Old Black Joe still picking cotton
For your ribbons and bows,
– Leonard Cohen
Racism is back in your face, in your town, in your neighborhood, perhaps even in your house.
Maybe it’s you.
The candidacy of Barack Obama has taken good old-fashioned American bigotry out of the closet.
Anybody who has ever worked for a black candidate knows that you always adjust poll results by giving an extra five points to the other side. This controls for closet racists who will not admit their prejudice to anyone, even a stranger on the phone.
That sub-rosa racism accounts in part for the consistently high ratings that have made KKKOH Radio the top station in northern Nevada for more than a decade. That the station was picketed last week for promoting a racist organization only adds to its haw-haw hooligan mystique.
Boys will be boys, just havin’ fun with their hoods and white sheets. Gimme ‘nother beer, Otis.
The West Virginia Democratic primary in May provided the warning. One in five Democrats said race was a major factor in their voting as Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Obama in a two-to-one landslide (67 percent to 26 percent).
Cracker congresscritter Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, has publicly called Sen. Obama “uppity.”
A word that starts with “n” usually comes next.
That’s the legacy of the confederacy and it doesn’t affect us, right?
At a Martin Luther King Committee meeting last week, I had to report a grim finding.
I had a conversation with a precinct captain who was working Sparks last week.
“Andy, we’ve got a real problem with race. Of 10 households I go to, four say they have a problem with Obama’s race and two of those say they won’t vote for him under any circumstances.”
For decades, Nevada has been trying with little success to get out from under the old label of “Mississippi West.” We don’t make any progress when people look at things like our prison population and especially education funding, which is always competitive with deep south states with which we share the bottom of the barrel.
Washoe County historically has been the hotbed of liberalism in Nevada, if there is one. The lawmakers we elect make average legislators from Gomorrah South look like crypto-fascists (and some of them are.)
Pollsters have been saying that Washoe is emerging as the key swing county in a key swing state.
The presidency might be decided by those closet racists now emboldened by the likes of KKKOH to come out of the woodwork.
What can we do? The logical thing is to appeal to calm and reason, which are usually grotesquely ineffective when people are acting on the basis of prejudice and emotion.
The average American worker has not had a raise since 1973. Credit card debt is at an all-time high. People are stressed to the breaking point. Instead of looking up at the billionaire pickpockets who are to blame, we are rabble-roused to scapegoat the other, that someone who is somehow different from me.
It’s them uppity women, feminazis, fat people, Jews, negroes, godless secular humanists, queers, Muslims, eco-terrorists, evolutionists and co-ed matriculators. They are all in it together.
Yes, we are.
Rev. John Auer is currently putting together the program for his third quarterly teach-in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It will be held at the end of next month at the venerable First United Methodist Church in downtown Reno on the river.
I don’t envy Rev. Auer his task this time and will help all I can.
War, peace and prosperity may be the great issues of the day, but the bloodlust to slaughter straw men and skin scapegoats is usually far more powerful.
McCain Ain’t Cool Dept.
Sen. Obama’s typically mild response to the latest lies and smears of the McCain campaign accuses the Republican nominee of (gasp!) not using e-mail and not knowing how to get online.
Why? Because typing is woman’s work. When the first Univac computer was made operational after World War II, Remington Rand executives stayed late and popped champagne while the girls were sent home. The guys had built the hardware, while the secretaries who had designed the software that made it work were given no credit at all.
In 1985, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., commenting on personal computers, told Business Week that “I won’t have one on my desk.”
Typing is an admission of having an inferior position in the male-dominated pecking order.
John McCain simply can’t shake his ancient prejudices.
Which is why it seems that one in five voters will support McCain and white-out Obama.
God save us and forgive us.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 and 216, streaming at Barbwire.TV. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since Aug. 12, 1988.