Racism in the USA

19 Sep

It is news reports like this that reminds me racism is far from being eradicated, particularly in the US. It is also a complex and difficult issue since racism connotes emotions (most of the time related to media depiction, stereotypes and irrational fear of the other) and could be related to economical concerns (such as jobs).

Nevertheless, this outpour of anti-obama-ism (based on this Al Jazeera news report) in the US appears to more irrational and emotionally charged. Certainly, these protestors, in comparing Obama to Hitler, has got themselves confused.

More importantly, this fear of Obama throws up the age-old debate on free speech (and the boundaries), especially, in the US. This passage is alarming:

… Retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson, a prolific writer and speaker about conspiracy theories involving devilish sex cults and the Illuminati, tells a gathering of right-wing “Patriots” in Florida that the federal government has set up 10,000 internment camps across the country and is storing thousands of guillotines for mass executions.

Mel Sanger, a self-described “political researcher”, offers visitors to his website a $24.97-report full of “cutting edge evidence” that Obama is the biblical Antichrist…

While I endorsed free speech, the above conspiracy theories cited are just nutty. Yet, some Americans apparently bought into it. I think it leaves something to say about the kind of democracy that America has (or doesn’t have).

There is room (or even a need) to criticise Obama’s public or foreign policies but the fringe/ radical/ religious/ economic right portrayal of their President is mostly based on an irrational fear. This can be seen in the way they compared him to being a Muslim, socialist or anti-Christ (neither any of these labels fit). Can racism be tackled when it is driven by such irrational fear of the other?


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