Democrats Should Stop Calling White Southerners Racists

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

It's a fairly popular amongst Democrats to label white Southerners prejudiced and narrow-minded nowadays. Several days after President Barack Obama was elected, for example, the New York Times penned a thinly camouflaged article implying that white Southerners are racists. The Times article stated that:

Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows...Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.

It may feel good for liberals to label white Southerners as lacking "diversity, educational achievement, and economic progress," but insulting potential voters is probably not the best idea for getting votes. Democrats should want votes from the poor, the less educated, and the white. In fact, a lot of poor people, less educated people, and white people voted for President Barack Obama. That's how he won the election.

More below.

I've had a personal experience with this type of rhetoric. You see, I live in California, and California's been going through some rough times lately. Just as Democrats like to call white Southerners racist, Republicans like to insult California as a failure of liberalism gone amuck.

Several days ago, whilst surfing through the net, I came upon this ingenious comment, by a kind person named Blake:

All you libs in Cal just kill me- most of you have never been told "No" before, and have an inflated sense of self, kind of like Obama.
Sometimes there is a good reason for not doing something- I know you believe Arnold can pull money out of his butt, but there is a time to cut back, and this is one of them...
Daddy's fresh out of Benjamins.

My first reaction was - "Well, ** you."

My second reaction was - "Well, ** you."

California's politics may be temporarily chaotic at the moment - but guess what, it's still an amazing place to live in. California boasts such economic powerhouses as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Central Valley agriculture. It has amazing beaches, beautiful women, and the most bad-ass governor in the nation. Its diversity is unmatched in the rest of America; its public college system ranks #1 in the world. In San Francisco our state has the most beautiful city in America; in Los Angeles we have the most unique-smelling air in the country.

The point is that when Republicans characterize Californians as liberals who "have never been told 'No' before, and have an inflated sense of self," that offends me as a resident in California. It encourages me to vote Democratic just due to spite.

When Democrats characterize white Southerners as racists, it does more than anything else in driving them to the Republican Party. Insulting white Southerners constitutes the same type of narrow-minded prejudiced behavior Americans are supposed to denounce. Worst of all, it doesn't even help end racism. Perhaps many white Southerners are racists (just as many members of dailykos love Obama but would not send their kids to a majority-black school). Perhaps they aren't. But insulting people as racists doesn't stop racism. It just encourages them to be more racist.

Tags: California, Democrats, Elections, Media, New York Times, Politics, racism, racist, Republicans, white Southerners (all tags)

Comments

37 Comments

I doubt

that white Southerners vote GOP because they feel insulted by editorials in the New York Times.

by JJE 2009-12-27 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: I doubt

why?  You think non of them read the NYT, don't cha?  Admit it?

by TeresaInPa 2009-12-28 01:24PM | 0 recs
I don't remember progressives

stapling tea-bags to protestors' hats or coming up with the clever idea of tossing 1 milllion teabags on the White House lawn

http://www.millionteabags.org/

What do you call someone who (taking a lead from the banner of the millionteabags.org site) adopts a tea bag as their official emblem?

What would you call the act of symbolically tossing a million tea bags in Lafayette Park?

The tea-baggers set themselves up here, it was the equivalent of a group of female bull-riders deciding to call themselves the 'Mother Buckers' and then wondering why everyone was chuckling.

Besides the first documented use of 'tea bag' as a verb was seen on a sign distributed by FreeRepublic in February where it is used as a clear double entendre: "Tea Bag the Liberals Before they Tea Bag You"http://washingtonindependent.com/31868/s cenes-from-the-new-american-tea-party

It is not Rachel Maddow's or Keith Olbermann's fault that the Right got punked by their own smart-ass young protestors, you can see from the smiles that these kids knew exactly what they were doing.

by Bruce Webb 2009-12-27 08:27AM | 0 recs
Indeed, Obama is the least popular 1 year Pres.

Wait a second... Did Ludwig just tell a lie?

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 11:54AM | 0 recs
Obama ranks with Reagan and Clinton

And yet the two least popular presidents on that list after one year became the two most popular presidents after their eighth year.

by Khun David 2009-12-27 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Indeed, Obama is the least

Strange, as the graphic they have on their homepage right now has Reagan at 49%

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Indeed, Obama is the least

Oh, nm, that's from Nov-- your chart. Am looking at the current month today:

Clinton-53
Obama-51
Reagan-49

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 10:26AM | 0 recs
wait a minute

did you just post a different poll and twist Ludwig's meaning?

by TeresaInPa 2009-12-28 01:29PM | 0 recs
did you teabag Bill, Monica?

Is that why you're so upset about it?

by JJE 2009-12-27 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't remember progressives

A waste of good tea?  Or people who don't seem to see the irony of picking a moment name thats also a sex act.

by FUJA 2009-12-27 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't remember progressives

it is not so much a sex act as an expression coined for a particular sex act.  Most people, believe it or not, are not that current in slang expressions for sex acts.

by TeresaInPa 2009-12-28 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't remember progressives

what are you talking about?  I don't think the diarist mentioned "teabaggers"... and what does that have to do with southerners or racism?

by TeresaInPa 2009-12-28 01:27PM | 0 recs
As to racist southerners

Nixon's 'Southern Strategy' was explicitly an attempt to co-opt the Wallace voters of 1968, where Wallace ran on an explicitly segregationist platform, and so turned what had been a narrow victory in 1968 to a near landslide in 1972 and in so doing jump-started the transition of Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, a process that was largely completed for Senators under Reagan and for the House under Gingrich.

If the hood fits, wear it.

by Bruce Webb 2009-12-27 08:33AM | 0 recs
Keep defending the Klan

That's funny too.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 12:03PM | 0 recs
Lud thanks so much

Somewhere in the back of my mind I was worried that my relative absense from MyDD in recent years would cut into my mojo but over the last couple of days my replies to you have gained so many 2s that I have ascended from mojo to juju status.

Oh you haven't heard of that level and still hope JA wll still sweep us aside?

Dude you have no idea whether you are being spoofed here.

by Bruce Webb 2009-12-27 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: If the hood fits, wear it.

He is not the only one who finds it amusing.

I wonder, have you ever gone to such lengths to jump to the defense of progressives?

by JDF 2009-12-28 03:42AM | 0 recs
Except that, the vast majority of them, are.

by ND22 2009-12-27 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: GBlvW

 I'll come back from time to time to check on whether MyDD has decided to close the door on the LV and more3 daycare center. Until then, if I have to express an opinion I'll do it at the moose.

by QTG 2009-12-27 10:51AM | 0 recs
No Ludwig, it's _your_ kind that isn't wanted

Didn't you get the hint during the primary?
Wasn't it clear to you after South Carolina?

It's your kind isn't wanted.

You were an insult to Hillary Clinton, and you were kicked to the curb in the primary and the election was won handily without you. No one needs you, and no one needs your uneducated, low class, backwards thinking.

That's right. The Democrats have a winning coalition of young and minorities that has proven more than sufficient to win national elections without you.

So thank you for all those votes over the years, but if you can't accept change and learn that the party has moved on and left you behind, then at least stay quiet and let us get on with shaping the future of the democratic party.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 12:01PM | 0 recs
sure

how'd that work out for democrats last month?

This is exactly the kind of crap the party doesn't need.

by TeresaInPa 2009-12-28 01:35PM | 0 recs
Their days are numbered

Don't let the trolls get to you, even if they are cretinous racists.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 01:50PM | 0 recs
Are you and more more more the same person?

You seemed to have assumed that was directed against you.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 05:24PM | 0 recs
well duh

Is there anyone on this blog who can't seriously tell more more more and lud are the same person?

by ND22 2009-12-27 05:34PM | 0 recs
A love story ruined

"Luddie and Morie sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g"

And NOW you are telling me it is just auto-eroticism?

Does PK know?

by Bruce Webb 2009-12-27 06:55PM | 0 recs
This is good for a laugh.
In order for the comment to be directed at you, you would:
a) have to be a troll, and
b) have to be the same person as more more more.
by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 06:42PM | 0 recs
Like a moth to the flame,...

...Ludwig's drawn to a thread about racism.

And now he's here to defend those unfortunate teabaggers from the mean progressives at MSNBC.

I should really care about a repulsive political minority's feelings? These people would rather die than vote Democrat.

But you sure seem to have a warm spot in your heart for these cretins.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 11:51AM | 0 recs
I don't think white Southerners'

votes are much influenced by the NYT. In fact, I'd say the percentage who read NYT editorials is relatively low. Those who do already tend to be Left-leaning, so it hardly matters.

BTW, a lot of white Southerners are racists. I say this as a white Southerner who is frequently disgusted by her surroundings.

by sricki 2009-12-27 05:58PM | 0 recs
I grew up in the South.

Yes, racism is rampant.

Enough said.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-27 06:44PM | 0 recs
I agree with your premise, Inoljt

I'd take it a step further and say that the Left needs to get off the word almost entirely.  It's at best an oversimplification and at worst a fuel for the Right's campfire.

Neither "side" has a corner on racial insensitivity or stereotyping.  Certainly the majority of the most overt and unapologetic racial bigots are on the right, but there is plenty of that sin on the left to go around as well.  A half-step back from outright skin-tone "racism" is found the realm of all broad-sweeping condemnation of groups, and anyone blanketing "southerners" or "republicans" with a label that would fit on a rubber stamp will find themselves standing in that area if they take the time to look down at their feet.

Every one of us knows perfectly well that there are those in our own lives who embody complexities of prejudice and acceptance that might befuddle the mind but nonetheless make up the people we love. We also all know full well that we will not help any of these people realize their mistakes by lecturing or labeling them.  The only way to make a difference in the views of those you disagree with is to get close to them - to recognize their own humanity so that they in turn will be open to seeing yours.

This discussion thread is a perfect example of this dynamic.  ludwigvan, you have no chance whatsoever of making anyone see your point when your default mode of communication is the attack.  You might respond that others are attacking you, but it makes no difference at all so long as you continue to provide justification.

A wise man once said something profound about turning the other cheek.  As individuals and as a group we aren't ever badly served to consider it.

by chrisblask 2009-12-27 08:07PM | 0 recs
If they are bullies

you are already letting them win.

Nobody has ever won an argument by slinging insults, whether they started it or not.  Try it with a Parisian waiter sometime - you lose the moment the first bit of bile escapes your lips.

The first time I met you was when I posted a diary here after a long period of not doing so.  You launched into me with your first comment.  You, ludwigvan, were bullying in that instance, and you will notice that I did not respond to that comment.  I did respond when you wrote a coherent comment that would warrant a response.

People are not "bullies" or "racists".  People are people.  Bullying and expressing racist ideas are behaviors.  You can only change other people's behavior by the way you behave yourself - you cannot change people's behavior by force.  

by chrisblask 2009-12-27 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: no, some people choose to be bullies

Such the victim.  

by mikeinsf 2009-12-28 04:36AM | 0 recs
Such is our dream

"I think im gonna ditch the comments and just stick to diaries."

Because this comment thing is not working for you. And must be a huge time suck. Maybe over time you can knock a few zeros off your Mojo score which must be about 0.00004 by now.

by Bruce Webb 2009-12-28 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Should Stop Calling

" When Democrats characterize white Southerners as racists, it does more than anything else in driving them to the Republican Party. Insulting white Southerners constitutes the same type of narrow-minded prejudiced behavior Americans are supposed to denounce. Worst of all, it doesn't even help end racism. Perhaps many white Southerners are racists (just as many members of dailykos love Obama but would not send their kids to a majority-black school). Perhaps they aren't. But insulting people as racists doesn't stop racism. It just encourages them to be more racist. "

I believe it's a false dichotomy to claim that Liberals call all White Southeners racist. Rather it seems to be more likely that Liberals simply call racists - racist.

And while racism exists throughout the country, southern states have a history which simply cannot be ignored nor forgotten. It's not like that history (and current affairs) was made up by liberals - it simply is what it is.

Besides it's a bit of a double edged sword - liberals shy away from "offensive" words and they'll be called too Politically Correct. In fact the basic gist I got from your piece is not so much that racism is not prevalent in Southern States but Democrats should not use the label because it is not "politically correct".

I remember when one of the loudest critics of the present admin called the President a racist with a deep-seated hatred for "white culture", while subsequently refusing to define what "white culture" was. Liberals are not the one's at fault here.

by vecky 2009-12-28 12:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Should Stop Calling White Southerner

How about this for a conclusion!

Insulting people as racists doesn't stop racism. It just encourages them to be more racist.

So, by your logic, ignoring racists will make then less racist? Perhaps encouraging them will make their racism disappear?

When you start from a false premise, this is the heap of trouble you're going to get into.

by brit 2009-12-28 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Should Stop

I suspect the reason the diarist gets angry when someone insults California liberals is that he is, in fact, a liberal.  If he were a California conservative he would probably agree that liberals are ruining his state.

I think progressive discussions of racism tend to be simplistic and sometimes outright juvenile (remember all the namecalling directed at Appalachia during the primaries) but let's not fall into the same trap here.  The South has been feeling persecuted and marginalized for centuries.  They're not conservative because some Yankee mocked them.

by Steve M 2009-12-28 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Should Stop

I found this discussion quite fascinating; didn't know so many people would comment on my post.

Anyways, some responses:

Teabaggers never entered my mind while typing.

A lot of people pointed out that white Southerners really are racists.

Yeah, they are. But calling them names isn't going to magically change them into non-racists. If my friend John's behaving like an asshole, and I yell out that he's an f*ing asshole - is John gonna stop being an asshole? Or is he going to punch me in the face?

Too often the only thing we liberals do is encourage John to punch us in the face.

by Inoljt 2009-12-29 12:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Should Stop

I don't think anyone is looking to change their behavior.  My sense is that liberals toss around the "racist" charge so loosely because it has the effect of marginalizing people.  Like, WV and KY voted for Hillary but it doesn't matter because we know those states are full of white racists and thus they don't reflect the opinion of non-racist "real Americans" like you and me.

by Steve M 2009-12-29 07:18AM | 0 recs

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