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?

Expert Answers
timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

 

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

 

 

MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

snsuber eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
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.

dkgarran eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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?

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

 

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

dkgarran eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

kleinnj eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't believe that all of the opposition to President Obama's health plan is based on racism. Nevertheless, I do believe that the extremist demonstrators who have shown up carrying posters saying slogans such as "Go Back to Kenya" and pictures depicting the president as an African with doctor are in fact racists.

I also believe that the Republican National Committee and many Republican right-wing leaders and pundits are fomenting the discontent among the racist extremists in order to get them to show up and demonstrate and get on camera.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator
@ 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.
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

 

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

frizzyperm | Student

@snsuber... an interesting, intelligent post. Of course, I am only saying that because I agree with your post and it makes me think you are like-minded. :-) Oh my God!?!... I assume you're white! (Joke... obviously)

To be honest, I suspect a large section of all societies hold quite strong racist views. But it is 'comfortable' racism. Unlike the overt, venemous racism of the KKK and such like, it is 'lazy' racism, I think every society is infested with people who are generally disfunctional and predisposed to dislike other people; they quickly find reasons to place themsleves 'above' other races. It bolsters their need for superiority and sense of worth.

Ironically, in my experience, this seems to be true of all races.

It is a genuinely sad truth that those racist people who congratulate themselves with racial superiority are usually very inadequate as individuals and combat their insecurity by claiming exclusive membership of an elite group. Racism is the bulwark of the weak.

krishna-agrawala | Student

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. - marbar57

I am wondering how could events that happened after the electios could influence the voting decision.

joannaloftis | Student

I feel it is due to part race and part of all the issues that are surrounding us now.  He has a difficult presidency coming up.  We have internantional issues and new threats daily.  We have national issues only one of which is health care.   I think with some it is simply based on race and they are having a hard time with a black president.  With others they have fallen into the right wing theories and they are truly concerned about all the issues.  

donjohn8 | Student

I don't believe that all of the opposition to President Obama's health plan is based on racism. Nevertheless, I do believe that the extremist demonstrators who have shown up carrying posters saying slogans such as "Go Back to Kenya" and pictures depicting the president as an African with doctor are in fact racists.

I also believe that the Republican National Committee and many Republican right-wing leaders and pundits are fomenting the discontent among the racist extremists in order to get them to show up and demonstrate and get on camera.

Extremism gets camera attention in our media-jaded society, and I often suspect that some of these "haters" are little more than attention-seekers pushing buttons they think might result in their 15 minutes of fame.

Labeling these people with such a perjorative term that is so overused by the media and vague in its scientific validity tends to impart on them motives not always in evidence. If they are in fact pawns of Clear Channel Talk radio hosts, then identifying them with statements these pontificators have made reduces the significance of their protests somewhat. From what I've seen, their numbers are usually quite small, hardly indicative of a groundswell of opposition or even "hatred."

The Internet now gives us the ability to distill huge segments of the Rush Limbaugh's or Sean Hannity's daily rants into discursive chunks. Comapring what they say to what their "dittoheads" and other minions do suggests a power beyond simple reason, crossing into the charismatic influencings of populations by oversimplistic maxims such as those portrayed in George Orwell's Animal Farm. "Two legs bad, four legs good." This we saw at some of the summer Town Hall meetings where the direction of criticism was strikingly similar at different venues.

Determining the motives of these apparently influential on-air personalities may go a long way into reducing their effectiveness at mass persuasion.

donjohn8 | Student
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?

Every good discussion requires that posters be addressing topics with the same set of definitions. It would helpp if you could post a specific example of "extreme opposition" since that is a matter of perspective, similarly when you ask for responses that address "disproportionate" and "fair."

Your opinion is evident in the second part of the questioning, so in the context of that, I'd say that you already have your mind made up, therefore this is not really a discussion, but a challenge to those who dare to disagree with your assertions.

To give validity to your statements, I suggest you quote President Jimmy Carter who discussed this very point at length. An analysis of his controvesial comments might further this discussion beyond that of you trying to convince me that I'm wrong.

President Clinton offered another perspective that tended to discount the racism factor asserting that the same people who opposed him on health care oppose President Obama as well. He did not deny the existence of racism, just its impact as the determining factor.

The current issue of Slate suggests that the meaning of racism is overused. For the sake of argument, I've asserted that "race" has no valid scientific meaning, therefore should be avoided in favor of more specific terminology denoting culture or history.

rx8 | Student

Obviously, there are some people who are lashing out at President Obama due to his race. But I think the majority of the intense criticisms is coming in the form of retaliation by conservatives by the constant bashing that President Bush took during his eight years in office. Bush was the target of the most intense criticism of perhaps any public figure since Herbert Hoover. Granted, some of that criticism was warrented, some of it was unfair. Same thing with Bill Clinton. A big part of Democratic hatred toward Bush was due to the way he took office following the 2000 election. There are, unfortunately, wounds there that will never fully heal. Obama is in a tough spot, as greed and corruption from both parties has made success difficult to even define at this point, and the problem with that is, when you run as a "hope and change" candidate, there is an extraordinary amount of pressure to deliver right away. As we saw with Reagan, however, success may not happen until a few years into a Presidency. The vast majority of conservatives are not racist at all. But the small percentage of the ones who are have a tendency to grab the media spotlight and make the whole party (and even the whole country) look bad. No matter what side you're on, the GOP's reputation has taken a gigantic hit since 2005, and it won't get better for them until they go back to the core principles they once stood for.

frizzyperm | Student

@herappleness.

It is selfish, and ultimately self-defeating, to say your are not reponsible for the rest of the world because you are connected to them in an infinite number of ways and there is an unequal distribution of opportunity.

Half of America is so fat that it is a national disgrace, while half of Africa is so thin that we should all be ashamed. Are the Africans merely failing to make an effort? Are you truly saying that you can see no connection between your success and the efforts of others?

frizzyperm | Student

Anything...  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. - herappleness

You seem very certain that you have absolutely no social responsibility to any one else and that you have never benefitted socially.

Why do you deserve things that other people don't have? Does the wage-slave (who works just as hard as you) in China or India (or America) deserve to work for $2 a day making your cheap goods? Does the starving African deserve to go hungry because the fields are full of your coffee? Does a child born into hopeless poverty not deserve the life-long advantages you've had?

Are you and you alone responsible for your 'success'?

frizzyperm | Student

"Some of the accusations and name calling is so far from being inteligent that I wonder." baclrh2o

Apart from criticising 'name-calling' and still managing to label people you disagree with as not 'inteligent' in the same sentence, your post was... zzzzzzzz...

baclrh2o | Student

Is the level of reaction to Obama's health plans racist?

Good Question. Well, Bush was the most incompetent, aggresive president in generations, who wrecked global stability and shattered the world economy... and the American public voted for him twice.

Now, Obama is trying to make healthcare more fair for all, (he may be misguided, but that is what he is trying to do) and millions of people start screaming that he is a "Nazi" and that "they" want "their" country back. Back from whom?

You betcha it's racist. Not all the opposition to his reforms is racist, but there is a huge and unpleasant upsurge of hatred for him that is not justified by the issue of healthcare. There is lots of racism in America. Obama is the most serious and talented president we have had in decades, but there seems to be an illogical mistrust of him. That illogical mistrust is called racism. The same undeucated people who worshipped the useless Bush, won't trust the talented Obama... because he isn't white. 

 

Are you for real? Its so hard to tell in your post if you are serious or not. Some of the accusations and name calling is so far from being inteligent that I wonder.

I am going to just assume that you were kidding, it will help me sleep better tonight knowing that you really don't preach that others let alone students.

 

:)  "worshiped useless Bush, won't trust the talented Obama....zzzzzzzzz...........

(Sorry to any if it is not appropriate to respond like this here, but this is just too much to let go)

 

frizzyperm | Student

Never been to Iraq. But I spent 9 months teaching in Syria in 2005. I chatted with several Iraqi refugees in the coffee shops. And you? When did you last leave Palookaville? By the way, nice logic jump from my statement that "The war in Iraq is illegal" to, therefore, "You support Hitler and Saddam". I can't argue with brain-power like that.

And Bush cast serious and long-term dishonour on America, not me, ably helped by his second-term voters . You did it all by yourselves, I merely watched in abject horror. Only a backwoods potato-head tries to suggest that criticising America is unpatriotic. Whereas, supporting an anti-demoractic, war-mongerer like GW, that's seriously unpatriotic.

"I can't run no more, with this same old crowd,

While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud." Leonard Cohen

aquamarine5551 | Student

 I don't recall Bush killing thousands of innocent people in dozens of countries in the name of God.  - Aquamarine

I'm guessing you haven't bought a newspaper since 2002 then.

I do remember that post 9/11, we've kept the conflict in the right place, their backyard and not ours. - Aquamarine

If we're talking about unconcious racism, I'd say that comment may well be borderline. It is certainly 100% ignorant and obnoxious. How is Iraq 'the terrorist's backyard'? How is Iraq responsible for 9/11? (The 9/11 terrorists were Saudi, a country whose oil George Bush remained VERY loyal to) The respectable estimates for civilian deaths in Iraq range between 100,000 and 600,000, mostly civilians, mostly killed by the American military.

Your lack of awareness of the regional situation is the reason for your hugely simplistic comments. Apart from anything else, 9/11 was not unprovoked. America's 50 years of support for disgusting oil-rich dictatorships (such as Saudi Arabia) infuriated many Arabs. (and then of course there's the whole tangled mess of Israel)

Racism is not the only malady that causes blindness. But it is one of the major ones.

Dearest Frizzy, Which paper were you reading that stated we engaged in a conflict in the name of God and justified our behavior for killing non-believers? And the only obnoxious thing about this exchange are the egregious data you use in an effort to cast insidious dishonor on our Nation. I suspect you admired Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler and regret their regimes' destruction. For me, I say democracy anywhere is better than any theocracy or dictatorship; alas, the price is that we put up with your persiflage in the name of free speech. That simplistic enough for you? And oh, by the way, when were you last in Iraq?

frizzyperm | Student

 I don't recall Bush killing thousands of innocent people in dozens of countries in the name of God.  - Aquamarine

I'm guessing you haven't bought a newspaper since 2002 then.

I do remember that post 9/11, we've kept the conflict in the right place, their backyard and not ours. - Aquamarine

If we're talking about unconcious racism, I'd say that comment may well be borderline. It is certainly 100% ignorant and obnoxious. How is Iraq 'the terrorist's backyard'? How is Iraq responsible for 9/11? (The 9/11 terrorists were Saudi, a country whose oil George Bush remained VERY loyal to) The respectable estimates for civilian deaths in Iraq range between 100,000 and 600,000, mostly civilians, mostly killed by the American military.

Your lack of awareness of the regional situation is the reason for your hugely simplistic comments. Apart from anything else, 9/11 was not unprovoked. America's 50 years of support for disgusting oil-rich dictatorships (such as Saudi Arabia) infuriated many Arabs. (and then of course there's the whole tangled mess of Israel)

Racism is not the only malady that causes blindness. But it is one of the major ones.

aquamarine5551 | Student

Is the level of reaction to Obama's health plans racist?

Good Question. Well, Bush was the most incompetent, aggresive president in generations, who wrecked global stability and shattered the world economy... and the American public voted for him twice.

Now, Obama is trying to make healthcare more fair for all, (he may be misguided, but that is what he is trying to do) and millions of people start screaming that he is a "Nazi" and that "they" want "their" country back. Back from whom?

You betcha it's racist. Not all the opposition to his reforms is racist, but there is a huge and unpleasant upsurge of hatred for him that is not justified by the issue of healthcare. There is lots of racism in America. Obama is the most serious and talented president we have had in decades, but there seems to be an illogical mistrust of him. That illogical mistrust is called racism. The same undeucated people who worshipped the useless Bush, won't trust the talented Obama... because he isn't white. 

 

Illogical mistrust? Exactly why is Obama "the most serious and talented president?" What program, other than getting himself elected and making people believe in him, has he ever seen to fruition? What government program, other than national defense, has ever been efficient and effective? Amtrac? Medicare? Social Security? Why should anyone believe Obama can do what has not ever been done; rather, he will do what has been done far too much -- take from the haves and give to the have-nots; for no other reason to get elected again.

And as far as Bush wrecking global stability, I think Islamic extremism was the culprit there. I don't recall Bush killing thousand of innocent people in dozens of countries in the name of God. I do remember that post 9/11, we've kept the conflict in the right place, their backyard and not ours. And do recall that people who never participated in a democracy now are. Racism is not the only malady that causes blindness.

krishna-agrawala | Student

We are so fond of claiming that racism and other discriminatory practices based on considerations such as religion, cast, and sex do not exist precisely because these do exist and we are ashamed of its existence. Frequently, people quote the existence of laws against discrimination to claim that racism does not exist. But these laws are needed precisely because people naturally tend to be prejudiced based on these consideration and therefore act and talk in discriminating way.

Laws do help to keep the discriminatory practices in control, but they do not necessarily change the feeling and prejudices of the people.

The biggest proof of existence of such prejudices even for a person in the position of the President of USA, is the extent of debate that is going on to prove or disprove presence of racial prejudices on so many issues in which President Obama is involved.

elfgirl | Student

Is the level of reaction to Obama's health plans racist?

Good Question. Well, Bush was the most incompetent, aggresive president in generations, who wrecked global stability and shattered the world economy... and the American public voted for him twice.

Now, Obama is trying to make healthcare more fair for all, (he may be misguided, but that is what he is trying to do) and millions of people start screaming that he is a "Nazi" and that "they" want "their" country back. Back from whom?

You betcha it's racist. Not all the opposition to his reforms is racist, but there is a huge and unpleasant upsurge of hatred for him that is not justified by the issue of healthcare. There is lots of racism in America. Obama is the most serious and talented president we have had in decades, but there seems to be an illogical mistrust of him. That illogical mistrust is called racism. The same undeucated people who worshipped the useless Bush, won't trust the talented Obama... because he isn't white. 

 

frizzyperm | Student

Good question. It is a sad truth that every society has a high degree of racism. Racism has statistically been proved to be predominant in people of lower intelligence.

To answer your question... yes, many racists do not actually believe they are racist. Here's a true example...

I was once a teacher in Hungary. I am not Hungarian. But I am white. In a discussion group, one of my students made a long anti-immigration speech about keeping Hungary for Hungarians. She repeatedly insisted she was not racist. She said she was only being reasonable and practical. (the point is... my student had completely failed to catergorise me as an immigrant.). She was unwittingly making a 'no immigrants' speech to an immigrant. She gave lots of 'sensible' reasons why immigration to Hungary is a bad thing.

When she finished speaking, I waited a long time, looking at her, and then said, "Should I go to the airport and fly home?" She was puzzled. Then, suddenly, she realised I an immigrant. She was absolutely mortified. She begged, without any hesitation, "No, no, no, no, I didn't mean you."

Uh huh... Of course you didn't mean me, sweetheart. You meant Ni..., Chi... and Pak... , didn't you? In your head, only non-white people are immigrants, aren't they?

Her "political theories" were just a pathetic veneer of rationalisation to make her feel civilised. Underneath, she was a stupid mindless racist. But she truly believed she wasn't.

aquamarine5551 | Student

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.

In fact, Thomas Sowell has aptly articulated the Republican position on race. The fact that that position remains out of the mainstream is the most telling feature of today's politics.

aquamarine5551 | Student

Blatant racism is rare today, though certainly apparent in some opposition to the President's ideas. To categorize the anger against the President's policies as "racist" in nature is merely an act of throwing in the red herring to obfuscate the true issue at hand: growth of government. What has always angered Americans from the start of the American psyche is efforts to curtail our freedoms. The growth of government equates to fewer individual freedoms and this is at the heart of the anger. The current retelling of Aesop's fable about the ant and the grasshopper is poignant in this issue: in the new version, the hungry grasshopper holds a press conference and demeans the ant for hording the goods and being heartless. The government intervenes and forces the ant to share his food with the grasshopper. Understand that at some point, the ants will either rise up or, as Ayn Rand foretells in Atlas Shrugged, they will migrate (note the brain drain from India to the US).