Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Power of Language

Senator Barack Obama is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. He has been ever since the final primaries on June 3, 2008 and Senator Hillary Clinton’s concession speech on June 7th. Recently, Senator Obama has increasingly been described as being presumptuous; as suffering from hubris.

In my opinion, there is a current of racism inherent in this criticism. To me it smacks of the old idea of the “uppity black” “exceeding his station” in life. Nor do I think it is an accident that “presumptuous” has become the word of the day. Not long ago Senator Obama’s critics were describing him as elitist. That didn’t do the trick for them. So the crowd who brought us “death tax” as a replacement for “estate tax”, settled on “presumptuous”. In that word they found a way to strike the old chord of racism, while maintaining plausible deniability.


Anonymous said...

I guess "presumptuous" didn't do the trick, now McCain's camp is throwing "celebrity' into the mix. Brittany, Paris and Barack.

Talk about presumptuous!!!!!!


Roo said...

We have been watching all this closely over here, and despite feeling with every fibre in our bones, that he is the right person to take the US into the next decade, I have a big deep feeling that the race card will play a big part in who gets elected. I still think that there is a mind set that would struggle with electing a woman or a black person to the Whitehouse, and I sincerely hope that I am proved wrong.

Kate said...

Another word is "inexperienced." In a recent poll, people who cited him as too "inexperienced" were questioned further and admitted his being black was a factor. Interesting...and sad.

Pink Granite said...

Hi Gail -
The "Celebrity" ad was awful and outrageous.
If memory serves, it's McCain's third attack ad of the week! The one where McCain says Obama had time to go to the gym showed footage of Senator Obama playing basketball with the troops!!! Come off it!
- Lee

Hi Roo -
It's a fear we share and we too hope to be proved wrong. But after Bush got re-elected in 2004 it's hard not to worry.
I'm astonished by how the false and vicious rumors really stick with some people. Even when presented with the truth, some folks just shut their minds. Add prejudice to the mix, which people want to believe is a non-issue, but is real and we have a difficult and challenging election.
- Lee

Hi Kate -
It's very sad - and troubling and frustrating as well.
I think how consciously and hard Nana and Poppa worked to break out of the social pattern of prejudice and bigotry, so none of their children and grandchildren would be "carefully taught". They began that process in the 1940s. We've come so far, but we're still dragging so much of the same baggage around with us.
- Lee

dancingmorganmouse said...

You know, I suspect the same things would have been said had Mrs Clinton won out. Folk don't appear to like anyone but white men being confident and ambitious.

Anonymous said...


I just wish Obama didn't have to respond to such crap.

I remember as a kid I had to fight this boy because he said something mean and stupid to me (he was ignorant and an idiot).

I couldn't simply ignore him as I wanted, because the gathering crowd wanted me to RESPOND or lose whatever status I had.

I think the McCain camp is like that childish crowd. They have adopted the style of all the reactive reality TV programs. "We don't care about your skills or character, we just want to see your reaction when you get cussed out!"

Please Obama, maintain your integrity and don't fall for those cheap tricks!

"Guided by the Ancestors"

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
I'm sure we'd be listening to some variation of coded language no matter who the Democratic nominee had been. White men above a certain age still hold the trump cards.
- Lee

Hi George -
You described that childhood incident vividly.
Senator Obama seems to be maintaining his equilibrium pretty well, despite an intense week of ridiculous lies and attacks.

I hope that Senator Obama and his staff can counter the lies with solid facts on the ISSUES and cut through the angry noise emanating from Senator McCain and his group!
- Lee