>Western Tribune Column September 16, 2009 "Race"


This column was written on Friday, well before President Carter made comments about the role race is playing in the vitriol we are hearing about President Obama. I will post a video of president Carter’s comments after the column.

I also was sent this video by Zach (thanks, Zach) on the origins of white privilege.

That video explains, in part, why the white people that I write about in the column have developed the (erroneous) beliefs that I mentioned.

Western Tribune Column

There is a segment of the American people who can’t look to the future. They are always looking back. Take Glenn Beck for instance. He sponsored an event in Washington DC called the 9-12 Project, and wants to take us all back to the place we were as a nation on September 12, 2001.

On that day we were a terrified nation with a vague sense of enemy. We did not know for sure that the terror would not continue to spread beyond the city of New York or the Pentagon or a field in Pennsylvania. We were fearful. Right wingers like Beck often use fear to influence and manipulate people.

Then there are the “teabaggers” and “birthers”, mostly middle aged and older white men and women who want to “take our country back” even further. Back to when?

Back to the days of their youth, when life was good and conservatism ruled the land? Back to the days of less government, before social programs were developed to assist less fortunate members of our society?

Progress has been made in many areas over the last half century and we are a better nation because of it. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are examples of social programs appreciated by those who receive the benefits. But other social programs such as welfare and housing assistance are perceived by some as helping racial minorities at the expense of “hard-working” whites.

By advocating for the days of less government what they really want is less assistance to the “have-nots,” which to them, means blacks.

Some of the protests have been overt and others have been subtle but there is an obvious lack of comfort among some Republicans at having a black man in the White House. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina legislator who ignored established decorum and shouted “You lie” during the president’s address during a joint session of congress last week, is a good example. Wilson is a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, a Southern heritage group that defends slavery and advocates secession. He even voted to keep the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina capitol.

His lack of respect for the first African-American president might have given courage to the disruptive protesters who wish we could return to the days of segregated lunch counters.

Fortunately the leaders in congress and the majority of Americans feel differently. We voted for and we support our president.

President Carter:


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