Race/Politics Overflow

by Latoya Peterson

Some short items that I found in my inbox/bloglines reader over the last few days:

It was reported that Sandra Bernhard called Sarah Palin a “turn coat bitch” and said she “would be gang raped by blacks in Manhattan.” Gawker writes:

“[The gang rape comment] is part of a much larger, nuanced and, yes, provocative—that’s what I do—piece from my show about racism, freedom, women’s rights and the extreme views of Gov. Sarah Palin, a woman who doesn’t believe that other women should have the right to choose,” Bernhard said.

We didn’t immediately post on this, as I was able to find some quotes from the piece, but no one who could directly quote the “big black men” comment – most of the direct quotes from Bernhard revolved around the Old Testament and Palin’s “new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bullshit!”

Well, according to MSNBC, she now claims “she never used the term “rape” or “gang rape,” although she couldn’t recall the exact words she had spoken, explaining it was an improvisational act.”

No explanation of why she chose to include a black stereotype in her “nuanced” view of “racism, freedom, and women’s rights.” (Via Feministing.)

Just about a month until elections and people are finally starting to confront the racial stereotypes that have plagued Obama’s run for the presidency. Wendi Muse is still following politics while she is in Brazil, and sent through this link from USA Today about an Obama effigy being hung on a college campus in Oregon:

Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was hung from a tree on the campus, an act with racial undertones that outraged students and school leaders alike.

George Fox University President Robin Baker said a custodian discovered the effigy early Tuesday and removed it. University spokesman Rob Felton said Wednesday that the commercially produced reproduction had been suspended from the branch of a tree with fishing line around the neck.

My friend Lorelei also sent news of race baiting by a McCain campaign official:

The LA Times scoops the Virginia media with this column from the McCain campaign’s official Buchanan County representative.

You need to read this column to believe it. In “humor” [Bobby Lee May] accuses Obama of wanting to paint the White House black, supporting reparations, changing the national anthem to the “black national anthem”, teaching “black liberation theology in all churches”, and replacing the flag with a “star and crescent logo”.

Why has the Virginia McCain campaign not removed this guy already and publicly rebuked him?

The post was updated with the statement of resignation by Bobby Lee May and a formal statement from the McCain camp.

The LA Times article referenced in the Not Larry Sabato post is also worth a look, as it speaks directly to the racial stereotypes being fought by Obama supporters in key states.

When Cecil E. Roberts, president of the coal miners union that shapes politics in much of this mountain region, talks to voters, he tells them that their choice is to have “a black friend in the White House or a white enemy.” When Charlie Cox, an Obama supporter, hears friends fretting about Obama’s race, he reminds them that they pull for the nearby University of Tennessee football team, “and they’re black.”

Union organizer Jerry Stallard asks fellow coal workers what’s more important: improving their work conditions or holding onto their skepticism of Obama’s race, culture or religion. “We’re all black in the mines,” he tells them.

The presidential campaign, in the almost all-white counties of southwestern Virginia, has produced an outcome that few people expected: a frank discussion of race. Voters sometimes sound as if they are reasoning with themselves and working through their own complex views as they talk through the choice they face this November.

“I’ve never been prejudiced in my life,” said Sharon Fleming, 69, the wife of a retired coal miner, who spends hours at the union hall calling voters on behalf of Obama. “My niece married a black, and I don’t have a problem with it. Now, I wouldn’t want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I’m voting for Obama.”


“Barack Obama Won’t Take Away Your Gun,” says one flier. “But John McCain Will Take Away Your Union.”

A new 18-minute video that the union is distributing in coal states features Roberts, the union president, talking directly about race as he addresses white workers, many them clad in jeans or denim overalls.

“I could just ignore the fact that Barack Obama is African American,” says Roberts, “but I’m not.”

Roberts challenges the notion that a believing Christian could base a voting decision on a candidate’s ethnicity.

“We go to church, sing our songs, pray, come out and talk about, ‘I can’t be for an African American, because of the color of his skin,’ ” Roberts says in the video. His voice rising, he then scolds the crowd: “Can’t do that if you believe in the Bible.”

Adam emailed a link basically saying that women who aren’t fans of Palin are haters.

Ah, women, the consistently, tragically underestimated constituency. What the Democrats learned during the primaries and the Republicans might now be finding out the hard way, I learned at my very academic, well-regarded all-girls high school: that is never to discount the ability of women to open a robust, committed, well-thought-out vat of hatred for another girl.

Women are weapons-grade haters. Hillary Clinton knows it. Palin knows it too. When women get their hate on, they don’t just dislike, or find disfavor with, or sort of not really appreciate. They loathe – deeply, richly, sustainingly. I do not say this to disparage my gender; women also love in more or less the same way.


Hortense over at Jezebel stumbled across another craptastic Palin quote and let loose with a rant that pretty much summarized the whole issue:

According to the Huffington Post, Sarah Palin flubbed a Madeleine Albright quote at a rally this morning in California. ” “There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t support other women,” Palin said, when the actual quote is, “There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” Apparently, Palin got the quote from a Starbucks coffee cup and decided to share it with the crowd. Well, you know what, Sarah Palin? There are a lot of places in Hell, I’m sure, but I was raised to believe that Hell is for people who sell their souls to the Devil, in a metaphorical sense, by turning their backs on what they believe is right. And Sarah Palin, I don’t care if you’re a woman. I think you’re wrong, and there’s no way I’m going to Hell for standing up and telling you so.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

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