Center for Ethics and Leadership

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does Racism Play a Role?

It took a white Southerner to finally say what has been whispered for a while. Jimmy Carter told NBC Nightly News that much of the opposition to President's Obama's proposals was based on racism. Response was quick. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) son said that his father was no racist and that the matter was about policy. African-American Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele agreed. But Dick Harpootlian, former chair of South Carolina's Democrats said that while he did not think Wilson was racist, his remarks encouraged those with racist attitudes toward the president. African-American Congressman, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), who supported Wilson financially early in Wilson's career, was not so sure about the integrity of Wilson's motives. The White House says the president does not think racism plays a role.

The racial remarks have surfaced now and again since Obama's candidacy. There is something happening here.


  • I do not think that this comment of "lie" was based on racism, although it does stir up unresolved feelings of racism that still exists in this country. Unforunately there are some who think that an African American president is not capable of doing the job of a president. What we all must realize is that there will always be people who hate us for what or who we are, but this should not stop us from doing what needs to be done. Maybe many do feel that an African American shouldn't be president, but there were also many who thought that Rosa Parks shouldn't sit in the front of the bus. Sometimes for change to happen we must take action.

    By Anonymous "Who I am", At September 17, 2009 7:10 AM  

  • I tend to disagree with the statements from "who i am." I believe that although the "lie" comment was not supposed to evoke racist feelings, it did, and you cannot take that back. There has been so much controversy over the health care bill and of course racism plays some role in it. Racism will play a role in all aspects of Barack Obama's presidency, which is shows the extremities many people are willing to go through. I agree that there will always be people who are prejudice to minorities; however, it is 2009 and that should not be the case anymore. People should begin to realize that Obama is trying to help our nation, not plunge it deeper. As I sat here watching the SNL skit of this exact incident, it was funny until you realized that this stuff actually happened.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 17, 2009 6:17 PM  

  • Anonymous, there was a great article in the Reading Eagle on Friday, September 18, "Charges of racism fly across political spectrum of country." If you get a chance, read the article. Here's one of the comments: “This is not Mississippi 1965, even Mississippi is not Mississippi 1965.” Not everything said and done is racist. It's time we start using the “R-word” for what it really means. Wilson was rude, not racist. And if his comment brought about true racist feelings in someone then maybe they need to check their racial-barometer. The author says, “The (R) word is being sprayed in all directions, creating a hall of mirrors that is draining the scarlet R of its meaning and its power, turning it into more of a spitball than a stigma.” So, as the author says: “If everyone is racist, is anyone?”

    By Blogger Teresa, At September 20, 2009 12:46 PM  

  • I disagree with their views about Obama. Racism will always stay in America, but the reason it is so much controversy with Obama is because he is the first African president. Obama is trying to help our country and I think people should realize that and put his race aside for the sake of our country. We should all see ourselves as equals not what skin color you are. Obama and race will always come hand in hand because certain people cannot get past it.

    By Anonymous Katie Longlott, At September 21, 2009 2:19 PM  

  • I agree with Katie, racism has been and will always be an issue that America faces. Its a horrible issue and its even sickening to know that it still goes on today no matter who you are or what you believe. On the racism factor, Obama is the first African president so why not stir up drama and controversy? Being the president your already put under a tiny microscope and watched every second of the day but now you have people taking his contents out of order because of his race? We should treat everyone as an equal person, not as an object. And when we judge someone by the color of their skin or by their religion, we are treating them like an object and today's society should wake up and realize that everyone is just another person with their own hopes and dreams.

    By Anonymous Angela, At September 23, 2009 12:07 PM  

  • Racism is a definite part of America and will always remain a part. Racism has been going on for many years and still goes on today. I witness a lot of racism myself because of my race. Im middle eastern and alot of people look at me differently as soon as i tell them that. Obama becoming president is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to America. I know a lot of people might think that only a white man can run and take care of this country but its been about 8 months Obama has been in the White House and he seems to be doing an okay job. I personally love Barack Obama i voted for him to become president and he will always have my vote. I think we need a black man as president to show those who are racist that everyone is equal no matter the color of skin. I never knew a country could be so racist towards others, and personally i am sick and tired of it. This is America, home of the free, equal country. America does not have a particular culture as some countries do. We are all one no matter what.

    By Anonymous Liz Fortuner, At September 24, 2009 7:02 AM  

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