Race Baiting

Friday, February 29, 2008

Stephanie Robinson, president and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank that focuses on democracy at Harvard University, talks about the emerging role of race in the presidential race.


Stephanie Robinson

Comments [44]

Joe from New Haven CT

This might be a great time for history wonks to look back 80 years to 1928 when the very progressive Irish American Catholic Al Smith ran for president against Herbert Hoover. The governor of New York was charming, an excellent public speaker and a true "crossover" politician who was greatly admired by the many immigrant ethnic groups that made up NYC at that time. The progressive social welfare programs that he championed for New York State in the 20's became the template for Roosevelt's New Deal 4 years later. In spite of this he was piloried and smeared throughout the country for being Catholic (taking orders from the Pope), Irish working class and the offspring of a corrupt urban political machine (Tammany Hall). In short, too "urban", wrong ethnic group, wrong religion. Sound familiar? His campaign theme song "Sidewalks of New York" didn't impress midwestern farmers either. A note to recent imigrants of color: this mean spirited mudslinging even happened to certain white people in the not so distant past.
Give 'em hell Barack!!!

Feb. 29 2008 05:29 PM

Thanks for the link in post #15 eCAHNomics!

Feb. 29 2008 01:11 PM
jeff from ny

calling Mc cain a bigot is not going to work. He has proven himself. The fact tha Mc Cain was attacked on his patriotism after this man was subjected to the most brutal traeatment in Viet nam is the real racism here. The fact that he was attacked for having an "illegitimate black child" because he adopted a minority child, proves that the attacks on Obama have been child play!
Obama be prepared for the independent PAC's that will torpedo his prospects ar being president!

Feb. 29 2008 11:08 AM
Roger from Bronx

Jeff, surely you jest? Of course we know that McCain has a daughter of color. During the run up to the 2000 election there were flyers distributed and phone calls about this. Critics accused Karl Rove and his surrugates of these underhanded deeds but were never able to prove it. The point is yes we knew of McCain daughter since at least 2000.

Feb. 29 2008 11:04 AM
Bill from Bklyn

What exactly IS the AAAN and did Barack Hussein Obama sit on it, or not sit on it? If he sat on it, did they pay him? And if they did pay him, how do you claim there's no connection. How about answering those few? You won't, because you level charges and ask questions you have no answers to before asking the questions, but when a question is posed to you that will embarrass your intelligence if you answer it, you then avoid the question.

Feb. 29 2008 11:03 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I hadn't heard the actual clip of Cunningham before. In the same sentence where he gives Obama's full name, he refers to "Bush" & "Cheney," not "George Walker Bush" & "Richard [whatever his middle name is] Cheney." So much for his claim that he consistently uses the full names of people he mentions.

I had the same thought about Obama's middle name (& his 1st name) being Arabic rather than Muslim. On the other hand, the reason people from Africa give their children names in Arabic is that those names are associated with the Muslim religion. Brian, this might be a good topic for your next segment with Elizabeth Little. Many Jews have "Hebrew names" in addition to the names they go by in everyday life; what's the difference between that and a "Jewish name"? And remember when "Christian name" was used to mean anybody's 1st name, regardless of their religion?

Feb. 29 2008 11:02 AM
Bill from Bklyn

The Brian Lehrer Show responds: Please try and keep this discussion civil and on topic. Lets refocus on the subject of the show and avoid personal attacks!

Thanks for posting,

The Brian Lehrer Team

Feb. 29 2008 11:01 AM
Richard K. from Queens

Oh the daily Kos. That's some good source! They're headlines are on Opie and Anthony and their stunts. A fine news source. A blog by troglydytes!

Feb. 29 2008 10:59 AM
Cherisse from Bklyn

Mark, I'm sure you too were on the board of the AAAN!

Feb. 29 2008 10:58 AM
Cherisse from Bklyn

Mark: Ugh to you:
You're a little slow on posting old news sources.

Feb. 29 2008 10:56 AM
Roger from Bronx

Bill & others of his ilk, if you are going to make an accusation please be specific. What was the name of the organisation that he sat on the board of and which terrorist group did said organisation donate $6,000 to? Don't be cowardly, if you are going to make a charge, make the full charge.

Feb. 29 2008 10:56 AM
jeff from ny

Speaking of Arabs, do you know that Ralph nader is of Arabic descent (Beirut-I belive). Nader is a typical middle eastern name (remember that other nader in Egypt?). But the difference is that Nader has trancesded this issue by his work (whether you agree or not). The problem with Obama is his inexperience, his cockiness, mostly the MANTRA, that because he is black we must treat him with kids gloves and ELECT him so as to redeem the american experience. Is this not CRAZY? May be a mexican should be the president so that america can redeem what it stole from Mexico and the treatment of Mexicans. His wife, I considered to be an angry, black woman who is a racist!. She has a chip on her shoulder.

Did anyone knew that Mc Cain has a daughter that is not white? She is as dark as chocolate! does this matter?. This proves to me that Mc cain is really a man I can vote for

Feb. 29 2008 10:55 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Ugh. "Obama worked with terrorists." A fair dissection of this canard below. Yeah, it's DailyKos, a lefty blog. But someone did their homework at least:

Feb. 29 2008 10:53 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I certainly can't say that I wouldn't care if he were Muslim. I have numerous Muslim friends. I like them a lot. They're great people, but I would not vote for a Muslim for President if there were one running.

It's not that I think they would secretly be an Al-Qaeda operative or anything like that. I trust that our numerous intelligence agencies would probably pick up on something like that because you can be sure they have stacks of files if not whole rooms devoted to each of the Presidential nominees. No, it has to do with the fact that I think there would be the danger that they would hesitate when they needed to act. I would be worried that they would give the benefit of the doubt to someone who shouldn't get it.

Feb. 29 2008 10:52 AM
Cherisse from Bklyn

If the whole reason McCain is race baiting with his choice of announcers, is to take the eye of Hillary, so that he can get his opponent of choice, which the Republicans will take down with some quick well placed words, well, then Mr. McCain, you are genius. And a bigot.

Feb. 29 2008 10:50 AM
David from NYC

This is interesting. Do you have a source where I can read more? Thx.

Feb. 29 2008 10:49 AM
John from Bklyn

Chris O you're so right! I never thought of that! He's got OBama sounds like Osama AND Hussein like Madman (from the spider hole)
what a PR coup for Mr. Handsome!

Feb. 29 2008 10:49 AM
Bill from Bklyn

Jeff, yes, let's let sunlight be the best disinfectant. I'm getting just a little bit tired of liberals, declaring how Obama can and cannot be described. He also sat on the Board of Directors of a charity that gave money to terrorists, and took $6000 a year for that privelege. I suppose we should not mention that either. What hypocrites.

Feb. 29 2008 10:48 AM
Snerdly from Payton Place

Tim and Antonio you're exactly right. McCain is BAITING b/c McCain is too lily white to get his hands dirty. Therefore, he let's neo nazis introduce him, then he apologizes and profusely grovels across the stage afterwards. It's enough to make someone lose their breakfast. The guy is a two sides of his mouth talking coward.

Feb. 29 2008 10:44 AM
Chris O from New York

It is hard to attack someone for calling a person by their full name. If some see "Barack Hussein Obama" as a slur, others see it as a beautiful name. The only problem is it rhymes with Osama. It makes me laugh a lot to think that he has the middle name Hussein and a last name that evokes Osama. And he has a very good chance to be next President! That is brilliant. Given the alternatives, oh how I pray it happens.

Feb. 29 2008 10:42 AM
ero from NY

Has there been any consideration given to the idea that the McCain camp is controlling the air by creating this contreversy aboaut Obama and thus taking the eye off of Clinton? Notice how much press Oboma is getting and how little is going to Clinton.

Feb. 29 2008 10:42 AM
jeff from ny

Everything should come out. As long as it is factual, let the market of ideas and the voters decide if this has any importance at all. Trying to "hide" or being defensive.
The media reminds me of the animal protection groups; they would die to defend a wonded dog but but not give a dam about a hungry child. Obama is this country's media messiah.

Feb. 29 2008 10:41 AM
David from NYC

I'm not concerned about Sen. Obama's middle name. I wouldn't care if he were Muslim. What I do care about is his association with Trinity United Church of Christ, which is racially divisive.

Racism is out there, but anyone who thinks Caucasians hold a monopoly on it are adding to the problem.

Feb. 29 2008 10:40 AM
Larry from Manhattan

This is why no one wants to discuss racism: if one differs in views, or offers up a comment about race (such as the fact that Jesse Jackson won Carolina) one is considered having subtext to the thoughts and commenst. They are racist. But don't we ALL have a context and subtext with our thoughts and comments, whether one is Black, white, Hispanic, etc...

Feb. 29 2008 10:40 AM
Zeno from US of Bklyn

Okay. Stop being hypocrites. The radio announcer kept on announcing "Barack Hussein Obama" not to be a "completist" about announcing peoples names :chuckle snort how naive are you:
The reason he kept on using his middle name was if to tell you: He has the same name as an Arab dictator, and as a lot of terrorists, therefore, don't you know, you shouldn't be voting for a guy named this?????????? That was his point. HOw do you pretend to be that naive? You should win an Academy Award! Then these windbags like Limbo and Skank Ingram repeat the story with fake indifference, but nevertheless, they manage to repeat the story..... how convenient for them. Someone should do a study on fake logic and propoganda. That's what Rush is all about.

Feb. 29 2008 10:40 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Jeff, what's "the hard question" that no one will ask Obama?

Feb. 29 2008 10:39 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Brian seems to be confused. Arabs and the Arabic language predate Islam. Hussein did not BECOME an general Arabic name because of its popularity amongst the majority Muslim population. Husayn ibn Ali was called Husayn because it was already a word used before... it means "handsome". If anything, it's become more associated with Islam because of him.

Feb. 29 2008 10:39 AM
Ian from Manhattan

What about sexism? One of MCain's supporters called Hillary a "bitch" but little was said about that. Are slurs against women more accepted?

Feb. 29 2008 10:39 AM

John Sidney McCain III

Feb. 29 2008 10:39 AM

Juan Cole on famous Americans with Arabic names:

Feb. 29 2008 10:38 AM
Sciarra Easton from New Jersey

I'm sorry that you never felt obligated to take on the miscongist remarks made to Hillary Clinton all these months, and by-passed references to her personal attributes. Your guest today is far from unbiased, having worked for Se. Ted kennedy, who is leading the charge for Obama. Obama running on the sympathy line, as Hillary was charged with doing when she cried?

Feb. 29 2008 10:38 AM
Seth from Astoria

The USA is supposed to be the most Free and Diverse country in the world. Why not have someone with a Diverse name represent it.

Honestly, our popularity among other countries has faltered quite a bit over the past few years, under the middle name of Walker. Maybe a more worldly name will give the other countries belief and hope that the USA is a country of a multitude of people and beliefs, and that we're not that bad.

I think the only people that will fall for the hate mongering are not all Republicans, but the stupid REDNECK REPUBLICANS, unfortunately, they outnumber the rest of the parties.

Middle names shouldn't be an issue, policies and character should.

Feb. 29 2008 10:37 AM
aliastair from london, england


the answer is obvious...americans don't know the difference between arabic and muslim or a Sikh for that matter.

let white conservative americans just call the man what they want to call him N...... and get on with it.

can't believe anne coulter got everyone to start talking about this...pathetic.

Feb. 29 2008 10:37 AM
antonio from gotham slope

I believe Mcain will not try any dirty tricks against Obama, knowing how it feels first hand to be attacked himself. Remember South Carolina, in 2000? The bush campaign put out robo calls to republican voters that he had a BLACK illegitimate child

Feb. 29 2008 10:37 AM
Hendley from Queens

Anne, that's the first intelligent question I've heard on WNYC in years!

Feb. 29 2008 10:36 AM
David from NYC

Jeff [3], excellent post.

Feb. 29 2008 10:36 AM

While people want to assume that John McCain is above the race baiting tactics of some of his supporters, he is openly courting the support of known anti-Arab, anti-Catholic, End-of-times anti-Semite John Hagee.

His surrogates can do the dirty work of smearing Obama while McCain acts above the fray. This is the same tactic George Bush used against McCain in South Carolina in 2000.

Feb. 29 2008 10:36 AM
Lisa from New Jersey

I agree with Pauolo. Hussein was the name of the Moslems second in command so it shouldn't upset anyhone when it is brought up how is a nmae automatically an indictment? I dont get it.

Feb. 29 2008 10:36 AM
Steve from brooklyn

yesterday my e-mail provider had an article in its "news" section debunking all the "Muslim" rumors about Obama. It also had a poll in which one of the answers to the question "Did you ever think any of these rumors about Obama were true?" When I checked the results as of last night, around 133,000 people had responded. The majority (47%) answered "Yes, and I still do."


Feb. 29 2008 10:35 AM
Hal from Crown Heights

It would a good thing for America if the next president were Barack Hussein Obama.

I will vote for him.

Feb. 29 2008 10:34 AM

How do you appropriately walk the line of knowing that there should be no reason to be defensive about your middle name or heritage while also understanding that "racism" against Muslims is a serious problem?

Feb. 29 2008 10:33 AM
jeff from ny

Ler's stop being hypocritical. The fact is that the white media is afraid to ask Obama's campaign the hard question, not so much because they love him but because they could not live with themselves being accused of being racists. This phenomenum is going to make many democrats vote for Mc Cain. If I were Obama. I would be ashamed of this treatment because ultimately it is condescending and yes- secretly RACIST!. If you are a black person or whatever and you want to run fore such a position as president, then he/sheust be treated as good or as badly as everyione else. What is happening will be bad for race relations.

Feb. 29 2008 10:30 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Why do people keep referring to Hussein as a "Muslim name"? It's an Arabic name. There are Christian Arabs with the same name who have been descended from Christians for hundreds of years.

I'm irritated when people use Muslim and Arab interchangeably. There are many non-Muslim Arabs and many non-Arab Muslims. The largest Muslim country in the world is Indonesia! A non-Arab country.

Feb. 29 2008 10:28 AM
Furgrove Chadley from Mahattan

Is Obaha wearing a red robe with white straps and a white headress and having the middle name Hussein and having gone to school in Indonesia (as we all have) in a Madrasa, and having support from Farakan, and having a church leader that supports Palestinian groups, is any of that trouble to anyone? Certainly not to anyone who is not prejudiced. Should any of it be mentioned? They asked Hilary about her tax return why can't they ask him questions or MENTIon that he has a middle name? Why all the professional perplexion and apoplexy?

Feb. 29 2008 10:21 AM

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