James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Neo-Nazis and other nuts: more reminders that race still matters

Posted by James McPherson on October 27, 2008

Just in case anyone can question whether race still is an issue in this country, and whether race might play a part in the election, we have had a number of cases in the past few weeks that help illustrate how impressive Barack Obama’s appeal truly is.

Even though some of the cases involve apparent John McCain supporters, no one should suggest that the McCain camp is involved in the incidents in any way, and I’m not doing that here. I am pointing out that Obama has to overcome issues that no white candidate would face.

Just today the feds apparently blocked an apparent plot by two white supremacists (probably more fantasy on their part than real threat), to kill Obama and more than 100 other African Americans. Earlier this week, of course, we had the apparently mentally ill McCain campaign worker who scratched a backward “B” into a cheek and then reported that she had been assaulted by a large black Obama supporter who noticed her McCain bumper sticker. We’ve also had at least two cases, in Oregon and Ohio, of Obama figures being lynched in effigy.

People who will cheer for a black person who can dunk a basketball or sing the National Anthem still won’t vote for an African American for president. In short, race matters. Perhaps if Obama is elected president, it will come to matter less.

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10 Responses to “Neo-Nazis and other nuts: more reminders that race still matters”

  1. jojo said

    The idiocy of white surpremist, never cease to amaze me! They always look like there’s
    been WAY to much insider trading on the family gene line, and as these morons proved
    (again) by trying to shoot out a church window, they can barely tie their shoes, and they want to take oever the world! Thankfully, I believe they are least dying down, like their I.Q. although not fast enough.

  2. Danny said

    >According to an affidavit from the federal agent who questioned them, Cowart and Schlesselman planned to charge at Obama with a car, firing from the windows as they went. They would be dressed in white tuxedos and top hats during the attempt, the affidavit states.<

    Uh, yeah. Sounds like a workable plan. There wasn’t a large amount of alcohol involved in the planning of this escapade, was there? These guys just prove that a little stupidity can be really dangerous.

  3. Rebel Without A Pause said

    Why does anyone find this surprising?

    From the very onset, McCain and Palin have bent over backwards pandering and encouraging the intolerance festering within the Republican party in their bid not just to defeat but to demonize and destroy Obama. The only time McCain opened his mouth about the xenophobic religious and racial barbarism he was courting and cultivating, was when the media turned up the heat on him when one of his supports said she “didn’t like or trust Obama because he’s an Arab.” Even then, McCain’s repudiation of the comment was lukewarm. When Hillary Clinton was running, a supporter at a McCain rally yelled out that Hillary was a bitch, which brought immediate applause and laughs of approval from everyone—including McCain.

    Then there was the “NASCAR Dad” at the RNC who declared that he “wasn’t no COLORED BOY” and the only “change” he knew about as far as any black man was concerned was “a tin cup.” And let’s not forget Rudy “Ru Paul” Julliani and his sneering, cosmopolitan racist dig about Barrack being an “affirmative action baby” (I think Rudy’s six-inch high heels were a bit too tight that night).

    And of course, there’s this latest development:

    http://blog.iconflict.com/palin-hears-the-n-word-and-keeps-on-speaking/

    When the race-baiting and McCarthyism that the far-right element of the Republican Party has cultivated into an art-form and has no peer in exploiting, becomes a crucial part of the McCain/Palin campaign strategy, is it any wonder that individuals like these come crawling out from the bottom of their septic tanks?

    Look at the bright side. At least they’re more honest about what they are and what they truly represent than all of the pseudo-intellectual pundits, “Barbie and Ken” party strategists and radio talk show hosts hiding the same virulent racism behind neo-conservative double-speak, expensive suits and degrees from prestigious universities.

    Obama/Biden ‘08
    Because four more years of the last eight would REALLY suck…

  4. mike said

    So these clowns can be officially charged as terrorists and insurgents. These stand up american christain citizens can be sent to the Quantanimo Bay Hilton or is that title and place only reserved for those slightly off colored people. Instead they get cable tv, air condition and visits by their fellow like thinking family members.

  5. OneSon said

    It is so frustrating to see that in 2008 we still have morons who try to make a statement or want their 15 minutes of fame by plotting to take the life of one of the most eloquent men the United States has ever seen. Racism is still extremely prevelant in the United States, it’s the most scariest form of racism now “Hidden Racism”. WHY I ask, can’t we all just get along?
    These two characters need to get a head check by getting some hard time in a predominantly black correctional facility in the South. Then we’ll see how brave they are.

  6. Rich Strauch said

    Jim – well said, my friend.

    FDR said it best (apparently, quoting from an advertisement): We have nothing to fear but fear itself. We have seen how effectively fear has been used in recent years to drive voters — both Republicans and Democrats — to the polls. It should sadden all of us when Americans are urged — overtly or subliminally — to vote their fears, not their hopes. Fear of someone who is different racially or spiritually; fear of someone who differs from our social or political worldviews.

    It would be easy to hammer my Republican brothers and sisters for being party to fear-mongering, but frankly, we Democrats have been just as susceptible. We certainly fear Bush, Cheney, and the Rovian vision of eternal Republican hegemony, and yet here we are. The Republic still stands, not the dictatorship that some feared, at the edge of a truly defining moment in our history.

    So that is my hope for all of us: that we cast our ballots for Obama, McCain, or whomever is further down the ballot, not out of fear of what the other guy will do to the country, but out of hope in a new, fresh direction.

    Okay, enough sermonizing for the evening.

  7. ALL TAXES ARE A REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH SINCE DAY 1 OF USA said

    If McCain/Palin win the White House, what good will it be?

    If the nastiest, dirtiest, most erratic campaign mounted in the 21st Century
    (and even though it’s only a few years old, that is saying something),
    can triumph over the most obvious leader to emerge in decades,
    what hope does our nation have?

    What direction would a McCain/Palin administration take us?
    Do you think that they even know themselves?
    Have you noticed that the color scheme of the McCain campaign
    isn’t even red, white and blue? It’s blue, white and gold. Which USA is that?

    All I hear from the McCain/Palin camp is “Barack this,” and “Obama that.”

    What I hear from Obama is “We can do this,” and “we can fix that.”

    I say, let’s vote for hope, change and a continuation of Democracy.
    4 more years of Reaganomics will turn us into
    THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES

    OBAMA = PROGRESSION + OPPORTUNITY
    MCCAIN = REGRESSION + STAGNATION

  8. Grady Locklear said

    Let’s not forget that, if the most recent Gallup poll on the topic is correct, more than twice as many Americans said they would refuse to vote for an otherwise qualified woman for president than those who would refuse to vote for a black candidate. Yet, we haven’t seen such outright displays of sexism as we have of racism… does that mean sexism is a more insidious, treacherous form of bigotry at this point?

    These instances of racism are regrettable, but at least such extreme examples give even the moderately accepting among us something to shake their head at – and that is progress. I wonder if sexism will remain the stronger form of bigotry to rid ourselves of, simply because outright displays of stupid sexism are less common (or get less attention from the media).

  9. James McPherson said

    Good point, Grady–though many feminists would say that the outright displays of sexism aren’t less common, and in fact may be more common, but are considered more acceptable–with even the mainstream media practicing prejudices against women that they would never practice or condone (whether because of enlightenment or fear of backlash) against people of color.

    From a pure utilitarian standpoint (a perspective I rarely take), sexism might also be viewed as worse simply because it negatively impacts more people–including half of the people of color.

    Thanks, all, for your comments.

  10. […] prevent me from commenting on issues of race or gender.  (Examples on race can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Examples relevant to gender here, here, […]

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