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Most Americans Don’t Think Barack Obama Is Black

President Obama Addresses The Nation On The Situation In Syria

A new Pew Research poll finds something very interesting when it asks Americans how they perceive the President of the United States:

[A]ccording to data in a fascinating new Pew Research Center study, a majority of Americans describe the President as “mixed race” while just more than a quarter (27 percent) call him “black.”

While whites and Hispanics are far more likely to describe Obama as “mixed race”, a strong majority of African Americans see him as black. And, black voters voted in historically large numbers for Obama. He won 93 percent of the African American vote in 2012 and 95 percent among that group in 2008. (John Kerry won 88 percent of the black vote in 2004; Al Gore won 90 percent in 2000

Here’s the chart:

Pew Obama Race

The majority perception, of course, is the one that is most accurate since President Obama’s parents were of different races, but it is perhaps understandable that African-Americans are more likely to identify the President as “black.” Conversely, given that there used to be a time in some parts of America where even having a little African-American ancestry was seen as sufficient to make a person black, or at least non-white, the fact that most Americans don’t see the President as exclusively “black,” is certainly interesting.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    Q: How do you know if you are black?
    A: People call you a ni**er.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10

  2. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Actually, that’s how you know you’re black and it’s 70 years ago.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17

  3. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    You don’t spend much time kicking it with the brothers, do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

  4. Daniel says:

    Interesting that the rest of society seems to be embracing the mixed-race concept, while the black community clings to the old Southern standard of “one drop”….

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 21

  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    I just call him “The President.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  6. CSK says:

    According to Henry Louis Gates, citing three different sources, the average African American has between 65-75% sub-Saharan African DNA, and between 22-29% western European DNA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Breaking news: all humans are mixed race. Including being part Neanderthal in many cases.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  8. anjin-san says:

    @ Neil Hudelson

    Good call.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  9. jewelbomb says:

    The majority perception, of course, is the one that is most accurate since President Obama’s parents were of different races

    This simply isn’t true. Race is complicated and largely a social phenomenon. As such, there are a great many issues that come into play when making racial distinctions. It’s too easy to simply say, based on his parentage, that the President is “mixed.” President Obama has identified numerous times as black and, his fame notwithstanding, most strangers who would encounter him growing up would likely assume him to be black (rather than white or mixed). As such, he seems to have come to identify largely as black. Now this isn’t to say that he hasn’t used his mixed parentage strategically or politically.

    This is all a very long and convoluted way of suggesting that the reason most blacks maintain Obama’s blackness is because it’s so obvious. You meet the guy on the street, and he reads as a black dude. Conversely, no one’s going to mistake him for a white guy. There’s no way that the racial climate of this country (its historical attitude toward young black men in particular) didn’t help throw his black identity into relief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. PJ says:

    @Daniel:

    Interesting that the rest of society seems to be embracing the mixed-race concept, while the black community clings to the old Southern standard of “one drop”….

    Maybe that’s because the black community is quite familiar with the fact that even if you’re of mixed race people will still see you as black.

    The only reason why Obama is seen as mixed-race is that it’s rather well known and it’s also a way to diminish Obama’s accomplishment.

    What Pew should be doing next is to show people a photo of someone who’s mixed race with the same complexion as Obama and ask about that person.

    I bet you can guess what the result would be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  11. dennis says:

    Oh, please. White folks never publicly admit to color bias. This poll is full of s**t.

    And quit jumping on anjin; he’s right.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  12. Pinky says:

    Doug – “New” poll? Can you back that up without using the Washington Post as a reference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  13. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky it isn’t new poll data. The data was collected in 2009. See: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/01/12/blacks-upbeat-about-black-progress-prospects/ (it appears towards the end)

    It’s just been recently resurfaced as part of a larger Pew report Next America
    http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/

    For the record the WaPo doesn’t call it a new poll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius: Fair enough. Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Matt Bernius says:

    It’s a good catch on your part. If you had not asked, I wouldn’t have looked it up.

    I’m a bit surprised that Pew hasn’t followed up on the question more recently. While it’s an interesting data point, I think seeing how it moved, if at all, in the last four years, would be of far greater value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Pinky: Oh, yessir! Why, it was only yesterday that I was talking to my dear friend about how no one in the United States has been stopped for Driving While Black in past 70 years!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  17. al-Ameda says:

    This poll interesting in what may be inferred.

    I’m guessing that over 27% of those surveyed know that Obama has a White mother and a Black father, therefore at lease 27%+ people know that Obama, like a few billion other people on this planet, is of mixed race.

    I’m also guessing that at least 27% (of the 53%) of those Whites who stated that he was “Mixed Race” also dislike him because they view that “mixed race” appellation as “yes, but he’s still a Black guy, and we hate everything he stands for.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  18. Pinky says:

    @dennis: What does this poll have to do with color bias?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  19. Kylopod says:

    Back in the ’90s I used to read a black conservative columnist named Gregory Kane who wrote for the Baltimore Sun. (He died recently.) Most of the time he was a certifiable wingnut, but on rare occasion he would say something very insightful. Around the time Tiger Woods began telling the press that he was not black but “Cablinasian” (CAucasion, BLack, INdian, and Asian), Kane wrote that Woods should be given “the cab test”: “Stand him on a street corner in any large American city and have him hail a cab. If he gets one, he’s Cablinasian. If he doesn’t, he’s definitely black.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    @ Gromitt Gunn

    And we all know that nothing like this or this or this has happened in the last 70 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  21. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Did you mean 70 years ago or the 1970s? Neither is correct, but the latter is closer to being correct. I grew up in AL in the 70s and 80s and unfortunately can say that at that time and at least into the 90s when I spent some time living in AL, that the term was still in casual use. It is used less often now than then, but I still have relations that will tell people they aren’t racist and have no problem with black people, it’s just the n!%%ers they have a problem with. Oh, and some of their best friends are black, not that they ever invite them over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  22. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    In 1972, I was in Jr. High School in Marin County. Wallace for President buttons were very trendy. Mind you, this is in one of the most liberal areas on the planet. Racial tensions in Marin, which were very real, seems to ease quite a bit around ’74. When Nixon resigned, it was almost like flipping a switch, a lot of the bad energy left over from the 60s seemed to vanish. I still maintain that that was the day the 60s really ended.

    Between ’65, when black families from the local air force base started moving into town, until then, you heard ni$$er all the time. If I was hanging out with my black friends, I had to be ready to fight, just like they had to be ready to fight every time they left the house. The attitude was definitely not live and let live.

    By 1975, when I started high school, things had changed quite a bit. Dropping “N’s” was not cool at all, and if the black kids showed up at a football party it was not a problem. That being said, black folks in the liberal bay area have “driving while black” problems to this day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:
    @Grewgills:
    @Pinky:
    My father was a San Francisco City policeman for 30 years, and he recently gave me an account of what happened in the city neighborhood where we lived until 1956 (prior to our later move to Marin County) when a black family moved into that neighborhood. He told me that a few months after that family moved in, 4 homes on our block were up for sale.

    Some on the right might say, well that’s ancient history. Except that it is not. A few years later when Willie Mays (possibly the most famous athlete in America at that time) was looking to buy a house in an upscale neighborhood of the city he was subjected to upfront racism by both realtors and sellers – it took a few courageous people to intervene, Mays was able to buy a home where he wanted to. Until the legislature passed a fair housing act in 1963 most communities did nothing to prevent the kind of discrimination that Mays faced. Nevertheless, a year later the real estate lobby sponsored a statewide ballot proposition (Prop 14) to override the fair housing act – it passed. It wasn’t until 1967 when the courts finally ruled Prop 14 invalid.

    Think about this for a moment – how is it that segregation and de-facto apartheid persisted for 100 years following the end of the Civil War? It seems simple and apparent to me – it takes generations for the toxic effects of racism in this country to be worked through. It doesn’t end just because we’ve passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  24. grumpy realist says:

    I remember my mother telling me that at one point a real estate agent came around wanting to know if anyone had a beef with the possibility of a black couple moving into the neighborhood. Upstate New York, late 1960s, out in the country.

    @Daniel: Don’t be silly. It’s not whether they think of themselves that way, but the rest of the US does. I guarantee that 99.999999% of people with President Obama’s shade of skin colour are called “black.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daniel:
    It is not blacks who “cling” to the one drop rule, it is they who continue to have it forced on them. I have asked this question before but I guess it is time I asked it again:

    Who here, when first gazing upon the visage of Barack Hussein Obama said, “Wow, why does that white man look black?”

    Anyone????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  26. anjin-san says:

    @ al-Ameda

    It’s telling that, in my lifetime, a lot of people were perfectly happy to cheer for Mays when he got the game winning hit, but they did not want him living on their block. We also have to consider that Mays was/is far more than just a talented ballplayer, he is a fricking baseball god, very possibly the best player that ever lived.

    Now can you imagine anyone having a problem with Micky Mantle moving in down the street? The would have a parade with a brass band playing.

    I met Mays and got his autograph when I was 11, one of the great days of my childhood. Still have the autograph in a drawer in my nightstand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  27. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What does that even mean?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  28. TastyBits says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Think about this for a moment – how is it that segregation and de-facto apartheid persisted for 100 years following the end of the Civil War?

    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) made black people second class citizens. It was legal throughout the entire country to discriminate. Until Brown v. Board of Education (1954), racism was not a bug. It was a feature.

    Think about that for a moment. As a black person, there was no place in the US where you could not be discriminated against for 58 years – not one square inch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Actually, I think the question was a statement: “Look at the funny looking white man!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: Let me spell it out for you: When you first looked at Obama, did you see a black man or a white man? Or are you going to be one of the lying sacks of you know what who says, “I saw a mixed race man.” ??? Race is not something we choose, it is something society puts upon us.

    That is the simple and factual truth. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you about the time I got pulled over for DWB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  31. al-Ameda says:

    @TastyBits:

    Think about that for a moment. As a black person, there was no place in the US where you could not be discriminated against for 58 years – not one square inch.

    Exactly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  32. MarkedMan says:

    I’m tempted to call BS on this poll. If you asked me “Is Barack considered by the vast majority of Americans to be white or black?” I would say “Black”. If you asked me “Do you think Obama is white or black” I would still say “Black”. But if you gave me a multiple-choice question with “White, Black or Mixed Race” I would say “Mixed Race” because the latter question seems to be aimed at testing knowledge of his background. I would give the mixed race answer because I know that his mother was white and father black.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  33. al-Ameda says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That is the simple and factual truth. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you about the time I got pulled over for DWB.

    No kidding. A few years ago, in the 90s, I believe, Joe Morgan – a baseball hall of fame player and at that time a very well-known ESPN baseball announcer and analyst – was racially profiled at Los Angeles International Airport as a drug dealer and detained. Why? Because he was Black and he was wearing a nice suit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I was hoping for more details from you about how black folks have not had to deal with racism in America since 1944. Still standing by.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  35. anjin-san says:

    @ al-Ameda
    @ OzarkHillbilly

    Charles Barkley tells the story of how he once (this takes place after he became a rich & famous athlete) found himself the only black person riding in the first class section of a train. A conductor came through the car, making pleasant small talk with the passengers. He stopped at Barkley’s seat and asked to see his ticket, then moved on. He did not ask anyone else in the car to prove they belonged there.

    Just as he was moving on to the next car, Barkley called him back and said “You had better ask the rest of these folks to show you their ticket, or I am going to buy this train and fire your ass”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  36. Grewgills says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    In his youth in Hawaii with his skin tone and hair he could have been and likely often was assumed to be local. “Local” here generally means a mix of two or more of the following: Hawaiian, other Polynesian, Micronesian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Portuguese. So, in his youth most people he met likely thought he was mixed race rather than assuming he was black. I’m relatively certain that all changed when he moved to the mainland.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al-Ameda: @anjin-san: In my particular case, I am blond with very kinky hair, blue eyed, and very darkly complected. (my sons once thought I was “black”. No kidding.) I got pulled over by a cop in north STL county (the black side) while driving a p/u w/ a camper top. It was summer and I had my arm out the window. When the cop walked up to my truck, he had his hand on his gun and was speaking with “great authority” (translated as “Don’t fWck with me nigger.”) He took one look at my blond hair, blue eyes, and very Caucasian features, and said, I sh!t you not, “Oh, I’m sorry sir….”

    I did not choose to be black or white. Whether I was or not was entirely defined by that cop’s eyes.**

    **and for the record, could have just as easily been my eyes. Race is something we “see”. Does not make it real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: please release me, let me go….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. bill says:

    whatever they call him, they’re half right at least.

    @anjin-san: good story, i like this one too;

    “Poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years and they are still poor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  40. Neil Hudelson says:

    Not to go on john personna, but…really:? Someone down voted calling him The President? That can’t even be seen as partisan. It’s simply factual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  41. Matt Bernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Fully admit that I just down voted you for the heck of it. ;P

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    “Poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years and they are still poor.

    Well, I have no doubt that you think you are being clever here, but I have to point out –

    A. Jesus himself said the poor would always be with us. Democrats do not think they are going to end poverty. What we do want to accomplish is seeing that none of our fellow citizens live in abject third world misery. If you can explain to me why that i a bad thing, I am all ears.

    B. There is no such thing as “voting Democrat” except in the minds of idiots. There is a such thing as voting Democratic. Adults refer to other adults as they wish to be referred to. 12 year olds make up names to annoy people they don’t like. So I ask you, are you an adult, or a 12 year old?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly

    I’ve only been pulled over twice in the last 10 years. Both times, the cop practically apologized for bothering me. I am guessing it’s because I look like someone who might be on his way to play golf with the mayor. I know people of color who’s accomplishments far surpass anything I have done who have been pulled over and gotten something that amounts to “what are you doing in such a nice car, boy?”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. Mumbles says:

    @anjin-san:

    Actually, in some venues (eg. Any black person who gets targeted by sites like Twitchy or Daily Caller, as examples) black women get far more crap than black men – they get all of the same crude racial slurs that I won’t repeat here, but they also get mysogyny thrown into it.

    Not as bad as being clubbed by a corrupt cop, but more common in media circles, and worth pointing out, and it can wear people down over time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  45. bill says:

    @anjin-san:
    a- enabling is not helping, as it’s been proven already.
    b- semantics, it’s a quote from barkley….don’t be puttin da man down now!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  46. Matt Bernius says:

    @bill:

    “Poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years and they are still poor.

    I’ve never understood this logic given there is ample evidence that there’s a significant percentage of reliable GOP voters who somehow still end up staying poor as well.

    And a not insignificant amount who continue to vote GOP while getting poorer (i.e. dropping out of the middle class).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @bill: I guess you’d prefer we stop all services for the poor whatsoever, and then act surprised when there’s a revolution?

    There are a heck of a lot more peasants than there are nobles….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  48. Pinky says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I didn’t vote you down, but it was a goofy comment. I mean, the survey was about race. I assume that they didn’t ask, “Is Barack Obama black, mixed race, or the President?”. I sort of get what you were going for, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  49. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    a- enabling is not helping, as it’s been proven already.

    Umm. Ok. Can you support that assertion?

    I spend about an hour a day with people that are honest to goodness poor. Thanks to the assistance they get from the government, they have a roof over their heads, food to eat, and some medical care. I am thinking that those things actually help them in their lives. Maybe you can explain how they really don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  50. anjin-san says:

    @ grumpy realist

    act surprised when there’s a revolution?

    Bingo. But I am guessing a person such as bill figures our now highly militarized police departments would teach poor folks a lesson if they ever dared get out of line. Basically, these folks are drooling at the prospect of taking us back to the 19th century.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  51. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: There are no peasants in the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  52. anjin-san says:

    @ Mumbles

    I was shocked by the vitriol I saw directed at Michelle Obama on right wing sites after the bogus story that she wanted to “party all night” at the White House in the wake of the Navy Yard shootings. Ghetto bitch trash tramp chimpanzee illegal alien bananas, and so on.

    Mrs. Obama strikes me as an easy person to like and a difficult one to hate. How has she offended people – by working to reduce obesity in children?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    There are no peasants in the US.

    Well, according to you, there are no racists either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Cute line.

    Do you think that feudalism (or the like) is a meaningful model for understanding the modern US political and economic system?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. anjin-san says:

    Baseball Great Hank Aaron Flooded With Racist Hate Mail After Defending Obama

    The Atlanta Braves have been deluged with hate mail after baseball great Hank Aaron’s recent comments about racism in America and President Obama’s critics.

    According to USA Today, the Braves organization has received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls since Aaron made his comments a week ago.

    “Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)” read an email from a man named Edward, according to USA Today.

    Edward evidently used the racist epithet five times.

    “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur),” he wrote in closing.

    One man called Aaron a “racist scumbag,” while another vowed to never attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired from the team’s front office. A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron’s autobiography.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/hank-aaron-atlanta-braves-racist-hate-mail

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Do you think that feudalism (or the like) is a meaningful model for understanding the modern US political and economic system?

    grumpy realist brought peasants into the discussion as a metaphor, not to propose a model – that is painfully obvious. That you are trying to use this as a distraction from the matter at hand further exposes the weakness of your position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  57. Tillman says:

    God, if I’m not allowed to speak in idiom and metaphor, I think that only leaves the prepositions.

    @Pinky: To be fair, my Communist cousin would say it does. “Capitalist” to him means “neofeudalist, fascist, earth-destroying” all in one.

    And, really, if you wanted to put together a picture of the party system with its donors and support structures, you might get something that, while not isomorphic, certainly resembles the way feudal systems worked. Power brokering only takes so many different forms.

    But to answer the question, no, I don’t think feudalism is a meaningful model to view U.S. politics through. It’s just a nice allegory to fall back on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  58. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san:

    A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron’s autobiography.

    That’s sweet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Not at all. I said what I meant upthread and I’m fine with it. I also thought it was worth pointing out that Grumpy’s metaphor was inapt. I mean, obviously, yes, metaphors are fine. I wasn’t literally saying that no black person has been called a “ni–er” in 70 years. I was just trying to point out that you and Grumpy both fell into some lazy thinking here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  60. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I was just trying to point out that you and Grumpy both fell into some lazy thinking here.

    No one can argue that you have some expertise in the lazy thinking department :)

    At any rate, your walk back of your own comments is noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  61. PJ says:

    @anjin-san:

    A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron’s autobiography.

    I think he should buy a thousand copies of the book and burn all of them, that will really show Aaron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  62. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: Magnanimity is definitely not one of your virtues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: I agree with this article and am glad that it brings up the fact that the South was not the only place where there was discrimination and racism. In many other regions it was probably worse .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. Eric Florack says:

    @bill: leave it to you to infdr race to that point.

    @Tyrell: No, its not. For example, there’s Western Washington University. http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=5549

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  65. anjin-san says:

    @ Tillman

    Racism apologists/deniers don’t bring out the best in me, there is no doubt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  66. bill says:

    @Matt Bernius: it’s a followup to a charles barkley quote- keep up.

    @grumpy realist: i don’t think the gov’t should be in the business of deciding who’s “poor” and needing of assistance. i prefer to give to charity on my own or in person. the gov’t is horrible at doling out money to those in need, and it’s rife with graft.
    @anjin-san: see above. there are always some fringe types that will never be able to make it in life on their own, i prefer to help them via charity or by volunteerism- or worse case scenario by giving them a job. i think gov’t assistance demoralizes some to the extent that they resent it in the end. good for you to help others, seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  67. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    I agree with this article and am glad that it brings up the fact that the South was not the only place where there was discrimination and racism. In many other regions it was probably worse .

    Nobody said that racism and discrimination was only in the South. I pointed out above how overt racism was pervasive in California well into the 1960s. It was everywhere in America. But let’s not kid ourselves, it was not equally bad across the country. Do you really think that racism was worse in states other than Mississippi or Alabama? If so, where, in which states?

    As you can see, we’re still fighting the Civil War, and we’re still living with the effect of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation. As much as people want to believe that once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed all that racist stuff was behind us … it was obviously not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  68. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    As someone who has had two disabled relatives (one now deceased) let me assure you that private charity does not begin to begin to provide for their needs. I mean it does not scratch the surface Get real. My wife and I have spent over 100k on my kids care. In spite of that, without government help he would not be alive today. Period. Private charity has been nowhere to be seen.

    As for “giving them a job”, you do realize I hope, that at the moment there are a lot of very qualified people that can’t find jobs. Its not as if we simply have jobs waiting to be filled, especially by people who, for a variety of reasons are employment challenged. Of course we could create government jobs which would help a lot, and improve the overall situation in this country, but the GOP will not allow that to happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  69. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    i prefer to help them via charity or by volunteerism- or worse case scenario by giving them a job

    Let’s go a little deeper. Are you prepared to volunteer 24/7/365? Because thats the kind of care and help a lot of people need – like my kid. Every day of the year, year in, year out.

    As far as “give them a job” goes, do you have a job to give to someone who is marginally employable? Or are you just saying “someone should do something, as long as it does not cost me anything”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  70. TastyBits says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) was not limited to the South. For those unfamiliar with the case, it was the “separate but equal” ruling. It made segregation legal. In California, a black man could drink at the same water fountain because of the generosity of the white man, but this generosity could be taken back at any moment.

    Somehow, the non-Southern portion of the country could not find 5 Supreme Court Justices to overturn the ruling. Instead, they elected racist presidents, and continually elected congressmen who could not enact Civil Rights legislation.

    Brown v. Board of Education (1954) struck down the “separate but equal” ruling, and for those interested, the segregation was in Topeka, Kansas not usually considered the South. It still took ten years to get to the 1964 Civil Rights bill.

    What occurred in the South under Jim Crow should never be forgotten. It should be burned into the US historical memory. The truth does not need to be exaggerated or sugar-coated. It is brutal, and it should be taught as-is. Pictures of “strange fruit” should be hung prominently in schools and public buildings to ensure nobody forgets.

    The Confederate flag would be akin to the Nazi flag if this history were properly taught. This only need to be taught as fact. The story of James Byrd should need no additional commentary. If one is not repulsed, that person is a monster.

    For 58 years, a black person was a first class citizen if and only if a white person allowed him that status, but the white could revoke that status at any moment. This was legal throughout the entire country. During that time and after, there was additional racism at the federal level of government, and there was especially brutal racism at the local level of government in the South. In the South, there was also a horribly brutal personal racism.

    Any white person patting yourself on the back for your non-racist past, you need to do a little more research. It is going to be uncomfortable, and I have not even brought up the Japanese Internment or Tuskegee Experiments.

    You need to make sure you are not part of the problem. If the cops your tax dollars pay are engaging in what you consider racist practices, you are part of the problem, and you are a racist. If you do not like it, have them fired or move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  71. Matt Bernius says:

    @TastyBits:

    If the cops your tax dollars pay are engaging in what you consider racist practices, you are part of the problem, and you are a racist.

    Generally speaking I agree with everything that you write. However, I think you’ve made a couple leaps of logic in this particular statement that don’t track particularly well.

    Can you unpack that a little further?

    I mean I can understand the arguement that you are passively support a racist infrastructure (provided that this is an ongoing system of discrimination and not the autonomous actions of individuals). But that is different than being explicitly (or arguably implicitly) racist on an individual level.

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  72. al-Ameda says:

    @TastyBits:

    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) was not limited to the South. For those unfamiliar with the case, it was the “separate but equal” ruling. It made segregation legal. In California, a black man could drink at the same water fountain because of the generosity of the white man, but this generosity could be taken back at any moment.

    Somehow, the non-Southern portion of the country could not find 5 Supreme Court Justices to overturn the ruling. Instead, they elected racist presidents, and continually elected congressmen who could not enact Civil Rights legislation.

    Again, I did not say that racism and all aspects of segregation and discrimination was confined to the South. In fact, I said that it (racism) was everywhere. And, again, because it was everywhere does not mean that, everywhere it was the same. That is not the case.

    Finally, this thread shows us that we are still fighting the Civil War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  73. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:

    As someone who has had two disabled relatives (one now deceased) let me assure you that private charity does not begin to begin to provide for their needs.

    Hmm. Two points.Government is not charity. Government is FORCE. When taxes go down and government shrinks, charity increases… at least among the charitable.

    And that leads me to the other point. You’ve proudly, on several occasions, advised us you’re well off, make more than most of us, and so on. I wonder… how much of your vast fortune did you contribute to the upkeep of your relatives before you demanded that the rest of us pay for it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  74. TastyBits says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    People continuously complain about the police engaging in racist tactics, but like the 58 years between Plessy and Brown, that was all anybody did. If you really think it is a problem, do something. If you cannot change what is going on in your area, move. Otherwise, your tax dollars are supporting the racist policies you claim to hate.

    My suggestion would be for people to not forget the past and to learn from it. People should stop patting themself on the back and start working on a solution.

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  75. Matt Bernius says:

    @TastyBits:

    People continuously complain about the police engaging in racist tactics, but like the 58 years between Plessy and Brown, that was all anybody did.

    This is an extremely cynical viewpoint and glosses over a lot of *big* and *little* actions that led to the cultural, social, political, and economic changes that enabled Brown* to take place.

    What you end up with in your formulation is the extremist’s trap — a formulation where either you take total action (i.e. get the change you want *now*) or total inaction (punch out of the system and remove yourself from the problem).

    Calling everyone who works for incremental action, or works to change things in the moment knowing that those changes may only be realized decades later, a “racist” or supporters of a “racist infrastructure” (or any other “-ism/-ist” of your choosing) is a lousy method to cultivate the networks of everyday action necessary to bring about the changes you want to see.

    * – Relevant sidenote on Brown: Apparently the Liberal Wing of the court, lead by Justice Frankfurter actively worked to prevent a number of “Brown-like” cases from being heard during the 30’s and 40’s. This was not out of racism, but a concern that, based on it’s make-up, the court would reach a decision that again confirmed “separate but equal.” Affirming Plessy would making overturning it even more difficult.

    On the outside, applying your argument, Frankfurter and co’s actions could be seen as being inherently racist (as they temporarily maintained the existing system). However, those actions arguably enabled the court to hear the right case, at the right moment, to overturn Plessy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  76. TastyBits says:

    @al-Ameda:

    This has nothing to do with the South, but the South is not to be forgotten because of its brutality. This has nothing to do with the Civil War. This is post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments made black Americans equal citizens, and Plessy knocked them back to second class citizens. “Separate but equal” applied everywhere in the US.

    The point is that no matter where you went if you were black, you were able to be legally discriminated against. If you were black, you were only a first class citizen until a white person decided you were a second class citizen.

    You may think that this does not affect the thinking of non-racists, but I believe that it does. When you have control over somebody else’s status, you have power over that person whether you like it or not, and that person knows it whether they like it or not.

    It has a way of seeping into a culture, and it is corrosive. Plessy is important because it seeped into the fabric of US culture, and it corroded far more than the South.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  77. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    When taxes go down and government shrinks, charity increases…

    Well, taxes are at historic lows, and government has been shrinking for years. Can you provide data documenting the charity boom, which, according to you must be taking place as we speak?

    I wonder… how much of your vast fortune did you contribute to the upkeep of your relatives

    I’ve never claimed any kind of fortune, vast or otherwise. My wife and I are reasonably successful professionals. We also live in the bay area, with its astronomical cost of living, so while we live pretty comfortably, we are hardly rolling in clover. What my boss spends on his car collection exceeds my net worth many times over.

    At any rate, we have spent north of 200K taking care of our relatives, which is the reason our retirement is not nearly as secure as I would like it to be.

    I’m curious, if one of your family members was struck by a catastrophic illness or accident, would you reject government help for them and simply start looking for an ice floe? Do you have a million or so in liquid assets set aside for such a disaster? If not, you would need help from the government.

    You’ve been going on an on about me DEMANDING that others pay for government services that I use. Unlike you, I am honest about how I interface with government services. I understand that a lot of them are vital to maintaining an advanced, stable society. I acknowledge that I depend on them, and I don’t whine like a five year old when it’s time to pay for them.

    Do you imagine that someone else in not being “forced” to pay for the government services you use? Somewhere in your town, there are people that are paying far, far more in property taxes than you do. Let’s say Bob Smith pays 4X as much as you. If he calls the police, do 4X as many cops respond to his call as they would to yours? Of course not. Bob is paying for some of your freight, just as you help pay for someone less fortunate than you. That is how a society works.

    As I remember it, you were a big proponent of the Iraq war. I of course opposed it. I was forced to help pay for something you wanted that I did not. I did not hear you caterwauling about the injustice I was suffering. Again that’s how society works. It’s not alway fair, and we don’t alway get our way. Welcome, Florack, to the world of grown ups.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  78. Grewgills says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Do you really think that racism was worse in states other than Mississippi or Alabama? If so, where, in which states?

    It was more or less equally bad in most of the Southeast and Midwest as well as pockets of the West and smaller pockets elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Hmm. Two points.Government is not charity. Government is FORCE. When taxes go down and government shrinks, charity increases… at least among the charitable.

    Perhaps marginally, but not nearly enough to make up for the gap that reduced spending creates. Take a look at about half of South America for a view of how your preferred system works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  80. Matt Bernius says:

    @Grewgills:

    It was more or less equally bad in most of the Southeast and Midwest as well as pockets of the West and smaller pockets elsewhere.

    I think the use of “smaller pockets” significantly hides the amount of racism that was present in the North. The reason those pockets were small has more to do with the geographic distribution of African Americans versus the progressive nature of this section of the country.

    People tend to forget how much of the Northeast is a mix of small (geographically speaking) cities and suburbs, surrounded by large amounts of rural space.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  81. TastyBits says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Not everybody during those years was doing nothing, but everything needs to be remembered. The concentration camps were the product of a culture, and trying to limit it to one aspect is a whitewash. There were good Germans trying to fix things, but there were a lot who were not or were just complaining.

    Most people today are doing nothing more than complaining, and that is not incremental action. They are doing that in order to justify doing nothing. Furthermore, most of the complainers have a superficial understanding of the issue. I am using the complainer’s standards not mine.

    If black people could get themselves declared animals, white people would stop complaining and start doing. There would be commercials with sad looking black folks and voiceovers by famous actors. There would be laws passed making it illegal to mistreat a black person. Rich people would be adopting black families.

    Oh wait, we would be right back to where we started. White people owning black people. Yes, I am an extremist, and I always end up channeling my inner Minister Farrakhan (not the UFO stuff).

    I am the crazy white guy, but it is a harder to dismiss me than the black militant. My skin color lets me slip in where you would spot him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  82. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:
    At historic lows?
    You’re either a liar or a Looney.
    Actually both would fit

    At any rate, we have spent north of 200K taking care of our relatives, which is the reason our retirement is not nearly as secure as I would like it to be.

    Poor baby. In the Obama economy whose is? Bottom line, you didn’t exhaust your funds before leaning back and demanding others pay for their needs. YOU are a part of the problem of healthcare costs.

    <emDo you imagine that someone else in not being “forced” to pay for the government services you use?

    Paint it as you will, it is still at its most basic, theft.

    And the difference between healthcare and the war is defense is written into the constitution. Healthcare is not even remotely so.

    @Grewgills: <emPerhaps marginally, but not nearly enough to make up for the gap that reduced spending creates.
    When was the charity solution tried? I submit in the big government mess we have, the test cannot be made.

    Charity, you see, also involves the tarhet of charity doing what they can to aleiviate their own situation. The culture has somehow since the supposed “great society”, wandered away from that basic to the point where nobody thinks (a questionable use of the word) they should have to pay ANYTHING out of pocket for healthcare. Until that changes and we return to a cash on the barrel head model, thus returning market influences, we will never see healthcare costs return to sanity, government control, or no.

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  83. Matt Bernius says:

    @TastyBits:

    I am the crazy white guy, but it is a harder to dismiss me than the black militant. My skin color lets me slip in where you would spot him.

    The problem with this is that you miss the fact that it’s near impossible to hide “crazy.”

    And while crazy people can occasionally spark social movements, rarely if ever, are they good at creating long-term social change.

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  84. Grewgills says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Rural areas pretty much everywhere have held onto overt racism more than adjacent urban areas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  85. Eric Florack says:

    @Grewgills: White on black racism, possibly.
    lets not forget there are other kinds of racism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  86. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Charity, you see, also involves the tarhet of charity doing what they can to aleiviate their own situation. The culture has somehow since the supposed “great society”, wandered away from that basic to the point

    BS. Look at the history of our country before and after the great society programs. There was not a big drop in charitable giving with the implementation of the great society or social welfare programs that came before. This is just pablum that you vomit out with absolutely nothing to back it up.
    Here and here are some information that shows a different trend than the one formulated in your head or some other dark recess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  87. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    In the Obama economy

    If you had a wish, and could go back to the day before Obama took office and, according to you screwed everything up, would you? Keep in mind the Bush economy gave us 500K+ monthly job losses, the banking system on the verge of collapse, the real estate market imploding, and the stock market in free fall. Trillions in wealth simply vanishing. On the verge of a depression.

    Today most sectors of the economy have fully recovered from the Bush crash, and the job market is recovering, albeit slowly.

    This is a yes/no question.

    you didn’t exhaust your funds before leaning back and demanding others pay for their needs.

    Well that it sort of correct. Part of the idea of modern civilization is that we don’t want people to be pauperized by things such as medical expenses and old age. Conservatives tend to admire the values of Dickenson’s England over those of America until THEY are the ones who need help. Then, as in the case of Ayn Rand, they tend to change their tune very quickly.

    defense is written into the constitution

    Defense? Sure. Attacking a country that does not threaten us so the the VP’s cronies can make billions? Not so much.

    At historic lows?

    I thought that might be too complicated for you.

    Paint it as you will, it is still at its most basic, theft.

    Well, you should stand on your principals then. Call the city and tell them you want to be disconnected from the sewer system. If you house is on fire, don’t call the fire department, put it out yourself. Cut a check to the board of education that covers 100% of the public funds that went to educate your kids. Or, you could just admit that, by your standards, you are a thief too, robbing your fellow citizens to get your needs met.

    On the subject of our son’s costs. 90% of the people who have mental health problems as severe as his are abandoned by their families. It just gets too hard, and they give up. This is why we have so many homeless people. Instead of abandoning a relative who is ill and passing along 100% of any costs he may have to society, we have put a great deal of money towards his care, and personally taken care of him 7/365.

    In your book, that makes me a bad guy somehow. Well, your smallness of spirit has been noted here on OTB by many, and on many occasions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  88. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    YOU are a part of the problem of healthcare costs.

    How do you figure? I enjoy robust health for a 55 year old man, and have never had a serious health problem, just typical stuff for a man my age. Ditto for my wife.

    Our son is an adult, and we have no legal obligation to provide a nickel for his care. It’s something we choose to do, and in doing so, we are alleviating some of the strain for his care on the public treasury. What we have done for him is far, far more than that which is done by most members of society who are in our situation.

    Let me share a little more information you tinhorn asshole. My wife single handedly lifted her entire family out of poverty. With no help from anyone (until I came along). No help from the government, just blood sweat and tears.

    So really, take you BS and stick it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  89. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: Why is my metaphor inapt? Given how a lot of rich and desiring-to-be-rich people talk about the poor and how they are good-for-nothings, I think it’s damned appropriate.

    Peasant. Peasant. Peasant. You may not want to admit it, but that is EXACTLY how a lot of the powers-that-be regard those down in the lower class. Go read some of the comments made by Masters of the Universe and there’s more than a little whiff of Marie Antoinette about them.

    By the way, the day the Bastille fell, Louis XVI wrote in his diary: “Nothing happened today.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  90. TastyBits says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I am deemed crazy because more often than not I am out of the mainstream thinking. In some cases, it just takes a while for others to catch up.

    I will never spark any social movement. The best I can do is get you to not forget the past, but that has made one person here too uncomfortable. If anybody does not understand the importance by now, it is useless.

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  91. dennis says:

    @Pinky:

    Here you go, Pinky:

    http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2008/05/25/the-white-racial-frame-what-is-it/

    Try not to be so obtuse next time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  92. dennis says:

    @Tillman:

    @anjin-san: Magnanimity is definitely not one of your virtues.

    When they say such utterly nonsensical things, though, sometimes, it can’t be helped.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  93. dennis says:

    @anjin-san:

    Seriously, anjin, trying to explain to EriKKK FloracKKK a selfless act of genuine love is about as useful as fitting a submarine with a screen door.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  94. anjin-san says:

    @ dennis

    Yea, why do I bother. At any rate, Florack is staying true to form. He embarrasses himself publicly, then crawls back under his rock for a while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  95. dennis says:

    @Pinky:

    And if the ol’ synapses aren’t firing on all fours, how about these little tidbits (not necessarily from conservatives/republicans). The context? Giving an “honorary” degree to P-Diddy, an act I find kinda ludicrous, but it is what it is. (With your permission, James et al.)

    “Sure, give free degrees to black people. They get everything else free.”

    “Pretty much every degree given to a (b) lack is “honorary” as they are too stupid to earn it without affirmative action or sports scholarships…”

    “99.5% of blacks degrees are in skin color,”

    “It looks like Black on Black hating.. I have no problem with it.”

    I won’t overkill it. I know Doug has chastised in the past about taking seriously internet comments, and he’s absolutely correct. At the same time, this kind of ugly vitriol is all over the ‘net, and worse, they have hundreds of “thumbs up!” Point being, you asked what does White aversion to publicly embracing racism have to do with the poll. Everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  96. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:

    And so, you have all this money and still have your hand out?
    Unimpressive.

    And by the way, anjin… I’ll say it again… you’re a liar.
    Income taxes, its true, are marginally lower than theyve been in a while. But that’s smoke and mirrors for those who don’t look beyond the headlines.
    Why tell the whole tax story… include, for example, the taxes and unfunded mandates on businesses. Which, in the end are passed off to you and I as a cost of doing business. When you include these, as well as all the other taxes and fees from government at all levels, the total tax most Americans pay is upwards of 65% of their income.

    @dennis:

    So, a selfless act of love is spending someone else’s money?
    What interesting logic you must have used to come to that conclusion.

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  97. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: Did you make a “nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah” sound while you typed that comment? I can’t make you change your political analogies, but the further they are from reality, the more your analysis will suffer. And please, there’s no need to reply “I know you are but what am I”. I’m aware that some people think that my political analysis is wrong.

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  98. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Poor baby. In the Obama economy whose is? Bottom line, you didn’t exhaust your funds before leaning back and demanding others pay for their needs. YOU are a part of the problem of healthcare costs.

    You do realize of course that as a result of the financial crash of 2008 (prior to Obama’s inauguration) nearly 25% of the wealth of Americans was vaporized – that is, nearly $18 Trillion, and with that loss in wealth came the loss of millions of jobs. You also realize that at the time Obama was inaugurated the economy was shedding jobs at a rate of 700,000 per month. Finally, you might know, or perhaps not, that since 2009 the economy has been experiencing modest steady growth, and the unemployment rate has steadily come down from a peak rate over 10% to the current rate in the mid-7 percent area.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  99. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    And so, you have all this money and still have your hand out?

    How exactly do I “have my hand out?”? Be specific, and keep in mind that my kid is an adult. Any benefits that he gets are – benefits that he gets. That’s not too hard for you to comprehend, is it?

    I also note that you earn your living driving on government built and maintained roads. Have you given 100% of what you own towards their upkeep, or are you simply a moocher?

    I also note that you have repeatedly ducked my question about YOUR kids and public schools.

    You also need to explain how I am part of the problem with healthcare costs, if you can.

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  100. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    the further they are from reality

    Says the guy who said this:

    that’s how you know you’re black and it’s 70 years ago.

    Goodbye to another irony meter…

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  101. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: What? Hank Aaron is black?

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