Sunday, July 6, 2014

Featured Reader's Comment: Do You Think That Interracial Hostility and Animus Have Increased Since the Election of Barack Obama in 2008?

I would like to follow-up on our earlier conversation about Dinesh D'Souza's new "film" and the Right-wing propagandized public. 

I featured the below comment on that thread, but I would still like to bump it up here. 

SabrinaBee relayed the following experience:
As to the looney right, my, but they are becoming more frustrated and unable to control themselves. Just bursting with so much anger that, they have to act out in some way. I was in Barnes and Noble and two men, that fit the movie audience you described above, were talking to each other, in a reasonable voice. That is, until I happened upon the new arrivals table. Noticng me, one fine gentleman raised his voice, several octaves and proceeded to voice how bad Obama is for America. Of course, I looked up and, sure enough, he was looking in my direction. I suppose he was expecting to get a defensive reaction out of me when, in reality it was the raising of the voice that caused me to look up. 
If i wasn't afraid the man would have a massive coronary, based on the redness in his face, I might have laughed out loud. Rather, I simply moved to another section of the store. I was amused, though.
As prompted by SabrinaBee's encounter with real-life breathing in the flesh Tea Party GOPers, I have a few questions. Your answering them will help me further refine an essay that I will be sharing here on WARN later in the week. 

Stated with more brevity and precision: your answers will help me to determine if I am grasping at straws, seeing chimeras which are not there, and trying to grab the "shadow people" who are lingering in the corner of my eye.

With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 the White Right predicted an outbreak of black on white racial violence, negro rebellions, uppity behavior by rapscallion colored people, and the end of White American civilization.

Of course, none of these events came to pass. Black Americans have never sought revenge on White Americans for the crimes of the past/present.

We are too generous of spirit and have only wanted our freedom papers and full-citizenship as equal members in American society.

Alas, the Black Freedom Struggle remains a work in progress. 

There is also a potent irony at the heart of African-American political project: we have helped so many others to be free that we have neglected our own personal obligations to communal and political self-interest.

My questions.

1. Have you personally noticed or experienced a general increase in racial animus and hostility in the United States since the election of Barack Obama in 2008?

2. If you are a person of color, have you noticed or experienced an increase in the types of interpersonal racial provocations or microaggressions from white folks as detailed by SabrinaBee's story since the election of Obama in 2008?

3. If you are a white brother or sister, have you personally experienced more hostility or antagonism from people of color, blacks in particular, since the election of Obama? In addition, since President Obama's election in  2008 have you personally observed or seen an increase in racially hostile and bigoted speech, attitudes, or behavior on the part of your white friends, family members, acquaintances, or others in your social network towards people of color?


James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Question 1. Yes. It is obvious.
Question 3. Absolutely not, with regard to hostility from people of color. From family members, no. But, for those who want to criticize Obama, they always preface their most ridiculous Fox News-generated comments or controversy with, this is not about race, when, of course, nearly everything generated by Fox News is based on race.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I had totally forgotten about the black riots and black on white violence that was predicted on the right at the time of his election.

1. When Obama was elected, really when he even dared begin running for office, everyone on the right became an expert in politics, the Constitution, and sociology. Barack Obama has no experience and can't even understand the Constitution.

3. I haven't experienced or seen any hostility from people of color. While they have never been shy about their racial animosity, there has definitely been an increase in bigoted speech, attitudes and behavior among my white fam. Family get-togethers almost always result in some sermonizing about the losses to traditional America by the traitor-in-chief, it's pretty pathetic.

I feel they would be more likely to avoid POC unless they have certified their loyalty.

Let me share something that I saw on facebook recently:

Sometimes you can see a comment of your friends' on one of their friends' pages. A Muslim friend of mine had commented on on of her American libertarian friends' page.

The libertarian had essentially demanded an oath of loyalty from her Muslim friends because she had a conversation with one of her Muslim friends who she said was sympathetic to Osama bin Laden. She had several people declare they weren't sympathetic to bin Laden, but also said they didn't like the way the US was waging war in Muslim countries.

One friend chose to pick a fight with her about why she would ask that question. She demanded a simple yes or no, to which he said, "Obviously no! Don't you know me!?"

These people are really sick with entitlement, racism, bigotry, and a superiority complex they couldn't even fathom if they are denying their racism.

Swift Uppercut said...

Question #1
A definite increase in antagonism emanating from the always imagining and pretend jingoistic folks on the right.

Question #3
The few whites that I do have frequent contact with are coworkers. Therefore, I don't believe I'm getting a glimpse of their true feelings towards people of color or Barack Obama.

On the other hand, I've witnessed quite a few antagonistic; outright hateful and overwhelmingly racist comments from the Fox News cliques.

The right is in serious need of some free sessions of deep psychotherapy.

Miles_Ellison said...

Question #1
Absolutely. The commentary about Obama went from he's half white, you know" to "that nigger is ruining the country and trying to take everything I own for reparations." That swing happened in a matter of weeks. I don't hear much about him being half white anymore. A lot of people have been wearing their dog whistles out. The Obama Presidency has shined a bright light into a lot of dark corners. Some things have been said that can't be denied or explained away. The true nature of the US, which was hiding in plain sight, has been revealed.

Question #2
Definitely. I have seen a particularly angry and ignorant irrationality in the criticism of this President. Usually in my presence. It wasn't until Obama was elected that anyone white I associated with had anything bad to say about a President, or had anything to say about politics at all, for that matter.

rikyrah said...

With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 the White Right predicted an
outbreak of black on white racial violence, negro rebellions, uppity
behavior by rapscallion colored people, and the end of White American

Of course, none of these events came to pass. Black Americans have never
sought revenge on White Americans for the crimes of the past/present.

You tickle me. Your writing, a lot of the time, aside from being on point, has that tinge of wicked humor.

As for the answer to your questions, the answer is yes.

White folks are just so upset. Now, depending upon my mood, I can either do as your above writer did, which is move because I'm just not feeling a confrontation, or, go full throttle confrontation, daring said White person to even look at me the wrong way.

Totally depends upon the mood.

They really do long for the old days, Chauncey.

They long for the days when they could say anything to us, and we wouldn't DARE talk back to them. When they realize that those days are over, and that I happen to be ' the wrong one', know...

They look at you in shock. I tell them that turn the other cheek died April 4, 1968, and if they try it again, they might roll upon someone who truly is the wrong one and will have their teeth looking like Chicklets. So, they better be grateful that it's only my Black self cussing their asses out.

But, you know what kills them,'s when when I look at them like they have lost their minds, and tell them that they have, all the while mocking them. You know having a Black person mock them just unsettles them to no end.

Miles_Ellison said...

People on the right should be constitutional experts. The document is written on all the toilet paper they've been using.

ann said...

I am a white woman. No increased aggression from people of color; however, a t r e m e n d o u s amount of increased aggression from conservative white men directed toward me in my work environment. If I were to ever to say what some people have said to me, I would be depicted as an aggressive, antagonistic (fill-in-the-blank).

chauncey devega said...

Funny thing. That makes total sense given how the Democratic Party is identified as the party of "blacks", "minorities", and "women".

Collateral damage.

chauncey devega said...

I agree. But we must also remember that millions of white folks voted for him too. I totally agree w. your last point. Reminds me of when I dealt w. a racist and told him to his face man to man the consequences of what would happen if he continued w. his behavior. Dude didn't know what to say. I wonder where they learned that they can intimate and break us with ease?

D. Wright said...

They're under the impression that we're thuggish cowards who only fight when we have a numerical advantage, whereas brave, masculine White men have honor enough to fight alone. Apparently, they've never seen a lynching postcard.

Anonymous said...

I never get it when people say, 'they can't fathom,' 'they don't even realize what they're saying,' 'their 'privelige' is blinding them.'

You really think that person doesn't consciously consider herself to be superior to the Muslims she was writing to, particularly on questions of Americana, patriotism, American identity, 'western' values, and similar? You don't think she consciously considers herself entitled to conduct random show-me-your-papers checks on people she considers terrorism risks or sympathizers?

/s/ S. Farin (Sorry to keep respelling my handle, Chauncey. I called myself being clever by choosing a nice-looking Bambara word but can never remember how to spell it and am too lazy to keep looking it up.)

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, yea exactly. They're under the impression that we're them.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I've had conversations with her before and she says she is tolerant, respectful, not-racist or whatever. That's why I said "if they are in denial of their racism."

Maybe my wording was poor? Do you think I'm being too fair? I am an idiot after all...

Anonymous said...

I never read that book, but the character in it isn't dumb, he just never had his common sense trained out of him via 'education,' right? Your characterization of your friend's friend strikes as me as the opposite. It seems to me to strain common sense.

If your Muslim friend were able to frame them in a way that would elicit a sincere answer, I'd be curious to know how the show-me-your-papers libertarian would answer the questions I posed. Something like, 'do you think native-born Americans should help recent immigrants understand how to be American? And point out to them when their nostalgia for their home countries might be blinding them to responsibilities we all have as Americans to their new one?'

The second sentence is too heavy-handed, but you get my point. If her answers to those questions are yes, then she consciously considers herself an overseer.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Thanks for your clear framing and references. The 'supervision' element is still thick in the air in mixed company nowadays. Off topic, my denomination of Christianity is African Methodist Episocopal. In recent years, a minority of pastors have been actively pushing to bring non-Africans into the Church -- often using the proverbial, 'the most segregated time in America is 11am on a Sunday morning' as support. The 'supervision' elephant in the room element you point to is one reason why I and many others are against this kind of ideological integrationism.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I see your and Anon's points, I really do.

I had always kept this person at distance in these groups we had been having discussions in and I could sense that they and others have this authoritarian, overseer complex. I was just unsure if it was conscious or not since they assert their non-racist behavior.

I am re-framing this for myself in the future. Thank you for asserting that point.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Myshkin had epilepsy and was sent out of Russia to a boarding school. He was considered dumb and feeble.

He was really very astute and kind. He was very naive. He believed that everyone had the possibility to operate at their best for the good of themselves and others.

His naivete got the best of him.

I see your point. I think. At least, I am thinking about it today.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

The East St. Louis Riots began over a rumor circulated at a white men's union that the white women's union was colluding with the black union.

chauncey devega said...

Didn't know that! Learning something new. If you haven't read the Great White Scourge about cotton in Texas and the role that gender played in breaking up the black-white alliance down there check it out.

SabrinaBee said...

That i was a woman, probably had much to do with it, as well. Which part played the most in it, I may never really know. I know which part I suspect.

I have no doubt that the anger might spillover to white women. What with Rush foaming at the mouth, depicting single, Democratic, white women as sex starved, baby-killers....

SabrinaBee said...

This "Everyone on the right became an expert in politics, the Constitution, and sociology."

That is the truth.Everyone all of a sudden have read the Federalist Papers and they even put out a pocket-sized version of The Constitution. Hilarious.

And yes, that this woman had the gumption to demand an oath of loyalty, from her Muslim friends shows she definitely feels entitled to some type of lordship. I hope one of them asked her, just who in the hell she thought she was?

SabrinaBee said...

Thanks for this, CD. I am sure there are untold amounts of stories about antagonism experienced in the years since Obama was elected.

adepsis said...

1. Yes. As an African American man I've experienced a definite uptick in hostility mostly in the form of hostile attitudes (e.g. dirty looks when simply saying or waving hello). I have of course noticed the same general increase on the 'net and on radio and television as has been noted by you and others over these years like the reactions to the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis killings.

2. Yes. I have even recently experienced the exact same "normal conversation changing to raised voices to draw my attention" scenario as SabrinaBee. I've also been quite obviously overcharged for beer most likely under the assumption that "brothers don't tip" - which did not happen prior to 2008. Just two examples.

My marriage is interracial (she's white) so my wife has actually noted many more instances than have I since my experience with many white folk is routinely more tense than hers - she has noted more micro aggression in interactions. I think this is because she still does not expect them but they are so much the status quo for me that I don't notice. (Shorter version - she experiences most interaction with white folk as friendly while pinch-faced abruptness is routine for me. I just thought that's how it was for everyone until I married her.)

Gable1111 said...

I occasionally get one of three vibes when I am out and about on business at client sites working independently with other professionals. The clients who hire me base their decision for the most part on previous recommendations, so they don't care; they just want the work done right, on time and within budget. But among those I am working in the trenches with, its either "how dare you be here among us"; "oh my Gawd he's black" or "what government program my tax dollars pay for has your unworthy ass here among us great white men."

What I have noticed in this "post-racial" age, is an increase in the latter, with the assumption that I must be there as a result of something that was "given" to me that I did not earn. I get more questions: how did you "fall into" consulting? Where did you go to school?

I've also noticed that Obama as President does not have the same level of impact on black folk as he does whites. Black folk generally when asked are proud of the fact that a black man is president, but that may only come up in passing if prompted. White folk seem to be obsessed with a fear of Obama as President, and its been my experience to hear the President as the topic of conversation among whites, more along the lines of "what he's doing to this country."

There does seem to be a heightened sense of fear based on the notion that blacks see Obama as "payback" and thus all these imagined "attacks" on white people.

The reality is, Obama didn't raise anyone's taxes, hasn't handed over the government to the UN, isn't using mind control to or destroyed the economy. The president they describe is not based in reality. But there is no other way to accept the irrationality of their fears without an equally irrational description of the "threat" to justify them.

chauncey devega said...

Thank you for sharing.

Nina Flowers said...

There has been a lot of antagonism. It's of course been there for some time. The white male's invisible white pedestal has been shattered into pieces for a while... And it's all his own fault as he had the power and made the rules that led to his own downfall. Money is at the root of it. Deindustrialization happened when whites fled the cities because they did not want to compete with us black folks or stomach the thought of us having the dream. So white flight created suburbia and America's industrial base crumbled. Wages collapsed and divorces skyrocketed. Along comes Ronald Reagan to tell them that their "hard work" and not getting ahead was due to black people in the ghettoes utilizing government programs. That argument is still extremely potent. This is at the heart of what I hear from right-wing white males and females! They are without a partner due to a broken marriage but yet this is somebody else's fault. Their financial outlook continues to dwindle but it can't possibly be their lack of education or basic skills. It's always the fault of "those people". A biracial professor with an educated wife and a long term marriage holding the world's most powerful job is the exclamation point on the arguments against white privilege.

skilletblonde said...

What gets the lynch mob juices flowing is the usual false accusation that a white woman was raped or assaulted. We saw an example of this recently with the settlement with the wrongfully accused Central Park Five. Never mind that it was white men who raped black women freely during slavery and during Jim Crow. If you have a female relative that was a maid, she probably has stories to tell. Standing on the corner for a bus or waiting for a light could also be very dangerous for black women.
Another example of stoking the lynch mob mentality would be when a black person has invaded the space of a white male. Trayvon Martin's simple stroll to the store on a street Zimmerman decided he had no right, ended up costing him his life. Assassination and impeachment are being encouraged to remove President Obama from the white man's space as President of the United States.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

You're right.

White folks need to be careful with their own families and stop being so black obsessed. The media culture is just a reflection of the individual and family portrait.

Lkeke said...

Oh absolutely it has spilled over onto White women,who have become more vocal on the inernet than ever before about the levels of disrespect they regularly recieve from White males.
The level of misogyny on the interent has risen quite a bit, with the formation of various organizations (AVFM,for example) dedicated to docking, shaming and otherwise disrespecting White women. And then there's the tried and true tactic of "The Rape Threat", used anywhere and everywhere on the internet that women (all women) have tried to create safe spaces to discuss women's issues.
Foe examples see :Anita Sarkeesian, and Rebecca Watson's profiles. From there you can be linked to dozens upon dozens of such events online, not just here in the US but in England too.

Lkeke said...

Thsi is going to sound strange but bear with me here: All this irrational thinking may be one of the unintended side effects of having demonized the words racist and racism over the past few decades.
We were so successful at shaming racists and bigots that that has become such a terrifying thing for Whites to admit to. They don't want to change their racist attitudes but have been thoroughly shamed about engaging in racist thought, so they have to perform all these mental gymnastics to hold onto the idea that they are not racist, that they are good people and to still hold to the same stereotypes they've always had.

Gable1111 said...

Doesn't sound strange at all. In fact, you just articulated very succinctly, something I've thought about for years but was never quite able to articulate.

To be called a racist is the worst thing in the world. And hence, is the reason why you see the tea baggers flinging that charge around. Not realizing that people don't like them, not because they're white, but because often times they're just bad people, period.

chauncey devega said...

You wrote:

"The white male's invisible white pedestal has been shattered into pieces for a while..."

Which white people? And has it been shattered. In many ways it has been strengthened, no?

Follow the money.

Nina Flowers said...

Well Chauncey many of the uneducated, unskilled white folks who could climb the ladder due to white privilege have had their pedestal shattered. That's what I mean. It used to be that those who are mediocre at best (as you have pointed out) still get ahead and often do well. With the intensifying of the class war, the masses of white folks (along with everybody else) have become worse off. There's a crazy concentration of wealth now as you well know and so yes you are certainly right about the strengthening... It's just in the hands of fewer with masses of downtrodden fools defending it no matter what!