Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega
Chicago, Illinois, USA
September 11
A (Sometimes) Respectable Negro
Editor and Founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes He has been a guest on the BBC, Ring of Fire Radio, Ed Schultz, Joshua Holland's Alternet Radio Hour, the Burt Cohen show, and Our Common Ground. His essays have been featured by Salon, Alternet, the New York Daily News, and the Daily Kos. The NY Times, the Daily Beast, the Utne Reader, Washington Monthly, Slate, and the Week (among others) have featured his expert commentary and analysis on race, politics, and popular culture.

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Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 18, 2012 3:44PM

Republican Racism is an Air Raid Siren, Not a Dog Whistle

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On his MSNBC show Hardball, Chris Matthews called out Newt Gingrich and other Republicans for what he described as their "dog whistle" appeals to white racism during the South Carolina debate on Monday night.

He was correct in identifying the work that racism does for the Tea Party GOP and its candidates in their efforts to win over white conservative voters. However, Chris Matthews was too generous and kind. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and other Republican candidates are not engaging in subtle dog whistles to their faithful, where racism and white racial anxiety hides in the background, masked and hidden by other language.

Definitions matter: dog whistle politics are based on a signal or cue to the in-group, and one so subtle that those not in the know will overlook it as no more than quixotic background noise, a blip, a comment without context or meaning.

For example, during the 2004 election, President Bush's mention of the infamous Dredd Scott Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with African Americans and slavery. Rather, it was a wink to a rabidly anti-choice conservative Right-wing audience that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned by his administration.

In 2008, McCain-Palin featured a negative campaign ad which borrowed from the movie The Ten Commandments and suggested that Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ. If one was not part of the Left Behind Jesus Camp Christian Nationalist Dominionist crowd, the visuals and narrative of the commercial were odd, bizarre, utterly strange, and devoid of context. The ugliness of these symbols and metaphors were so covert, that they made sense for those outside of the targeted audience only after Time magazine thoroughly deconstructed the campaign adand its malicious intent.

In 2012, Republican candidates are using overt signals, what are for all intents and purposes blaring air raid sirens and signal flares that race, whiteness, and American identity are deeply intertwined. The appeals to white racism by the Tea Party GOP during the primaries are not background rhythms or subdued choruses. They are the driving guitars of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla," the chorus of Jay-Z's "99 Problems," the opening moments of the Notorious B.I.G's "Kick in the Door," or the flipped samples of Justice's "Stress". You feel it. You know it. To deny the obvious is to close one's ears to a driving drum line and cadence that travels up through your shoes...and to your bones.

How else can a fair observer excuse away Republican arguments that blacks are lazy parasites, whose children should live in work houses and pick up mops and brooms to learn a work ethic, that "illegal" immigrants should be killed by electric fences, or Muslim Americans should be subject to racial profiling, marked like the "Juden" of Nazi Germany?

In all, the Tea Party GOP's campaign for the presidency rests upon marshaling white anger and rage at The Usurper, a perpetual Other, and one not fit for the presidency by virtue of his birth and skin color--he who we know as President Barack Obama. If Birtherism is not based on this calculation, on what else does it rest?

Race matters to the Tea Party GOP. It matters overtly. And it matters to the white populists of the Republican Party without apology or subtlety. This leads to the following practical question: how do we separate the subtle dog whistle from blaring conservative racism? What are the elements of the racial appeal? How can we identify it so that reasonable folk can neuter and castrate it? Is this even possible?

Knowing is half the battle. To that end, let's work through elements of the puzzle: 

The speaker effect. Using one of the most gross examples, when Newt Gingrich talks about lazy blacks on welfare and food stamps who do not know the meaning of hard work he is mindful of his audience. Remember, politics is ultimately about the creation and reinforcement of imagined communities. Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, and Paul know exactly how to talk to their respective audiences in order to get a response. To point: white conservative populists have disdain for non-whites, see them as lazy, outside of the polity, and as rightful targets for appeals based on symbolic racism. In the eyes of the Right, "those people" are not "real Americans." They never can be.

The audience as a public who receives, internalizes, and circulates the Tea Party GOP message about race, white racial resentment, white oppression, and hostility to people of color. The folks in the audience and on the stage during the Republican primary debates "get" the terms of the conversation. In fact, they are deeply attuned to the language and rhetoric of the New Right, as anyone who either goes to one of these events, or votes in a primary election, are deeply invested in its outcome, and a return to white American normality. In all, they are chasing nostalgia and a Leave it to Beaver vision and lie of America. This audience is also "tuned in" to politics. Gingrich and his peers are sending signals to a group primed and ready for his racial appeals...without a need for explanation.

This reality speaks to why there should be no surprise when Republican audiences cheer the death penalty, dying people without insurance, or heckle soldiers who happen to be gay. There are unstated rules, a script, which govern social norms and behavior. The outliers who go to political debates are intimately familiar with this language. Like marks at a professional wrestling event they know when to boo and when to cheer.

Context matters. In isolation, perhaps it would be a more difficult case to suggest that Gingrich's appeals to white audiences about lazy blacks are predominantly and clearly about white racism. However, given that communities are created through speech, and that "discourse" is about a sense of shared meaning with unstated assumptions, any argument for conservative colorblindness is judged to be insincere.

In South Carolina, where the Confederate flag still flies, there was Rick Perry (a neo-Secessionist that wants a Civil War 2.0 and a renewed fight for states' rights); Ron Paul (a bigot whose newsletters continue to suggest that African Americans are ravenous, craven, criminal, stupid beasts); Rick Santorum (a man fascinated by bestiality and the idea that blacks are parasites who only want to live off of white people); and Newt Gingrich who sees all African-Americans and Latinos as being on welfare and the public dole until proven otherwise. In total, these candidates are a rogues gallery where white supremacist attitudes towards non-whites is a standing rule, one only to be disputed after the fact.

Juan Williams is an object of abuse, a means to prove a point. Juan Williams is a paid pinata for white conservatives. I do not know if he was legitimately hurt and surprised by their reaction to him, or if his pain was not feigned, and rather sincere and real. In understanding the logic of Republican racism and naked appeals beyond the dog whistle, Williams was the stand-in, the object of abuse through which to actualize rage and hostility. Barack Obama was not available. Any black body would do. The cheering, snide glee of Newt Gingrich dressing down uppity "Juan," and the audience's cheering of a "boy" being put in his place, would be missed by only the most in denial observer.

Juan Williams is/was a repository for the fecal matter of white conservative bigotry, and a need to maintain superiority over negroes who dare not to step off of the sidewalk when white folks pass. That in another life Juan Williams would be a critic of "negro agitators" during the Civil Rights movement is coincidental to his designated role on Fox News: he is exemplary of Joel Kovel's theories about white supremacy, and how it manifests as a White society which is collectively (and individually) stuck in the fecal phase of human psychological development--it is all over his face. Juan Williams smiles while cashing his checks at the prospect of his politicalcoprophagia at the ass end of conservative politics. He revels in playing the role of the human centipede.

The excuse of ignorance and a lack of memory. One does not need to understand the root of a thing in order to buy into its power. White conservatives (and others) who traffic in racism do not necessarily need to be able to explain how blacks came to be associated in the White racist mind with apes. Likewise, those who hate Jews do not need to be able to give an exegesis on Nazi propaganda in order to be expert anti-Semites.

This is one of the greatest tools and defenses of the contemporary white racist--I didn't know that, you are being unfair!; You are "playing the race card" for calling out my association of the Obama with watermelons and apes as "racist"; I never associated blacks with welfare or crime, people like you are the real bigots for calling attention to how Republicans talk about such things, we are really all Americans!; stop talking about slavery, my family never owned black people!; (and of course) whites are oppressed in America by Barack Obama!

There is a collective reservoir of symbols, assumptions, and narratives that individuals borrow from in a given society in order to make sense of their world. Knowing the wellspring helps; it is not a requirement to perpetuate common sense understanding(s) of the world.

Ultimately, Chris Matthews was correct in the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law. To defeat President Obama, the Republican Party is wallowing in white racism in order to win over racially and economically insecure white voters. However, Gingrich and company are doing this overtly. There is little subtlety. Looking forward, the 2012 Presidential season will make the infamous Willie Horton ad of the 1988 presidential election look like a celebration of Dr. King's birthday. The challenge for liberals, progressives, and reasonable conservatives, is how to make the Republican Party pay for their race baiting, and desperate reaching back to the Civil War, Redemption, and Birth of a Nation as playbooks in order to defeat the United States' first Black President.

Sadly, matters may be so dire that the white identity politics of years past are now "new school" rather than "old school." To marshal that fear, insecurity, and anger one does not need nuance, sophistication, or dog whistles. White conservatives can put such feelings on blast and gin up the psychological wages of white fear, white anxiety, and white rage to try to defeat Barack Obama.

As always, the past isn't even past. It is yesterday. Get ready folks. What occurred in South Carolina is only a warm up for what the Tea Party GOP is preparing to unleash in the months to come. What is coming to pass will be an ugly, wild ride.

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one can only hope that past political history will play itself out by the more centrist of Republicans compelling the fringe 15% of that party to moderate and mitigate their positions. I'm more than a bit worried that there are enough who have bought into it so that it may become pervasive. And if it does, will that be enough for liberals and moderate Republicans to prevail?
Keep at it Chauncey. Your's is an outspoken voice that is telling it like it is.
White people are going to soon be in the minority position in this country, outnumbered by the despised Other. Unfortunately, old white racists vote in disproportionate numbers.
Bravo, Chauncy! I am almost giddy from the effectiveness of this piece. You left no room for misunderstanding, nuance or spin. Newt Gingrich is from Georgia, where I live and where his brand of incendiary, not-so-secret language is all too familiar. Everything he thinks and feels was captured in one word: the way he snarled "Juan."

I read this and reflect on the racists I grew up knowing well and shudder.
Newt shows his vision of the future by moving his lips.
And that future looks bleak.
CDV - I tried to read your article but early onset alzheimers seems to have gotten the better of me. Then I tried to count the number of lines you wrote. I got something between 150 and 200. Clearly you worked at this!

Let me provide a kindly comment. You are, well, about 25 years behind your time. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being 25 years behind your time. However, there is an economic analogy that normally conjures up buggy whip manufacturers.

Specifically, there is no long-term future in acquiring a larger percentage of a shrinking market. If you are reduced to peddling this stuff on Salon for affirmation you need to consider some more serious life choices.
"Republican racism an air-raid siren, not a dog whistle." Brilliantly put, man. I'm following you.
You are more than just a 'respectable' Negro Chauncey. You are erudite and sophisticated. I for one loved Newt's slam dunk of pock-faced Juan Williams. You people have to be kept in your place. OJ is in prison, thank God, and white people just want to see more polite Negroes like Sidney Poitier, or conservative Negroes like Alan Keyes. And Newt is right about little Negro children needing to learn how to use a bucket and mop in the schools, instead of listening to gangsta rap and just shuffling through life. These attitudes aren't 'racist' (rolling my eyes)...they're as Amerikan as bleached apple pie...wink
I can't read all of this because of my eyes, but you are absolutely right in your assessment. And the racism is not exclusively directed at African-Americans: witness the Paul ad calling Huntsman unamerican for adopting two Chinese girls. These people are neo-fascist and if they win the presidency we are in deep, deep trouble. Just one of many reasons why I am working so hard, grassroots, for obama.
@walter. i just don't know, the data is trending for Obama, we shall see if the economy plus what we thought was dead in the Bradley effect is reanimated.

@oldnew. whiteness always wins. never forget that fact.

@daisy. you are right. i forgot he is a good ol boy. if you want a laugh about his life story and hypocrisy do some research on his roots.

@toritto. thanks.

@lezlie. newt knows how to put his boys in their place.

@ej. snark or seriousness? my pay comes from other sources. check out my other site and appearances online, print, and radio. if you can hook a brother up, by all means do so!

@mission. they don't shake or shudder, they smile.

@jejune. erudite? nah. regular folks just like you.

@patrick. they are text book authoritarians. almost to the last one.

Of course all the same crowd hated Clinton with a white=hot hatred. They accused the Clintons of murder for chrissake.

Still, and I'm not American so I miss a lot of the nuances, there seems to be something else about the anti-Obama stuff...

I'm just getting ready to visit the U.S. again this winter and recall on past visits that the view of your country I get on TV, and esp. of the politicians, is not what I see on the ground. The tides of color (and mixed colors too) are overtaking the Old White guard...
People say there is this RACE problem and this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY White country and ONLY into White countries. They say the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites. It’s really just the final solution to the White problem. It’s genocide. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.
They don't have ( the Republicans ) a credible candidate for 2012 presidential race, their political catechism -- cut tax for the rich, deregulation, cut down the size of the government, trickle-down economics tested and failed, -- Is now becoming glaring clear even to a 4th grader; that this approach to the economy would always fail.There's no more message for now to put across to the American people, so they've got to somehow appeal to those who strongly felt that the OVAL office should be solely reserved for a white skin. They may succeed in short run, but this success would eventually spin-out the third or even fourth political party In America.
Wow! Talk about racism! Your inkwell seems to drip with the poison MLK fought hard against...
♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚For this wonderful POV.
Clinton was a "Nigger-Lover" in their eyes Myriad. That's why he was cited, by his allies as, "The First Black President."

Great column Chauncey.
David - I'd forgotten that! Also he played sax, the quintessential jazz instrument!
I thought this letter in the NYT this morning was pretty good:

Martin Stein, Portland, Oregon

Newt is presenting himself as having the "White Man's Burden"
who needs to teach black youth how to be civilized. This is totally evil and vile sociopathic insanity.

I' pose the following questions to Newt The Savior Of The Black Race:

With millions of white people receiving food stamps, why do you equate food stamps with black people?

What is the evidence that black people prefer food stamps to working?

How much is a food stamps allowance does it really allow anything more that subsistence living?

Is it only black kids, or do poor white kids also lack a work ethic

Why is it that I see so many unemployed white homeless men in Oregon where I live? Do they prefer to live this way too? Will you be saving them too?

Why are there so many homeless and run away white kids in the Pacific Northwest which has the largest rate of human sex trafficking among teens?
Are they just copying blacks and will you be saving them too?

What is the empirical evidence that cleaning peers toilets raises self esteem.
Do you favor creating a "janitor class" is public schools?

Why do you pick on UNION janitors who earn $38,000 dollars and perform skilled maintenance and repair tasks beyond the scope of kids.

Why are so many families of soldiers collecting food stamps and why do so many recipients also work?

Why are their so many white meth addicts in my part of the country and did they get that way by associating with blacks?

Why is your big fat watermelon head so full of hate?
I wrote a piece yesterday about how I grudgingly agreed with a point or two made by Gingrich and Santorum. That said, when I think of some of the incendiary things Newt has said over the years, particularly the line about Spanish being "the language of the ghetto." I find it hard to believe that he still enjoys so much popular support. Some of the things published under Ron Paul's name are even more overtly racist and yet he too has a suprisingly large following--including younsters who are supposed to be more liberal and fair-minded.

However, I still think the overall trend does not look good for the kind of old-school racist ideology that seems to have racheted up since Obama took office. Lefty has it exactly right, their numbers are dwindling while people of color are multiplying at an alarming rate. The ilk you speak of here will be marginalized minorities in the not-so-distant future....begging Latinas for custodial jobs.

Or at least that's what I tell myself rather than dwell on the enormity of hate that still persists in our society.
Demographics is against the dog-whistlers. The country is 63% white and that percentage is falling. If the Republicans succeed in getting the racist vote, their candidate will have to face the general population, who, it is worth remembering, voted for Obama last time around.

Since politician and political advisor has to know basic demographics, this makes me wonder how many of the Republican candidates are running to win as opposed to running to increase their name recognition while someone else foots the bill.

Look at Sarah Palin, a nobody before 2008. She had a salary of 125K$ as governor of Alaska. Once she quit, between the book, the speaking fees and the TV gigs, she's pulled in an estimated 12M$ --- over a hundred times more.

When Gingrich, who is very smart, blows "dog whistles" which only appeal to a limited number of voters, is he running for President or for a Fox News show?
In the old days, white supremacists were proud of their affiliation in the most direct and brutal language possible, defending lynching and other atrocities. Now they have adapted to the times. However their coded language is not always understood by those outside of their immediate ranks, whence the more recent use of direct white supremacist appeals from the GOP candidates

If this is what the GOP "white primary" looks like, I suspect that the general election against a black president could well make this the ugliest election since the days of Jim Crow.
Right on, Chauncey! I lived a white boy life -- well, because I am a white boy. I lived in neighborhoods most of my life that were predominantly black, latino, asian -- oh and most importantly -- poor.

I have personally felt the sting of ethnic bigotry. I've been hit on the head during my walk between classes by a big black kid who reached over the heads of others and struck me with a homemade "mallet" for lack of a better term. Why? Becuase he could and it was obviously also because I was white.

I've ridden a bike in the "wrong" part of the 'hood' and been pelted by dozens of kids, both black and latino, with a hail of stones, some of them capable of smashing my skull. Why? Because I was white.

This is not to excuse or minimize the incredible thoughtlessness or anger of bigotry by white people. I write these things to indicate that I understand what it feels like to be in the 'minority' position of recieving the hatred of prejudice and bigotry.

It is these sorts of experiences (and many, many others like them) that gave me the perspective that hate, especially aimed at someone because of the color of their skin, is the worst sort of thing the human mind has come up with in it's long string of improperly associated action/reaction 'ethics.'

That the Republican Party, seemingly en toto, openly and overtly endorses this sort of Hitlerist Antagonism to promote a "Return to Glory" at the cost of those miscreant "Others" that don't deserve to be here is so reprehensible and repugnant to me that I can no longer stand to even listen to what they have to say.

I don't care if Newt, Santorum or Paul (and Romney to a much lesser and more covert degree) have some good ideas. You don't get to pick just one plank of the platform when you vote -- you have to understand you get the entire platform. If only one or two planks in the platform are solidly formed and the rest rotten to the core, I don't care how carefully you step, the whole damn thing's going to collapse with the extra weight of scrutiny.

Keep up the good work and serious effort at openly exposing the overt and shameful ethnic bigotry that is so readily on display in the Republican Party.

(note: I do not use the word Racial in my missives as there is only one scientifically proven race in question: the Human Race.)

I'd suggest that when catching something that seems like a dog-whistle type appeal, that whoever reported it using that label be sent letters to call it "racism" and not just a "dog-whistle" appeal. At least guys like Matthews are likely to get the point and start calling it all racism.
I was thinking that racism and hard core evangelical thought were the only two draws the Republicans have to clutch at the working class or poor white vote. How else could they convince them to vote so blatantly against their interests. Racism and extreemist versions religion are particularly in hard times when people are fearful.

I am white and I live in the south where progressives are pretty non-existent and the locals tend to cheerfully disavow their history while claiming priviledge when you call them on their shit. I keep hoping moderates can impose some sanity in the GOP but I am not holding out for it either. I am torn between not wanting to pay attention to the GOP race because I can handle only so much toxicity and watching to try and get a preview of how the GE will go. Obviously I am voting for Obama. I would like to think that there are enough sensible people left in this country to keep the right away but I am not confident of that.
chauncey, I don't know why the powers to be here, all white BTW, are so much in love with your racist remarks. If there is a dog-whistle blowing you are the only one who hears it. Since you hear it then you must be part of the problem you put on people you claim hear it. Who else hear hears chauncey's dog-whistle?

Until people, like you, who see racism under every rock are gone there will always be racism that has to be dealt with. People can't ever be equal until people quit saying one group can be special for what ever reason you want to make them special.
I see the trolls are out in force today, calling out a black man for racism when he protests racism. Idiots. We won't fall for your nonsense.
the "food stamp" president line put newt in the same corner as his mentor tricky Dick. it's to matthews credit he called him on it at all. I saw some of the sassy sister's-of-color-who-made-it-to-those- ivy-league-school-pundits who missed it entirely when he first brought it out.

yr godamned right racism is playing a part in the election but you can't tell it from the news, and you can't tell it from faux liberals who still want to string obama up by the short hairs for disillusioning them. How dare he? How dare he indeed!
I disagree with the author. I dont think there is an ounce of evidence that the Tea Party / the GOP is racist. The issue seems to be instead that theyre so rightwinged and anti-Romney that they would rather have their heads i n the sand and let the racists piggyback off their movement than to let romney win. Also for whats its worth, Santurum isnt even that much of a racist, his problem is rampent homophobia. Although that would make him another type of fringe candidate towards another whiny group. The Teap Party has their flaws, quite many of them, but racism isnt one of them.
People like Catnlion and Baltimore Aureole live in a bizarro world where a racist is defined as "Anyone who calls attention to racism." Though their ridiculous assertions about those who allegedly "hate white people" are meant to shame and to silence, they actually serve as illustrations of the very real, overt racism emanating from modern conservatism.
Hoo Boy. Where to start?

THANK YOU, "CDV" (as one of the commenters shortcutted your name) for this post. I've read some of your work but not as much as many others probably have, and I look forward to reading much much more. I don't offhand remember who ?advised? you to post other places than OS but I appreciated your rejoinder! As someone who doesn't currently have access to all those "other places", my heartfelt thanks to you for posting here! Sure did help _me_ get through a few severely (serious?) troubled moments of these politically divisive [read "scary"?] times.
Chauncey - it is amazing how much air time you get o repaetr the same crap over and over.
"Barack Obama was not available. Any black body would do. "

No, not any black would do. Once again you HATE a black man, Juan Williams, or not meeting your expectation of black.

GeeBee - "I see the trolls are out in force today, calling out a black man for racism"

Chauncey is hell bent on racism and is incredibly invested in it staying alive and well.

The fact is a lot of people need an attitude adjustment regardless of skin color. People like you and Chauncey love it that NG used race because it does 2 things for you.
It allows you to keep crying racism. NG is only one man. But more importantly it allows you to NOT take is comments, remove the race and see some validity. If you did so you would realize plenty people need the attitude adjustment, and my guess is you don't really support that notion in general. If you agree that there are lazy people without motivation of all colors, why would you not want to
fix it. Fixing it means being tough. And liberal/progressives don't seem to want to be tough with anyone.

- Baltimore, of course he already knew that. I have challenged people like the OP to play devil's advocatre when posting this inflammatory rhetoric.

Chauncey - you may have points but you also know you are quite capable of presenting your own counter arguments.
Why don't you?
Jimmy Carter on CNN? the BBC? agreed that Gingrich was using "coded" language in the SC primary. Carter stopped short of calling it racist, but that was the gist.
o to be an albino in Niger
o to be a steam boat
o to travel to the light
o to be
o wind
yeah right.
Those debates sickened me. It was almost as if there was an understood "good ol' boy" rule in place. "We're here together so we can cheer together" about their barely veiled racist agendas.

Let Newt pick up a fucking mop and learn the meaning of earning a buck. He could stand it much more than some wayward kid in school. That man has never entered a grocery story - how does HE know what earning a dollar is like? What does that kid do with his magical janitorial "buck" afterward? We can't AFFORD anything anymore. What, is he going to buy a home? Good luck. Invest? Yeah, right. His "buck" is meaningless today. It was cute 40 years ago and its preposterous now. Will his "buck" buy him health insurance. No effin' way.

At first, I felt badly for Juan William but in subsequent interviews, he just seems like a proud part of the machinery, ready to take a public blow for the sake of more media attention.
It makes me cringe when I hear people around me parrot the non-sequiter "dog whistle" views they have just blindly memorized for regurgitation...It's lockstep in the anthill.
It's sad. No matter how much we think things have changed, they remain the same. I truly feel the people of South Carolina and others would nominate Jeffrey Dohmer if they were convinced he could defeat Obama. And they would still strut to church every Sunday and believe they are good christian folks.
Read this today on Alternet. Good writing and excellent points all. You have all the facts and framework. You do a thorough writing of the politically complex. I applaud you.
The point that makes me livid in the national news lately is the various GOP candidates calling out Obama for "putting" people on food stamps. As if it's Obama's fault that the economy cratered, and people don't have jobs.

What, exactly, was he supposed to do? Let them starve? Let them eat cake? Put their children in orphanages (oh, except that we don't have any) and head for the streets with a cardboard sign?

And these people call themselves Christians?
Being that Jesus Christ was a flesh-eating zombie they're right in line with him.
As Dr. John Carlos (remember Mexico City, 1968?) said of the once bigoted George Wallace..."people can change".

Chauncey, your article is yet another in a long line of Open Salon articles that do more to divide a people than to educate or unite.

Racism is not born of evil, it is born of ignorance. Instead of lashing out, educate. People can change...a racist today, may not be one tomorrow, but they need your leadership, not your scorn.

Likewise a lot of the comments here are wrought with emotion, and that's not a place where logic dwells. I understand racism is quite a touchy subject, but to make blanket statements is to embrace extremism.

Bigots can change, but you have to lead them there.
I am a white mother with a black son and a white son. These brother have loved each other and are the model of a world I pray for every day. I used to tease people and tell them when they met my sons that it was me in black and white. I pray the the tea party hits the grave running. Let the 99% drown them out. Poverty is an equal opportunity employer. Let's hope the future treats both my sons with equal measure or woe the offensive party, when you meet this shotgun mother.
South "Carolina"- "Charles"Town, and so forth: this is the real estate of the Tory hater, those whose Barbadan charter suddenly turned unprofitable, and whom then picked up stakes, and slaves, and chartered for good, cough, King Charles, the Tory, Tory, Tories of then, still the Conservo-Tories of now. It is hard to exorcize such evil from the land, the buildings, the monuments, the segregation, the hate, all their on display to this day, topped by a flag offensive to any human on the planet who realizes we all, are without any debate, Africans- and, the equally obscure fact that all that "Southern Hospitality" which you'll note has not been on display in SC for the primary, is, again, without question, West African Culture appropriated, like southern food and music, from those enslaved and forced to care for impressionable children and entertain all with a song and dance number.

Oh way down south in the land O' cotton ... look away, Dixie Land.

Atwater's now well known Southern Strategy, the most racist in modern political history, and the source for all of today's whistling styles, was, in truth, a South Carolina strategy. End of debate, all that is required is a quick history lesson.

I will NEVER forget the water fountains of the South of my youth, never.

Auwe (Alas)
Iam looking for a road companion (Milw to Denver)

& my wife has my passwds

Should I:

A): shovel the sidewalk(s)
B): attempt to start the paddle-blade TORO for the nth time
B): back the truck out
C): jack the truck up and ck the exhaust system
D): consider which of 3 half-used mouth washes would truncate
E): the Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce lodged within my gold fillings
F): sweep then figure-eight mop the floor and then type MORE
G): check the news crawl line
H): use the bathroom
I): turn the radio on
J): light another cigarette
K): sit on the edge of the chair
L): do this on the internet: xox
M): generally get the fucking hell organized
N): google Holy Cross Cemetery and wonder why one needs to
register before searching for dead poets
O): wait for your next post wherein you so cleverly list the exact moment when the world BEGAN going to hell in an imported hamper
P): first? Last?
Q): guess why CIA pensions beat a sharp stick in the eye
R): generally break out & run for the Painted Desert
S): you tube Bruce Springsteen's 10th Ave Freeze out and wonder
if he pays up for proficient crib technicians.
U): audit a course on Celine
V): choke myself with sharp thumb nails and generally be creative if asked to explain how I got those marks
X): practice my soccer game after going OUTSIDE to the GARAGE
to find the pump and needle
Y): do lunches between letters of the alphabet
Z): rip the
Aprile'Air off the insipid duct work to eradicate that infernal hissing

Really. I want to know.

"Whiteness always wins. never forget that fact."

Chauncey, I look forward to the day when you write about the fact that Jesus the Christ was a racist. Or, perhaps, you have already done that.

Perhaps white granite is racist. Perhaps those who make cat's eye marbles are racist.

Who knows where we would be if we didn't have you to point to these injustices.
who is killing and oppressing more people of color than anyone else on the planet?

you guessed it - US President Barack Obama. I heard he was black as well, though until recently when he sang an Al Green stanza with an amazing bit of soul, I had seen no evidence of it prior.

this is why Obama sucks - wasted potential awesomeness. He was supposed to be the antithesis of the assholes you write about, not their unknowing dupe/silent partner.

You don't like racist southerners - me neither. Are Uncle Toms really that much better? I think they're worse. Racists, at least, come by their racism honestly.
Your in depth article almost echoes verbatim my own personal feeling surrounding the GOP candidates.
Calling Obama a "socialist" is a substitute for the use of the "N-word" that Obama-phobics really want to use.
As George W. Bush said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time."
Those Fools are now registered Republicans.
Gingrich swept the South Carolina primary. Naked unfiltered white supremacy can win Republican primaries. Let's see how it works on a national scale.
You may, or may not, be, as you describe yourself, "a respectable Negro", I wouldn't know.

But your certainly are a respectable man. Perhaps even a noble one.

If anyone ever asked me to describe a truly decent human being, I suspect that my description might look awfully like you.

Soldier on, old warrior, soldier on........
Thanks for another great comment, Chauncey.

Current GOP tactics aren't new, of course. They continue a legacy most of us are well aware of.

For those of us who'd like to think the hard core White Supremecist “Good Old Boy” of the South has simply died the quiet death of resolved ignorance, think again.

(See White Nationalists")

Seems the “South Will Rise Again” philosophy is in full swing, concealed within proposed policies designed to remove established civil rights legislation across the last half century.

Just ask Rand Paul, or Ron Paul for that matter.

Which serves to identify Senator Paul as supportive of "Red Neck" political ideals, attracts them to vote in support of his cause.

Eventually “Jim Crow” law could easily “Rise Again” in Southern states, thanks to the GOP Right Wing fringe.

Billie Holiday sang about that behavior, Southern “Hospitality” included stringing up disobedient blacks in not-so-long-past U.S. history.

Google "Strange Fruit" for details of that legacy, tho most of us are already familiar with where "White Nationalist" behavior leads.

The ”Good Old Boys” supporting “South Will Rise Again” sentiments are becoming increasingly influential today, particularly in what were once (historically) Confederate States of the U.S.

Why should we be surprised?
"How else can a fair observer excuse away Republican arguments that blacks are lazy parasites, whose children should live in work houses and pick up mops and brooms to learn a work ethic, that "illegal" immigrants should be killed by electric fences, or Muslim Americans should be subject to racial profiling, marked like the "Juden" of Nazi Germany?"

I stopped reading your delusional rant at this paragraph.
When liberals have no supporting arguments, when liberals have no performance record to point too (think Barack Obama class warfare, 1%) it's back to the same old idiocy of racism.

Newt Gingrich makes a reasonable proposal that would not cost the taxpayers much money. He said "children of the ghetto" should be given the opportunity to work in their schools, earn a few dollars, and also learn responsibility to show up on time and develop a work ethic.
Like a bat out of hell, the litards attack Newt for wanting to, I'll quote you, children of blacks should live in workhouses and made to pick up mops, etc etc."
My view is that the liberal and their black puppets like Jackson and Sharpton bounced on this probably because it is a great idea...and they would not make a dollar from the program! There are private schools around the country (my kids went to one) where lower and middle school kids sweep the floors, mop the floors, clean the walls, if necessary, and they do it not for money, but to instill pride in their school. I pity any youngster who decides he is going to paint on the walls, or throw dirt on the floor that his classmates have to clean up after. There are good, sound lessons here.

When was the last time you were in the Ghetto and studied teenagers trying to get a job? There are very few to be found thanks to a terrible economy, but also thanks to Ted Kennedy and the goody goody democrat party that raised the minimum wage overnight from $5.40 to$7.25 an hour. A small businessman who would be hiring teens in a hamburger joint, an ice cream parlor, or any business where extra hands would be helpful, cannot afford to pay a 16 or 17 year old that salary. Further, those of us who actually did hire teens, as I did, were forced to consider a 40% increase in payroll or a cut back in staffing.
Obviously, we cut back, and went from dozens of kids on our payroll to a third of our former levels. Instead of creating a tier for teens with a lower wage, the democrats destroyed the opportunity for work for so many kids, and the teen unemployment rate has soared, and will be worse this summer.

Those "entry level" jobs are important. We all remember our first job, the first money we earned on our own, and the pride we felt. That's what Newt proposed but liberals see everything they don't understand as racist. What a bunch of fools!

Herman Cain, a black man, jokingly suggested a wire fence along the Mexican border, adding, jokingly, it should be electric fence. Gimme a are calling Herman Cain a "racist" too...the man is more black than Obama!

And where the hell in your imagination did you get that Republicans want to mark Muslims the way the Nazi's marked Jews? You are a very sick puppy.

Note: Liberals can use "Nazi" in their writing but Republicans are called racist bigots if they use the same words. Idiots!