Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Confronting The Coded Racism of Donald Trump"

Ari Melber (The Nation):
Even respected liberal commentators have given Trump something of a pass for the racial tension animating Birtherism. Hendrik Hertzberg, the authoritative essayist, argues in this week's New Yorker that Trump's appeal to birtherism is "part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality" by Republicans, like denying the science of global warming, or believing that "contraception causes abortion."

I think that a loose relationship with the scientific method surely helps conspiracies spread, but Birtherism draws on passions that depart substantially from greenhouse gasses. It is a putatively non-racial, vaguely constitutional way to challenge the legitimacy of the first black president and appeal to racists without sounding officially racist. Sure, there may be plenty of G.O.P. tenets running counter to reality nowadays, yet none evoke the suppressed fury of the Birthers. They won't go away. They are an audience-in-waiting for any amplified race-baiter, from Lou Dobbs to unserious presidential candidates. Indeed, Politifact, the fact-checking site for politics, says its article about the issue, (with a link to the certification of live birth!), is the most read item that it has ever published.

I asked Hertzberg about his formulation, and while he wouldn't "exclude racist undertones," he said the attack is "more about identity." "Obama’s erudition, his ivy-league-ness, his urbanity, his citizen-of-the-worldness, his foreign-sounding name, his respect for the authority of reason and science, his 'aristocratic' 'aloofness' (all of which I love, of course) are equally or more part of the package," Hertzberg proposed in an email. MORE...
Howie P.S.: For the record, the photo above DID NOT accompany this article. I found it online somewhere else (The New Yorker).

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