Racist McCain Ad

Ordering a black man to show you respect you is pretty over the top in 2008. I’m sure McCain’s constituency in the South and perhaps right here in Indiana will recognize the terminology from their heyday of sundown towns and lynch mob gatherings, though, and respond accordingly.

There’s only one response to that ad:

That's Racist!

Why on earth would Senator Obama respect anyone from the McCain campaign? Sigh. I hate it when anyone demands respect, whether it’s my mom, a cop, a priest, or the McCain campaign. Respect is earned; You’ll get it when you show you deserve it.

I try to treat people courteously, because I want to live in harmony with people, so I don’t have to live on deserted island and make my own clothes and shelter. And there are people of great accomplishment like Kamau Bobb Google that I respect and admire.

It’s not that I disrespect authority — I just don’t believe authority exists. I do what they ask me at work because I get a paycheck. I pull over for cops because I want them to come to my house if I need to call 911. I pay taxes because I want my roads paved. I’ll do what other people want if I get something in return that I want. Other than that, anyone telling me what to do is in danger of getting a stick in their eye. I hope Senator Obama feels the same.

Update: In case you haven’t heard yet — at The Value Voter’s Forum, one of the booths was selling ‘Obama Waffles’ with racial stereotypes. Lovely. Apparently before someone realized these were racist and should be pulled from event, Lou Dobbs stopped by and had some racist waffles with his wife.

Obama Waffles
Obama Waffles

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen it yet — What Made John Mad Today?

2022-03-14 Update:
I’m a big fan of this quote from @stimmyabby:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority.” And sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person” and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.


This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Yellowbird

    I am so sick to death of this racist bullsh*t. The ad racist because the republican party is racist. They USE people of color to sell their image while they stab everyone in the back for real, ESPECIALLY if you’re colored or a woman, which is worse, especially if you combine the two.
    We the people can’t let them slide on this. Although they are trying their very best to make it “pass” they are racist bastards and this is one old white woman who can see it clearly.
    Note: They’re setting us up for another stolen election. While they have us diverted on Palin, have you heard ONE WORD of the buildup of Russian military in the Gulf of Mexico? It’s true and it is a red flag failure of this administration. Voting McCain into office will assure WWIII and the nations of the world are making ready for it as I type. They will not accept another administration like the one we are trying to oust. And neither should we. Tell the lazy people you know that the days for letting the “grown ups” take care of “everything” are over. You have to stand up and fight for your country at the ballot box or the bullets are going to fly. I don’t want that to happen.

  2. scott

    The really annoying part for me is the painful extent to which Obama has kept things above board and yes,”respectful” only to be hit with such a blatantly disingenuous ad.The Republicans are the undisputed Kings of Projection and then some.

  3. Barbara Ritter

    I am getting disheartened that Obama isn’t hitting them back . Where is his attack…it’s 2004 all over again.

  4. JRY

    I have to disagree on a few things with this post. First of all, the concept of “respect being earned”. Let’s say there is a person who distorts the truth (when not outright lying), tends to be very lazy and non-productive, and will stab a person in the back (in the figurative sense) without warning. If you do not respect that person, that says alot about you (i.e. you don’t tolerate that sort of crap). If someone else does respect that person, that says alot about them (i.e. they tolerate that sort of crap). Is there any objective evaluation which shows that respect was actually earned? I think not. Respect is given, and the giving of respect reflects the character of the giver more than the receiver.
    As for the add being racist? I’m sorry, I don’t see it. The ad does not imply anywhere that Obama is being a “disrespectful black man”, it is openly stating that he is being disrespectful. Too much is being read in here.
    And, considering the falsehoods that are being spread by the GOP and such, I don’t see anything in them worthy of respect anyway…

  5. Obama is the Man

    Okay, this is easily one of the silliest arguments I’ve ever heard. Although we all know that the Republican party is basically the Whites Only Country Club party, calling this specific ad “racist” is playing right into their own hands. You don’t want the Obama campaign to play the victim card here. What you want them to do is put the focus on the issues and not these “They’re being mean/classless” or “I’m being victimized” crap.
    If Obama runs on issues and records, he’ll win. If he falls into the trap of playing low class politics, he’ll lose.

  6. sailor

    I will bet both JRY and “Obama is the man” are white.
    Of course the ad is not totally glaringly OBVIOUSLY racist, it is just quietly racist. I agree with “Obama is the man” that he has to be very careful if he plays this, how to play it, if at all.
    Race is the big factor in this election that scarcely gets a mention.
    Most white people in the USA do not think there is much racism, and they certainly do not think they are racist. And in the sense of hating or actively denigrating black people they are probably right. But neither do they have any idea what it is like to be a black person and how that differs from being white. Racism is still huge at an unconscious level. There is a tendency for races to be mistrustful of each other.
    It is to this that the republicans are playing. Firstly with their celebrity ads, very grossly and even evilly with the sex education ad, and certainly with this ad. Maybe the two posters above are too young to realize how the whole “disrespectful” thing was used on black people. The may not even realize that “uppity” is something that was used almost exclusively against black people.
    All the republicans need to do is to sow a seed of doubt and the white voters unconscious mistrust of other races will do the rest. They want whitepeople to feel in some way “uncomofortable” with Obama. In some case they are certainly succeeding.
    You can be sure these vile ads are having zero effect on black people, except perhaps to make them mad.
    America has come a long way since segregation and this is a watershed election. I just hope it is far enough for this not to be a big enough factor to turn the election.

  7. Obama is the Man

    Actually, sailor, I’m Korean-American, which makes me, um, non-white…or black. Though I’m not black, no one needs to tell me about racism because I grew up in Texas in the 80s. So, please. Keep your assumptions to yourself.
    You’re on the losing side of this argument because most Americans won’t view this ad as racist. They won’t because they’re just not as sensitive to racism as those of us who have been victims of it, you understand? So, if you cry racism, it’ll just sound like you’re whining because you can’t stand the heat.
    Obama needs to stand strong and stay on his message without getting sidetracked. The majority of people who’ll vote for McCain would NEVER, EVER vote for a black man anyway, so there’s no sense in crying racism to any of them. But those in the middle, those who still don’t know what they’re gonna do on election day, they will listen as long as Obama is talking about issues. So, why get off your own message and whine to the refs? That helps no one but the other side.

  8. Obaman

    Call this ad what it is: a thinly veiled racist pack of blatant LIES!
    Let me tell you why…
    In 1955 Emmett Till (age, 14) was brutally murdered, and his dead body was mutilated and defiled, by racist whites who alleged that Till ‘disrespected’ a white woman. This coded language continues to have meaning for racist whites to this day. This ad plays directly to the same sentiment.
    In 1968 Richard Nixon played divide and conquer by employing his racist ‘southern strategy’, a plan that has been enacted in one form or another by every republican campaign since. This ad is one way that McCain is employing his own version of this strategy.
    When an ad that shows a picture of a white woman, a picture of a black man and the word ‘disrespect’ in between, and that ad is shown in, still too racist, southern states, make no mistake, that ad is racist IN ITS INTENT.
    Those of you who think that it’s not are willfully ignorant. Ignorant of historical realities. Ignorant of the cultural climate in which we live today. I am NOT saying that you are not intelligent or smart, but you are not paying attention to factual realities that exist in our nation.
    Just so you all know, I am white, male, well travelled in the U.S. and disturbed by the ongoing racism displayed in my country. I’ve been around long enough to know that ALL people have some degree of prejudiced views, but those who see their attitudes clearly, and understand them to be wrong have the great opportunity to react to appropriately. They are the people who can redeem those internalized flaws of bigotry through their corrective action.

  9. Obaman

    P.S.: On the strategy front, Obama is the man has the right idea. If Barack mentions race, it’s over for him (and US) – specifically for the reasons that we’re discussing here. If he stays on message (issues) and continues to call them on their lies, we stand a good chance come November.
    Obama supporters, get out and do something to get our man elected. Do it for yourself and your country.

  10. JRY

    Obaman said: “This coded language continues to have meaning for racist whites to this day.”
    Ahhh…if this is the case, then no wonder I do not see it: I don’t know the code. Considering who uses it (racist whites), I am not sure if I should be too disappointed. :/
    Obaman said: “Those of you who think that it’s not are willfully ignorant.”
    I take issue with that statement. Not the “ignorant” part as some may think (we are all ignorant to some extent), but the “willfully” part. It makes it sound like I make it a point to sit around and go “LA-LA-LA-LA! NOT LISTENING!!!”

  11. Steph

    Obaman is spot on with his analysis of this ad — its definitely a racist “dog whistle” – with language intended to go over the head of many Americans, but to be “heard” and understood by racist McCain constituents in the rural south and rural Indiana.
    Thousands of black men and women were lynched in our recent past for “being disrespectful” to white people, and black men were tortured and strung up for even having conversations with white women — that’s not an accident that the ad shows a picture of a white woman, a black man, and the word “disrespectful.”
    Understanding our recent past is an important thing for all Americans. There are lots of great historic documentations about America’s shameful history of lynching, but two resonated especially with me:
    The book “Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America” about the lynching of two black men in Marion, Indiana, written by a woman who’s family participated in it.
    And the textile art “Blood of the Slaughtered” – a history quilt hanging in the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts. There are pictures of it here:
    The quilt reproduces the names of all black men and women lynched in the United States, and graphic newspaper accounts of some of those gruesome events. If you view the “see all sizes” link on some of my photos of the quilt, you can read some of those newspaper articles.
    Once you understand what happened, the intention behind the McCain ad becomes really clear.

  12. JoYoMa

    I am a white, pushing-60 female and my immediate reaction when I first saw this ad was “is ‘disrespectful’ GOP-speak for ‘uppity’?” This is exactly the kind of coded language I heard day in and day out from racists in the 60s, and I don’t doubt that it is clearly understood by others in my demographic — voters the GOP wants to persuade. “Uppity”, “disrespectful”, “not knowing their place” — all examples of language which have been used for decades against African Americans who dared to challenge the status quo. (In some cases, a verbal warning, the last one before the night riders came calling.) We aren’t talking about ancient history — this is language well-known in my lifetime, and in John McCain’s. And he approved this message.

  13. Cheezu Steaky

    I’ve watched this ad a few times, and it wasn’t until just now I caught on to the “dismissed her as ‘good looking'” part (9 seconds in).
    Look at the image of Obama they chose to accompany that text, as if to suggest in the wingnut brain he’s leering and saying, “That’s a good lookin’ white woman!”

  14. AnthonyLook

    McCain and the GOP is not only pandering to racists; plain and simple they are.
    Pray for them. It’s their souls. God works in mysterious ways. Have faith.
    I am not voting for McCain, and it has nothing to do with him being white. I am voting for Obama and it has nothing to do with him being black. I’m voting for the best American I want to lead this country.
    Sarah Palin is a liar, and so is McCain (and so is Bush); and so are Republican voters. Not only are Republicans pathetic desperate racist, but their woman have funny helmet hair.
    Lying Sarah can’t ever face the media, they keep out of harms way; but, she can lead this nation. Just don’t ask her questions.

  15. sailor

    “Obama needs to stand strong and stay on his message without getting sidetracked. The majority of people who’ll vote for McCain would NEVER, EVER vote for a black man anyway, so there’s no sense in crying racism to any of them. But those in the middle, those who still don’t know what they’re gonna do on election day, they will listen as long as Obama is talking about issues. So, why get off your own message and whine to the refs? That helps no one but the other side.”
    Obama the man, I agree with you. My point is only that those of us who have been around since segregation know racist cards are being played. We like to point this out though it does not mean Obama should respond to them. I have great faith that Obama is doing it right, and his new ad on McCain’s lies seems right on. He needs also come back with some more positive message ads, and I am sure he will.

  16. ysbaddaden

    Actually, working at a job because it gets you a paycheque (a secondary motivation), and obeying police orders because you may need their aid in the future is what is called Summum Bonum by the Utilitarians, founded by Jeremy Bentham. The term is ancient and goes back to the Medieval Era and means for the greater good. Our Founding Fathers would have called it the Social Contract as per John Locke.

  17. Steph

    Exactly, ysbaddaden. That philosophy degree I got left me with more questions than it did answers about the world around us, but I did at least accept the concept of the Social Contract as a sensible idea for living with my fellow man.

  18. ysbaddaden

    Well my penis is wearing out, so now I have to play with my brain.

  19. Jim Hyder

    I feel that the ad from McCain’s camp calls out every white hood in our nation to “go fer the n=====!” What serious slap to the face f every black in the nation.
    It is too bad we can’t reach out and educate some of these racists in a constructive setting. Well, at the very least pray that they will understand the struggle.

  20. ysbaddaden

    I always thought it funny how southern politicians in the 1960’s always refered to “the nigras.”
    That always made me wonder what they really wanted to say.

  21. Ron Sandeman

    I’m a young white Englishman, with very little direct experience of racial matters, but when I saw this ad I knew at once it was racist. What the best strategy is for dealing with it, I don’t know, but the racism is blatant and anyone who denies it is hiding from reality.
    Perhaps people not directly connected with the Obama campaign could say something about this – Al Sharpton? Or would that cause more harm than good? Just to point out that McCain has gone *too* *far*. Bush was bad enough, but the prospect of McCain/Palin makes me sick with fear.

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