Democrats Are Always Black Presidents

Barack ObamaFor a long time, I’ve puzzled over something. Why has the conservative treatment of Obama been almost exactly the same as the treatment of Bill Clinton. Yes, there have been little differences. For example, no one ever claimed that Clinton wasn’t qualified to be president because he wasn’t born in America. And that is a bit of overt racism that should have embarrassed the conservative movement far more than it did. I think the reason that it didn’t cause more of a stir was that the media are loath to admit anything quite so disturbing as the fact that one of the major political parties in the United States owes most of its appeal to racism. And the white majority mostly wants to compartmentalize racism as nothing more than people who use the n-word. But other than this bit of clearly racist behavior, Obama and Clinton were treated the same.

Bill ClintonWhat I mean by this is that both men were treated as though they were treated as though they were invalid. And conservatives seem to believe that either men are capable of anything. There are stories about how Obama is secretly gay married and of course who can forget that Bill Clinton murdered Vince Foster. What’s more, during both presidencies, the conservatives have kept going with supposed scandals that not only don’t come to anything, but don’t even seem to be about anything. What was Whitewater about? What is Benghazi! about? It isn’t just that I don’t know. The people pushing these scandals don’t seem to know either.

But leave it to Ta-Nehisi Coates to straighten out my thinking on this issue, Bill Clinton Was Racialized, Too. He pointed out that the issue isn’t so much who is leading the Democratic Party. The issue is that to the racists, the Democratic Party itself is the black party. It’s the part that looks after the interests of “those people.” He explained it:

Even Bill Clinton did not exist in a bubble of neutralized racism. He was a product of American politics in the post-civil-rights era, and thus had to cope with all the requisite forces. Racism does not merely concern itself with individual enmity, but with group interests. The men who killed [white civil rights activist] Andrew Goodman did not merely hate him individually, they hated what he represented. By the time Bill Clinton came to prominence, his party was closely associated with black interests.

Then he linked this to the very long history of white Americans seeing black Americans as invalid—not “real” Americans. I was especially amazed to read that people argued that Frederick Douglass didn’t actually write Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass because he was just an ignorant black man. This goes right along with claims that Obama didn’t write Dreams from My Father. How far we’ve come! But the point is that anyone but white Europeans are not just The Other, but are beings who just can’t be anything but unworthy outsiders.

So any Democratic president is going to be treated as an interloper. It doesn’t matter if they get 90% of the vote. And as we saw after the 2008 election, a certain segment of the conservative movement doesn’t accept voting. This is why ACORN was such a prime target for them. These people will never believe that the nation is changing. Instead, we get “black presidents” because ACORN and other nefarious groups are stealing elections. This is also why conservatives have embraced voter-identification laws. It isn’t about winning future elections (for the base). It is about making sure that elections are honest because they just know that real America (white America) could never have a president who cared about those non-white aliens.

Update (12 May 2014 7:42 pm)

As if on cue, The Blaze published, Texas Gun Shop’s “Funny” Sign Is Sure to Rile Up the Left: “I Like My Guns Like Obama Likes…”

Gun Shop Sign: Undocumented

I don’t see the need for the scare quotes. It is funny if you accept the premise. I bring it up because it works perfectly with what I just wrote about: conservatives’ belief that Obama is an interloper because he wasn’t really elected. It was all those non-citizens who illegally voted for him. So it’s a racist sign, but I don’t think that’s going to rile up a lot of liberals. It’s just SOP from conservatives. It wouldn’t even cause much of a stir if it had been displayed on a church’s sign.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Democrats Are Always Black Presidents

  1. Some very strong comments, with some worthwhile points, so long as we understand it does not apply to EVERY Republican.

    On a side note, one thing I have often noticed are statistics reporting how ‘white’ Euro-Americans are becoming a smaller part of the population. This is due mainly to immigration from Latin America, Africa and Asia, and, indeed, the percentage of African-Americans is also shrinking. But what strikes me is the implied ‘problem’ in the way some of these stats are presented, as though there should be ‘concern’ about the changing color of America. OMG, America is becoming brown! is the implied [not usually explicit, though for some it may be] concern. Are such statistics really even necessary? Do we need to report on ‘color’ trends???

  2. @Brett Huebner – Certainly not. My biggest complaints about Republican voters is how easily they seem to be led. When I talk to Republican voters (which I do a lot), I generally find a huge amount of common ground. But if an issue becomes big enough to make it to [i]Fox News[/i], these same people change their minds. The same is true of liberals but to a far smaller extent.

    My point about racism is that it is in all of us. Racist appeals work mostly because we don’t know they are working. The Welfare Queen is a classic example. But Paul Ryan’s recent comment about lazy inner-city youths was too.

    I’m afraid we do still need to report on color trends because we are still a very racist society. And this isn’t some white guilt thing going on with me. Tests of blacks find they have racist feelings [i]toward other blacks[/i]. I don’t see racism ever going away. Eventually, there will just be so much inter-breading that people won’t be able to see race. Not that they really can now. Race doesn’t actually exist. But racism certainly does.

    Of course, we will always find people to look down on. Ugly people are greatly discriminated against. There are many things to love about humans; but there is a lot to hate too!

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