Commentary: Re-Nig – Race in 2012

re-nigThose who believe that the election of Barack Obama in 2008 marked the end of racism in this nation are, simply put, wrong.  It may symbolize that the majority of the people in this country are willing to, under the right circumstances, vote for an African-American.

In fact, that number is probably larger than Mr. Obama’s vote share in 2008, simply because there is a subset of people who would not vote for Mr. Obama but might have voted for a black Republican.

But the idea that racism is a thing of the past, I think, ignores too much contemporary reality.  And even if a bare majority were willing to vote for a black man, that does not preclude a sizable minority harboring racial animus or prejudice.

Look no further than the long “birther movement,” in which Mr. Obama for a variety of reasons was said not to be a natural-born US citizen.  Or the assertion that he is Muslim, not Christian.

If you want to argue that there are interlocking factors of race, immigration status and anti-Islamic prejudice permeating these discussion – I don’t disagree.  In the end, it does not really matter if it is race, religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic status that is the root of the hatred.  The problem is one of prejudice.

If anything, these interlocking beliefs have become more and not less complicated since the fall of Jim Crow.  No longer do people oppose equality in the form of equal opportunity, segregation or overt discrimination.

As early as 1973, political science and psychological scholars noted the fundamental shift in attitudes toward race.  They developed the term “symbolic racism” to determine and explain why it was that many white Americans supported principles of equality but were less than willing to support various programs to implement these principles.

No longer did people fight over segregation, instead it became a fight over busing or affirmative action.

Adherents of the symbolic racism school believed that racial prejudice and discrimination no longer existed. Instead, the racial divide was over economic outcomes and the extent to which blacks were willing to work hard and were seeking special favors to get ahead without putting in proper work.  This has led to a widespread belief that blacks feel entitled to preferential treatment.

I have always been uncomfortable with this thesis, primarily because it conflated so heavily with political conservativism.  After all, can we explain these beliefs strictly in terms of racial animus when we have people who simply believe that it is not the government’s job to regulate various activities and ensure equality of outcome?

The problem for analysts and scholars, then, has always been to what extent opposition to busing or affirmative action is due to racial animus and to what extent it is due to political conservatism.

Scholars attempted increasingly sophisticated batteries of questions to determine the answer, but never did they get to a satisfactory point.

What has been surprising under Barack Obama’s administration, however, is how brazen racial animosity for the president has become.  It is difficult to deny that things like the birther movement and images of the president as an ape or monkey, among other things, are in fact at least partially racially motivated.

The recent incident involves Paula Smith, a Georgia resident who owns the company Stickatude.com.  They’ve been selling a version of an anti-Obama sticker that reads, “Don’t Re-Nig 2012.”

Roger Friedman of Forbes magazine indicated that this has become a very hot selling item.

Ms. Smith insisted in a phone interview that the bumper sticker is not racist.

Mr. Friedman “asked her about the ‘N’ word, for which ‘nig’ is the shortened version.”

She said, “According to the dictionary [the N word] does not mean black. It means a low down, lazy, sorry, low down person. That’s what the N word means.”

Mr. Friedman begs to differ and notes that in the Webester’s Dictionary, the word is defined as “member of any dark skinned race. Taken to be offensive.”

Dictionary.com says the word “is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War.”

According to her interview, “Ms. Smith said she is not racist, she just wants Obama out of office. She tells me she doesn’t have a preferred replacement candidate.”

Mr. Friedman adds that she says, ” ‘And besides, Obama is not even black. He’s got a mixture of race. It’s his choice of what his nationality is. I’m a mixed breed. I call myself a Heinz 57,’ she says, referring to an ancestry that’s part of French, Scottish, and German.”

“I just want someone that’s going to help the United States and not give it [away to] other countries all the time. And stop giving the immigrants the benefits that most Americans inside their own states can’t even get because they’re giving it [to] others who don’t even live here as an American,” she continued.

The most interesting thing is she said  that the N-word is not a bad word.

“No,” she said, ” because I don’t use it. I have kids here around me that are black kids. I call them my own kids. I’ve helped black families…to guide them in the right direction. Paintball is one of these things. We like to laugh and have a good time. That’s our way of life.”

So it’s not a bad word, but she doesn’t use it.  Who is she kidding?

It was inevitable that something like this would emerge.  The fact that it is universally condemned shows that things are not as they once were.  But there is still that element floating just below the surface, and that ought to give everyone just a little bit of pause.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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92 Comments

  1. medwoman

    “Roger Friedman of Forbes indicated that this has become a very hot selling item.”

    Wow! And I thought the local examples of discriminatory comments I had posted on the schools thread were blatant.
    I found the above quote the most chilling part of the article. Had this been just one obviously delusional woman who thinks that because she “helped black families…to guide them in the right direction”, means she is not demonstrating racist attitudes, that would be understandable, since as rusty49 said, there will always be a few racists. It would strike me that this rather more supports David’s frequently held position that more discrimination than we care to admit is just under the surface in our society.

  2. rusty49

    Meanwhile, Obama’s numbers are sinking fast as people struggle to fill their gas tanks and businesses are finding out how much they’re going to be affected by Obamacare. Didn’t someone say on here recently that Obama was a sure win in November and gas prices didn’t matter?

  3. Phil Coleman

    I don’t recall anybody ever saying that racism has ended in America, and I think I’d remember somebody making such a preposterous claim. Anybody have a authenticated statement that asserts racism in this country is a thing of the past?

  4. Mr.Toad

    “No longer did people fight over segregation instead it became a fight over busing…”

    Maybe race but sometimes an aversion to long bus rides for kids.

  5. medwoman

    Phil

    I cannot give precise examples because I do not know how to access the archives. However, a review of many articles will show that Jeff Boone has posted repeatedly that he believes that racism no longer plays a significant role in our society excep as a tool of the left for political gain.
    I am sure that David and/or Don would have the ability to direct you to multiple such comments.

  6. Mr.Toad

    But the unpopularity of busing transcended the racism and was unpopular in places where none of that occurred. Places such as Los Angeles specifically and California in general, where busing was opposed by huge majorities with, as I recall, no violence at all.

    Yes, Boston was sadly racist and violent and race may have played a role in LA as well, but, what I am saying is that the long distances required by the geographic realities in LA were also a problem in and of themselves.

  7. rusty49

    The article is about some stupid racist who’s trying to make a few bucks off of a racist bumper sticker. But the left will try and blow this way over the top because they know it helps Obama. I remember many more monkey caricatures of Bush then I’ve ever seen of Obama. Where was the left then? YES, there are some racists and of all colors, we get it. But for the left to try and throw race into every situation is getting really old. For example: the affluent white families of South Davis white flight comments in last week’s school issue.

  8. wdf1

    rusty49: [i]Obama’s numbers are sinking fast…[/i]

    Can you give an example? When I read stories of recent polls on Obama, I don’t see that his numbers are sinking fast.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “I remember many more monkey caricatures of Bush then I’ve ever seen of Obama. Where was the left then? “

    This comment suggests you don’t really understand the issue.

  10. rusty49

    “This comment suggests you don’t really understand the issue.”

    Yes I get it David, the left tried to make Bush look stupid. I didn’t say they were used in a racist way, but still very demeaning.

  11. Dr. Wu

    [quote]Those who believe that the election of Barack Obama in 2008 marked the end of racism in this nation, are simply put wrong. [/quote]

    I agree with Phil Coleman. I think Obama’s election was/is a milestone in American history but it hardly indicates that racism has been eliminated. Unfortunately, there are strong racist elements in the Republican party (I am not saying most Republicans are racist–they aren’t–but there is an element). It appears that there are also people in the party who want to roll back birth control.

  12. rusty49

    wdf1:

    “Can you give an example? When I read stories of recent polls on Obama, I don’t see that his numbers are sinking fast.”

    President Obama’s sinking poll numbers. According to a brand new “New York Times” CBS poll, just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, while 47 percent disapprove. Now just one month ago the numbers told an entirely different story when his approval rating was at 50 percent.

    Even worse news for the President are his approval ratings on the economy. Just 39 percent approve of his handling of the economy; 54 percent disapprove.

  13. Neutral

    [i]Ms. Smith insisted in a phone interview . . . [/i]

    So help me understand how this particular mental midget managed to get an interview with [i]Forbes[/i], not to mention coverage on most if not all ‘progressive’ websites? Whatever the intent of the (indignant) writers, her phenomenal sales numbers are a direct result of all the free publicity.

    I guess congratulations are in order. You’ve been punk’d by a redneck lunatic from Georgia, who is (likely) laughing her ass off all the way to the bank right now.

  14. hpierce

    [quote]Look no further than the long “birther movement,” in which Mr. Obama for a variety of reasons was said not to be a natural-born US citizen. Or the assertion that he is Muslim, not Christian.[/quote]C’mon… do you really think that the “birthers” (no matter how silly they may be) are motivated by RACE? Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico, as I recall, and there were those who claimed he could not run for President because he was not “native-born”. That is raw, malicious, partisan politics, IMHO, not racism. As to the Muslim/Christian thing, most Muslims in the United States are NOT ‘black’. Most ‘blacks’ are not Muslim. Anti-religious or other bigotry, but RACISM?… again, I think not.

  15. 91 Octane

    “Or the assertion that he is Muslim not Christian.”

    I don’t assert the birther claim, but I do assert this one. And this is based on things obama has said and done in the campaign and as president.

    Furthermore, the vanguard seems locked in this bubble of white on black racism. I met a black man the other night who complained to me that the Hispanics took all the jobs.

    Dr. Wu: “Unfortunately, there are strong racist elements in the Republican party (I am not saying most Republicans are racist–they aren’t–but there is an element).

    Dr. Wu,

    I hate to break the news to you, but there are strong racist elements in the Democratic party – look no further than Robert Byrd, a former Klansman, who used the term “white nigger” not that long ago on national TV, and begged to have a cameo appearance as a Confederate General in the film God’s and Generals and he was on the Budget and finance committee.

  16. 91 Octane

    furthermore, I remember the ape pictures of bush, I also remember the ape pictures of one of the other republican candidates appearing in the enterprise…

    if that dehumanizing form shouldn’t be used for obama, it shouldn’t be used for anyone.

  17. Mr.Toad

    “Or the assertion that he is Muslim not Christian.’ “

    “I don’t assert the birther claim, but I do assert this one. And this is based on things obama has said and done in the campaign and as president.”

    Really please articulate some examples?

  18. David M. Greenwald

    “C’mon… do you really think that the “birthers” (no matter how silly they may be) are motivated by RACE?”

    Absolutely. Race, ethnicity, and religion combined.

  19. David M. Greenwald

    “Yes I get it David, the left tried to make Bush look stupid. I didn’t say they were used in a racist way, but still very demeaning. “

    There is a difference between demeaning and racist. We are not talking about poking fun at Obama. We are talking about the use of overtly racist images and slogans.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    “Furthermore, the vanguard seems locked in this bubble of white on black racism. I met a black man the other night who complained to me that the Hispanics took all the jobs.”

    You haven’t read my writing very closely then.

  21. biddlin

    How many times have we read on this blog, when confronted with stories of profiling by Davis p.d., “There must have been some other factor…” ? How does at least twenty years of membership and affiliation with the United Church of Christ(UCC) equate to Islam ? Any question on the vitality of racism and prejudice can be answered right here in The Vanguard’s comment section .

  22. 91 Octane

    You haven’t read my writing very closely then.

    sure I did, and I stand by what I said. The overtones of this article center on white on black racism.

    i.e. the bumper sticker, examples of barack obama, jim crow, etc.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    That is because this article references an incident involving a black man. But I have certainly not couched my concern about anti-Latino prejudice in other writings (including last week).

  24. rusty49

    Here’s an incident that happened just last week that I’ll bet most of you haven’t heard a word about it. Hmmmm, I wonder why? Do you think David will ever report on a story like this?

    Teens set kid on fire for being ‘white boy’

    MEENA HART DUERSON

    Sunday, March 04, 2012

    A 13-year-old boy who police say was doused with gasoline and lit on fire last week while walking home from school is recovering from first-degree burns to his face and head.

    The boy was just two blocks from his home in Kansas City Tuesday when two teenagers began to follow him and then attacked him, his mother, Melissa Coon, said.

    Police have described the suspects as black 16-year-olds, while the victim is white.

    “We were told it’s a hate crime,” Coon told KTLA.

    “They rushed him on the porch as he tried to get the door open,” Coon told KMBC. “(One of them) poured the gasoline, then flicked the Bic, and said, ‘This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.'”

    By lighting the gasoline, the second attacker “produced a large fireball burning the face and hair” of the boy, according to a Kansas City Police Department report obtained by KCTV.

    “It was pretty bad stuff,” Detective Stacey Taylor told the TV station, adding that police are concerned the boy may have suffered damage to his eyes and lungs.

    Coon said her son put out the fire with his shirt and called 911 himself. He was rushed to the hospital and was treated for his injuries.

    She believes the students also attend East High School with her son, and said he will not be returning to the school. She also told KMBC her traumatized family plans now plans to move.

    “My 5-year-old came in and asked me, ‘Mom, am I going to get set on fire today?'” Coon said. “I was in tears.”

  25. Mr.Toad

    “for starters, obama’s grand speech extending the olive branch to Iran- one of our worst enemies.”

    First of all, Obama is the President of the United States, a job for which he received 60 million votes. If he thinks it is in the interest of the country to reach out in some way to Iran, surely you could argue that he thinks it is in the national interest to do so. Did you complain when Nixon went to China, Reagan met with the Soviets, Carter met with Sadat, or when Clinton met with Arafat? This is what Presidents do.

    Now you are free to criticize Obama for his policy towards Iran but there is no reason to believe this is related to his religion other than your preconceived and misconstrued beliefs. But even if his religion had something to do with his presidency, so what? There is nothing in the constitution about a religious requirement for the president. So if you choose to vote against the president, that is certainly your right and there are plenty of reasons to do so, your ill thoughts about his religion is probably the poorest and most unamerican of all reasons upon which to make that decision.

  26. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]It was inevitable that something like this would emerge. The fact that it is universally condemned shows that things are not as they once were. But there is still that element floating just below the surface, and that ought to give everyone just a little bit of pause.[/quote]

    Give everyone a little pause about what? I don’t really understand the point of this article…

    The gov’t nor private citizens can stop anyone from thinking/feeling the way they want. We don’t have thought police in this country the last time I looked. And our inalienable right to freedom of speech gives everyone the right to say even offensive things, as long as it doesn’t endanger the safety of others. One man’s compliment may be another man’s insult. The “n” word is used freely among the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, actor, and no one blinks an eye.

    So please explain to me what the point of this article was. I am at a complete loss…

  27. 91 Octane

    that would be the excrement coming from Obama’s butt.

    also, you have to listen to Obama’s words very carefully… for example, when he says “since our founding, Muslim Americans have enriched the United States…Islam has always been a part of America’s story….” I don’t see where he gets that since our founders were not Muslim.

  28. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: Why does the point of an article need to be that there needs to be government action? The reason I wrote this article is that racism is an issue that I think is too easily swept aside these days and here was a good example of it at work.

  29. Mr.Toad

    Why is Obama’s religion relevant to his presidency? The only things that matter are that he was born in Hawaii, he is over 35, received 60,000,000 votes and 350 electoral votes.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    I’m reluctant to engage on the Muslim issue, but the portion of the video that I watched, I saw nothing to indicate that Obama was a Muslim or not a Christian. But let us suppose he is – who the hell cares? We have a freedom of religion in this country the last I checked.

  31. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine: Why does the point of an article need to be that there needs to be government action? The reason I wrote this article is that racism is an issue that I think is too easily swept aside these days and here was a good example of it at work.[/quote]

    “Swept aside” meaning what? “Swept aside” by whom? Are you proposing this bumper sticker be outlawed? I’m still not getting the point of this article? The conclusion you seem to be espousing is this bumper sticker should give all of us “pause”. Again I ask, pause about what? To do what?

  32. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: You are creating a straw man. Did I say or even imply that the bumper sticker should be outlawed?

    Why do you think there needs to be purposeful action in order to justify writing an article?

  33. rusty49

    “The reason I wrote this article is that racism is an issue that I think is too easily swept aside these days and here was a good example of it at work.”

    In my opinion since it couldn’t be proven against the South Davis parents another example had to be brought forth.

  34. 91 Octane

    I expected some blowback on this, and that is okay. I found a couple of things about that video disturbing:

    1. Obama distinctly referred to himself as a muslim in that video. You hear him say it – “freudian slip?”

    2. vanguard: “you raised the point does his religion really matter?” No it wouldn’t but for the fact that obama went the extra mile – he did not treat muslims as equals in that video – he put them at an ELEVATED STATUS – above other religions:

    a. notice how he easily says “we are not a christian nation,….” but then says “counting all the muslims in this country we would be the largest muslim nations on earth.” So how is it we are not a christian nation in one breath, but a muslim one in the other? And this coming from a christian?

    b. Obama goes the extra mile and claims that “since our founding, Muslim Americans have enriched the United States…Islam has always been a part of America’s story….” elevating islam to establishment of the US when anyone who has the foggiest understanding of America’s inception knows our founding fathers were hardly muslim… that was simply put a blatant falsehood, and claiming our nation was founded by muslims? this again, from a christian?

    c. he spent a lot of time pandering specifically to muslims – why not jews, buddhists, or any other religion? (god forbid christianity)

    d. why bow to the saudis and not the queen of england?

    e. interesting photo of obama isn’t it? but I suppose that photo is how Christians dress nowadays maybe? lol

    f. isn’t it interesting how he’s worried about Muslims facing discrimination and not others…. lol..

  35. biddlin

    “1. Obama distinctly referred to himself as a muslim…”-Seriously, I’d start to worry about what’s in that water over there . Obama never makes any claims to being a Muslim .
    “d. why bow to the saudis and not the queen of england?”-Because one is a traditional greeting and the other is a sign of subservience ?

    “e. interesting photo of obama isn’t it? but I suppose that photo is how Christians dress nowadays maybe? lol “-I dare say you’d be shocked by any number of Coptic and mid-eastern sects’ apparel .

  36. 91 Octane

    “…my muslim faith….” – before the reporter corrected him.

    vanguard: “We aren’t a Christian Nation.” No, we aren’t. According to Obama, adding up all the muslims, we’d be among the “largest muslim nations on earth.” but perhaps that is just another slip.

  37. 91 Octane

    by the way vanguard, I just noticed you sandbagged me. you said,

    vanguard: “Look no further than the long “birther movement,” in which Mr. Obama for a variety of reasons was said not to be a natural-born US citizen. Or the assertion that he is Muslim, not Christian.”

    so you made the implication that those who are questoning obama’s religion are doing so out of racism. So YOU brought obamas religion into the discussion and made an attack against me (me meaning those who think he is not Muslim)

    so when you say: “Why is Obama’s religion relevant to his presidency?”

    you only have yourself to blame on that one. I didn’t bring up his religion. You did.

  38. medwoman

    91 Octane

    “my muslim faith….”
    This is the problem with selective editing of speeches and interviews. If tou were to have quoted the complete sentence what Obama states is that .
    “John McCain has never spoken about my Muslim faith” when I first heard this, I did not even realize this was what you were citing as Obama stating he was Muslim. My interpretation, which I think is equally valid is that he was honoring McCain, un like some other opponents for not attempting to falsely claim he was Muslim. On a number of the excerpts he lays claim to his full ethnic and religious heritage, and remarks about the role of Islam in the culture in which he lived at the time. I respect his pride in his acknowledgement of the richness of
    his background. At no point in time does he say “I am a Muslim”.
    As to your other points:
    2) I don’t see where you find that he placed Muslims above others. The chosen clips were all about the Muslim faith or Muslim culture. What
    would you expect him to be talking about in a speech specifically about Muslim contributions. In other speeches he has highlighted the contributions of other groups. This is a legitimate function of the president to acknowledge group contribution to the whole.
    a) We are not a Christian nation. true statement. We are a nation of multiple religions. I don’t see what there is to fault in this statement.
    If one looks at the numbers of Muslims in this country, and there are indeed more than in other nations, that would make the second part of
    the statement also true. I have not nor do I plan to look up the numbers but if he is numerically correct, I see nothing to fault in this statement
    either.
    b) Muslims did play a role in colonial America. I would recommend checking Ancestry.com regarding Muslims known to have lived in New Netherlands and New York in the seventeenth century. Or perhaps you might be interested in ” Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America” which uses multiple references documenting the presence and contributions of individuals of Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Jewish backgrounds in the original colonies. So, this would also appear to be a factual statement. Just because one’s name does not appear in the founding documents does not mean one did not make a contribution.
    c) If by “pandering” you mean “spoke favorably about” maybe because that was the subject of the speeches he was giving. I am sure you could find speeches in which he praises the contributions of other groups if you chose to look.
    d) Perhaps his protocol briefing came from the same individual that didn’t warn Michelle Obama that one does not spontaneously touch the Queen of England thus giving us one of the most spontaneously delightful First Lady moments I have seen.
    e) Not worth talking about
    f) Your evidence for this statement would be ?
    Finally if you read the disclaimer at the bottom of the clip you referenced you will not that it clearly states that no one involved in the production or the publication of the clip is asserting that Obama is or has ever claimed to be a Muslim. It pays to read the fine print before buying in to the headline.

  39. JustSaying

    “Those who believe that the election of Barack Obama in 2008 marked the end of racism in this nation are, simply put, wrong….But the idea that racism is a thing of the past, I think, ignores too much contemporary reality.  And even if a bare majority were willing to vote for a black man, that does not preclude a sizable minority harboring racial animus or prejudice.”

    I’m not sure where this premise for this article ever came from. Where did you read that “2008 marked the end of racism in this nation”? Who told you they have “the idea that racism is a thing of he past”?

    “It would strike me that this rather more supports David’s frequently held position that more discrimination than we care to admit is just under the surface in our society.”

    The only position of David’s that this story supports is the one knocking down the strawmen he set up for that purpose. This is a disgusting little report about overt racist actions and someone who sees nothing wrong with making a buck on it. There’s nothing “just under he surface in our society” about this sticker or the views it broadcasts. It proves only what we know.

    The addition of Ms. Smith’s sticker took what otherwise could have been a helpful discussion about race and related issues to the basest level it old have fallen. It pretty much made it unrelatable to anything else about which David has written on these issues. Too bad.

  40. jimt

    David,

    I gotta agree with you about the Georgia bumper-sticker.
    It’s asinine at best because of the clear allusion to the N-word, and does seem racist to me as well–and obviously not-so-under-the-surface; but blatantly displayed on cars!
    I guess I don’t understand the dynamic in Georgia; I’m surprised people would put this on their cars.
    Does this make for good neighborly and inter-racial relations in Georgia?

  41. AdRemmer

    “We aren’t a Christian Nation.”

    Can the poster please provide a subsequent SCOTUS statement that contradicts their previous statement that the US IS a Christian Nation?

  42. David M. Greenwald

    Well Ad, imo, the SCOTUS doesn’t get to determine whether or not the US is or is not a Christian Nation. They simply have to determine what it means when the first amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

  43. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]
    DMG: “The reason I wrote this article is that racism is an issue that I think is too easily swept aside these days and here was a good example of it at work.”

    rusty49: In my opinion since it couldn’t be proven against the South Davis parents another example had to be brought forth.[/quote]

    Thank you for succinctly concluding precisely what I was getting at with my questions. Because there is racism in the world has absolutely nothing to do with the parents in South Davis. The juxtaposition of this article right after the “white flight” article is the sort of innuendo I would expect from local newspapers, and I find it unfortunate in the Vanguard…

  44. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Well Ad, imo, the SCOTUS doesn’t get to determine whether or not the US is or is not a Christian Nation. They simply have to determine what it means when the first amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…[/quote]

    I have no idea what all this fuss is about… our nation was founded as a Christian nation, but has evolved to be more encompassing/tolerant as the years have passed…

  45. E Roberts Musser

    It is also interesting to me how two different people watching the same video can come to completely different conclusions as to what was said…

  46. JustSaying

    I guess I’m glad you think David had at least some reason to run this bumper-sticker story ’cause I don’t don’t buy his premise at all, as I mentioned before. This doesn’t expose any subtle, underlying, unrecognized racism at all. We could have a whole run of overt use of the n…r word, put out by hopelessly racist folks, then passed along in the Vanguard for no apparent worthwhile purpose. Now that you’ve observed that it’s here just to make the Davis school parent racists understand how offensive racism is, I feel much better that he printed a disgusting story.

  47. rusty49

    “Now that you’ve observed that it’s here just to make the Davis school parent racists understand how offensive racism is, I feel much better that he printed a disgusting story.”

    LOL, JustSaying, I see your tongue is firmly implanted in your cheek. Nobody is refuting that racism exists and when it rears its ugly head and smacks someone in face it deserves to be put down. What I abhor is those that go out of their way to look for racism even where none exists or tries to paint a whole group as racist because of the misguided quotes or letters of a small minority.

  48. David M. Greenwald


    I have no idea what all this fuss is about… our nation was founded as a Christian nation, but has evolved to be more encompassing/tolerant as the years have passed…”

    I don’t know what the fuss was about either, the video proved nothing, and this nation was not founded as a Christian nation. It was founded as a nation that recognized the divide that religion could present and attempted to avoid that entanglement in the first amendment.

  49. 91 Octane

    “I don’t see where you find that he placed Muslims above others.”

    when Obama said “the world owes a debt to islam.” Really? Japan owes a debt to islam, China, owes a debt to Islam, so does Russia, Africa and everyone else according to him, including Christians – which no true Christian would have said.

  50. 91 Octane

    I don’t know what the fuss was about either, the video proved nothing, and this nation was not founded as a Christian nation. It was founded as a nation that recognized the divide that religion could present and attempted to avoid that entanglement in the first amendment.

    you brought his religion into this in your article. the video shows a self-proclaimed Chritian kissing Islam’s rear end repeatedly, It shows a “Christian” pandering to Muslims over and over.

    He also says “as the holy Koran tells us…..” Really? I thought the only things holy to you were god and Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, and the Bible,remember? oops!

  51. 91 Octane

    We are not a Christian nation. true statement. We are a nation of multiple religions. I don’t see what there is to fault in this statement.
    If one looks at the numbers of Muslims in this country, and there are indeed more than in other nations, that would make the second part of
    the statement also true. I have not nor do I plan to look up the numbers but if he is numerically correct, I see nothing to fault in this statement
    either.

    I’m not sure if you understood my point – notice how obama is very careful to make sure and say “we are not a Christian nation” which is fine I understand he wants to be super sensitive and not offend others and separation of Church and state fine then,

    but has no problem using the words adding up all the muslms in this country, “we’d be among the largest muslim nations on earth…”

    so he’s worried about offending people by claiming the christian nation, but not offending by calling us a “muslim nation..” being much less careful here about offending others sensitivities when it comes to Islam and Muslims.

    this all from a professed “Christian.”

  52. 91 Octane

    It was founded as a nation that recognized the divide that religion could present and attempted to avoid that entanglement in the first amendment.

    then tell that to Mr. “and the holy Koran tells us….” ,and “the world owes a debt to islam.”

  53. 91 Octane

    I’m just curious, to those who think its no big deal and don’t know “what the fuss is about.” suppose George W. Bush during his presidency got up on the world stage and said:

    “the world owes a debt to Christianity.” how would you have felt about that one? hmmmm?

  54. David M. Greenwald

    “I don’t see where you find that he placed Muslims above others.”

    when Obama said “the world owes a debt to islam.”

    First, that’s not an example of placing Muslims above others. Given the context, it would be akin to addressing any group and highlighting accomplishments. There is nothing extraordinary, unusual, or alarming about that.

  55. 91 Octane

    First, that’s not an example of placing Muslims above others. Given the context, it would be akin to addressing any group and highlighting accomplishments. There is nothing extraordinary, unusual, or alarming about that.

    I would be very curious about others’ reactions if George W. Bush delivered the exact same speeches only substituting “Christianity” for “Islam” and “Christians” for “Muslims.”

  56. David M. Greenwald

    Why do you think that would be an appropriate parallel in particular given the role of Christianity as a majority religion in the US? What if he said, Judaism as opposed to Islam, that would seem an appropriate parallel and would work.

  57. 91 Octane

    let me see if I understand this then. Because Christianity is the majority religion, it cannot be pandered to on the world stage in the manner in which obama did, but Islam can because it is a minority religion.

  58. wdf1

    91 O: [i]when Obama said “the world owes a debt to islam.” Really? Japan owes a debt to islam, China, owes a debt to Islam, so does Russia, Africa and everyone else according to him, including Christians – which no true Christian would have said.[/i]

    You’re stuck on the hopeless side of a bad argument, and I believe you’re actually smarter than your statement suggests. An easy wikipedia search would have indicated to you that what Obama said is true. Islamic culture has made important contributions to math ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_mathematics[/url]), architecture ([url]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Adolf_Seel_Innenhof_der_Alhambra.jpg[/url]), medicine ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_in_the_medieval_Islamic_world[/url]), art ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_art[/url]), literature ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_literature[/url]), and philosophy ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_philosophy[/url]).

  59. medwoman

    91 Octane

    “…
    I’m just curious, to those who think its no big deal and don’t know “what the fuss is about.” suppose George W. Bush during his presidency got up on the world stage and said:

    “the world owes a debt to Christianity.” how would you have felt about that one? hmmmm?”

    I would have absolutely agreed with that statement. Exactly as I agree with Obama that the world owes a debt to Islan, and would have agreed if either of them had said the same about the Jewish religion and culture, or about Hinduism. Buddhism, or any of the other religious traditions that have shaped the cultures of the world and enriched us all through the diversity and complexity of the ways in which human faith can be expressed. Again, I would hardly expect Obama to throw in the importance of every religion in a speech directed towards the Muslim faith.

  60. Adam Smith

    Let’s put the religious portion of this discussion in context – regardless of the separation of church and state that David correctly points out, this is still a nation dominated by Christianity. What do you think the political fallout would be for Obama (or anyone else) who announced “I am a Muslim” or “I am an atheist” or “I am agnostic”? I think it is a death knell for any one of those, which is why Obama is working so hard to make sure that he isn’t labeled a Muslim.

  61. biddlin

    “…which is why Obama is working so hard to make sure that he isn’t labeled a Muslim. “That and of course the fact that he’s a protestant Christian .

  62. 91 Octane

    Medwoman: “I would have absolutely agreed with that statement. Exactly as I agree with Obama that the world owes a debt to Islan, and would have agreed if either of them had said the same about the Jewish religion and culture, or about Hinduism. Buddhism, or any of the other religious traditions that have shaped the cultures of the world and enriched us all through the diversity and complexity of the ways in which human faith can be expressed. Again, I would hardly expect Obama to throw in the importance of every religion in a speech directed towards the Muslim faith. “

    Interesting. So you are saying you would have had no problem if George W. Bush delivered the exact same speeches regarding Christianity. I get the impression others here do not share your view.

  63. Adam Smith

    [i]”That and of course the fact that he’s a protestant Christian . [/i]

    That is your take because of what he has said and what you have heard. My take is that he isn’t a very religious person at all, but his political career choice demands that he appear to be Christian. If there was proof that he Muslim, even Sarah Palin would win a national election against him.

  64. biddlin


    That is your take because of what he has said…” I believe that is all that the U.C.C. requires for membership . Jesus, the itinerant preacher, had even less stringent requirements .

  65. medwoman

    91Octane

    Interesting. So you are saying you would have had no problem if George W. Bush delivered the exact same speeches regarding Christianity. I get the impression others here do not share your view.”

    Can you direct me to the specific quotes that lead you to believe that others do not share my view. I do not see that anyone else directly answered your question which I thought was completely fair, if rather tauntingly phrased with the un necessary “hmmmm”.

  66. medwoman

    91 Octane

    I would like to clarify further my position on this. Not only would I not object to a speech pointing out the positive contributions of Christianity,
    I would carefully consider which aspects of his speech I felt had merit and with which I disagreed. One problem I had with the clip you posted was that it was not a speech. It was a series of very brief clips edited so as to present a very biased point of view. While this is fine if the goal is entertainment such as Limbaugh, or Stewart, or Colbert, I think it is potentially dangerous if one interprets these very short clips taken out of context as representing some greater truth.

  67. biddlin

    Glad you’re not my attorney . There is a single mention of”Nature’s God”, one reference to “their Creator” and “…reliance on the protection of Divine Providence .” Considering the fact that many if not most of the signatories were Deists and freethinkers, it seems odd that anyone would think our nation anything but secular .

  68. wdf1

    biddlin: [i]Considering the fact that many if not most of the signatories were Deists and freethinkers, it seems odd that anyone would think our nation anything but secular .[/i]

    I think Thomas Jefferson’s religious views ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_religion[/url]) might disqualify him from be considered for US President in 2012, definitely for many contemporary conservatives.

  69. biddlin

    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.” — Jefferson’s letter to John Adams, April 11 1823

  70. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]”Can you give an example? When I read stories of recent polls on Obama, I don’t see that his numbers are sinking fast.”[/i]

    rusty49:[i]President Obama’s sinking poll numbers. According to a brand new “New York Times” CBS poll, just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, while 47 percent disapprove. Now just one month ago the numbers told an entirely different story when his approval rating was at 50 percent.[/i]
    [quote]4/2/12: Female voters’ exodus away from Romney ([url]http://thelastword.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/02/10988846-female-voters-exodus-away-from-romney[/url])

    A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows President Obama with a widening gap over Willard M. Romney among registered voters in a dozen swing states. Obama’s commanding a strong lead with 51 points — that’s nine ahead of Romney’s 42 percent.[/quote]

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