Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are there racist elements within the conservative movement?

This week, former President Jimmy Carter drew heat for comments he made regarding the present day conservative movement. Carter made the accusation that some of the protests being held nationwide against current President Barack Obama were based out of racism:

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter said.

The White House has pushed aside such assertions, publicly stating that the president doesn't believe that racism is playing a significant role in the rallies and demonstrations against the administration's key policies.

It's clear, though, that some on the extreme end of the conservative movement today are racist. When protesters hold up signs of Obama as an African witch doctor, or purchase/sing/broadcast on their radio stations the song "Barack the Magic N____," it's more than his policies that people are fighting against.

The conservative movement as a whole isn't racist; there are genuine concerns that the right can have over policy initiatives that Obama is pushing for, and those concerns should be vocalized. It'd be wrong to assume a conservative is a racist simply for being a conservative.

However, there are fringe elements of the conservative movement that appear to be based out of the president's skin color. Much of the "birther" movement and some of the images these protesters are holding up are, in my mind, blatantly racist. Any notion that these protests are free from racist elements is simply naive.

The fact that threats to the sitting president have gone up 400 percent since Obama took office should be indicative that something afoul is up. Racism didn't just disappear when Obama took office.

We shouldn't accuse all conservatives of being racist; however, when we see those racist elements within their ranks, we shouldn't tolerate it, and neither should the conservatives who are standing next to them.

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