Dear Senior-Aged Lady on NPR,

When you say, about our President, “I don’t like him. Can’t stand to look at him” and about his wife Michelle, “It’s about time we get a First Lady in there that looks like a First Lady and acts like a First Lady,” you sound like a raging racist.

And I’m sick of it.

If you want to disagree with President Obama on his policies, I’m totally cool with that.

I’m not sure what’s to dislike about Michelle who for all intents and purposes is a stay-at-home mom with two kids who grows a garden in her back yard (granted on a larger stage than most SAHMs I know), but so be it. I’m not 100 percent sure what a First Lady is supposed to act like. They’ve been a wide range of personalities in my experience, starting with Nancy Reagan. (I don’t really have a sense of First Ladies before her.)

If you don’t like the Obamas because (and still!) because of the color of their skin, or because you think he’s a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country, you can go pound sand. That’s a load of crap. If you are outraged over his “destroying America”, you better be able to back that up, sister. There has never in my memory been a President so regularly and falsely maligned as Obama, and I don’t even mean in the media (mainstream or otherwise).

The latest whopper I heard? That Obama survived a botched abortion, and how could he be “pro death” even after that experience.

People, I didn’t even have the words.

So, I’ll repeat: If you don’t like Obama’s economic or foreign policies, go ahead and talk about that. Have some facts — there are plenty out there. But if all you can reach for is coded racist language or blatant hyperbole and lies, keep it to yourself. I’m sure you can find good, solid reasons to vote for the GOP ticket. I can’t, personally, but I’m willing to have the conversation as long as it doesn’t mention Obama’s birth certificate or allude, however obliquely, to the color of his skin. You’re just embarrassing yourself.


16 thoughts on “Outrage

  1. I think we’re in a situation where anytime anyone criticizes the President or First Lady, a lot of people are quick to look for a racist motive or racist undertones. I didn’t hear the NPR commenter, but I wonder if she had made the same comments about Bill Clinton or Hilary Clinton, what would people have thought? Perhaps that she didn’t like the President’s policies or morality or whatever, or thought the First Lady’s was too outspoken or wasn’t fashionable enough or whatever it might have been. Would anyone have thought, “Well she’s obviously saying that because they’re white and she hates white people.”?

    People have a lot of reasons to not like someone or not be able to stand to look at someone or to think someone doesn’t act like they should. It may be that the commenter “can’t stand to look at him” because she hates his politics that much…or that she wants the First Lady to dress or conduct herself in a way that to her is “First Lady-like.” I don’t know her motives, but I sure don’t read her comments and automatically think, “Racist!”

    Anymore it seems any criticism along the lines of “I just can’t stand him or her” is considered racially motivated or racially “coded.” Maybe it would help if people were more specific: “I just can’t stand his policies” or “I just don’t think she acts as dignified as her position warrants.” but not everyone phrases things that way. How many times has any of us said, “Oh I just can’t stand him (or her)!”? Plenty of people say that about the Romneys — are they racist too?

    • You know, I want to see your point and give the listener the benefit of the doubt, I do. It’s just been this language for four years now, and I’m done. I’m over it.

      I didn’t like President Bush, and part of the reason I didn’t like him was because I thought he was dumb. Dumb as a bag of hammers. But I tried really hard to not go around talking about how stupid he was because he was president of the United States, and that is an office that deserves a modicum of respect. I didn’t agree with his decision to go to war in the Middle East, i didn’t like his energy policies, and I didn’t (and still don’t) like his tax cuts — even though they’ve benefited me and my family. It’s just not sound economic policy in the long run. And when I talked about politics, that’s what I talked about. i didn’t talk about the Supreme Court decision that put him in the President’s seat and i didn’t talk about how dumb he was.

      And while I won’t paint everyone who “just doesn’t like” Obama as a racist, if they go to the conspiracy Tea Party side of the argument rather than political facts, it’s hard for me to take them seriously.

      as for Romney and Ryan: I hate their budget ideas and their economic policies. I think they want to take us back to the Bush years, and that didn’t work out so well for us as a country. This time the fall would happen faster and be worse.

  2. Of course it’s mostly racism… people just can’t come out and say it anymore. Instead they make feeble comments about “his policies.” You want to watch someone tap dance? Ask, “Which policy?” It should be an easy question to answer, if you know what the policies are.

    Your answerer will likely be feverishly trying to recall the last thing she heard on Fox News, or a recent sensationalistic email from a teaparty friend.

    As the national debt was skyrocketing out of control from 2000 to 2008, you didn’t hear a single peep about it. Not until a black guy with a foreign name took over… Only then did it became a national crisis… Why do you think that is?

    • Right. Even if they parrot Fox News, I may give them the benefit of the doubt (as with my a particular family member I can think of right now). But I want to talk about something concrete, not how Obama is a socialist who hates America. Because he’s not and he doesn’t, so let’s either not talk politics, or get real.

  3. I heard that lady and had the same reaction. It’s shameful that this is still an issue. (But Paul Ryan dated a black girl so that makes up for any racism in the GOP, right?)

    • I feel better knowing that I wasn’t alone in my reaction. I mean, as I said above, I have been giving many people on the other side of the debate the benefit of the doubt. But yesterday (or whenever it was) I just could. not. do it. (And: No.)

  4. This is what I’ve observed: Anytime anyone says anything bad about Obama, he or she is racist. Anytime anyone says anything bad about Romney or Ryan, they have thoughtfully reflected on their policies and decided they’re not in the best interests of the country. I know I’m outnumbered here — appreciate the opportunity to be in the minority and still have a voice. And I totally agree, there are people out there — too many — that really are racists and really don’t want Obama in office because of his color. Unconscionable. But I also know they are on both sides of the fence: self-proclaimed Democrats and Republicans. (I am neither.). Haters gonna hate — on both sides.

    You don’t find it a little bit suspect that out of the thousands of veterans attending the American Legion convention, NPR purposely quoted one who would elicit the “racist” label? I’m just as suspect when FOX News spins a story toward the right. There really is no unbiased media — and very few of us have the time or interest to do our own research or painstakingly read or listen to numerous accounts of the same events to try to uncover “the truth.” We listen to the side that resonates with us, and that’s our truth.

    The election will happen. Someone will get elected. And it’s likely nearly half of the population will be unhappy with who it is. We aren’t really “one nation” anymore, and that’s the worst thing, I think.

    • I disagree with the premise “anytime anyone”. I was responding to the woman I heard quoted on the radio yesterday, and people who think and/or express themselves like her. I have not decided that if you don’t want to vote for Obama you’re a de facto racist, and I don’t think I’ve said anything to that effect.

      And I 100 percent agree with your observations about media bias — I’d agree 1000 percent if that were possible. It’s all spin, all the time. I work hard to listen to both sides, and yes, I’m probably in the minority. I’ve got a post around here somewhre about ignorance being bliss. both sides are guilty — and maybe that’s part of the problem. We’ve got two sides, a lazy electorate, and very little else to base our decisions on than a media that none of us plebes control.

      • Sorry, wasn’t commenting on you alone, per se, but in general what I’ve observed often (and based on some of the other comments). Yes, my niece was just yesterday lamenting the two-party system (and essentially two-party media). Not a lot of choice — I suppose you could vote for a third-, fourth-, or fifth-party candidate, but most would agree you’re simply throwing your vote away. We’ll see what happens come November and then in the next four year. I can pull a lever or touch a screen, but beyond that, I feel rather helpless and, admittedly, not motivated enough to become an activist. I’m one of the lazy electorate, hoping a politician will come along and do things the way I prefer. Haven’t found one yet.

  5. At Thanksgiving this year one of my adult nieces quoted one of her hairdresser clients. She gleefully stated that the woman had said she hoped she lived long enough to see that nigger out of office. You could have heard a pin drop. Somehow she thought that would be funny. Racism doesn’t always realize its own bias; how is it a problem to quote someone being racist? Despite the fact that she ia in the lower economic strata Obama has been trying to help, all she thought of him was his race and then tried to minimize it by saying she “just wasn’t political.” Racism is alive and well, it just is usually hidden better than that.

  6. What made it even more horrifying is that the other side of the family is thoroughly mixed and several nephews are African American as is one of my best friends who is more a brother than several step brothers. All of them have been to her parents home, and if you ask her she would not think of herself as having said anything racist. She apparently didn’t even consider that there were people at the table who would be offended on political basis, let alone the racial slur. I’m chalking it up to “open mouth insert foot” because I don’t believe she intended anything beyond being humorous. Still…

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