Archive for Racism

Hey UN! What About This War Crime?

In the Democratic War on Women, that is:

A Democratic operative deleted her Twitter account Monday following a series of what some called racist remarks about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao.

Chao, former U.S. Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush, is Asian.

Kathy Groob, who describes herself as an “advocate for women in politics,” sent a series of tweets related to Chao at a political event Saturday.

According to WKMS, Groob sent the tweets in response to comments McConnell made at the event, in which he referred to his wife as “the only Kentucky woman who served in a president’s cabinet.”

In one tweet Groob wrote, “Hey Mitch, nothing against you wife and spouses should be off limits; since you mentioned, she isn’t from KY, she is Asian.”

Groob followed that tweet with another: “Google Elaine Chao, #MitchMcConnell’s wife. No mention of Kentucky, she is Asian” Groop wrote.

Her racially-charged comments drew a firestorm on Twitter from people who questioned why Groob was pushing a narrative that someone who is Asian could not also be from Kentucky.

In Chao’s case, she and her family came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was a child. She has been married to McConnell for more than two decades.

So that’s what passes for an “advocate for women in politics” among Democrats. I’d hate to see a critic. I also love that her comment came right after she wrote that spouses should be “off limits”.

PS: You might want to station peacekeeping groups inside the Democrat Party. They are repeat offenders:

A Democratic activist has claimed responsibility for controversial radio ads that attempted to tie Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel to the Ku Klux Klan.

Ruth Harris, 65, of Jackson, Miss., said she and five other like-minded Democratic women pooled their resources to fund three radio spots urging voters to support Sen. Thad Cochran over McDaniel, a state senator, in Mississippi’s contentious June 24 GOP primary runoff.

“This is an Election Day alert. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. When Congressman Thompson says a group of Tea Party radicals scares him, we should listen. Last week the Clarion Ledger was able to tie McDaniel’s campaign to an ally of the Ku Klux Klan. And, this supporter of McDaniel’s campaign was a Klan lawyer,” Harris says as the ad opens. “If we stand by and don’t go to the polls today, do you understand what we could lose? We could lose food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, early breakfast and lunch programs — and disaster assistance, as well as cuts to Social Security and Medicaid.

“The right-wing Tea Party people are saying we are too lazy to care or too afraid to go vote. They say we only want a hand out or something for free,” Harris says as the ad closes. “We are not going to turn back the hands of time.”

PPS: They really don’t like themselves some Elaine Chao:

You’ll recall last year when Progress Kentucky sent out a series of tweets vilifying Chao and McConnell’s “very close ties to China.”

Progress Kentucky, a Democratic super PAC with its sights on toppling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has drawn backlash for a persistent effort to suggest that the senator’s wife’s Chinese roots have led him to embrace anti-American policies.

In a Feb. 14 tweet, the group made a particularly blunt jab suggesting that Elaine Chao, former labor secretary under President George W. Bush and McConnell’s second wife, was encouraging him to support outsourcing jobs to China.

“This woman has the ear of @mcconnellpress — she’s his #wife.May explain why your job moved to #China!” the tweet read.

I don’t really get racism. I guess it’s a liberal thing.

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Good News, Bad News

First the bad news: you’re racist. The good news?

You don’t know it:

We white Americans all-too-seldom reflect upon the issue of racism, because we don’t have to. We don’t have to think about it, because the system is set up to benefit us, at the expense of people of color, without our ever doing anything mean or unkind, so it is very easy never to even notice how life is for someone not in our majority. [Call me a grammarist, but that's a run-on sentence. Ed.]

Racism has often been referred to as a “cancer” on and in society. But that has never struck me as terribly apt or helpful, despite its obviously negative connotation. So I began wondering what a more helpful metaphor might be for racism and its on-going effect on many of our citizens. And for some reason, it occurred to me that many of the things we say about being infected with HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, are true of racism:

Many people who are infected don’t know it. Those infected by racism are largely oblivious to it. It operates behind the scenes and barely shows itself in the early stages. It can be an important part of who we are and how we operate without our knowledge. And because the system is set up to benefit us, we can easily believe that racism is something that other people get. Understanding our being white in a racist society is akin to getting a fish in an aquarium to understand the concept of water – it is simply the medium in which we swim, the reality that supports us and in which we thrive without so much as a passing thought.

If we (white Americans) are the fish swimming in the racist medium in this simile, oblivious of our privilege, who are the schoolkids and frazzled parents on the other side of the glass pointing at the sharks and tortoises? African Americans? Do they enjoy the spectacle as much as my kids used to? Probably not.

But he’s not done with lame metaphors:

The only way to know if you’re unsuspectingly infected is to get tested. Testing is a voluntary and intentional act. It starts with realizing and admitting that I might be infected. It is painful to learn that we might be intentionally or unintentionally racist, and since we usually shy away from painful things, we avoid conversations and situations that might reveal the ugly truth. The “test” for racism is a lot less scientific than getting tested for HIV, and it involves having conversations with people of color (and other race-aware white people) about their experiences. It means listening to the words of people who have indeed experienced racism, and then believing that it is true for them – even if it is not true of our experience. And then it means searching our souls for ways in which we have colluded with a white-majority society in perpetuating such an unjust system.

Resistance to being tested comes from the fear of what changes may be in store if I’m “positive.” The scary thing about finding out if one has been infected is that if I have, then I will need to change some things about my life. If I open myself to understanding how I participate in and benefit from a racist society (even if I have no personal animosity at all toward people of color!), then I will undoubtedly have to decide if I’m going to resist the racism in myself and seek to dismantle it in the society.

Viral load can be reduced to undetectable levels, but it never goes away. And at least for now, it’s an incurable condition. Undoing racism in ourselves is a life-long process. We all acquire “default settings” in our growing up – that is, standard ways in which we tend to view the world and organize/understand our experiences. We can intentionally go in and change these default settings, but it takes our being intentional and vigilant – or else, the default setting reasserts itself, and without even thinking, becomes our standard operating procedure.

We’re all racist (we whites anyway); we don’t even know it; and there’s nothing we can do about it. Oh well, have a nice day.

But again, the metaphor fails to hold. Once a death sentence, HIV is treatable; infected people can live long, healthy lives. I observe without blame that HIV was spread through drug use and promiscuity. It was treated (if not cured) through the efforts of millions and millions of dollars and the united efforts of government and medicine. The victims of racism should be so lucky.

But all is not lost:

I am a recovering racist, and similar to a recovering alcoholic, who may not drink but who will always be an alcoholic, I must constantly monitor and manage my internal “settings” about race.

So, while you may always remain a racist, you can be a “dry” racist. Where does he come up with this nonsense?

That default setting in me was shaped in my childhood, spent in the segregated south, complete with separate drinking fountains and lunchrooms.

Wait a minute! That’s not my “default setting”. I was raised by hyperliberal, socialist, atheist, anti-racist lunatic parents. My crazy father voted for Eldridge Cleaver for president in 1968! My loopy mother left her young kids to go march in Mississippi in 196-whatever! I never drank from a segregated fountain, never rode on a segregated bus. I never called nobody n**g*r, and recoiled in horror on the rare occasions when I heard anyone else do so. And I’m hardly special. Explain to me how I, or millions raised just like me, am racist.

If I’m “guilty of being white”, can I just pay a fine and get on with my life? Actually, can I just get on with my life? Guilt is optional, and I’m opting out.

PS: If self-diagnosis involves “having conversations with people of color”, do we get to take note of their “intentional or unintentional racism”? We “typical white people” have our failings, but I think it’s more to do with our being people than with our being white. I think black people are our equals in this as in all other ways.

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If Barack Obama’s White Grandmother Had a Great-Granddaughter, Would She Look Like Danielle Fair?

Ever since he brought it up with Trayvon Martin, I’m curious about everyone’s resemblance to Barack Obama.

Have to say, I don’t see it here:

Cleveland Police are investigating an attack on a 10-year-old girl as a hate crime, and the attack was captured on video and posted on-line.

It happened on Leeila Avenue off Bellaire Road on the west side.

A video posted on YouTube shows a white girl on a scooter ambushed and beaten by a black girl. The beating went on for about 12 seconds until you hear voices in the background calling for it to stop.

A Cleveland Police report shows the attacker is 13 years old. The victim, Danielle Fair, says she felt bullied.

A neighbor says she saw it all, and she heard the attacker use a racial slur.

“Cracker. She called her a cracker,” said Jessica Jaworski.

The attack looked planned, with the camera rolling even before the beating even started.

We went to the home of the teen throwing punches.

“Nobody was waiting. I don’t have to talk to you. It’ll all come out in court,” a woman at the door told 19 Action News.

The victim’s mom and dad want justice. They say their daughter never said anything to provoke the beating. Dad says he even tried talking to the other girl’s grandfather instead of calling police.

But now, a First District Detective is working the case. Hate crime or not, it’s a vicious attack.

I have two questions: where did the 13-year-old learn to hate white people so much (and that a cracker is not just something to carry Cheeze Whiz); and where did the 10-year-old learn how to take a punch? Police ought to look into both.

As racial epithets go, “cracker” doesn’t bother me so much. But that’s because I’m stupid. A word is nothing but a collection of letters. Some words begin with N and end in R: “never”, for example. But no one ever got brought up on hate crime charges for saying never (though this guy lost his job for using “niggardly” in a sentence). Cracker carries a lot of significance when it is accompanied by haymakers to the head.

Or when used to encourage infanticide:

President Obama is rarely shy to speak up when racial hatred erupts. A word, Mr. President?

Sir?

Sir?

Well, he’s a busy man. There’s Iraq, and the IRS, and Benghazi, and the VA, and all those illegal alien kids, and Ukraine, and Syria, and the contracting economy—not to mention his personal bête noir (what’s that supposed to mean?), global warming.

He’ll get around to it.

Update (6:55 p.m.): President Obama spent three hours and 40 minutes at Sunnylands to play golf. The president is now headed back to his house at Thunderbird Heights, according to the White House press pool report.

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Dog Whistle Update

Got your list handy? I have two additions. After skinny, golf, Chicago, and jug-eared doofus, please add the following:

Benghazi:

[Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) said:] “After reconstruction, when people of color gained political presence throughout the south, they drummed up all kinds of things, indictments and accusations, they drove these people out of the south. Some went to Chicago, some came here to Washington D.C. And I see the same kind of efforts to discredit this president and this administration.”

“If I didn’t know the history of this country so well, I might not be as concerned as I am [about the Benghazi select committee],” Clyburn continued. “I am concerned because I see us revisiting those same kinds of things that led to the end of Reconstruction at the end of the 1890s.”

That bastard Chris Stevens—dying in Libya just to make Obama look bad! Same goes for Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

Next dog whistle: ObamaCare.

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): I’ll be able to dig up some emails that make part of the Affordable Care Act that doesn’t look good-especially from people who made up their mind that they don’t want it to work because they don’t like the president. Maybe he’s of the wrong color, something of that sort. I’ve seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true. It’s not something you’re meant to talk about in public but it’s something I’m talking about in public because that is very true.

Some people near death—even after—exhibit spasms. That’s how these desperate appeals to racism sound to me, like death spasms.

When people disagreed with Bill Clinton, were they just prejudiced against philanderers? Why were the haters out in force against a recovering alcoholic like George W. Bush?

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“Steve Utash is Home”

And Wonzey Saffold is still in jail.

There is some justice in the world after all:

Six weeks after their father was beaten in a highly publicized mob attack in Detroit, a Macomb County family got to post an uplifting message on Facebook: “Steven Utash is home.”

The message appeared on the “Support Steven Utash” Facebook page about 8 p.m. Saturday, six weeks after the 54-year-old tree trimmer was severely beaten after accidentally striking a 10-year-old boy with his pickup on the east side of Detroit. A mob ambushed Utash after he got out of his truck to check on the boy, who had darted into traffic.

According to his family, Utash suffered head injuries and was discharged from the DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan on Thursday.

“He is home and doing very well. It is wonderful to have him back,” Utash’s family told the Free Press in a Facebook message.

Four men have been charged in the attack and will face trials in August on charges of assault with attempt to murder in the beating. A 16-year-old also was charged with assault and ethnic intimidation. His case goes to trial in June in juvenile court.

Wonzey and his mates are delighted by the news:

I will guarantee you that the next child struck by a car in Detroit will be the victim of a hit-and-run driver. The next dozen children. Hundred. Sorry kids, but it ain’t worth the aggro. Your busted legs won’t heal any quicker with our busted heads. Thank your Uncle Wonzey.

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What Part of Boko Haram Did We Not Get?

It’s from the Finno-Ugric, meaning “how much for the red-head with the nice rack?”

One year ago this month, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau released a video announcing a new, reprehensible front in its bloody attempt at forced Islamism: his fighters will begin abducting girls and selling them.

The kidnappings, he said, were retaliation for Nigerian security forces nabbing the wives and children of group members.

And for 12 months, the radical militant group has done just that — with Nigerians treating the sporadic kidnappings with disgust but resignation.

But that’s changed now.

Just imagine if 276 girls been kidnapped in the United States. The response would be mass outrage and an forceful demand for a response.

As borders become more irrelevant for terrorists, the whole world needs to take notice of the likes of Boko Haram.

“They actually originated as a group called the Nigerian Taliban which kind of explains where they’re coming from,” says CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen. “They are aiming to impose Taliban-style rule on much of Nigeria, particularly in the north where they are based.”

The group’s name itself means “Western education is sinful” in the local Hausa language. Its aim is to impose a stricter enforcement of Sharia law. The group especially opposes the education of women.

Okay, so maybe my translation is a little loose, but it amounts to the same thing.

A first-hand account:

Scarcely has the blood dried from the singed floors of Nyanya Car Park, has time mended the broken bodies injured in the first bombing. Scarcely have we finished nursing our maimed spirits, our collective angst, has the tape to cordon off the first massacre site been removed. The charred remains of cars and smell of flesh lingers. We are still reeling from the previously unthinkable grand-scale predawn abduction of innocence, of over 200 girls. Now this: a second Nyanya bombing. More death. More injured bodies.

As I looked at the gory slideshow of pictures from the scene of the massacre yesterday, a dam broke and tears welled in my eyes. There has been a catalogue of disasters in Nigeria in the past few years and none has quite hit so close to home as this did. No, I do not have any personal affiliations with anyone injured or killed in the bombing. I do not share blood with 18 dead and 66 persons injured, whose own I saw so cruelly spilled yesterday but in my heart, I recognise that this was a tipping point for Nigeria. We have reached the brink. This is our hell and our high water. We are now between the quick, and literally, the dead.

If Boko Haram is really Nigeria’s Taliban, all this was entirely predictable. (Except Boko takes the entire girl, and not just her nose.) My only contribution to this waking nightmare is to ask who buys girls sold into slavery? We’ve barely comprehended who would steal them, but 276 slave girls need 276 buyers. How many Ariel Castros are there in the world?

234 girls abducted from their school since the 18th of April remain missing with numbing reports surfacing of them being married off to insurgents across Nigeria’s borders in Chad and Cameroon.

When an 80-year-old man was revealed in a private conversation to have had less than progressive views on race, President Obama remarked: “The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination…”

I don’t agree with him, but I hope he’d agree with me that whatever our “legacy” (slavery was abolished 150 years ago, discrimination under the law 50 years ago), Africa, the Middle East (Saudi Arabia), Asia (North Korea, China) have a whole lot more of it than we do.

I have no words of solace to the poor Nigerians dealing with this unimaginable terror. No words better than their own:

We do not have to lose a relative, friend or colleague to cry out. Search for the disturbing images from the Nyanya blast. Look at them well. Look at them hard. Are you not even slightly discomfited? Are you not angry? Yet, we do nothing. Furthermore, Boko Haram agents cannot be so self-sufficient that everyone outside its organization is completely oblivious to its machinations, workings, plans. Who will call them out? Who will stand up?

The fathers of the girls? Their brothers?

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Keeping Africa Africa

I acknowledge that many issues are complicated. I may have a point of view, but can see the points of those who disagree.

That’s part of what makes me a conservative; when I was among liberals, we didn’t have that knack:

I oppose my allies’ well-meaning campaign for “climate justice.” More than 230 organizations, including Africa Action and Oxfam, want industrialized countries to pay “reparations” to African governments for droughts, rising sea levels and other alleged results of what Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni calls “climate aggression.” And I oppose the campaign even more for trying to deny to Africans the reliable electricity—and thus the economic development and extended years of life—that fossil fuels can bring.

The left wants to stop industrialization—even if the hypothesis of catastrophic, man-made global warming is false. John Feffer, my colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote in the Dec. 8, 2009, Huffington Post that “even if the mercury weren’t rising” we should bring “the developing world into the postindustrial age in a sustainable manner.” He sees the “climate crisis [as] precisely the giant lever with which we can, following Archimedes, move the world in a greener, more equitable direction.”

This is a companion piece to the rather dull post I wrote yesterday on conservation land. The Left has blinders on. Their tunnel vision on environmental issues (most especially the thoroughly discredited theory of global warming) betrays not a zealous devotion to Gaia—but to power. The purported warming is irrelevant to the true goal of the “equitable”. The financial ruin of small towns burdened by untaxable land is not a bug but a feature of a “postindustrial age”—really, just a return to the preindustrial age. The Left waxes nostalgic for the days of sepsis and TB. It may be hard to get that genie back in the bottle, but if they can stop up the African jinn, they will have accomplished something.

Something of which to be proud is open to question:

Where is the justice for Africans when universities divest from energy companies and thus weaken their ability to explore for resources in Africa? Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a “global warming” tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods?

The average in Africa is 59 years—in America it’s 79. Increased access to electricity was crucial in China’s growth, which raised life expectancy to 75 today from 59 in 1968.

According to the World Bank, 24% of Africans have access to electricity and the typical business loses power for 56 days each year. Faced with unreliable power, businesses turn to diesel generators, which are three times as expensive as the electricity grid. Diesel also produces black soot, a respiratory health hazard. By comparison, bringing more-reliable electricity to more Africans would power the cleaning of water in villages, where much of the population still lives, and replace wood and dung fires as the source of heat and lighting in shacks and huts, removing major sources of disease and death.

We in the West like Africa being Africa. We don’t want it developed. We like it as cultural zoo, where we can watch educational programs about rhinos, lions, hyenas, and Zulus. If they stopped burning dung and started burning coal or natural gas, we’d have to switch stations.

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Uncle Tom Update

Forget that old racist Donald Sterling (please!), when one black leader calls another black leader an Uncle Tom, other black leaders speak in one censorious voice.

Of the Uncle Tom:

Rep. Jim Clyburn on Friday said he doesn’t have any concerns with Rep. Bennie Thompson calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “racist.”

Clyburn, promoting his new book on “Morning Joe” on Friday, said Thompson was simply registering his disappointment with Thomas, a black Supreme Court justice who typically sides with the court’s conservative wing. “I am very disappointed in Clarence Thomas,” he added.

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough then asked Clyburn, a black congressman who serves as House assistant Democratic leader, whether he thought Thomas was an “Uncle Tom.”

“Well, I don’t know,” the South Carolina Democrat said.

“You don’t know if a Supreme Court justice is an Uncle Tom?” Scarborough replied.

Thompson, a black Democratic congressman from Mississippi, called Thomas an “Uncle Tom” and wondered whether “he doesn’t like being black” while speaking on a New Nation of Islam radio program last weekend. He also said McConnell had made a “racist” statement against President Barack Obama.

Clyburn on Friday said he couldn’t speak for his friend Thompson, saying that “all of us have ways of expressing our disappointment.”

But he added his own concerns about Clarence Thomas, saying: “A lot of African-Americans find his opinions very insulting.”

Go ahead, sir, name one insulting opinion.

As I noted the other day, it’s okay for black people to call each other “ni**er” (without the asterisks) and “Uncle Tom” (without the quotation marks). Except, that is, among those black people for whom it is not okay. Which makes about as much sense as “people of color” (good) vs. “colored people” (bad). Just as long as no one uses the words “Chicago” “Obama”, ObamaCare”, or “skinny”. The poor dogs will be howling in pain from all the whistles inaudible to us.

PS: “Big-eared jamoke” is still okay, last I checked, as is “flaming a-hole”.

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“This is the Business We’ve Chosen”

If you haven’t been following the Donald Sterling kerfuffle in the NBA, skip this post. I won’t waste your time or mine to fill you in.

But here’s my take. Advocates for privacy and free speech are rightly troubled by how this story broke (private conversations leaked to the press), but that’s not really the point.

A league that’s 80% black can’t have an owner with a slaveholder mentality. There would be such outrage (justified, in my view) that the league would cease to function. Players would strike, fans would boycott, advertisers would cancel, etc. The NBA is a huge business, but it’s also a 30-member gentlemen’s club. Donald Sterling wasn’t suspended by the Commissioner (Adam Silver—not Nate, as previously identified), or not by him alone. He had the backing of his board of directors, if you will, the 29 other owners. Think of the scene in The Godfather when the Five Families get together to divvy up the criminal pie. Before anybody gets whacked, it comes before the commission for approval. That’s why Silver spoke so confidently of having owner support. Whether it was their bidding or his insistence out of high moral dudgeon, they already approved (either unanimously or by an adequate margin) the death sentence.

Is it enforceable? Ask me in three years, after the lawsuits have been settled or adjudicated. Requiring someone to divest himself of his own property is a tall order, but NBA owners aren’t like gas station owners or butcher shop owners. I don’t know what their bylaws say, but I bet they have at least a legal leg to stand on.

Now for the hypocrisy. Sterling’s record on race was no secret. Look him up on Wikipedia. Yet free agent black players (Chris Paul most notably) and coaches (Doc Rivers) signed his contracts and took his money. They only proved Sterling’s ugly point that he clothed, fed, and housed black people as owner (team, not slave). The taped conversations are hard to ignore, to be sure, and arguably worse than housing discrimination and employment discrimination (no they’re not), but for the newly outraged to discover their outrage only now is a little rich. It’s no defense of Sterling to say so.

And as long as we’re cleaning the NBA of its bad apples.

More bad apples.

More bad apples.

More bad apples.

PS: I’m sure there’s plenty of repetition among all those bad apple lists, but theres also plenty of bad apples.

PPS: More bad apples.

PPPS: Donald Sterling never called them “ni**er”.

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Yet Another Conversation on Race

You’ve probably heard Donald Sterling’s racist remarks caught on tape by his then (now ex) girlfriend. They have been roundly (and rightly) condemned. As an addict of sports talk radio, I’ve heard more than enough of them. He’s not only racist, he’s nuts. (Maybe all racists are nuts, I don’t know.)

But why did someone ask President Obama, in the middle of his Asian trip, to comment? Isn’t it enough that he’s trying to balance China’s geopolitical aspirations, dodging North Korean nukes, and improving relations across the Pacific? What is the relevance of an old racist—with a history of racism—making racist comments?

And I don’t even disagree with what Obama said:

President Barack Obama on Sunday described comments reportedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers “incredibly offensive racist statements,” before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight.

“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling’s reported comments.

Exactly. This too:

“We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often,” he added. “And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.”

So far, so good.

Then:

“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination,” Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

Slavery? Donald Sterling is a bigot, but he’s paying his employees hundreds of millions of dollars. And as noted above, his attitude toward race was well known when each and every one of them signed to play for his team. I’m not calling them out—jobs in the NBA are hard to come by—but when he is alleged to have once said “Black tenants smell and attract vermin,” how surprising can his latest comments be?

The “United States” didn’t say anything racist, this renowned racist did. We teach our children differently. I was taught differently. As Obama himself said: “why statements like this stand out some much [sic] is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.” Just so. Whatever America was in the fifties or sixties or seventies, it isn’t that America today. Not on the issue of race, anyway. See the occupant of the White House as Exhibit A.

I wish Obama would stop presiding as Race Commenter in Chief. And I wish people would stop asking. I may not like him as president, but that’s the job he was elected to carry out. As bad as he is as president, he’s even worse on race: Trayvon Martin could have been his son, could have been him; the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” when they arrested Henry Louis Gates; Donald Sterling betrayed the lingering “legacy of slavery”; without a word on the comatose Steve Utash, beaten half to death for stopping to tend to a black child he had struck with his car, or a peep on the rash of black-on-white knockout games earlier this year.

He wanted to be president of all Americans, and a segment of all Americans voted him into office twice. He should do his job and let the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson (and Wright) do theirs.

PS: In a related vein:

“I think the Prime Minister is the first to acknowledge that Malaysia’s still got some work to do. Just like the United States, by the way, has some work to do on these issues. Human Rights Watch probably has a list of things they think we should be doing as a government.”

Drone strikes on, and warrantless wiretapping of, American citizens? Running guns to the Mexican cartels? Labeling returning veterans terrorist risks? Ignoring legislation and issuing fiats? Lying about doctors and health care? He may have a point.

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Ha-Ha

I’ve written several times about the beating of Steve Utash in Detroit—first declaring my absolute disgust at the savages (what else can you call them?) who beat him into a coma, then my admiration for the same disgust Detroiters expressed. In moral terms as in fiscal ones, one must declare bankruptcy before moving forward.

Alas, that disgust is not universal:

Four men will stand trial in the beating of Clinton Township motorist Steven Utash, following a raucous hearing Monday in which some courtroom onlookers blurted objections and laughed at a description of the near-deadly thrashing, and a defendant made an obscene gesture to a photographer.

Max Mohr, Utash’s brother-in-law, said he was disgusted by the courtroom behavior.

“Why would you laugh about someone being in the hospital?” Mohr said. “To make a mockery in the courtroom … what can you do?”

A group whose members described themselves as relatives of the defendants laughed when Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey read aloud Saffold’s description of how the mob kicked and punched Utash.

One witness, Anton Sykes, argued with visiting 36th District Judge Thomas Jackson and refused to give a statement about what happened at the beating scene.

As he argued with the judge, several onlookers laughed and said “yeah!” and “you tell him!”

Sykes insisted he didn’t see anything at the scene near a gas station at Morang near Balfour, and claimed a police statement bearing his initials had been doctored.

What can you do? Put them away for as long as possible.

Another perspective:

Sadly, the talk after the attack on Mr. Utash wasn’t about a man who stopped to do the right thing. It wasn’t about Ms. Hughes, the gun-toting angel of mercy who saw no color except the red of his blood. It wasn’t about the use of justifiable force or the value of carrying a sidearm.

Instead white people asked: Where were the old-school civil rights advocates who usually spoke out against such beatings? Where was Reverend Al? Why did it take Jesse Jackson almost two weeks to say something? Not that any of them really wanted famous civil rights leaders coming to town and marching around. What they seemed to be demanding was an admission from black leaders that blacks harbor racial hatred, too.

But leaders nationally and in Detroit stayed curiously silent. A medical fund was established for Mr. Utash, but it took more than a week to convene a vigil for him as he lay in a coma. Until that vigil not even Mike Duggan — the first elected white mayor of Detroit in 40 years — made a public appearance about it. (Though he did put out a press release and a tweet.) Nor did any City Council person that I’m aware of. And nothing from President Obama. Rage and hopelessness are no excuses here. All Detroit, whether black or white, noticed the silence.

If President Obama had a son, he might have looked like Wonzey Saffold.

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Obama Shouldn’t Embrace Racist Al Sharpton

I feel a ‘Ya Think? Award™ coming on…

It was disappointing the other day to see President Barack Obama embracing the vulgar race hustler Al Sharpton.

And that’s all we’ll bother to cover. But I do want to award the writer at the Chicago Trib, John Kass, our coveted ‘Ya Think Award™ for this brilliant observation.

The President of the United States stood on a podium (and more than once!) with a guy who helped to set off two antisemitic race attacks which resulted in the deaths of eight human beings. The Tawana Brawley affair should have been enough to distance Sharpton from decent people, without the race murders. And maybe it was enough. Decent people avoid Al Sharpton.

- Aggie

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