Posted by: Ophelia | August 1, 2008

Race card Race card, whose got the race card?

The latest attack from the McCain camp is that Barack Obama has “played the race card” by suggesting that Republicans will attempt to place fear in voters by invoking his race. Obama denies suggesting this (even though it has been exactly what they’ve been doing). Keith Olbermann tackles this topic in a 9 minute segment on Countdown (It’s long but more illustrative than I could ever be–watch it).

Race card to the White House?

July 31: As the fallout from the McCain campaign’s “Celeb” attack ad continues, today’s attack du jour from McCain is the claim that Barack Obama is repeatedly playing the race card when he points out that John McCain wants voters to notice that he doesn’t look like past presidents. Newsweek’s Howard Fineman discusses.

The rules in place here seem to be “if I don’t say nigger–it isn’t racist”. However, no one agreed to these terms. Innuendo and inferences are not lost on most people. It’s disingenuous to try to deny the inherent message of the constant references to ” Barack Hussein Obama” is directly to his difference and possible jihadist stance. The Republican party does want you to fear Obama–he is an unknown. He’s brown and has a name that sounds Muslim so clearly he is some sort of threat. This is a  *wink wink nudge nudge* he’s a nigger! cowardly move. If you have a problem with his race–say so. John McCain had absolutely no issue airing his racist leanings before he started running for President. Why stop showing your ass now? Because frankly, calling black people out for having the audacity to notice your racism is what modern day racists do. It’s cowardly and pointless. You know the point is his race, so do we. Failing to directly state that does not exempt you from getting called out–live with it. Own your prejudice and stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

My berometer of how useless an argument regarding race is is if there is a Tim Wise essay about it.

Wait, there is. “What kind of card is race?

Precisely because white denial has long trumped claims of racism, people of color tend to underreport their experiences with racial bias, rather than exaggerate them. Again, when it comes to playing a race card, it is more accurate to say that whites are the dealers with the loaded decks, shooting down any evidence of racism as little more than the fantasies of unhinged blacks, unwilling to take personal responsibility for their own problems in life.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, has to do with race nowadays, in the eyes of white America writ large. But the obvious question is this: if we have never seen racism as a real problem, contemporary to the time in which the charges are being made, and if in all generations past we were obviously wrong to the point of mass delusion in thinking this way, what should lead us to conclude that now, at long last, we’ve become any more astute at discerning social reality than we were before? Why should we trust our own perceptions or instincts on the matter, when we have run up such an amazingly bad track record as observers of the world in which we live? In every era, black folks said they were the victims of racism and they were right. In every era, whites have said the problem was exaggerated, and we have been wrong.

Unless we wish to conclude that black insight on the matter–which has never to this point failed them–has suddenly converted to irrationality, and that white irrationality has become insight (and are prepared to prove this transformation by way of some analytical framework to explain the process), then the best advice seems to be that which could have been offered in past decades and centuries: namely, if you want to know about whether or not racism is a problem, it would probably do you best to ask the folks who are its targets. They, after all, are the ones who must, as a matter of survival, learn what it is, and how and when it’s operating. We whites on the other hand, are the persons who have never had to know a thing about it, and who–for reasons psychological, philosophical and material–have always had a keen interest in covering it up.

In short, and let us be clear on it: race is not a card. It determines whom the dealer is, and who gets dealt.

Ooh so sorry John–try to come up with something a  bit more original.

*MSNBC just had a Republican strategist on who claims that John McCain is running an upbeat, positive campaign…hm.



  1. I propose that John McCain has used the race card more than Obama has. So has the media in general.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: