Is the level of anger to President Obama racist?Why is there so much extreme opposition to Obama's health bill? Is it disproportionate? Is it racist? Are the accusations against him fair? Can...

Is the level of anger to President Obama racist?

Why is there so much extreme opposition to Obama's health bill? Is it disproportionate? Is it racist? Are the accusations against him fair? Can people tell themselves that their objections to his administration are rational and objective, when in fact they are venting unconcious racist hatred?

Is it possible to be racist and not realise it?

Asked on by dancer7

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kleinnj's profile pic

kleinnj | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Truthfully, there is a fine line between racisim and hatred.  Obviously, many hate the President's point of view and opinions.  However, these people take their dislike and use misguided logic, blaming his policies on being black/Muslim/Kenyan/etc.  There is nothing wrong with saying people disagree, but leave it at that.  As a teacher, I deal with kids who often regurgatate what they hear on the news.  My advice is to get information from as many sources as possible and make your own opinion.  Information is out there, but many will go out of their way to hide or obscure it.  Be informed.  Be educated.  Be smart.

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snsuber | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I would assert that all people are bigoted at some point or other throughout their lives. (The definition of bigoted that I'm using is: obstinately convinced of the superiority of one's own opinion and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions). Some people are bigoted more often than others, but it is human nature to assume that what you want or think is the right thing; therefore, one naturally tends to make the assumption that people who disagree with them are wrong. Some people are more forceful and outspoken about this human trait than others, but it is in everyone.

The issue with race comes into play when people vehemently disagree with someone on ideological grounds and they happen to be of another race. Then, the name calling and comments begin. Same thing happens if a person disagrees with someone of the opposite gender, or religion, or sexual orientation, or height, or age...Using disgusting language or remarks to take away that other person's humanity is an easy way to kick them down to a level where it is easier for you psychologically to place your ideas and thoughts above theirs without having to think about the actual merit of your idea versus theirs.

Oftentimes, I think, (especially with political figures like Obama), it's not that people are actually racist. It's that they dislike his platform and they use easy derogatory terms based on his skin color. They did the same with Palin and Clinton based on their gender. I'm sure a portion of these dissenters truly dislike Obama because of his skin color - those people exist and it can't be denied. But the vast majority of his dissenters are based on people talking politics and choosing to take the easy shots of bigoted statements rather than the more complex route of actually analyzing and discussing the issues they disagree with.

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Is the level of anger to President Obama racist?

Why is there so much extreme opposition to Obama's health bill? Is it disproportionate? Is it racist? Are the accusations against him fair? Can people tell themselves that their objections to his administration are rational and objective, when in fact they are venting unconcious racist hatred?

Is it possible to be racist and not realise it?

  I didn't vote for Obama and for a good reason!  It's obvious that all hi promises meant nothing as I haven't seen one thing come to fruition since he took office.  And, it's not racism that fueling everybody's anger at this point!  He even has the blacks up in arms at the ludicrous things that he's been doing!  I rolled my eyes at the bank industry bailout, and shook my head when the auto industry bailout came through, but this latest health bill takes the cake!  Angry?  Furious is more like it!  That anybody would be so blatant as to tell me when or where or how I pay for my personal medical costs is beyond me!  Heck yes, the accustions against him are fair!  We are NOT being racist by hating what our president is doing!  Is a black man being racist when he hates what a white president is doing?  If so, then I guess every American is a racist at one time or other.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

@ fizz I do agree with you in that the collective effort of individuals that run organizations ultimately leads to the benefit of us all but I must insist in recognizing that I am ultimately responsible for my own choices (as they also are). I just do not want any interference in making those choices and that is why I believe in limited government intervention and less monitoring of rights. I really do not see that as being irresponsible.
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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Fizzy perm- Thanks for your feedback.

In my line of thought, I truly and honestly believe that we are all given an "oxygen tank" called "life" and we are responsible to use it responsibly and effectively to survive our own timelines (not other people's)- and we are 100% responsible to breathe it to the max. We are in charge of our own successes and failures and that takes a lot of social responsibility because we are taking care of ourselves correctly--I refuse to believe that I am in charge of someone down the street.

Every human being is given the same "oxygen tank" in the form of 24 hours a day to LEARN. Many use it, many do not. Many do not know how to.

Yet, NONE of us is wise enough to say we have learned all that we could out of our 24 hours to spend it on other people's lives.  None.Of.Us.

How could we just be so petulant to assume that we can help others when we cannot help ourselves?

In my own 24 hours of oxygen  (granted by God or by whatever is out there) I have decided to earn what I feel that my life deserves until I crust, get sick, and die. It is NOT social irresponsibility, because I am taking care of the only person who can lead my life to change for the better of society: Myself.

I am sorry if others cannot do it but, I can only help others land once I figure my own destination.I don't believe God (or Fate) put me or anyone in this world to figure other people's lives out.

AND.WHY.NOT?

Why cannot others get off their misery horses and challenge themselves to learn, compete.... and win?

Isn't it called Social Darwinism?- Survival of the fittest? I say, if someone cannot take the heat, leave the kitchen- but don't expect to share the hors d'ouvres. I mean, shoot, why should they??

Why cannot others quit making excuses for their losses and try and calculate their winnings if they only they get STARTED?

This GREAT country was not built on people who made excuses for themselves. They got stuff done and they made rules. I think if we live in a nation formed by go-getters, we shall remain the same....or move somewhere else to a place where people just HAVE to believe they "aren't worthy" of a better life.  You know, a place where people cannot stand get their feelings hurt and where one steps out to take care of others while being completely needy inside. Take our leader. He'd love it there.

Just my 1st amendment-sponsored humble opinion.

 

 

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Maybe I am just in denial  but to this day I wish I had enough substance to make a formal decision on whether being unhappy with the healthcare reform is a reflection of our views of the race of our President.

I am a minority and (ironically to many) a Republican. I dislike the Health Reform because of its implications on the lack of freedom of choice that it could lead to. I love my health insurance and YES I pay highly for it because that was my choice. Just like it was my choice to work extra hard to make extra money and enjoy extra privileges. I am a happy capitalist and I believe that most of us who live in America enjoy our way of life, especially when you have the freedom to reap what you sow. Anything that comes near the possibility of a "free for all" that in any way threatens my freedom to keep what I deserve should then kindly move to another system of government or another philosophical land (some suggest OZ) and experiment there first.

 

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It seems to me several factors have coalesced (and been directed by some with their own agendas) around the issue of health care reform, creating the "perfect storm" of disturbing public behavior we have been witnessing. In many ways, President Obama has been cast as a scapegoat, the lightning rod against whom this behavior has been directed.

One major factor, I think, is the fear of change, and change is here. In 1963, the population of the U.S. was 180 million; today it is 360 million. For better or worse, government has grown as the population has grown. The racial composition has changed; projections indicate that white people in the country will be a minority group in a few decades. The social fabric has changed significantly. Abortion is legal; women and racial minorities can no longer be discriminated against by way of law. The cry of "I want my country back" suggests difficulty accepting these changes.

Another factor is the loss of faith in government--and with many good reasons, for sure. However, people have also lost faith in Wall Street and big business. They are angry and frustrated by greed, incompetence, and the general abuse of power. Much of that anger is now directed at President Obama.

The current social and economic climate has encouraged the blatant expression of racism in ways that have not been seen previously, except at a KKK rally. The open racism and hatred cannot be denied or ignored. It does not represent a majority view, by any means. The term "lunatic fringe" is misleading. The people who wave hateful signs and those who call for violence aren't lunatics. They speak of their "love of country," but they are Americans who have no respect for the democratic process. They are just racists.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

These are very sensitive issues, and I ask all posters to remember that this forum is in the spirit of exchange of ideas and debate, and not personal attacks. Your points will live or die on their own merits, the personal jibes do not add to the discussion. Thank you all for keeping that in mind, and keeping the discussion civil.

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Amy-lepore makes a great point. Those who disagree with Obama's policies are not racist, they're not anti-American and they're not prejudiced in any way. They simply disagree with the plan and the policy.

I'm not a huge fan of Bush, but his critics were numerous and vociferous. There were massive rallies in protest of his policies throughout his administration and some were in very poor taste. Of course, the people rallying felt that they were within their first amendment rights.

No one has even mentioned the idea that opposing Obama is within our first amendment rights as was the interruption during his speech. The first amendment protects our right to freedom of speech but doesn't mandate good manners.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Why is it that every time a person of color is opposed the issue of race always comes up?  This is a cop-out and an excuse when the heat is turned up for those whose policies are under fire.  If we don't stop resorting to this, we will never overcome the history of slavery in this country.  If everyone will stop automatically pulling out the race card, we will be better able to deal with ISSUES and not skin color.

 

dkgarran's profile pic

dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

You're asking a few different questions. For starters, I think that it is entirely possible to be prejudiced or racist without knowing it. Not everyone is as overtly racist as the KKK, for example (see post #9). Being racist could even simply be the attitude that one group is superior to another group for some reason.

Personally, I do not believe that people who object to Obama's health care plan are racist; why is the assumption that they are? I believe that the objection is more bipartisan than anything. I know of no republicans who support this plan because Republicans, by nature, advocate for a smaller, less involved federal government. Democrats, by design, promote big government and big social programs and let's face it; those things cost money.

Speaking only for myself, I object to the administration's policies and this has nothing to do with Obama himself; I would have the same objections if he were white!

And just to stir the pot, how come when Democrats vocally and voraciously objected to Bush's plans (not that I'm a big fan of him or his policies) no one said that their behavior was inappropriate?

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Lots of questions.  I think the main reason that people are opposed to the Obama plan (I am one of them) is that it has been drawn up and is being rammed down our throats without sufficient time for analysis.  Just because we are aware of a problem, that doesn't mean that any solution we throw at it will actually solve that problem; this is sometimes referred to as "right problem, wrong solution."  It happens a great deal; I have been part of one of these errors.

I think most people think that our health care system needs work; many people do not think that a government takeover is the best answer.    To tell you the truth, other than knowing that rising costs is the problem, I have no idea what is causing the problem.  I know that insurance companies are demonizied, but I have not seen enough evidence to lead me to conclude that they are the problem and that eliminating them will solve the problem.  I suspect that there is no excuse for the exhorbitant prices that pharmaceutical  companies charge for medication, but this is a problem that can be fixed without overhauling the entire existing insurance system.  Other problems may be solved by having/allowing insurance companies to sell insurance in all 50 states, arranging for/making available temporary insurance for individuals between jobs (I was in this position 3 years ago, and it is a scary place to be), and finding a way to insurance people with existing conditions who may have chosen not to pay for insurance until the condition was diagnosed.  And, of course, who really believes that the government that brought us Social Security and Medicare, both excellent but underfunded programs, will do much better with universal health care.

And Obama's tellling us that the things we fear most are not going to happen just because he says they are not going to happen should be a little difficult for any thoughtful person to swallow.

And I do not care if the person who offers a working solution for this problem is black, brown, white, or even green.  My experience is that, in many cases, racism is really about ethnic/political/religious/economic groups as much as it is about race.  Look at the Irish problem.  Both groups were/are the same race.  The same is true of many tribal wars in Africa and some of the problems in Eastern Europe.   When people are angry, they sometimes pick on another's differences and make them the target of their anger; this is foolish and non-productive, but it happens and generally hurts the angry person's cause more than it helps.

Can you be racist without knowing it?  I'm not sure.  But I can you can be homophobic, sexist, anti-Catholic and lots of other things without sitting down and realizing it, so I supose you can be a racist without deciding you are, so I suspect it's possible.  But I don't think it's the issue here, and trying to make it the issue is yet another political manipulation.

To solve this problem, we need to understand the root causes and we need to spend all the time it takes to develop solutions that will solve it.  I don't care if they come from Republicans, Democrats (although they're so busy fighting with each other I'm not sure they'll come up with anything that's about US and not THEM), Independents or Martians.  I just want to see a solution that works for as many of us as possible.

 

MaudlinStreet's profile pic

MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

In answer to the second question: it is absolutely possible to be racist and not realize it. It is also possible to realize it, but deny it. Because of the progress our country has made, many people see racism as something blatant; in order to be racist, you must join the KKK or directly state that you hate a minority group. However, the truth is that racism comes in many forms, & many people hold racist beliefs but cannot reconcile that with being educated citizens living in 21st century America.

Focusing specifically on what's going on with the current administration, I agree that there are articulate, well-argued opposition points against Obama's health care plan. Some have expressed honest, open concern about the direction it will take the country, or the financial burden it will put on future generations. Obviously valid concerns. However, I have yet to see/hear more than a few well-thought out points brought up in the argument against it. Now, having said that, I will contend that many critics have exposed themselves as racist. I will argue that when people are holding signs that say "Africa has a lion, the white house has an african lyin!", "Afro-Socialism", or ones showing President Obama as a witch doctor, there is something deeper than criticism of health care reform. When a Congresswoman, Rep. Lynn Jenkins from Kansas, says the Republican party needs to find the next "great white hope", & claims to not understand the history behind that statement (having just voted on a bill to honor Jack Johnson, which included a discussion of the original incident), that is beyond criticism. When a Congressman from Kentucky, Rep. Geoff Davis, addresses Obama as "that boy", and claims not to understand the connotation behind that term, there is a deeper ignorance of history present. One might say that these incidents are isolated examples, but I truly think they reflect the overall mentality of the opposition movement. Now I don't believe in political correctness above all else, but calling the President of the United States "that boy" is not only condescending, arrogant, and presumptuous; when that President is black, it carries those historical connotations that have nothing to do with political correctness. Finally, I would venture to say that the so-called "birther" movement would not be in existence if we had a white President with an Anglo-Saxon derived name.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In response to post # 3:

Your point is well taken that the Republican platform has a clear and articulated position on race.  I would not imply otherwise.  However, there are individuals in the party who, in their desire to increase the party's relevancy in the debate and initiate change, are willing to combine forces with elements that are contrary to this stated position.  In this "corrupt bargain," the Republicans are being placed between a rock and a hard place.  They seek greater coalescence against the policies of the President and Democrats, yet in trying to broaden that appeal, they run the risk of undermining their own established principles.  You are exactly right, in my mind, in your assertion that this is a telling feature of the political scene at this time.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a very complex issue.  There is genuine ideological opposition to some of the President's ideas.  The health care debate has brought these ideas out to the surface.  At the same time, some of the organized opposition to such legislation has sought to create bonds with as many individuals as possible.  The opposition lacks a clear, singular, and identifiable political voice to represent their views.  In place of this, some of this opposition has sought to create alliances with others, who do hold distinct views on race.  Indeed, as the previous post suggested, some of these individuals do hold views that use the issue of race as a divisive issue.  Some of the opposition has sought to make deals to form alliances which reflect elements that might not be in their best interests from a political standpoint.

The issue of race will always be present in President Obama's administration because of the fact that the majority of the opposition he faces lies in a political party that has had a difficult time articulating its own position of race in the last ten to fifteen years.  The Republican Party has to determine where it stands on the issue of racial identity.  As it has become increasingly out of sync with many voters of color, including Spanish- speaking and African- American voters, it, too, has had to reconfigure how it appropriates the issue of race in the modern setting.  This articulation is becoming muddled when alliances with other groups, who have definite agendas and harsh views on race, become appropriated or associated with this party- based opposition.

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