Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland has decide that the Obamas are uppity. According to The Hill, when asked to compare Sarah Palin with Michelle Obama, his response was the following.
"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said.
Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
Westmoreland was upset because the Obamas have the nerve to believe that they are the equal of whites. Can you imagine the audacity of blacks actually believing that they have human worth? Just in case we missed the racism that was intended, Lynn made sure to assert that he did indeed intend to say uppity. Throughout this campaign the Republicans have continually employed racism to attack Senator Obama.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that Obama's middle name – Hussein – is relevant to the public discourse surrounding his candidacy, saying in March that if Obama were elected, "Then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror."
At an April 12 event in his district, Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis (R) said of Obama: “I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”
I used to say that I wished that November would come so that we could finally see an end to this kind of race baiting and hatred, but it has become clear to me that whether or not Obama wins this election this will continue. It will continue because the US is a racist, patriarchal, capitalist state and until the definition of personhood is equally applied to all people, there will continue to be 'othering'.
The above commentaries are not accidental gaffes on the part of the Republicans. We are meant to be reminded of what Obamas body represents, a challenge to the white hegemony in the United States. If Obama wins how does this change the value of whiteness and its ability to be used a divisive force?
It is necessary to continually speak about Obamas blackness in order for the ruling elite to use colour as weapon to block the formation of a class alignment. If poor whites value colour unity over class, they will place a vote that is not in their best economic interest to insure the rule of whiteness. The Republicans know this and are continually pressing this issue.
This is not a new tactic, it has been used since the beginning of the civil war. Considering only a small percentage of planters actually owned slaves, the only way to convince poor people to fight for slavery (which was against their class interest) was to inflate the value of whiteness. The Republicans know their history well and I fear that unless people understand how contrived and vicious these racist attacks are, John McCain will be sworn in January. To the white house he will carry a white sheet, the symbol of racial bigotry and ignorance.