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Debate on the existence of race in the White House

A new article in Us News “Obama Says Race a Key Component in Tea Party Protests” with detailed behind the scenes conversations gives us new insight into just how much race may be playing a part in this administration. Sean brings up the article which states that at a dinner party a guest suggested when tea party wanted to “take back their country that their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety in having a black president.” Supposedly Obama did not dispute the idea. He agreed there is a subterranean agenda in the anti Obama movement, a racially bias one and sadly conceded there is little he could do about it. (Full Article below)

Furthermore, during a House appropriations subcommittee about the voting intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, Attorney General Eric Holder throws race into the ring with the statement “people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people” (Full Article Below). So did the Justice Department go easy on the New Black Panther Party because they are African American?

In a heated and thought provoking debate Rev Jesse Lee Peterson and Marc Lamont Hill, a Columbia University professor give their take on why race seems to be a recurring theme. Hill says it’s not explosive to say race is a factor in the elections the last two years or in the tea party movement. Reverend Peterson takes another position and Sean reminds us that the Tea Party policed their own organizations and demanded any racist signs etc be removed and taken down.

"Obama Says Race a Key Component in Tea Party Protests"

In a new book, President Obama talks candidly about race and the presidency

By Kenneth T. Walsh Posted: March 2, 2011

African-Americans have been an integral part of the White House since it was built in part by slaves. In Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, veteran U.S. News White House reporter Kenneth T. Walsh traces this sometimes fraught history from its roots all the way to the Barack Obama presidency.

As he began his second year in office, Obama's presidency was not going well. His legislation to overhaul the healthcare system was still bogged down in Congress. The unemployment rate, which polls showed was the top concern of most Americans, remained stubbornly high at about 10 percent, and much worse in many African-American communities. Obama's job-approval ratings had dropped markedly from the astronomical levels of his first few months to below 50 percent.

Adding to his woes, in January 2010 the race issue erupted again in an unusual and unexpected way. Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader and an Obama ally, was embarrassed because of some racially insensitive comments he had made to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the authors of a new book, Game Change, about the Obama campaign. It turned out that Reid had predicted in 2008 that Obama could succeed as an African-American presidential candidate partly because he was "light-skinned" and because he didn't speak with a "Negro dialect."


Eric Holder: Black Panther case focus demeans 'my people' / Josh Gerstein / March 01, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder's frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

"Think about that," Holder said. "When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia—which was inappropriate, certainly that…to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people," said Holder, who is black.

Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama.

"To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, and to say that the Black Panther incident wrong thought it might be somehow is greater in magnitude or is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history and the facts.," Holder said with evident exasperation.

In a series of questions and comments earlier in the hearing, Culberson insisted that race had infected the decision-making process. "There’s clearly evidence, overwhelming evidence, that your Department of Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than African Americans to vote," the Texas Republican said. "There's a pattern of a double standard here."

“I would disagree very vehemently with the notion that there’s overwhelming evidence that that is in fact true,” Holder replied. “This Department of Justice does not enforce the law in a race-conscious way.”

Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from Philadelphia, said the Black Panthers "should not have been there." But he said the GOP was making too much out of a fleeting incident involving a couple of people.

"The most unethical thing a person can do is make allegations based on absolutely nothing," Fattah said. "The only issue of race is singling out this particular decision...That this rises to national significance is bogus on its face."