By MARC MCDONALD
If anyone is under the delusion that America is a colorblind society, consider this: the Right-Wing Web has embraced the "N" word in its attacks on Barack Obama.
It's true: a lot of the major right-wing players, like Rush Limbaugh, have been careful to avoid the "N" word over the years. They've had to be creative in the way they dance around overtly racist language.
But a big part of the Right-Wing Web has no such qualms about embracing the "N" word in attacking Obama.
To see evidence of this, all you've got to do is Google the keywords: Nigger Obama. Google returns an astonishing 744,000 results. What's even more amazing about that number is that many Web hosters specifically forbid hate speech in their terms of service.
Among those Google results, one sees sites like NiggerObama.com, a site proclaims that itself aimed at "anyone who feels Obama would be a horrible choice for president of the United States."
The site features message boards like "Reparations For Slavery," which are full of posts like Picking up welfare check, not cotton, and Send 'em back to Africa.
Other sites include TheDailyNigger.com, a site with the slogan: "Liberal Media Dogs, Run For Cover!" The site bizarrely claims it is not an "anti-ethnic African site." But it features rambling posts and attacks on Obama, which include such observations as "Black American culture today is rampant with criminals, gangsters, prostitutes and cocaine."
If anyone is surprised by the Right Wing's embrace of the "N" word in attacking Obama, they really shouldn't be.
After all, racism in America has clearly been on the rise in the era of George W. Bush. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where this latest wave of bigotry emerged from----but I think one ominous sign occurred when Bush was campaigning for president in 2000.
If you recall, during the campaign, Bush made it a point to stop by Bob Jones University, where he praised the officials at that school (which incredibly still had a ban on interracial dating). This, no doubt, played real well to the "I don't want my white daughter dating a Negro" racist crowd---but the rest of us were shocked and appalled.
And although we were dismayed, we really weren't surprised. After all, anyone who has followed Bush's career certainly wasn't surprised by the Bob Jones University episode.
Those of us here in Texas remembered all too well the shocking 1998 lynching of James Byrd, Jr. which occurred when Bush was governor here.
In 1998, Byrd, a black man, was chained to a pickup by three white supremacists and dragged to his death in the town of Jasper, Texas.
In the aftermath of the Jasper lynching, a grass-roots effort in Texas urged the state to pass a hate crimes act to help prevent future atrocities. However, the bill failed to pass in the Texas Legislature after Bush refused to support the bill.
Since the Supreme Court appointed Bush to the White House in 2000, he has presided over a rising wave of bigotry and racism in America. (Indeed, in the 2000 election, one million black votes didn't count, as Greg Palast has documented).
Indeed, Bush and the rest of the NeoCons have exploited the issue of racism and turned it into a valuable wedge issue to capture the votes of millions of angry, frustrated white males in our society who feel victimized by affirmative action and "political correctness."
The fact is, bigotry sells in America today. It's the reason talk radio's Neal Boortz can have a lucrative career after saying that Rep. Cynthia McKinney "looks like a ghetto slut." It's the reason that CNN's Glenn Beck can get away with calling the predominately African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina "scumbags."
In Bush's America, African-Americans are incarcerated at vastly higher rates than whites. Studies show that black people get much harsher prison sentences than white people for doing identical crimes. Blatant racism permeates our justice system, our legal system, our schools---in fact, every American institution.
The appalling plight of poor black people in Bush's America was briefly brought to white, middle-class America's attention during the Hurricane Katrina crisis (but I doubt it came as much of a surprise to black people across America).
Given Bush's track record on race issues over the past seven years, we really shouldn't be surprised that the Right-Wing Web has embraced the "N" word in attacking Obama.