Today’s AP tells us that Dem candidates Clinton and Obama have decided to “step back” from the race bickering around the legacy of Dr. Mr. Luther King. According to the AP, “Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama stepped back from a controversy over race Monday night, agreeing that a prolonged clash over civil rights could harm their party’s overall drive to win the White House.”
Now, we all know that this has a lot to do with the much-anticipated South Carolina primary. Touted as the “first black primary”, the voting in Southern Carolilna, a state with a significant African American electorate, will, indeed be determinate in the horse race we call elections. An, so, both camps have played the race card in their own way, Clinton through her husband, who called the Obama campaign a “fairy tale” and Obama through surrogates nailing Clinton.
Lost in the haze of such offensively simplistic approaches to race by the media and pols is the racism rising in the south and across the country; You know, the kind we find exhibited in things like the “noose” and Imus incidents as well as in the more disguised racism of the immigration debate.
The issues and candidates have been thoroughly vetted and racialized. Talk of them “stepping back” rings pretty hollow at this point. Candidates should be foregrounding and yelling at the top of their voices about the racial crisis ravaging the country, but they don’t. Instead, they use race in its more coded, but equally noxious forms found for, example, in the vote or support for the Border Wall of Shame on the part of all the leading Democratic and Republican candidates.
Mark my words: there’ll be no “stepping back” from electoral racism, the political gift that keeps on giving.
More on this real soon.