This is one white person who understands fully what Barack Obama meant when he called his grandmother typically white because she viewed blacks with suspicion.
Typical white people may still make the difference in this year’s Presidential election and too many of them are still ignorant, racist louts who make judgments based on their own fears and stupidity.
We can preach tolerance until the cows come home but it doesn’t hide the fact that typical white people still do typical things and that includes distrusting blacks.
One has only to look at the reaction of supposedly enlightened white people to understand that typical white racism still guides how they feel about things.
On MSNBC this morning, the network’s political director Chuck Todd said Obama’s comments made him “uneasy.” Morning host Joe Scarborough, the former Congressman known as “ego Joe” on Capitol Hill and who resigned suddenly after an attractive female assistant was found dead in his Florida district office, preaches in his usual sanctimonious style about how Obama is saying things he shouldn’t say.
In a typical political season, candidates shouldn’t talk about race but this is hardly a typical political season. Like it or not, the Democratic race for President is all about race and gender.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has played the race card again and again, using Obama’s relationship with fiery black minister Jeremiah Wright to raise guttural fears among the uneducated rural whites who make up much of her base. Obama’s campaign counters by releasing a photo showing her husband shaking hands with Wright, a move that was both transparent and stupid. Obama’s recent mistakes and decisions raise needed questions about his true beliefs and while he went a long way towards dealing with them in his speech earlier this week he has negated some of that by his actions afterwards and he needs to realize that his former pastor will not go away as a campaign issue.
Jeremiah Wright is as much of a racist as any sheet-wearing Ku Klux Klan follower and Obama should have severed his relationship with the minister a long time ago but racism spills from church pulpits, black and white, and white ministers like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell called the 9/11 attacks “God’s will” because America, in their words, had become a sin-filled nation.
Too many so-called people “of God” use misinterpretation of the Bible to justify racism, intolerance and division, be it a black minister decrying whites or a right-wing white minister calling gays “sinners.” Religious extremism is not limited to Islam-spouting fanatics who blow themselves up in public marketplaces
Hillary Clinton needs the prejudices of typical white people if she has any shot at winning the nomination.
These typical white people will still cross the street when a young black male walks toward them. These typical white people will call blacks “African Americans” in public and “niggers” in private. These typical white people will tell a pollster they might vote for a black man for President but they go into the voting booth and pull the lever for the lilly-white candidate.
Yes, Barack Obama’s grandmother was a “typical white person” from an era when whites needed to feel superior to blacks in order to deal with their fear, ignorance and prejudice.
The racism that influenced his grandmother and other typical white people of her generation should have died a long time ago but, unfortunately, it lives on today with other typical white people and without them, Hillary Clinton and others who use racism to advance their political ambitions would be a historical footnote instead of contenders for the Presidency of the United States.