Bumper Stickers, Blah People, And #TrayvonMartin

Folks, let’s just call these events, and others like them, for what they embrace.

Racism.

100% pure, unadulterated racism.

Example 1 – The bumper shown in the featured image of this post, spelling renege “re-nig” is blatantly racist.  There is no other reasonable explanation for intentionally spelling the word that way.  None.  In a recent interview with Forbes, Paula Smith of Hinesville, Georgia defended the sticker she created saying “she is not racist, she just wants Obama out of office.”  She then went on to defend her use of the racial epithet by saying:

“According to the dictionary [the N word] does not mean black. It means a low down, lazy, sorry, low down person. That’s what the N word means.”

If you’ll buy that, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale.

Example 2 – Rick Santorum‘s “blah” people backstroking.  In a January campaign stop in Iowa, Rick Santorum, speaking about welfare, said the following:

“They’re just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That’s what the bottom line is.  I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

Almost as soon as the video hit the internet, outrage ensued.  Santorum then spent days backstroking his comments saying:

“If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t.”

I’m sorry, Rick, that’s almost as lame as Paula’s comments about her bumper sticker.

Example #3 – Trayvon Martin

This is perhaps the most disturbing of the three.  Trayvon, a 17 year old African American, was walking back to his house after purchasing a bag of Skittles and an Iced Tea.  George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, called police to report a ‘suspicious character’.  According to the 911 transcripts, Zimmerman said “This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something.”  When the police dispatcher asked him if he was following Martin, and Zimmerman said yes, the dispatcher told him not to.  Zimmerman ignored the police, continued to follow Martin, and then shot and killed him.

On the 911 tape, you can hear Zimmerman tell the police that “these a**holes always get away” followed by “f**king coons“.

Zimmerman has yet to be charged by the Sanford, Florida Police Department because of the 2005 ‘stand your ground’ law.

A Google search reveals that none of the current GOP candidates have issued statements regarding this issue and, in fact, when Mitt Romney was asked about the murder by a Reuters reporter, he ignored the question.

The conservative blogosphere has reacted with everything from defending Zimmerman, or the Sanford police department, to bashing the mainstream media.

Redstate finally weighed in yesterday, if only to complain that “the media feeding frenzy over this particular story – one out of the thousands of homicides in this country – in apparent response to a left-wing campaign to keep it in the national news, reflects at best a loss of perspective and at worst a cynical effort to inflame racial division in an election year.”

Glenn Beck‘s news site, theblaze, also covered the story, but led with this headline: “Al Sharpton dismisses self-defense argument in shooting of teen.” As all good Beck followers know, Sharpton is a black agitator who can’t be trusted, thus Zimmerman must be innocent. The article dwells at length on why Martin was serving a school suspension, but does not mention Zimmerman’s criminal history.

Beck’s site then followed that up with a scare story yesterday evening about a “black militia organization” vowing to find Zimmerman. Notice how the framing of it turns an issue of basic justice in which people of all colors have a common interest into one of racial controversy in which vaguely menacing and radical black groups are on the rampage. Suddenly it’s back to us against them. - WalkOn

Of course, none of these conservative media sites mention Zimmerman’s 50 calls to 911 over the last year or his arrest for beating a police officer or the domestic violence charges against him.  Nope.  It’s all about stereotyping Martin as a black ‘thug’ in a vain effort to justify what, by all accounts, is a premeditated, cold blooded murder of a teenager.

Commenters on these conservative sites are also saying that Zimmerman couldn’t possibly be racist because, well, he’s not white, he’s Latino!

To his credit, the only conservative commentator I have heard calling for justice in this case is Bill O’Reilly

When you put these three examples alongside the birther nonsense, the references to Obama being “Kenyan” from not only Tea Partiers but GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, the reference to Obama being a “food stamp President” to Glenn Beck’s insane assertion that President Obama “hates white people“, the picture becomes clear.

There are elements within the conservative right that are, by their very nature, racist and it’s these elements that are not only steering the broadcast GOP positions on issues, but , even worse, are being pandered to by the GOP candidates for the Presidential nomination.

To deny this is to deny reality.

Now, not all conservatives fit this mold, to be certain.  However, this contingent of paranoid racist conservatives is getting louder, gaining traction, and garnering influence in the GOP more and more as time goes by.

If you thought the 2008 election was ugly and marred by veiled and unveiled racism, I fear you haven’t seen anything yet.  The prospect of another four years with a black President will be enough to send these folks right over the edge.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/Rev_Mother Ellen Cooper-Davis

    This is related to the intersection of patriarchy and linked oppressions. The GOP is set up to enforce patriarchy, not as a philosophy, but as a process, because it’s totally linked in with capitalism. Patriarchy requires hierarchy, and typically begins with God, then Men, Women, etc. Other socializing factors like gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, etc. are also ranked. This is, I think, one of the promises of the Occupy Movement. It wants to bring down not one or the other of the oppressions, but the illusion that keeps the whole system in place. That is also why Occupy has seen such a backlash in cities around the country. In my opinion? We need to focus on ALEC as a great big powerful gear in that machine….

    • csalafia

      ALEC is a nightmare. I’m sure you’ve seen alecexposed.org, they have their hands in undoing much of the progress this country has made and, quite honestly, undoing our democracy.

      I agree with your view on patriarchy, and I do think that it is part of their philosophy….at least it’s becoming that way again. Women and minorities are treated as tokens within the GOP, unless they vote and support what the powerful white guy says. Like I’ve said before, my wife is a life-long GOPer and now she’s called all sorts of things like RINO, liberal, and even Democrat, because she’s not a crazy-insane far right nutball.

      The Occupy movement is about destroying the illusion keeping the system in place and, yes, that’s why the backlash. As Zizek says, it’s easier for Americans to imagine the end of the word than it is for them to imagine changing the system they live in. Add to that the lack of critical thinking and engagement with the world around us and anything that conflicts with the way things are is automatically dismissed as “anti-(fill in the blank)” without any actual facts or evidence to back it up.

      The world has gone nuts and yes, my Spidey Senses are tingling, too.

  • Jason Gardner

    I don’t suppose you’ve seen on Facebook the stupid graphic that says “Only two people in history have had their own symbol” with Obama’s O with the flag and the swastika. Tell me how deranged someone must be to even suggest that Obama is in any way comparable to Hitler!!! What’s sadder is I saw it on a person’s page who I know is a Christian. So unbelievably sad… 

    • csalafia

      Jason,

      It is sad. I can’t believe some of the things I see posted by people who either I know are, or self-identify as Christian. The amount of ignorance on display by both the public and those in office is inexcusable and only getting worse. To post that stuff is vile and to defend it is as well. It seems that there’s a segment of Christianity where the narrow definition is opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Scriptural admonitions against slander, etc. are oft ignored because (IMO) the slanderous words reinforce their worldview and to admit they’re lying would force them to admit their worldview is incorrect, something a lot of people cannot face.

      • http://profiles.google.com/wkennethleonard Ken Leonard

         I’ve been saying over and over again that lying about political foes is bearing false witness. I’m sad to say that few people seem to care. Apparently God didn’t mean it was wrong to bear false witness against liberals.

        • csalafia

          It’s absolutely sad that people don’t care. What’s even sadder is the refusal for our TV “journalists” to say something about it. Shoot, the NYT editor asked if it was important they call out public figures when they lie!! Uh…yeah!

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  • http://profiles.google.com/wkennethleonard Ken Leonard

    I’m reminded of a blog post a friend of mine put up about four years ago, in which he said that whether the Republican party is racist or not, it benefits from racism and gives aid and comfort to racists.

    I would argue that doing so is, in fact, racism.

    It’s sick, it’s disgusting, and it saddens me that in 2012 we have made so little progress. Sure, we allow everyone to sit at our lunch counters,  but we still haven’t evolved into a society in which you can count on driving down the highway without seeing a “Don’t Re-Nig” sticker.

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  • Etiennelabi

    I find minor fault with your logic re the word “nigger” and it’s definition.  just because a word is taken and used to describe something doesn’t mean that it always does nor that it is being used correctly.  It’s original definition has been changed in the modern era as it has been overused to describe mostly one race.  Other words have been taken and used improperly to get away from negative association with the proper name of description.   example – Gay / Homosexual

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