Stuff White People Do: refuse to see how things look from another point of view

Stuff White People Do

refuse to see how things look from another point of view

A lot of people find Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s presence on “The View” incredibly annoying, and I gotta say, I do too. She’s like a feminine Bill O’Reilly–loud, domineering, condescending, obstinate, and most of the time, just plain stupid.

Nevertheless, for the purposes of this blog, I’m glad that Elisabeth is on television. By arguing her (talking) points so tenaciously, she often dramatizes common white tendencies.

I’ve written before about Hasselbeck’s continual demonstration of the common white insistence, especially in mixed-race discussions, onoccupying center-stage. In the clip below, from this morning’s edition of “The View,” she launches a vigorous, last-ditch volley of attacks, which largely consist of guilt-by-association claims about Barack Obama.

We’re probably all tired of such crap, especially today, but a tone of something approaching desperation in Hasselbeck’s attack here does provide a sense of something like schadenfreude. More to the point, she also demonstrates a common white tendency in such discussions–refusing to see or consider how something looks from another, non-white point of view, and then judging that thing from a limited white perspective.

In this discussion, Joy Behar serves as a foil to Hasselbeck; Behar highlights Hasselbeck’s performance of this common form of white solipsism by performing the opposite, an openness to experience that differs from her own.

Joy Behar thus provides some hope here; she shows that some white people can step back and admit that because they’re coming from a different place in terms of race, they just don’t know enough about something to judge whether it’s right or wrong.

Nashville Post Politics: Whites Just Don’t Roll Like That Anymore

Nashville Post Politics

Whites Just Don’t Roll Like That Anymore

Roger Abramson thinks that those Republicans hoping for a great white reaction to the historic numbers of African Americans who will take to the polls today are gonna be disappointed:

Every “yes-McCain-can-win” scenario I’m reading seems to have the following as its underlying theme: that there are these hordes of (presumably) white voters out there who are either not telling pollsters what they really think or they are not being counted at all. I don’t see it. I will say that I would not surprised to learn that Obama won the total “early vote” and McCain wins–or at least draws even–with today’s vote. It won’t be enough.

The Atlantic: Jeffrey Goldberg: On Electing an African-American President

The Atlantic: Jeffrey Goldberg

On Electing an African-American President

My hometown, Malverne, on the South Shore of New York’s Long Island, is all white and mainly Catholic, but it shares a school district with a mostly African-American neighborhood called Lakeview. The house in which I lived (after we made the exodus from Brooklyn, that is) was near the dividing line – the appropriately-named Ocean Avenue. The public schools, when I was a child, were about half-white and half-black, but blacks were often poorly represented on the school board and in the school administration.  There was a great deal of fear in certain white quarters of black empowerment; at one point, black parents, and their white supporters, notably, my parents, had to sue in order to get buses to take black students across Ocean Avenue to the district’s two elementary schools, both of which were located deep in the white zone. Everything, it seemed, was a fight.

These are my memories of those tumultuous days: Friendship among students across the color line, and bitterness and suspicion among the adults. For all the obvious reasons, then, today seems to me a new story.  Once, the fight was to elect African-Americans to serve on a local school board; now, the country seems ready to choose an African-American to be president. This upsurge of memories prompted me to call a dear friend of my mother’s, a woman named Rener Reed, who was and is, a stalwart in the civil rights struggle in our school district, and well beyond.

Mrs. Reed, who was born in Mississippi, is a leader of the NAACP (I think it was she who signed me up for a lifetime membership), a large-hearted person and generally a tough cookie.  I asked her how she felt about today, against the backdrop of her long struggles. She laughed and said, “Well, you know, the school board is back to one black member.” But then she reported that she has seen Obama signs in the white parts of town.  “We’re living in a time when white people can look past color,” she said, almost as if she were describing a dawning messianic age. “I always had faith that this could happen.”  She said she could not wait to vote. “I’m going early,” she said. “My vote is going to count.”

It will. That’s a small miracle for a black woman born in Mississippi. The whole day, in fact, is an astonishment. It’s worth remembering that.

Politico: Rep. Davis: GOP a ‘white, rural, regional party’


Rep. Davis: GOP a ‘white, rural, regional party’

Virginia Republican Congressman Tom Davis said Tuesday that the GOP will have to “retool” after the election because it has become “a white, rural, regional party.” 

“We’ll have to see what happens, but I suspect in urban areas across the country, Democrats will continue to make gains that they’ve made the last decade,” Davis said during an interview on MSNBC. 

“We’ve become a regional party, basically become a white, rural, regional party, and not a national party. And we’re going to have to retool ourselves,” he added. 

Davis, a leading moderate who is retiring from Congress this year, said that Democrats have for now boxed the GOP mostly into the South, though he cautioned that the party’s gains may not hold for long. 

“A lot of what happens will depend on how the Democrats govern,” the Republican said. “You know, there have been high-water marks before where records get broken, 1928, but because of governance after that the South went back to a one-party South.” 

LA Times: For some white voters, Obama’s race is seen as a ‘bonus’

LA Times

For some white voters, Obama’s race is seen as a ‘bonus’

Some regard casting a ballot for Barack Obama as a victory for diversity, an atonement for past sins and a catalyst for racial healing. But they say race is one of many reasons for their preference.

Reporting from Atlanta — Will Hairston, a white Virginian, admits it freely: When he goes into the voting booth Tuesday, he will take Barack Obama’s race into consideration. 

It will be, he said, one more good reason to pull the lever for the Illinois senator. 

“For me, the Obama thing is a giant step forward for America,” he said. The 47-year-old’s ancestors once lorded over black slaves as owners of one of the Old South’s largest plantation empires. Electing a black candidate, he said, would show that “we’re not just the slavery nation, the Jim Crow nation.” 

This is the other racial dynamic that is shaping the opinion of some white voters, one that has taken a back seat to discussions of white bigotry: the reality that some whites regard a vote for Obama as a victory for diversity, an atonement for past sins and a catalyst for racial healing. 

For many of these voters, the topic is difficult to discuss candidly: Nobody wants to be accused of shallow “Kumbaya” motives. “You wouldn’t want it to be misunderstood,” said Raymond Arsenault, a civil rights history professor at the University of South Florida who supports Obama. “It sounds like identity politics.” 

But that is the charge being levied by some conservatives. In the final weeks of the election, they have been asking voters to consider whether a vote for Obama based on his race is a betrayal of the ideals of a colorblind society. 

The rise of a major black candidate may be “positive and transformational,” said Colin Hanna, president of the conservative issues group Let Freedom Ring. But Hanna contends that it is also an insufficient basis for choosing a president. “Because what you are doing is electing a policymaker,” he said, “not a token.” 

Hanna’s group has released a much-discussed Web ad that he said was targeted at voters of all races. In it, a black man evokes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dictum to judge people by the content of their character. 

Racism Review: White Fear and White Voters: A Florida Example

Racism Review

White Fear and White Voters: A Florida Example

Well, substantial white fear can be seen in many places this week. As Jessienoted yesterday in passing, FoxNews was reporting and nowTampaBayOnline (Tampa Bay Tribune newspaper) has this email from a volunteer in the Florida Republicans’ Temple Terrace office that was passed along by David Storck, chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Party, who tells his team to pass it along and thereby signals he agrees with it helping “us to win this election”:


The email was sent around in these very assertive ALL CAPS, indicating a high level of emotion, including fear. Some of it signals the old white racial frame: Scary black folks “coming from the inner city” voting “in carloads,” in what is apparently a whiter area. One can feel the palpable fear here. The email continues:


Notice again the level of racialized emotion in this message. Today, some conservative Republicans are back to fighting a Cold War against “Marxism,” a theme that is part of the national McCain-Palen attack line. When in difficulty, the U.S. right-wing likes smear tactics that place a political candidate who is obviously a centrist Democrat as “socialist” or “Marxist.” These themes seem to be just some cover for viewing Senator Obama in old antiblack terms, as the harping here on blackness suggests.

The Atlantic: Ta-Nehisi Coates: Awesome-sauce: White racists and antisemites for Obama

The Atlantic: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Awesome-sauce: White racists and antisemites for Obama

Courtesy of Andrew, here is the chaiman of the American Nazi Party on Obama:

White people are faced with either a negro or a total nutter who happens to have a pale face. Personally I’d prefer the negro. National Socialists are not mindless haters. Here, I see a white man, who is almost dead, who declares he wants to fight endless wars around the globe to make the world safe for Judeo-capitalist exploitation, who supports the invasion of America by illegals–basically a continuation of the last eight years of Emperor Bush. Then, we have a black man, who loves his own kind, belongs to a Black-Nationalist religion, is married to a black women–when usually negroes who have ‘made it’ immediately land a white spouse as a kind of prize–that’s the kind of negro that I can respect. Any time that a prominent person embraces their racial heritage in a positive manner, it’s good for all racially minded folks. Besides, America cares nothing for the interests of the white American worker, while having a love affair with just about every non-white on planet Earth. It’d be poetic justice to have a non-white as titular chief over this decaying modern Sodom and Gomorrah.

I think the racists like us! Oh, no wait…

Finding out Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president was one of the saddest days in black history. Another legacy of black death is about to begin, just like it began back in the ’60s with probably the greatest traitor to black people in modern-day history, Martin Luther King.

Hmm, OK then…