Do you agree with this comment?

obama“There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African American should not be president,” those are former President Carter’s words, discussing the verbal attacks on President Obama that have included last week’s outburst by Republican lawmaker Joe Wilson.


Is he right? In the past few weeks attacks on President Obama’s healthcare reform plans have been relentless. But do you think they are based on racist sentiments or are they attacks of citizens frustrated at their president’s decisions?

43 Responses to “Do you agree with this comment?”

  1. 1 patti in cape coral
    September 16, 2009 at 17:40

    “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African American should not be president,”

    Yes, I agree those words are true, especially depending on what part of the U.S. you are in.

  2. 2 nora
    September 16, 2009 at 18:03

    The mood in our rural community has gotten ugly. Racism in the redwoods has come all the way out of the closet since Joe Wilson. As a woman with an African-American boyfriend I have felt the heat intensify and explode on me and mine in a way that did not break the surface in the past.

    I am grateful WHYS is covering this.

  3. 3 Kate M.
    September 16, 2009 at 18:29

    Joe Wilson said what he said because he does not agree with the President. Not because the president is African American. Based on the logic mentioned above that must mean that all the people who disagreed with Bush hated Caucasians. Unfortunately racism does still exist, all over the world I might add. Racism does not solely exist in the Southeastern US. However I do not think that Joe Wilson’s comments were based on race. Health Care has always been a touchy subject in the US.

  4. 4 vijay pillai
    September 16, 2009 at 18:52

    This is not about racism but if someone so close to an issue like heath care and very likely emotions got better of him and it has been accepted that as a reason ,and that should be the end of the matter . President Carter a father figure to the nation should be given the last word to direct the future of america in the 21st century as he sees fit.

  5. 5 M. Madison
    September 16, 2009 at 19:39

    We can’t know what’s in Joe Wilson’s heart, but in 2000 he did vote against removing the Confederate Battle Flag flown over his state’s capital, and he criticized Essie Mae Washington-Williams for “smearing” Thurmond’s legacy when she revealed she was Strom Thurmond’s daughter (her mother was Thurmond’s black maid).

  6. 6 anu_d
    September 16, 2009 at 19:59

    I see people are attacking Obama’s intended action—of turning the country into United Socialist America……that he is unable to defend anymore with his now seemingly repititve wordsmited speeches….

    And attacking his idealogy of turning the shining beacon of capitalism that was the basic defining character of that nation….into a govt subsidized & charitized welfare state, that taxes the rich and distributes amidst the poor.

    The attackers would have attacked any President who attempted turning around 200 years of legacy by 180degrees in a 2 years tenure when he wasn’t chartered to do that…….but this presidents’s supporter have resorted to the cheapest defense…that of racism….which is nothing but an acknowledgement of a battle being lost.

  7. 7 Maccus Germanis
    September 16, 2009 at 21:23

    Some number of Americans likely do reflect Carter’s racist accusations. But the charge is designed to indict all that criticsize the president. Anyone that has experienced racism should readily recognised that Carter just said, “those people…” If he can’t name anyone then he should stop recklessly creating division.

  8. 8 Jennifer
    September 16, 2009 at 21:27

    I think that people trying to play the race card are afraid to have an actual debate about health care or any other issue for that matter. So, they have to lower everyone to arguing about RACE. It totally changes a conversation. It’s like a last ditch effort to bully and intimidate simply by using race.

    The real “racists” are the people who use this race card.

  9. 9 Carole in OR
    September 16, 2009 at 21:32

    No, no, no. The majority of the US voted in the best man for the job, without regard to his race. The South does not represent the the US as a whole. The real issue here is the self righteous attitude of entitlement that the far right feels justifies rudeness. Our society has become rude, inconsiderate and lacking civility from the lowest all the way to the top in Washington. This lack of consideration for others is the reality of what is at the core of our problems, we have forgotten the concept of shame that would keep companies or politicians from taking advantage. We have forgotten our sense of consideration that would make us feel shame if our neighbor was in need and we didn’t offer a hand. That is not charity it is community.

    • 10 Jennifer
      September 17, 2009 at 15:04

      Re: The South does not represent the the US as a whole.

      Well, if that’s true then we can also say that people in OR do not represent the U.S. as a whole either. This statement is extremely rude and shows just how rude some are; that they don’t value varying opinions. It shows how far some will go to criticize anyone who does not support everything the president does.

      It would have been considerate if the American people were not lied to.

    • 11 Kate M.
      September 17, 2009 at 16:47

      I have lived in New York and California. I was raised in South Carolina and currently live in Florida. I can tell you with certainty racism is not restricted to the American South. I have witnessed it in every place I have lived. The stereotype that racism exist only with white southerners is false.

    September 16, 2009 at 21:44

    I think his comments are correct to a certain degree, as some will never accept a black man as their leader. It’s a shame that the Republican Party is seeking these nuts for support and as usual it’s a small percentage that ruins it for the majority.

    Lets make the center States Jesus land and move them all out there, they will make lots of holly land experience fun parks (this is real) after a short time they will just shoot each other with there high power weapons Anyway! 😦


  11. 13 Tara
    September 16, 2009 at 21:45

    Racism is, sadly, still common in the US. Sure, some of the inflammatory comments directed at Obama may be racist because there are a number of vocal racists stating their feelings.

    An interesting point that this discussion misses, however, is that the conservative rhetoric machine fueled by organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and a number of corporations including Coors has only grown in size and power and is able to afford chain e-mails, ads, brochures, and multi-million dollar commercials that do inflame the public. One example of such a commercial includes the one recently aired aimed at scaring women with breast cancer. This commercial was full of lies.

    Concerning Joe Wilson, he may have been riled up about the the topic Obama was covering when he was interrupted, but Obama was not lying. The bill does not state that it will cover illegal immigrants; it simply includes a nondiscrimination clause that is quite generic.

  12. September 16, 2009 at 21:47

    The first question anyone asks when there is opposition to a non-white is whether their opposition is based on racism.
    Joe Wilson’s lack of respect for the president is presented as the clearest distinction of that hidden racism.
    Why then is Serena Williams outburst with a white line judge not immediately branded as racism. Why was Kanye West’s clear disrespect at the music awards show not branded as racism?
    I beleive racism is alive and well, but it is not the source of president Obama’s current difficulties, any more than the vitriol that was spouted agains former president Bush was due to his race.

    The sooner we leave the race crutch behind the better we should be.

  13. 15 Matt
    September 16, 2009 at 21:55

    Does Rose Kennedy own a black dress? Come on…

  14. 16 Roberto
    September 17, 2009 at 00:32

    RE “” “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African American should not be president,” “”

    —————– Not exactly breaking news there.

    The way it was, is, and always shall be didn’t prevent Obama from being elected.

    Big fan of Jimmy Carter through thick and thin in his life, but he’s beginning to dodder a bit. Maybe he’s got something left and just trying to divert negative attention to himself, because otherwise there is no purpose to his statement.

  15. 17 James Legried
    September 17, 2009 at 00:56

    You are not asking the right question concerning the racist atmosphere in the U.S. today. The environment this is all taking place in is the national heatthcare debate where the health insurance industry and pharmacutical industry etc. stand to loose trillions of dollars if this “black” president succedes wih his push for healthcare reform. The wealthy elite in this country has a tiny constituincy and they need to trick and inflame the racists or the Christian evangelical crowd to do their bidding. If you look closely you will see this is exactly who is out in the streets decrying “keep your government hands of my Medicare” (Medicare is a successful government run healthcare system that the elderly enjoy in America). These mostly ignorant deluded people (who are bussed in by political front groups) are tools of the healthcare industries agenda. And for the rest of us they try to misdirect our good sense with scare tactics and fear like the famous “Harry and Louise” television advertisments. You will see the same thing happen in a few years when it’s the “Coal and Oil” industries turn. They will hire and use the same people and political front groups, just a different diatribe.

  16. 18 Mario
    September 17, 2009 at 05:48

    I think, President Carter is being honest enough to bring this subject into focus. Respect! I don’t understand why the vast majority of White folks does try to avoid discussing on race matters.

  17. 19 scmehta
    September 17, 2009 at 06:53

    Like I have commented in the ‘ World have your Say’ (main story), I feel that most of the opposition, demonstrated against president Obama’s policies, is incited and stage-managed. Why so much of hurry to oppose his policies, even before they are deeply understood by the common people and/or given reasonable time to take/show effects? However, Mr. Carter’s or Joe Wilson’s passionate remarks may understandable in the present circumstances, but they ought not be taken very seriously or egoistically.

  18. September 17, 2009 at 10:37

    When the people who don’t believe a black man ought to be THEIR President started screaming for him to produce an authentic birth certificate, AND the media covered it as NEWS and not insanity, the far right realized they could keep the limelight on themselves. They have been yelling at reasonable speakers since that day.

  19. 21 anu_d
    September 17, 2009 at 11:06

    @John Higgins
    “Why then is Serena Williams outburst with a white line judge not immediately branded as racism. Why was Kanye West’s clear disrespect at the music awards show not branded as racism?”

    Because of the following postulates:
    –that racism is a white man’s problem
    –there is no racism where there are no whites
    –there was no racim in places where there is, before the arrival of whites

  20. 22 James Ian
    September 17, 2009 at 11:46

    If anything I would say people have been over cautious about criticizing MR Obama because they do not want to appear Racist. As has been pointed out by other no one screamed foul when people said horrible things about Bush, even when they threw shoes at him, most people thought it was funny and said it was all part of being a public official.
    Public officials should be criticized and regularly, it helps keep them form getting too dishonest.

  21. 23 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    September 17, 2009 at 14:40

    I fear that Obama might not win his 2nd again!

  22. 24 MarcusAureliusII
    September 17, 2009 at 14:58

    The outburst was outrageous and demanded an apology. The criticism was right on target. Too bad it took such an incident to bring the issue to the level of public discussion. In a more appropriate forum, it would likely have been ignored. This kind of behavior may be suitable for the British House of Commons but not for the Congress of the United States.

  23. 25 John in Salem
    September 17, 2009 at 16:20

    Carter, unfortunately, is too close to the actual source of the anti-Obama movement to see it objectively. At the moment the Republican Party is being driven by the ultra-right wing Christian evangelical movement and politicians like Wilson are taking their stands based on political considerations more than anything else.
    Carter would be better advised not to cloud the issue and let this play out. American voters do not like extremists, and every Republican who takes their cue from this group will find it coming back to bite them on the next election cycle.

  24. 26 M. Madison
    September 17, 2009 at 17:05

    “I see people are attacking Obama’s intended action—of turning the country into United Socialist America… And attacking his idealogy of turning the shining beacon of capitalism that was the basic defining character of that nation….into a govt subsidized & charitized welfare state, that taxes the rich and distributes amidst the poor.”
    A little off topic, but: This is what happens in the US whenever anyone tries to discuss anything remotely related to politics (and issues that have been hijacked by politicians, such as teaching evolution and global warming). It’s simply impossible to explore issues. We’re gridlocked. Rather than keeping an open mind and looking for common ground, and making progress, we look for reasons to characterize and hate whoever has a different political philosophy. It’s really quite frightening and depressing.

  25. 27 Jenean Thompson
    September 17, 2009 at 18:11

    I totally disagree with President Carter’s remark and frankly I am getting a little irritated by these and all the similar ones we’re all hearing. I am probably one of the least racist people in the world. I firmly believe there are good and bad people in any race! I am one of the people who did not vote for President Obama in the last election. Not because he’s African American, but because I disagree with his policies. Now everytime any of us disagree with what he is doing, or what he says, we’re racist. How childish is that? I thought we live in the USA where we can voice our opinion. I’m sorry to say that I believe they have to keep saying we’re racist, because that is the only card they have left.

    Thank you so much for taking my opinion and for your wonderful, informative program.


  26. 28 Eric in Oregon
    September 17, 2009 at 19:08

    I’m disappointed that liberals are stooping to playing the race card over criticism of the government health care plan. It’s racist to assume that a bad idea touted by an african american president should be granted immunity from criticism! First, the liberals thought maybe they could use Ted Kennedy’s death to push through a healthcare bill in his honor – that maybe Americans would forget that the Bill was bad for them, and just accept it in the name of their love for the Massachusetts Senator. And now they’re claiming racism. Pretty weak. Pretty sad.

  27. 29 carolyninvegas
    September 18, 2009 at 00:38

    As a northerner (U.S.)who lived in the South for many years, I can say that Carter was right on target. Not everyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist, but much of the hate speech is coming from the South, and the South still has a lot of racists in the population. You’ve heard the saying, “Leopards don’t change their spots.” Every time I hear someone say something truly outrageous about our president, and I ask where they grew up, the answer is invariably a southern state. It’s sad, but it’s true. As a whole, the country is not racist. After all, we voted for Obama. And, we’re proud that our country has made such strides against racism.

  28. 30 Rotbart
    September 18, 2009 at 02:02

    Jimmy Carter, of double digit inflation fame, continues to show why he was not only the worst president of the last fifty years but, also, head and shoulders, continues to be the worst expresident. He is a first class boob and an embarrassment to the United States..

  29. 31 Maxine
    September 18, 2009 at 12:08

    The USA is the most multicultural country in the world. I doubt if there is even one country that is not represented there. And for the most part every one gets on very well. Sure, there are some stupid people with stupid ideas of superiority – within every color, we just have to live with that and hope that the day will soon come when their voices are not heard or reported on by an irresponsible media.

  30. September 18, 2009 at 14:23

    Dems desperate. Comment has zero to do with race and everything to do with a final disingenuous attempt at rallying for socialist medicine. The plain fact is that Obama was clearly not being forthright in that segment of his pitch for socialized medicine. As a public dissemination of mis-information, it needed to be called out on the spot. It smacked of a purposefully misinformed pressurized beginner insurance agent sales pitch replete with blatant absence of complete policy disclosure.
    But, what a typical shameful, dimwitted stretch. Last time I checked, liar had nothing to do with any particular race.
    Carter will support any salient anti Republican agenda. It is a Carvillesque orchestration. They all meet with Carvillites and cook up what will effectively splash mud on the right, and then speak with one mindless voice in concert with all leftist media.
    These dishonest creeps are even willing to sacrifice the long history of work most citizens in America have painstakingly achieved over 50 years for peaceful social integration.
    It is a similar to their freakishly dishonest trashing our US military leaders smack in the middle of a difficult international war on terror strictly for their own power grab.

  31. September 18, 2009 at 14:52

    Off course I agree with President Jimmy Carters comment. Hellooo….anyone disagreeing with his statement has to be utterly racist. we all know about whats going on in this country since Obama was elected.

    There is no clandestine style race operation here in the USA. Its out in the open and the hate mongers are making sure that their vioce is heard and spreadded thru their media propaganda outlets. What happend during this summers nationwide town halls and those glory banners says it all.

    Stop kidding yourself if you think these are not racism.

    • 35 James Ian
      September 20, 2009 at 03:54

      Just don’t want to let it die do you?
      We have a African Pesident, I think “That says it all”
      You are beating a dead horse, or at least one thet wants to die, but you don’t want to let it. You want to keep it alive so you can keep riding the “Poor Me” Horse.

  32. 36 nora
    September 18, 2009 at 14:54

    On “The Race Card”

    My early post on a spike of racism in the redwoods sparked lots of race cards, presuming that being the butt of hate is a game. First off, I live in California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains where there are a lot of bikers who resent immigrants, African-Americans and government. The President is all three. Before they had to hate in different directions, The town square is the pub at happy hour. When you combine alcohol and tea party agitators, the good old boys feel entitled.

    Example: While drinking a quiet beer with my boyfriend, a young local came up without saying hello, told him to “roll me a cigarette” as a gruff command and snapped his fingers. When an older patron gave him a smoke to back him off, he said he had been “working like an N______, stuffing his face towards my boyfriend.
    When I confronted him about it a few days later, there was a near racefest of his buddies proclaiming their right to be racist and high-fiving and jeering. Almost all of these folks had attended a party I threw there for a friend a few weeks ago, but since Joe Wilson there has been a shift in the hate level.

  33. 37 patti in cape coral
    September 18, 2009 at 16:21

    I was raised in the north and have lived in the south US for 13 years. In my experience, racism is more prevalent in the South. I would agree that there are racists in the north, but there are either much less of them, or they don’t feel comfortable vocalizing their sentiments.

    In the South I have noticed that a lot of people have no qualms about expressing their racism. I was at the beach with my son a couple of years ago, watching a little white girl playing in the sand with a little black boy and actually heard a woman say “Kentucy (presumably her daughter’s name) get over here, you know you ain’t supposed to be playing with no n**gers.” I felt like I was slapped in the face. When I was In grade school this kind of racism was presented as history, and I assumed this was over a long time ago.

    I agree that not everyone in the South is a racist, and not everyone that opposes President Obama’s ideas/policies is a racist, but it would be naive to think that racists won’t use opposition to his policies to hide their racism. Just as naive as me thinking racism was just history.

  34. 38 nora
    September 18, 2009 at 18:53

    For people who do not know the history, South Carolina was the first state to remove itself from the U.S. and fired the first shot of the Civil War. The Confederate Flag is still an issue today. It has the largest percentage of African-Americans of any state, with Joe Wilson representing the whitest district.

    His rudeness is seen by some as a call to arms on race. There is no denying history. The deck is stacked with ‘race cards’ by people who want to stay stuck in the past and elect guys like Joe. Joe’s rudeness to a black man will make special friends with financial benefits. He had a fundraising spiel up on his website up in less than 24 hours, to make my point.

    Were the shootings of anti-racist leaders like Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy just ‘race cards’? Who invented this ‘race card.’?

    Daniel Webster once said that South Carolina was “too small for a country and too large for an insane asylum”. My ancestors came from there, and my grandmother who was born there gave me the quote.

  35. September 19, 2009 at 13:25

    Clearly the US like the rest of the world is hurting economically. Whoever is in charge will be pilloried. The fact that the current president is black is being used as an unjustifiable excuse to up the vitriol. But as the elected president, he must take the blame. As President Truman said ” If your can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. Heat is non-discriminatory you can only escape it in the shadow.

  36. 40 NSC London
    September 20, 2009 at 20:22

    Throwing accusations of “racism” around is a bit dangerous, I’m never comfortable when the old race card is pulled out.

    Much of US populace is openly or covertly racist (a surprising number are totally up front about it) and to be fair, the Republican Party does leverage this group as a voter base.

    But, and this is a big BUT, the Repubs are always happy to make good use of “an ethnic” when they’re willing to play ball and eat from the rich white man’s hand. Condi Rice, Colin Powell and Anthony Esposito being prime examples of men and women of colour who are willing to partake in various games of fetch for the dark side.

  37. 41 Priyam
    September 21, 2009 at 07:39

    The issue is not about African-American or White presidents, the issue is about the decorum, about respect and an irresponsible man who said a wrong thing in the wrong time. Racism is horrible but so is disrespect to a President.

  38. October 22, 2009 at 13:11

    But it also requires a prodigious ability to construct the proper meaning on the basis of linguistic and nonlinguistic context. ,

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