Racist Shit

As a general rule when a black person or persons tell me something is racist or bordering on racist, particularly people I respect like ABL and TNC, I don’t argue. If I disagreed with them initially or just didn’t notice the racist aspect of something, what I try to do is just be quiet for a minute. Then I try to figure out what it is that made me not recognize something as racist. I’d say a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am a middle-aged white guy from a state with a small minority population, and I just don’t have the same experiences. Like I have said before, it wasn’t until ABL came on board here and I started seeing some of the truly awful things people write (and I promptly delete out of the spam filter so no one else, especially ABL, will see them), that I ever really thought about these things.

And why would I? I’m a white guy, I’ve never said any of those things or thought them, and they’ve never been directed at me. I mean, we all recognize the overtly racist crap- the fried chicken and watermelon jokes, the pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose, the slurs (the n-bomb comes to mind), etc. And since I don’t live in a very cosmopolitan area, I don’t have a lot of black friends- where I am is pretty damned Mayberry white. So I don’t notice these things, and I don’t have a history of dealing with the more subtle aspects of racism.

Having said all that, even my pasty fish-belly white self can recognize that what Michael Moore said was racist- “I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy…” That doesn’t mean he is racist, but it sure as hell does mean he made a racist remark. I don’t even know why this is controversial it is so obvious. What exactly was Michael Moore expecting from “the black guy?” Let’s flash back to the 2008 election and watch this little video from my state:

All that bullshit about “someone they know” or “someone who can recite the Pledge of Allegiance” or the other stuff you all rightly recognized as them saying “I WON’T VOTE FOR A BLACK PRESIDENT.” How, exactly, is what Moore said any fundamentally different from Republicans whipping up fear about Obama in 2008 because we don’t want rule by a “black President.” It’s the same god damned thing, just Moore wanted “the Black President” and all the people the Republicans wanted to scare didn’t want “the black President.” It’s the flip side of the same damned coin.

The fact that there have now been two threads, and some of you still don’t seem to get it, makes me wonder something that is itself bordering on racist, mainly- “WTF IS WRONG WITH ALL YOU WHITE PEOPLE?”

And I’m done talking about this crap. I’m seriously sick and tired of some of you who every time ABL posts something, you go ballistic and start calling her a race-baiter. It’s absurd, and ABL isn’t the one who looks stupid. Sure, she is over-the-top and in-your-face, and she’ll admit to it, but maybe you should just take a moment, shut the fuck up and be quiet, and think about why she is interpreting things through a different lens than you are. Or, if issues of race are so unsettling to you, you just scroll past her posts and continue to convince yourself we live in a post-racial America, and you won’t have to trouble your pretty little head with the kind of ugly crap that good people like ABL, TNC, and your President and his wife and beautiful daughters go through every day. It’ll be easier that way. You can tell yourself “I’m not racist, so therefore it doesn’t exist.” It will keep you from grappling with things. It will keep you from saying “Wow. You know, I never knew that something I used to say or do could be perceived as racist.” You’ll not have to deal with the fact that good people can still say stupid ugly things, even when they don’t mean to. You’ll never have to think about the fact that maybe you’ve been doing something or saying something hurtful or ugly without even meaning to, because your intentions are as pure as the Virgin Mary. You can just keep on rolling on, and mutter to yourself about all those hyper-sensitive black people.






533 replies
  1. 1
    Cat Lady says:

    I love you John Cole. This is why I come here.

    ETA: Both of my daughters are married and/or engaged to black men. It’s important to me that the world we all share have more people that think like you.

  2. 2
    Emma says:

    OK. First, ditto to the ultimate power. Second, you really do enjoy the melees, don’t you, John?

  3. 3

    If this were on Google Plus I’d give it a +1 and share it. Well said, John.

  4. 4
    cleek says:

    And I’m done talking about this crap

    whoever’s running the pool, put me down for 36 hours.

  5. 5
    Jareth Cutestory says:

    I’ve been away a bit, but just reading the headlines, this was my first impression (and forgive me if others in other threads have said this):

    “I voted for the black guy (Obama), and we got the white guy (McCain).” Nothing racist about it, just that we got the R instead of the D. Or just more of the same old DC BS.

    Maybe I missed the context somewhere, but from the lede, that was my interpretation.

  6. 6
    sistermoon says:

    Amen, amen, amen.

  7. 7
    Angela says:

    Reading ABL, and the comments that follow, help me understand who I am, in regards to my own racism, and who I want to be. Her posts give me a moment to sit and understand why I don’t get it, and then, hopefully, how I can.

    Thanks ABL, for that. I’ve been trying to put why your blog posts are important to me for a few days, and this is the best I can explain it.

  8. 8
    agrippa says:

    Pay attention and listen to what ABL says – not how she says it.

  9. 9
    Looney Jew says:

    How many blacks voted for Hillary or McCain? Were they racists too?

  10. 10
    Joe Bauers says:

    Agree 100%.

  11. 11
    BGinCHI says:

    There’s a really good point embedded in here in addition to what John writes.

    And that is the distinction between a “racist” and a “racist act” (which includes speech). There isn’t space here to offer a thorough reading of why we need to be clear about the difference, but suffice to say that it’s important to call out racist acts as acts, without automatically jumping to the conclusion (or making the assertion) that the person is a racist.

    This is not an attempt to absolve anyone of their actions, but instead to call them to account for them rather than to allow them to pivot to the “I might have said something racist but I am not a racist” excuse, which keeps us from confronting the actions first and foremost.

    The right always tries to get out of the consequences for actions by deploying an obscurantist strategy that separates the racist act from the person doing it.

  12. 12
    RoonieRoo says:

    Thank you! Your worded that perfectly. As a white gal, I really value ABL’s posts. She has truly opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t notice. I feel like I have learned a great deal from getting her perspective on things.

    I hope she keeps posting and I hope she keeps focusing on the racism as I, personally, get a lot out of it. I feel that by helping me see through her eyes and hear things through her ears she is making me a better person in that I gain a greater awareness.

    ABL keep doing what you are doing!

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    What Moore said doesn’t even make sense. WTF does it even mean? Stuff like that is the reason I think that even though 95% of what he says is great its the 5% that is over the line that kills him as a good messenger. For all the bitching you sometimes hear about someone like Jon Stewart where he sometimes plays the balance game, he never walks over the line like Moore.

  14. 14

    This thread is going to be awesome.

    It’s sad that you even had to say that, John.

  15. 15
    someone says:

    Yay for a 3rd thread on this topic that everyone says they hate and/or are tired with.

    When will people understand that racial stereotypes are not funny, and are incredibly offensive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dT5iH024eg

  16. 16
    sherifffruitfly says:

    “what I try to do is just be quiet for a minute”

    Welp there’s your mistake right there.

    Please refer to p.34-35 of the How To Be A Better White Dude manual, for details.

    :P

  17. 17
    DaBomb says:

    @Looney Jew:

    How many blacks voted for Hillary or McCain? Were they racists too?

    Please tell me this is snark…

  18. 18
    kc says:

    It’s bad form of you to post this on the front page. You should have emailed all of us.

    [ducks]

  19. 19
    fuckwit says:

    Yep, generally, it’s up to the minority or female (or minority female) to say whether something is or isn’t racist or sexist. If they say it is, well, THEN IT IS.

    Which I have to accept at face value. If it offends someone THEN IT WAS OFFENSIVE, by definition.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t still go on blithely being an asshole afterwards, but at least I learn what it is that I have to work on, and what is and isn’t acceptable. The people affected have the right to say what is and isn’t offensive to them, because, they know, not me.

  20. 20
    MattR says:

    @Jareth Cutestory: I can see how you might casually get that impression, but for context Maher has repeatedly made jokes about Obama needing to be more gangster in taking on the Republicans (including in front of Michael Moore).

  21. 21
    Jennifer says:

    @Looney Jew: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen posted on the internets all day.
    Congratulations!

    Perhaps it hasn’t occured to you that in past elections, pretty much 100% of black voters voted for a white guy. Because that’s the only people who were ever nominated. Also, too: in pretty much every election in my lifetime, over 90% of black voters have voted for the Democratic nominee, even though he was always, up until the last election, a white guy. So, did they vote for Obama because he was black, or because he’s a Democrat? The historical evidence suggests the latter. Unless of course you can show that there was a huge black turnout for Alan Keyes in the GOP primaries whenever it was he ran. Which you can’t.

    Seriously, that was a dumb comment.

  22. 22
    MAJeff says:

    @Looney Jew:

    That’s some lame-ass trolling.

  23. 23
    Steve says:

    @fuckwit:

    Yep, generally, it’s up to the minority or female (or minority female) to say whether something is or isn’t racist or sexist. If they say it is, well, THEN IT IS.

    I pretty much disagree. But you’re a fool if you don’t try to at least understand where they’re coming from.

  24. 24
    A Mom Anon says:

    Yep.There are just some things that bring the worst in people to the surface because they immediately become defensive without even considering those on the receiving end of the crap.

    I can’t even imagine what it’s like to deal with racism,I’m a goofy white chick in the suburbs.I’ve dealt with blatant sexism,which also sucks,I can’t even comprehend my race being an issue also. But if I feel the sting of racist things not even being thrown at me,I can’t imagine dealing with it on a personal level all the time.I’d sure as hell not presume to tell ABL or any person of color what is and is not racist. I think I’d rather hush and let them talk about it and what it does,how it’s harmful and take my cues from there.

  25. 25
    Thymezone says:

    I am reposting this from one of those other threads. You guys don’t pay me enough to create new material for every thread:

    “It shouldn’t be ordinary to toss off a racial putdown especially for a guy in his position. I got news for Michael, America didn’t elect “the black guy,” it elected the best guy.”

    And what’s more, not only was he the best guy running then, he is the best guy running now. Michale Moore is a fine film maker but as a politician or president, he couldn’t hold a candle to Barack Obama.

  26. 26
    Colin in AK says:

    I never comment. But I just wanted to join the chorus: this post is spot-on in every respect.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jennifer: To be fair to Looney Jew, the ‘nym does announce the looniness. It shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise.

  28. 28
    kc says:

    If I had heard that quote (“I voted for the black guy . . .”), I don’t think it would have struck me immediately as offensive. That said, I appreciate ABL’s take on it. It made me see it in a different light. I really doubt Moore meant it maliciously, but it would be nice if he’d apologize, if he hasn’t already.

  29. 29
    JPL says:

    The Repubs used to run on family values and now that is on the back burner. WHY?

  30. 30
    j low says:

    @Jareth Cutestory: You should read past the headlines in JC’s post. He pretty much explains why. If that doesn’t work read what TNC has to say about it.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    pragmatism says:

    an angry cole is a good cole.
    love it.

  33. 33
    penpen says:

    YES! Suck it, “edgy” trolls.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Mattminus says:

    @fuckwit:

    So Abe Foxman is the arbiter of what’s anti-semetic then?
    That should produce some…interesting results.

    What do we do if a palestinian child says it’s racist to burn him to death with white phosphorous, but the ADL says it’s anti-Semitic to complain about burning palestinian children to death with white phosphorous?

    LIBERAL MORAL PARALYSIS!

    My overarching point through all of this is that there are serious problems with the “ism” as a phenomenology school of thought, especially when there are incentives for “anti-ism” folks to find “isms” and keep the donations rolling in.

    I don’t want to rehash teh what is or what isn’t racist debate, but I’m not sure how conducive to debate it is to let bald assertions rule.

  36. 36
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    I can sympathize with ABL’s “lens” on the matter, her being a bit black, and attuned to the subtlties [sic] here. She is a treasure and does alert us all to the nuances of speech, and the hurt it can convey, intentional or not. But she surely recognizes that we white folx also view the issue through a similar “lens” and obviously don’t see it in exactly the same way. I do not believe for a goddam minnit that Moore and co. meant any racism in the remarks. Indeed, they are most sympathetic. But there is definitely a difference in perception. Don’t get mad, girl, educate. Lead on!

  37. 37
    gogol's wife says:

    I am white, and I am overwhelmed by the amount of subtle and not-so-subtle racism displayed by people on the left about Obama (I pretty much expected it from the right). The condescension, the disrespect, the sneering — it’s all so disheartening. Someone on a previous thread referred to Obama as a “deeply mediocre president.” I look at this man and all he has done, under such horrible circumstances, and I think that anyone who can call him “deeply mediocre” must be only able to look at him through some kind of demeaning racial lens. There’s no other explanation.

  38. 38

    @BGinCHI: This is an important point, the “racist comment” vs. “racist person” distinction.

    I didn’t really follow the hullabaloo over “The Help”, but somebody somewhere said that one bad thing it did was treat the “racist” people as “evil” people. But given our history and context, racist thoughts and actions are not unique to sociopaths.

    Even people who consider themselves and intend to be well-meaning can have racist thoughts and actions. If you allow yourself to turn off your brain the second that racism is mentioned because you’re not one of Those People… well, you’re at the very least missing an important perspective.

  39. 39
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    John, some years back I was having a conversation with a couple of black friends of mine (husband and wife) and they were relating a story from their early dating years where they were chased by a car load of south St. Louis hoosiers (an insult in STL totally unrelated to Indiana) thru the streets of the city. Finally he stopped, got out. and confronted them. The whole while Carroll was sitting in the car, sure he was going to be shot. As it worked out, they were a bunch of gutless white boys who ran as soon as someone said, “Put up or shut up.”

    My response?

    “Well, I would have driven to the nearest cop shop and said ‘Help.'”

    To which Carroll (not her real name) replied, “NO! You will not get any help from a cop and what is more, you might get shot!!!” (I should note, that Carroll is a lawyer at one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the area)

    That was when I finally realized the “white” world is not the same as the “black” world.

  40. 40
    Seebach says:

    I pretty much do agree it was racist, but I am surprised at how ball-less Obama is. The man who wrote Dreams From My Father seemed to have some knowledge of the country’s problems from a black viewpoint. Some of us just thought we might actually see action based on that.

  41. 41
    gogol's wife says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni:
    It doesn’t matter what they “meant.” They should think about what they say and what it means to people. People can’t see inside their widdle hearts to see what they “mean.” It’s a disgustingly racist remark.

  42. 42
    JC says:

    you go ballistic and start calling her a race baiter

    Well, the is the first time I’ve strongly disagreed with her post, and it wasn’t based on the content, but was based on the provocateur way she went about the post. “Baiting”, if you will.

    And that’s pretty clear. And it brings a lot of views, I guess.

    I’ll still say, despite all of ABL’s strengths, her own statement stands out. ““i don’t need to do any serious reflection on anything”.

    That about sums it up.

    Whatever man. I’m sure ABL does these provocation posts, and then laughs to all her friends, as you back her up and never call her on it, telling everyone BUT her, such as Laurie, to stand down.

    Myself, I’ve reached my limit with ABL’s lack of reflection.

    The Rethugs are bad guys, the Blue Dogs are bad guys, the Progressives are bad guys, Roger Moore is a bad guy (!!!) but, everything that you and ABL say are obvious and rational.

    You keep enabling her provocation and lack of ownership of such, that’s on you.

    Keep on encouraging the flamewar, trolling the blog, and keep creating enemies out of friends.

  43. 43
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Shit, I just threw Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago Live into the dvd player and come up on this and it’s September!

  44. 44
    jnc says:

    “I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy…” That doesn’t mean he is racist, but it sure as hell does mean he made a racist remark.

    Let’s unpack your argument a bit, shall we? First, how can a statement be racist but it’s speaker not be? That is the first tip off that we’re entering a logic free zone.

    And, what makes this statement racist, exactly? If one candidate was short and the other one was tall and Moore had said “I voted for the short guy but we got the tall guy,” would that mean that he has something against tall people?

    Or, “I went to the polls to vote for the law professor and I got the fighter pilot”. Does that mean the speaker is demeaning or insulting fighter pilots?

    Unfortunately, what makes people think that Moore’s statement is racist is their own internalized racism. As in, if you use the work black in a sentence, it is probably racist …

  45. 45
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JC: Michael Moore, Roger Moore is 007!

  46. 46
    penpen says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni: Think: casual, oblivious ignorance/quick reliance on racial stereotypes.

  47. 47
    Admiral_Komack says:

    “The fact that there have now been two threads, and some of you still don’t seem to get it, makes me wonder something that is itself bordering on racist, mainly- “WTF IS WRONG WITH ALL YOU WHITE PEOPLE?”

    My opinion: Oh, they get it.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @gogol’s wife: Thank you. A few posts earlier I mentioned the repubs dropping family values as a talking point. Could it be because the guy in the White House practices family values. Bush played golf when his daughter was under going an appendectomy. The current President watches his daughter play soccer.

  49. 49

    @jnc:

    Congrats! you win a penny for today’s stupid motherfucker award. Don’t spend it all in one place

  50. 50
    Suffern ACE says:

    @JC: Not Roger Moore, too? The man’s a saint…

  51. 51
    Gex says:

    Thank you. A guy at work actually sent around an email saying that he wasn’t bigoted, he doesn’t know anyone who is bigoted, so there isn’t bigotry anymore except for affirmative action. I tried very hard to explain to him that a straight white Christian man doesn’t get treated in the world the way a gay brown atheist woman does (me).

    Anyhow, my flavor of not-white is Chinese, so it isn’t nearly the same experience that a black person has. My brother is having a baby with a black woman. So now more than ever before this stuff matters to me. It mattered a lot to me before, but the thought of my niece going through this kind of stuff…

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Right on. By paying attention to the discourse, it’s not that we’re ignoring bad behavior, and violence and so on, but we’re trying to make it clear to people how racism is an act (often a speech act) that has consequences.

    This is useful in combating people who say racist things, or behave in racially motivated ways explicitly or implicitly, or deny how structural racism works, by not letting them hide behind the “but even though I said/did that, I’m not a racist.”

    That excuse is too common in this culture.

    I’m just suggesting we think through this. Sometimes this whole subject is just obvious, and sometimes it’s damned complicated.

  53. 53
    gogol's wife says:

    @General Stuck:

    I was about to write a long post breaking it down for him/her in words of one syllable, but you have made me realize how pointless that would be.

  54. 54
    geg6 says:

    Word, Cole. And Reason #2,568 that you are a truly righteous dude.

    ABL has a rare talent. She can make some reflect and try to be better. She also draws put those who’d rather make excuses or simply deny what we all know to be true about those who excuse and deny. They may not be racists but they are too frightened and cowardly to reflect. So they attack. In ways that are quite shocking for people who call themselves liberals or progressives or even moderates. It’s been enlightening to have ABL around, not just so this white girl can begin to understand what people of color, but to see how white people, especially white men react. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.

  55. 55
    JPL says:

    @jnc: What made the statement racist for me is that I went to the polls and voted for Barack Obama. His color meant nothing to me.

  56. 56
    maus says:

    I’m seriously sick and tired of some of you who every time ABL posts something, you go ballistic and start calling her a race-baiter.

    I just wish she wouldn’t directly troll those people, I feel like I’m getting involved in someone’s Livejournal war. I tend to stick to the race-related commentary over at Racialicious and ignore most large sites/blogs for similar reasons. I don’t need to see someone angrily playing whack-a-mole.

  57. 57

    When I was growing up, my family was always somewhat proud of the fact that my great-great-uncle was a principal at one of the Aboriginal residential schools here in Saskatchewan.
    It was not until I was in my 50s, and I spent some time taking a “sensitivity” course and talking to Aboriginal people that I finally began to understand how profoundly prejudicial, destructive, and insulting the whole concept of residential schools had been to Aboriginal communities in Western Canada.
    The important thing, I think, is to keep on trying to improve our understanding and broaden our experience, without getting defensive and acting like jerks.

  58. 58
    JC says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): LOL – Well, that guy is definitely racist!

  59. 59
    Cat Lady says:

    @Seebach:

    Some of us just thought we might actually see action based on that.

    What do you mean by “action”?

  60. 60
    ABL says:

    Thanks, John. I truly appreciate this.

  61. 61
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So Obamabots, if John McCain was president there would be no “I voted for a black president” jokes by now. Obama is just as bad as Bush!

    Speaking for myself I voted for Obama because he is the most competent guy we got going for the job in this country. What the hell does the man’s skin color has to do with it? And what part of “Obama’s dad is from Kenya, not West Africa via South Carolina and Detroit.” that Moore and Mayher don’t get because Obama isn’t living to their perception on what blacks are?

  62. 62
    Quicksand says:

    Shorter jnc:

    “It’s not a stereotype cuz it’s truuuuuue!”

  63. 63
    Gex says:

    Oh and just to add. A friend of mine described what it is like to be black, particularly in Minnesota. No matter what situation he is in, someone will say something that essentially makes the point that he is black. The statement doesn’t come off as a racist statement, unless you look at the meta of it, which is that the statement pivots on the fact that, hey, he’s black.

  64. 64
    Thymezone says:

    I really can’t believe that people don’t see the racist slur in Moore’s remark. He wasn’t saying that he voted for “the black guy” as a means of identification … while we might give him a conditional pass on that kind of language, which is still shitty and presumptuous for a man in Moore’s situation ….. he added this clincher: “But I got the white guy.” That makes his racial putdown pretty explicit and undeniable. How does that latter wisecrack even make sense in any way other than as a racist slur??

  65. 65
    Seebach says:

    @Cat Lady: Perhaps letting up a bit on the war on drugs, or maybe not getting involved in foreign adventurism, since he grew up in Indonesia and knows about Suharto?

    I assumed he might be able to look at his own life experiences which he, at one time, appeared to understand as I do, and make policy and take action based on those beliefs.

  66. 66
    And Another Thing... says:

    @DaBomb: My recollection is that Hillary had a lot of African American support. As for African Americans not voting for McCain, I don’t see that as a racist act any more than my not voting for McCain was. It was a vote against the stupid and the dangerous, and a vote FOR a candidate who shares many of my values and is an intelligent, thoughtful, decent man, who, by the way, is not an embarassment the way Bush was. I’ve got a long list of complaints about Obama, but we’re damn lucky to have him. He is not the source nor the purveyor of national poison in our political blood stream.

  67. 67
    MAJeff says:

    @Seebach:

    I’m sorry, but I have to….

    The man who wrote Dreams From My Father seemed to have some knowledge of the country’s problems from a black viewpoint.

    How does that, particularly the emphasized part, fit into the current conversation?

  68. 68
    Silver says:

    You can sum it up as follows, 99% of the time this happens:

    “Straight white male says homophobia, racism and sexism not an issue.”

  69. 69
    penpen says:

    @jnc: No, no, no, a thousand times no. No today, no tomorrow, no forever!

  70. 70
    JPL says:

    @ABL: actually I appreciate it also,too. I didn’t comment on your thread because it was so awful. I voted for a man who is trying to save our country. To equate that with race is awful.

  71. 71
    BGinCHI says:

    @jnc:

    Let’s unpack your argument a bit, shall we? First, how can a statement be racist but it’s speaker not be?

    The price you pay for not thinking through this distinction is that you get this essentialized racism that is “inside” somewhere. Even if you are sure someone is a racist, you still need to pay attention to, and put pressure on, what they say/do. Otherwise you are never going to be able to acknowledge that people can work their way out of racist ways of thinking.

    Many of us have because we’ve had to. Because we were born and raised in racist white America and we’ve come to reject it.

  72. 72
    Original Lee says:

    John, if polyandry were legal, I’d ask you to marry me.

    You rock.

  73. 73
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I’m one of those who doesn’t particularly care for the way ABL writes, but I have the good sense not to comment in her threads and rather take the opportunity to reflect on my white-bread self and try to understand another point of view. It helps me, actually, how over-the-top some of the commenters are, because it helps me focus on my own biases (stemming from also growing up, in, more or less, Mayberry.)

  74. 74
    jnc says:

    Given the vapidity of the responses by Stuck, Gogol’s wife and Quicksand, I think I am onto something.

    Generally when people think something is so obvious that they don’t need to explain it logically, that means they can’t.

    But you guy carry on with your insult fest – you’re winnars!

  75. 75
    Seebach says:

    @MAJeff: I dunno. Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with anything.

  76. 76
    MAJeff says:

    @jnc:

    Let’s unpack your argument a bit, shall we? First, how can a statement be racist but it’s speaker not be? That is the first tip off that we’re entering a logic free zone.

    No, we absolutely are not entering a logic-free zone. An action can be racist if it perpetuates stereotypes about a particular group of people. An individual may have no malicious intent (not a racist) but their action reinforces systems of racial inequality (racist). It’s really not that hard to grasp if you, you know, try.

  77. 77
    Pavlov's Dog says:

    For some reason this story reminded me of when Bill Clinton went to South Carolina in ’08 campaigning for Hillary and compared Obama to Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson? Really? I was undecided at the time between Hillary and Obama, but at that moment I went all in for Obama and never looked back. Sent him a Benjamin that night, and many more after that. When Bill Clinton said that, all I heard was a dog whistle.

  78. 78
    Thymezone says:

    @jnc:

    Really? Then you won’t mind answering my question at #64.

  79. 79
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It doesn’t matter what they “meant.” They should think about what they say and what it means to people. People can’t see inside their widdle hearts to see what they “mean.” It’s a disgustingly racist remark.

    Yup. There’s racism on the inside and racism on the outside, hence the distinction between a racist person and racist acts and speech. Surprisingly enough (/mandatory sarcasm tag), it is other people who get to decide whether something you’ve* said qualifies for the second category, and most particularly it is people who have lived the experience of being the targets and victims of racism who get to decide that, not the speaker.

    Folks with a smidgeon of humility get this either from the start or when somebody points it out to them. I can’t say that I am terribly surprised that MM and other folks in the media don’t get it, because humility isn’t really their modus operandi exactly. But it is a letdown that more folks in the audience don’t get it.

    *generic you, not you personally.

  80. 80
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @MAJeff: That implies that one would want to try.

  81. 81
    Cat Lady says:

    @Seebach:

    You’re saying that he’s ball-less because he’s not adopting your particular policy preferences? OK.

  82. 82
    jl says:

    @Thymezone: Agreed. Maybe in some benevolent future when racial inequality and prejudice areso far in the past, it might be like saying I voted for the black haired guy or the old guy, but got the white haired guy or the young guy.

    But even in that beneveolent future, to go on and talk about how, because the black guy was black, he was expected to behave in a certain way (whether for good or ill), is bringing in race where it has no role, in real reality, as opposed to BS race/ethnic/age/sex/class prejudiced human society.

    However, racial sensitivities and stereotypes still play a big role for people in every group. Old habits die hard. So Cole was correct in distinguishing between a a person who makes a racist remark versus a person who holds onto their prejudice and racism (a racist person).

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jnc:

    First, how can a statement be racist but it’s speaker not be?

    Aaaand here’s the problem right here: some people just refuse to understand that they can say something stupid, ignorant or hurtful without being malicious. They really think that if, say, Michael Moore draws from the cultural swamp we’re all up to our asses in and grabs onto a racist metaphor, it couldn’t possibly because our entire society is soaked in racism and the easy metaphors are usually the racist ones.

    Nope, it must be that we’re accusing Michael Moore of secretly being a Klansman, because no one who’s not a flat-out, stone-cold racist could ever say something racist out of ignorance. Except, apparently, me, who had to be corrected many times by my various minority friends when I said something that I thought was innocuous but, on reflection, turned out to be a really assholish thing to say.

    Not that ignorance is an excuse. From one of my favorite books, Black Beauty, a scene that has stayed with me throughout my life:

    “Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? Don’t you know that it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? — and which does the most mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, `Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.”

    Ignorance is not an excuse. It’s a starting point for your apology.

  84. 84
    Thymezone says:

    I’m one of those who doesn’t particularly care for the way ABL writes

    Classic BJ. ABL is known and admired for her writing style.

  85. 85
    gogol's wife says:

    @jnc:

    You are not onto anything. Michael Moore or Bill Maher or whatever jackass said, “I voted for the black guy and got the white guy.” This implies that because Obama’s father was black and his mother was white, there is some essential “black guy” inside him who is tough, combative, and violent, and some essential “white guy” who is reasonable, mild-mannered, and not a “fighter.” They wanted him to be “the black guy,” i.e. violent, but they got “the white guy,” i.e. reasonable and non-violent. All the assumptions involved in this statement are racist. Does that help any? If not, I’m sorry, because I’m done.

  86. 86
    jnc says:

    The price you pay for not thinking through this distinction is that you get this essentialized racism that is “inside” somewhere. Even if you are sure someone is a racist, you still need to pay attention to, and put pressure on, what they say/do. Otherwise you are never going to be able to acknowledge that people can work their way out of racist ways of thinking.

    No, I’m sorry. I think if people say racist things they are racists. Period. We can’t peer into their heart. We can only know by their actions and speech. So if it is a racist remark then Moore is a racist.

    Yes, there are different kinds of racism – you can be a racist because you’ve thought long and hard about it and just decided that black folks are inferior, or you can be a racist by ignorantly just assuming that – but both are racist. I don’t understand this weird two-step that is going on – several people have said “Oh I don’t know if he is racist, but that sure is a racist remark.” Just makes no sense.

  87. 87
    Zandar says:

    Shorter last two days: If after ABL and JC’s posts you don’t get why the Maher/Moore statement might be construed as problematic, the subset of people ABL and JC are talking about includes you.

  88. 88
    Seebach says:

    In short, yes “Hey, black guy. Could you stop sending your black people to jail and war in such large numbers” is racist, though in no way motivated by the same thing as the klan or the tea party.

  89. 89
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Got it in one, John. This is why you’re still our favorite blogger.

  90. 90
    jnc says:

    Aaaand here’s the problem right here: some people just refuse to understand that they can say something stupid, ignorant or hurtful without being malicious.

    We cross posted.

    Racism need not be conscious and malicious. Ignorant assumptions are certainly racist, too.

  91. 91
    penpen says:

    @MAJeff: The effort is really the missing component. Ok, empathy too. Oh, and humility. Ok fine, the post is a total non-entity.

  92. 92
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @gogol’s wife: Taking great risk I’m not sure Moore wasn’t more about tough and combative and less about the violent part. Fire away.

  93. 93
    taylormattd says:

    Thank you so much John. One thing. You say this:

    I’m seriously sick and tired of some of you who every time ABL posts something, you go ballistic and start calling her a race-baiter. It’s absurd, and ABL isn’t the one who looks stupid.

    You realize this is literally the opposite of what another one of your front pagers, Anne Laurie, wrote in a nasty, unsolicited, front page story? She made no mention whatsoever of these fucks that troll the shit out of ABL, and instead launched into a tirade about how people who push back are ABL / Obama cultists.

  94. 94
    BGinCHI says:

    @jnc:

    Just makes no sense.

    To you.

  95. 95
    celticragonchick says:

    but maybe you should just take a moment, shut the fuck up and be quiet, and think about why she is interpreting things through a different lens than you are.

    Exactly.

  96. 96
    ant says:

    Well as a person of mixed race myself, (black mom, white dad) I can say that the path wasn’t always clear for me while growing up on how to act. There were expectations that come with skin color, and perspective/influences that came from having white parents, grand parents, and sisters.

    We all have to find our own way I guess, but mixed people have a much less defined path to follow than the rest of you all. Once we’ve found it, it’s tiresome for others to make comments on what they perceive to be the way for us. It fucking gets old.

    My two cents, whatever that’s worth.

  97. 97
    Larryb says:

    I’m not sure I get the outrage. Sure, MM’s comment was technically racist, in that he applied a stereotype on the basis of skin color, but I don’t get it as a slur. If anything, it comes off to me as a lame-ass white liberal attempt to identify with black people (i.e., black is beautiful, white is the color of the oppressors). Reminds me of the time my 7-year-old son was jiving around with his (black) buddies on the swings at school and joined in while they were called each other them n****rs. Whoo-boy! did that ever cause a shit storm. Sometimes the one-sided appropriation of racial language can get tiresome.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @fuckwit: I don’t cede entirely the definition of what is and isn’t racist or sexist to POC or women, but I sure as hell give a lot of weight to their opinions on the subject.

  99. 99
    tomvox1 says:

    I think there really is a lot of subliminal racism on the “Left”, from Mickey Kaus’s “biggest affirmative action baby evah!” put down to Mahr & Moore wishing Obama was the pistol whipping kind of black dude and not the Sidney Poitier “To Sir With Love” kind. And let’s not even start on Hamsher’s racist demons, which frequently manifest themselves in shrieking personal attacks against the president. On the Right, it’s obvious and expected but it’s been kind of astonishing to watch it infuse a lot of the critiques from ostensible allies.

    I’m beginning to think that on election night, a lot of white people on the Left were cheering and crying tears of joy for themselves for being so good and enlightened as to vote for an African American and give him a chance to be president. And now a lot of them are pissed off that this uppity Obama fellow won’t simply take every last piece of their advice on how to run the country. What, does he think he really knows best? Where would he be without us! Some nerve…

  100. 100
    penpen says:

    @jnc: Mens rea, sir, look it up.

  101. 101
    Loneoak says:

    @Seebach:

    The man who wrote Dreams From My Father seemed to have some knowledge of the country’s problems from a black viewpoint.

    Uh, there’s your problem buddy. There is no ‘black viewpoint.’ There are blacks with viewpoints.

  102. 102
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    You’re a good man Charlie Brown John Cole.

    Thank you.

  103. 103
    Dee Loralei says:

    I just want to say I love you John Cole. And I love ABL!

  104. 104
    gogol's wife says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    That makes very little difference. It’s still essentializing blackness.

  105. 105
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @gogol’s wife: if you say so

  106. 106
    gogol's wife says:

    @tomvox1:

    That second paragraph is right on the mark. (Nothing wrong with the first paragraph either)

  107. 107
    Thymezone says:

    @jl:

    Agreed, I don’t think Moore is really a racist, but he is a person who is totally insensitive to who he is and the position he occupies, and says things that are shitty and stupid, and most importantly, doesn’t care. He probably thought he was being clever. And in a different country and a different time, maybe he was. But racism is the shame of this country, and a guy like him ought to know that.

  108. 108
    Slowbama says:

    This is all quite hilarious. What a train wreck. You destroying your own blog. Funny, funny stuff. And all for the sake of a self-righteous twit like ABL. Hope it’s worth it to you. She will find a way to make you a racist too, Cole, before it’s all over.

  109. 109
    Jennifer says:

    I do have a question though.

    Back during the campaign, I made a lot of Obama = Shaft jokes to racists who I knew were planning to vote for McCain simply because McCain was white and Obama wasn’t. I also joked about how Obama was going to appoint Chuck D as Secretary of Kill Whitey. My question would be, since I know those are at the very least racially-tinged comments, do they slide over the line into offensive racist comments?

    FWIW, I supported Obama in the primaries against Hillary, even though he didn’t have a prayer here in Arkansas. I just thought it was important to have a candidate who wasn’t of the Vietnam generation for the first time in 40 years. Also, I didn’t like the idea of the country only being led by people with the last names of “Bush” and “Clinton.” I looked at both candidates, determined there wasn’t much difference between them in terms of how they would govern, and went for the non-Boomer. Had nothing to do with either one’s plumbing or skin color. I do recall having terrors a few times thinking, “we’re down to a choice between a woman and a black guy, and I’m not sure the country at large will accept either one.” I was glad to be proven wrong – it turns out that a large part of the country was ready…it’s just that the part that wasn’t won’t shut the fuck up already.

  110. 110
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Pavlov’s Dog: Yes. Me too.

    ETA I think there were a lot of us.

  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Thymezone:

    her writing style.

    Style, like fashion, or like taste (in the food sense) is a matter of personal opinion. I can find value in what someone writes, while not personally liking the way it’s written. Dan Brown sells a lot of books, but I don’t like his style.

    As I said, I read her threads and don’t comment because I view them as an opportunity to learn/reflect. I’m glad she’s here.

  112. 112
    sistermoon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thank you so much for this story. I sincerly hope all the “meh”, “much ado about nothing” and “ABL needs to knock the chip off her shoulder” racism deniers read this. Please focus on the very last sentence – it sums up the whole point.

  113. 113
    debbie says:

    @ABL:

    I think a lot of what’s been said in your threads is deplorable, but Moore was on NPR yesterday (I think Talk of the Nation), and he repeated this line and then expanded on his thought, which was that he’d voted for Obama and seemed to have gotten McCain.

    I don’t excuse what he or Bill Mahar said, nor do I think they actually believe what’s been implied by their statements. I think both of them are overly fond of the cute, slick one-liner type of zinger, and this time, it got the better of them.

    Stupid remarks, thoughtlessly made.

  114. 114
    Emma says:

    @Seebach: Oopsie. Exhibit two.

  115. 115
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @gogol’s wife: True ’nuff, but I think their record shows what is in their “widdle hearts,” and it ain’t racism. I certainly didn’t see it that way. I saw: Black=Dem & white=Rep. And I didn’t need to interpret what Moore meant. But I can now see that it could be offensive to anyone who is part of the black experience. I wouldn’t have seen it this way had not ABL pointed it out. OK. Lesson learned.

  116. 116
    Seebach says:

    @Loneoak: This is true. But there are also African-American studies classes and books and libraries that look at the social group as a unique uniting experience.

  117. 117
    Thymezone says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Style, like fashion, or like taste (in the food sense) is a matter of personal opinion.

    It certainly is, beverage man. It certainly is.

  118. 118
    Quicksand says:

    Oh good, this thread needed more Hamsher.

  119. 119
    Loneoak says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It doesn’t matter what they “meant.” They should think about what they say and what it means to people. People can’t see inside their widdle hearts to see what they “mean.” It’s a disgustingly racist remark.

    This times elebenty. A good sign of an immature understanding of racism is treating it as an internal state that is to be divined. Like it’s some indeterminate state from quantum physics: either one is or isn’t racist, and you can’t tell until you look really closely. This what allows Pat Robertson to claim he isn’t racist because he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone. What matters is how your words and actions affect others, and a mature person will interrogate their responsibility to not act that way again.

  120. 120
    Fulcanelli says:

    Good post, John.

    I like it when you go off, Mr. Cole, you should start a blog, no, wait… er, nevermind.

    Seeing how I’m a pasty-faced white boy of yurpeen decent, I’ve never experienced raw, cruel racism and can’t imagine having to put up with the shit black folks do.

    If I was putting up with the racist shit Obama’s putting up with left, right and center, I’d take my beautiful family back to Chicago and tell this fucking country to kiss my black ass.

    Keep ’em coming ABL. Yer alright in my book…

  121. 121
    sistermoon says:

    I’m beginning to think that on election night, a lot of white people on the Left were cheering and crying tears of joy for themselves for being so good and enlightened as to vote for an African American and give him a chance to be president. And now a lot of them are pissed off that this uppity Obama fellow won’t simply take every last piece of their advice on how to run the country. What, does he think he really knows best? Where would he be without us! Some nerve…

    Full of win.

    Are you listening, Joan Walsh, Ariana Huffington, Chris Matthews?

  122. 122
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    maybe you should just take a moment, shut the fuck up and be quiet, and think about why she is interpreting things through a different lens than you are

    That sounds easy, but apparently it eludes the grasp of many. Folks, you can’t learn if you won’t listen.

  123. 123
    Cat says:

    @Napoleon:

    What Moore said doesn’t even make sense.

    Giving him the benefit of the doubt of not intending to say something racist, I hope he meant something like this:

    “I voted for a community activist but instead I got an east coast limousine liberal”

    Or something like that.

  124. 124
    Thoughtcrime says:

    “I went into this blog looking for the white guy, and what I got was the black girl…”

    I see a lot of that around here.

  125. 125
    Gett says:

    Thank your little, pasty fish-belly white self, sir for speaking truth! Yes, there is a different lens for us and most people have no idea.

    What you described earlier, by the way, is “White Privilege” and the reason you did not notice is because the powers that be designed it that way, as to not cause panic, guilt and a host of other counterproductive feelings and emotions that would hamper one faction of the race seeking domination. Generally the White male.

    It is nobody’s fault however, as we are whom we are, but once we find out the real deal, it is up to us to push it foward and unmangle it as you have done. Bravo!

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jnc:

    Racism need not be conscious and malicious. Ignorant assumptions are certainly racist, too.

    And yet your claim, in your cross-post, is that someone who makes an ignorant racial assumption is just as much of a stone-cold racist as a Grand Wizard of the KKK.

    Of course, when you decide that there are only two categories of people, “racist” and “not racist,” that crams so many people into the “racist” category that it lets that Grand Wizard off the hook for burning a cross on someone’s front lawn since, by your formulation, saying something stupid on TV is just as bad as actively intimidating someone.

  127. 127
    phoebesmother says:

    Thank you John Cole. And thank you for running a lively blog.

    Look at the distribution of comments whenever ABL posts and, besides the oblivious white guys who think they are superior to every other commenter, notice the gender differential. (Although it now seems that the guys are also going after TNC as well.) A lot of us fems suspect that ABL’s gender affects the anti-ABL bloc almost as much as her racial background (and citing Anne Laurie does not get one off the sexist hook). This suspicion is about as unsettling as the also endless threads on Pharyngula regarding Elevator Man (who made an oblivious nerd-like pass at a woman speaker at an skeptics’ convention in the early AM); on those threads, too, male privilege and defensiveness about it displayed itself loudly.

    Racism and the battle to undo its codification in law and social life has always been a main concern of mine because I was born and grew up through the civil rights movement. I am sensitive to its manifestations while not being black myself. When I hear folks trying to deny the racial stereotypes they’re enshrining, when I have had to read the whispering and shrill dogwhistles directed at Obama, I say with Sir Cole “WTF IS WRONG WITH ALL YOU WHITE PEOPLE?”

    Really dude! (And I say “dude” advisedly.) Just because someone (in this case, TNC) sometimes uses “its” when “it’s” is called for, doesn’t undermine the passion and judgment of the writing. Why just this evening I found a misspelling on Sullivan. GET OVER THE CRAZY OBSESSION WITH ABL’S BLUE SUBHEADS and listen to the voice and the testimony.

  128. 128
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @debbie:

    which was that he’d voted for Obama and seemed to have gotten McCain.

    Then Moore is even dumber than I thought he was when he told me there was no difference between Bush and Gore.

  129. 129
    Lynn Dee says:

    Bravo, John Cole. I agree whole-heartedly.

  130. 130
    Lysana says:

    Well said, John.

    The people diving straight for the “but my perspective has just as much weight as the offended party’s” and tone argument BS in the comments are sadly to be expected.

    Taking a screed to my neglected blog. I realize it’d get more reading here, but fuck it. Tired of yelling at some people here.

  131. 131
    Seebach says:

    @Cat: Or maybe “I voted for a guy who seemed to have real grievances with injustice in America and who hung out with Jeremiah Wright, and I got a guy who still has Geithner as his treasury secretary?”

  132. 132
    tiny says:

    Ok–let me help you–Racist a belief that your ‘race” is superior to others. Blacks who feel this way then are reacting.. but there’s only one little problem they are not in control..b/c the other side of the definition,is you have to be in control of a society usually via some form of government. Via sheer numbers &/or wealth. (like S.Africa was)

    Happens all over the world. What’s unique about America’s racism is that it is built into the laws, and rules that govern behavior, appearance and speech.

    America is built on racism. It began with the importation of slaves.. Perhaps if you had not engaged in the slave movement then you would not be the America of today.. Think about it.. meanwhile..hello Virginia.. that was the first time I ever at 32yrs of age got called a ‘nigger’-but then when I walk down Broad & Market in Newark NJ..the brothers sneer and call me a “white girl”..lol been there and done that.. so now I am a human.. female.. and that’s the only way I define myself.. As far as Mr.Obama..we just have to fight the good fight to help him..it’s our govt anyway!

  133. 133
    jeff says:

    Amen, John and ABL.

  134. 134
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Cat:

    “I voted for a community activist but instead I got an east coast limousine liberal”

    The thing is, with that and his attempt to walk back the remarks by saying he meant Obama vs McCain…

    Why did he say that in the first place instead of saying black and white?

    Words have meanings.

  135. 135
    Thymezone says:

    @tomvox1:

    Excellent post, and excellent point. Somebody should tape this to Paul Krugman’s forehead.

    On the right you have people who are proud of not knowing anything. But they aren’t nearly as dangerous as the people on the left who think they and only they know everything.

  136. 136
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    IMHO one of the markers of the difference between being a racist and having made a racist/insensitive remark is how one reacts when called out for it.

  137. 137
    NR says:

    @tomvox1:

    I’m beginning to think that on election night, a lot of white people on the Left were cheering and crying tears of joy for themselves for being so good and enlightened as to vote for an African American and give him a chance to be president. And now a lot of them are pissed off that this uppity Obama fellow won’t simply take every last piece of their advice on how to run the country. What, does he think he really knows best? Where would he be without us! Some nerve…

    Right. The way that Obama has been doing things for the last two and a half years has worked out so well that anyone who suggests that he should be doing things differently simply must be a racist. It’s not as if there’s any room for improvement at all, anywhere. No, given how great things are now, for both the country and the Democratic party, there is absolutely no possible reason, other than racism, that anyone could possibly suggest that Obama should change his approach to governing. You’ve solved the mystery of why Obama gets criticized from the left. Great job! We can all go home now.

  138. 138
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @phoebesmother:

    GET OVER THE CRAZY OBSESSION WITH ABL’S BLUE SUBHEADS

    Never!

    Good post, JC.

  139. 139
    MAJeff says:

    @Jennifer:

    Back during the campaign, I made a lot of Obama = Shaft jokes to racists who I knew were planning to vote for McCain simply because McCain was white and Obama wasn’t. I also joked about how Obama was going to appoint Chuck D as Secretary of Kill Whitey.My question would be, since I know those are at the very least racially-tinged comments, do they slide over the line into offensive racist comments?

    You’re asking if making fun of racial stereotypes is racist?

  140. 140
    Lynn Dee says:

    @Fulcanelli:

    Quote: “If I was putting up with the racist shit Obama’s putting up with left, right and center, …”

    Absolutely. Clearly he’s learned to deal with it personally as well as politically. But I gotta think it pains him when he looks at his girls. He and Michelle both must want to put their hands over Sasha and Malia’s ears.

    Quote: “Keep ‘em coming ABL. Yer alright in my book…”

    And right on to this too. Keem ’em coming, ABL.

  141. 141
    mzrad says:

    Good heavens! I love ABL and want to continue to see her on this site. I have the luxury of only reading what I feel like reading on this site (which is rarely the comments) so I miss a lot of the vitriol. More spunk and brutal realism, please.

    JC, that video almost made me throw up–yuck! I’m from Ohio. All the alleged Dems who went on camera to say they’d rather vote for Walnuts, yeesh. Are those the same idiots rebuilding touchdown jesus?

    Keep it up ABL! Remember all those readers who support you and appreciate your insight (especially those pasty folks who lack the lifetime perspective yet who empathize and support the difficult things you bring up). Moar!

  142. 142
    Emma says:

    @Slowbama: And exhibit three. In spades, considering the handle.

  143. 143
    jnc says:

    And yet your claim, in your cross-post, is that someone who makes an ignorant racial assumption is just as much of a stone-cold racist as a Grand Wizard of the KKK.

    I don’t know if you are a stupid person, but that is a stupid statement.

    Hitler was a murderer. John Wayne Gacy was a murderer. The fact that Hitler killed a lot more people doesn’t make Gacy not a murderer.

  144. 144
    OzoneR says:

    @Looney Jew:

    How many blacks voted for Hillary or McCain? Were they racists too?

    A lot of blacks voted for Hillary and for McCain, about the same number that voted for Bush, Dole, Reagan

  145. 145
    Loneoak says:

    @Seebach:

    Yeah, and in those libraries you will find an awful lot of diversity of opinion! Think MLK and Malcolm X. Or Condoleeza Rice and Michelle Obama. The joke is racist precisely because it assumes that we all know what ‘the black man’ means. Moore/Maher is able to tap into a thumbnail sketch of blackness that is insultingly narrow.

    It’s also kinda racist about whites in the same way, but not having suffered 400 years of oppression, it didn’t sting very much.

  146. 146
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Lynn Dee: Come on, do you really think any of this is a surprise to Obama?

  147. 147
    theBuhjaysus says:

    @ABL:

    I threw a grenade last night and knew I fucked up when Uncle Clarence Thomas was block quoting my comment. I realize that our understanding and handling of racism is constantly evolving…Do you think some of Blazing Saddles would fly today? Take a look at the comments to witness some truly disgusting shit…

    http://globalpublicsquare.blog.....ick-perry/

    Anyway, I shouldn’t have taken this discussion as lightly as I did last night.

  148. 148
    Thymezone says:

    @Cat:

    Yeah, a limousine liberal who got us ACA and the legal end of DADT, among other things. ACA is going to go down as landmark, right there with Social Security and Medicare, and the man pretty much put his presidency on the block for that, they are still hitting him for it. They will run against it next year. Even the guy who basically invented it as a doable program, Romney, is running against it. There is not a liberal loudmouth out there who could have gotten that done, not one. Hillary Clinton and her husband managed to fuck up the idea so well it was lost for 15 years.

  149. 149
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Covert and overt racism have both made big comebacks since Obama was elected president. I was naive enough back in the day to believe that the passage of the CRA would someday reduce racism to the realm of mental illness. It didn’t and in some ways we’re no better now than we were then. Until ’08 the racists just became more sneaky and Southern Strategy Republicans started talking about Willie Horton rather than Mandingo.

    I think that Moore’s remark was ill-considered because it never occurred to him that his words might be construed as racist. I hope that I understand ABL’s sensitivity to racial issues even though she wears her racial background on her sleeve sometimes. I read her posts because she obviously feels very deeply about these issues and because she causes me to take a careful look at myself and my Old White Guy it-was-in-the-air-we-breathed racism.

    Having said that, I disagree that she, or anyone else else can be for me the sole arbiter of what might be racist (Unless it’s overt and ugly) and what is not. That strikes me as being akin to relying on the JDL for the definition of antisemitism. I will read ABL’s post with respect for her background and her point of view. I’ll also disagree with her when I think that she’s gone overboard.

  150. 150
    geg6 says:

    jnc:

    Just as an example, I’d point to my own beloved father. A very compassionate man. A supporter of the civil rights movement. The only white man in my lily-white suburban neighborhood who invited black friends and co-workers to our home. This was in the mid- to late 60s, so a different world than today. But he was also a product of his time (born in 1925) and place (a mill town in Western PA where the company town was built to keep ethnic groups separate– an Italian area, an Irish, a Czech, and many European minorities plus, yes, a black one, too). He often said the most appallingly ignorant things about all of those various ethnic groups, but he was not a racist. If we pointed it out to him, he tried very hard to be better. No way you can convince me my dad was racist because I knew his heart. I’d say that Michael Moore has given us glimpses of his heart, through his films. I don’t think he’s a racist. But I do think he’s ignorant about how he is a product of his time and place (he’s probably about my age, maybe a little younger) and he should be told why that wasn’t acceptable. Just like my dad, he could even want to do better as he goes through life.

  151. 151
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Loneoak:

    Think MLK and Malcolm X. Or Condoleeza Rice and Michelle Obama.

    Or Clarence Thomas and Thurgood Marshall. {shudder}

  152. 152
    NR says:

    @Thymezone:

    There is not a liberal loudmouth out there who could have gotten that done, not one.

    Well, since the ACA is virtually identical to the Republican health care “reform” bill from 1994, the fact is that Bill Clinton could have signed that piece of shit back in 1994. He didn’t, because he knew it was a piece of shit back then. And it remains a piece of shit today.

  153. 153
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I haven’t yet read through the comments (hey, I just got here!) but once again, John Cole, you have left me breathless with one of the finest rants I’ve had the privilege of reading recently. Just excellent and spot on.

    Now could we please have a picture of Tunch?

  154. 154
    dms says:

    Funny story…(and I hate to make this personal, but I always seem to–sorry)

    In 2001, my wife (who happens to be black) and I (who happens to be white), flew to my hometown to attend to 90th birthday party of my grade school and junior high music teacher, who was a good friend of my mother’s, and whose birth date I shared–during my youth we had often had joint parties. Several of the townspeople with whom I was familiar were in attendance. One couple (white, of course) were the parents of a girl I had known throughout childhood and who had been my partner when we were both in a song-and-dance group in high school.

    So I went to say hello and talk with them. They started telling me what Lori (their daughter) was up to, and mentioned that she, a single woman, had adopted two children, who…wait for it…were black. He even showed me pictures of the children. With all the pride he could muster, the father/grandfather stated, “But we love and treat them just like they were our own.”

    Immediately after that statement, the mother/grandmother espied my wife (remember she’s black and the only person of hue in the room), who was standing at the other end of the hall.

    “Do you know who she is?” asked the mother.

    “Oh, yeah,” I replied. “That’s my wife.”

  155. 155
    Montysano says:

    I think the “lens” is the operative word here. I’m white, and what’s occurred since Obama’s election has been sickening. How must it look to African Americans? What message do they get when there’s a 2-week bull-goose freakout over the POTUS speaking to American school children. I can’t even imagine.

  156. 156
    Lynn Dee says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    I don’t believe I said he was surprised. When I said he’s clearly learned to deal with this stuff personally as well as politically, I didn’t mean yesterday.

    But parents want to protect their kids. If you’re a parent, you know that. So however much he’s learned to deal with it himself, I don’t doubt he instinctively wants to protect his girls from it — especially from the sheer volume of what’s directed toward their parents.

  157. 157
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Well put as well, Dennis.

  158. 158
    whitney says:

    @JC: damn i feel sorry for you. your myopia is breathtaking.

  159. 159
    ABL says:

    @Slowbama: says the idiot who accused me of hating being black.

    pffft.

  160. 160
    Rosali says:

    Cole, I agree 99% with this post. But, as someone in your age group, I don’t like to hear references to being “middle-aged”. I keep saying that 40s is the new 30s.

  161. 161
    Loneoak says:

    @NR:

    Um, the point is that it’s not about you. I’m too young to remember if liberals reacted so personally to Clinton (wasn’t attuned to the subtlety of political butthurt at that age), but I have a hard time believing that they felt like Clinton was personally letting them down when he didn’t get things just as they want them. No one is against criticisms of Obama, but we are rightly concerned about the tone of the criticisms. He’s not everyone’s black best friend and he doesn’t owe us anything other than what every white president owed us.

  162. 162
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @NR:

    And it remains a piece of shit today.

    Compared to the piece of shit we have now, it’s a vast improvement. But hey, degrees don’t matter when you’re holding out for that unicorn pony.

  163. 163
    Samara Morgan says:

    i guess this makes up for the Type A interventionist bulshytt you spewed on Libya.
    evens.

    but you still owe me for Kain.

  164. 164
    Slowbama says:

    @Emma: ‘In spades.’ Good one. Bill Maher, is that you?

  165. 165
    Thymezone says:

    @NR:

    Says you. But it’s a plan that will provide the basis for rolling back 70 years of healthcare law neglect in this country, and a huge step forward. That’s a fact whether you see it or not. Compared to the original Social Security act, it’s got more breadth and depth and will have a more profound effect just at it stands right now. You are full of shit.

  166. 166
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jennifer:

    My question would be, since I know those are at the very least racially-tinged comments, do they slide over the line into offensive racist comments?

    It’s tricky, because there are racist jokes and then there are jokes about racism.

    If Moore had turned the joke on himself and said that he was expecting to get a “gangsta” president but instead he got a moderate politician, that would be a joke about his own internalized racism in that it would be playing on his (unconsciously) racist expectations of how a black man would/should behave.

    People like Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, and Richard Pryor manage(d) to make jokes about racism that rarely tipped over into being racist, but you can see what a tightrope it is to walk by how badly so many of their imitators do it.

  167. 167
    JPL says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): While in Nam did you think about whether the person that had your back was purple, yellow, brown or white? Call me naive but I can’t believe we can’t get beyond this fact.

  168. 168
    metricpenny says:

    Thanks Cole. We needed this.

  169. 169
    ABL says:

    I hope that I understand ABL’s sensitivity to racial issues even though she wears her racial background on her sleeve sometimes.

    ::blinks::

  170. 170
    maus says:

    @NR:

    Well, since the ACA is virtually identical to the Republican health care “reform” bill from 1994, the fact is that Bill Clinton could have signed that piece of shit back in 1994. He didn’t, because he knew it was a piece of shit back then. And it remains a piece of shit today.

    So today’s Democrats are the Republicans of twenty years ago? :p

  171. 171
    tomvox1 says:

    @NR:

    Hey, it’s OK to point out how you’d like things to be done differently. Just don’t say that you wish he’d “go all NWA on John Boehner’s ass!” or accuse him of being an “Uncle Tom” or “affirmative action baby”…when you’re white.

  172. 172
    D Johnson says:

    … maybe you should just take a moment, shut the fuck up and be quiet, and think about why she is interpreting things through a different lens than you are.

    My feelings exactly. I am an aging white guy of WASPish extraction. I had a fun childhood in the 1950s. This was a decade before the Civil Rights Act.

    For God’s sake people, if we had needed a new law to allow my family equal access to housing and schools, I guarantee that my lens would be different from what it is. Next time you hear some idiot say “I want my country back” I suggest you think of Ruby Bridges and contrast her experience going to elementary school with your own. That is not an era that anyone should want back.

    When I stop and think as John suggests, I think of the time my Jewish girlfriend and I listened to someone tell us that he would not “Jew us down on the price”, the time our new-hire programmer was described as a two-fer because she was female and Asian, the time a professor acquaintance described her anger at constantly being interrupted and ignored by male colleagues during discussions, the time the real estate agent used “no Jews allowed” as an attempted selling point for a vacation home.

    I am always interested in ABL’s posts. It’s one way to better understand another’s lens, and perhaps adjust my own.

  173. 173
    wasabi gasp says:

    Juxtaposing this with the previous post, where folks are kicking around a dead porn dwarf, is genius.

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jnc: Well, sport, by your logic, everyone is racist. People are trying to draw out the difference between a “racism” born of either ignorance or lack of thought that can be rectified or ameliorated by education or contemplation and a racism that is born of malevolence and is irredeemable. There is shit I don’t know as a WASPy type about the life experiences of others that could easily cause me to say something stupid. I try to be someone who doesn’t say that kind of stupid thing twice.

  175. 175
    NR says:

    @tomvox1:

    Now, this, I have no problem with. Complete agreement.

  176. 176
    MikeJake says:

    Does all this outrage over language have an ultimate purpose? Is it supposed to accomplish something? Maybe I’m just running low on white guilt, but I don’t see how scoldings from the language police in any way addresses the problems of inequality.

    Maybe the reason white people refuse to “get it” is because they don’t give a shit.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jnc:

    Hitler was a murderer. John Wayne Gacy was a murderer. The fact that Hitler killed a lot more people doesn’t make Gacy not a murderer.

    Laura Bush accidentally ran a high school friend over with her car and killed him. Therefore, she’s a murderer who’s just as evil as John Wayne Gacy or Hitler, right? After all, you’re the one arguing that doing something out of ignorance and not realizing the consequences is exactly the same as maliciously planning to do something.

  178. 178
    Ed Marshall says:

    Jesus, you can’t take white people anywhere.

  179. 179

    You know what, Cole, here’s a suggestion…

    MOAR ANGRY BLACK LADIES PLEAZE!

    If you really want to stick it to the privileged idiots here who don’t get it, keep adding unabashedly direct African American voices to the front page.

    You can’t go wrong with first voice.

    Plus it’s fun watching vampires burst into flames. It just is.

  180. 180
    Cat says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    The thing is, with that and his attempt to walk back the remarks by saying he meant Obama vs McCain…
    ..
    Why did he say that in the first place instead of saying black and white?
    ..
    Words have meanings.

    I said I was giving him the benefit of the doubt since AFIAK he isnt a racist and prone to make racist remarks.

    His “walk back”, which I found about 5 minutes ago, pretty much validates that ABL was right and he was making an ignorant and racist remark.

  181. 181
    NR says:

    @Thymezone: It provides no basis for anything except higher profits for the insurance companies. And a bill that forces everyone in America to give money to private companies that take 20 cents out of every dollar while adding no value, is not in any way comparable to Social Security, a government program that operates with extremely low overhead.

  182. 182
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @NR:

    People like tomvox1 sure are. Hence their attempts (like the one in the comment I replied to) to shut these criticisms down by portraying the people making them as racists.

    For the record, I think there are three types of people who criticize Obama:
    1. Idiots
    2. Racists
    3. People with legitimate disagreements.

    People on the left who trade in “Dear Leader” and “Obummer” and “Obot” (seriously, not as a snark) I place in category 1. People of all stripes who talk about “Uncle Tom” are in category 2. People who argue their disagreements civilly are in category 3.

  183. 183
    Keith G says:

    Enough of this endless twaddle. Let’s watch our President marking something that actually matters.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3dHHKx_R4k

  184. 184
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @ABL:

    Aw, c’mon. You know that you push really, really hard sometimes. You do it because I believe that you’re passionate about the issues. Look at your last post as dispassionately as you can. You can ::blink:: at the notion that you pound on your racial background and the experience of life that has given you. You don’t. You’re a good enough writer to have that come out in some of your posts as a pretty obvious subtext. I’m not saying that you’re wrong. I am saying that in 63 years I have failed to meet anyone who’s always right.

  185. 185
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Just like a white man stereotype, assuming he’s 100% right – and there can be no disagreement – and telling every black man what to think. Howzabout instead, I think for myself, racist fool? I’m fully capable of it.
    .
    .

  186. 186
    Cat Lady says:

    @MikeJake:

    Ah, The White Man Speaks. You don’t speak for white people. Speak for yourself, then GFY. This white person does give a shit, very much.

  187. 187
    Paula says:

    And the Dems and Richard Nixon should have brokered some kind of health care deal back in the day when the “center left” position was actually “center left”.

    I have no idea who’s supposed to be bad/good in this case. On the other hand, for many years people jettisoned health care reform for valid progressive objections. On the other hand, we still have/had no health care reform (even a weak tea version) until recently.

  188. 188
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    Well, since the ACA is virtually identical to the Republican health care “reform” bill from 1994, the fact is that Bill Clinton could have signed that piece of shit back in 1994.

    If Congress had actually passed a bill in 1994, you mean.

    It’s weird how you keep making the same factual mistakes over and over again, like claiming that there was a healthcare bill that passed Congress in 1994 that Clinton vetoed when no such bill ever passed Congress. Or are you going for the double hypothetical of assuming that Clinton totally would have vetoed the hypothetical bill if it had hypothetically ever passed Congress instead of dying in committee?

  189. 189
    eemom says:

    ‘atta Cole!

  190. 190
    MikeJake says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I know you take comfort in the echo chamber that is the blog comment section, but I’m betting I’m more right than you.

    But by all means, keep beating your head against the wall trying to convince stubborn whiteys to censor themselves according to some subjective language guidelines.

  191. 191
    Cat says:

    @Seebach:

    I’m not sure what associating with Reverend Wright means, but ignoring that I would agree that’s a valid criticism of Obama.

  192. 192
    Slowbama says:

    @60th Street: As much as I’d like to see ABL’s reaction to no longer being the only ABL in the room, the whole Magical Negro plotline is dependent on there only being one of them at a time.

  193. 193
    Loneoak says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    I know, right? We’re why we can’t have anything nice.

  194. 194
    Thymezone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Got that right. He’s got a clever strawman there, but his argument is, to coin a phrase, a piece of shit.

  195. 195
    eemom says:

    @Thymezone:

    please continue to taunt that dumbass with your rapier wit. kthxbai

  196. 196
    kc says:

    my pasty fish-belly white self

    Pics or stfu!

  197. 197
    Ruckus says:

    I am a white guy and have been in a mixed race relationship(not black) and have been the recipient of racist crap for that. It was nothing like the crap shoved upon a black person in this country. I can not imagine what it is like to live that life every minute of every day. And to have the condescending, it’s OK I’m not a racist or that wasn’t intended to be racist. It’s like saying no offense, you are an asshole. Of course it’s offensive. It was intended that way. I think most white people over 30-40 yrs old have to work not to be/say racist things. An awful lot of us were, if not brought up that way, exposed to racism as kids and didn’t necessarily know that it was racist. And wrong. Some of us managed not to be tainted with that point of idiocy or managed to grow the hell up and get over it. But the legacy is still there. A couple of generations later a lot of that is gone. A friend told me of her now 12 yr old son when he was 8 asked why they didn’t know any black people. Mom asked what about and named several of his friends. He didn’t realize there was any difference between them. Way to go younger generation. Maybe some day the world will be a better place, in some ways it already is, but we have a long way to go.

  198. 198
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Slowbama: You are a bit of an asshole, aren’t you?

  199. 199
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The name didn’t tip you off? I’m guessing it’s Timothy Dickentrollenschlong.

  200. 200
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @JPL: The Army was a microcosm of the larger culture. When I was in basic at Ft Campbell in 66 half the guys in my company were from the Chicago induction center, half from Memphis. This gave a strong representation of brothers from the inner-city, cracker from the hills and a smattering of dumb-ass kids from the suburbs (me). The fights in the barracks were an eye-opener for me, lot of people that didn’t like each other. When I got to Korea I found a highly stratified environment off duty. There were white clubs and black clubs in the ville. A white guy could go with a brother to one of those clubs but it was made plain and clear that if one militant brother wanted you gone, you split, no questions asked. This may be a stereotype but those of us that were “heads” found a common ground with some of the brothers that enjoyed the same refreshments. I was in the rear so the tension was pretty high but, by 69 or so, it was pretty bad in the bush too. The bunker scene in Platoon gives as good a look at what I experienced.

    What I will say it that the blatant discrimination rooted in the inequality of the draft is something that has driven me always. People that were educationally disadvantaged got stuck in the shit and “the best and the brightest” walked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wecduki-29w

  201. 201
    Paula says:

    @Seebach:

    No offense, but that makes you naive and/or unwilling to do research on his actual record as a legislator. It was all there. Seriously. The compromising, the middle road. The “slow legislative” method vs. “let’s see if I can force the courts to defend this”. FISA. Barack Obama’s legislative and political record was there for everyone to see.

  202. 202
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    What you said, twice, with sprinkles. They wanted a “thug” they got a “professor” it is not the professor’s fault that they projected their vision onto him.

    PS) I just love me a JC righteous rant.

  203. 203
    BethanyAnne says:

    So… now we know Michael Moore is a racist. Now what?

  204. 204
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BethanyAnne: No, we know that Moore made a racist comment.

  205. 205
    Cat Lady says:

    @MikeJake:

    Is that all this is to you – “Subjective language guidelines”? Being a clueless privileged dick is no way to go through life, son.

  206. 206
    ABL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: understatement of the year!

  207. 207
    Thymezone says:

    @NR:

    No, sorry, you might want to check your facts.

    ACA Benefits Starting on September 23, 2010

    If you purchase or join a new plan on or after September 23, 2010 insurance companies must:

    Cover recommended preventive services without charging out of pocket costs: Services like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care will be covered, and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.

    Provide an opportunity to appeal coverage decisions: Consumers will be guaranteed the right to appeal insurance company decisions to an independent third party.

    Guarantee enrollees their choice of primary care provider: Consumers will have their choice of provider within the plan’s network of doctors, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians, without a referral, as well as out-of-network emergency care.

    These three provisions will benefit up to 88 million people by 2013.
    A Bridge to 2014

    Other changes including new benefits, protections and cost savings will be implemented between now and 2014.

    The Affordable Care Act builds a bridge to 2014 when a new competitive insurance marketplace will be established. The new marketplace will include state-run health insurance exchanges where millions of Americans and small businesses will be able to purchase affordable coverage, and have the same choices of insurance as Members of Congress.
    Reducing Costs

    The Affordable Care Act will bring down costs, improve the quality of health care delivered to all Americans and expand coverage to 32 million Americans.

    Independent experts have found that the new law helps reduce costs for families and businesses, cuts the deficit and strengthens Medicare, adding years to the trust fund while maintaining seniors guaranteed benefits.

    The Congressional Budget Office, the government’s non-partisan scorekeeper, said the Affordable Care Act would save over $100 billion over the next ten years, and over $1 trillion in the following decade.
    Progress

    Many provisions in the Affordable Care Act are already being implemented, and other changes will be implemented through 2014 and beyond. The law is already strengthening our health care system. Provisions of the law that have already been implemented include:

    Important consumer protections and a new Patient’s Bill of Rights that end some of the worst insurance company abuses.

    New resources for states to help crack down on health insurance premium increases, protect consumers and develop health insurance exchanges where consumers will have the same health insurance choices as Members of Congress.

    The establishment of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan to provide coverage to Americans who have been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition.

    Launch of the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program to make it easier for businesses to provide coverage to retirees who are not eligible for Medicare.

    Distribution of important information that will help small businesses claim the law’s small business tax credit.

    –//

    Speaking as one who is a walking package of preexisting conditions … I can’t buy health or life insurance on my own … these changes are huge. More than worth the price of admission, and the political cost of getting them.

  208. 208
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Slowbama: The expression is probably some derivation from bridge & therefore race neutral but not wise use in this atmosphere.

  209. 209
    t jasper parnell says:

    @jnc: In this case as a matter of logic, Moore thinks that there is an essential blackness for which he voted and he finds Obama insufficiently black. Which is, logically speaking, bullshit. It isn’t likely that Moore hates on black folks for being black, but it is clear that he accepts that there is such a thing as essential blackness, which he himself defines, and as result of disagreeing with Obama’s policies he decides that Obama is insufficiently black. It is, in other words, racist discourse. Or bullshit, in the Frankfurtian sense of bullshit.

  210. 210
    Brian R. says:

    Great post. Thanks.

  211. 211
    Thymezone says:

    The PPACA includes numerous provisions to take effect over several years beginning in 2010. Policies issued before the law was promulgated are grandfathered from most federal regulations.

    Guaranteed issue and partial community rating will require insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).[13]
    A shared responsibility requirement, commonly called an individual mandate,[14] requires that nearly all persons not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurance programs purchase and comply with an approved insurance policy or pay a penalty, unless the applicable individual “is a member of a recognized religious sect” exempted by the Internal Revenue Service, or waived in cases of financial hardship.[15]
    Medicaid eligibility is expanded to include all individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the poverty level along with a simplified CHIP enrollment process.[16][17]
    Health insurance exchanges will commence operation in each state, offering a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and premiums, and buy insurance (with a government subsidy if eligible).[18]
    Low income persons and families above the Medicaid level and up to 400% of the poverty level will receive federal subsidies[19] on a sliding scale if they choose to purchase insurance via an exchange (persons at 150% of the poverty level would be subsidized such that their premium cost would be of 2% of income or $50 a month for a family of 4).
    Minimum standards for health insurance policies are to be established and all annual and lifetime coverage caps will be prohibited.[20][21]
    Firms employing 50 or more people but not offering health insurance will also pay a shared responsibility requirement if the government has had to subsidize an employee’s health care.[22]
    Very small businesses will be able to get subsidies if they purchase insurance through an exchange.[23]
    Insurance companies are required to spend a certain percent of premium dollars on medical care improvement; if an insurer fails to meet this requirement, a rebate must be issued to the policy holder.[24]
    Co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles are to be eliminated for select health care insurance benefits considered to be part of an “essential benefits package”[25] for Level A or Level B preventive care.[26]
    Changes are enacted which allow a restructuring of Medicare reimbursement from “fee-for-service” to “bundled payments.”[27][28]
    Establishment of a national voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and support.[29]
    Additional support is provided for medical research and the National Institutes of Health.[30]

  212. 212
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ABL: It tends to be my schtick. Others seem to have claimed rants and blue fonts that link nowhere.

  213. 213
    Cat says:

    @Thymezone: I was paraphrasing Micheal Moore, I don’t believe Obama is a limosouine liberal.

    Thats because I don’t believe he’s a liberal. Assuming you think a liberal needs to be liberal on National security and Financial issues as well.

  214. 214
    Loneoak says:

    @BethanyAnne:

    Talk about Sarah Palin’s good taste in men? Glen Rice?! Go Blue!

  215. 215
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    This is not an anecdote about racism, but about sexism, which sort of colors my view of these things:

    I used to teach on a campus where all the female students were given a keyring with a sprayer of mace. The first time I saw this was probably the first time in my life I was really confronted with how different the world must have been to females. On a small, private rural school campus, they were made to go through personal safety training and given mace to carry with them.

    I can’t ever feel that sensation myself, and I hope I’m not sounding sexist by saying it, but it definitely impacted how I looked at people and the things they have had to go through. I’ve been privileged far more than I should, and all because of my sex and skin color.

    When people who don’t have those privileges speak about something like this, it should give us pause.

    ETA: I’m mainly pointing that out because the males on campus weren’t given that training, or the Mace. I certainly wasn’t as a professor. It may have been sexism on the part of the administration (highly likely), but my conversations with students after that confirmed that we didn’t have to approach certain situations with the same eye toward safety.

  216. 216
    mary says:

    Thanks, John, that was a good rant. I appreciate it. Too many times, people do and say ignorant things even when they are innocently meant. If someone calls you on it, listen and learn. There’s no need to be so defensive and thin-skinned. You’re an adult, act like one.

  217. 217
    No one of importance says:

    @Gett:

    Thank your little, pasty fish-belly white self, sir for speaking truth!

    Sure hope you comment in every single ABL thanking her gorgeous black self for speaking truth. Because it’s *harder* for her, seeing how she’s fighting racism, sexism, and hormonal issues because of her tumour. Cole isn’t doing anything hard at all.

    And really, I’d respect Cole more for these supportive posts if he’s start banning some of the hard core offenders. Seeing how as they will never change and they are driving away the truly interesting commenters, like asiangrrl.

  218. 218
    dan says:

    Let’s kick Michael Moore in the balls. What a prick. What a racist. He’s what’s wrong with this country. Three posts about this isn’t enough. There should be an entire blog devoted to this. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!

    Oh, fuck you all. It is a joke that riffs on the MANY MANY black “comedians” that do the “black people are like this, and white people are like that”, typically followed by some imitation of an uptight nerd.

    (And sometimes Obama looks like an uptight nerd).

  219. 219
    Slowbama says:

    @And Another Thing…: It’s clearly racist by the standards of this blog and deserves a separate post by ABL, with a followup post by ABL clarifying the original post, and a mop-up post by Cole defending ABL from the tiny minority of his readers who haven’t swallowed her familiar line of race-baiting BS designed to make white liberals feel appropriately chastened for their original sin of being born white.

  220. 220
    bemused says:

    John, what you said, awesome. That it had to be said, sad.

  221. 221
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @MikeJake:

    Does all this outrage over language have an ultimate purpose?

    Yes, Mike, it does. It allows ABL to build her “brand” on the internet and thereby profit from it. Some call it “grifting,” and if there is one thing that the ABL(c)(tm)(r) brand has taught us, it is that “grifters gonna grift.”
    .
    .

  222. 222
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Slowbama: You’re the kind of motherfucker that would get a blanket party on your jive ass.

  223. 223
    Paula says:

    @cleek:

    Admittedly, as a brown person, it’s like picking at a wound. You’re not supposed to but you do it anyway.

    Look, people are gonna walk out of this thinking in their narcissism that it was about “them” or their “ideas” and that people are trying to shut them down by the “false accusation” of racism.

    Yet more think that they are “above” it all.

    But, as a brown person, you’re never above it. You are not allowed to be above it. Your conception of “self” is attached to your skin and one thing that privileged folk don’t understand is that any attack on that basis WILL HIT YOU despite the fact that it may be aimed at someone else who shares your ethnic/racial background. Because that what it means to NOT have that privilege. So the instinct is to defend. Look at the amount of people here who think it is their right to tell ABL how to talk about being a black woman — like there is a set standard there that she should follow to assuage all the sensitive non-Black folk. Where does that expectation come from? Look how offended people get at the suggestion that white folk should be held to a certain standard when talking about race: “OH MY GAWD HOW DARE YOU SHUT ME DOWN! YOU ARE THE RACIST/TROUBLEMAKER!!!”

  224. 224
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:

    His color meant nothing to me.

    It meant something to me in that I was well aware of the historic significance of my 2008 vote, and I felt honored to be a part of that moment. It meant nothing in that I can name a great many AA men and women for whom I would NOT have voted. * And of course I can say the same about any number of white candidates.

    * I guess I mean, in the primary. I can’t imagine ANYONE on the Dem side that would have made me vote for Walnuts and Spicy.

  225. 225
    Thymezone says:

    @Cat:

    Don’t agree, but that’s not a big issue here. I’m a liberal, probably as liberal as anyone here. Give me the test if you doubt it. And I hold Obama to be a liberal. But he’s also a hamstrung president with an impossible mission, and that takes precedence over ideology. Ideology in times like these isn’t worth spit AFAIC.

    Not only is he post-ideological, he said he was before he was elected. He hasn’t surprised or disappointed me so far, other than a few messaging disappointments. For example, the White House failed to explain how the Bush tax cuts are booby trapped and could not be allowed to expire last year without giving the middle class a tax increase which would have been politically suicidal. So all that fauxrage from the left went unanswered, even though it was profoundly stupid.

  226. 226
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Loneoak: Hey, great point

  227. 227
    Sad Iron says:

    I’m really on board with the sentiment here, but I’m a little lost on the major offense, one of which Mr. Cole writes, “That doesn’t mean he is racist, but it sure as hell does mean he made a racist remark.” So, by saying that he voted for the black president (because he would be better) and got stuck with the white president (who would be worse and who Moore wanted to be avoided), he’s made a racist remark. Okay, maybe, so how do you unpack it? It’s racist because Moore thought a black president would be better based on the color of his skin? I’ve been reading other posts (at Yglesias) that say vote for women because they are more likely to be Progressive–is that sexist? I don’t know, and Moore is from Flint, so it’s not like he’s been living in Alaska. I don’t think Moore is expressing that Obama is “insufficiently black”–he’s just pissed that the new boss is the same as the old boss (to quote The Who).

  228. 228
    Paula says:

    @dan:

    “They use it themselves! Why can’t I use it??”

    Please.

  229. 229
    Slowbama says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: In all candor I do enjoy throwing gasoline on the flame of progressive self-loathing on display here. I also confess I particularly look forward to the inevitable day when ABL parts ways, yes angrily, with Cole because “he’s a racist.”

  230. 230
    j low says:

    Can’t we all just agree that Michael Moore is an obnoxious fat guy and get back to fighting the fucking Koch brothers?

  231. 231
    Blahblah says:

    Comedians are funny, they get to say racist things sometimes if it’s a funny metaphor or makes you think.

    Michael Moore has shitty delivery and isn’t a comedian, so when he repeats funny racist things people think it’s racism.

    I’d like to see a black Michael Moore deliver a Chris Rock bit. Reverse Racism!

  232. 232
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Slowbama: You are exactly the sort that self-loathing is made for. Fits you like a white robe, fucker.

  233. 233
    Emma says:

    @Slowbama: Thank you. I thought you would get it.

    Gotta tell you, though. As a troll, you don’t rate. Even Uncle Clarence is becoming a bit of a bore. We get it already. White men will fight to the death for the privilege of one white man to say whatever the hell he wants and not have anyone get angry, because, after all, he meant well.

    Bless your hearts, you mean well (and I mean this is the southern sense).

  234. 234
    gogol's wife says:

    @dan:

    Michael Moore is not a standup comedian.

  235. 235
    Samara Morgan says:

    @ABL: well at least they cant accuse you of not being black like they accuse me of not being muslim.

    i think Moore accused Obama of not being black….enough.
    :)

  236. 236
    Slowbama says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: The souls of the departed victims of KKK violence no doubt abhor your casual, bloodless comparison of garden-variety contrarianism with actual, physical, real racism. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  237. 237
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    well at least they cant accuse you of not being black like they accuse me of not being muslim.

    No, we just accuse you of being an idiot – muslim or not.

  238. 238
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Slowbama: your concern is noted, troll.

  239. 239
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @geg6:

    ABL has a rare talent. She can make some reflect and try to be better. She also draws put those who’d rather make excuses or simply deny what we all know to be true about those who excuse and deny. They may not be racists but they are too frightened and cowardly to reflect. So they attack. In ways that are quite shocking for people who call themselves liberals or progressives or even moderates. It’s been enlightening to have ABL around, not just so this white girl can begin to understand what people of color, but to see how white people, especially white men react. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.

    Nailed it. ABL makes some people uncomfortable in a good way, they need this discomfort to knock them out of their comfortable places and expose them to what they want to ignore or deny.

    ABL is an asset to this place, more so than many realize. People can bitch about “style” all they want but her content is what matters to me.

  240. 240
    Quicksand says:

    @Slowbama:

    I also confess I particularly look forward to the inevitable day when ABL parts ways, yes angrily, with Cole because “he’s a racist.”

    Wait, I thought she was going to TURN HIM racist. This is confusing. Is ABL all-powerful or not?

  241. 241
    JMonkey says:

    @Jareth Cutestory: If Moore said, “I voted for Obama and got McCain,” no problem. I voted for the black guy and got the white guy” encompasses a whole lot more and implies that black people govern in a specific way. That’s what’s problematic.

  242. 242
    Jax6655 says:

    OK I must have picked a wrong word. FYWP.

    Let me try again.

    I love you John Cole. Thanks for trying to keep your witty and intelligent blog from becoming like “that orange site” 2.0. It came very close last night. This is the first time I visited today and was considering a boycott.

    Watched that video and now I want to chuck my dinner.

    Also, too. Michael Moore is an ass.

    edited to add a bit

  243. 243
    Slowbama says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I am only concerned that the U.S. educational system is turning out people like you who have a moral and intellectual compass so weak that they cannot tell the difference between silly internet dialogue and actual KKK-style racism.

  244. 244
    piratedan says:

    ty for the distinction that even people that we support and who regularly fight for what I would consider to be the better parts of our interests can still say stupid stuff and note that they need to be called out on it. We’ve had this same argument over the likes of Maher and Stewart before Moore inserted his sneakers into his orifice. Is anyone perfect, no, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep striving to be so.

  245. 245
    Dimmic Rat says:

    As a black woman, I am mortified by ABL. She is a fucking caricature of a sister.

  246. 246
    BDeevDad says:

    @Looney Jew: Were Catholic voters in 1960 anti-Protestant? Kennedy won 17% more Catholics than previous Democrats (8 in 10) while Obama did about 10% better than previous Democrats.

    BTW, Michael Moore is fat.
    Just thought it needed to be said.

  247. 247
    Chris says:

    @Paula:

    And the Dems and Richard Nixon should have brokered some kind of health care deal back in the day when the “center left” position was actually “center left”.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why we didn’t go for Nixon’s health care plan. From what I understand, it included a public option, and sliding scale where payments were proportional to income. What was it that possessed us to say no?

  248. 248
    whitney says:

    @Larryb: I certainly wish that the tiresome issues of language could be my largest concern.

  249. 249
    dan says:

    @Paula: Really? You see that as the same thing? Really?

    That is what is pissing off a lot of people.

    Geez, if I wanted to see this level of self-righteousness I’d have gone over to Pandagon.

  250. 250
    gbear says:

    @tomvox1:

    I’m beginning to think that on election night, a lot of white people on the Left were cheering and crying tears of joy for themselves for being so good and enlightened as to vote for an African American and give him a chance to be president. And now a lot of them are pissed off that this uppity Obama fellow won’t simply take every last piece of their advice on how to run the country. What, does he think he really knows best? Where would he be without us! Some nerve…

    Just thought this comment needed repeating at least one more time. & thanks to Mr. Cole for the post.

  251. 251
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Slowbama: I’m only concerned with the American educational system that produces people like you who think such Internet dialogue is somehow funny or productive.

    What are you hoping to achieve here “slowbama”? Win people to your view? Or just stir up shit?

  252. 252
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Chris: “We” were in a fucking bunker and were only 19 when the voting age was 21.

  253. 253
    Slowbama says:

    @Dimmic Rat: I think ABL is actually Cole. I doubt I’m the first person to say this, in jest or not.

  254. 254
    Sad Iron says:

    @JMonkey: That’s a good point. That said, his assumption was that the “specific way” a black person would govern would be better than the white official. It was his desire to have that specific way in place, but I guess it doesn’t make it any less of an assumption.

  255. 255
    Samara Morgan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: oh, thats just you. the aged harpy brigade thinks im a trustafarian dillettante that dabbles in “Goofy Sufi” and has stolen the cloak of the Noble Other.

  256. 256
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Thanks, John. As the song from which my name comes says :

    “Talking tough is easy when it’s other people’s evil
    and you’re judging what they do or don’t believe.
    It seems to me you’d have to have a hole in you’re own
    to point a finger at somebody else’s sheet”

  257. 257
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I have two black colleagues, one a many-generation African American whose ancestors were enslaved, the other an immigrant from West Africa.

    Why is it a zillion times easier to discuss issues of race and racism with my African friend than with my AA friend?

  258. 258
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    oh, thats just you. the aged harpy brigade thinks im a trustafarian dillettante that dabbles in “Goofy Sufi” and has stolen the cloak of the Noble Other.

    I don’t think that’s just me. But you keep on keepin’ on little dead girl.

  259. 259
    Paula says:

    @dan:

    Because I’m not Black, I gotta watch what I say. Because other people are not Asian, they gotta watch what they say around the likes of ME. Because I’m not White, I gotta be careful about generalizing White people.

    How hard is this to understand, really? Jesus tap-dancing christ.

  260. 260
    Slowbama says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I tried to win people to my view but was called a racist, over and over, for arguing a contrary position that was itself an answer to ABL’s relentless race-baiting and the patronizing adoption of her as Magical Negress by a substantial majority of posters here. So, yeah, I’ve given up on that.

  261. 261
    Dennis SGMM says:

    In my time in war my favorite weapon was the single shot 40mm grenade launcher. Those who have been in combat will understand.

    For the rest of you, here’s a 40mm grenade from the late Lenny Bruce:
    Are there any niggers here tonight? Could you turn on the house lights, please, and could the waiters and waitresses just stop serving, just for a second? And turn off this spot. Now what did he say? “Are there any niggers here tonight?” I know there’s one nigger, because I see him back there working. Let’s see, there’s two niggers. And between those two niggers sits a kyke. And there’s another kyke— that’s two kykes and three niggers. And there’s a spic. Right? Hmm? There’s another spic. Ooh, there’s a wop; there’s a polack; and, oh, a couple of greaseballs. And there’s three lace-curtain Irish micks. And there’s one, hip, thick, hunky, funky, boogie. Boogie boogie. Mm-hmm. I got three kykes here, do I hear five kykes? I got five kykes, do I hear six spics, I got six spics, do I hear seven niggers? I got seven niggers. Sold American. I pass with seven niggers, six spics, five micks, four kykes, three guineas, and one wop. Well, I was just trying to make a point, and that is that it’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness. Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, “I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet,” and if he’d just say “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” to every nigger he saw, “boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie,” “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” ’til nigger didn’t mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school.

  262. 262
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Dennis SGMM: M79- thumper.

  263. 263
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Slowbama: As evidenced by your name.

  264. 264
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    Sounds like me and my adventures with the ever-shifting drinking age in Illinois back in the early ’60s.

    Your experience sounds scarier, though.

  265. 265
    aisce says:

    @ toko-loko

    well at least they cant accuse you of not being black like they accuse me of not being muslim.

    you know what? you’re absolutely right. people here are intentionally cruel, derogatory, delegitimizing, and dehumanizing towards you on a daily basis.

    the fact that none of us give a shit, or will make any effort to change, should tell you something about your place in the community. cudlip.

    @ chris

    For the life of me I can’t understand why we didn’t go for Nixon’s health care plan.

    entitlement and narcissism. only democratic presidents are allowed to enhance the welfare state. and any breathing kennedy brother is due the white house. that was the false thinking of the 1970s.

    then reagan happened and lessons were learned.

  266. 266
    t jasper parnell says:

    @tomvox1:

    when you’re white

    Or when you’re Mexican or French. People act for reasons other than skin color and, I would argue, insisting that skin color makes a difference makes you a racists or, at least some one comfortable using racist discourse.

  267. 267
    Paula says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I dunno, why is it? As it happens, their perspectives on racism are probably quite different, but I have no idea why one person should easier to speak to than the other.

  268. 268
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    Well, since the ACA is virtually identical to the Republican health care “reform” bill from 1994, the fact is that Bill Clinton could have signed that piece of shit back in 1994. He didn’t, because he knew it was a piece of shit back then. And it remains a piece of shit today.

    maybe he should have, maybe we’d be farther progressed on the issue today

  269. 269
    Lyrebird says:

    1. Thank you John Cole. You said all sorts of things I was thinking… and more clearly. ABL in particular has such a frightening and frighteningly “loyal” following of sophist-jackals who put down not just her writing but her thinking and her character… yet there they are, clicking on another one of her posts. Mr. “yeah go ahead are ya gonna ban me” from the last round? How about “yeah go ahead continue to flaunt your ignorance and ill will for all to see!”

    Some of these jackals are probably just like the harassing types I knew in high school, but could some be honestly expecting everyone in the world they condescend to listen to — in spite of being so black, so female, or whatever — will only say things they like?

    I can definitely understand someone at-first not understanding the bias in Maher’s joke, but saying Black men are fighters and White men are not is indeed playing up old stereotypes which are built on lies. Was Teddy Kennedy not a fighter? How about Mr. Choi, does he have enough chutzpah for you? (and yeah I did that intentionally :-)

    2. @General Stuck: i’ve been wondering about installing this legendary pie filter, but then I wouldn’t know what your ripostes went with, would I?

    PEACE

    PEACE

    RESPECT!

    PEACE

  270. 270
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I got thrown in jail in Champaign 10 days after I came home for underage drinking. Three years in, two in Asia and I couldn’t buy a beer legally.

  271. 271
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Emma:

    As a troll, you don’t rate. Even Uncle Clarence is becoming a bit of a bore.

    Is there anything more trite, boring, and meaningless than the old “oh, you’re not trolling with enough trolling quality and it must be true just because I said it” gambit? The first time I heard that I fell off my nttp asciisaur.

    Your attempted insult fails because it is 100% generic (as most balloonbagger attempts are). That is, you can say it to anyone at any time. They can say it back to you with equal effect at any time. Watch it, here it comes: “Even as a troll you don’t rate, Emma. You’re becoming a bit of a bore.” Now, did that hurt your feelings? Tell the truth. Just as I thought – and I feel exactly the same way. Don’t say I never taught you anything.
    .
    .

  272. 272
    whitney says:

    @MikeJake: so don’t give a shit. go away. fuck off, asshole.

  273. 273
    debg says:

    Hurray, John. Thanks.

  274. 274
    Slowbama says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Perfect example. As I’ve said I picked the handle out of anger with the president’s slow response to the Gulf oil spill. And he was. Slow, I mean. But in the narrow, race-obsessed world of progressive identity politics, it is a KKK-style racist epithet every bit on a par with the burning of crosses, etc.

  275. 275
    OzoneR says:

    @Chris:

    What was it that possessed us to say no?

    Nixon was on the verge of being impeached and Dems thought they could do it themselves with President Whoever in 1977.

  276. 276
    whitney says:

    @dan: and so, is that his white side? really? jesus. some people will NEVER understand.

  277. 277
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): we know it was really because you shot a man in reno just to watch him die.

  278. 278
    Anya says:

    I love angry Cole – he’s always spot on.

    You should read Adam Serwer’s take on the issue. He’s a fellow halfAfrican:
    The Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Bill Maher Convergence on Obama and Race

    What Limbaugh, Moore and Maher all have in common is a common, reductive expectation of what a “black man” is supposed to be—aggressive, belligerent, intimidating—and Obama doesn’t fit the bill. All three are embracing a paternalistic social tyranny of trying to define the acceptable limits of people’s behavior based on their racial background, something that still happens even in America even if you end up being president of the United States. If you’re president, though, it’s much easier to just brush your shoulders off—dealing with those kind of expectations when you’re an average person is considerably more difficult. Especially when the “liberals” are the ones saying stuff like this.

  279. 279
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: That was how I ended up where I did!

  280. 280
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Dimmic Rat:

    As a black woman, I am mortified by ABL. She is a fucking caricature of a sister.

    Hi. You’re not supposed to say that out loud on balloon-juice.com.
    .
    .

  281. 281
    Jnc says:

    @jnc: Well, sport, by your logic, everyone is racist. People are trying to draw out the difference between a “racism” born of either ignorance or lack of thought that can be rectified or ameliorated by education or contemplation and a racism that is born of malevolence and is irredeemable. There is shit I don’t know as a WASPy type about the life experiences of others that could easily cause me to say something stupid. I try to be someone who doesn’t say that kind of stupid thing twice.

    In my experience most people are racist. I appreciate that some racism springs from ignorance and some is the product of conscious thought thats not remedied by reflection and education.

  282. 282
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Paula:

    Thank you. I find it troubling (and am quite prepared to admit that the trouble is on my end of things).

  283. 283
    MikeJake says:

    Adam Serwer has a take?

    Now we KNOW this whole kerfuffle was the result of a slow news day.

  284. 284
  285. 285
    Lojasmo says:

    @Seebach:

    I am surprised at how ball-less Obama is.

    Given that many african “imports” were castrati…well…

  286. 286
    Anya says:

    @dan: So the black comedians made him do it? Also, too, no one is saying Michael Moore is racist, but what he said was racist. Get it through your thick head.

  287. 287
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @MikeJake: I hear you. Last night on the Atlanta news they had a story about a trial of a woman who got thrown out of the library, wouldn’t stop bitching, so they arrested her. She was convicted.

  288. 288
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):
    I have tried for several minutes to come up with a clever snarky response to that.

    And you know what?

    I just can’t.

  289. 289
    RossInDetroit says:

    There’s quite a bit I could add here but that would be like tossing a match into a conflagration.

    So I’ll limit my self to

    VIVA ABL! Long may you wave!

  290. 290
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):
    Oh hell yes. Most of the time they wanted me to carry an M60A1. To my twenty year old mind something that was accurate, had a decent range and raised hell at the other end was just the ticket. The M-five-hundred-and-something rounds that were loaded with #4 shot were completely ineffective but they sure made people hug the ground. It was like firing a sawed-off shotgun with an inch and a half diameter barrel. The SEALs, among other special forces still use the M79 because of its range and accuracy.

  291. 291
    bemused says:

    @JC:
    Deeply reflecting on racism, deliberate or witless, a person has experienced since a toddler seems redundant.

  292. 292
    El Tiburon says:

    Here’s the thing: I still don’t understand exactly why it is racist what Moore said.

    I take it to mean that he thought he was voting for a guy who was not going to fuck shit up like all of the other Presidents (who are all, ahem, white) because being black, Obama was coming from a different place.

    And I am not being obtuse here. Can someone kindly direct me to a calm and rational explanation why this is racist. Please.

  293. 293
    Paula says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Everyone has a goddamn problem w/ race in this country. Our society has made it so that it’s hard to get rid of. It should not be a surprise to admit to oneself and to see other people have them. I’m even OK with people thinking that it’s an intractable problem that needs to be ignored (I disagree, but it’s an understandable POV.) The issue is acknowledging your blind spots. The “offense” is the Not Wanting to See it at All. (Putting aside the problem of being an actual racist who agrees with racist ideas.)

  294. 294
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Want a punch line. They busted a bunch of us. We went out side and I still had my muster-out pay and my discharge papers. I showed them to one of the cops and he said “go stand over there”. They had to call another squad to load us all up so we were standing there for a while. I went to one of the cops and said, hey I’m not under arrest, can I go take a piss? He says, “shut up boy”. My brilliant reply was “who the fuck are you calling a boy, asshole”. Next thing my face is smashed into the wall and I’m cuffed. They still only got me for underage. Couple of years later the cop killed himself.

  295. 295
    Lyrebird says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Thank you for sharing the story & your reflections. I have wondered whether guys could realize that without some fancy kind of virtual reality thingy where most of the people walking around them have 2x their upper body strength and an enjoyment of personally demeaning humor. (and in case anyone’s wondering, I find guys in general quite adorable)

  296. 296
    MikeJake says:

    @El Tiburon: Bill Maher tells this joke to his mainly white, left-leaning audience, because it speaks to a low-level, mostly benign racism that runs through many whiteys, and it gets laughs (which is Bill Maher’s primary job). Michael Moore tried to reuse the joke, and that apparently makes him the worst person in America.

  297. 297
    Paula says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Cole’s post is just fine: “How, exactly, is what Moore said any fundamentally different from Republicans whipping up fear about Obama in 2008 because we don’t want rule by a “black President.” It’s the same god damned thing, just Moore wanted “the Black President” and all the people the Republicans wanted to scare didn’t want “the black President.” It’s the flip side of the same damned coin.”

  298. 298
    OzoneR says:

    @El Tiburon:

    I take it to mean that he thought he was voting for a guy who was not going to fuck shit up like all of the other Presidents (who are all, ahem, white) because being black, Obama was coming from a different place.

    How doesn’t being black guarantee you don’t fuck shit up?

  299. 299
    Anya says:

    @El Tiburon: It’s explained by this @Anya: Adam Serwer post, please read it and reflect.

  300. 300
    am says:

    @Thymezone:

    I don’t like the way she writes, either. But I will have the good sense not to get involved in her threads in the future.

  301. 301
    Jnc says:

    Laura Bush accidentally ran a high school friend over with her car and killed him. Therefore, she’s a murderer who’s just as evil as John Wayne Gacy or Hitler, right? After all, you’re the one arguing that doing something out of ignorance and not realizing the consequences is exactly the same as maliciously planning to do something.

    No. Murder, like most words, has a meaning. It (generally) requires intent. So Laura bush is a killer. I guess in the venn diagram, gacy and hitler would be killers too, but they’d be in the murder subgroup.

    The analogy here I guess is that you can be in the racist circle out of ignorance or out of conscious intent. You can put the stone cold hard ass cross burning racists in another little sub circle if you want, but you can’t kick the ignorant folks out of the racist circle to do so.

    Another poster above said his dad couldn’t be a racist because he didn’t consciously hate black folks, he huts said racist thi gs. Sorry your daddy was a racist. He could have have been a prince of a man otherwise, but saying racist shit means you is a racist.

    Look if some rich guy loves him some black folks a gives millions of dollars to the NAACP and personally goes to Africa to build schools for black folks and does so because he thinks nor says it is his duty to do so because black folks need his help because they’re just not as smart as white folks, that guy is a racist. Done.

  302. 302
    virag says:

    jc and abl are a co-dependent drama-queen couple from hell.

  303. 303
    darkmatter says:

    @Slowbama: To be fair, you’re racist and a flaming asshole to boot.

  304. 304
    dogwood says:

    @Chris:

    For the life of me I can’t understand why we didn’t go for Nixon’s health care plan. From what I understand, it included a public option, and sliding scale where payments were proportional to income. What was it that possessed us to say no?

    Ted Kennedy put the brakes on it because he thought he could get an even better deal, perhaps single payer. He was wrong and millions suffered because of that political blunder. Despite what NR believes, Obama is not responsible for screwing up health care in this country. White guys have been fucking it up for over a century. But that doesn’t fit his narrative.

  305. 305
    Corey says:

    @El Tiburon: I’m a guy who typically thinks these “outrages” are blown way out of proportion, but I think that’s a very generous interpretation of what Michael Moore said and is pretty unlikely.

    Moore implied that because the president is black, he thought he was going to get a fighter, a Huey Newton type or something. He’s disappointed that what he got instead was a milquetoast “white guy”. The racism comes in the assumption that black politicians have to be angry, barnstorming types.

    Now, is ABL pretty clearly using this (quite racist and offensive) statement by Moore to delegitimize criticism of the president from the left? Yes, but it doesn’t change the fact that the statement was racist and offensive.

  306. 306
    Thymezone says:

    @am:

    That’s the spirit.

  307. 307
    nancydarling says:

    I don’t have time to read all these comments but would like to add, “God bless you Cole, and God bless ABL.

  308. 308
    virag says:

    expect to hear the racist judgement used more and more against nominally democratic or progressive or liberal people with a platform as the campaign continues.

  309. 309
    Samara Morgan says:

    @aisce: im not the cudlip here.
    im an anticapitalist. :)
    you are all still chewin’ that “freed” market cud.
    sadly missionary democracy cant compete in the marketplace of dar ul Islam.
    that is why America spent 14.3 trillion dollahs FOR FUCKING NOTHING.
    oh, i guess we did kill a lot of stray dogs.
    58,000 to be exact.

    opening a lemonade stand with Omnes soon?

  310. 310
    Thymezone says:

    He was wrong and millions suffered because of that political blunder.

    No, dead wrong. Millions suffered because the healthcare industry fought the idea with everything they had, and their toads, the GOP, acted as their surrogates in DC. That’s why.

  311. 311
    Blahblah says:

    @darkmatter: No, he’s just trolling a blog that’s tearing itself apart at the seams. It’s fun, you should try it. This place sucks anyway.

  312. 312
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Why is it a zillion times easier to discuss issues of race and racism with my African friend than with my AA friend?

    Probably because your African friend hasn’t had to grow a thick shell after decades of tiny insults every single day and is still able to be shocked by how all-pervasive racism really is in this culture. Someone who didn’t grow up here is going to have a slightly more “outsider” view even though they now get the same treatment as a black person who was born here.

    I’m still convinced that one of the reasons the Louima, Diallo and Dorismond incidents with the NYPD got such widespread publicity in the early 1990s was they were all immigrants and their friends and family were unwilling to accept that that’s just what happens to you if you’re black and live in New York.

    (Not saying that African-Americans who were born here “deserve” to be treated badly or that they “should” fight back more, just that I can see that if you’ve been having to deal with that treatment 24/7 for your whole life, it’s too tiring to fight that same fight all the fucking time. I don’t know how ABL does it.)

    (Also, too, I love “scare” “quotes.”)

  313. 313
    Beauzeaux says:

    @Silver:

    100% correct.

  314. 314
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): One of the many things that galled me about the Vietnam years was the fact that many were called upon to put their lives on the line and they couldn’t legally drink a beer if they were lucky enough to return home with the ability to order that beer and drink it.

    That’s only slightly less stupid than forbidding our troops serving in Islamic nations from imbibing.

  315. 315
    QuickSauce says:

    I mostly despise and avoid comment sections (since probably about 2005), but I just want to say, “Thank you, ABL and John.” I am white, and I cringe very often at the things other white people say. Especially, when I know that they are not racists in the active and literal sense. There are so many subtle (to white people, of course) ways that racism is just tucked into the way we talk, and hence think, without being usually conscious of it. It’s frustrating and sad. But, both of you are right on.

  316. 316
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Slowbama:

    I am only concerned that the U.S. educational system is turning out people like you who have a moral and intellectual compass so weak that they cannot tell the difference between silly internet dialogue and actual KKK-style racism.

    And tell us, what exactly is “KKK-style racism”?

  317. 317
    Chris says:

    @dogwood:

    Ted Kennedy put the brakes on it because he thought he could get an even better deal, perhaps single payer.

    He primaried Carter AND screwed up the UHC deal? God damn, with friends like these…

  318. 318
    Darkrose says:

    Thank you, John, for getting it.

  319. 319
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Dennis SGMM: About two months after I turned 21 they lowered the drinking age to 18! I always figured when I stopped getting high they’d legalize weed. Twenty years and so far no go.

  320. 320
    Lyrebird says:

    @El Tiburon: Hi, dunno if this will help… offered w/respect to you!

    If Moore really meant what you’re saying, that would be pretty cool. But then maybe he coulda used words more like yours. But he quoted Maher.

    Maher’s got a bit of a record of implying “more Black” == more gangster-like, more confrontational… even if Moore was thinking “oh what I’m saying is praising Black people”, it’s still kinda ick in my book. Lots of Black men are boxers now, but lots of Irish and Polish and whatever other kinds of Euro-descended men have been boxers, as well.

    So why is a “Fightin’ Irish” t-shirt more acceptable than a “Fightin’ Negro” t-shirt? I don’t have answers, but I do know that there have been no FBI assassinations of Irish-nationalism activists here, like there were of Black Panthers. But we turn around and keep this “oooh Black men are scary and fierce!” cultural meme…

    BTW I think it was a BJ commenter that first directed me to this super-spiffy video about race & racism, includes a nice line about “the Bermuda Triangle of conversations”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc

  321. 321
    virag says:

    @Chris: uncle teddie is a hero to the low-knowledge crowd.

  322. 322
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jnc:

    No. Murder, like most words, has a meaning. It (generally) requires intent. So Laura bush is a killer. I guess in the venn diagram, gacy and hitler would be killers too, but they’d be in the murder subgroup.

    Okay, so you’re starting to get it …

    The analogy here I guess is that you can be in the racist circle out of ignorance or out of conscious intent. You can put the stone cold hard ass cross burning racists in another little sub circle if you want, but you can’t kick the ignorant folks out of the racist circle to do so.

    … nope, went in one ear and out the other. And you were so close.

    Think again. What’s the similarity between accidentally killing someone/ignorantly saying something racist and deliberately murdering someone/burning a cross in someone’s yard? Can you really see the difference of degree between an accident and a murder but see no difference of degree between an ignorantly racist statement and a deliberately chosen racist act? Or did the word “racist” set something off in your brain that’s making you resist any nuance at all?

  323. 323
    El Tiburon says:

    @Anya:

    It’s explained by this @Anya: Adam Serwer post, please read it and reflect.

    I read the Sewer post. I can’t disagree with what he said. Like Cole explained – me being a white dude from Texas with limited interactions with black people I will be the first to admit I sometimes don’t see it.

    I guess this is one of those times. Although, and I am not trying to water this down, but reflecting on this (as you advised) perhaps I was so excited about Obama because I thought he would be a fighter. Not an ‘Angry Black Man’ type of fighter, because let’s be honest here: Obama is more Erkel than Mr. T. (I hope that is not racist.)

    I was also a John Edwards supporter because I thought he would be a fighter. Hillary was last on my list because I thought she would be more like a typical DC politician and continue on with the usual bullshit – just like we got now.

    So if it’s racist that I thought a black President would be more of a fighter, then so be it.

    But, you know, whatever.

  324. 324
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    And tell us, what exactly is “KKK-style racism”?

    I understand that it’s fashionable and easy to pile on to Slowbama. Have you ever lived, or spent even ten minutes in the rural South?
    “I’ll show you the life of the mind.”

  325. 325
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan: Intellectual dishonesty again. Very impressive.

  326. 326
    BadFileName says:

    Michael Moore explains his remark at his blog. http://www.michaelmoore.com/

  327. 327
    LarryB says:

    @whitney: No disagreement there. And I totally get that it’s really easy to go non-linear after being on the receiving end of overt and covert discrimination. Without snark, my son’s feelings of betrayal when his buds narc’d on him and he got called into the principal’s office etc., etc. and half the school wouldn’t talk to him for the rest of the year are small potatoes in the big picture of racism in America. However, the fact is that there is a difference between naive and mendacious, and I think that MM is being pilloried as the latter when he was, in fact, being the former.

  328. 328
    Paula says:

    @Corey:

    Now, is ABL pretty clearly using this (quite racist and offensive) statement by Moore to delegitimize criticism of the president from the left?

    I won’t assume ABL’s motives because I have no fucking clue, but here’s news:

    The progressive blogosphere/mediasphere, of which “you” [read: the progressive blogosphere] and Moore are part, have an effect on the dialog in this country disproportionate to what your voting numbers actually are. Because of your money, your education, and yes, in many cases your whiteness, there’s a lot of power in this position that you either don’t exercise, can’t exercise, or fuck up the way Moore and Maher just did. And you fuck it up/don’t use it because many of you are dumb about race and class in this country and can’t even begin to understand others outside of that world, much less form the intellectual coherence that might allow you to use your considerable advantages to help them.

    This is why your “criticizing from the left” is ultimately pointless, not because of anything ABL writes.

  329. 329
    Cat says:

    @Thymezone:

    He hasn’t surprised or disappointed me so far, other than a few messaging disappointments.

    Thats a very vague statement. So if he’s not surprised or disappointed you does that also mean you are happy with all of his policies?

  330. 330
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, Jnc, Cole had something just for you in his post:

    It will keep you from grappling with things. It will keep you from saying “Wow. You know, I never knew that something I used to say or do could be perceived as racist.” You’ll not have to deal with the fact that good people can still say stupid ugly things, even when they don’t mean to. You’ll never have to think about the fact that maybe you’ve been doing something or saying something hurtful or ugly without even meaning to, because your intentions are as pure as the Virgin Mary. You can just keep on rolling on, and mutter to yourself about all those hyper-sensitive black people.

    So you just keep on keepin’ on thinking that the only two categories are “racist” and “non-racist” and of course you couldn’t possibly think or say anything racist — even out of ignorance — because you’re not in the “racist” circle on the Venn diagram.

  331. 331
    different church-lady says:

    The only freakin’ way this post deserves 300+ comments is if 300+ people said, “That’s correct.”

    Sadly, I doubt when I go back and actually look at them that I’m going to find it played out that way.

  332. 332
    Thymezone says:

    So if it’s racist that I thought a black President would be more of a fighter, then so be it.

    Oh Jesus, I can’t believe you said that. You are right, you’d think he’d be alllll up in they shit.

  333. 333
    RossInDetroit says:

    I dated a (white) South African woman for a while. I tried explaining why the US imposed sanctions during Apartheid and her response was “You’re American. You have issues with race. Accept that and deal with it.” She was being defensive but I think she was right. “Having issues” doesn’t have to mean you’re a bigot but it means having to examine where your attitudes come from.

  334. 334
    dogwood says:

    @j low:

    Can’t we all just agree that Michael Moore is an obnoxious fat guy and get back to fighting the fucking Koch brothers?

    Moore is the poster boy for white privilege. He’s an overweight, unattractive, slovenly man of mediocre intellect and talent. The fact that he can even get his mug on TV speaks volumes to the privilege white males have in this country. I remember a TNC post at the Atlantic about how racism in America promotes white mediocrity. He’s absolutely right.

  335. 335
    Jnc says:

    @men

    Oh I get nuance just fine. It’s kind of funny that you think my post dismantling your hyperbole means that I am starting to get it though!

  336. 336
    OzoneR says:

    So if it’s racist that I thought a black President would be more of a fighter, then so be it.

    Wow
    Wow
    Woooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  337. 337
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I don’t know about half of these words?

  338. 338
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I understand that it’s fashionable and easy to pile on to Slowbama. Have you ever lived, or spent even ten minutes in the rural South?
    “I’ll show you the life of the mind.”

    You are talking to a black man born and raised in Houston, Texas with family down in places like Lake Charles, Louisiana. The idea that “KKK style racism” is the end-all, be-all of racism is a fucking joke.

    Moreover, what are you focusing on with that term exactly? Is it night raids where black men are snatched out of their homes and killed in front of their families? Is it the raw intimidation of burning a cross on someone’s front lawn? Or is it the pernicious influence of decades upon decades of Jim Crow laws?

    “KKK style racism” is a pretty poor catch all, since it reveals a highly limited understanding of the pervasive and mundane manifestation of institutionalized racism in this country.

    In short, it’s a fucking joke.

  339. 339
    Thymezone says:

    @Cat:

    Oh right. Who the fuck votes for a president because they expect — or even want — to agree with “all of his policies?” What are you, in grade school?

    There are a lot of reasons to vote for one presidential candidate over another. Thinking that “all of his policies” are going to be my favorites is not one of them, unless you are a child and think this is about picking a personal Peter Pan.

  340. 340
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RossInDetroit: Was her name Ingrid? English SA from Durban? ‘Cos I think I dated her too.

  341. 341
    MKSinSA says:

    @DaBomb: But isn’t snark supposed to at least make sense?

  342. 342
    Suffern ACE says:

    @OzoneR: Christ. That “Crazy Piece of Shit” that was the republican plan wasn’t going to get passed in 1994. Republicans were just as craven during that debate as they are today. Good lord, the reason they announced all those “plans” in 1994 was so that they had excuses not to pass anything-cause there were just so many “plans” out there that couldn’t be compromised on.

  343. 343
    Dr. Squid says:

    @Slowbama: Oh, get a fucking tissue already.

    Fuck but I can’t stand white people with an entitlement complex.

  344. 344
    different church-lady says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You are talking to a black man born and raised in Houston, Texas with family down in places like Lake Charles, Louisiana.

    What? You expect us to believe that just because you’re a black man from the south that you know what it’s like to be a black man from the south?

    (I just thought say something idiotic in the ironic voice so that when someone said something more idiotic for real we’d have a benchmark to measure it against.)

  345. 345
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @dogwood:

    Nice work! Ad hominem attacks mixed with cheap shots about Moore’s physical appearance. Thank goodness that you’ve done so much more than he has to assail the corporations and the system. He fucked up. No one on earth has ever fucked up before and no one on earth will ever do so again, will they?

    Dogwood, eh? As Bricktop would say, “Get your tongue out of my ass.” If you’re fishing for agreement with your simple-minded comment then maybe you need to find another blog.

  346. 346
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Alison, English SA from Pietermaritzburg. Maybe there’s a lot of them. I worked with a number of people from SA in the ’90s. Quite a large percentage were gay. Apparently it was (is?) very difficult to be Out there.

  347. 347
    Cat says:

    @Thymezone: You must be prescient if you knew all of the policies his administration would implement or did I just miss his position papers on drone strikes, sanctioning termination of non combatant Americans, or HAMP.

    My mistake.

  348. 348
    Dilbatt says:

    Great post, John. Thank you.

    I <3 ABL.

  349. 349
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mattminus: Because it’s someone getting killed. And you know what, if you can’t figure out how to deal with these situations, then please, please let me know where you are at all times so I can avoid you.

  350. 350
    MariedeGournay says:

    @MikeJake: Words mean things.

  351. 351
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cat: There has never been a politician whose policies and actions have been 100% in agreement with my preferences. I do not expect that there ever will be one. I think that if I find 80% agreement, it is pretty amazing. Hell, if I run for office and win, I will probably do shit I disagree with.

  352. 352
    dogwood says:

    @Thymezone: @Thymezone:

    I’m confused here. There was no organized effort to block health care reform during the Nixon term. Kennedy himself admitted his refusal to strike a deal was a huge mistake. Nixon had little interest in domestic issues; he would have signed off on something that would have been far more liberal than what’s possible today.

  353. 353
    Thymezone says:

    @Cat:

    What? Seriously, that response is what you think I meant?

    Have you ever hired a top manager? Let me explain something to you. You hire people at top positions to do their jobs, mostly as they see fit to do them. If you don’t trust them to do the job, you hire someone else. You hire them and then you let them do their job. You don’t sit back and second guess them every day. Most people in a job like that, if you start second guessing them, will tell you go fuck yourself and get somebody else. And rightly so.

    With a president, even more so. Nobody can guess which of eleventy thousand things are going to come up during his term. Nobody except the principal can judge how each decision will be made, and nobody at all can know for sure which ones will succeed and which will not.

    Drone strikes? I support them, if they save American uniformed lives. I support force against enemies of the country, in approriate situations, whether they are shooting at us or not. I don’t have all the facts on the ground and in the situation room, and I elected the people who are in there to do their jobs as they see to do them. I won’t second guess them, even for the incredible high I might get for looking righteous on a shitty blog.

  354. 354
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I apologize. I’ve spent my time in Lake Charles, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas. That doesn’t make me, by any stretch of the imagination, black. Overt racism is not, to my mind, the main problem. The main problem regarding race relations is the tacit acceptance on the part of the majority that people of color just have their own ways and so it’s okay to leave them in whatever kind of poverty and violence that they find themselves in as long as we cheerlead those who “break the cycle”. Right now, as you probably well know, black families are twenty times poorer than white families. That’s inexcusable and it’s a shame to both Republicans and Democrats. That we seem to be comfortable with leaving behind a substantial number of our fellow citizens is a shame to us all.

  355. 355
    Thymezone says:

    @dogwood:

    You are totally full of shit. I remember organized and well funded opposition to “Socialized Medicine” when I was in fucking grade school in 1959.

  356. 356
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RossInDetroit: Ingrid was definitely not gay. Very actively definitely not gay. Just sayin’.

  357. 357
    joeshabadoo says:

    There’s a lot of racist stuff out there but using ABL as your racism meter is not the way to go. She is myopically focused on her own group. This means she will notice things that other people may not at times but it also means that she will ignore the problems of others.

    I remember in a post a couple of months back when she talked about a totally voluntary work program on farms set up for people on parole. She likened it to slavery yet in the article she listed, a man walked away from the job because it was too difficult. No consequences. Not exactly the same thing.

    Before, this job was done by illegal immigrants who were paid shit and had no law to protect them. ABL didn’t give a shit about that, she cared that her group had the OPTION to do that shitty work now. The real travesty was that we were abusing illegal immigrants to do this work for years, not a completely voluntary program set up to hire workers legally who generally have a very difficult time finding a job.

    I was quite insulted by the post.

  358. 358
    Slowbama says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Shocker, that someone would blithely stereotype white southerners in a post entirely devoted to correcting the speech and thought patterns of those who would stereotype African Americans. Why, I never expected to encounter such a thing at a “progressive” blog.

  359. 359
    Baba O'R'yleh says:

    What Michael Moore Meant to Say:

    “In America, a country that was founded holding the principal that skin color equates to superiority, we’ve had an uphill battle to quash the archaic ways of thinking that persisted for so long. That slavery “died” with the Emancipation Proclamation is a dangerous and false way of thinking; all it did was force the backwards-ass Neanderthals to take their overt discrimination and disguise them as “segregation”, force their ways of thinking to hold back many races of people from equal pay, education, jobs, and political equality.

    Over the last few centuries, our country has been blessed with politically mobile leaders like Frederick Douglass, David Walker, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rest of the Big Six, as well as countless others. The strength of spirit these great people employed was resolute and unyielding, for they had to temper the anger of a marginalized and abused minority and turn it into spoken word that called not for violence, but liberty and justice. Their pleas could well have been anarchist and revolutionary, but instead they chose to appeal to the sensibilities of truth and freedom.

    That there is an impassioned fire associated with the African-American struggle for equality is not something to be mocked or feared; it is to be applauded and championed. Perhaps it did take too long for the country to embrace a “black guy” as a worthy leader of this great nation, perhaps we just found the “right guy” regardless of his skin color.

    What we elected Barack Obama on is perhaps, partially, a notion of legacy, a history of the great African-American leaders and their continuing pursuit of social justice. We saw in him a fire, one that we elected to raze the fields of government nonchalance and corporate control, one that would raise up the conditions that the poverty-stricken peoples have lived in for too long. We grew tired of the lies and subversion of a political machine that continually finds new language to hide the truth of their coddling liaisons with Big Business, their spoiling of the richest 1%, and their laissez-faire attitude towards the other 99%.

    Our dissatisfaction with President Obama does not mean we are ready to abandon him or our causes. This has been a tough time not just for our nation, but for the entire world, and to dismiss the idea that the global economic crisis has stunted our ability to climb out from this tough time would be short-sighted. We grow increasingly close to leaving the two wars that only an Imperialist could justify, and have been forced to face repeated national tragedies.

    But, what troubles us is that the fighting spirit has been tempered from the candidate that charismatically moved us to the polls just a few years ago. We were ready for a new set of principles, ready to stop compromising with the enemies of the middle and lower classes. We were ready not for socialism; but for a government that cared for all of its peoples, not just those who could afford to buy a seat at the table. New ideas, fresh thinkers, progressive discussions about where America was going, and how we could resume the mantle of the “leader of the free world”; not through show of military force and a cocky speech on an aircraft carrier, but through cultural understanding and the mending of relationships.

    Who was the “white guy”? The “white guy” was a man who waffled his positions for the convenient sake of voter appeasement. The “white guy “ continued to lead us down the path of clandestine government actions and paid-for interests. The “black guy”? He built himself up from nothing; he set a shining example of what a man can do despite being born of a color that large segments of this country still inexcusably put under a ceiling. The “black guy” found a way to convey a message that transcended race into a populist movement for progressive thinking.

    A few years down the road, and we see a man who has seemingly lost that fighting spirit. A man who is being forced to kowtow to the pockets of Congressman interested only in protecting their monies from the IRS. A man who has yet to fully embrace social change, fight the lies and teach everyone that there is no exclusivity in equality; that this country exists to provide every citizen with the means to live life to the fullest.

    I voted for the “black guy”, too. But I just want him to be the guy that showed us it didn’t matter he was.”

    What Michael Moore Actually Said;

    “I’m a fat, lazy idiot who tried to be funny and failed miserably.”

    (p.s. I’m a little stoned, so hopefully this goes over better than Moore’s “where’d my darkie go?” quote…)

  360. 360
    Elliecat says:

    Thinking about how when Obama ran for Senate the GOP brought in Alan Keyes to run against him. Suppose Alan Keyes had won and then disappointed the right by being “liberal.” Would people on the right say “Hey, I voted for the black guy and I got the….black guy.”

    Well, you get the idea.

  361. 361
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Thoughtcrime: Wins my vote for best observation of the day.

  362. 362
    Anya says:

    @El Tiburon: I would say it’s racist to think that he will be this or that because of his skin color but it’s not racist to expect from the politicians we support to fight for us and for their believes. One is based on stereotypes and the other is due to a campaign rhetric and reasonable expectations.

    Anyway, thanks for being reasonable and my apology for the lack of clarity. I am tired so I’ll go to bed since I am not making much sense.

  363. 363
    Dilbatt says:

    One more thing. If ABL offends you, don’t read her posts.

  364. 364
    Thymezone says:

    Another wasted afternoon. Anyway, John Cole, you are on your own. Your blog is an insane asylum day room, as always. Good luck. If I were you I’d sell the thing to Newsmax, you and ABL split the dough, and tell your flock to go piss up a rope.

    Meanwhile, I am off to play on Facebook. Look me up at Ty Emzone. I will connect with almost anybody who isn’t a Republican and doesn’t call the president by a disrespectful nickname. Toodle!

  365. 365
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Dilbatt: You are trying to stifle my freedom of speech!

  366. 366
    Rhoda says:

    @joeshabadoo: Yeah, that’s bullshit.

    The Reid Report has screenshots of some of the comments on these articles, and yes, they are as horribly racist and xenophobic as one might imagine. You really need to read the rest (which includes a quote from Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin) to truly grasp the horror of what is going on in Georgia.
    __
    Make no mistake, this isn’t about black and white. The plutocrats are just getting started. Pretty soon they’ll be laughing as blacks, whites, and latinos all fight for the opportunity to make 50 cents a day picking crops for rich people.
    __
    This is where we are, America.
    __
    ***[For the record, I realize slaves weren’t paid minimum wage… or any wage… the title popped into my head after I read the bit over at Joy’s place about working for a quarter and the ensuing comments.]
    __

    So, you go back and read the post. And stop lying about what it said. It was a post about economic justice; and the comparison might have offended you but she wasn’t simply myopically focused on her race.

    ABL strikes me as a person generally focused on justice for all groups: black, white, latino, asian, gay, straight, bi, transgender etc etc etc.

  367. 367
    FuzzyWuzzy says:

    Is there nuance between declaring someone a racist, or bigoted, or prejudiced? Or simply politically insensitive or perhaps rude?
    Will this thread result in an army of pituitary tumor vagina having african extracted persons burning Moore and Maher in effigy?

  368. 368
    Cat says:

    You hire people at top positions to do their jobs, mostly as they see fit to do them.

    They are running a government, not a business. I could care less he the CEO of GE decided to start making coffee cozies as long as he keeps the profits/revenues up, you should care a great deal if your elected representatives starts to get to far off the path.

    . I support force against enemies of the country, in approriate situations, whether they are shooting at us or not.

    You know that joke you made about the ‘test’ for being a liberal? You failed.

    That is some straight up Imperialistic BS. “Enemies of the country” WTF. Did I miss something??? Thats one slip and slide down that slippery slope Bush started with the “Enemy Combatant” BS.

  369. 369
    Bruce S says:

    Balloon Juice has finally come to terms with serious racial discourse in this country because of the posts and comments threads of “Angry Black Lady.”

    Really? I’ve heard of tokenism, but this is starting to get ridiculous. Incidentally, compared to the comments threads at TNC’s blog, the stuff that ABL invites is pathetic. And I say that as “not a fan.” Maybe John Cole – if he’s learned so much about the travails of black folk – might consider getting at least one other front-page African-American blogger. Maybe someone who represents a different sensibility and voice than ABL. And, yeah, maybe someone – or two – from the Latino communities. (Plural, because that’s a very diverse “ethnicity”.)

    Having the unique stylings of ABL solely bear the burden of Balloon Juice white guilt here is asking a bit much. Most of it is just too fucking predictable to matter any more to me, because I don’t crave some vicarious racial “conversation.” For me, it’s interesting or it’s not and this scolding, however legitimate, has the feel of a dreary ritual rather than anything related to insight or a corrective.

    Either this blog takes diverse views seriously (and having the predictable pigfuck comment sections under ABL’s aegis, followed by pained comments by Cole about how much he’s learned about racism, ain’t that) or it don’t. This isn’t brain surgery. But it’s starting to feel nearly as painful. Getting some diverse voices – and I can guarantee that they’re out there – might resolve some of this recycled tension and give folks an opportunity to engage in a more elevated conversation than just recycled attitude. (Honestly, I don’t read most of these threads. If I’m totally off base and there’s something to be learned beyond folks being stuck on stupid that I’m missing, school me. I do know, from my experience, that a lot of ABL’s fan club are just as full of shit and moronic as some of her worst detractors.)

  370. 370
    Wee Bey says:

    Where the white women at?

  371. 371
    PIGL says:

    Very late to this party, but in this instance I would like down with the full weight of a Tunch on the side of John Cole and what he said.

  372. 372
    snarkyspice says:

    @Slowbama:

    Wow.

    You do know you said that out loud, right?

  373. 373
    different church-lady says:

    @Thymezone: See you tomorrow.

  374. 374
    Valdivia says:

    Late to the thread but wanted to say thank you John and ABL

    @Anya: thanks for this too. I always enjoy reading your comments.

  375. 375
    Shinobi says:

    I kindof can’t get over the number of “please stop saying racist shit” posts that have become necessary here. It really isn’t that complicated fellow white people. JC has it completely right above. For what it is worth ABL, I’m sorry.

    Also I am never one to miss an opportunity to link this great video about talking about racism by J.Smooth.

  376. 376
    joeshabadoo says:

    @Rhoda

    I read the article and that’s bullshit. She even said “this is the plutocrats just getting started.” Just getting started? They have been hiring illgal immigrants for YEARS. It started ages ago. It is just starting for ABL because her group is suddenly offered the jobs. “Pretty soon they’ll be laughing as blacks, whites, and latinos all fight for the opportunity to make 50 cents a day picking crops for rich people.” They were already laughing, it was just generally latinos who were fighting each other for those shitty jobs. By the way, the program she complains about was floundering according to the article as it specifically says that many people quit immediately. These are people working with the protection of the law behind them as well.

    Contrast that to the old situation of the illegal, generally latino, workers. They did the job for crap pay and got no benefits like social security or anything a citizen gets. They don’t really have many if any rights on the job because the boss will just try to get them deported if they complain. That wasn’t worth comparing to slaverly. Offering those jobs to other people legally, people who typically have a difficult time finding work in a state the already has 10% unemployment, is somehow beyond the pale.

  377. 377
    Arundel says:

    Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you read a blogger and when you close tab, nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. ABL may be the most gifted blogger I’ve ever read; gifted not just because of her imagination, her energy, her originality, but because she has access to the unutterable, because she can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of that person’s humanity. To read her posts is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.

  378. 378
    John D. says:

    @Jareth Cutestory:

    I’ve been away a bit, but just reading the headlines, this was my first impression (and forgive me if others in other threads have said this):
    “I voted for the black guy (Obama), and we got the white guy (McCain).” Nothing racist about it, just that we got the R instead of the D. Or just more of the same old DC BS.
    Maybe I missed the context somewhere, but from the lede, that was my interpretation.

    You *really* need to go watch the clip then, since the quote in question was preceded by another: “Obama is half-white and half-black”. It had nothing to do with McCain. It was purely a comment on Obama’s race.

  379. 379
    doofus says:

    @BadFileName: Wow. Moore digs in deeper. Dumbass.

  380. 380
    amk says:

    Well said, John. May be markos will read this and realize what the fuck is wrong with his blog too.

  381. 381
    Dolbia says:

    Here’s my thinking, which ties into some things that other people have said.
    1) There is a distinct experience of Being Black (or being perceived as black) in America, which various people have highlighted elements of. That’s almost the point of the post – there are things that white people (or pick other majority group) don’t understand because they just don’t see.
    2) I don’t think it would be racist (I don’t know, having grown up neither black nor American) to argue that that experience could be valuable in a President; it provides empathy with an often-marginalized section of the population, and by extension to other groups who have been underrepresented. Hence, “I voted for the black guy.”
    3) Where it falls apart is “I got the white guy.” Obama’s background and experiences didn’t change in 2009. You got the guy you voted for.

    So I don’t think there’s a way to read this that isn’t racist. The “I got McCain” excuse is quite clearly bollocks; no matter how disappointed you are in Obama’s performance, there’s no question that McCain would have been worse.

    (Something that irks me is when people on the internet say “Race/gender is just a social construct” and use that to argue that it’s not real. The social construct impacts how people treat you, which shapes your life. That doesn’t mean that black women are all fat and sassy, and white men are all uptight nerds; it means that white people don’t know what it’s been like to be handed someone’s coat at a formal function, and men don’t know what it’s like to be told your work is worth 80% of what a man’s would be, and paid accordingly.)

    I would have expected a bit better from Moore. Maher’s going to keep doing this shit until someone he respects starts calling him on it. Paging Cornell West…

  382. 382
    Malron says:

    Cole rant……you make my dayyyyyyyyyy-yyyyyeeeeeeeeeee

    Blackfully yours,

    EB

  383. 383
    Malron says:

    All bullshit aside.

    I try to follow the advice Cole mentions here when the Muslim friends I’ve met online relate how painful it feels to hear Islamophobes rant about “mosque at Ground Zero” and “radical Islam”. Listening teaches you a helluvalot more than assuming you know everything about something you can at best only experience vicariously.
    EB

  384. 384
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @joeshabadoo: And yet, when I read her post, I immediately got the point that it was being set up as a way to allow the local government to force people under their control to do labor by force. If you remember correctly, the state in question was considering making those in jail do the work. This was called slavery at one point.

  385. 385
    The Moar You Know says:

    Wow, this post is a textbook example of “fiddling while Rome burns”.

    Nice trolling, Cole.

  386. 386
    Sad Iron says:

    Serwer is misinterpeting. I don’t know, maybe Moore expected Obama to be more empathetic rather than aggresive. I mean, Moore has this thing called a “body of work.” So screw Serwer–Limbaugh’s entire body of work is racist, while Moore’s body of work, for the most part, is incredibly empathetic. I guess that’s a “convergence” in Serwer’s world. Bill Maher makes a living being a snarky, irrelevant dick that even republicans ignore, while Moore documents inequality and is hated for it–sure, I guess that’s a convergence too. Come on. Ok, I guess Michael Moore is a racist, or he made a racist comment. If anything, Moore is an ass for trying to impress Bill Maher.

  387. 387
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @snarkyspice: That’s a big problem with the internet: Most people don’t think they are saying anything out loud, which is why they say something here that they would never say in a public place. They haven’t seemed to internalize that it is here for eternity for someone else to read.

  388. 388
    pete says:

    As someone said on a previous thread, this is a conversation we need to be having.

    I don’t really expect anyone to change their mind during this thread, but I do have some hope that some of the participants who disagree with Cole (and ABL) will go away and think about it, and eventually change their minds. It’s OK, you don’t have to confess in public.

  389. 389
    Bruce S says:

    “Maher’s going to keep doing this shit until someone he respects starts calling him on it. Paging Cornell West…”

    How does that happen when Cornell West has been one of the worst offenders in personalizing and racializing his criticisms of the President?

  390. 390
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Moar You Know: No, it isn’t. Because if a bunch of people – ignoring the obvious trolls – who are supposedly on the same side of the spectrum are having trouble understanding the concept of racism, then we’re never going to fix it in the country at large. And it is one of the things, along with class, that has to be fixed before we can solve any other problems. I personally argue that it’s the most important thing, which can be debated. But we have to debate this.

  391. 391
    joeshabadoo says:

    @Belafon

    The article itself says that program was floundering (mixed results and not enough people staying) and mentions people quitting often. They weren’t forcing anyone. It was an attempt to get low wage workers by specifically targetting people who have extreme difficulty getting a job. It was exploitation (and apparently not working well) and far, far less exploitative than what was previously done. They considered making people in jail do it? Well gosh, I considered punching some rude asshole on the subway in the face. I better get arrested for assault.

    You obviously missed most of the point I was making though.

  392. 392
    Dolbia says:

    @Bruce S: I picked West since he’s a regular guest on Maher’s show who sits there and chuckles along with him. But it was an insensitive remark – it’s not West’s responsibility to sort Maher out, it’s Maher’s.

    (On another note, “insensitive” is a great word to use when you’re trying to highlight racism-without-malice and don’t want people to get all defensive. )

  393. 393
    DonkeyKong says:

    Can’t we just put 1986’s Soul Man at the top of our Netflix cues and let mid 80’s laugh through the tears trancendante cinema work all this shit out?

    C. Thomas Howell, to quote the tag line, didn’t get up, he got down.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4lEkimhYoA

  394. 394
    Gilles de Rais says:

    testing, thank you.

  395. 395
    mere mortal says:

    “whitesplanation”

    That’s what ABL said, it seems to be a racially tinged word she decided to invent (unless she’s from Memphis and far more clever than her arguments imply), as a characterization of her detractors’ objections.

    She is a hypocrite, and until she gives a “blacksplanation” about why I’m wrong about that, I’ll stick to my theory, thank you very much.

    Not that anyone cares about my theories, but you made a deal about it.

    Thankfully, I did not have to endure your Mayberry upbringing, so I have had the advantage of witnessing vile racism, sexism, and bigotry from all manner of races, sexes, and ethnicities. I have done my level best not to give ground to any of it.

    Do not allow special pleadings from a person making sexist comments because he was subject to racism, nor, as seems to be the case here, racist comments because she was subject to racism.

  396. 396
    Jamey says:

    @agrippa: If what she has to say is that important, then why not try to elevate the discussion?

    I agreed 100% with ABL’s contention that Maher and Moore said “racist shit.” I voted hope and change, but, really, I was voting for the man I thought was the better of the two candidates–and, frustrated as I am at times, I still believe I made the right decision. But I find herattention-hungry/college journo stylings predictable and wearisome–and thus is why I generally skip over her postings (I got to her Moore/Maher article via TNC.) I think–and this is my opinion–that she’s a shitty writer, and I said as much. She called me out for reading her posting (again, which I got to via a TNC article), and I clarified that I did not say that I NEVER read her. And for this exchange I got lumped in with the trolls; the general conclusion from the die-hard ABL fans, was that I could only think that she was a bad writer if I was a racist. (ABL to her credit was more charitable.)

    That’s just some plain weird-ass shit, as both of my parents are from mixed marriages–one raised “white”; the other “black.” Which, I guess, gives me a fair perspective from which to evaluate some of ABL’s positions, at least in a general (but not objective) sense….

    This is not to say that I can’t be “a racist,” but that the immediate assumption from BJ message thread regulars that I’m racist because I think ABL’s a weak writer was pretty fucking sketchy–as was a comment that I inferred to be an accusation that I preferred TNC’s take on Moore and Maher, because he was more of a “House Negro.”

    John, you’re right to rush to ABL’s defense, because a lot of racist shit goes down, and she doesn’t take any of it lying down. But she’s not a truth-teller so much as she’s a provocateur. And too often, your commenter community (which I’m mostly proud to be a part of), drag the discourse down even further.

  397. 397
    Carnacki says:

    I never stake out a position until I find out what Tunch thinks

  398. 398

    @Jamey:

    as was a comment that I inferred to be an accusation that I preferred TNC’s take on Moore and Maher, because he was more of a “House Negro.”

    Wait, what? TNC a “House Negro”? Who said that?

  399. 399
    fuckwit says:

    @sistermoon: James Carville.. Oh, wait…

    It’s not a race thing, it’s an arrogant entitled armchair consumer thing. It’s the raised-by-TV-and-advertising generations.

    Consumer is NOT voter. They are different things. As a consumer, you are a mini-dictator. What you say goes, because you are paying. THAT IS NOT HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS.

    “Hey, I bought this [president/senator/congressperson/governor] and it’s not doing what I want it to! I want a refund! I refuse to buy another one of this brand if they don’t work the way I want them to!” THAT is what we hear again and again from the left, and the center too.

    This is the fundamental problem with America. We’ve become consumers. We expect instant fucking gratification, and we expect that we’re the center of our own goddamned universes… we think it is about ME ME ME.

    NO. It is not about ME ME ME.

    There are hundreds of millions of me’s, that’s an US.

    I’m glad to see this discussion of race, but the entitlement and privilege we’re dealing with in most cases of Obama-bashing is not about race, it’s about laziness and thinking we can run the country from our fucking armchairs as if we have a remote control.

  400. 400
    Elie says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    Yay, Yay, Yay!!!!

    thnks so much. I enjoyed and replayed twice!

  401. 401
    fuckwit says:

    @mere mortal: YES! It is “whitesplaining”! That’s exactly what it is!

    ABL didn’t make it up. Amanda Marcotte did. It’s a variation on “mansplaining”. Google THAT if you really want to get an angry earful.

  402. 402
    ruemara says:

    @fuckwit:

    I hate to say this. But THIS. And the fact that the first thing when there’s a plan is not an attempt to get it rolling, or to help but to tear it apart and do nothing to help it because it wasn’t worth doing anyway… It’s not just Democratic leaders that need to act like democrats, it’s progressives who need to act like progressives.

  403. 403
    Elie says:

    @fuckwit:

    BEST COMMENT TONITE

    This is the fundamental problem with America. We’ve become consumers. We expect instant fucking gratification, and we expect that we’re the center of our own goddamned universes… we think it is about ME ME ME.

    NO. It is not about ME ME ME.

    There are hundreds of millions of me’s, that’s an US.

    We desperately need transformation to citizens… CITIZENS, not entitled consumers.

    We all own the outcome and the MEANS to that outcome is as imbedded to the outcome. The more we screw each other, the more we allienate and hurt, the less we can achieve the best we all at least SAY that we want…

    Please. Even a newborn has to make an effort to breathe. As much as we want it to be perfect and healthy, it has to do its work too.

    We must not step away from this work, this special meaning.

  404. 404
    dww44 says:

    @sistermoon: Why Chris Matthews? I’ve been watching him of late and he is a big supporter and defender of Obama’s. I also think Joan Walsh gets a bum rap from many on the left. I’ve heard her defend Obama plenty of times. And at Salon.com as well.

  405. 405
    Shade Tail says:

    @Jamey:

    But she’s not a truth-teller so much as she’s a provocateur.

    The rest of your comment seems quite reasonable to me, but this is where you and I sharply part ways, for two reasons. First, if what she says is true (and it almost always is), then she is a truth teller, period. And second, the provocateurs around here are the trolls who seem to have a grudge against her; they are the ones who drag down the discussion.

    You are a rare creature in these parts: someone who disagrees with ABL without being disagreeable about it. I can respect that. But let’s put the responsibility for the vicious discourse where it belongs, rather than heaping it on ABL merely because you dislike her writing style.

  406. 406
    fuckwit says:

    @Lysana: Yep. “mansplaining”, is what I’ve been schooled that it’s called, or, as it’s been put here, “whitesplaining”. As in, “let me whitesplain to you why you shouldn’t be offended by my offensive comment!”

  407. 407
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Thymezone:

    But… but… PONIES! I heard him say there would be PONIES! Farting magical rainbow dust and perfume!

    Seriously, great to ‘see’ ya back here TZ. Missed your wit and charm.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket. ;)

    Hope you and your partner are doing well.

  408. 408
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Arundel:

    OMG… I hope this doesn’t incite a FP rage post by our resident ABL rager…lol!

    Kudos. Very eloquent.

  409. 409
    Elie says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    And I did not attribute your wisdom correctly from the the thread last night, but it is evident over and over. Your comment related to us needing to have this conversation but you said it much better and more completely.

    I wanna say it again: What Belafon said yesterday.

  410. 410
    suzanne says:

    @mere mortal:

    Do not allow special pleadings from a person making sexist comments because he was subject to racism, nor, as seems to be the case here, racist comments because she was subject to racism.

    Every single one of us here is subject to racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, even if we have white/male/straight privilege. We have all been saturated with patriarchy from the moment we first took breath.

    So we’re all going to occasionally fuck up and say something racist or sexist or what have you. The only way to get past it is to admit you fucked up, reflect on the situation to understand how and why, and to try not to do it again.

    I mean, shit. I’m still pissed at Cole for getting all up in my grill for saying that Ben Roethlisberger is a rapist. I mean, with all the “Dick Cheney is a war criminal!” hyperbole that goes on here, who knew that rich white quarterbacks were off-limits to criticism? I think that’s sexist shit. But that doesn’t mean that everything else he does or says in his life is suspect, or that he isn’t, for the most part, a good person who believes in the right things.

    I don’t know why everyone just collectively loses their shit over ABL.

    Oh, and to whomever got all pissed off about “whitesplanation” and made some completely asinine comment like “But… but… but… if I said ‘blacksplanation!’, that wouldn’t be okay!” (seriously, that level of cognition would be penetrating if you were in fifth grade)… HERE IS WHAT MAKES THAT NOT OKAY: The dominant class cannot in good taste mock the marginalized class for the trait that makes them marginalized. The marginalized class, however, can mock the shit out of the dominant class—humor/mockery is an age-old way to loosen the bonds of the oppressor.

  411. 411
    cinesimon says:

    Bruce, I find the issue is with us white folk that have to sort ourselves out, for the most part. Why does that necessitate another Afro-American blogger? ABL, for this particular purpose, is perfect.
    I’m all for more great ‘front pagers’; but to actually deal with this issue? Nah. Or at least, a particular skin pigment or culture is not needed.
    There’s plenty of source material around to debate – and really, as ABL has shown – many closet racists who consider themselves progressive, only react badly to an actual black person telling them they need to grow up.
    I think it’s the John Cole’s of the world who will actually get through to these folk – and eventually they will start to reconsider what it is the ABL is saying.
    Another Angry Black Person telling them they suck(in their eyes) will only shoo them away – in my humblest opinion.

  412. 412
    Bondo says:

    Its only racist if you take it to mean “black presidents should govern like so” But what the comparison he’s drawing is basically, “I thought i voted for a democrat, but I got a republican” or, “I thought I voted for a populist/idealist/good guy but I got a crony.”

    Or, “I thought he was fired up but he wasnt ready to go.”

    Thats what this means. And before John Cole And ABL start screaming RACISM RACISM RACISM, go educate yourself and read Anne Laurie’s post Giving Away Our Base. http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....-our-base/

  413. 413
    Shade Tail says:

    @Bondo:

    The only way you could *not* take it to mean that is if you hadn’t actually watched the context of Moore’s statement. He specifically noted that Obama is mixed-race, and in that context mentioned voting for the black man and getting the white man.

    So you are dead-wrong about what it meant. And bringing up an Anne Laurie post and being a blithering idiot about how you expect Mr. Cole and ABL to react really doesn’t make you look any less wrong.

  414. 414
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Tiburon:

    So if it’s racist that I thought a black President would be more of a fighter, then so be it.

    Let’s see. If you thought a female president would be more nurturing and empathetic than a male one, would that be sexist? If you thought a Jewish president would be better with fiscal policy than a gentile one, would that be anti-semitic? You don’t have to despise the quality you associate with some group for your reasoning about what that group is like to show signs of prejudice. “Racism” is getting in the way because it’s associated with hatred and violence. But “prejudice,” that is, approaching people with pre-judgments, might be clarifying. And, IMHO, associating “black” with “kicking ass” is an example of prejudice, even if you like the idea of politicians kicking ass.

  415. 415
    cinesimon says:

    Bondo you may want people to scream at you for entertainment value, I guess – but can’t we just disagree?

    You are making excuses for Moore and Maher, two people I hugely respect & admire; two people who’re not infallible.
    I believe they meant what they said, in that they thought they were being clever: black man progressive, white man not.
    What they said was racist, regardless of what was the intended take-away. They’ve said what you want them to have meant many times, and they said it that way – they did not use a racial framework.
    They chose to be clever – and it wasn’t clever, it was racist. It’s something we all do from time to time, and I for one am grateful when someone calls me out.
    John’s right – it’s the other side of the ‘he’s governing like a Kenyan colonialist’ coin.

  416. 416
    Bondo says:

    @Shade Tail:

    No, I didnt read it, I logged on and read this post, scrolled down some more and saw Anne’s post on how Obama’s inability to draw a damn line in the sand is costing the democrats, and no doubt the GOP is going to run “the Democrats want to cut social security” ads in 2012 just like they did in 2010.

    John Cole and ABL and many people here are reflexive Obama lovers who bitch at any deserved criticism we direct at obama.

    I did Not watch the Moore clip, I started ignoring ABL’s posts after ban-gate, I only read this one to see more of what this was about, and laughed when ABL told us to criticise Obama’s policies. That’s what we Have been doing and Cole has been screaming to stop criticising him for 3 years, all the while Obama/his advisors, he administration has just been digging a deeper hole.

  417. 417
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bondo: The people whose votes the Democrat lost in NY-9 may care a lot about Medicare and Social Security, and hence meet some kind of litmus test as being “base” voters. But a lot of them also expressed grave concern that Obama was too friendly to Muslims and same-sex marriage and favored the Palestinians over the Israelis. And that makes them bigots in their own right, and disqualifies them from being a part of the “base” whose contentedness I particularly want to concern myself with.

  418. 418
    G says:

    there are a lot of ways to say something similar without going to race. I would say that MM fielded a loaded question, but he still fielded it wrong.

    He could easily have said “I thought a man raised by a single mother, at times with the aid of AFDC would have more mpathy for the working poor”

    does it mean he’s pulled a Don Imus (who’s back on the air!!!)
    no.
    Is it a poor choice of words, that he should’ve thought better of, damn striaght it is. Does it mean that he’d advocate something like ending school desegregation? like repealing loving vs virginia? I doubt that.
    Does it suggest that he might have grown up in a racially sheltered suburb and not really know what he’s doing? (yep – and that is the heart of the privilege stuff)

    The question is can MM wise up and take a page out of Joe Biden’s gaffe playbook:
    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

    Biden issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying: “I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama.”

    http://articles.cnn.com/2007-0.....M:POLITICS

    and for those who are having a hard time forgiving Moore, try and remember Obama did select Biden as VP, as the first in line of suceeesion should something incapacitate Obama.
    Sunday’s sermon, on 9-11 was all about forgiveness… SO forgive me if this seems too forgiving, I was listening to that sermon.

  419. 419
    Ruckus says:

    @Bondo:
    If he meant to say “I voted for a democrat and got a republican” he should have said that. The man makes a living speaking into a microphone. He has writers. He often speaks in a manner that makes me think he is a dick. He is not stupid or dumb. But he didn’t say what you wanted him to say. He opened his mouth and what came out is racist. If it wasn’t intended that way then I am wrong and he is stupid and dumb. Or he was trying to provoke the issue. Maybe he thought it would be funny. It wasn’t. Maybe he thought it would be OK. It wasn’t. Up thread Dennis SGMM posted a Lenny Bruce routine. It wasn’t funny nor intended to be by Bruce or Dennis. It used the word nigger quite a few times. But it was not racist. Hard to read, and I’m sure to listen to because he intentionally used a word that should be and is out of vogue. As Bruce frequently did he used language to open our eyes and minds that words have different meanings to different people. You are putting meaning into Maher’s words that don’t fit either the context nor the single sentence. If he meant something else he should have said something else. His words and meaning stand on what came out of his mouth, not your interpretation.

  420. 420
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bondo:

    Anne’s post on how Obama’s inability to draw a damn line in the sand is costing the democrats

    The people who said their votes had to do with sending Obama a message about Social Security and Medicare are bullshitting. The ads in that election weren’t about that at all. They were about the “Ground Zero Mosque” and gay marriage. The whole premise was awry.

  421. 421
    Rathskeller says:

    @Bruce S: Here’s a thought: if that’s your conclusion, then don’t read her, you tedious windbag. If you already think you know everything she’s going to say — don’t spoil it by tearing off the wrapper, just go somewhere else.

  422. 422
    Bondo says:

    @cinesimon:

    Whats there to disagree about? In my opening remark, I already said its racist if you look at it a certain way.

    “They’ve said what you want them to have meant many times, and they said it that way – they did not use a racial framework”

    And when we criticise Obama’s idiotic policies/failure to stand up for the people and popular democratic programs, failure to hoist the republicans on their own petard and hold them responsible for this garbage, The John Coles and ABLs of the world still scream to stop it.

    ABL is now practically begging people to criticize Obama’s policies and its hilarious. Its Like Watching Palin supporters starting to realize Lady Starburst isnt all she’s cracked up to be. You start criticizing Palin for small things, tactical errors or whatever, all while defending the content of what she says, then start criticizing more and more.

    Its like watching Cole and ABL starting the five stages of grief over Obama.

  423. 423
    daveX99 says:

    Wow. I get here, and there’s already 400+ comments.

    I will dump my 2 cents into this grand clusterfuck to say:

    I really dig ABL. Maybe some of what her detractors are saying is true (it must be, even to some teensy degree, just by the odds), but I appreciate both WHAT she says, and HOW she says it.

    Whoodafuk knows how right she is? I’m unqualified to know for sure – I come to blogs like this to hear other voices and like to have these things pointed out to me. I’m perfectly happy to say ‘meh’ if I think it’s shrill or whatever.

    What’s the bumpersticker say?

    ‘Unshrill (insert minority)s rarely change history’

    I don’t think she needs it, but I’m glad JC has come out with this post.

    …Now I’m gonna make some popcorn, etc. I’ve got a lot of comments to read.

  424. 424
    Shade Tail says:

    @Bondo:

    OK so:

    1) You acknowledge that you didn’t know what you were talking about regarding Moore’s comment. Which means that, like it or not, ABL was right and you were wrong.

    2) You continue to pretend that you’re the victim here by claiming you get bitched at for “deserved criticism” of Obama, ignoring that your childish behavior is far more likely the cause (and also ignoring that Mr. Cole, at least, has criticized Obama plenty; far easier to lie about him being a reflexive supporter, because that’s fodder for your silly martyr complex).

  425. 425
    Bondo says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    All you have to do is get people to stay home. Obama was the first time I ever put a sign in the yard expressing the support for a candidate. I just don’t like doing that stuff. But I had to because the GOP is full of fascist psychopaths and people like Palin are/were their lunatic queens.

    I dutifully took my pro-obama sign down in the evening so that people in my heavily conservative area wouldnt steal it.

    You write:

    “And that makes them bigots in their own right, and disqualifies them from being a part of the “base” whose contentedness I particularly want to concern myself with.”

    For what its worth, I agree with you. ABL was making excuses for these voters on the gay angle a day or two ago.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....-election/

  426. 426
    daveX99 says:

    @Zandar:

    Haha. Very concise.

    (not to pick on those who don’t yet get this, but really…)

  427. 427
    policomic says:

    I know I’m coming into the thread far beyond the point at which anyone stopped reading, but I just wanted to add an “Amen” to Cole’s post.

  428. 428
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Late to the party as usual (damn you work!) but this is one of the best posts I have read from John Cole and that’s going back over several years now.

    Well done sir, well done.

  429. 429
    Bondo says:

    @Ruckus:

    When you write that “he should have said that” I’m not sure who you mean. If you’re talking about Maher, I’ll pretty much reflexively defend just about anything he has to say.

    I watched the maher clip ABL linked and loved it. Did Maher say the word “gangsta” in the clip? yes. Do gangstas stand up for themselves? yes. Should Obama do more to stand up for himself and more importanly stand up for us? Yes. Therefore should Obama be more like a gangsta? Yes. Is that racist? No.

    When you’re talking about stereotypes you can either reinforce them, or you can explode them. When you explode a stereotype, you use the prejudice and redirect it for your own ends. Maher typically explodes stereotypes.

    I gave up waiting for the day when I could say Obama is a badass, but at least he’s our badass.

    If you’re talking about Moore, I dont really care. His heart is in the right place, but for example, I didnt really care for Bowling for Columbine, even though he made a valid point or two along the way.

  430. 430
    sallyflower says:

    I have to say that I did not get how this was racist. I had to rack my brain. I interpreted it meaning he voted for someone different and got the same old thing again. Just another white dude, white bread, doing everything for corporate America white guy shit. I thought it was a slur on how stupid, lame and just all the same white men are. I thought he meant it was good to be different. It had no negative black association for me. It had a negative association for white. So, if it meant something other than that, well, OK. I guess I was wrong, but I really didn’t get it. I thought they were trying to express that they thought Obama was different. I know I was excited to vote for him because I thought he was different. It’s just a shock to find out he’s as beholden to all the corporate interests as all the white guys were before him. Is that racist? I did think his perspective as a black American would make him more sympathetic to the plight of the less privileged.

  431. 431
    cinesimon says:

    Oooh, poor Bondo!
    This wannabe victim-hood is just bizarre.
    Your critiques seem rather unhinged and based not on what ABL and John Cole have actually posted, but your interpretation of their posts – obviously colored by rather a lot of resentment, and a fairly obvious inferiority complex.
    Nobody is begging you to do anything, or forcing anything on you, Bondo.
    Calm down. If you want to criticize Obama, you go right ahead. You have John Cole’s permission.
    Hey: we all do! Even his most strident supporters!
    When we criticize him though, we do so from a perspective that his heart is in the right place, he’s a human being, that he ‘s in a near impossible position with regards to the republicans in congress and the blue dogs in the senate, and that we never expected that he was going to be Howard Zinn in the White House.

  432. 432
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bondo:

    Did Maher say the word “gangsta” in the clip? yes. Do gangstas stand up for themselves? yes. Should Obama do more to stand up for himself and more importanly stand up for us? Yes. Therefore should Obama be more like a gangsta? Yes. Is that racist? No.

    You know, there have been close to 1,000 comments between ABL’s post and Cole’s post, and yet somehow you managed to be the person to make the stupidest, most nonsensical comment of all. Congratulations.

  433. 433
    Bondo says:

    @Shade Tail:

    1. Yes, I didnt watch Moore’s comment. I dont think I needed too, because in what Cole wrote, I could see that it could be taken racially, and said so. Plus, Not only did i not see the clip, I told Cole and ABL to educate themselves by reading the other front pagers.

    2. I barely post here, so, what you percieve as my childish behavior can’t be an issue, all I know is that Cole and also ABL post a bunch of front page stuff telling the presidents critics to stfu.

    The president’s critics are right, cole and abl are wrong, and they have been wrong all along. So, when Cole said he wasnt going to watch the President’s address last week, I thought that was funny as hell. Now even Obama’s ardent supporters that tell the rest of us to stfu don’t even care what Obama has to say.

    That’s a great sign heading into 2012 don’t you think?

    Perhaps if people like Cole had stopped shouting us down and told the president to show some backbone the President might be worth paying attention to.

    You guys are are like all the iraq war mongers that now resort to saying “nobody could have known” so you shouldnt criticize those who cheered on the war.

    So the next time you guys criticize Bill Keller or whoever next starts protesting his innocence, look in the mirror. You’ve been cheering on Obama’s weakness for years, and its blowing up in your faces, to the point that even you dont want to watch his joint address to congress about the economy because, eh, whats the point.

  434. 434
    Bondo says:

    @cinesimon:

    Your head is still in the sand. This isnt about me, this is about the direction the country is heading in. And everybody cheering Obama on is only contributing to the problem.

    When Republicans compared Obama to Chamberlain they were right. Obama caves to the republicans all the time, and the republicans get more and more emboldened, and the country, you and me, Cole, and ABL are all worse for it.

    And BTW, so now’s the chance for you and your fellow posters, and for ABL and Cole to get all indignant because I repurposed the republicans argument and used it against them. I shouldnt have done that! Godwin’s law and all that.

  435. 435
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Bondo: Politics aside, you are a babbling idiot.

  436. 436
    Bondo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, right, ABL should take a lesson from Maher and climb down off Maher’s ass. Oh no! Maher said gangsta in a clip, my heavens! Whatever is the world coming to.

    I have no idea who you are, what your political beliefs are. Do you like the republican party? Because if you don’t you probably should to be thinking “Yeah, Obama is an asshole, but at least he’s on my side.”

    This whole “Republicans are ruthless scumbags, so Democrats should be concilliatory middle-grounders” isnt doing the country any favors.

    Democrats should be waging a scorched earth campaign. Instead we’re talking about cutting the deficit, opening the door to entitlement cuts, Obama refuses to directly blame the republicans for anything or does so only sporatically.

    When voters start thinking the economy is bad because we’re not dropping freedom bombs on north korea and china, or that the oil spill was caused by too much regulation you have obama and yourself to blame.

    If you think the republicans suck, attack them and defend your own policies, stop enabling them, thats all I ask.

  437. 437
    Bondo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    If you can’t even manage to be specific in your criticisms why bother offering them?

    When you say things like “oh, that guy is a idiot” you’re just babbbling like the villagers that dismiss anything that isnt beltway wisdom.

    I’m sure if Obama’s critics stop complaining and give him another 6 month friedman unit everything will turn out all right.

    Right?

  438. 438
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have never seen anyone justify their white privilege so fiercely. It’s mind boggling.

  439. 439
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Bondo is either a troll running a deep game or Erik Son of Erik’s bot program created to auto-troll these threads. He’s got the lingo, but can’t quite create cohesive logic by stringing the random vocab together…

    Close, but we’re on to you motherfucker.

  440. 440
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Short Bus Bully:

    My vote is on winger troll. Too lame to be a ratfucker and too stupid to be a bot program.

  441. 441
    hamletta says:

    I’ve only read about half the thread, but I want to chime in before I fall asleep.

    This mishigas over the past couple of weeks has been painful to watch. I’m glad John posted this, because the ugly that comes out on every ABL thread is sickening.

    I noticed it from the start, and I was one of the ones who would chime in with huzzahs, even if I didn’t have anything to say, because the vitriol commenters would unleash on ABL was horrific, and I wanted to offset it somewhat.

    That’s why I was deeply offended by Anne Laurie’s characterization of us as “camp followers.” As funny and insightful as she is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive her for that.

    When ED Kain was posting here, and moko_loko buzzed after him, everybody wrote her off as the cudlip she is, but when ABL posts, there’s a whole peanut gallery of haters who have nothing to add, nothing to say; they just bitch about the horror of her presence on the front page. How are they any less vile and disruptive?

  442. 442
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yutsano:

    I especially loved the whole “I’m going to make up a completely new definition of ‘gangsta’ that’s non-racial so I can pretend that Maher didn’t say anything racist” part. Because if you arbitrarily re-define anything racist as not racist, you’ve solved the problem of racism!

  443. 443
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’m impressed. Just over 800 comments in two threads. Race really is a hot-button issue, even among the mostly liberal commentariat of a mostly liberal American blog.

    I’ve already said my two cents worth in the other thread. Just wanted to add: ABL’s posts do confront some commenters here with their own racism. How does that cycle go? Denial, anger, negotiation, acceptance. I think I see quite a few people at stages 2 and 3.

  444. 444
    Bondo says:

    @Short Bus Bully:

    Thanks, but I’m not a troll and I’m not running a deep game either. I am completely and sincere and upfront in my belief that the republicans are stone cold evil lunatics, that Obama is appeasing them, and you all know that the issue of Cole telling critics to shut up has come up before.

    The country has been pushed off of dealing with substantive issues (the economy) and all we’re dealing with is republican bullshit.

    If you bother to read this site, let alone the comments, you know that obamacare is based off of republican ideas (yet republicans still hate it, and the republican/clinton supported individual mandate is causing legal troubles), you know that republican policies are responsible for the lion share of the deficit, you know that an anemic regulatory arm that has been crushed by business interests leading to the mortgage bs, the economic collapse of 2008, and the oil spill.

    What are we talking about? Cutting democratic programs that people love, not the republican ones people hate (war! whats it good for? Driving up the deficit! Ha!), we’re talking about cutting more regulations, that protect the economy, environment, people. We have the administration and a bunch of state AGs pushing a ridiculous settlement with the fraudulent banks that gives the farm away.

    And we have Republican voters who cheer on rick perry because “it takes balls to execute an innocent man” and applaud when people without medical insurance die. The kicker is that these bastards are the same ones that scream about values and scream and lie about how Obama wanted to set up “death panels.”

    Obama could and should crucify the GOP with all of this. He doesnt, and so the cancer just spreads and spreads. There was a story recently that said more americans are worried about the deficit, and its becoming a bigger issue because Obama and the dems say its an issue. He’s playing right into the GOPS hands.

    We already know that when republicans are in power they run up the deficit, blame it on the democrats, and then demand the democrats cut spending whenever Republicans lose an election.

    And republicans turned america into a security state that routinely violates our rights, but that doesnt stop them from screaming about big brother and big government.

    If it doesnt stop, its going to become a permanent feature of our politics. But its not going to stop if democrats sit back and do nothing. The republicans are unchristian scumbags that will take away your rights, poison your environment, call you lazy if you lost your job, and gladly murder your for a crime you didnt commit. That may not be a nice message to tell the american people, but it is a necessary one.

  445. 445
    Dollared says:

    And I don’t give a shit because identity politics is why the Democratic Party is dead as a doornail.

    ABL is simply part of the entire CNN “Is we still rascist?” distraction machine, when the real issue is that our country’s economic system is dying and there’s nothing to replace it.

    So is there plenty of rascism? You betcha? Is paying attention to ABL’s ranting going to cure it? No.

    Is it going to distract us from the real problem, which is that the 400 families have finally taken over our country and we’re one generation away from being the new MexiArgentina? Yup.

    Get a living wage, world class education and affordable health care for 200 million Americans, ASAP. Everything else is just a fucking distraction that keeps us from solving that single problem. And ABL’s personal circus, even though she’s right in many cases, is just part of the whole distraction engine that keeps us from seeing the class war going on.

  446. 446
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Because if you arbitrarily re-define anything racist as not racist, you’ve solved the problem of racism!

    Pretty much the heart and soul of white privilege right there. Only white framings and white perspectives can be legitimate. All others can be dismissed.

    @Amir Khalid: As a citizen of a multiracial country yourself, the racism and privilege in American society must have familiar echoes. Not even Suharto could totally quash the ethnic tensions in your country. We never had such a governmental structure to try and forces the races to set aside their differences. Believe it or not, we have made progress here.

  447. 447
    Thymezone says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Yes we are thanks. Stop by at FB (Ty Emzone) and say hello to her yourself at Stormy Daye.

  448. 448
    Thymezone says:

    Some butthead here (troll level onionhead) says Obama should “stand up” to Republicans.

    Really? I think he needs to stand up to Democrats … the lazy assholes who gave us a 42% voter turnout last year and a government that is frozen in dogshit. With a hugely Republican house, a Senate that can’t do cloture, and a populace that only wakes up for football games, I’m afraid your Magical President has his hands full. Sorry that he can’t give you the instant prostate massage you crave. Maybe you all should try harder to be citizens.

  449. 449
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Yutsano:
    I hate to remind you, you being such a nice guy and all, but I’m not from Suharto’s country. He’s Indonesian. Iz Malaysian.

    Other than that, of course, you’re absolutely right. Racism, tribalism, whichever you want to call it, is inherent in our human tendency to categorize other people into Like Us and Not Like Us.

    At least the US no longer defines a black person as being 3/5 of a white person. In Malaysia, the Constitution still describes a “special position” for Malays, which is used to justify a policy of pro-Malay affirmative action and is a sore point between us Malays and the other 2/5 of the country. Unlike you, we are nowhere near rethinking, let alone getting rid of, this grave impediment to national unity.Too many Malays apparently believe that would lead to the Chinese driving us into the South China Sea.

  450. 450
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @sallyflower:
    “I thought I was electing Obama, but instead I got McCain”
    “I thought I was electing a Democrat, but instead I got a Republican”
    “I thought I was electing someone who understood minorities, but instead I got someone who acts like they don’t exist”

    (I’m too tired to come up with any more)

    The problem is, Maher’s statement made the issue about one thing: the skin color, which tells me nothing about what what Maher thinks other than there’s a black man in office, and now, rather than doing things the way a white man would, Obama’s in trouble for not solving the problems the way a black man should. In some ideal world where we truly were color blind, it might not matter, but we don’t live in that world. You could even argue that you thought that with Obama being half black, that he would have brought some interesting experiences that you thought would have allowed him to see things differently, but they haven’t, and that would have been OK, because you wouldn’t have gone the next step and said that he’s acting white.

    And if you had argued this way, I would have pointed out that Obama was raised in a white family in Hawaii, far from those black experiences you think he should have brought, which he doesn’t automatically absorb just because he’s black.

  451. 451
    Paula says:

    @Bruce S:

    Yeah, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that most bloggers of color (and feminist bloggers) with a good amount of followers and any amount of self-respect would have ban-hammered the lot of these comments long ago. If they weren’t already operating under strict commenting guidelines (which many of them are, precisely because everything they talk about is subject to the exact same kinda shit ABL gets here). Because these tired arguments are not new and no one actually wants to read the same damn thing every post. “Oh who cares? Other things are more impt! Why are you so angry/sensitive/myopic/firing at people on your side?” Folk ALWAYS react the same kinda way when confronted with this shit. It’s not just ABL’s “style” or the idea that she’s a bad fit for this blog. It’s because people act like predictable fuckwits about race (and class and gender and sexual orientation) and can’t be bothered with coming correct.

  452. 452
    Bondo says:

    @Yutsano: I’m not justifying white privilage. Why would you think that. ABL blew a gasket because Maher made fun of republicans and called Obama a gangsta shaft/dirty harry/bruce lee era movie hero that killed the bad guy.

    Maher could have said that some Real ‘Murican swaggering Texan didnt want to catch Osama Bin Laden, and that a media-annointed “serious on foreign policy” war hero wouldnt even try to catch him, but that Obama, a Kenyan, socialist, goat herding, america-hating clown that thinks every country in except the united states is exceptional, killed the terrorist and I still would have cheered Maher on.

    What exactly is your problem? And why does white privilege even play a part in this? Are you somehow angry that black people can’t call obama a gangsta? Don’t you want democrats to fight back? I’ve seen the clip now, why arent you guys attacking Joy Behar, or do you agree with her asserion that if obama fights back he’ll look like an angry black guy?

  453. 453
    Yutsano says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I hate to remind you, you being such a nice guy and all, but I’m not from Suharto’s country. He’s Indonesian. Iz Malaysian.

    I never claimed perfection. :) Forgive my error there. Somehow Suharto stuck in my head as Malay, even though I knew he wasn’t.

    In Malaysia, the Constitution still describes a “special position” for Malays, which is used to justify a policy of pro-Malay affirmative action and is a sore point between us Malays and the other 2/5 of the country.

    This really only changes when that 2/5 decides the current status quo becomes unacceptable. My guess is that point has not been reached yet. When it does, I suggest holding on tight. And coming out of retirement. You would have a journalism goldmine of stories.

  454. 454
    Bondo says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’re delusional. When did I ever say there was nothing racial about the word gangsta.

    If you take republican BS and throw it in their faces thats a good thing. And thats what Maher did.

    He’s taking the ignorant, misguided and idiotic racism of all those republican SOBs and shoving it back in their faces, and ABL and you guys are whining about it.

    Whats wrong with you. You’re not going to get rid of racism by appeasing racists. And sitting down for a beer summit with an agent of the government that abused a black man isnt going to stop police from harrassing law abiding americans.

  455. 455
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Yutsano:
    Actually, being Javanese means Suharto was indeed Malay, as distinct from Malaysian. Malays are spread across Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Thailand, and southern Philippines.

    Civil rights legislation wasn’t passed in the US until enough whites agreed the racial status quo there was unacceptable. The mass of Malay Malaysians are not at this point yet, and there is a whole political establishment intent on keeping things as they are. I fear we still have at least another generation of racial tensions before us.

  456. 456
    Bondo says:

    @Thymezone: “Really? I think he needs to stand up to Democrats … the lazy assholes who gave us a 42% voter turnout last year”

    “I’m afraid your Magical President has his hands full. Sorry that he can’t give you the instant prostate massage you crave.”

    Okay, in the midst of a thread about racism you decide to teach a butthead troll onionhead (so many slurs!) by making a homophobic prostate comment. Good show!

    Obama had two years that he used on a health care bill that sucked up the oxygen of everything else in the room. And did he ever call out those democrats that wanted single payer! And now he’s called out those democrats that like “entitlement programs” like social security and medicare!

    Whats next. The media thinks that paul ryan is brave, so is he going to call out the democrats that aren’t more like paul ryan? Is he going to call out democrats that think Sarah Palin’s policy proposals are clownish?

  457. 457
    boss bitch says:

    What the fuck is wrong with some of you? Since when does gangsta = fighter? Gangsters aka thugs take whatever they want with no regard for life. They don’t care about the consequences. They get their way by being physically violent. Maher once used Suge Knight as an example of what he wanted Obama to be. Who the hell thinks fighter or civil rights hero when they talk about Suge Knight.

    Moore, Maher and many many liberals have a stereotype of what Black men should act like. If they don’t meet that stereotype then they are pussies. That’s a great message for young Black boys: Violent thug = good. Compromise = weak. Its already being ingrained in their minds that being smart = White they don’t need limo liberals telling them how they should act.

    And Moore’s explanation is fucking whack. Obama is a politician not an activist. He has constraints and has to play by different rules. PLUS he has a few hundred million people to take care. He does not have the luxury of taking an all or nothing stance on every bill because people need help now and he has to answer for his actions. Activists don’t have to worry about those things.

    From TNC:

    If you paid more attention to Obama’s skin color, than to his speeches, the voluminous amounts of journalism noting his moderation, his two books which are, themselves, exercises in moderation, then you have chosen to be ignorant.

    You are now being punished for that ignorance. No one should feel sorry for you. Try not being racist.

  458. 458
    harlana says:

    But… but… PONIES! I heard him say there would be PONIES! Farting magical rainbow dust and perfume!

    This is what is annoying about BJ, this kind of shit, all day, every day, over and over and over again

    childish, tiresome, same old same old

    emoprogrs and firebaggers, oh my! blah de blah de blah

    did i mention this is some really old, tired shit?

  459. 459
    RJPJR says:

    Thank you John and ABL for your eloquent defense of the notion of a “colorblind” society. I am sure that the conservatives on the Supreme Court will find it very useful when attempting to further the savage inequalities that already persist in American society.

  460. 460
    AxelFoley says:

    Damn, I’m always late to the good threads.

    And, no, I’m not on CP Time!

  461. 461
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @harlana:

    It was no less irritating than the asshats I aimed the remark at.

    I know, fee-fees and all that…

    Complaining is “really old, tired shit” too.

  462. 462
    Thymezone says:

    @Bondo:

    Aw, shut the fuck up. Really. Have you anything actually to say? Because I don’t see it.

  463. 463
    Thymezone says:

    And did he ever call out those democrats that wanted single payer

    Who gives a shit? There is, and will not be at any time in the forseeable future, any political viability for single payer. And your entire ACA rant is bullshit, which is actually insulting to good American manure. Obama knew that he had exactly two years to get the thing done, and that’s it. And he did. The end. That’s the entire story. Getting that thing done in the face of insane opposition and in the middle of a revenue crisis was just about one hair short of a miracle. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush couldn’t do it in 60+ years. Obama did it in two. You write it your way, but those are the facts.

  464. 464
    Thymezone says:

    Let’s give Michael Moore the benefit of the doubt he does not deserve, and say that what he really meant was, I voted for Obama but got McCain. I don’t think he meant that, but let’s pretend he did. So …

    Really? Really, Moore? You think you got John McCain? Let me tell you as a guy who grew up in Arizona, lived in Barry Goldwater’s old neighborhood, went to Goldwater’s old elementary school, went to Catechism in Goldwater’s old church, which is also the church where my parents got married, and which held Goldwater’s funeral … and now live in John McCain’s neighborhood, and has seen the old motherfucker in congress lo these 30 plus years … I promise you, Michael Moore, you did not get John McCain, or anything remotely like John McCain, and of all the people in the world, all the people who know and understand the political history of these people, you ought to fucking know that and ought to have enough sense not to say such a blindingly stupid thing even in jest. But no, you not only had to say something like it, you had to trick it up with racial ornaments just to make yourself seem a notch more clever, because you can’t live without the attention. Well, you fucked up, and got called out for it. Good.

  465. 465
    Jim Pharo says:

    In the voice of denzel as steve biko in Cry Freedom
    “Ah, the education of an American lib-er-al.”

    John, you’re growing up so nicely.

  466. 466
    MattMinus says:

    Since we’re playing by the new rules outlined in Cole’s post, I hope none of you will be visiting the vile, festering pit of hatred that is Pandagon. No less an authority than Bill Donohue has declared that Amanda Marcotte is an anti-Catholic bigot. If you could only see past your protestant privilege, you’d understand.

  467. 467
    Thymezone says:

    Obama last night: “The odds of me being reelected are much higher than the odds of me being elected in the first place”

    Snatched off the Twitterverse moments ago via TPM. Happy Friday, all.

  468. 468
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @MattMinus: Kindly go fuck yourself.

  469. 469
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Thymezone:

    Heya TZ, I’d visit you peeps on FB but I’m not a FBer…lol! Not much in to social sites online. As it is, my online time is pretty limited with my work so I pretty much post here, on a motorcycle forum and that’s about it.

    I read everywhere else. :)

  470. 470
    MattMinus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Thats the kind of awesome argumentation that I’ve come to expect from the Anti-Catholic trolls here.

    I’m really just exposing the problem that protestants, even the non-bigoted ones, have seeing past their privilege. The fact that it makes you so reflexively uncomfortable shows how deep your protestant privilege runs. You don’t even protestsplain, you just jump right in with the insults.

    Look, if Bill Donohue says something is anti-Catholic, it is. FULL STOP. You haven’t experienced his pain, and you don’t get a vote on the matter. the more you argue against that, the more I think you just can’t handle being told anything by a full figured man who is Catholic.

  471. 471
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @MattMinus: Get back to me when you’ve worked off that pedophiliac priest problem, asshole.

  472. 472
    Trinity says:

    Thank you John Cole. Thank you. You brought tears to this little black girl’s eyes this morning.

  473. 473
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @MattMinus:

    I’m not a protestant but rather a former RC. Assume much?

    Go whine somewhere else.

  474. 474
    Cat Lady says:

    @Thymezone:

    Thisety this this this. Why oh why can’t we get better grassroots Democrats? Between the emoprog WATBs and the media clowns (Maher, Moore, Stewart) who always seem to get it about half right, it’s no wonder that things are fuXX0red. Democrats need to only do one thing – adopt Reagan’s 11th commandment not to speak ill of a fellow Democrat, at least not by running to the nearest CNN reporter. It’s just that easy.

  475. 475
    Thymezone says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Social network joke: You know what is really horrible about Facebook? The people.

    Anyhoo.

    Well, you can always email me at ty.emzone@facebook.com

    Cheers, TZ

  476. 476
    Thymezone says:

    “I’m afraid your Magical President has his hands full. Sorry that he can’t give you the instant prostate massage you crave.”

    Okay, in the midst of a thread about racism you decide to teach a butthead troll onionhead (so many slurs!) by making a homophobic prostate comment. Good show!

    Really? You think that prostate massage is about homosexual activity? You need to review your sex magazine subscriptions, big boy. It’s one of the hottest topics in girl on boy action today. I have more information, but I just can’t put my finger on it, know what I mean?

  477. 477
    El Tiburon says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    You make a lot of assumptions that are wrong.

    I thought John Edwards would be more of a fighter because, at the time and him being a plaintiffs lawyer, he would have more of a ‘fuck you’ type attitude. I disliked Hillary, not because she was a woman, but because imperceived her of being part of the system.

    So, yes, I though Obama would fight more, not just because of his skin color, but I perceived (wrongly) that he was outside of the system. So take a white kid from a broken family who gets to the highest position not because of his name or lineage, and I would think him a fighter as well. But I guess I’m talking about Bill Clinton so shame on me.

    The problem with some of you people is you see racism and prejudice where none exists.

    I see Moore’s comment more of an insult to white politicians in that they are sell outs and willmdo what they are told by their corporate masters. Also too I don’t watch Bill Maher, so…

  478. 478
    kay says:

    @NR:

    The way that Obama has been doing things for the last two and a half years has worked out so well that anyone who suggests that he should be doing things differently simply must be a racist. It’s not as if there’s any room for improvement at all, anywhere. No, given how great things are now, for both the country and the Democratic party, there is absolutely no possible reason, other than racism, that anyone could possibly suggest that Obama should change his approach to governing.

    It isn’t that, for me.

    It’s this. Can you learn anything from him? Is this at all reciprocal, or is this entire learning process that Barack Obama is supposed to be undertaking re: policy and process one way? Is there any possibility that his many, many critics and teachers could learn anything at all from him?

    Because I think they could.

    I think James Carville and the rest of the former Clinton people could learn from him on how to actually get legislation enacted, for example.

    Michael Moore could certainly learn from Obama on how to discuss race in a way that doesn’t alienate and enrage people, don’t you think?

    Obama has high personal favorability ratings. Is there anything in his approach that Democrats/activists could learn from there?

    That’s my problem with it. There’s never the slightest indication that the Democratic Party or liberal activists or former Democratic officials and others have anything at all to learn from him. It’s a one-way lecture, always. “He should….”. Why is it never “we should” or “I should”? Never? Ever? That’s hard for me to believe.

  479. 479
    MattMinus says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Former, huh? Trying to identify with the oppressor, I see. Hoping that they’ll give you a little grace filled attaboy?

    Just shows that not everyone who grows up experiencing the horrible, pervasive bigotry that Mr. Donohue so fearlessly documents learns to struggle and fight against it.

  480. 480
    MattMinus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    It doesn’t surprise me that you resort to vile bigotry immediately. beside, we all know that the molestation problem is a gay issue, not a Catholic issue. It’s just that the media, due to centuries of institutional racism, focus on the Catholic gays to the exclusion of all others.

    In any event, I’ll be forwarding your post to Mr. Donohue.

  481. 481
    Thymezone says:

    Congress has a 12% approval rating, an all-time low.

    Twitterverse, ThinkProgress.

    I think that’s a lower approval rating than cancer.

  482. 482
    Amir Khalid says:

    @MattMinus:

    beside, we all know that the molestation problem is a gay issue, not a Catholic issue.

    Is that so? My understanding is that the children violated by these priests included both boys and girls.

  483. 483
    MattMinus says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    This is a racist mischaracterization. How dare you say those children were violated! In many cases they were the initiators.

    Those KKK hoods come out pretty quick the second Catholic issues come up on this forum.

  484. 484
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Thymezone:

    Good one…lol! People are a problem anywhere, it’s what we do best. Speaking of such…

    @MattMinus:

    Just shows that not everyone who grows up experiencing the horrible, pervasive bigotry that Mr. Donohue so fearlessly documents learns to struggle and fight against it.

    I left the church over its hypocrisy, the same thing you embrace. I know what you are doing here (other than being an asshole) and I’m just enjoying fucking around with you.

    Sorry about that, you’ll have to find someone else to take you seriously because I really don’t give a shit about little whining weasels like you. The priests raping boys and girls is not a “gay problem” but rather an institutional problem. A pervasive one that they tried to blame on the victims or sweep under the rug.

    The church has been fucking people over for so long that some of their priests decided to personally join in on the fun.

    ETA: Your white pride must really be hurt to be embracing Righteous Bill Donohue. Crazy fuck.

  485. 485
    Thymezone says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Agreed.

  486. 486
    Amir Khalid says:

    @MattMinus: \
    So you’re saying these men of God were seduced by, um, evil child minions of Satan. Even though no jury is going to believe an adult’s claim that an underage child seduced him, and no judge would let them assume such a claim to be true. Uh-huh, OK.

    No, seriously, I seem to remember that there were victims of both sexes in the countries where these scandals came to light. Can you confirm or refute that?

    KKK hoods? Please see comment #449 in this thread, where I describe my nationality and ethnicity.

  487. 487
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Tiburon:

    So, yes, I though Obama would fight more, not just because of his skin color, but I perceived (wrongly) that he was outside of the system.

    Fine, but the best short and punchy version of that isn’t to say you voted for his black side but his white side showed up instead.

    I see Moore’s comment more of an insult to white politicians in that they are sell outs and willmdo what they are told by their corporate masters.

    Yes, that is in fact what he means. But he gets there by way of a stereotype, which is that the Black Obama he voted for is, like other black men, a confrontational bad-ass. Does that make Michael Moore a racist? I don’t think so. He certainly isn’t saying that black is inferior and should be kept that way. Does it mean that Michael Moore is capable of being caught up in stereotypes and prejudices? Yes. It’s not the most harmful example of one, but I don’t see why we have to pretend that “black men fight, white men cower” isn’t itself a lazy stereotype — even if it’s meant to be flattering. Even if he wants to say that he’s disappointed in Obama because the country needs an Angry Black Man in charge, that’s still capitalizing on the stereotype of the Angry Black Man.

  488. 488
    kMc says:

    As a black man living in a predominantly black city (Richmond, VA), I empathize somewhat with ABL and her shock by proxy at the racist displays by white liberals. That said, and to quote Tracy Morgan (by no means a stellar human being), “America is a racist country, period.” Feelings of shock, disgust or disappointment at the treatment this President has received are kind of like leftist discontent with the fact that Barack Obama is not one of us, to whit: this should have been expected, and thus should come as no surprise. We ought to never forget that these people are exactly who we know them to be.

    I simply can’t muster up any sort of outrage at this point, and I am certainly never surprised by this sort of racist crazy shit (here at Balloon-Juice, or out in the real world). People here in Richmond are super fucked, and like most black people in this city, I’ve simply given up hope that a mostly white government is going to give two shits about helping minorities get through this depression (since that is what we are facing here). This is not to discount the fantastic work being done by a bunch of people of different races who are trying to better the lives of the people in this city but, well, there you have it.

    Bill Maher said something racist. So did Michael Moore. Racist Democrats exist. Still doesn’t put food on the table.

  489. 489
    Cat Lady says:

    I just wish all of these emoprogs who whine here would define their terms. Every day one or another comes here and says Obama failed them today because he doesn’t “fight”, “play hardball”, “needs a spine”, “is ball-less”, needs to “stand up to Republicans” ad nauseum.

    What does “fight” mean, exactly? What does “play hardball” mean, exactly? What does “stand up to” mean when he can count on 0 Republican votes and the occasional Blue Dog vote who all want to obstruct because they’re corporatist whores from red states? I just can’t help but think that they really do think his blackness means he should be bringing them into the Oval Office one by one and threaten to pop a cap in their asses. It’s cartoonish.

  490. 490
    eastriver says:

    I simply want to point out that a person can disagree with ABL, and possibly think her a race baiter, and not be a racist.

  491. 491
    Pat says:

    Kay @478
    *There’s never the slightest indication that the Democratic Party or liberal activists or former Democratic officials and others have anything at all to learn from him. *

    What can he teach us that we haven’t already learned from Dick Morris and David Broder?

  492. 492
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cat Lady: It goes around and around. He’s supposed to fight by standing up for what he believes in, even if it means he loses a battle now and then. But then whenever he loses a battle, the explanation is that he didn’t fight properly.

    So he has to stand up for what he believes in, which is what The Online Left has decided is its absolute core principle this week. And there has to be resistance to it that he has to fight and overcome, too, because otherwise the reaction is, “Well, that was easy, so that doesn’t count.” And it can’t be by offering the holdouts some kind of incentive, because that’s weak too. It can only be through threats. If he threatens a Republican and makes him cry, then that guy votes for a bill he didn’t start out liking, and then that bill passes whatever the new litmus test is for importance and progressivism, and then he celebrates it by calling out Republicans and getting in their faces and daring them to try it again, then, THEN, he’d be a fighter.

    But he doesn’t do that. You know, not because it’s impossible, but because he has no balls and doesn’t try hard enough.

  493. 493
    Volum says:

    I don’t read ABLs posts because they’re boring and one dimensional. Not because they focus on race almost every single freaking post. Oh wait, yeah that too.

  494. 494
    Cat Lady says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t read any other political blogs than this one. Does The Online Left ever define what “fighting” would actually look like, and how it would be so much more effective? What do they think a “threat” is, and why a Republican wouldn’t think a threat from Obama (again, a threat of… what?) is a badge of honor in wingnuttia? What can Obama threaten Manchin, McCaskill, Ben Nelson with to turn them into progressive heroes? Like I said, there’s a lot of childish cartoon thinking in the way they’re viewing Obama’s ability to exert leverage. They want SuperNinjaGangstaDaddy to compensate for their own emotional and intellectual inadequacies, and it’s projected onto him rather than their local Congresscritters, where it would be the most appropriate, because of his blackness IMO. It’s clearly personal, and they all need to get some professional help.

  495. 495
    El Tiburon says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    But he gets there by way of a stereotype,

    Come on – ABL is a stereotype. Everyone uses stereotypes all the time. To make the leap to racism is a bit extreme. Again, with the caveat that I’m a Privileged White Male.

    To be honest about the whole affair, as a PWM I’ve always assumed that a majority of black people who have attained a certain status had to fight to get there. As a PWM living in a predominantly white society I know certain things in life are handed to me without a struggle. If I were black, I’m guessing, I’d have to fight like hell just to stay even with my white counterpart. I assumed yesterday that when I met the black head surgeon of the pediatrics unit at a local hospital that he had to either be a lot smarter than most in his position because of his skin color. I also assume that he probably has to hear a lot of whispers and perhaps some questioning stares from people who are not used to seeing a black person in his position.

    Again, not meaning to be obtuse, but does that make me a racist? To assume that this black doctor is more of a fighter (non-gangsta) than his white counterparts? No. It may make me a bit ignorant which I will gladly own up to.

    But in no way do I see Michael Moore or Bill Maher as racists or idiots for this comment.

  496. 496
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kay:

    There’s never the slightest indication that the Democratic Party or liberal activists or former Democratic officials and others have anything at all to learn from him.

    But they’ve been so successful! For example, Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy got a slew of new Democrats elected in places like Indiana and North Carolina, and DailyKos championed candidates like Stephanie Herseth, Jim Webb and Jon Tester! So when it comes to how Obama should find a way to advance a liberal agenda, I mean, it’s obvious, all he has to do is be more in-your-face about how liberal he is because people like “fighters.” That always works, which is why Webb, Tester, Herseth, Baron Hill, Joe Donnelly, and Heath Shuler proved themselves to be such outstanding, outspoken liberals.

  497. 497
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Tiburon: I explicitly didn’t “make the leap to racism.” I would call this a display of a relatively benign version of a stereotype that has also been used for ill purposes, which is that black men are militant. That’s nowhere near as pernicious as “black men are lazy” or “black men are sexually insatiable,” to be sure, but it does presume that there is A Way That Blacks Act, and people — especially black people! — are not terribly keen on that.

  498. 498

    […] what John Cole said. September 16, 2011 | Posted by: Frank | Posted in: Personal Musings | Bookmark this post […]

  499. 499
    sfHeath says:

    @MattMinus: Cole’s injunction to listen when an oppressed minority declares an offense is not a call to reflexively agree with that declaration. You told me of a specific instance where a person of an identifiable minority took offense at criticism, so I looked into it. I read the CDL press release, I read Marcotte’s column, I researched Bill Donohue, and here’s what I found. Bill Donohue has confused policy criticism with prejudicial comments, and is _exactly_ like the poor white folks accused of racism who are the real victims (in their own minds).

    The Catholic church, and Mr. Donohue in particular, supports policies that subjugate women. In pointing that out, Marcotte was not making bigoted statements.

    If you still disagree with my argument, let me point you to someone who argues the point much better – As You Were:

    The Catholic League has been misleading in choosing from Amanda’s site only excerpts that are angry at the leaders of the Catholic Church for their stance on birth control and on the role of women. But, in fact, Amanda has been equally critical of other religious groups that demean women, such as the Protestant “Quiverfull” movement. To cast her views as explicitly anti-Catholic is especially misinformed given that most American Catholics agree with her on the issues of birth control and the rights of women.

  500. 500
    sfHeath says:

    @MattMinus: Oh, and now I see you were just trolling. Never mind.

    Your troll depends on the idea that Amanda Marcotte v. Bill Donohue is analogous to Moore/Maher v. ABL. It is not. Please examine the power structures in each situation and you will see that they are not analogous.

  501. 501
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cat Lady: I think he needs to more frequently & in non-senatorial language call them out on all the awful things they are/have been doing.

    Over and over and over again. This doesn’t mean he has to do it all, use the VP, Hillary, etc. Repetition & saying the points as an appalled Democratic President and leader of the Democratic party should say (look to FDR’s and Pres. Truman’s characterizations of Republicans for help, if necessary).

    They’ve done a little bit of that, need to do it a whole lot more, IMO.

  502. 502
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @MattMinus: Your kkk hood seems afixed pretty tightly.

  503. 503
    Dollared says:

    @sfHeath: @sfHeath: “Power relationships?” WTF? Did I miss Michael Moore’s coronation? Please explain.

  504. 504
    Mattminus says:

    @sfHeath:

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

    Come on guys. When I described Donohue as “full figured” you didn’t get that I was taking the piss out of you?

    I did pretty clearly demonstrate how desperate you all are to jump on an apostate, even if it looks too good to be true, huh? Don’t worry, we all get that you’re “one of the good ones”.

  505. 505
    Bruce S says:

    #411 “Another Angry Black Person telling them they suck(in their eyes) will only shoo them away – in my humblest opinion.”

    That’s not exactly what I had in mind. And I don’t believe in “white folks sorting themselves out” – or any other group for that matter. I don’t like token “diversity.” Maybe my immediate experiences are different than a lot of white folks, in that I am privileged to be part of a “black family” so my inclination is to not want to see particular black people shouldering the burden of being “black” in a predominantly white environment. I think it’s helpful for all concerned to participate in conversations that are broader than that and that don’t peg people as “official spokesman.” Also – with all due respect – if ABL is “perfect” in this assumed role, I’m Superman!

  506. 506
    sfHeath says:

    @Dollared: Michael Moore and Bill Maher are white men with lots of money and a national platform. What they say is taken Seriously by people across the nation.

    ABL is an anonymous front-pager on a blog. Admittedly, it’s a well read blog, but that’s a fraction of a percent of the audience of Real Time, for example. In addition, she’s a black woman, so any time she posts half the comments tell her to, in effect, shut up and sit down.

    That’s my analysis of the unequal power relationship at play here.

  507. 507
    sfHeath says:

    @Mattminus: “Apostate” is just a fancy word for “troll”.

    Trolls get attacked. That’s what they want. Don’t try to claim that you had some kind of grand point that you effectively dramatized for us all.

    “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument” – Urban Dictionary

  508. 508
    El Tiburon says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I explicitly didn’t “make the leap to racism.”

    The leap was made by ABL, Serwer et al, no?

    If we are talking benign stereotypes, is it okay to say black people gots rhythm and white people don’t? So under no exceptions are we allowed to note Obama’s race? We can make fun of Al and Tipper Gore’s utter lack of dancing ability, but we can’t say Obama is a fighter?

    Just as an aside:
    This entire discussion reminds me of the episode of Cheers where Cliff, trying to avoid a fight with a bully, brings the big, black postal carrier to the bar with him in hopes of scaring off the white bully. Was that a racist portrayal?

  509. 509
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @MattMinus: This is so far out there that I assumed you were trying to be funny at first.

    It’s not some brutal victimization of the Catholic Church to state that molesting children is wrong, and you don’t get to pretend that it is. If you make all sorts of weird exceptions and rationalizations for people who are priests that you have never made for anyone else accused of such crimes, then you’re just saying that members of the church deserve to be treated differently than everyone else.

    And really, the KKK? You might want to look up the difference between “murdering Americans who try to vote” and “prosecuting child molesters”. It’s subtle, but I feel confident you’ll be able to pick up on the differences.

  510. 510
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Tiburon: I thought of the “dancing” example. I would personally say that there’s a difference between watching Obama dance, then saying some cleverer version of “For a black guy he sure sucks at dancing,” on the one hand; and, on the other, watching Obama engage in politicking, likening it to dancing, then saying, “You’d think a black guy would be better at Metaphorical Dancing.”

    This entire discussion reminds me of the episode of Cheers where Cliff, trying to avoid a fight with a bully, brings the big, black postal carrier to the bar with him in hopes of scaring off the white bully. Was that a racist portrayal?

    I don’t remember that scene, but it sounds like it could go in a couple of different ways. But if the scene was that Cliff decided he needed a protector, so he went in to work and said to his black co-worker, “You look like you’ve been in a few brawls, can you teach me?”… that would probably be meant to draw a laugh about Cliff’s stereotyping. And if the co-worker looked like Steve Urkel, that would be even more the case. The show wouldn’t be being racist, but it would be spotlighting a character’s racial cluelessness. And IMHO that’s what ABL was getting at.

  511. 511
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    Of all the truly racist shit happening all day every day, THIS is what everyone is wasting their time on? Just so we’re clear, it was a goddamn joke. And a pretty tame one at that. Doug J usually has pretty incisive media criticism, and he talks often about contrarianism and sensationalism. That’s what talking about Moore making a joke is. “See, look, we’re so pure and righteous that we spend our time roasting liberal dudes. I bet you didn’t expect that contrary and sensational viewpoint did you.” ABL peddles in drama. The proof is in the pudding (how many other posters have had entire DAYS of posts revolving around their own acrimony) and it is making this blog into the cliquey nonsensey bullshit that Kos quickly became.

    I sometimes cede ground on whose viewpoint counts (for example I only care what women think about abortion), but I don’t think that black people get to say definitively what is and is not racist. And ultimately, this only undermines a drive for less racism. It’s like saying some fairly trivial hardship is like the holocaust. It diminishes the speaker and the horror of the event. So, no, peddling in contrarian and sensationalist posts about trivial, “racist” jokes does nothing but diminish the impact of talking about important, terrible racist shit, of which there is no short supply.

  512. 512
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    I agree, Can’t Be Bothered (@511). I read Moore’s words to mean: “I voted for a person I thought would shake up the status quo; instead, I got “same ol’, same ol'”. Some clearly think the phrasing was racist. Maybe the joke could have been worded better. But this is what we’re going on about for 500+ comments? Moore has done so much good in this world, exosing corruption and hypocrisy, and now we’re all going to vote him off the island because his phrasing on a joke bothered some people. Shouldn’t we be focusing our ire on someone more deserving?

    Oh, I’m sure I’ll get blasted now; I’ll be told I’m a horrible, worthless white person. In the previous thread on this topic (now on page 2 of this blog), I saw someone (Ged6) say, “At least I’m not a white man.” WTF does that mean? Think about rewording that comment and how it would sound: “At least I’m not a gay man.” “At least I’m not a black man.” “At least I’m not a Latino man.” “At least I don’t have a vagina.” How does that shit help?

  513. 513
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Maybe the reason the comments keep going well past 500 is that so many white people have been eager to join in on complaining about how it’s a stupid subject to begin with, then congratulating themselves on how for saying it’s stupid they’re probably going to get silenced and made martyr-victims to political correctness.

  514. 514
    sfHeath says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Could I ask why, when complaining about 500-comment posts, you blame ABL for bringing up the subject rather than the idiots who can’t see racism in the statement she flags? Look, if we all read the post, looked at the video, and said “yep, that’s a racist statement” then there would be only 65 comments on this post, just like on Anne Laurie’s gardening post that is close at hand.

    Instead, there’s tons of people like you who say that this isn’t a racist statement, and even if it is, there’s a lot more racist stuff to talk about. That would be a good point if there weren’t already two death penalty posts since it happened. The blog is talking about racism, big and small. The comment sections get long because so many people refuse to admit the existence of small racism and many other people see all the small racisms as parts of the big racisms. That argument, I believe, is a very healthy one for the left to have amongst itself.

  515. 515
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Interesting theory, Flip… I also see comments in this and the previous thread from lots of white people trying to prove how absolutely free of prejudice they are (such as by the fact that, in one poster’s case, her daughters have all married or will marry black men).

    Do you have any comment on the other part of my post having to do with the “At least I’m not a white man” comment? What’s your take on that?

    Prejudice exists; I would like to believe that it is diminishing, but I have serious doubts. I think people of all colors harbor prejudices to some degree. Yes, we should all work on reducing that prejudice. I think we should call out prejudice when we see it. But I also think that we have a tempest in our blogosphere teapot over this particular statement by Moore (as I explained in previous post). How long are we going to bludgeon Moore and each other over how prejudiced he/we are?

    Take a look at the comments — you’ll see lots more by people saying, “Good on you, ABL!” than from white people crying foul.

  516. 516
    LanceThruster says:

    I would compare it to sexist statements saying someone should “have some b4lls” or is short on testosterone when they could have used the gender-nuetral, “show some spine.”

    The dad for the neighbor’s kid kept berating me as a “f4ggot” and a “pu55y” for making noise complaints to the police about his car boom stereo. The kid liked to make chicken noises when his back-up was present in force. I used the opportunity to point out in front of them that he was “gutless” and a “coward” because he never made so much as a peep when it was just him.

    It reminds me of the phrase “white English” as there is well spoken and inarticulate.

    I wouldn’t mind Obama acting in the manner of any number of stereotypes (how about “Superhero”?) but the black/white dichotomy is not particularly helpful or complimentary to the person using it.

    That being said, Shrubya was a got-danged cowboy.

  517. 517
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): I don’t think much of the thread or the previous one is “bludgeoning” Michael Moore.

    (Most of the conflict was IMHO between the people who wanted to say it wasn’t racist, or wasn’t that bad, and other people who wanted to point out that in liberal circles there are always a lot of people who spring up to say that such and such comment wasn’t _really_ racist or, even if it was, the person’s on the right side anyway, so let’s let him off the hook this time. The same dynamic happens on feminist blogs whenever men want to defend themselves against some charge about how men tend to treat women. The more times you see it, the less understanding you become.)

    It became a wide-ranging discussion of stereotypes, racism, how to talk about race, and the place of race in contemporary liberalism — as well as a meta-discussion about how people react in comments here whenever ABL takes up racially sensitive subjects. It’s not really fighting about whether Michael Moore is a racist, and IMHO very little of it ever was.

  518. 518
    Ruckus says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:
    Nice. Very nice, although my confidence level is lower than yours.

  519. 519
    El Tiburon says:

    @LanceThruster:

    I would compare it to sexist statements saying someone should “have some b4lls” or is short on testosterone when they could have used the gender-nuetral, “show some spine.”

    Ok, we just jumped the shark. At some point these words cease to have any connection to their origin.

    We, at least on the liberal/progressive side, all agree that women, transgenders, gays, etc. can be just as smart, aggressive, or whatever as any male – white or otherwise.

    I don’t think for one second to telling someone to “grow a pair” or “have some cojones” is demeaning to women.

    Sheesh.

  520. 520
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply, FlipYrWhig (@517). It sometimes seems to me that we end up forming a circular firing squad upon each other. I think it is healthy and essential that we train a critical eye on our own words and actions (and those of people who claim to number themselves among our “team” of progressives). Similarly, in somewhat more juvenile terms, it seems to me that we sometimes end up forming something of a circle jerk where people all try to show how less-prejudiced they are than everyone else. I think the vast majority of human beings harbor prejudices, misconceptions, ill-informed opinions, and such; to try to deny this about ourselves seems pretty silly and self-serving. I DO get nervous, however, when we pillory an essentially good person for an off-the-cuff remark that may, indeed, have been poorly worded or insensitive. I’ve seen some posters suggest that to make this observation is somehow treasonous, ignorant, and ultimately destructive. I’m no ascended master, no avatar, so perhaps I’m on the wrong side on this argument. I’m just trying to add my two cents worth to the discussion and point out that we can all benefit from examining the way we express ourselves.

  521. 521
    Cat Lady says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    One of my daughters is married to a biracial man and other is engaged to be married to a Haitian-American. It was my comment that you misinterpreted. I did not say that I was free of prejudice, because I’m not and anyone who says they are is suspect. My comment meant that I’m invested in a world where prejudice and racism is thoughtfully examined, per Cole’s comments to examine yourself first. Reading comprehension is your friend.

  522. 522
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Tiburon: Well… I mean… teenaged boys say something similar when they explain why the only reason they called something “gay” was that it was bad, not because they meant something negative about gay people. I think “balls” (for strength) and “sucks” (for badness) have probably gotten to be fairly innocuous, but there are near-parallels that aren’t there yet, including “gay” and “pu55y” indicating weakness, and some that will never be, like “rape” indicating domination.

  523. 523
    brantl says:

    @jnc: You are a victim of Simplism. It has to be simple, to be true to you, if it’s complex it can’t be true. Unfortunately for you, the world isn’t Disneyland. Hell, Disneyland isn’t even Disneyland.

  524. 524
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Hello, Cat Lady ~ I was recalling your comment from among the many hundreds I’ve read on the subject over the last couple of days. I did not wish to reread every post on the threads in question; since I did not recall your comment within context, I apologize. Tell me, do you think a snarky comment such as yours about reading comprehension in #521 helps or hurts this discussion? I teach composition and literature at the junior college level and certainly understand the importance of reading comprehension. Do you understand the importance of civility?

  525. 525
    Plantsmantx says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I am white, and I am overwhelmed by the amount of subtle and not-so-subtle racism displayed by people on the left about Obama (I pretty much expected it from the right). The condescension, the disrespect, the sneering—it’s all so disheartening.

    You mean…treating him like a white President they don’t particularly care for?

  526. 526
    Puddle says:

    I came her *because* of ABL. (via the mahablog)

    And keep coming because, in part, of her. I *don’t* think she’s oversensitive. I think she’s right on.

    Here’s a very good guide to your own soul:https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

    Carry on.

  527. 527
    LucasFoxx says:

    (Pasty White boy sez:) My mom came for a visit and pointed out recently that her husband, though lifelong Democrat, union leader (an Executive VP Emeritus), and vocal advocate for civil rights and equality, always seems to find something about powerful blacks that he finds fault with. He’s not overtly racist, but he seems to nitpick and always manages to find some character defect with most individual POC. I’m noticing my boss is the same way. I could never figure out why he doesn’t give Obama the same benefit of doubt he gives all the regular posters at Huffpo, until I started watching Rev Al. He thinks Al’s speech patterns are Hi-larious. I was thinking recent tension between us was due to my smart ass remarks about the fact that he still reads that rag site. But, after the conversation with my mom about her husband, I think I now get it. No, I don’t get it, but I see it now. It disappoints me.

  528. 528
    Intercalation says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Isn’t “pu55y” derived from “pusillanimous”?

  529. 529
    Cat Lady says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    You’re right, that wasn’t helpful and I apologize. Obviously the subject creates defensiveness evidenced by the number of comments, and we’re all here struggling, hopefully, towards some better understanding of what we each need to be more mindful, or we wouldn’t keep at it.

  530. 530
    LanceThruster says:

    @El Tiburon: Didn’t Palin or Bachman take digs at someone’s masculinity? To equate “b4lls” – the producer of testosterone, as a needed trait to be a tough realist *is* dismissive of women.

  531. 531
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Hello, Cat Lady ~ Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, this is a very sensitive subject, and I hope I have not contributed to the hostility. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  532. 532
    Cat Lady says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Thanks. I hope you have a lovely weekend too. We’re all on The Wheel.

  533. 533
    Blogger FKA Maimonides says:

    BRA-FUCKING-O!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] what John Cole said. September 16, 2011 | Posted by: Frank | Posted in: Personal Musings | Bookmark this post […]

Comments are closed.