Some conservatives who should know better legitimize racist attacks on Obama

Like most Americans, I was encouraged about race relations in America when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. At first, I wasn’t especially surprised at the racist invective that emanated from some quarters at the specter of a black man in the White House. A certain amount of that kind of thing was predictable, I told myself. But, as time has passed, I’ve been shocked and disappointed at the extent to which presumably respectable conservatives have responded with silence, if not actual assent, to the racial bigotry aimed at our twice-elected 44th president. Norman Ornstein, a prominent political scientist of no particular partisan bias, touches on this matter in THIS ESSAY: Over time, the hostility toward Obama grew dramatically, and so did racist statements. Actually, it did not take very long. One year into his presidency, ABC News catalogued an array of racially tinged and overly racist statements of actions against Obama. They came from election and party officials and media figures, including Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. In the years since, the number of prominent figures using race as a wedge only grew. They include a New Hampshire police commissioner using the “N” word to refer to the president, a Montana federal district judge sending racist emails, and many others. Most troubling is that some of the most loathsome comments have been enabled and legitimized. When Ted Nugent called the president of the United States a “subhuman mongrel” at an event for Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott—a term CNN’s Wolf Blitzer noted was used by the Nazis to justify the extermination of Jews — he generated a firestorm of criticism. But before long, this incendiary and hateful figure was back on the campaign trail with Abbott, now governor-elect. And Colorado Senate candidate Tom Tancredo excitedly announced that he had gotten Nugent to contribute one of his assault weapons for Tancredo to auction off to help finance his campaign. When Ann Coulter [above] referred to the black president as a “monkey” for Vladimir Putin — one of the most vile terms to apply to an African American, a term that, when used without malice by the late Howard Cosell to refer to a football player, resulted in massive criticism and ultimate removal from “Monday Night Football”—Fox News host Sean Hannity was taken aback, albeit in a bemused way, and offered Coulter a chance to rephrase. She refused. Many conservatives criticized her for the remarks, but she was right back on Hannity’s TV and radio shows without any hiatus or punishment.      ...

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Some right-wingers love to cite the role of Democrats in the segregationist South of yore

Every once in a while, I get a comment on my blog from some conservative who thinks a clever point is made by recalling the days when the Democratic Party was dominated to a certain extent by Southern segregationists. Such comments seem oblivious to the fact that the Democrats long ago cut their ties with segregationists. When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he privately said to an aide: “We have lost the South for a generation.” LBJ’s prediction was borne out in part by the extent to which the Democratic and Republican parties gradually traded places on matters of race and states’ rights. The GOP, which once had a healthy moderate-liberal wing, long ago adopted the so-called Southern strategy and now finds itself reduced to mostly a Southern party. Remember, it wasn’t for nothing that Strom Thurmond and so many of his fellow segregationists switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. By the same token, does anybody seriously think that Abe Lincoln would feel at home in today’s GOP? All of this comes to mind with a right-wing magazine’s publication this week of a column highlighting the Democratic Party’s past support of racial segregation. But that same magazine also supported Southern segregationism back in the day. Can you say “hypocrisy,” boys and girls? The story is HERE....

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Redskins trademark voided because it’s a racist slur

A certain National Football League franchise has suffered a MAJOR DEFEAT on the field of fair play: The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.” The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed. “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath. Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word...

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Wingnut media say young-uns shouldn’t take Grandpa to task for his racism

First Lady Michelle Obama gave a commencement address the other day in which she suggested to the high school graduates that they diplomatically take issue with the racist remarks they might hear from family elders. Well, of course, that advice was just too much for certain operators of the right-wing noise machine. Steve M. REPORTS on the...

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Survey: Most young Americans simply don’t understand racism

MTV, the youth-oriented cable network, has commissioned surveys of a nationally representative sample of people ages 14 to 24, the so-called millennial generation,  to measure how young people are “experiencing, affected by, and responding to issues associated with bias.” Jamelle Bouie summarizes the results HERE: Overall, MTV confirms the general view of millennials: Compared with previous generations, they’re more tolerant and diverse and profess a deeper commitment to equality and fairness. At the same time, however, they’re committed to an ideal of colorblindness that leaves them uncomfortable with race, opposed to measures to reduce racial inequality, and a bit confused about what racism is. For this reason, perhaps, a majority of millennials say that their generation is “post-racial.” Seventy-two percent believe their generation believes in equality more than older people, and 58 percent believe that as they get older, racism will become less of an issue. It’s almost certainly true that this view is influenced by the presence of President Obama. Sixty-two percent believe that having a black president shows that minorities have the same opportunities as whites, and 67 percent believe it proves that race is not a “barrier to accomplishments.” It’s no surprise, then, that most millennials aspire to “colorblindness.” Sixty-eight percent say “focusing on race prevents society from becoming colorblind.” As such, millennials are hostile to race-based affirmative action: 88 percent believe racial preferences are unfair as a matter of course, and 70 percent believe they are unfair regardless of “historical inequalities.” Interestingly, the difference between whites and people of color is nonexistent on the first question and small (74 percent versus 65 percent) on the second. But this might look different if you disaggregated “people of color” by race. There’s a chance that black millennials are more friendly to affirmative action than their Latino or Asian peers....

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