How racism works

A follow-up on “Racist Act at Health Care Forum …”

Earlier, I posted this video:

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In this video you see a fairly typical (for these days) “Town Hall” meeting, this time with Senator Claire McCaskill. Suddenly, there is a disruption and a big scary angry black woman(tm) and her older angry black woman friend(tm) are escorted by police from the auditorium. You then hear Senator McCaskill try to explain what happened, but the crowd does not seem to want to hear it. You never really get the explanation.

And it is left as it is. This is how it is shown on CNN.

So, I, an anti-racist liberal intellectual whatever whatever(tm) see this, and I post it on my blog, and I comment that it is obvious that these women were victims. (See this post.) Those of you who know me probably saw that, and maybe noticed the “troll bait” tag, and knew I was up to something.

Well, I was. Because in truth, I had actually read about the incident, and I had seen the OTHER, video showing what actually happened.

What actually happened was this: These two black women walked into a nearly all or maybe 100% white audience carrying signs showing Rosa Parks. They were obviously making a statement. Apparently they were told to roll up the signs and put them away because signs were not allowed in the room. They complied. We don’t know how many other people at the same forum also brought signs and had to roll them up.

Then, a reporter noticing that this could be interesting went over to the women and asked to see the signs. They let her partly unroll one of the signs to see it. This is done down low on a chair seat. The signs are not being exposed, just peeked at by a reporter.

Then, an white male from across the aisle comes over and (angerly?) grabs the sign and runs away with it. The just-beginning-to-get-angry black woman follows him in an apparent effort to get the sign back, but in about a second the cops are on her and she and her friend are hustled forcibly out of the room.

If you don’t think this is a pretty good example of how racism works … both the event itself and the response on the earlier post, not to mention CNN’s totally botched and biased coverage … then perhaps you need to recalibrate.

Here’s the “other” video showing the incident …

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/>

… and here is the web site where you can read about it.

Here’s the ABW’s perspective (Her name is Maxine Johnson)

Comments

  1. #1 Rex
    September 16, 2009

    Aha.

  2. #2 Mike H
    September 16, 2009

    Lemme see if I have this right?

    The moderators explicitly tell people no signs, most likely to keep the disruptions to a minimum, when queen hippo and her friend come in with a sign, most likely to disrupt based on her prior history, and it is then taken from her and destroyed by a white man who doesn’t want to put up with her games. The police (only one of them) then arrest the white man, and then three of them remove queen hippo because she is resisting their orders.

    And this is how racism works? You seem to have a terribly low bar on what racism is.

    I always thought this or even possibly this was how racism works.

    Or did I miss the part where the mobs of angry white hooded republicans rushed these two when they came in?

    Get a job Mr Laden.

  3. #3 Rose Colored Glasses
    September 16, 2009

    Did you understand Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” in Obama’s speech to Congress?

    This had nothing to do with truth. This was a white Southerner taking that tone of voice to a black man in public and doing it loudly. The words did not matter in the least: the tone, and volume, conveyed the entire message. It was a racial slur. He might as well have shouted, “Go back to Africa!”

  4. #4 Jason Thibeault
    September 16, 2009

    Some of us didn’t see the “troll bait” tag (I forget to look at them often), and still figured something was up, considering the specific troll in question.

  5. #5 CyberLizard
    September 16, 2009

    I’d seen the more detailed footage and heard the whole story previously. I was surprised that Greg hadn’t, but then I didn’t notice the tag either.

  6. #6 dean
    September 16, 2009

    Because in truth, I had actually read about the incident, and I had seen the OTHER, video showing what actually happened.

    Well there’s your problem – you’re one of those revolutionaries who bases opinion on reality. How dare you.

  7. #7 NJ
    September 16, 2009

    queen hippo and her friend

    No racism there, nosiree bob!

  8. #8 Donna B.
    September 16, 2009

    Actually “queen hippo” sounds to me more like a sexist remark from one who sees size as merely a matter of weak will.

  9. #9 FieryElf
    September 16, 2009

    So… we’ve got two black women who were unfairly treated, and some video of them was taken out of context to make it appear as if they were guilty of something. Sounds like they were ripped off.

    And this is an example of racism because everybody else was white, they are black, and therefore racism has to be the cause? Because it’s impossible for white people to ever treat one of their “own” this way?

    Once again, racism’s definitely a possibility – CNN could have jumped to conclusions because they are black. Or, CNN could just be guilty of jumping to conclusions in general (remember the 9/11 incident? What was that an example of?).

    So would you claim that if they were white, they would’ve been treated differently? That white Democratic protesters get along with white Republican ones?

    I’m not disputing that racism *could* have caused all this – but you claim that it’s a clear example of racism, and I’m trying to understand how we know skin color was the distinguishing factor in their treatment.

  10. #10 CyberLizard
    September 16, 2009

    @FieryElf If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… this is pretty basic reasoning. It’s entirely possible that there were other reasons in addition racism, but the racism is obvious. It doesn’t always have to be done by good old boys with confederate tatoos; racism has a nasty way of sneaking in and hiding within what would otherwise be called normal society.

  11. #11 SkepticElf
    September 16, 2009

    Sorry, “the racism is obvious”?

    I’ve gotten incredibly frustrated with conservatives who have all sorts of twisted beliefs that serve to bias everything they see – i.e., believing that Obama wants to come into their home and take away all their guns. You wouldn’t believe the random things they piece together to keep supporting this viewpoint.

    @Lizard – your response is *exactly* how many of the conservatives respond. “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s obvious, he wants my guns sooo bad!!”

    So I call BS, I was hoping most liberals might be more level-headed, but I get the same biased, weak-reasoned, cherry-picked simplistic black/white viewpoint here. Looks like this blog is frequented by a vapid liberal choir that’s most frequent argument is “THINK HARDER DUMMY!!” or “It’s obvious! Did you actually *read* the post?” – mixed in with a flame-throwing conservative every once in a while who’s just trying to stir up trouble, and reinforces the polarization…

    Sorry, I guess I’m a bit depressed at how similar liberals and conservatives are – I guess I belong with the skeptic groups. Not trying to flame… just searching, and bummed with what I’m finding. Get back to your regularly scheduled programming of knowing exactly what’s wrong with the world (no way, my worldview conveniently reinforced one more time! Republicans suck! Democrats rule! Woohoo, let’s do this again!).

  12. #12 dean
    September 16, 2009

    skepticelf’s comment

    “I guess I belong with the skeptic groups”

    should read

    “I guess I belong in the denialist groups”

    He was so close, but turned out to be so wrong.

  13. #13 Stephanie Z
    September 16, 2009

    Elf, as usual, your handwringing just isn’t cutting it. A black woman is escorted out of a hall because her Rosa Parks sign was stolen from her and the news reports it as her fault. I could claim it was all the fault of the little green men instead of racism, but at some point, you’ve got to start calculating the odds.

    “It could have been racism,” and, “it could have been coincidence,” don’t carry the same weight just because they have the same number of words.

  14. #14 NewEnglandBob
    September 16, 2009

    Is Mike H. racist as well as sexist?
    He hates himself, so he hates the entire world.
    Only filth comes from his comments.

  15. #15 Mike H
    September 16, 2009

    I’ve gotten incredibly frustrated with conservatives who have all sorts of twisted beliefs that serve to bias everything they see – i.e., believing that Obama wants to come into their home and take away all their guns.

    Considering his legislative record and his chairmanship of some of the most virulently anti-gun organizations in the country, this is not an unreasonable belief.

    Actually “queen hippo” sounds to me more like a sexist remark from one who sees size as merely a matter of weak will.

    Did I hit a bit too close to home?

  16. #16 Patrick
    September 16, 2009

    I imagine hitting close to home isn’t an experience you’d be familiar with, Mike. Unless we’re talking domestic violence.

  17. #17 Catharine
    September 16, 2009

    unFuckingbelievable.

  18. #18 MIke Haubrich, FCD
    September 16, 2009

    Mike H. I’ll make it clear. The white guy stole a sign of a civil rights hero, the person who had it stolen from her protested and got hustled out by the cops. CNN only showed her being hustled out by the cops, and then Sen. Claire talking about someone who broke the rules while other people had also broken the rules but weren’t treated so.

    The cops and the white man made the assumption that since she is black she is a trouble maker and must be “dealt with.”

    Get a fucking brain, Moron.

  19. #19 dal
    September 16, 2009

    I watched the video and the whole thing seems like some poor theatrics: The woman on the podium is talking. Logic says everyone in the audience should be focusing on what they had come to see: the woman on the podium and the subject of the townhall meeting. The two sign carrying women should logically NOT be the center of everyone’s attention since they were quietly sitting and incidentally unobtrusively showing the signs they had rolled up to a some interested person’s query-neither of the two women were disrupting the proceedings in any way at that time (like all citizens, they had a right to be at the meeting). YET SURPRISINGLY when someone from the audience steps up like some lurid prankster to grab the women’s signs and run off like some purse burglar..Logically at the ensuing altercation, the police step in to escort both parties away. YET A LARGE PART OF THE AUDIENCE WAS CLAPPING at the fact the two women thrown out- What were they clapping about?? At the women getting robbed in public? The two women were victims yet the clapping audience saw them as criminals.
    This fact was immediately confirmed by what the podium speaker said in her pathetic attempt ‘to explain what had just happened’ and saying ‘they [the women] should not have been at the meeting’..oh really? Talk about a freudian slip!

    So obviously something was amiss here: the audience and speaker seemed more interested in seeing the two women thrown out of the room than discuss the subject of the town hall meeting: Health Care Reform. IF IT HAD BEEN A CLASSROOM that audience behavior would have made sense because kids are bored by the speaker and interested in any sort of theatrics.

    CONCLUSION: either the audience was just a bunch of IMMATURE kids or RACIST (in their unfair treatment and judgement ) towards the two women (who were NOT disrupting the proceedings in any obvious way at the time).

    Hillsburogh Missouri? ok I guess I wont recommend that neck of the woods to any of my friends. There’s nicer places to spend money.

  20. #20 dal
    September 16, 2009

    Luckily, not everyone in that audience jeered at the victimized women..so perhaps there is hope for Missouri..That Senator should keep praying. She may pray, have faith and hope but won’t get my love….until she see the error of her ways and learn that true leadership isn’t catering to the ignorance of a constituency.

  21. #21 llewelly
    September 18, 2009

    (angerly?)

    (angrily?)

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2009

    Well, orneryish then.

  23. #24 SQB
    September 19, 2009

    Interesting article, that in Newsweek. The part about the black Santa reminded me of the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas (I’m Dutch). His Black Petes are another prime example of how racism works. For me, the celebration is always a weird mix of fond childhood memories and shame. But we’re getting off topic here, I’m afraid.

  24. #25 SQB
    September 19, 2009

    The reason it reminded me of Sinterklaas but which I forgot to add, is that I saw a report on a similar experiment with a black Sinterklaas with White Peters. Kids had no problem with that, but most adults thought you shouldn’t mess with tradition.

  25. #26 wtf
    September 22, 2009

    screw the sign kerfuffle, wtf happened to the separation of church and state “remember we all started this meeting with a prayer”

  26. #27 Mayya
    September 22, 2009

    @Mike H

    “Queen hippo.” Yes, your perception of the woman’s body immediately invalidates any social, racial, or philosophical discussion of what happened and any commentary on the situation. Please let us know what other qualities, real or imagined, we must consider before analyzing whether racism exists. I’m sure your response will be nothing short of astounding.

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