Sunday, April 10, 2016

Politics and America's "race problem".

Image result for don't renig Obama imagesTonight I feature an essay by Sam Fulwood III, which addresses racism and politics in America.

"After a career spent cataloguing and commenting on the American political scene—nearly 30 years as a newspaper journalist and, more recently, as a public policy observer—I am rarely personally offended by anything that politicians say or do.

But recently, two news stories exposed a level of political mendacity that set my heart racing and blood boiling.

Even now, my anger has yet to abate after reading journalist Dan Baum’s April cover story in Harper’s Magazine. In that article, Baum quoted John Ehrlichman—a former aide to President Richard Nixon who served a year and half prison sentence for his role in the Watergate scandal—as saying the Nixon administration’s war on drugs campaign was deliberately designed to target black Americans.

According to the story, in 1994 Ehrlichman told Baum that—as Nixon’s chief domestic adviser—he was aware that the administration was aiming to vilify black Americans by focusing the war on drugs in black communities. As Baum recalled:
“You want to know what this was really all about?” [Ehrlichman] asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.  
“Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
In a second maddening story, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) delivered a speech to a room full of interns in which he offered a mea culpa for his repeated comments vilifying poor people—or, as Ryan put it:
There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong.
“Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

These two stories, ostensibly unrelated, illustrate in bold strokes why the United States continues to suffer from a so-called race problem. And they help explain why so many people deny the root causes of contemporary and systemic racism—or even that racism exists at all.

Indeed, for a great number of Americans, the idea of racism is an objectionable act: Sending out offensive fliers on college campuses or firing an employee based on her race. Those are simple, easy-to-see cases. And though they are highly offensive to fair-minded people, they have also become relatively rare.

But the much more common yet harder-to-define forms of racism are invisibly embedded in our national culture, so subtly ingrained as to go unnoticed—to the extent that anyone who points them out is cast as a societal outlier or, worse, labeled a reverse racist for noticing what is occurring around them.

And that is why I am so outraged by what Erhlichman—who died in 1999—is reported to have said and done; ditto for Speaker Ryan’s too-late-for-me apologia. By spreading lies about black and economically distressed Americans, these public officials infected our national culture with vile catchphrases, imagery and attitudes that allowed others to propose, support and enact policies with real and damaging consequences.

This is how systemic racism lives, breeds and thrives.

To be specific, Nixon’s war on drugs pushed such measures as mandatory minimum sentencing laws; no-knock raid warrants; and more harsh law enforcement measures that were used disproportionately against black Americans.

And the makers versus takers rhetoric that Speaker Ryan popularized as a Tea Party darling during his 2012 vice presidential campaign is still a part of the conservative rants.

As The Atlantic ’s Derek Thompson pointed out, Speaker Ryan’s sweet words are not matched by sweeter policy prescriptions.
His penance has not been matched by a broader effort to change the substance beneath the words,” Thompson wrote in reaction to Ryan’s speech. “For years, he has put forth a budget that would provide the largest tax cuts in history for the wealthy while gutting income support and health care assistance for the middle-class and poor.
There really is something odious and damaging to the country’s culture when conservative leaders advance their careers and policies by denigrating black and poor people. Worse of all, the conflation of racism and privilege allows them to do so without bearing an appropriate reputational penalty or diminishing their standing in society.

Politics ain’t beanbag. I do understand how the game is played—which is to say that it usually does not bother me to hear political leaders pander to supportive audiences. But sometimes their hurtful words are more than sounds in the air. Sometimes they lie, and these lies cling to our culture, changing the way common folk think and react. Sometimes they knowingly harm wide swaths of our citizenry. That’s outrageously maddening and beyond the pale of politics that I can stomach.

Sam Fulwood III is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and director of the CAP Leadership Institute. His work with the Center’s Progress 2050 project examines the impact of policies on the nation when there will be no clear racial or ethnic majority by the year 2050." [Source]

Thoughts?

*Pic from youtube.com



35 comments:

The Ministry of Truth said...

My only thought is that, as indicated in this story, if Paul Ryan's lips are moving, he's lying.

His budgetary math never adds up.

His concern for the poor and minorities is phony -- he still holds that "makers and takers" view of economics, he still thinks the "urban male" is lazy and worthless, despite his meaningless apology. He has not changed. He's just marketing himself a bit differently.

He's simply a standard mouthpiece for the greedy rich. End of story.

Anonymous said...

All people, regardless of religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation have a better chance of succeeding in this country than any other country. Equality was never promised in America nor should it be, only equal opportunity.

The Ministry of Truth said...

I take it back. I have one additional thought, which is: What the hell happened to Milwaukee? That town seems to have spiraled downhill and become one of the most screwed-up, right-wing, racist hellholes outside the Deep South.

Milwaukee proper is one of the most racially segregated cities in America, and the whole area in and around Milwaukee has spawned some completely awful wingnut politicians:

Congressman Paul Ryan (racist and Ayn Rand-worshipping nut job)
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (anti-immigrant nutjob)
Congressman Glenn Grothman (all-around nutjob)
Governor Scott Walker (Koch brother disciple and union-busting nutjob)

Wisconsin used to have moderate, middle-of-the-road political views. Not anymore -- at least, not in the Milwaukee area, new home of demented froot loops.

dinthebeast said...

The drug war has always been a fraud, and I've watched a couple of good friends get murdered over it.
Paul Ryan has always been a fraud, also. He has been treated as the smart, reasonable, conservative by the media, mostly because the both-siderists who work there really want, no really need there to be one in office somewhere to prop up their false-equivalence claptrap and protect their own job security. The truth is that his numbers have never added up, the budgets he has proposed are obscenities that would never work, and do unbelievable damage to the country. He hates the fact that Atlas Shrugged is fiction. The idea of him getting nominated at a contested convention, while improbable, scares the shit out of me.

-Doug in Oakland

The Ministry of Truth said...

All true, Doug, except I can't agree with the last bit.

I would normally find Paul Ryan as the nominee horrifying -- except that at this point, parachuting him in as a Trump replacement would result in the instant annihilation of the Republican Party, which could only make me ecstatic.

Yes, Paul Ryan is a bigot, but he's not the right kind of bigot for the Trumpkins. He won't stand up there on a podium and say Klan-worthy, Nazi-esque stuff. He won't promise to load all the darkies onto a barge and push it into the Atlantic. His level of bigotry doesn't suffice anymore.

And he didn't even run for president at all, so if the party establishment think they can just swap him in at the last moment, ignoring all of Trump's voters, well ... the results will be (awesomely) catastrophic.

dinthebeast said...

What scares me about him is that he is marginally more presentable than Cruz or Trump, has already been on the ticket in 2012, and between the insane amount of money that would back him and the voter suppression efforts underway in the aftermath of the supremes gutting the voting rights act, he stands an admittedly small, but nonzero chance in the general. I don't think they can get away with swapping him in at the convention, but I also didn't think they could get away with stopping the Florida recount in 2000...

-Doug in Oakland

StillaPanther2 said...

Equality was never considered, but- intentionally ensuring guaranteed outcomes has been the thumb on the scales. It is important for the majority to have the Charles Barkelys and other "oneisms" to keep their programs of ensured inequalities moving forward.

The Shadow Knows... said...

"There really is something odious and damaging to the country’s culture when [Racial Junkies, such as the James Bolds of the world] advance their [self-worth, and sense of superiority at the expense of blacks] by denigrating black and poor people. Worse of all, the conflation of racism and privilege allows them to do so without bearing an appropriate reputational penalty or diminishing their standing in society [although my mission on this blog is to eliminate that "privilege"]."

ThatDeborshGirl said...

You only have to look at the comments by racist posters here to see just how true it is that the racism of public policy quickly becomes the "truth" that they use to form all their stereotypes and insults.

Even before the Trump train rolled through, I think it would be pretty easy to draw a timeline of racist comments and tie it directly to not only the candidates running, but whatever racist dogwhistles (a term I hate) were most popular on FOX at the time.

field negro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
field negro said...

How can we have "equal opportunity" if we are not all considered equal.

That logic is a bit flawed.

Great comments between Doug and TMOT.

Deborah Girl, this is why it's good to sometimes give these folks a forum. We need to know what we are dealing with in this country.

Frank Drackman said...

So why didn't the Evolver in Chief do anything about it when he had a DemoKKKrat Congress his first 2 years...
and it wasn't Nixon who made a special trip back to Ark-n-saw to make sure some retarded Black Dude got electrocuted...

Sam Fullofshit III said...

A second blog post on the fake Ehrlichman quote?

You are really dedicated to your racism fantasies, dude.

Get Real said...

field negro said...
"How can we have "equal opportunity" if we are not all considered equal."
---

We aren't all equal. The idea that that we are, and that any differences in how we do in the world must therefore be due to injustice, is the root of all the dysfunction in our culture.

Equality of opportunity should be a right; equality of outcome necessitates violating that right.

We should all be equal before the law. We should all be treated equally when interacting with other people and institutions. We are all human, and we should all be committed to taking care of one another. But we are not equal in ability or merit.

There is plenty of injustice in this world, but it's not coming from where you think it is.

Time to sack up.

OptimusPrimeX said...

Get Real is correct!

Justice is not the ONLY cure to unequal outcomes, this thinking trivializes the scale of the issue for blacks. Just as thinking reparations alone would make a dent in black on black crime, or graduation rates.

Opportunity is, always has been equal. To realize the opportunity, ACCESS and PREPARATION are the issue.

Access to opportunity has been unequal; access is a governmental issue, which has been addressed as much as the democracy has allowed.

All races generally agree there should be equal access.

Unequal preparation for the opportunity is increasingly a personal responsibility issue.

As a people, we cannot blame someone else for unequal preparation of our children. If we have a 6th grader reading on a 2nd grade level, we blame the schools, the education system, racism. The deficient 6th grader develops into a 12th grade criminal, we blame the justice system, the community, lack of mentors, lack of jobs..etc. All of this with the hope that whites hear our cries.

The failure is in the preparation stage. 12th grader did learn how to be a criminal, why didnt he learn how to read? What white was responsible? Is it possible that maybe the kid simply needed glasses, a tutor or to be isolated from criminal minded others? Does civil rights or responsible parenting closer to the solution?

I agree with DuBois. "Responsibility is the first step in responsibility. Education is the development of power and ideal. We want our children trained as intelligent human beings should be, and ... They have a right to know, to think, to aspire...we shall get them by voting, by persistent, hammering at the truth, by sacrifice and work"

We have the power to vote- access the opportunity and we have the power to take responsibility and prepare our children and fulfill the DuBois mandate.

Maybe I'm just a dumb blue dog democrat, who should be quiet and join protesters in the middle of the street. I'll pass on the protest, continue to work hard, educate my kids in the best schools I can find, vacation a few weeks a year, get along with my white, black, latino, asian neighbors and let you guys know I'm ok.


The Ministry of Truth said...

"So why didn't the Evolver in Chief do anything about it when he had a DemoKKKrat Congress his first 2 years..."

If you mean why didn't he do more about income inequality during his first two years in office, Obama and Congress were mostly occupied dealing with the consequences of the recession -- i.e., the stimulus package (meant to blunt the damage of the recession) and banking regulation (meant to prevent another one).

Both of which Republicans spent large amounts of time railing against, because even though giant recessions damage both middle-income and lower-income people, fuck anyone who isn't rich, right?

The other thing Obama and Congress spent time on in the first two years was passing Obamacare, which has helped lots of lower-income people and has taken a significant bite out of inequality! But which, again, Republicans HATE with a burning passion and have no alternative plan for. They lie and say they'd do something different and better, but what they'd do different is tell the poor to quietly go die somewhere without healthcare.

It's no use pretending that Republicans would do anything to reduce income inequality. They don't think it's even a problem. Given the opportunity, they'd make it worse.

lilacpr2000 said...

http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/04/texas_teacher_caught_on_video_slapping_student_and_calling_him_idiot_ass.html

They're calling this a "slapping" I call it a beatdown by a very hefty teacher upon a small student! And on his head, causing possible tiny capillary brain hemorrhages that will affect the child's brain function forever.

How many times and to how many students has she done this or worse?

Parents MUST be aware of what is going on in the classroom! Speak to your children and then act upon it. Don't just sit back and let it happen!

Nauseating!

The Ministry of Truth said...

Speaking of grotesque Milwaukee-area politicians, Glenn Grothman, whom I mentioned earlier, just this week came out and admitted that Wisconsin's voter ID law is meant to keep Democrats from voting. (Shhhh! Glenn, that was supposed to be a secret!)

"Clearly pleased as punch after Ted Cruz’s decisive victory over Donald Trump, an NBC affiliate reporter asked Grothman how on earth Republicans could win a state they have not carried in a presidential election since 1984. (Yep, Reagan.)

Grothman responded that Hillary Clinton would be a historically weak nominee, and then blurted, 'Now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.'”

Go Pack Go said...

Paul Ryan isn't bad at all, but you libtards and progtards will demonize him to no end because he doesn't worship at the shrine of Obamaholics and PC leftist politics. The same kind that is paving the way for a Bernie or Hillary Dem nomination. You people are a joke.

Anonymous said...

"Wisconsin's voter ID law is meant to keep Democrats from voting"

If by "Democrat" you mean "idiot", then yes.

Anonymous said...

Nope,pretty sure he meant Democrats. The "idiots" are all voting in the repub primary for the guy with the live animal on his head.

(Field)

James Bold said...

"There really is something odious and damaging to the country’s culture when conservative leaders advance their careers and policies by denigrating black and poor people."

That's a pointless waste of effort; Black people come pre-denigrated (look it up).  But the sympathy for poor people in the USA is remarkably color-conscious.  Poor melanin-enhanced people are coddled while poor White people are blamed for causing their own condition... and even that of the non-Whites.

Speaking of Wisconsin in particular, what could it possibly be about people from the region of Milwaukee which makes them so unforgiving of Black behavior, compared to e.g. Vermonters?  Oh, right... they have experience!


"the conflation of racism and privilege allows them to do so without bearing an appropriate reputational penalty or diminishing their standing in society."

Labelling any criticism of non-Whites as "racism" allows them to get away with murder, often literally.  The media downplay Black crimes.  There are about 38,000 Google hits for "Mitchelle Blair", but over 540,000 for "Susan Smith"—almost 15 times as many.

"How can we have "equal opportunity" if we are not all considered equal.

That logic is a bit flawed."

Everyone has equal opportunity to score 800 on the SAT.  The pencil and bubble sheet work the same for everyone.  The difference is what you can and cannot do, which is not equal.

When kids arrive from India not speaking English and are winning spelling bees 5 years later while Black 12th-graders are often illiterate, we know that "discrimination" and "lack of opportunity" are not the problem.  They're pernicious lies, and America is thoroughly sick of them.

The Shadow Knows... said...

@James Bold:

As usual, here for your daily fix of blackness. Drink your fill, as a Racial Junkie can never get enough of that black stuff.

Wow! What would you do without us?

The Shadow Knows... said...

@James Bold:

I'm thinking you must be a real loser among your own folk. That would explain why you grace us daily with your less-than-graceful presence.

The Purple Cow said...

"When kids arrive from India not speaking English and are winning spelling bees 5 years later while Black 12th-graders are often illiterate, we know that "discrimination" and "lack of opportunity" are not the problem."

Little Jimmy, is going to have to explain his logic here on this one.

All these Indian kids who allegedly win spelling bees - they all went to school in ghettos did they? Their parents were all dirt poor were they?

You have evidence, right?

James Bold said...

"What would you do without us?"

Look elsewhere for my irony.  There's plenty, but you're so conveniently placed on a list of one of my favorite sites and I don't think I could find such a rich lode as this one without lots of work.  Besides, you give me insights into the delusions of Pavementapius north americanus.

"All these Indian kids who allegedly win spelling bees - they all went to school in ghettos did they?"

Detroit wasn't a ghetto when White people built it.  The ghetto is the creation of Black people and their (your) collective character.

"Their parents were all dirt poor were they?"

White children of poor families out-score Black children of rich families on the SAT.

"You have evidence, right?"

There is more evidence for this than you can possibly handle.

Limpbaugh said...

The Nixon era is considered to be the Southern Strategy turning point for the GOP. My interpretation of history is that the the parties switching roles on racism was a more gradual process. There was negative reaction to Truman integrating the military but Eisenhower was for civil rights and he enforced them. There was a period when both parties were for civil rights and racists didn't leave the Democratic Party over night. The GOP went for the racist vote in response to the Civil Rights Act being passed under LBJ. Goldwater went for the racist vote, but he lost in a landslide, more because he was seen as a warmonger. Racists belonged to what became known as the Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party. The GOP was the party of Lincoln and MLK was a Republican. When the shit hit the fan Johnson had to choose between the black and pro civil rights constituency and the racist constituency. I do think Johnson was much less racist than his language makes him seem by today's standards. Nixon won the racist vote and the GOP hasn't looked back since. The parties had switched roles on racism. Strom Thurmond switched from Democrat to Republican. There were other factors involved in Nixon's win, like Humphrey getting a late start because Johnson didn't decide not to run until late in the election season. I don't think the GOP completely solidified support of racist voters until Reagan.

Anonymous said...

The percentage of Americans who say they worry about race relations has reached its highest level in 15 years, according to a Gallup survey released today.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/190574/worries-race-relations-reach-new-high.aspx?g_source=Social%20Issues&g_medium=lead&g_campaign=tiles


As Gallup notes, the increased concern about race relations represents a step back from where the country perceived racial divisions following President Obama’s first election.

“The rising concern about race relations as the nation’s first black president completes his last year in office is a retreat from the optimism that swept the country in the immediate aftermath of President Barack Obama’s first election win in 2008."

A Gallup poll one night after Obama won found that seven in 10 Americans believed race relations would improve because of his victory.

Instead of improving race relations in the US, our shitty president has succeeded in dividing this country and the hate has escalated between the races.

Lance Cockstrong said...

@Ministry Of Truth 1:15PM

Grothman is just the latest in a long line of right wing dimwits to spill the beans:

And speaking of grotesque Milwaukee politicians let's not forget Hannity's favorite ball buster Sheriff David Cluck

field negro said...

"Instead of improving race relations in the US, our shitty president has succeeded in dividing this country and the hate has escalated between the races."

I am pretty sure that it was there all along. (The hate)

Having a black president only made the hate stronger, and the haters became more emboldened.

Anonymous said...


"Having a black president only made the hate stronger, and the haters became more emboldened."


Yes, Obama, Holder, and BLM have all emboldened hateful and hate-filled black people.

The Ministry of Truth said...

"And speaking of grotesque Milwaukee politicians let's not forget Hannity's favorite ball buster Sheriff David Cluck"

Oh, yeah, there's him, too. David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County and wingnut supreme. Fox News is absolutely in love with a black sheriff who says BLM is "garbage" and their goal is to overthrow the government. Clarke also thinks Donald Trump is the bee's knees. Yuuuge fan.

If Clarke ever loses his job in policing, he can have a full-time job over on that network as their official commentator on black issues. He can give the "black people need to pull up their pants and stop being lazy criminals" speech every night, to rave reviews.

Like I said, I don't know how Milwaukee turned into Birmingham, Alabama, circa 1963, but it did. If you are a black person considering moving to Milwaukee ... don't. Just don't.

PilotX said...


"Even before the Trump train rolled through, I think it would be pretty easy to draw a timeline of racist comments and tie it directly to not only the candidates running, but whatever racist dogwhistles (a term I hate) were most popular on FOX at the time."

Good observation Deb. Also ups to Mot, the Shadow, PC, LC, Limp and WC. Not to forget Field.

James Bold is a pussy said...

Da fuck is James the Bitch still doing posting here. You'd think his ass would be out starting his imaginary race war. I mean we all know he'd piss his pants if he said any of his shit to a real person but hey he believes it and that's all that matters. Hey James, go start your fucking war if you're not too much of a bitch!

James Bold said...

"Da fuck is James the Bitch still doing posting here."

Entertaining the hell out of myself.  Riling y'all up with simple facts.

"You'd think his ass would be out starting his imaginary race war."

Haven't you been paying attention?  It started decades ago.  Christian Newsom and Channon Christian were recent fatalities in that war.  Kitty Genovese was an earlier one.  The problem is that it's a war that White people aren't allowed to fight back in.

By exposing your fake outrage ("hands up, don't shoot!" was quite the lie) and detailing real ones, I'm pushing toward the day that Whitey will be allowed to fight back.  You'll regret everything you've done on that day, but it is already too late for you.