Projecting racism on white people


by Sunny
27th October, 2008 at 8:18 am    

One of the key points I made in my “Can we give the white working classes what they want” speech at the Fabian event at the Labour Party conference was that a lot of middle class white commentators on this country – people like Rod Liddle for example – use the working classes to project their own bigotry. It’s that classic Enoch Powell syndrome – conjure up a conversation with some poor white sod who says the area has changed beyond recognition, and then say you’re only stating what the poor, downtrodden white working class person is saying: that immigration destroys this country etc.

In the United States, the same discussion keeps coming up in the form of the bloody “Bradley effect“, which is constantly talked about to justify why whites might end up switching their votes from Barack Obama at the last minute because they can’t bring themselves to vote for a black man.
In an article for the NY Times, Frank Rich reaches a similar conclusion to me:

But the other, less noticed lesson of the year has to do with the white people the McCain campaign has been pandering to. As we saw first in the Democratic primary results and see now in the widespread revulsion at the McCain-Palin tactics, white Americans are not remotely the bigots the G.O.P. would have us believe. Just because a campaign trades in racism doesn’t mean that the country is racist. It’s past time to come to the unfairly maligned white America’s defense.

Well, there are racists in western Pennsylvania, as there are in most pockets of our country. But despite the months-long drumbeat of punditry to the contrary, there are not and have never been enough racists in 2008 to flip this election. In the latest New York Times/CBS News and Pew national polls, Obama is now pulling even with McCain among white men, a feat accomplished by no Democratic presidential candidate in three decades, Bill Clinton included. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds age doing more damage to McCain than race to Obama.

I’ve said before of course, that I think the current Republican Party is full of scum. I stand by that. In the last week of the election, the McCain campaign is going to generate an amazing amount of “Robo-call slime” in order to make people fear voting Obama. Who knows if it will work – this election is still not in the bag. And plus, the Democrats are incredibly lame at responding to negative attacks.

The problem for McCain is that Obama is basically swamping McCain everywhere with ads – sometimes by 3-1 – and pushing everyone to vote early. This means that changing the narrative at the last minute against Obama is a very difficult task for him. McCain is very low on cash. But do not underestimate the bile that Republicans are capable of generating.

One last point – this is also a slap in the face for those stupid lefties who keep buying into the right-wing talking point that it’s the “latte sipping east/west coast liberals” who don’t understand “real America”. You know who you are.


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  1. Letters From A Tory — on 27th October, 2008 at 11:00 am  

    The US election campaign has been a titantic struggle from start to finish and I would be horrified if the last few days are taken up by McCain using all his remaining dollars to scare the American public into voting Republican. If he resorts to this tactic then Obama has won.

    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  2. MaidMarian — on 27th October, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

    Sunny – I see where it is you are coming from, but I am not sure I buy this as a whole.

    Yes, the ‘White Working Class’ (assuming such a thing exists, of course) has words put into its mouth and is used as a political stalking horse by all sides.

    I realise that in the cut-and-thrust of an on the ground campaign it is easy to become partisan but how is this different from your assertion on here last week that negative campaigning is a sound political strategy? You could, legitiamtely, tell me that the sentiment is different but negative politics is negative politics.

    The article more or less says that people should support Obama because he is not McCain – there is not a positive point in here.

    Whilst I can only agree that McCain has been forced onto the negative and the politics of fear I struggle more with the implicit assertion that this is something unique to the right.

    It certainly jarrs when you appear to project electoral ills on, ‘those stupid lefties who keep buying into the right-wing talking point…’

    Winning elections is a mucky business, but I would hazard a guess that the company you are currently keeping at the moment does not really look at it that way. Fair enough I suppose.

  3. shariq — on 27th October, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

    Don’t lefties also project racism onto white working class people in order to make up for their own electoral inadequacies for instance?

  4. Refresh — on 27th October, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

    What is being fought, and Obama is to be congratulated for this, is a class war.

    There was never any reason for the working class to rely on the Republicans. All they ever offered was delayed gratification.

    Racism was and always will be a tool to keep the working class down. Its a ruse to divide those in economic need from those that want.

  5. Refresh — on 27th October, 2008 at 2:58 pm  

    ‘What is being fought, and Obama is to be congratulated for this, is a class war.’

    Did I say that? I suppose should have waited til he’s in Oval Office.

  6. Boyo — on 27th October, 2008 at 4:58 pm  

    You’re analysis was spot on Sunny, I’m not sure about the “cure” though. Immigration was “imposed” upon the WWC by the same Fabian-style middle classes you are now calling on to support them. These are the ones who shouted down any hostility to their plans with the cry “racist!”.

    Guardianistas have always loathed the WWC, so it’s hardly surprising they set about their destruction with the same gusto they pronounce “chav” at their Ukrainian-catered and cleaned-up dinner parties. It’s a tribal thing is my guess – they knew if there really was a red revolution, they’d be up against the wall alongside their old school pals from the City.

    It’s actually a mark of their success that they’ve managed to vegetise the WWC to such an extent, largely through benefit dependency and the low self esteem borne of this and much else, that they actually feel it’s safe to take pity on them.

    It was a fringe event tho’!

    Not counting you in the above, mind ;-)

  7. Rayyan — on 27th October, 2008 at 7:50 pm  

    According to a pollster speaking at a US elections event at LSE last week, an analysis of the ten most recent years’ worth of elections where a black candidate ran against a white candidate showed that the Bradley effect didn’t exist. The polls say it will be an Obama landslide: it might very well be, and it’s almost certain he has won. We all know it; they all know it. The Dems on the ground have to fight the feeling that it’s all done, though: in their hard efforts to GOTV lies hope for progressives all over the world.

  8. MaidMarian — on 27th October, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

    Boyo – Whatever chav is it is very much not the same thing as working class. There is a world of difference between those two things. You confuse working class and underclass.

    It appears, implicitly at least, that you think chav is admirable and/or done down – would you care to elaborate on that? Those that run riot on the estate I used to live on don’t look all that done down or vegetised to my untrained eye.

    A tribal thing? Weel my grandparents were, I suppose archetypal WWC. Both worked in ‘old’ industry, were members of unions etc. What they wanted was for my parents for them not to be working class. There was nothing tribal abut their aspirations, indeed they encouraged their grandchildren to aim up the social ladder. They were, of course old-style Labour socialists but that was butressed by some serious social conservatism. Benefit dependency amongst the WWC back then was frowned upon and then some. And they always knew that they had more in common with the immigrant working classes than most other parts of society. I doubt they would have recognised the ‘imposition’ you allude to.

    I expect that they would have loathed chav every bit as much as the guardianista of your fetid imagination.

    Going back to the article – Obama right now probably has his mind set on what every first-term American President wants more than anything, a second term.

  9. Refresh — on 27th October, 2008 at 8:10 pm  

    MaidMarian, I think I would have enjoyed the company of your grandparents.

    As for underclass and chav, I find both terms repulsive. They are terms designed to lock people in their place – consigned and forgotten. I could argue they are a political term for people of little electoral value, which lets the politicians off the hook.

    And UK’s Obama (no Sunny, not you), will be looking for backing from the underclass and chavs.

  10. MaidMarian — on 27th October, 2008 at 8:30 pm  

    Refresh – I have no doubt you would have liked thier company!

    In a way I don’t like the term underclass. I don’t like terms I can’t define. That said, I can’t define pornography but I am quite certain it is real. A political term? Maybe but that does not prevent there being some remote credibility behind the sentiment of those terms. Underclass is real.

    And the UK’s Obama can look all he wants to – underclass probably does not vote.

    I don’t want to derail a thread about US politics so I will cut this short and wish you well. It is sad that few are willing to engage the term ‘underclass.’ There is a real debate to be had there.

  11. Jai — on 27th October, 2008 at 8:54 pm  

    That said, I can’t define pornography but I am quite certain it is real.

    I can’t remember who said this, but I do remember someone in the media or on the internet once humorously remarking that “eroticism is using a feather, porn is using the whole damn chicken”.

    Funny stuff.

    With apologies for temporarily lowering the tone. Carry on.

  12. Rumbold — on 27th October, 2008 at 8:55 pm  

    Carry On indeed Jai.

  13. Refresh — on 27th October, 2008 at 10:08 pm  

    MaidMarian

    I think it could be quite relevant to US politics and the thread.

    The term initially was coined to describe the outcome of Thatcherite policies. In the same way we have the ‘deserving and the undeserving poor’ and ‘hardworking families’. The tragedy is that where the term was anti-thatcherite in origin, it seems to have been accepted as a strata that society is lumbered with, thanks to ASBOs etc. For that we have New Labour and Tony Blair to thank.

  14. billericaydicky — on 28th October, 2008 at 7:19 am  

    I can hardly believe this, I am finding myself almost in agreement with some of those posting here. I think it would be as well to define some of the phraseology being used here.

    WWC is as much a state of mind as a way of defining income and skills. Many people like myself would define myself as WWC even though we are financially considerably better off than people that most would define as middle class.

    To understand the word Chave you would definitey need to be WWC and probably have worked in the building industry and come up against Gypsies. Chavvy is Romany/Gypo for a child or young person.

    Like a lot of similar words,Jook for dog and cushy for something pleasant as well as deck for look these words seem to have an Indian origen and have passed into the vernacular of the WWC.

    In the hands of the Guardianistas Chav became a word of derision to be bandied around at dinner parties and used by ” mockneys ” like Rod Liddle.

    Underclass was, as far as I can tell, first used by Charles Murray, he of Bell Curve fame, in an earlier book called “Losing Ground” which influenced both the Reagan and Thatcher administrations. Those losing ground were white people with jobs and careers who supported themselves and their families and did not live off the state.

    He started the theory of the underclass genetically and proposited that it was no good throwing money at it as the people the money was intended to help could not be helped. He went on the refine this with Hernstein in the “Bell Curve”.

    The American thing is interesting as well as the reactions by the black elite of this country to the possibility of an Obama victory.

    It is clear that if he is elected he will have done so on white and Latino votes and this will be a very clear indication that American racial politics have moved on from the 1960s even though Jesse Jackson and co are still there.

    Obama is under attack both in America and here for not being black enough, for forgetting his roots and acting white. On the other hand some black politicos and commentators are hailing his victory, if it comes, as a black victory over the slave owners.

    This week Diane Abbott is quoted in the Voice as saying that the ” black community” was holding its breath and Simon Wooley of OBV is claiming it is time for a black PM. Mind you at the time of the election of the Pope he reckoned it was time for a black one. I e mailed him that the Pope was chosen by the College of Cardinals guided by the Holy Spirit and that Heaven didn’t have racial quotas. He never got back to me, perhaps he doesn’t have a sense of humour!

    Obamas election, if it happens, will have consequences this side of the pond in the race industry. If a black man can make President on talent where does that leave all our talentless/quota demanding/all black short lists/apologies for slavery crowd. Up shit creek without a paddle as they say in the British Army.

  15. Sunny — on 28th October, 2008 at 7:36 am  

    Guardianistas have always loathed the WWC, so it’s hardly surprising they set about their destruction with the same gusto they pronounce “chav” at their Ukrainian-catered and cleaned-up dinner parties.

    Oh this really is rubbish too. The Guardian runs a lot more stuff about the need to regenerate WWC areas and what has been happening in those areas than the right-wing press. Economically redistributive policies, which is what the left always stands for, is what the right-wing abhor.

    So please, if there’s anyone who has real contempt for the WWC – then its the Daily Mail. And what is what I meant in my speech – they use the WWC as an excuse when they want to bash immigrants or whatever.

    If a black man can make President on talent where does that leave all our talentless/quota demanding/all black short lists/apologies for slavery crowd

    funnily enough, echoed here in The Vibe magazine this month in the election special. Hip hop artist says that if Obama wins, “black people don’t have an excuse no more.”

    LOL. But keep in mind – Obama is an exceptional politician who has gotten to near the biggest seat because of the exceptional circumstances we are in. It wouldn’t happen in “normal” times.

    Though, race relations have changed a lot here very quickly.

  16. justforfun — on 28th October, 2008 at 10:30 am  

    “gotten” ?? – come home Sunny – you’ve been in the USA too long.

    justforfun

  17. MaidMarian — on 28th October, 2008 at 1:36 pm  

    BillericayDicky – As I understood it, Underclass as a term was first used in the UK by Murray in the late 1980s. There was no anti-thatcherism about it at all, Murray was an avowed member of the new right. In the states it has a slightly longer heritage but again Murray was the first to really go to town.

    As far as I am aware his UK ‘debut’ was in the Sunday Times though he expanded on it in his book.

    From memory, Frank Field wrote a book in which he attempted to posit a different interpretation of Underclass as being (effectively) a type of deserving poor (for want of a better term).

    Murray always accepted that the UK and US underclasses were different and that is an important distinction that has been overlooked in discussion of the subject. I don’t think he ever himself said that underclass was genetic, though he did argue that poverty can be reinforced through generations and that it was extremely difficult for people to fight their way out of the underclass.

    Murray was a journalist and something of a controversialist rather than a ‘serious’ writer. It has been a while since I read the original but from memory parts of what Murray had to say were not totally far from the good parts of what later became the ‘exclusion’ argument.

    Underclass to many is a dirty word, it shouldn’t be. Indeed, you say that WWC is a state of mind rather than something per se real. Couldn’t much the same argument be made for underclass?

  18. Kismet Hardy — on 28th October, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    WWC sounds like a war in a toilet…

  19. Golam Murtaza — on 29th October, 2008 at 8:36 am  

    WWC = World Wrestling Confederation

  20. chavscum — on 29th October, 2008 at 2:37 pm  

    Its interesting that sunny mixes US and UK social and racial politics, as if they are the same. This is a mistake made by the white middle-class left since the 60s. They imported (and hijacked) the black struggle in America and applied it to our own growing ethnic population. The US black population are descended from slaves, having lived there for hundreds of years. The UK ethnic population was invited to work here after the war. Its make up was varied. Many of those that came were the ambitious and came from the middle-classes of the country of their origin. Yet to the wmcl, they were victims. Their policies since have followed the same path.

    “It’s actually a mark of their success that they’ve managed to vegetise the WWC to such an extent, largely through benefit dependency and the low self esteem borne of this and much else, that they actually feel it’s safe to take pity on them”

    Completely agree, Boyo.

    “Oh this really is rubbish too. The Guardian runs a lot more stuff about the need to regenerate WWC areas and what has been happening in those areas than the right-wing press. Economically redistributive policies, which is what the left always stands for, is what the right-wing abhor.”
    Really? Did the left support ‘the right to buy’ scheme? How does creating a benefits culture, that sees a workless total of 5m, destroying State education in many working-class areas and importing huge numbers of cheap unskilled labour help the working-classes? The likes of Polly Toynbee pay lip service to old Labour principles, but are up to their noses in hypocrisy.
    “So please, if there’s anyone who has real contempt for the WWC – then its the Daily Mail. And what is what I meant in my speech – they use the WWC as an excuse when they want to bash immigrants or whatever”
    Zzzzz. The modern Left’s ‘bogeyman’ – the Daily Mail. I recognise your own innate prejudice against the wwc when you say patronisingly, “poor white sod complaining his areas changed beyond recognition”.

  21. PETEDEMOCRATICALY DISENFRANCHISED — on 18th December, 2008 at 11:13 pm  

    Does not really matter anymore about democracy black or white? Democracy ceased to exist from the moment that failing banks were bailed out through out the world by money stolen from the pockets of the so called man on the street. However here is the ultimate ball buster on racism. The coalition party which ran the UK during world war two had no hesitation whatsoever in interning Scots, Welsh, English and Irish dissidents on the pretence of national security, however the same political parties do not have the bottle to do the same on the war on terror, which has now lasted longer than world war two. Anyone else feel as as they are living through a period of global p**s taking?

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