Racists Let Loose After Obama's Reelection
Computer screens are the new white hoods as folks take to the web to trash the president
Remember after President Barack Obama was elected the first time, and the media was pushing the idea of a “Post-Racial America”? One where no white person could possibly be racist, because, look, 43 percent of white folks were suddenly colorblind and gracious enough to vote for the junior Senator from Illinois? One where black folks could no longer complain that they were being held back because of their race, because, hey, there’s one of them leading the nation? One where reverse racism was the new thing holding folks back, as white people were increasingly discriminated against in favor of black folks?
What a difference four years makes. This time around, when the election was called for President Obama, there was no pretense of civility, or of a connectedness that extends beyond the very real barriers of race in this country. In fact, the race-baiting was in place long before the president’s acceptance speech. This time around, it seemed as if “Be as racist as you can” was point three of the Republican strategy, right behind “Be as vague as possible” and “Have no regard for people who have less money than you.” From “Invisible Obama” chairs hanging from trees in Virginia, to the Birthers, who continue to demand proof that Obama is American, the racist language took on both overt and coded forms.
[ALSO READ: Obama Hangs in Effigy Outside Church]
It’s the coded stuff that aggravates me the most, the (not at all) sly suggestions from some Conservative whites that he is not “one of us,” that he can’t possibly be that intelligent, that well-educated, that well-spoken, that there must be some type of fraud going on for him to be in the position he’s in. Donald Trump is the bad-haired, big-mouthed personification of this attitude: “I have a deal for the president… If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications and records I will give to a charity of his choice—inner-city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants—a check immediately for $5 million.”
Jason Thompson, son of Tommy Thompson, who lost his race for Senator of Wisconsin to Tammy Baldwin, stomped all over the line at a campaign event when he said, “We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago—or Kenya.” And former presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich didn’t even bother to veil his intention when he said, “President Obama is the best food-stamp president in American history.”
Other phrases in the coded racism dictionary include: Paul Ryan’s “urban areas” (black neighborhoods), Bill O’Reilly’s “traditional America” (an America where the will of white men is the only one that matters) and Mike Huckabee’s “Christians” (Conservative whites).
[READ MORE: Pro vs Con: A Post-Racial Society?]
So I’m not even a little bit surprised at the vitriol that we’ve seen both in the media and online following last week’s election. From the woman who tweeted: “And another 4 years of the n-----. Maybe he will get assassinated this term..!!” to Karl Rove, who refused to admit that the president had won reelection even after his beloved Fox News called it, things have clearly descended to new lows.
Glowing computer and smart phone screens are the new white hoods, providing a tantalizing feeling of safety that makes racists as bold as a shot of Jäger. Social networking has given some folks a platform that is simultaneously public enough to draw attention, and private enough to provide a sense of security that leads to tragically ignorant posts like those on the White People Mourning Romney Tumblr, which include greatest hits like this: “To my friends and family members in facebook. You won’t be seeing me on here for a while after this, as I try to wrap my head around the fact that, for the first time in my life, I’m no longer proud to be an American. I wake up this morning to find I’m living in a country that values image over substance, sloth over hard work, and socialism over capitalism. I find myself now contemplating the idea finding another country in which to live, and letting the scum-sucking leaches and parasites, which now outnumber people like me who still value Liberty, Freedom, and an honest day’s work, have this once-great country. Texas, if you’re contemplating secession, count me in!” [sic]
He’s not the only one who wants to flee the scene. Residents in more than 40 states have filed and signed petitions to secede from the union on the White House’s We The People site in the days since the election, including 86,000+ in Texas, and nearly 8,000 in all-important Ohio.
[ALSO READ: President May Respond to Secession Requests]
Twitter is especially rife with hate. Cool site FloatingSheep.org created a map that plots the states where the largest concentration of hate tweets originated, and found that Alabama (where Romney won 60.7 percent of the vote) and Mississippi (55.5 percent) had the greatest number in the nation.
The one good thing about this vomiting of hate is that the media has moved on from telling this false post-racial narrative of an America where minorities have ascended to a favored status and white men are persecuted for their skin color. And perhaps once the right stops going on cable news shows perpetrating that lie as the reason they lost this election, we can have real discussions about how our leaders can meet the needs of all Americans.
Or maybe not.
Are you surprised by the outpouring of racism during this election cycle? Tell us in the comments.