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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

 
The Lizard Brain Awakens

by digby

He's just letting it all hang out now.

From Amato:


Limbaugh: We know that technological advancement is going along at light speed. And yet during this period of time, whether it be the last 57 years or be it the last 20 years, it seems that a majority of the black population has remained angry, frustrated, and behind. They've been left behind. They are acting like they've been left behind, and of course we've heard that this is because of racism, natural systemic institutional racism in America, that we are unfair, that this country is just horrible and rotten.

...The federal government became the father. The father didn't have to hang around in order for the kids to be okay, depending on how you define okay. But as you study more and more of this ACORN stuff, you find that it has been part of an entire movement that has been going on for two, maybe three decades, right under our noses.

We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered, but no, it is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-American Afrocentric black liberation theologists with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it, they have been training young black kids to hate, hate, hate this country, and they trained their parents before that to hate, hate, hate this country. It was a movement. It was a Bill Ayers, anti-capitalist, anti-American educational movement. ACORN is how it was implemented, right under our noses. It has been a movement, it has been a religion, and Obama and Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were all up to their big ears in it.



Wow. I've written quite a bit about the particular form of American racism that manifests itself in fear of the black mob but I haven't seen it expressed quite so starkly though in a couple of decades.

I wrote this
after Katrina:

Ever since 1791, there have been white Americans who get very nervous when they see a large number of angry black people in one place. That was the year that Haiti's slaves rebelled and killed almost every Frenchman on the island. The fear of slave revolt --- black revolt --- entered the consciousness of the American lizard brain and has never left. From Gabriel Prosser to Nat Turner to Malcolm X to Stokely Carmichael and the long hot summers of 66 and 67, notions of barbaric vengeance being wreaked upon unsuspecting white people has lurked in our racist subconscious. During slavery it was the immoral institution itself combined with horrible inhumane treatment. After the civil war it was the knowledge of seething anger at Jim Crow. During the 60's the anger became explicit and words like "by any means necessary" reached deep into the American psyche and fueled the backlash against the civil rights movement --- and set the conditions for the Republican dominance of politics today.

Race is America's deepest psychic wound that festers in different ways over and over again. It has lost much of its original blazing pain, but it is still there, buried and waiting to come to the surface.

The memories of Nat Turner are still fresh to many for whom the Lost Cause is their defining cultural benchmark:

Starting with a trusted few fellow slaves, the insurgency ultimately numbered more than 40 slaves and free blacks, mostly on horseback. The rebels traveled from house to house, freeing slaves and killing all the whites they could find; men, women and children alike. In all 55 whites were killed in the revolt.

In total, 55 blacks suspected of having been involved in the uprising were killed. In the aftermath, hundreds of blacks, many of whom had nothing to do with the rebellion, were beaten, tortured and murdered by hysterical white mobs.


In the summer of 67, the cities of this country went up in flames. The rhetoric was the same as what we heard coming from the right this past week. Peggy Noonan suggested that looters be summarily shot. And, in that summer of fire, they were. In large numbers. Only, it turned out, they weren't necessarily looters or rioters --- they were just black. Ordinary people, housewives, kids were gunned down by renegade cops and national guard who were given orders to shoot to kill. Every african american killed by police that summer became a symbol of collective punishment. If you were black, you could be asked to pay with your life for the sins of other blacks. That's just the way it worked.

In Rick Perlstein's (as yet unpublished) new book [Nixonland --- ed], which I've had the privilege to read a bit of, this is the real crucible of the 1960's. Here is just a little bit of what happened in Newark that long hot summer after the cops took off the gloves and started doing what Peggy Noonan and Jonah Goldberg have been agitating for this past week in New Orleans:

"The press was interested in making the carnage make sense. A turkey shoot of grandparents and 10-year-olds did not make sense. The New York Daily News ran an "investigation" of the death of the Newark fire captain [killed by police] and called it "The Murder of Mike Moran." The Washington Post left his cause of death as more or less a blank. The alternative--that when law enforcement spent days spraying ... rounds of ammunition, more or less at random, even white people can get killed--seemed too horrifying for mainstream ideology to contemplate. Twelve-year-old Joey Bass, in dirty jeans and scuffed sneakers, his own blood trickling down the street, lay splayed across the cover of the July 28 Life. The feature inside constituted a sort of visual and verbal legal brief for why such accidents might have been excusable. The opening spread showed a man with a turban wrapped around his head loading a Mauser by a window with the caption, "The targets were Negro snipers, like the one above." In actual fact the photo had been staged by a blustering black nationalist by the name of Colonel Hassan, what the copy claimed was an upper-floor vantage onto the streets actually a first-floor room overlooking a trash-strewn back yard. "The whole time we were in Newark we never saw what you would call a violent black man," Life photographer Bud Lee later recalled. "The only people I saw who were violent were the police."
Obviously, we're not in that place today and we have no reason to believe at this moment that we'll go there again. But the impulse lives on inside people like Limbaugh and his listeners, who make up a non-trivial minority of population. That the first black president comes out of the liberal tradition creates a terrible threat to their worldview, and this whole ginned up controversy with ACORN registering minority voters, Ayers, Wright and the rest subsequently feeds into a very old narrative of blacks exacting revenge against their white oppressors.

It's ridiculous, I know. But the history of this (thankfully) shrinking number of Americans is bloody and violent and they should be taken seriously. Limbaugh is inciting certain very ugly, primitive beliefs in his listeners and there's nothing "entertaining" about it.


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