The “Race Card”And Who Plays It

November 8, 2009

Obama+Gives+Fathers+Day+Speech+Sunday+Church+3Krvz4maHsolThroughout the 2008 Democratic nomination process Barack Obama played the race card. Poor Hillary didn’t have a chance against the smooth offense of Obama/Axelrod and their Obamaniac army charging her with racism for daring to stay in the campaign against the Dear Leader. Clearly, the battle to wrest the Black and youth vote for Obama was based on presenting the Illinois senator as both a victim of “dog whistle” racism and the only possible champion of a new racism free America. When among Blacks Obama pretended to be a child of the civil rights struggle.


Obama and Mama

When pitching to Whites he presented himself as the no-longer-tragic mulatto no White person need fear.  He played America’s dissociative racial identity disorder from every side.

We know how that strategy turned out.

Yes, Obama played a few versions the “race card”.  I don’t have a problem with acknowledging  that fact.  What troubles me is the absurd notion that he invented the idea or the tactic of gaining political advantage by using it.  There is a total historical amnesia about the true history of the so-called race card.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the “race card” and its history:

In the less critical sense, the phrase is commonly used in two contexts. In the first, and more common context, it alleges that someone has deliberately and falsely accused another person of being a racist in order to gain some sort of advantage.[1] An example of this use of the term occurred during the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, when critics accused the defense of “playing the race card”[2] in presenting Mark Fuhrman‘s racist past (e.g., his recorded use of the word “nigger” in addition to his being accused of tampering with murder evidence in prior cases, as well as his use of the Fifth Amendment to avoid potential self-incrimination upon questioning) as a reason to draw his credibility as a witness into question.

Another example would be a criticism of Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney‘s assertion that she was the victim of racial profiling[3] after she allegedly struck a United States Capitol police officer who had grabbed her at a security checkpoint. A more recent example would be criticism of Yale University student Jian Li‘s formal complaint against Princeton University, which asserted that Princeton and other elite universities discriminate against Asian Americans while setting the admissions bar lower for other minorities, including African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

In the second context, it refers to someone exploiting prejudice against another race for political or some other advantage. The use of the southern strategy by a political candidate is said by some to be a version of playing the race card, such as when former Senator Jesse Helms, during his 1990 North Carolina Senate campaign ran an ad showing a black man taking a white man’s job, intended as a criticism of the idea of racial quotas. The ad was interpreted by many people as trying to play to racist fears among white voters.

On the other hand, George Dei, Karumanchery, et alia, in their book Playing the Race Card[4] argue that the term itself is a rhetorical device used in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism.


Jim Crow minstrel

Frankly, the above description is limited in scope and pretty recent.  The “race card”, played by the White political establishment goes way,way back, to the first justification for denying the African-American his/her due. Playing the race card is a method of creating racial cohesiveness among a diverse and sometimes antagonistic group of ethnic whites for political gain.

Kevin Phillip, Nixon’s campaign director said this about the “southern strategy” in 1970:

From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

Little Rock racism

Little Rock school desegregation

Lee Atwater, Republican political strategist  commented in 1981:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.”’

Anti- Black American Propaganda

Ant-BlackAmerican propaganda WWI

The most famous and successful example of playing the race hate game is the 1915 D.W. Griffith film “the Birth of a Nation”. The film  fueled the revival of the Ku Klux Klan and justified the destruction of Black cities and the atrocity of lynchings and burnings of African-Americans.

How many politicians have played the color game for political gain?  Too many to name.


What happened to HR676?

November 6, 2009
AP file Photo/ Charles Dharapak

Pelosi delivers a bucket of snot and calls it Health Care Reform

See my previous post in which I urge everyone to please call members of the House of Representatives to ask their  support  for  the Weiner amendment and HR676, which was supposedly going to be discussed and voted upon today. What the heck, besides my last post, see these others –  here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Yesterday afternoon an email blast was sent by Progressive Democrats of America:

Last night PDA got word from Congressman Weiner’s office that Speaker Pelosi is keeping her promise to allow the Weiner single-payer amendment full debate and vote on the floor of the House. This will happen on Friday or Saturday.

At about the same time yesterday afternoon, Representative Dennis Kucinich and Representative John Conyers withdrew HR 676.  Here you have it via the Chicago Sun-Times:

Dear Friends,

We thank you for your continued devotion to the cause of health care for All Americans. We have worked together for many years to write, promote and campaign for HR676, a single payer, not for profit health care system.  . . .

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a single payer bill. As the two principal co-authors of the Conyers single payer bill, we want to offer a strong note of caution about tomorrow’s vote.

. . .

Here are the facts: There has been no debate in Congress over HR676. There has not been a single mark-up of the bill. Single payer was “taken off the table” for the entire year by the White House and by congressional leaders. There has been no reasonable period of time to gather support in the Congress for single payer. Many members accepted a “robust public option” as the alternative to single payer and now that has disappeared. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the bill scheduled for a vote tomorrow in a manner which is at odds with many credible assumptions, meaning that it will appear to cost way too much even though we know that true single payer saves money since one of every three dollars in the health care system goes to administrative costs caused by the insurance companies. Is this really the climate in which we want a test vote?

. . .


Congressmen John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich

You surely recall that this is the same congress that needed no time at all to consider and approve the bailout of Wall Street.  I for one find it incomprehensible that Mr. Conyers and Mr. Kucinich would not want every congressperson to go on the record, Yes or No, to health care for all.  Do you believe that HR 676 was withdrawn because “this is not the right time“?  I for one do not believe it.

Here’s what Anthony Weiner had to say:

“We did not want to let the perfection of the single-payer be the enemy of the good”

What good?  Do you see a good in this alleged reform of the health care industry?  I see no good at all.

I smell a rat, and I for one would like to know what really happened.

Nancy Pelosi builds consensus

cross-posted at Lightpond

In Maine, Gays Now Can’t Marry

November 4, 2009

It’s time to stop pretending. Read the cards on the table.  A woman’s party, a third force capable of representing the interests of all women by throwing it’s weight behind a common goal, is a pipe dream.  At least for now.  The results of Maine’s Question1, the anti-gay marriage initiative, has nailed the coffin shut on that slender hope.

Behold-the Eagle Forum. Continue to disregard them at your peril. Eagle Forum hate-a-rama is no surprise.  Concerned Maine Families is no surprise.  How about Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition?  The usual suspects. That Linda Bean Folkers, heiress to the L.L. Bean fortune, was a contributor was a (mini) shock since it’s so about mountains and streams and such(the company distances itself from her positions). What other head slappers are there?

Reprise proposition gay H8te in California.

Reprise the demolition of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Obama and Rick Warren

helped overturn marriage equality

heiress to L.L. Bean fortune

Once again, like a clockwork money machine, the Phyllis Schlafly brigade of right wing throwbacks, bigots and belligerents marched in and snatched the ice cream cone right out of the gay baby’s hand,  leaving a shit storm of rage in their wake.  They’re pretty happy right now. And this time the voters were white.  So don’t blame just the Black bigots for hating on gays. Phyllis could whack the handful of black voters with a flyswatter.

The failure of the “fierce” gay advocate currently occupying the White House, to take a stand, was surely part of the mix.  He handed the treasury to those fu&%#@s with his asinine “faith based initiative”.  Somebody wants to move both parties rightward.  So we’re on our own.

This time there is no one to blame but the neo-conservative and fundamentalist religious movement; a stealthy coalition energized by women against women, who represent the interests of anti-feminist men. They are not our friends.  Obama, hate him or loathe him, but the enemy of my enemy is for damn sure not my friend.

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann-right wing nutjob


JUST CLOSE MY EYES AND VOTE FEMALE, you say!  Vote the nutbags.Vote the haters?

Mark the old x next to Bachmann or Palin. Riiight. It will only hurt after the morphine wears off. But wait, do they even believe in morphine?