Monday, January 30, 2012

Arizona gov. uses old racist dodge to explain bad treatment of President Obama

By DeWayne Wickham

I really wanted to ignore the dust up over President Obama’s recent ugly encounter with Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. As troubling as it was to see the picture of her wagging her finger in his face, the shock value of such a showing of disrespect towards the president has by now worn off on me.

Brewer was just the most recent in a growing list of right-wingers to publicly display their contempt for him. My outrage over how she got up in Obama’s face like an irate mother lecturing an overgrown son also was tempered by the president’s attempt to downplay the incident, which centered on how he was portrayed in Brewer’s recent book.

“This is not a big deal,” Obama told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer about the incident that occurred on the tarmac of Phoenix’s airport moments after he stepped off of Air Force One a few days ago. “I think this is a classic example of things getting blown out of proportion.”

Brewer’s actions would have been disrespectful to any president, but the fact that Obama is our first black president raises questions of her real motives. That’s because the Arizona governor seemed to be channeling Willa Jean Boswell when she said she “felt a little bit threatened” by the president during her terse exchange with him, which occurred in front of two local mayors, Secret Service agents, a knot of journalists and a small group of people who stood in a nearby receiving line.

Threatened, really? I don’t think so.

Back in 1951, Boswell, a 17-year-old white girl, had Matt Ingram thrown in jail for something akin to what Brewer claims the president did. Boswell complained the 44-year-old black farmer looked at her in a frightening way. Charged with rape by leer, Ingram was found guilty by an all-white jury that convicted him of looking at Boswell in a way that constituted an assault — even though he never said a word or came within 75 feet of her.

Just as Ingram was jailed for “reckless eyeballing,” Brewer wants us to believe that in her encounter with the president — in which she appeared to do most of the talking — he somehow managed to threaten her. Maybe she was intimidated by his calm demeanor as he voiced his objection to what she wrote in her book about a White House meeting she had with the president last year.

Or maybe she was alarmed by his wry smile as she leaned into him and put her finger in his face. It could be she was frightened by Obama’s decision to walk away from her in mid-sentence as she was giving the president his comeuppance in front of a bank of news photographers?

But I suspect the feisty governor didn’t feel a pang of fear until the picture of her tongue-wagging, finger-shaking assault on the president of the United States was flashed around the world and generated a lot of negative reactions.

What she did on that airport tarmac was by any reasonable standard a gross act of disrespect to the president. But what she said in defense of her bad behavior was even worse. It was a less than subtle appeal to the well-worn racial stereotype of a black man who can assault a white woman with little more than a glance.

And for that Brewer deserves to be called out.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

"Brewer's actions would have been disrespectful to any president, but the fact that Obama is our first black president raises questions of her real motives."

Really? How, exactly, do you know what Brewer's "real motives" are? Do you know her? Have you ever even met her? Or are you, once again, viewing everything through the prism of race?

"Threatened, really? I don't think so."

You're not a woman, so how would you know how she felt? In that now-iconic photo, Obama towers over Brewer by a foot or more - indeed, is in fact leaning over her. Small women can, and do, feel threatened by that stance. Since only women can possibly know how that feels, just who are you - a man - to gainsay her? [Insert 60-year-old anecdote of a small woman who was attacked by a tall man.] What are you, some kind of sexist?

See how readily your tactics can be used against you?

Not everyone who disagrees with the President is a racist. It might be disrespectful to publicly disagree with him (and George Bush was never, of course, publicly disrespected!), but your familiar knee-jerk reaction - it must be racism! There's no other possible reason! - does Obama, and the country, a real disservice.

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So,Socrates said...

There is the clasic way of behavior of desendents of those europeans peoples that landing here in this territories named America ( a spanish s name as a example of irony) with the only purpose of murder and rip-off their lands to millions of native americans. Oh,but those european desendents feel they are more natives of this land that the very native Americans ,which their forephather almost get exterminated. Now we see this governor "lady" acting as the land lord of America. I think that some one must search her geonologic tree to see who she really is and what class of family she came from and from what part of Europe. When natives Americans complain because the rip-off of their lands and also the abusive hunting of bison with Buffalo Bill as head hunter,people like her claiming for the extermination of those"barbarian indigenous natives ameticans. There is a true in this: the desendents of murder and thiefs protect much more the robbed and misobtaining "propierties and lands" that the real owners. Now we see how she is writing laws which are supported for other desendents of europeans colonos(read rip-offers of american lands) In the afan of protect the fruit of the rip-off lands,the governor "lady" is driven by the natural hate of the criminal that realize that what she is doing is wrong. But who is paid for her hate and anti-inmigrant campain in arizona? That is ease to know. Just look around her and her suppoters. No people full of hate has last forever and a sample I will portrait Adolf Hitler and his clan of jews killers. Where they are now? I say they are in the thrash can of the history. That is the place for this governor " lady" and his clan of haters. They got so much hate,that they cant occult their feeling even in front of the president of u.s.a. The President domped her in the history trash can with his smoth caracter and his smailing. It was like when you see a poor dog barking at you in the other side of the fence,but you know that the dog is just an animal tha is living for instinst. May be she was just barking for a bone. Poor "lady" she deserve a lot of mercy and pity. Probably she even is not happy in her person life. Lord forget the poor thing. Amen.