>Jimmy Carter is right

>Former Pres. Jimmy Carter has weighed in on the never-ending Joe Wilson affair.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s oldest son defended his father against a claim by former President Jimmy Carter that the congressman’s outburst during a speech by President Barack Obama was “based on racism. Responding to an audience question at a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter said Tuesday that Wilson’s outburst was also rooted in fears of a black president. “I think it’s based on racism,” Carter said. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

Wilson’s oldest son shot back at Carter’s assessment by saying:

“There is not a racist bone in my dad’s body,” said Alan Wilson, an Iraq veteran who is running for state attorney general in South Carolina. “He doesn’t even laugh at distasteful jokes. I won’t comment on former President Carter, because I don’t know President Carter. But I know my dad, and it’s just not in him.”

“It’s unfortunate people make that jump. People can disagree — and appropriately disagree — on issues of substance, but when they make the jump to race it’s absolutely ludicrous. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to respect everyone regardless of background or race.”

Carter’s analysis of the situation points to a growing trend among whites (yes, I said it) who are still in disbelief that a black man (read: the enemy) is our president. But I’m going to go further than that and say that it’s a little bit deeper than that.

Many folks in this country just do not respect African-Americans and other minorities who are “in charge.” There is an inherent level of disrespect and superiority some people feel in this country towards minorities. And once a minority moves ahead, this distinct group of people begin to feel threatened and feel like those “beneath them” are being insubordinate.

I remember while I was in college I served as the news editor of our student-run newspaper. I was in charge of making sure everyone had their articles in on time and made sure they were correct, etc. Well, there was an older white man who just did not respect my position of authority. I repeatedly told this gentlemen that if he could not get his articles in on time, then they will not be printed. Well, fed up with me (and our rule), he decides to lash out at me via e-mail. He told me he thought I was rude, etc. He even had the nerve to copy a professor of mine on the e-mail. Furthermore, this man had no problem with our (white) male editor-in-chief telling him our deadlines and procedures. This man (and I say man because he is in his 30s) felt the need to try and put me in place because of my skin color and gender. Needless to say, he ended up sending me an apology (via e-mail, of course) and said his behavior was out of order.

I’m sure many other black folk can relate to a situation similar to this. In the workplace, we all learn pretty quickly how to deal with these few people who can’t handle taking direction from a brown or yellow person.

And this what our country is experiencing on a larger scale. Supposedly, we have a black, Muslim man with socialist tendencies (who is not even a citizen!) who is running our country into the ground. This notion that people of color are (mentally?) incapable of running our country has spread like a wildfire among those on the far right. This notion that a person of color in a political leadership position is automatically aligned with these unseen socialists/Marxist/communist forces continues to plague the minds of the nut jobs in our country.

Which brings us back to Joe Wilson and his outburst. This outburst was no accident; Wilson’s emotions didn’t get the best of him. Wilson’s inherent belief that he is above having to listen to a black president speak to the nation came out and retaliated with a vengeance. Wilson’s outburst is a reflection of how many right-wingers truly feel about having a brown person with a weird name being recognized as our president.

To them, brown people are supposed to be “serving” them by working at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Target, as janitors, as entertainers (athletes, musicians, etc), as secretaries and in our kitchens. They aren’t supposed to be representing us.