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February 10, 2010

Newest Dog-Whistle Racial-Code-Word Racist Attack on Obama? Calling Him "The Professor"

Maybe this isn't fair, but when I hear people (including in Big Media) call Obama "professorial," I can't help but hear them say he's "professorial, boy."

It is now officially racist to say anything critical about Obama at all.

Ogletree, founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, says he sees the “professor” label as a thinly veiled attack on Obama’s race. Calling Obama “the professor” walks dangerously close to labeling him “uppity,” a term with racial overtones that has surfaced in the political arena before, Ogletree said. Describing his divisive confirmation hearings as a “circus,” Justice Clarence Thomas called the proceedings “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas.…” It is perhaps ironic, then, that Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill when she made harassment allegations against Thomas in 1991, now sees a bit of the “uppity” label being placed on Obama.

“The idea is that he’s not one of us,” Ogletree says of the professor label. “He has these ideas that are left wing, that are socialist, that he’s palling around with terrorists -- those were buzzwords, but the reality was they were looking at this president as an African American who was out of place.”

Thomas L. Haskell, a professor emeritus of history at Rice University, agrees that racial bias may be implicit in the attack on Obama’s professorial past.

“For me and a lot of other academic types, we identify with Obama precisely because he is an intellectual,” Haskell says. “But what does that mean to John Q. Public? I don’t know. John Q. Public may be frightened of these people, especially because this particular intellectual is a black.”

For guys so concerned with racism, they sure don't seem to have much of a problem stereotyping, generalizing about, and making very uninformed pronouncements about the evil lurking in the hearts of millions of people.

It should be noted that for eight years, Bush was attacked as an "uneducated chimp." No racist attack there, because that wasn't ever a stereotype or putdown applied to whites.

Well, not to be a dick about this or anything, but "overeducated and effete" is not really a stereotype routinely applied to blacks. Jews might complain on this score a bit, but a black guy? You can't cry racist stereotype about a stereotype that doesn't exist. (And, in fact, it's sort of a good stereotype, you know?)

They evade this problem by postulating that racism is now only the act of deeming someone "The Other."

But, see, in politics, everyone who disagrees with you is pretty much "The Other." It's standard politics to try to convince independents and swing voters that your political opponent doesn't "share their values" and isn't "just like them."

But we're not allowed to do that anymore, I guess.

One thing we and the race-baiters are alway going to disagree on is "Special Rules for Special People." We say: No special rules; that's how we demonstrate the lack of bias or prejudice. And, in fact, "special rules" only demonstrate that someone is "special," which is another word for... different, also known as "The Other."

But they want it both ways. Or really they want it six different ways 'till Sunday. They keep arguing for special rules, thus reinforcing the idea they're supposedly trying to combat (that Obama is "special") and, having fought mightily for special rules for this apparently exotic, alien creature, then wish us to forget everything they just said and accept him as not special or different at all.

Obama definitely is special and different in one aspect: He's President of the United States of America.

Apparently, though, dissent is now no longer not the highest form of patriotism, but is actually racist. And will remain so until around noonish on January 20, 2013.

Thanks to Slublog.

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posted by Ace at 11:27 AM

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