Obama Anxiety and Racism Denial

When human nature collides with subjectivity, rarely does intellectual honesty override passion. Truthful introspection more often gives way to projection of one’s own irrational fears in others, and denial of the darker parts of who we are. Our cognitive ability to reflect inward is mired in human frailty, and often prevents us from making uncomfortable admissions about ourselves.

Which is to say that bigots rarely recognize themselves as such, rather they’ll internally rationalize their predispositions as something else, and find ways to express themselves thusly.

Where it concerns our brown skinned President and uncomfortable admissions, the new racist tag line goes something like this: “Anyone who disagrees with the Obama is automatically called a racist by liberals.” … or something like that. I’ve heard variations of this a thousand times, and it usually accompanies partisan platitudes, and accusations of anti-Americanism, a love for Islam, or imaginary socialism. It’s a clear deflection of the nature of one’s bias in order to justify becoming selectively appalled at the present administration. So allow me to explain why this ad-hominem premise is not only false, but is also the projection of one’s self in how he or she might form political opinions, and the denial of one’s own bigotry.

As the American cultural topography becomes increasingly darker skinned, the natural reflex against change can reveal itself in ugly ways. When confronted with one’s own bias, rather than cognitively admitting to ourselves that there is a cultural effect at work regarding how certain predispositions might have caused overzealous reactions heretofore never experienced with other presidential administrations, the internal defenses immediately rise. No one wants to admit that their principles are influenced by something unbecoming of a lucid free thinker. And although the intent is often not malicious, that is how fear manifests itself as racism. You mind if we dance wif yo’ dates?

As such, political centrists often find themselves in the unenviable position of defending a president that they would rather not, rather than acquiesce to the sometimes racist, and often irrational criticisms which defy socio/political facts. Centrists often find themselves appearing to lean left (in order to better frame their perspectives in a reasonable manner) in the face of racist ravings. Sometimes, rational political perspectives –which many in the GOP might accord– go unheard because there is little hope of their acumen being understood by such zealous, right leaning lunatics.

For instance, I have taken the president to task many times over policy, capitulation to the will of capital lobbies, and even chided his cavalier attitude over what I perceive to be an abandonment of his base –in very liberal minded company– and I’ve never been called a racist for doing so. Likewise, when I’ve done the same in the company of conservatives, what I often experience is that uncomfortable look over the shoulder that one performs before telling an inappropriate story… before becoming bombarded with racially tainted, mostly inaccurate assaults. What the GOP electorate rarely acknowledge is the nature of their criticisms, and how it rarely concerns policy. Rather its more often personalized –if not downright fallacious– attacks.

Ridiculous Meme’s posted to social media that misrepresent circumstance and disregard truth in favor of racist innuendo are all too common. Like other forms of institutionalized racism, it is more comfortably delivered through anonymity, or a third party. And like when we shout epithets from behind the wheel of a car knowing that we do so removed from accountability, the vitriol is severe. Still, the present day political climate allows for internal reconciliation, and permits otherwise decent republican folks to name call their President and bear false witness under the guise of patriotism.

Which is not to say that there aren’t plenty of things to criticize this, or any President over. That’s part of the job. However it’s instances of selective outrage over things like President Obama’s use of predator drones, or his administration’s handling of the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi… when the prior (Republican) administration had several such attacks which have never garnered the calls for investigation –let alone impeachment– that the Benghazi failure to save lives did. But the disparity of outrage for the same acts committed by the Obama administration as opposed to other administrations, is directly proportional to one’s willful political ignorance. Only honest introspection can determine to what extent racism plays a part in determining the singular direction of one’s own level of angst.

The problem for many is that President Obama represents the cultural change in our national landscape, and thus the malevolence directed at him is more a function of anxiety than it is personal. I get that. It’s often not intentional. Nevertheless, it’s still based in racism.

Which is not to say that everyone who has experienced a negative racial reflex regarding the changing cultural topography is worthy for membership in the Klan. The acumen of one’s life’s experience while formulating these percepts should never be dismissed. However to “double down” on ignorance in the light of actuality, and remain steadfast in bias for no other reason than to find comfort in racist proclivities is an abhorrent social dynamic, that unfortunately, has become more prevalent with the election of President Barak Obama within the Republican voting base. For the GOP to move forward into the twenty first century, it must change that dynamic within their party.

But before they can solve the problem of reflexive racism, they have to recognize that there is a problem.


About Rich Woods

Rich Woods is the author of the critically acclaimed books, UnLearn Vanilla Marriage, and Yahweh to Hell. He is also a columnist, sociologist, and satirist who has performed seminars around the country. He's also made several TV and radio appearances. Transitioning from a blue-collar background has given Mr. Woods a unique perspective --and an even more unique elocution--among his peers. Raised Catholic, Mr. Woods is now a very public atheist who champions the separation of church and state. He's an advocate for non-traditional relationships, including --but not limited to-- negotiating non-monogamy, as well as being a vocal opponent of political correctness. Throughout his career, Woods has had colorful metaphors hurled in his direction from both liberals, and conservatives. To be honest, most of the vitriol comes from the Tea Party. However, he considers one of his greatest accomplishments having been called "Harry Reid's Lapdog" , and referred to as being "just like Rush Limbaugh" from two different sources within minutes of one another. Originally from Queens, New York, and presently residing in central New Jersey, Rich Woods is madly, and hopelessly in love with his wife Jane since before they were wed in 2002, and is the proud father of two successful, brilliantly creative, young adult children. Try as he might, he can't juggle.

Posted on May 13, 2013, in Recent Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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