Tuesday, October 30, 2012

U.S. Survey: Racism growing against blacks and latinos

In 2008, anti-black attitudes were held by 48 percent of Americans surveyed. Today, that number is 51 percent. When implicit racial attitudes are measured, that statistic jumps to 56 percent. The viewpoint is even worse for Hispanics: A poll done last year showed that anti-Latino attitudes were held by 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites. On the implicit racial attitudes test, the negative views of Hispanics goes to 57 percent. (The AP worked on the poll with NORC at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Stanford University.)
(From Jonathan Capehart's piece, "The rise of hate in the age of Obama" in "Postpartisan" blog in Washington Post, October 29, 2012, excerpted below)
There are so many cliches that attempt to confront racism, bigotry...most of them based on a foundation of ignorance...in the Latin sense of the word, "Ignosco"..."I do not  know"...The suggestion being that one who does not "know" the other from another race is more likely to be prejudiced or bigoted against that other race, and its members.
To me, that is taking to air-brushing the reality of hate with the gauze lens of a misunderstanding...it simply won't cut it!
Or the camouflage of a control freak, expressing a need for perfection.
At the core of bigotry is the abuse of power!
One person, or one group, considers itself superior to, more intelligent than, more sophisticated than, better educated than, richer and more powerful than....another person or group.There is, at its root, simply no excuse and no explanation for bigotry, of a neighbour,  of a person from another town or city,  of a person from another linguistic group, of a person from a different sexual orientation, of a person from a different religious community, and of a different ethnic or racial background.
But all of that is like pablum to a baby: we all know it to be true, and yet, the expression of hatred, especially that directed to both Blacks and Latino's in the U.S. has been permitted to grow especially among middle and lower class whites.
There are those who allege that the Tea Party grew out of racial bigotry toward Obama.
There are those who allege that northern, whites' contempt for blacks (and more recently latinos) is as old as the union of the United States, that it is written in the DNA of the culture of the South, and increasingly into the pockets of racism that exist in every organization, institution and political movement, including most police and sheriff departments across the country. It can be found at the communion rail in both Catholic and protestant church, where it simply has no place.
It can be found in the news rooms of all major dailies, weeklies, digital publications and television and radio studios. In fact, much of it soars on the larynx of people like Rush Limbaugh whose $40million price tag testifies to the willingness of advertisers to support its spread among the unwashed. Just today, we learn of the racism directed to a black Philadelphia Flyer hockey player playing for an Austrian team, given the lock-out of all NHL players, and his having taken the option to play in Europe.
President Obama, to his credit, has never even breathed a hint of racial preference or bias in the rendering or the delivery of his decisions in the Oval Office. However, being able to point to his many other "social, political and cultural tumours" (socialist, communist, alien, Muslim, lazy, detached, arrogant, "shuck and jive,") is a facile manner by which to heap scorn on his person, his family and his mixed-racial heritage, without having to own up to bigotry, prejudice or a hate crime.
Notice how little media coverage was given to two events in this presidential campaign:
1) the driveby shooting of the plate glass window in an Obama campaign office in Denver, Colorado and
2) the bomb threat to the Quaker originated and operated school in northwest Washington D.C., requiring a total evacuation, including the evacuation of the President's and the First Lady's two daughters who are both students of the school.
Obama, as president, has by his person, and his exemplary performance of both his presidential duties and his personal and family life, has, without opening his mouth, or picking up a pen, or tweeting a line, or cracking a joke, or literally offending a single person, shattered the image held by many white Americans of the black race, and especially of the black males in the U.S. He has, not incidentally, lectured black men to "father their children" in the full sense of those words, and pointedly referred to the goal of higher academic achievement as a national goal, not only a goal of 'white' students...trashing the stereotype in the black community that a young black boy who does his homework, reads his novels and enjoys achieving in school is "acting white".
And in the course of his exemplary ballet, on a finest of hire-wires in the racially charged political arena, Obama has also aroused even more hatred, and especially the previously hidden contempt that many whites had repressed over the last decades of the twentieth century. It is almost is if his presidency, and his family's residing in the White House, is anathema to many Americans, especially to contemporary Republican party members. And while Republicans will argue about his economic policies, their language and attitude of disdain and contempt for his person and his presidency is nothing short of vitriolic, acerbic and toxic.
Mitch McConnell's historic edict to "make Obama a one-term president" is one of the best and most public, and best known of the sneer remarks and the degree to which Republicans will go to capitalize on the racial seams that run under the ground of the public political debate.The many state Republican legislatures that have passed bills restricting the vote of blacks, the elderly, the poor and students is another of their manifest methods dedicated to the removal of the President and his party from legitimacy, and thereby from power.
It is as if Republicans have discovered "fracking" not only in terms of harvesting natural gas deposits, but also in terms of harvesting the noxious gases of bigotry, contempt, prejudice and the cancer of racism that infects all political dialogue in this presidential campaign.
While the October surprise of Sandy, the most recent wind, rain and storm-surge battering on the east coast of the U.S. is  eclipsing the headlines and the advertising from both political parties, will there be a third incident of the public expression of bigotry directed against the president and his family, now that the Spielberg film, Lincoln, is about to be released, reminding us all of the tragic end to that president's life for his support for the vote for black Americans?
We can only hope that the Secret Service are more than up to their task!
The rise of hate in the age of Obama
By Jonathan Capehart, Postpartisan blog, Washington Post, October 29, 2012
While folks were obsessing over polls that showed their preferred presidential candidate being up or down, I obsessed over a poll that revealed a troubling rise in hatred among the American people. According to a poll for the Associated Press, anti-African American and anti-Hispanic attitudes have grown since the election of the nation’s first black president.
I’m not one of those people who thought sending Barack Obama to the White House would exorcise the nation’s racial demons, that centuries of strife and tribulation would simply melt away with one historic election. But I did hope that some remnants of the the wave of good feeling that swept over the United States between Election Day 2008 and Inauguration Day two months later would remain. How silly of me.
In 2008, anti-black attitudes were held by 48 percent of Americans surveyed. Today, that number is 51 percent. When implicit racial attitudes are measured, that statistic jumps to 56 percent. The viewpoint is even worse for Hispanics: A poll done last year showed that anti-Latino attitudes were held by 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites. On the implicit racial attitudes test, the negative views of Hispanics goes to 57 percent. (The AP worked on the poll with NORC at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Stanford University.)

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