Joe Wlson is incredibly lacking in understanding or recognition of the human
tragedy caused by slavery and racism and the continued loss we
witness here in SC from persistent discrimination at the state level.
Joe Wilson’s tactics in Jim Clyburn’s congressional area, appear to me to
be purposeful and downright nasty. Our President needs to deny racism is
the basis for much of the unreasonable and angry protest against him and
what he is trying to do. I believe that
we at the grassroots level can, and should, call it as we see it.
Thank you President Carter, it is blatant racism.
Joe Wilson needs to be held responsible for his actions. It is up to us to
commit to bring real change to SC. Have faith, the truth is a great witness.
Let’s get it out!
“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity
toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,
that he’s African American,” Carter told NBC yesterday.
“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way and I’ve seen
the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups
at that time … and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface,” Carter said, “because
of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country,
that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.”
Our friend Yael Abouhalkah, meanwhile, over at the Kansas City Star sounds a bit like
Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” telling those who dispute Carter’s claim that
they can’t handle the truth:
He’s just stating the facts, whether Americans want to hear them or not. Carter’s
complaints aren’t aimed at all Americans, just at those who don’t think a black
person deserves to be president. And there are millions in this country. So as the
conservative base and others get whipped into a frenzy over Carter’s remarks,
they need to cool down.
Verne Stolte 09.16.09
I’m as sick of the race card as anyone. In most cases it’s overplayed but in this case,
President Carter is right and it fits. Joe Wilson would never have shown such disrespect
for the office of the president at a joint session of congress, unless he had no respect for
the person who happens to be president and also black.
Wilson has shown his true colors - the bars and stripes
President Carter is correct. Racism is the main factor behind all of the anger against
President Obama. Look at all the silly charges thrown at Obama like Obama is not a
US citizen, therefore not a legitimate President, and he is turning the country into a
Socialist country. Look at bigots showing up with guns outside Obama events.
Look at protesters demanding “I want my country back.”
Did anyone see this reaction against Reagan, Bush, Clinton?
Joe Wilson is clown and a bigot. He was one of the few South Carolina legislators
voting in favor of the confederate flag in defence of his heritage.
I think President Carter has said aloud what we all know to be the truth. These angry
crowds at town hall meetings carrying guns, Obama/Hilter posters and crying
”I want my Country back,” are exactly the Americans President Carter is calling out.
They stand up so proudly interrupting real debate with their ignorance while smiling
proudly for FOX NEWS.
Timus, Powder Springs, GA 09.16.09
The unprecedented disrespect is what is racist!
He would have NEVER done that to a white male!!
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless
midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood
can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
will have the final word.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
November 16, 2009 is Tolerance Day