One thing I've never seen is a bigot cite actual racism as a defense against their own racism. Enter the bizarre case of Barbara Espinosa, a right-wing radio host in Arizona who said the following of Barack Obama:
"I don't believe in calling him the first black president," she said, "I voted for the white guy myself. I call him a monkey."
When confronted with the fact that what she said might be racist Espinosa insisted that"with a last name of Espinosa I'm anything but racist." She then rather spectacularly claimed that she was referring to a cartoon, as though this were a defense. You can click through at your peril. Suffice to say it's merely a Google image search of cartoons depicting Obama as a monkey.
I don't even know how one begins to follow that logic. It's worth noting that the head of the Arizona GOP was a guest on the show when the monkey remark was made. The gentleman stayed silent through the entire exchange, intervening only to denounce Obama as a "national sickness."
As a footnote, I need to say that it has been pointed out that cataloging racism is a sight below the standards of this blog. I sort of agree. But over the course of the Obama presidency I have become convinced that no single force exerts a greater pull on his presidency than white racism. Not white resentment. Not white populism. White racism. I don't know how else to explain a health care denounced as reparations, the rather continuous disrespect, the sense that he is a Kenyan illegitimate or all of the attendant theories. I do not know how else to explain a state like West Virginia, arguably the most racist in the country, where delegates are now refusing to endorse the president.
There will be more on this in the coming months. I don't want to scoop myself. But my point is I can only stop talking about racism, when it ceases to be a significant force in our politics. When the mere act of being white gives Obama's opponent "a home-state advantage nationally," I can't stop. It would be deeply wrong to stop.
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