"The anti-Obama people are just mad because the president is black." Discuss.

I hear this sentiment repeated over and over and over, from many different people, both here on this board and elsewhere. The Tea Party supposedly just exists because the president is black. People who bitch about Obama are just racists bitter over the fact that a black man is now America’s leader. And so forth.

No doubt some of the anti-Obama people are indeed racists who are more angry about Obama than they would be about a white president with similar politics. But all of them? That’s sort of…a wide brush, right?

In another thread, in MPSIMS, this is the OP:

Then one of the replies is:

Is this statement really warranted? Look, as I said before, I realize there are genuine racists out there who just can’t handle the idea of any black president. But people make these kind of comments as if they have it all figured out - the sole factor in the anti-Obama outrage is just his race.

Would all of this resentment exist if Alan Keyes were president and not Barack Obama? Would there still be people trying to claim that Keyes is an illegitimate president, not an American citizen, whatever?

I’m sure many people resent his race, but after all, he was elected, so there can’t be that many.

Nobody says all the Repubs and and Obama types are racists. That is where they live though.

I don’t think racism is the sole explanation of the Tea Party. But I think it’s a factor.

There’s always going to be a pool of discontent out there floating around. But the racial aspect gives it a push. People might have been mad if somebody else got elected but they might not have been motivated to have mass demonstrations over it.

And the Tea Party movement is not spontaneous. There are people organizing when and where the demonstrations will be held and paying for the buses and signs and hotel rooms. And making sure the right “message” is sent. So if it was Keyes instead of Obama the organizers might not have had a reason to get the crowd out protesting.

Not everybody blames all of this stuff on race. I think it’s an element in some of the things people say about Obama (and I think it’s beyond dispute that Birtherism is steeped in racism), but it’s hard to quantify how much of it is out there and where it might make a difference.

I think any rational person would concede there are reasons to oppose any policy of Obama’s (or any other president). So it’s not ‘the anti-Obama people’ are racist - madmonk28 didn’t say anything close to that.

If it’s not the driving factor, it’s certainly an aggravating factor. The fact some of them say they would accept a black conservative really just amounts to them saying they’d accept a black person who was sufficiently obsequious and obedient to white conservatives.

It’s certainly possible to be opposed to Obama and his policies for non-racist reasons but consider the kinds of coverage opponents (and indeed, any large group) gets. The person with the well-reasoned list of points may have a good argument, but he’s boring. They guy with the sign reading KIK ALL BEENERS OUT, though, gets attention. Similarly, well-reasoning Obama critics are crowded out by nuts and bigots, at least in the amount of reporting they get.

I don’t think anyone seriously holds the position that all opposition to Obama is racist. This is actually a common straw man among Republicans. They’ll make some baseless criticism like “Obama is going to force us all to gay marry - oh wait, I forgot, we can’t say anything bad about Obama or we’re racist” (exaggerated only slightly). I see this about a million times more than anyone saying “you oppose the health care reform because you’re racist”

Think about what the republican base stands for now. They can’t run on anything positive - they can’t say “vote republican, we’ll return to the golden ages of 2000-2008!” - so they’re not united by what they stand for, they’re united by what they stand against, who they hate. And to sustain an entire political movement based on this requires constant stoking of the fires. This is why the republican party is catering to these people - they need that hatred to be strong enough to keep people united without stepping back and becoming disenfranchised by the massive republican fail of last decade.

So you have a lot of people who are angry - they know on some level the republican party fucked up, but damn if I’m ever gonna vote for some fucking fag communist democrat!!! There’s a lot of resentment and disenfranchisement that has to be channeled into blaming and hatred towards others.

So while no one is saying “anyone who opposes health care reform is racist!”, if you were to ask the question “why is there so much hatred for Obama? Why, from day 1, were people fucking nuts about him?” - the above stuff is a factor, but racism is undoubtedly a large part of it. To deny this is absurd - to think that we’re all so evolved that race truly isn’t an issue is just ridiculous.

These factors often become combined. It’s not good to be overtly racist these days in most parts of the country, so this hatred is channeled into beliefs about Obama being an outsider. Think of how widespread the idea that he’s a muslim is, or that he’s a communist. These things are all designed to say essentially that he’s an outsider, he’s not truly one of us. Read between the lines here. It’s easier to say “it worries me that he’s a secret muslim” than to say “it worries me that he’s a (not so secret) black guy” in public company.

The Republicans know that this hatred is the primary driver of their cohesion now, and they know that they can take advantage of these racist feelings, thinly disguising them with conspiracy theories about him being an outsider. This racial subtext is basically part of their deliberate efforts to keep their coalition from falling apart after their massive failing of governance.

So, no, it’s not fair to say “this criticism of Obama is baseless because you’re racist” and that very rarely happens amongst anyone here. It can be fair to say something along the lines of “the republican hatred of Obama is partly driven by race”. As I said - much more often it’s used as cover by someone criticising Obama. Oh, I wish I could say that Obama created a deficit out of nowhere wink wink but that would be racist so I guess I won’t!

I think the accusations of racism are hugely overblown.

Do people not remember our last two presidents? To the Republicans, Bill Clinton was a murderer, a swindlerer, the end of days. They got the man impeached, for god’s sake. Then Bush - I hardly need to remind people what Democrats thought of him.

So now Obama’s president, the opposition hates him, and people act shocked and assume it must be because of his race? Come on. American politics has merely descended to a place where the candidate you don’t like is the devil incarnate. If Colin Powell or some other black Republican were elected, 99% of the people who currently hate Obama would be behind him.

People said, and still say, that Clinton was a murderer. It’s mostly that the US is hyperpartisan.

And not, just maybe, a black person who came about his (or her) conservative views honestly? :dubious:

What do you mean by “honestly?”

I agree that it is a broad brush, but I believe that it is a large driver behind the tea party.

The timing was just too “neat”. We never heard of the tea party until after the election, hell until after Obama was sworn in, and then all of a sudden in February and March 2009 the tea party appears due to worries about Obama’s fiscal policies. Sure, he was in the process of passing the stimulus (“porkulus” in the Tea Party literature"), but there was no worry when President Bush did his 150 billion stimulus the previous may, or the ~800 billion tarp, or the ~35 billion given to the auto companies in December. Hell, candidate McCain was behind these things, and even was the originator of several of the stimulus and health care reform ideas, but when President Obama trotted them out all of a sudden they were socialist and islamic in origin. When Obama tries to do an additional 200 billion in tax cuts and 500 billion in direct stimulus to “shovel ready” project after the largest economic crises in more than 50 years, all of a sudden there is concern.

Shit take a look at this graph: Google Trending of Tea Party.

It was astoturfing all the way, at least that is what it appears to me, and it took off and gained traction due to the presidents race. YMMV.

IIRC there was some controversy very early in Obama’s term (it may have even been right before the election) when Jimmy Carter came out and said something to the effect of, “a lot of this criticism is nothing but racism”. Whether he was being totally serious or not, I remember a lot of people getting up in arms over that at the time. Perhaps that’s where the perception you mentioned came from?

In any case, I do think there’s a racist element to some of the criticism of Obama (the Birther movement being Exhibit A), but obviously not to all of it.

When you described a black politician who was “sufficiently obsequious and obedient to white conservatives” my read was that you were referring to an opportunistic person willing to be a puppet, happily parroting whatever line white conservatives want. As opposed to a black pol who came about his conservative views “honestly” - i.e. through sincere conviction, based on study, observation, history, and whatever else makes people form their political views.

I have actually heard someone patiently explain that Obama was only elected because the monkeys don’t use their brains when they vote.

There is plenty of racism in the anti Obama side.


Any snake bite from a cobra will kill you. That’s not a wide brush, it’s an established fact. In the off chance that you don’t die, then you’re very lucky.

All sewage is ripe with harmful and deadly bacteria and that’s a fact, not a wide brush. Same thing with the tea party: the drive that gave rise to them and the glue that kept them together - they’re fizzling out now - is racism.

What party do you think holds the racists?
Easy answer isn’t it.

“Holds” is too weak.

“Actively campaigns for the racist vote” is what it is.

Thet don’t have to be opportunistic and cynical. They could just be stupid.