Racism toward President Obama

Several years ago, at the height of the first wave of gasoline-price hysteria, an older white man came into the convenience store I worked at complaining about a lot of stuff. Real salt-of-the-earth type fellow, had a twang and maybe even cowboy boots on, although I may just be adding stuff I wish were true to my memory upon recall.

The only reason I remember this grumbler, as opposed to the dozens of others that came through each day, was that he suggested, apparently quite seriously, that George W. Bush be strung up and hung ’til death.

The man may be racist, and considering his age I wouldn’t be surprised, but there was nothing racist about him suggesting a lynching of a U.S. president. If he felt the same way about Barack Obama, of course, most people and establishments would consider it totally unacceptable.

The New York Post incident with the cartoon chimp getting shot was the same sort of thing where for eight years George W. Bush was outright drawn as a chimp caricature, called stupid and uneducated — every Texan/Southern stereotype you could think of. We know it would not be acceptable to do the same thing with black stereotypes and Barack Obama (except to call him “cool” and “stylin'”).

You may say, “Well, Barack Obama was never part of the stereotypically black culture, so it would be absurd to mock him in that way.” George Bush is not in any way a cowboy and only marginally a Texan, but it was safe to put a hat on him and set him on a horse for an editorial cartoon.

I’m not saying geographic discrimination is anything like racial discrimination historically, or that a white Southerner is less likely to get a job than a minority solely based on that. But as many racists are there are who hate “that —— spending our money,” publicly I can almost guarantee that Obama will receive less personal criticism than Bush, because it was safe to call Bush an imbecile, fascist, and child molester in ways it probably will never be to criticize Obama, unless you’re Rush Limbaugh or have his fanbase.

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