Friday, March 7, 2008

It's 3:00 AM: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Someone once said, a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has time to tie its shoes.

There's been a lot of talk about Clinton's "3:00 AM" campaign ad. It attacks Obama's foreign policy experience. I've heard a lot of discussion about it; but I have not heard one pundit talk about my reaction to it. It's a very racist ad.

Now, I know the Clinton's have been supporters of civil rights for people of color. They talk about all the time. However, I'm looking at their current behavior and here's what's bugging me about it.

3:00 AM? Does it matter what time of day it is when the "red phone" rings, indicating some sort of national security crisis? Why 3:00AM?

It's because white people are afraid of black people at 3:00 AM. The ad would not have been as effective if it were three in the afternoon; it would not have played on the night time fears of white folk.

It plays the race card... and apparently so deftly, no talking-heads noticed. Clinton's ad is effective because it plays on deep-seeded white fears and institutional prejudice toward "the black man".

Subtle forms of racism are no less malignant than their overt cousins. It is common for people who practice this subtle form of racism to have no awareness into their own prejudice. For me, the 3:00 AM ad was the unnoticed iceberg tip. This is because they believe their prejudice to be based upon objective grounds. The ad gave and continues to give, people the opportunity to act on those deep seeded and unconscious fears.

Subtle Forms of White Racism

The website, Race, Racism and the Law lists ways to identify subtle forms of racism. Here are a few that can help evaluate the 3:00 AM Ad and the Clintons' current behavior.

Reducing people of other races to racial stereotypes."

This can often be done in very subtle ways; like choosing a time in the middle of the night, as the campaign ad does.

"Constant references to race. A mere mention of someone's race on a first encounter could be benign, but when these references continue after a long period of knowing that person, no matter how innocent the references may appear, they establish an unmistakable pattern."

The Clintons constant reminder of Obama's blackness, and "I have no reason to believe he's not a Christian" are those benign references that establish a pattern. Another example is the Clinton Campaign's release of the picture of Senator Obama in traditional Somalian garb; and then wonders aloud what all the fuss was about, is acceptance of racist behavior too. They didn't release the picture because they thought he looked handsome.

"Presumption of racism in members of own race. Racists typically expect members of their own race to be similarly racist. This often results in expectations of preferential treatment and they expect, for example, members of their race to see the humor in racist jokes or join with them in what but for the race of the victim would be seen as morally reprehensible behavior."

It appears to me that Clinton is willing to exploit that presumption in the ad. Certainly the Clintons' performance in South Carolina demonstrate that. Despite council from Black friends, they continued to diminish Obama's victory in South Carolina, implying a white candidate could not win over a black candidate there.

"Indifference to the opinions of members of the other race. It is typical of racists to e.g. make fun of members of the "inferior" race without any consideration for what those members will then think of these racists. At best, racists only care about what people of their own race think of them."

Consider how Bill used Jesse Jackson as his spiritual advisor during the Lewinski affair's then profoundly trashed his '88 presidential campaign. Again, despite council from lifelong friends of color, the Clintons did not seem to get the inherent racism of their words and actions.

"Acceptance of racist behavior or conduct. To view "mildly" racist acts as... reasonable ..."

Bill Shaheen was a national co-chairman for Clinton raised the issue of Obama's youthful drug use during the New Hampshire campaign. Hillary Clinton apologized and Shaheed took a less visible role in her campaign where he remains to this day.

"Maintaining superior position 'By all means possible'. A phrase often remembered as a precept of the maintenance of slavery in the Southern United States during the nineteenth century. A racist will use all means possible to preserve [their position of privilege]... "

Never mind that Hillary Clinton never answered the phone on a national security crisis... ever! Never mind she answered "the call" on the Iraq War and got it wrong. Never mind that Obama has more foreign policy experience than Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had before they took office. And never mind the fact that during Bill Clinton's administration she did not have a national security clearance; She could not even be in the room when President Clinton and advisers discussed "red phone" issues.

It appears that Senator Clinton will stop at nothing to try to win the democratic nomination, including black fear mongering at 3:00 AM.


Jimmy Higgins said...

An intriguing point, Big N. I figured the 3 ayem part was because for regular folks, a call at that hour is generally bad news of some sort.("Missus Sikorsky. this is Lt. Hammertoe down at the State Police barracks and we got a kid here says he's your son Andy. Could you come pick him up--and Missus Sikorsky, please bring some clothes.")

Given the amount of thought that goes into every second of these commercials--all those bookshelf and overhead light "halos" on Bush and Huckabee--I'm inclined to think you're right.

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Zen Garcia
Executive Producer