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What the "birther" movement is really saying.

Is Obama an American citizien? Of course he is. Duh.

The important thing, however, is the underlying message of the entire "birther" debate. What they are really saying is that blacks aren't real Americans. Neither are hispanics and other minorities.

At this year's American Sociological Association (ASA) conference, President Patricia Hill Collins pointed out that Obama's election doesn't eliminate racial inequality but validates full  black citizenship.  What a powerful statement. (Thanks to seasings for pointing this out)

The "birther" movement is a reaction against this. If you really hate blacks and minorities you need a rationalization to put your mind at rest. How else could you live your days seeing people that are "different" on the street without going nuts without at least a little mind-calming reationalization. So you tell yourself, "these people don't belong here" and that translates to "they aren't real citizens" and that translates to "they'll go away... someday... I just have to wait long enough".

Seeing President Obama being swarn in must be totally frustrating, then. "If they are temporary, how can he be... president??" This wishful thinking, this rationalizaiton, is crushed.

Some might take this as a signal that they need to get with the times and change their thinking to match reality. Others, those less psychologically stable, "dig in" deeper to their denial. Thus is born the "birthers".

The irrational argument that "they don't belong and will eventually go way" gets replaced by the irrational behavior of collecting non-facts that validate the "birther" belief and ignoring anything that gets in the way of their belief. They believe anything, no matter how far-fetched, that helps them retain their belief (like false birth certificates) and ignore anyting, no matter how factual, that doesn't corroborate their belif (like the fact that 2 different newspapers listed his birth announcement).

The entire "birther" movement is really saying that these are people that don't believe that blacks (and all minorities) are "real" citizens.

Just look at the entire Judge Sonia Sotomayor nomination process. Here you have a qualified, prestegious candidate being dragged through the mud with strikingly racist overtones yet without overt racial language. Quoting Tim Murphy pointed out
Writing on the National Review’s group blog, for example, Mark Krikorian took Sotomayor to task for having the gall to insist on pronouncing her name as her family does, with the accent on the final syllable. “There are basically two options—the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him,” Krikorian argued, calling it a question of assimilation.
Why didn't he just say, "If she was a real American she'd speak English!". This is about respect. Pronouncing someone's name the way that they ask it to be pronounced is a matter of respect.

I'd hate to tell him that half of my family pronounces my last name "the Italian way" and half pronounce it "the American way". Nearly a century ago my relatives were told that Italian immigrants weren't real Americans too.

If "birthers" they could have their way the entire "melting pot" rhetoric, that each new person makes for a more interesting and great nation, would be removed from our lexicon.

That is how radical these people are. That is how extreme these people are.

And yet, these "birther" people think of themselves as real Americans, the only real Americans. They are "as American as Apple pie" which is quite ironic because, well, When was the last time you actually ate apple pie? How often each week do you eat pizza?

I often confuse conservatives as trying "to bring the U.S. back to the 1950s". The "birthers" are trying to bring us back to the 1850s.

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The Dutch consider apple pie to be typically Dutch. Peanut butter*, too, but we can honestly claim that one due to the efforts of our own George Washington Carver. Oh, wait, he doesn't appear to be truly an American, so I guess we can't. Damn!

* They call it "peanut cheese", which I find singularly unappetizing.

Yes yes yes yes yes!!! You have said very eloquently what I've been saying in small rants. :) The birther movement is, at its core, a movement that says, "He can't be President. He's BLACK!" All of those people at birther rallies shouting about "wanting their country back" are saying they want it back from the brown people.

This is an excellent post. May I have your permission to link to it in such places as Facebook so others will read it? :)


Also, that accented emigre Orly Taitz is among their most prominent faces muddies the waters. Now white' 'ethnic' for racists who remember their own immigrant roots can avoid noticing the blatantly nativist underpinnings of birtherism.

Taitz as head of the birther movement is a stroke of demented brilliance: question her citizenship and you're guilty of antisemitism.

Other than the "well of course, obviously it is all raciest nit-wittery or else why would they all fail to notice that even if Obama was born on the Moon the fact that he was born to an American mother makes him eligible, since that was part of the reason McCain who actually WAS born overseas was equally eligible" . . . I have now spent several hours wondering how you say your name in an Italian or American way.

I'm confused.

I missed ASA this year. Pat Hill Collins rocks!!! Oh and as for Orly... OMG... can we say bat shit crazy! Did you see her meltdown on MSNBC? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/03/orly-taitz-melts-down-on_n_250441.html?page=133&show_comment_id=28272397#comment_28272397

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