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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Look Who's Calling Obama Racist)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:
Cornel West is Professor of Religion and African American studies at Princeton University.

West left Harvard University in 2002 amid controversy, with accusations of racism and inadequate scholarship flying around.  The who's who and what's what of that tempest are not of much interest to me.

What is of interest to me is that West recently appeared on the Democracy Now program, and leveled a charge of "racism in effect" against Barack Obama (emphasis mine):
CORNEL WEST: Well, first I just want to say hello to my dear sister Amy, and I hope you’re staying strong, I hope you’re staying strong. No, I think Kanye West was actually right [that George W. Bush did not care about Black people], but we have to make a distinction between being racist in motivation and intention versus racist in effect and consequence. All you need to do is look at the history of the Bush administration and you will see policies that, in effect and consequence, generated levels of social misery among poor people, brown people, red people, but especially among working-class and poor people. So this is an important point. Now, if Kanye West had said he doesn’t care about the black poor, the evidence is overwhelming. But I think what happened was that President Bush understood this and individualistic way, which is the way most fellow Americans understand racism: "Do I actually hate black people individually?" No, I don’t think President Bush individually hates black people. His policies were racist in effect and consequence and especially classist in terms of generating misery among poor and working people, disproportionately black and brown.

CORNEL WEST: And I would say that even about the Obama administration. The Obama administration seems to have very little concern about poor people and their social misery. Look at the policies vis-à-vis Wall Street downplaying Main Street. Look at the policies of black farmers, a settlement already in place but they don’t want to executed because they don’t want to be associated with black folk too explicitly. Look at the dilapidated housing. We can go across the board. Look at the New Jim Crow system: the Prison Industrial Complex. We’re not talking just about individual presidents. We’re talking about a system that is tilted against poor people, against working people, disproportionately black and brown and red.

The statement that Obama's policies are "racist in effect" caused a stir in a segment of the blogosphere, but received no mainstream media and little mainstream left-wing blogosphere attention (the sole exception being Firedoglake).

One author at The Hinterland Gazette, who describes himself as a "black centrist," noted the political problem of Obama's policies being equated to Bush's policies:
So, on one hand we have Republicans like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Mike Savage, Laura Ingraham and many others, feel President Obama is prejudiced against white people. Now we have Cornel West accusing him of being prejudiced against blacks. Er, Houston, we have a problem.
Another author, at Rolling Out.com, called it a "bombshell":
The small trickle of blacks speaking out against the policies of President Barack Obama is beginning to resemble something more along the lines of a steady stream. The latest “supporter” to speak out against the president is author and noted speaker Dr. Cornel West.... One can only wonder if the president will respond to the assertions put forth by Dr. West and how this will affect his support among blacks in 2012. This story is far from over …
Wayne Hodges writing in the Topeka Democrat Examiner, took exception to the accuracy of West's charges but noted the impact:
Keep in mind: West and Obama were supposed to be good friends. So, I’m totally shocked by the outburst.
That said, West’s opinion shouldn’t be discounted. The animated rascal sits on the executive boards of several prestigious organizations such as the National Parenting Association, the Fund for Community Leadership Development, Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble and International Bridges to Justice.

West certainly has clout, no doubt.
West did not always go so far as to call Obama's policies racist.  In an February 2010 interview, West refused to go there:
Kathleen Wells: You're saying this is a concerted effort, an explicit decision on the part of his administration, to exclude the interests of black Americans?
Dr. Cornel West: No, not to exclude, to downplay and to marginalize. We're not talking about exclusion. He's not a racist. You know what I mean? No, it's not exclusion; it's to downplay and marginalize.
Something has changed.

The person whose supporters so effectively played the race card against the Clintons and all subsequent opponents real and imagined, now is having the race card played on him.  By his own supporters.

The fall of an American Caesar, or left-wing race politics feeding on its own, or both?

Related Posts:
Race Card Cockroach Survived Democrats' Nuclear Winter
"Race" As Political Weapon
An Alergic Reaction To The Race Card

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  1. "The fall of an American Caesar, or left-wing race politics feeding on its own, or both?"

    I vote "both."

  2. The race-baiters are so bereft of conscience and so lacking in anything "real" in terms of racism that they have to make $#!7 up. And that's all this is. Because there is no actual intent, it is still racism "in effect". Really?

    Professor: If someone is unintentionally killed in an auto accident that is, a truly random event, is the person who caused the accident guilty of murder "in effect"? It absurd.

  3. 1. West says, We’re talking about a system that is tilted against poor people, against working people, disproportionately black and brown and red.

    As usual, no mention of the success of Asian-Americans.

    2. Golly, and here I thought Obama would have all the inner-city black kids hitting the books so they could get those Rhodes Scholarships.

    3. Seriously, per the post, it was always unlikely that the grievance industry would give up its most effective asset, the race card.

    4. How long before the word goes forth that Obama is not authentically African-American?

  4. "4. How long before the word goes forth that
    Obama is not authentically African-American?"

    It went out before he was elected. But the people who said it then were racist. When Kanye says it, it will be because it's true.

  5. "As usual, no mention of the success of Asian-Americans."

    Of of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean.

    Might I suggest that the problem West has is that he is not "anti-racist" so much as a "black supremacist" (or possibly, he just hates "whites")? Policies which do not specifically and explicitly favor "blacks" are to him, "racist". It doesn't matter who is actually elected, or the actual content of the policies; anything but a dictatorship of the "black proletariat" is unacceptably "racist" to him.

  6. If "racist in effect" were truly an indefensible wrong, and every statist believed so honestly, fully, and completely, we could dismantle so much of the federal government and state government.

    If it's only "racist in its effect against those of high levels of melanin" then nevermind.

  7. I think this says a lot more about Cornel West than it does Obama or Bush.

  8. You have to understand the code words -- what the ideologues on the left call "dog whistles."

    To Cornel West, the words "racist" and "non-communist" are synonyms.

  9. As usual, no mention of the success of Asian-Americans.
    That would require some honesty, introspection and the recognition of the following facts

    A.Asian families whether American or not, place a premium on a good education. We all know that it is our only ticket to a better future.

    B.Asian students on the whole have a stable family environment -something that many people take for granted, but is not available to most African American students.

    Cornell West, BTW is such a trash bag racist.He lives in a time warp where the time is 1961 - forever.

  10. Wow, Cornel West still matters...I didn't know.

  11. Cornell West is a hack posing as an academic. He's the product and prime example of what passes for education in colleges today. His apparent criticism of BO is just another random thought flitting across his malfunctioning social radar. He's lost in the glory days of the '60's. That he EVER taught a class of students should frighten all of us!

    That Obama is some sort or "American Caesar" is a complete misnomer. MacArthur was the only person in the history of this country who can possibly garner that title.

  12. West is a very intelligent guy so it's reasonable to assume that what he's really doing here is attempting to render the word "racism" absolutely meaningless except to indicate that the speaker doesn't like something.

  13. Equality of opportunity vs equality of result.
    Racism of intent vs racism in effect.

    Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

  14. I don't think Cornell West knows what to make of Obama and his administration. But to accuse him of racism is a low blow.

    More to the point, Obama is a huge disappointment to many Americans including Black Americans, but Cornell West can't say that. If he did, he'd be on the same side as his enemies on the "racist" right.

    I think he just wants Obama's attention.

  15. All the Communists want and need the race card for their agenda to move forward; when a Black man plays it against another, it is a political power play. West's ideology may be purely race-based but the real money is in using such tactics to extort power.

    Does West hope to gain some sort of political purchase on national slope of the Hill? Follow his money trail--or decline of same-- to the reason for this new emphasis.

  16. He talks about the "interests of black Americans" as if they all have the same interests. Isn't that some kind of de facto racism itself? This could be like looking down a hall of mirrors.

  17. If racism equates to the amount of misery and marginalization inflicted on a group by an administration's actions then Obama is the most racist president in my lifetime, except for maybe Carter.

  18. His policies were racist in effect and consequence and especially classist in terms of generating misery among poor and working people, disproportionately black and brown.

    A pretty good description of Re-, er, Progressive dependency-producing social policies, starting with the Great Society welfare state that perpetuated poverty among people of color across generations.

  19. Who cares what Cornel West thinks?

  20. Why is it that West, and his "supremacist" ilk, never discuss the acheivements of the Progressive lefts policy of "racial" equality"? Things that really have proven out with all the Great Society programs; like higher test scores/graduation rates, fewer unwed mothers, less abortion, reduced crime in race specific minority neighborhoods, fewer families on welfare, less poverty. Were those not the goals?

    And how has it worked out? Well, we saw how that worked out when generations of minorities sat on their rooftops during a hurricane and expected the federal government to take care of them. We saw the looting, the gangs in the streets in the aftermath of the hurricane, and the demand that the taxpayer pay them for the things that Mother Nature took from them.

    The Progressive left basically instituted a policy of giving a teenager the keys to the car, and the liquor cabinet, and wondering why he had an accident while driving drunk.

    But all this dependency had done one thing, something that FDR knew well; with dependency comes a guaranteed vote, for people will never vote for the guy who vows to take their free ride away, only for the guy who promises to upgrade their ride.

  21. The problem is not Obama per se as much as it is progressivism and or liberalism, whichever you choose to call it. Those policies will continue to keep the poor, POOR and in turn deny those same poor the ability to rise up to the middle class and then the middle class is stagnant and not moving up and are still keeping the jobs that would bring up the poor to the middle class. When liberals stop trying to "fix" the problem, the problems will fix themselves!

  22. The real bottom line here is tha the Democrat party doesn't care about black people because it doesn't have to.

    Black people vote 90% Democrat in every election, so the Democrat party can take them for granted, and chase off after other minorities to keep on the plantation.

    Hence, in the midst of a recession that disproportionally hits black males, the Democrat party returns for a lame duck session and immediately takes up - no, not a jobs bill, but rather a bill (the DREAM act) to regularize the status of illegal (mostly Latino) immigrants.

    If black people would show a bit of voting diversity, they'd get better service from *all* the political parties.

  23. Murgatroyd has it right. To the purveyors of race baiting like West, he uses the word "racist" as a codeword for "insufficiently communist".

    In his universe, accomplishing the herculean task of being born with brown skin entitles one to be a bottomless pit for the collection of welfare and other manifestations of public largesse.

    Doctor King is spinning in his grave at a million revolutions a second. An African-American occupies the White House a mere generation after his death and the spokesmen for their ethnic community still cannot think of anything more useful to do than whine for more welfare and social accomodation.

  24. Cornell West is a black edu-hustler. He has a reputation as a genius but can not write a coherent paragraph.

    He is also lazy; it's why he got in a huff when Harvard President, Larry Summers, suggest he begin DOING SOMETHING to earn his keep at Harvard.

  25. Asian-Americans are generally very successful, therefore they are "effectively" white.

    Thus is the theology of Victimhood maintained.

  26. Barack Hussein Obama II is not the real or authentic black president we have been waiting for meme. See America has yet to elect an African-American to the highest office in the land meme. Or the race card and/or victimhood must carry on meme.

    Despite the 1 million people at the "celebration of America's heroes and heritage," Restoring Honor Rally 8/28/10 with Dr Alveda King bringing our nation together and in prayer for Obama -- a celebration of victory over discrimination -- so that MLK's message of love and equality could be freely released to the world.

    The world needs it still: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/186618/amart-and-prai