'Race' is the elephant in the room political leaders don't want to talk about. In the so-called "melting pot' of America, most want to pretend that there isn't this glaring, harmful, divisive tool used by several loud talking heads in radio and television land to stir up resentment, stoke rage and incite what I like to call "reverse victimization."namely white male rage.
A Republican senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, sparked a GOP feud this August when he said that he didn’t want his party to be about “angry white guys” and expressed concern that minorities were not gravitating towards the Republican Party..
Author and anti-racism activist Tim Wise took this elephant in the room head on during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on "What Matters" back in 2009.
Wise said it is time that GOP leaders address the rampant race-baiting by talk show hosts who seem to play a prominent role in the Republican Party. Hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity who have huge followings across states.
What makes the rhetoric repetitively blasted over the airwaves dangerous is that many of the listeners who tune in use these programs as their only medium of information and thus treat what they hear as “gospel.”
In the above video, Wise, who has conducted numerous lectures on racism all over the country—with help police officers to corporate employees—also talked about the tone at Tea Party rallies. Though Lemon was quick to point out that not everyone at these rallies spews hate vitriol, some do, especially those on the dais with the power of the microphone and leadership behind them.
Tim Wise is the author of “Between Barack and a Hard Place” and says racism is a lot of the “background noise” heard at Tea-Party rallies. He accused Glenn Beck of calling health care reform “reparations"; Limbaugh of saying “community service is the first step towards fascism"; and that “one of the problems of America is too much multi-culturism”—all code phrases for “they are the problem, not us." The “they” being anyone who doesn’t fit into what Mitt Romney called “our Anglo-Saxon culture.” Incidentally didn’t Romney travel to the United Kingdom and accuse Obama of not understanding the Anglo-Saxon culture?
We also have Republican presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich label Obama "a food stamps president" and say in a Forbes article that he's also someone who embraces "a Kenyan anti-colonial world view," adding, "I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating--none of which is true."
Implying that Obama, that guy with the funny foreign name sitting in the White House, is not "one of us." This kind of thinking projected onto the national stage is geared to do one thing--inflame the already paranoid extreme crowd to the far, far right.
If leaders of the Republican Party, including the one who wants to be our next president, use inflammable rhetoric like this, what does that say about the GOP?
I heard Limbaugh also call The Affordable Care Act “reparation” which, with its obvious reference to slavery, means he is race-baiting. He wants his listeners, some already resentful and feeling victimized, to think that health care reform is only for the black population. These stunning instances of blatant bias needs to be addressed by leaders of the GOP.
When host Lemon asked if folks like Beck, Limbaugh and others unknowingly or unwittingly interject race to stoke white resentment, Wise replied, “It didn’t matter.” It didn’t matter whether it was intentional or not, the fact is the problem exists and they have to deal with it. “Racism needs to be evaluated based on outcome,” added Wise, “If you do something which has a predictable outcome and consequence, you have to accountable for that consequence.”
Click on the video above for the rest of the interview, conducted in 2009. Sadly it’s three yearss later and the vitriol has intensified. It has gotten so bad that we now have a sitting judge calling for civil war if Obama is re-elected.
Do you think that the GOP needs to address the race-baiting of talk show host with great influence?
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