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Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

September 23rd, 2009 . by TexasFred

Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As an African American son of the South, I grew up in a time and place where you didn’t have to divine intent or deconstruct code words to find racism. When it raised its ugly head, it was like a blunt instrument waved in your face to keep you in your place. It was as unmistakable as it was demeaning.

Unfortunately, with political waters getting rough for the first time for our president, his supporters are quick to latch on to the actions of a fringe element and ignore the racial transformation this country has made to take us back to an era in which opposition to a black man was about the color of his skin and not the content of his ideas.

Former President Jimmy Carter recently asserted that there is a “belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” Absurd on its face — after all, Obama wouldn’t have been elected without tremendous support from white voters — this statement is not damaging because it is a false observation, but it stigmatizes the discussion about race relations.

When someone of public prominence carelessly and callously demeans the motives of millions of honest Americans as racists when they are simply concerned about policy ramifications of the president’s agenda, we stop hearing each other.

How can the president win over critics when critics are so unfairly stigmatized by such a personal attack on their character? You can hear the conversation around dinner tables and social gatherings: “If we disagree with Obama, the liberals think we are a bunch of racists.” This truly hampers the effort to find common ground.

Furthermore, stigmatizing honest opposition as racist appears to be a way of not answering legitimate questions about policy reform. I oppose the president’s health care plan because it will explode the deficit, allow further government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and continue to insulate health care consumers from the true cost of their care.

The president and his allies should explain why my concerns are misplaced. But by attacking the character of their critics, they don’t have to answer their charges or win the debate over policy differences, because the charge of “racist” is the nuclear option. Once it is launched, there is no need for conventional warfare in the political sense: winning and losing on the merit of policy.

What grieves me most, however, is not that false cries of racism short-circuit our debate, but that it makes legitimate concern about pockets of racism impossible to hear among the majority of Americans where it truly exists. Racism still exists in America today — on both sides of the political spectrum. Now it will be that much harder to expose because the real cry will be impossible to distinguish from the false one, much like the boy who cried wolf. Racism exists, but so does opportunity, and I can personally attest to the fact that there is far more opportunity than racism.

We have rid our institutions of government of the practice of discrimination. If only we could rid our political discourse of the ugliness that ensues when we ascribe discriminatory motive to statements with no obvious discriminatory aspect. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd couldn’t help hearing a missing word in U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s speech to Congress. The congressman yelled, “You lie.” Dowd couldn’t help hearing, “You lie, boy.”

Though Wilson started a fire, Dowd poured fuel on it. The greater ugliness is not the inappropriate outburst, but Dowd intentionally injecting a word loaded with a history of racial condescension to label a whole movement of opposition.

I have a suggestion for future discourse. Let’s leave race out of the debate unless someone clearly raises it as the rationale for their position on an issue. Instead, let’s stick to the substance of the argument for the good of the American people.

The fact is, I can disagree with my president based on the politics of ideas instead of the politics of identity, and so can millions of Americans. When liberals seek to change the debate from the content of reforms to the character of their opposition, it smacks of desperation. And it makes me wonder if they have forgotten what real racism is like.

I appreciate Obama’s response to this controversy, but he has missed an opportunity to disavow his supporters. They are taking this country back to an uglier time and place when so many of us want to move forward.

Williams is a member of the Texas Railroad Commission and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist

With ANY luck at all, Michael Williams WILL be the next Senator from Texas, and I am one proud Texan that DOES support Michael Williams and I would be proud to stand with him, any day, any time, any place!

The above op/ed by Michael Williams is re-posted here, in it’s entirety, with the full permission of the Williams for Senate Campaign. Michael Williams for United States Senate

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13 Responses to “Opposing the president doesn’t make you a racist”

  1. comment number 1 by: rwehousewife

    I am also a child of the deep south. I am sometimes guilty of having pre-concieved notions according to race. I recognize it when I do it. I’m intelligent enough to make the distinction between my own biases and a deep feeling of dread concerning the present administration due to their socialist leanings. The fact that they are socialists makes me want to speak out for my country. I don’t care if they are black, white, brown, or purple polka dotted. Unfortunately the libtards aren’t intelligent enough to make those distinctions.

  2. comment number 2 by: TexasFred

    There is only one point of contention in this Op/Ed from Michael Williams as far as I am concerned.

    As an African American son of the South

    The use of the term African American.

    I don’t like that designation, being used by a Black person, or when used by anyone else to describe a black person.

    I believe that Lloyd Marcus has it right when he says, “Hello my fellow patriots! I am NOT an African-American! I am Lloyd Marcus, AMERICAN!�

    Black Tea Party Express Tour Team Member Experiences Racism

  3. comment number 3 by: Vigilante

    Yes Sir Fred, I agree 100% with the culmination of that African-American bullshit. They should ban those same words along with the “N” word. We are supposed to be a “melting pot” and when something melts it mixes with other ingredients. Same should apply to people. We’re all Americans and the place they should start teaching that is in our schools and at homes BEFORE they start school. The next place we should start is in our government. Screw the republicans/democrats/independents, etc, etc.. Why not just have representatives elected by the people /for the people? What the hell would be wrong with having a government where EVERYBODY works hand in hand for the good of OUR nation instead of fighting across PARTY lines?? I for one am sick to death of the squabbling and voting for the party instead of a persons principles. I’m tired of watching day after day the squabbling while nothing gets done,
    and then they take recesses for 30 days, only to come back and continue MORE squabbling.

    It’s time to end this shit. I feel better now, I’ll get off the box.

  4. comment number 4 by: TexasFred

    “Hyphenated Americanism” Speech – Excerpts

    “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

    The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic. The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

    For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American, or an English-American, is to be a traitor to American institutions; and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic.

    Read it all here:
    Theodore Roosevelt’s “Hyphenated Americanism” Speech, 1915

  5. comment number 5 by: Right Truth

    The politicians are partly to blame for this hyphenated Americanism. They change their message and patronize the different groups, emphasizing not their Americanism, but their history. We all have ancestry that comes from somewhere else in this great world, but now we are Americans.

    I can honestly say that I have never been racist. I was born and raised in the South, my father was just a tad racist, my mother didn’t have a racist bone in her body. Each time I heard someone use the term “nigger”, I felt sick. Somehow innately I knew this was wrong. People are People.

  6. comment number 6 by: TexasFred

    Debbie, I was raised in the DEEP SOUTH as well, my high school years were in small town Louisiana, and my folks were racists. Not just a tad, but full blown racists…

    My Dad was the local gunsmith and he had a lot of contacts with people on BOTH sides of the issue, and what I am about to tell you will come as a shock to a few folks, my Dad was one of the ‘Boys in Da Hood’… Yeah, THAT hood…

    Now for the really shocking part, one of his acquaintances, that turned out to be his good friend, and vice versa, was an original Black Panther, and had ceased some, if not ALL of his radical activism, as had my Dad as well…

    Those 2 old guys, I say OLD GUYS, they were about the same age then that I am now, they taught me a hell of a lot about race, race relations and racist words…

    Mr. Glenn, that was his name, and I DID call him MISTER, I had that kind of respect for the man, taught me that there are *niggers* of ALL colors and races. And he told me, “Son, there is NO WAY that you can ever hate a *nigger* the way I do”.

    We had many long talks about race and race relations, Mr. Glenn was the most formative influence in my life regarding race for many years, and to this day, I only use that *N* word to describe the most despicable of individuals, mostly to describe a particular race baiter, FAUX conservative and faux intellectual… He KNOWS who he is… :P

    My Dad and Mr. Glenn neither had their high school diploma, but those 2 old guys had their PhDs in LIFE, and I honestly believe had they been allowed to exert their influence, they could have solved MANY of this nations race problems, and by the way, this was during the late 1960′s… A terrible time for ALL Americans and for race relations in the south…

  7. comment number 7 by: Silver Fox

    Just wrote a nice long comment and somehow lost it. Well here goes again. I’m also a son of the deep south. Racism, is nothing new to me. But that word has a totally different meaning today than it did 50 years ago. I would never, and I repeat never call my father, my grandfather or my great grandfather racism. They had their beliefs and values that suited the time—the time they lived in and were not concerned how they would be viewed some 50 years later. I never and I repeat never judge what people did 50 or 100 years ago by today’s standands and honestly I believe only a fool would do so. Black people are ok with me, but “niggers” I cannot stand. I have a black son-in-law and a 15 year old black grandson. My son-in-law in a strong common sense conservative whose political beliefs mirror mine and my grandson is a rare teen-ager who actually listens when an adult speaks(oh yes, he dislikes Obama). My grandfather and great grandfather were members of the klan and I would never hold that against them. I know why the Klan was formed and it was far more political than racial as many would have you believe—some in the Klan went off the rails, but others did not. That is too long and complicated a story to go into here however. I have many, many black friends and some visit my home, I also know many “niggers” and recognize them when I meet them. The difference is staggering. Those on the political left in this country play to the “nigger” and not to the black man and herein lies the rub.

  8. comment number 8 by: BobF

    I think the Hyphenated Americans thing was kept alive by Democrats to ensure different nationalities and races would stay divided. If they can keep Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians thinking of themselves as hyphenated, they can control them by making them believe they’re being discriminated against and Democrats are they’re only salvation. When Teddy Roosevelt made his speech, he was addressing a group of Italians who Hyphenated themselves, along with the other nationalities. You’ll notice that Americans who have ancestors which came from Europe no longer hyphenate themselves; they listened to Teddy. When Blacks and Hispanics look at themselves as Americans of the United States, they’ll dump the Democrat Party and lean more conservative because they’ll look at this nation as a whole instead of just the little part of it that centers around their ethnicity.

  9. comment number 9 by: TexasFred

    Ya know, I may not have as many comment makers as some sites, but I have to say this, I have the most intelligent comment makers on the ‘net! :P

    You folks really are the very best!

  10. comment number 10 by: Silver Fox

    Fred, I must say I’ve noticed this too. It was a good day when I began to come to your site. I look forward each day to your post and the comments that follow—most are stimulating and somewhat thought provoking.

  11. comment number 11 by: HoosierArmyMom

    That is one of the most logical, well said statements on the dynamics behind the “racist label” I have read. Absolutely awesome. I hope Mr. Williams is successful in his bid for Congress. He would make the kind of representative the people of Texas need and deserve.

  12. comment number 12 by: Always On Watch

    his supporters are quick to latch on to the actions of a fringe element and ignore the racial transformation this country has made to take us back to an era in which opposition to a black man was about the color of his skin and not the content of his ideas

    Even before BHO was elected, I feared this development. When I ran the idea I had by several of my friends, they scoffed.

    Well, they’re not scoffing now!

    BHO is setting back race relations in the United States. Period.

  13. comment number 13 by: Always On Watch

    Texas Fred,
    Off topic….Thanks for your prayers the past week.

    This is one terrible ride in my personal life right now.

    This morning, I put up a few specific prayers requests in the comments section at my top post, “Pressed for Time.”