Gene Demby race reporter
Thoughts

If Ben Carson Likes Trump, Is He Racist?

(A guest post by “The Average White Guy”)

Being the average white guy that I am, you can imagine the flood of sweet emotions that flowed from my belly this afternoon as I heard a story on NPR‘s “All Things Considered,” which was about a study that explores “the links between politics and racial bias.”

The description of the story says,

A new study looks at the link between racial bias and the Tea Party. Researchers found that people who looked at images of Barack Obama that were edited to make his skin look darker were more likely to express support for the Tea Party.”

Now I’m not going to be so stupid as to suggest that there are no white people who hate president Obama because he is black. Believe me, I’ve met a few of them myself. But it is so aggravating to be told by Gene Demby that the reason I myself hate Obama is because he is a black man.

Gene Demby, You Don’t Know Me.

You strike me in your reports as one of those black guys who sees a racist under every bush; you seem to come across sometimes as a guy who easily stereotypes whites based on preconceptions that seem to have nothing to do with the way I think or with the beliefs I hold.

I don’t hate Obama because of the color of his skin. It stuns me how many black people seem to want to reduce every issue down to the single issue of how it affects black people, how whites treat black people, who whites see themselves as white people. Says Mr. Demby,

We’ve done a few stories on whiteness in our current political moment. Whiteness is a thing that is becoming explicit in people’s understanding of themselves as white. So it sort of makes sense that here’s this guy who’s the president of the United States. He’s incredibly prominent.

For the first time in the history of the country, he is not a white person. He’s sort of the avatar of this demographic change. And so he animates and activates a lot of anxieties around whiteness becoming explicit.

I will admit I have a strong dislike for the man. But it’s not because he is black. It’s because of what he is doing to the country. I’m not sure why, but based on your frequent racial biases, I would bet that you might find that hard to believe. That’s ok. I have a similar disdain for Hillary Clinton, and it’s not because she is female. But you’ll probably want to try to sell that story to everyone else. I could expect you actually believe this to be the case. I feel sorry for you if you believe that, though. And let me ask you a question:

Did You Vote For Obama Because He Is Black?

I am stunned at the number of black people who insist that I would vote against Obama because he is black; but when I ask if they voted for him because he is black, they insist it is not because of his color, but because of his policies. It’s funny how in their minds, blacks can vote objectively but white people can’t. Is that racist thinking?

Mr. Demby, Have You Ever Heard Of Alan Keyes?

You look like a youngster to me, Mr. Demby. So maybe you were too young to be aware of a time when a guy named Alan Keyes wanted to run for president back in 1996 and 2000. It was back in the days of Bill Clinton. I wanted Keyes in so bad, compared to the white guy, Bill Clinton. I really did. Does that surprise you?

Let Me Make A List For Your Response

Let me make a list of some guys I think would make outstanding presidents, and any of whom I would vote for in a heartbeat – over Obama, Clinton, McCain, Bush (senior OR junior) and even over Trump (especially over Trump).

Ready?

Alan Keyes. Ben Carson. Tim Scott. Thomas Sowell. Colonel Allen B West. Clarence Thomas.

Should I go on? Or do you begin to see a pattern here? It’s not an exhaustive list. I could add Trey Gowdy, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and a host of others. But that would confuse the issue. Please don’t miss the point of the list.

I know you’re “color-blind” in your thinking. You’re black, after all. And we all know that blacks can’t be racist. But did you notice the list? Notice what they all share in common?

They’re all CONSERVATIVE. Did you notice that?

Oh yeah. They’re all… Never mind. You can figure this out. I will even give you a picture.

CarsonScottSowellWestThomas

There are a LOT of black people in the Tea Party. Maybe you missed that; maybe, like Jesse Jackson, you don’t really think “they’re black enough.” The relatively low proportional content of blacks in the Tea Party doesn’t mean they’re racist. It means blacks don’t always agree with their policies. But they’re not going to change their policies to make blacks feel “welcome.” They want to get ALL people – black, white and green – to understand that conservatism is the only way to save the country from slipping into a moral abyss.

EVERYONE is welcome at the Tea Party – if they agree with their ideology and vision for the country – one nation, UNDER GOD, with liberty and justice for ALL.

But while I toss out names, let me throw another at to you.

Ever Heard Of Booker T. Washington?

Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American Author and an advisor to several American presidents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a republican. (Yes, Virginia. There have been black republicans before.)

Booker T has an amazing quote that testifies greatly against the Black Lives Matter movement and other members of the “black grievance industry” like Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson and the reverend Al Sharpton. Booker once said…

There is a class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.

Now if a white guy were to say that, you might have a race war on your hands these days. But Booker T has a pass on this one because he is “one of you.” Or maybe he isn’t. Maybe, as Jesse Jackson said about Obama before he was elected, “he’s not black enough.”

Are You A Racist, Mr. Demby?

It seems the likes of Jesse and Al seem to think you’re not really a black man unless you think like them – as if you have exclusive claim to a special “underclass” title; and any black man or woman who doesn’t agree with you is a sellout – an uncle Tom.

Is that you? Do you recognize that I even exist? A white guy who, like Martin Luther King Jr., longs for a day when

people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. (M L King)

But from my side, we are constantly dogged in the conversation by the fact that in situations like Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, where the only scars on George were on his face and the back of his head, and the only scars on Trayvon were on his knuckles, we have a president who decides to bring in the whole weight of the federal justice department and to use it as a soapbox for giving his lectures about how Trayvon could be his son.

This president is the most racially divisive president to fill the White House in the last 50 years. Do you have any sense of how many federal cases have been made over perceived “white on black” injustice, immediately dragging in the full weight of the justice department for federal investigations? How many “black on white” crimes have gotten the same treatment?

You have the privilege of living at a time where we have a black president, a black attorney general and a justice department headed up by a person of african-American descent. And yet, you insist that it ain’t over until it’s over. Sorry, but you still want to take every issue that Trump raises and every issue that resonates with me and squeeze it through your very flat and one-dimensional sausage-grinder, spitting out little “racist cakes” at the other end of the line that don’t look like me at all. They look like your prejudiced concept of what “every white man” thinks.

But it’s not me.

Illegal aliens in the economy are enough of a drain to pull the whole country down. It has nothing to do with color. It has to do with economics. While you might want to think this country is big enough to welcome everyone from everyone and let them all partake at the trough that is public assistance, the grim reality is that the system cannot afford it. It’s NOT about race. It’s about not overloading the lifeboat to the point where we all drown. But all you see is color.

And while you might not think much of religion (I don’t profess to know if you have any strong religious beliefs or not) there are many of us who recognize that it’s NOT hard to figure out the motives of the shooter in Orlando. He TOLD US what his motives were for shooting up gays in a night club were. He said he was doing it in the name of ISIS and in the name of ALLAH. HE was acting on his firmly held radical Islamic beliefs. If you want to pick up the narrative that it wasn’t that,  and that it must have been something else, and that this kind of behavior doesn’t represent “true Islam,” then we are worlds apart on why we want controls and better screening of the Muslims entering this country.

But it’s not because I’m racist. And you don’t  know me.

Put your thinly disguised racial prejudices aside and please try to see that maybe, just maybe, it’s about ideology.

And get to know me.

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FAITH INSPIRATION, OpenLetters

Why THIS Trump Supporter Is NOT a Racist, Homophobic Bigot

Why THIS Trump supporter is NOT a racist homophobic bigot.

(An open letter to John Pavlovitz.)

John Pavlovitz on Trump supporters and bigotry
John Pavlovitz doesn’t seem to be a big Trump fan. Nope. Not at all.

I’m willing to bet there may well be a lot more people who know of John Pavlovitz than know of me. And that’s alright. He has spent a lot of time cultivating an audience. I’ve not had the luxury of the time in the last year to do that. My wife was waiting patiently for some home improvements after a fairly recent purchase of a new home and so my blogging was a little neglected. Alas. The things we do for love.

But I recently became aware of an article this guy published on his web site and it irked me. It seriously irked me – enough that I took a break from playing home improvement to respond (or perhaps, react) a little here.

You might want to read the article to catch the wind that blows through this guy’s sails. But essentially, his rant is about all the Christians who are very un-Christlike and hypocritical for how they support Donald Trump vs. how they didn’t support Obama, for a litany of reasons.

He writes with the typical feel of the “liberal-left” Christian camp: if you are anti-immigrant, it’s because you’re racist. If you’re anti “gay-marriage” (talk about an oxymoron from a biblical perspective) it’s because you hate gays. That kind of liberal-left “Christianity.” (I just don’t get how some people read the same bible as I do and come to such different conclusions about what it means to be a Christian and what it looks like to live like one.)

But it just feels like it’s time to “rant back” a little. And I decided that the best way to express how I feel here as an open letter to John Pavlovitz. You can track along. I think you’ll catch the feel pretty quick.

 

Dear John:

(I love that line.) Anyway, dear John, you don’t know me. I’m a guy who supported Trump vigorously for president when he ran. And I still do, now that he is in office.

And I can imagine, based on what you penned in that article, that you would peg me as the typical racist, homophobic far-right bigot who cloaks my prejudices in “Christianese” to try to justify my hatred and venom for brown people under the guise of a blessing from God that my opinions are biblical.

It seems you think that I’ve found religion. Just now. With Trump. That I cloak my support for Trump in bible-speak. Like, “He is God’s appointed man for the time. We have to look past his character flaws and not judge. We can’t hold his past against him.” Stuff like that. And you think I never did the same for Obama.

You say,

…through it all, White Evangelicals—you never once suggested that God placed [Obama] where he was, you never publicly offered prayers for him and his family, you never welcomed him to your Christian Universities, you never gave him the benefit of the doubt in any instance, you never spoke of offering him forgiveness or mercy, your evangelists never publicly thanked God for his leadership, your pastors never took to the pulpit to offer solidarity with him, you never made any effort to affirm his humanity or show the love of Jesus to him in any quantifiable measure.

You violently opposed him at every single turn—without offering a single ounce of the grace you claim as the heart of your faith tradition. You jettisoned Jesus as you dispensed damnation on him.”

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong and… wrong.

Where do I begin, dear John?

If, as it seems, this is what you think, you don’t know me. Not at all.

What you might not know is that I also supported Ben Carson and Herman Cain. I would have supported Adam West if he were ever to run. And I even supported a guy named Alan Keyes years ago when he ran.

Do you know of these guys, John? Notice what all these guys have in common, John? Carson, Keyes, Cain, West? They’re all black men.

I would have voted for ANY of these guys in a dog’s heartbeat before the opposition they would have been running against if I had half a chance to do so. See how unfair it is to assume I opposed Obama because he was black?

Just sayin’…

Are you surprised? It seems from the tone of your article you might be.

According to your little hit piece, it seems you’ve likened me to a racist, homophobic bigot who hates brown people and will do whatever it takes to keep them out of the country, or at least, if I can’t keep them out, then keep them working picking tomatoes.

But you’re wrong John. You’re wrong about why I opposed Obama and why I support Trump. You seem to have a short attention span or a very liberal set of values (in spite of your Christian faith) that predisposes you to seeing me merely as a racist who will rearrange my prejudices at the drop of a hat to justify my support for a man you seem to loathe.

I never demonized “the black president” because he was black. I’m not saying no one did. But I never did. I demonized him (if that is what you insist on calling it) because of the policies he presented and forced on the country. I opposed him because he ran on the idea that marriage was an institution between a man and a woman and then promptly changed his mind when he saw the popular opinion had changed over time to where it was suddenly expedient to “change his mind.”

I supported him for his views on marriage until I saw that he merely put his finger to the wind; and when the critical mass of the population changed its opinion on “gay marriage,” suddenly he (and Hillary, and a host of others) did too. How about that? What a coincidence.

How about Obama on Immigration?

I’m not sure if you remember that Obama spoke of the same policies about illegal immigration as Trump does now. How about a reminder?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFv_v16Orqw

………………………

Did you catch that? Obama actually said….

“We all agree on the need to better secure the border and to punish employers who employ illegal immigrants. We are a generous and welcoming people here in the United States. But those who enter the United States illegally and those who employ them disrespect the rule of law, and they show disregard for those who are following the law. We simply can’t allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

Perhaps you’re confusing style and substance.

I will give you your point that Trump is probably far too egotistical and narcissistic. But he is saying the same things about immigration that Obama said when he ran for office. Did you forget that part?

If Trump articulated those ideas the way Obama and Clinton did, would you even hear him? Or would you be so offended at the tone he uses to make his points that you miss the points? Because, well, because… they’re the same opinions.

I don’t deny Obama’s “personal faith convictions” because I didn’t like the man; but because his actions consistently spoke louder than his words.

Obama was the most pro-abortion man to sit in the office of the president. The record is clear on that one.

Obama was probably the most racially divisive president in at least the last 40 years.

For his eight years in office, it seemed every case of white-on-black crime was a reason to involve the justice department. But I do not recall any cases of black-on-white crime that ever got the same attention from the white house. Do you? Correct me if I am wrong. Please.

You want to talk about all the oddball stuff like his place of birth and the charges from the right about whether he was born in Hawaii or Kenya? Go ahead. But I questioned his birthplace because he seemed to do so much to not clear the air about the issue for as long as he possibly could.

Did you ever ask yourself why he took so many years to produce a birth certificate? Why he had all his Occidental college records sealed? Did you ever consider that maybe the right has some good questions that have never been answered? Or do you just assume we are all a bunch of rednecks that would use any reason we could discredit the black man who was president?

Many like me were trying to get that black man named Carson INTO the race. (And Keyes. And Cain. And Adam West if he would ever run.) I sure hope you can hear that.

You call me on a “double-standard” saying now that God appoints leaders; but when Obama was in office, I somehow missed that point.

No, John. I didn’t.

Some leaders get placed because people benefit from God placing leaders over them to bless them. I acknowledge that God, in his sovereignty, allowed Obama to be the man for the job. I just think the job at this point in history was that America needed a good spanking because they weren’t listening to Him.

And if you’re going to call us on that as a hypocrital double-standard, then are you suggesting Stalin and Mousilini were God’s divine appointments too? Something to think about.

I just deal with the situation as it comes. And I judge how they do as president primarily by the types of policies they are trying to put in place when they get there.

Do I wish Trump were more refined? Of course I do. But if I have to choose between a rough-around-the edges kind of guy who is doing all the right things to protect the unborn from the abortion mills and is doing what he can to protect the religious freedoms of all people in this country (and not just the special-interest groups’ freedoms) vs a smooth-talking politician who seems to want to enshrine the opposite into law, I’ll settle for substance over smooth talk, thank you.

I pray for Trump frequently. But I prayed for Obama frequently, too. Sometimes I did it to stay mindful that God was in control and I didn’t have to be, when I saw what a mess he was making of things. Like I do for Trump now.

You don’t know that I didn’t pray for Obama, or that I didn’t give him a break, or ever come to his defense.

And as far as giving benefit of the doubt? You insist that I never gave Obama the benefit of the doubt?

Do you remember Obama’s “God of Jacob” reference at his 10th anniversary speech about 9/11?

Do you remember how many evangelical Christians jumped on that like a dog on a bone to embrace the possibility he really WAS a Christian like he professed to be? I sure do. I remember many an evangelical thinking maybe he really was a Christian. (Read, for example, the comments in this post. They’re NOT all as negative as you want to make us all out to be.)

We didn’t ever give benefit of the doubt. Seriously?

Many were looking for every opportunity to see him support the right things. We prayed that he would. Hear how this evangelical spoke about God not having given up on Barack Obama. (And if you want to listen to the whole episode of this show, you can hear the enthusiastic response of the crowd to this report.) They WANTED to see Obama come around. They  were wild with excitement at the possibility of him coming to a different stance on all the issues we hold dear. We were bitterly disappointed when he seemed to constantly stiffen his neck. And yet, we recognized that, at the end of the day, he was still president and we still needed to pray for him.

HOW DARE YOU ASSUME ALL THAT ABOUT ME and so many of the people I know who feel exactly the same way as I do. Do you even know of any of this feeling in the evangelical church for Obama? What part of the church do you never interact with?

I supported Trump because of his campaign promises. Would I have preferred that he not have a past? Of course. Wouldn’t it be nice if no one had a past?

Do YOU have a past, John?

I don’t hold Trump’s past against him anymore than I hold yours against you.

Your words are pithy. Catchy. But SO unfair. Pigmentation and party are my sole deities? Really?

Jesus is my savior. The bible is my roadmap.

And Trump is the president. Obama was that too. And I pray for Trump for an entirely different set of reasons than I prayed for Obama. But I’ve prayed for both.

And I pray for you, too. You seem quite judgmental in your thin veneer of spiritual superiority. You paint all Trump supporters with a wide brush. You don’t know our hearts – at least not all of us.

Are there racists who voted for Trump? No doubt. But there are many who voted for Obama simply because he was black. It didn’t seem to matter that he was not pro-life, or that he was for so many things that seem to be the types of things that Jesus would oppose. Somehow, that all gets a pass. It felt good, I suppose. But where did it get us?

I supported Trump in the election because he was the far better choice compared to Hillary Clinton. I support Trump now because he is president. The fact that I appreciate his pro-life stance, or his anti-extremist Muslim stance, or his stance against illegal immigration does not mean that I hate brown people. It doesn’t mean I don’t condemn sin when I see it. Even in the president.

There a a lot of things it does NOT mean. I hope you’ll give your liberal head a shake and see it.

You really don’t know me. NOT AT ALL.

To quote your article:I know it’s likely you’ll dismiss these words… But I had to at least try to reach you. It’s what Jesus would do.”

 

 

 

 

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