Here's another good one from a reader:
I am a regular reader of yours and I am surprised and shocked that after your excellent discussion about why "uppity" is a problem and your popularizing the piece about "white privilege" you aren't talking about McCain's unwillingness to look at Obama while they were talking or look at him when they shook hands.
You know full well that McCain's people wanted a free flowing debate, but then when they got it, their candidate essentially froze out Obama by not even acknowledging his presence.
Is this what would have happened at townhalls?
You need to look at this picture and ask yourself how many times you, me and every other colored man has been put in this position, looking to the white man while we shake his hand as he looks away at his girlfriend or wife or his buddies.
Its the unwilingness to take a colored man seriously.
Its the unwillingness to address the colored man as an equal.
Its the unwillingness to accept that in some situations, all things being equal, the colored man is as sharp and eloquent and forceful as his white counter part.
Its the unwillingness to accept that after years of shunting smart colored men aside to tertiary corridors - hip hop, movies, sports - they are still finding a way of standing tall and proud in the heart of western academy and western power
Obama might be a post-racial candidate and I have no problem with that but he's showing how racial so many of these whites - particularly McCain - is.
Say something Mr. Coates.
Before I go forward I need to show some respect. I'm a certain age and I bring with that certain assumption. I'm taking from this gentleman's writing style that he is of another generation. McCain is also of another generation. I say that to say that there may be things going that I completely missed.
Having said that, what I saw on stage was a rigid ideologue. I think Eugene Robinson nailed this--McCain (like all ideologues) has to believe that those who oppose him represent some sort of treason, evil, or moral failing. I think this is why conservatives never liked him much. I just saw it as a basic lack of respect for your opponent.
Maybe, it was race, maybe it wasn't. Let's, for the sake of argument, assume the worst--that it was racism. I really am not mad about it because I strongly believe, if that's the case, that McCain will pay the price for his own racism. I keep saying this, it ain't 1968. McCain can be dismissive and underestimate Obama right up to November. If he thinks that the way to garner votes is to lecture Obama, refuse to look him in the eye, and generally wave him off, I say, more power to him. Let his racism take right on back to the Senate. The point of an election is win--it isn't to take offense at the stupidity of your opponents.
But there's a larger point here. You guys probably know this, but I strongly believe that disrespect exacts arguably a higher price on the disrespecter than on the disrespectee. Rest assured that Obama isn't taking McCain lightly. He would not go into a debate and be dismissive of him at all. I keep hearing people complain that Obama can't be angry because he's black. What they're are missing is that the cage is actually the key to set Obama free. He shouldn't be angry. He shouldn't take offense at McCain. Hillary was plenty angry. How'd that work out? Liberals have a bully complex. Having gotten chumped repeatedly, we're confusing strength with arrrogance, toughness with strut. Take it from someone who learned it the hard way. they ain't the same, son. To paraphrase Carolyn Forche, Obama needs to do exactly would he did last night--slice McCain to lace. But he needs to do it so quietly, calmly and efficiently, that even those who are paid to opine on such things, don't even notice the blood all over the floor.
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