wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share
Post Partisan
Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 10/31/2012

Yes, you can criticize Obama and not be racist


Among the hysterical responses from aggrieved whites about my post on the rise of hate in the age of President Obama, there were a few who expressed a valid concern. Namely, that to criticize or disagree with the nation’s first black president or his policies is to be branded a racist.

Christmo88 hammered away at this point in a comment:

You know what else makes it hard to overcome generations of racist feelings? When every criticism of the president including the color of his necktie is immediatelly slammed as racist. Disapprove of how Obama handled Libya? You’re a racist. Disapprove of how much golf he plays during wartime? You’re a racist. Disapprove of Obamacare? Racist.

Now, I rarely circle back to read the comments that follow my posts. But I did this time, and I couldn’t ignore Christmo88’s message.


(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

I’ve long argued that Obama’s most ardent supporters should not ascribe racial motives to the president’s critics when none exist. Doing so undermines their argument and the ability to call out real racism — explicit and implicit — when it happens. And at the height of the tea party movement, I made a point of separating those who had genuine concerns about the direction of the country and its mounting debt from the right-wing extremists who latched onto the conservative movement.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t those who hide their racial animus behind a policy disagreement with Obama. Get a load of this doozy of this e-mail from a reader yesterday.

Only a blind black man could write such garbage while giving the first black president a pass. You and your fellow liberal elite in the media shout racism at anyone who opposes the European socialist policies of Obama, thus elevating the issue. There will never be enough for the elites to be satisfied with racial equality in this country and it is about time that blacks got off of their asses and stopped demanded a handout from taxpayers.

Not every critic of Obama and his policies is a racist or motivated by racism. But the unvarnished views like the one above shows that such folks exist. The president’s supporters would do well to focus on them. They’re not exactly invisible or silent.

By  |  08:00 AM ET, 10/31/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company