Tag Archives: race

Jimmy Carter’s race statements are right, but at odds with Obama’s Plutonian race strategy

When Jimmy Carter says it’s about race, I believe him to be as true as his boiled peanut recipe.

But Carter’s bluntness in his comments to NBC that the animosity toward Obama is race-based, is much too direct for Obama’s current style, and could upset the president’s momentum.

Obama is too cool for direct. Apparently, his race politics are way too subtle for the country.

The way Barack Obama has become a winner in politics is by diffusing the race issue and making it seem irrelevant.

In the Obama universe, issues don’t revolve around race. In this political solar system, race isn’t at the center like the Sun.

It’s more like Pluto.

It really is the formula to Obama’s success, and his new politics of bringing the country together. That’s not to mean he’s a Clarence Thomas , or that he forgets the importance of ethnicity and race in public policy.

It’s just that he knows race bogs down everything . It’s polarizing. And it prevents him reaching the kinds of compromise that helps one effectively lead an entire country.

So he sidesteps it.

Obama’s compromise on race is to show up, make it obvious he’s a black president, but not to dwell on it. For Obama, race is more the subtle subtext and not the raging headline. It was his secret to his campaign and his success.

And it throws the GOP off-track. They don’t know how to deal with a 21st Century Race politician.

When the GOP can’t argue the facts, as in health care, or when it can’t stem the support for the president on real issues, then it goes ad hominem and race is the old standby. The whole birth certificate issue and the Islamic middle name issue are nothing more than racist attacks on Obama.

Of course, all the stumbling around on race is based on how most people don’t want to admit racism is happening or even in existence. It plays to the moral conscience of both the white perps and the white liberals, who think they are perfect. Aren’t we all better than that? We’ve gone beyond race, right?

Well, not exactly.

So when Maureen Dowd writes her NY Times column about essentially saying, “Damn, we got racism here;” And when Jimmy Carter, our Southern gentleman, starts talking from the heart about racism at play in the policy debate, well then, by gum, we have racism.
What are we going to do about it?

I’m starting to see the wisdom of the Obama strategy. He’s just figured out a way to deal with race so he can get things done. The answer. Don’t deal with it.

It’s a tad zen-like.

By comparison, those who know the old politics on race are like cold warriors. Maybe we should try to do as Obama and ignore all this and try to press on, hoping that policies and people can change, and that by focusing on the bigger picture we can all be led to a new place together. Does that sound too grandiose or Lincolnesque? So be it. To do otherwise, is to bog down in the past, polarize, and get no where. Didn’t Obama show us that?

Maybe this is another one of those times that race bubbles up in Obama’s path, like the Rev.Wright affair. That means one sure-fire prescription could work now: A little speech therapy to put everything back into order in the Obama political universe, where race is minor.

As I said, race is not the Sun, it’s more like Pluto, making the strategy absolutely Plutonian.

The Skip Gates arrest: Is this the national conversation on race we were meant to have?

I still think the Skip Gates incident is an example of the kind of racism we have now in America. If Gates wasn’t black, the officer in question would have been a lot more courteous to a man such as Gates. But Gates doesn’t look like a distinguished professor. Take away his Harvard ID and would he look like a crackhead looking to lift a TV in some expensive home?

That’s how far we have come on race in America.

I do want to be fair to the cop. So let’s take color out of the equation.

Then what do you have?

A pure battle of egos. The police officer and the distinguished professor, each of whom was pulling a little one-upmanship on the other.

A prominent black scholar gets asked to come out of his house by an officer. He knows the history of race in America and gets irritated as hell. He calls the chief of police on his cell phone.

Meanwhile, the officer at the scene reacts to said prominent professor pulling rank with the only thing he can do to show his authority and preserve his alpha maleness.  He makes a meaningless arrest, and thus documents his abuse of power.

At the core, it’s all ego, more than race, though race was there for sure, like tossing gasoline in a field of straw.

Get rid of race, and you still have an ego problem. And isn’t that the center of all our problems, especially when it comes to power and the exertion of power in unfair ways over those with less power (who more often than not are people of color)?

So  now that the Senate isn’t going to pass health care by August, maybe we’ve just been given something to chew on as a nation on vacation.

When Eric Holder called for honest frank discussions on race during Black History month, all he needed was something like the Gates arrest to kick things off. It’s actually quite fitting for those summer discussions at the beach house.  Over mojitos or a few brews, go ahead ask your friends who they think was right: Gates? The cop?

Hot enough for you?