So, this is a few days old now, but Rude Pundit has an excellent take on Jimmy Carter’s comments about racism and President Obama.

Listen: when former President Jimmy Carter, from rural Georgia in the goddamned 1920s, says something is racist, he knows what the fuck he’s talking about. Can you imagine the number of toothless crackers he grew up around? No, you can’t. Don’t even try. Because if you didn’t grow up during a time when racism was seen as the way things were, where a white person who was polite to a black person was seen as a traitor to their race, where being a dirt poor white man meant that you had to find someone to beat up on and you sure as hell weren’t gonna go after the rich white people actually keeping you down, where there were more lynchings of blacks than in any other state but Mississippi, you shut the fuck up and listen to the man. Because he knows from racist.

He’s right. So is Carter. This is 50 years of Southern Strategy with a few layers peeled back from the onion.

This weekend, I heard some rather distressing comments; people who stated Kanye West was “scary”. Scary? Kanye West? Really? He’s a self-important idiotic douchbag rapper from a middle-class upbringing. He grew up in Oak Lawn, IL (94% white, 1% black, and where Michael Flatley is from!), and his mom was the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State. There’s nothing at all threatening about the guy, except… he’s black. And apparently that’s enough.

People are afraid of lower-class black neighborhoods, ostensibly because they are “high crime” areas. But what about lower-class white neighborhoods? Hilltop is 80% white, 13% black – higher than the overall city rate of 65% white. The fact of the matter is that crime is more prevalent in areas of low socioeconomic standing, and especially from people in dysfunctional family settings. Race is not a primary indicator. And yet, people act nervous in primarily black neighborhoods. There is some element of racism there.

There is a huge amount of latent racism in America, including from people who don’t post on Stormfront and might not consider themselves racist. And it’s definitely playing a role in some of the over-the-top responses to President Obama. It might be uncomfortable for people to face, but it is there. Not every complaint, not every objection, but a lot more than people are willing to admit. And definitely coming from a Congressman who led the charge to keep the Confederate Battle Flag flying above his Statehouse, and called Strom Thurmond’s illegitimate half-black child a “smear” on Thurmond’s legacy.

We’ll never be able to get past it, unless we’re willing to admit it. We, collectively, obviously still have a problem. Not as big a problem as we used to have (after all, President Obama did manage to win the election), but there is something still there (’cause Wilson wouldn’t have yelled that to an old white President).

 
  • Dana

    [quote]And yet, people act nervous in primarily black neighborhoods. There is some element of racism there.[/quote]

    Good post overall. But… yeah, there’s “some element of racism” there, too. WHITE people act nervous in primarily Black neighborhoods. Just as Black people [i]feel[/i] and often act nervous in primarily White settings, much more realistically, since they’re liable to be arrested or at least harrassed by the police. Women, realistically, feel and act nervous in a large group of men. Men also feel nervous when they’re alone with mostly women.

    It’s all about feeling out of place. Yes, there are perceived threats when you’re in the power-wielding class and real threats when you’re in the powerless class. But mostly it’s about not knowing how to act… which is why Black people and women of all races don’t usually [i]appear[/i] nervous. Minorities are socialized into the cultural mores of the majority. Not so the other way around.

  • GREAT post. I was making this precise point to a neighbor last night. I shoulda blogged it! Of course Carter is right.

  • MR

    GREAT post. I was making this precise point to a neighbor last night. I shoulda blogged it! Of course Carter is right.

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