Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From "Nigger" to "States Rights": The Use of Racially Coded Words in Politics

I've been holding back from talking about this isssue for sometime, but now is the time to talk about it. I compile a list of code words I've heard politicians utilize to speak about race issues without coming off as bigoted:

Whites

Average Joe
Joe six-pack
Moral voters
Independent voter
Evangelical voter
Hockey Mom
Soccer Mom
The southern vote
blue collar workers

Blacks

Welfare recipient
Poor people
Inner-city
Affirmative action supporter

These are just a handful of examples of how our media and politicians (not to mention everyday people) use racialized language to refer to groups of Americans without sounding like they are mentioning anything overtly bigoted. They can use these words and say "the southern vote looks high for.......John Doe" without saying that most southern whites will vote for John Doe. They can say "I don't support just handing out welfare to recipients while hard working Americans bust their asses" without saying "I think blacks are lazy and whites are industrious".

Going all the way back to the 1920s, racially coded language have been used by politicians to describe certain groups of people in hoping to appeal to a much greater audience in winning a race for Governor, President of the United States, Senator, even Mayor & County Commission. Sadly this kind of tactic has worked & it shows no sign of going away.

I hear so much talk about how much better we are in terms of racism in our country. Yes, we've gotten rid of terms such as 'nigger', 'spic', 'gook' from our daily vocabulary, but have we done much in the way of conditioned messages? I don't think so, and many seem intent on keeping things this way by claiming "racism's over", "that stuff ended long ago", "get past it", etcetera.

It's funny how ready most liberal whites were to vote for Obama in the name of change and hope, and not to mention the fact that he's black and how this would "end racism" or something like that. However, three years later, when the country is back to debating issues and race becomes an inevitable facet of the discussion.

Other racial code words include terms like "states' rights," "crime in the streets," and "welfare queens, quotas, reverse racism are uninitiated, racial code words are words politicians (usually Republicans) are accused of using to supposedly help them win votes by raising whites' fears of minorities.

At his now infamous presidential kick-off campaign rally at Neshoba County (Philadelphia), Mississippi in 1980, held virtually a stone throw from where the three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964, Ronald Reagan shouted to a lily white crowd that “I believe in states’ rights.” He laced his campaign speech with stock racial code words and phrases, blasting welfare, big government, federal intrusion in state affairs, and rampant federal spending. He used the term Welfare Queens to justify cutting back social programs. Only being removed from the civil rights era 10 years earlier, that kind of "wink, wink" approach was gobbled up by those who was duped & conned by the Southern Strategy of 1968, which was, above all else, about winning the rural, white Southern vote into the Republican sphere because the Democratic Party falling apart because of its inability to contain the contradictions of being both the formal party of civil rights in the North and the party of Jim Crow in the South.


Other words like "Uppity" which Congressman Lynn Westmoreland called president Obama one time late in the 2008 campaign & GOP congressional candidate Rick Goddard criticized an MSNBC reporter’s sharp questioning of former House speaker Newt Gingrich at the Republican National Convention. Goddard called the African-American reporter, Ron Allen, “uppity“

When the current President is called a criminal, a welfare cheat, they're using new terms to get the point across: he's Black, he's urban, and he's out of step with the rest of us. Plain & simple.

When Newt Gingrich said at the Ga GOP State Convention over the weekend that Obama was a Food Stamp president, now lets be real hear, anytime the words food stamps are mentioned, black people comes to mind, as well as hispanics. That is racially coded my friend.

Sometimes they don't have to be racially coded. Here are a few code words the Democrats think Republicans use, along with the “real” meanings Democrats believe.

State’s rights.” That really means legalized racial discrimination.

Family values.” That really stands for legalized gender discrimination.

Junk lawsuits.” That is any lawsuit by an individual that demands a corporation be held accountable for their misdeeds.

Tort reform.” That is taking away a victim’s right to sue criminal corporations and putting rich people above the law.

Socialist: communist, liberal, progressive, community organizer.”

All these words actually are Republican code for “black.”“We share your values.” That means we are bigots like you.

The Republicans have some code words they attach to the Democrats as well.

In their heads, if a republican hear a Democrat utter the following words, you have to understand the real meaning behind them.

Invest.” That means spend.“

Stimulus. That is spending devoted to liberal causes.

Racism.”Well, I can’t win this argument with you, so this is all I’ve got!

Fiscal responsibility: You don’t pay enough taxes.

Comprehensive immigration reform.” Amnesty.

Republicans are the party of fear” They want to take your Medicare, your Social Security and free school lunches for poor kids.“

Freedom of religion. For everybody but traditional Christians

I can on on & on in talking about this subject, but one thing's for sure, the use of racially coded words to appeal to certain demographics & voting blocs are harmful to the political process. But sadly politicians (most of the time republicans) use this to their advantage & it works.

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