An Idiot Defending A Racist By Any Other Name

by Venomous Kate

After publishing my piece on Michelle Obama at Pajamas Media, I remember why I so seldom write political stuff anymore. Idiots, like mosquitoes in the summertime, start swarming and no matter how much I swat I can’t rid myself of the pesky little things.

The latest is “Brad”, who left such a knee-jerk an ignorant response here on EV that I had to pause and chuckle (okay, cackle) before deciding I was long overdue for a Fisk. And so, without further ado, it’s time to start swatting the idiots:

It’s amazing how people can easily embrace their inner racist so easily like you Kate have. Revising history as you did takes real talent and a disregard for facts.

Facts? You want facts? Well, let’s see: my article at PM linked plenty of references. Where are yours? Oh, that’s right: you reached past your head to pull assertions out of your ass. Quite the limber one you are, no?

Michelle Obama grew up in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago. That’s a documented fact.

If by “working class” you mean that her parents both held jobs then, fine. So did mine. So do most peoples’, for that matter. Are you saying I should applaud that two black adults held down jobs? Why, that sounds a bit racist to me, Brad.

And as for her humble origins, they look like rather nice digs to me:

As I mentioned in the article, her family income was $42,686. At the time, the U.S. Census shows the median income for a U.S. family was $13,720, and poverty level for a non-farm family of 4 was $5,500. So pardon me if I personally think that making over 3 times the poverty level means, by definition, one does not come from an impoverished family. I didn’t write the dictionary; I just happen to read it. Might want to look into that yourself, Brad.

So, yes, she can empathize with working people who struggle for paychecks. It’s amazing how you can dismiss the hard work of a young woman who succeeded at both Princeton and Harvard Law.

She can empathize with it, really? When, exactly, did she learn to do that: was it while attending the highly-selective magnet school she attended for high school? Or was it while she attended Princeton on scholarship? Or Harvard Law? Just curious, Brad. I mean, you seem to know so much about her past… and yet you haven’t provided me with any example of Michelle Obama’s work history prior to earning a lawyer’s salary.

Why is it so easy for you to not acknowledge the effort that took or the triumph of that challenge? Why is her rise not worth lauding?

Okay, fine, I’ll say it now: graduating from Princeton and Harvard Law school is impressive. Now, tell me: what is it about those accomplishments should in any way reflect Mrs. Obama’s ability to understand, say, what it’s like trying to afford health care (a standard perk for attorneys) when you’re working as a waitress (something Mrs. Obama hasn’t done)?

If you did your homework, you would have learned that Michelle Obama left a major law firm to take a much lower paying job with the City of Chicago. After succeeding at that job, she took an even lower paying job working for a non-profit.

I did my homework, Brad. Obama’s “much lower paying jobs” included a stint as the Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago and another as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. Neither are exactly low-paying: last year, for instance, the assistant to the mayor made $111,900. If that’s “a much lower paying job” I can only imagine what her income was like as an attorney at a high-powered law firm like the Chicago office of Sidley Austin.

Of course, her salary while working as Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies (a job which, incidentally, is currently available) was based on experience. I do note, however, that the non-profit says: “In order to attract highly qualified candidates, Public Allies offers a competitive benefits package and professional development opportunities.” In other words, Executive Directors, even of non-profit groups, don’t earn piddling amounts, either, Brad.

But maybe that accounts for why she became the Associate Dean for Student Services at the University of Chicago. (Also not a low-paying job.) And from there? Well, she went on to become the Vice President for Community and External Affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals, a position which she was still working on a part-time basis when the campaign began.

As for homework, check out the Obamas’ tax returns and remember, AGI is after itemized deductions:

Barack Obama's tax returns

You don’t understand what life is like for many people of color in the United States.

You’re right: as someone who’s Native American and Iranian I just don’t get all that minority thang. Why, my ancestors have never been discriminated against. My ethnic heritage is never treated differently than others. Nope, there’s nothing about my background that could in any way make me sensitive to having been stereotyped.


It’s easier to pretend that you do and then make ill-founded judgments because you lack the appreciation of experience or deliberate ignorance that a simple trip to the library would end.

You mean, “do what you say and not what you do”, right?

I’m a man. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. If I were writing about women, I would research their perspectives before I presumed to know every thing.

Bully for you. And on behalf of my gender let me just thank you now. Because, you see, I’m going to presume that also means you don’t classify women as bimbos ever, since you haven’t personally experienced being, say, an attractive blond female with a killer body and therefore don’t know whether such a woman would be socialized to think her intellect isn’t as important as her boobs. Likewise, you’d never look at an overweight woman and think of her as a fat cow because, having not birthed babies and raised them while trying to juggle a career, motherhood and marriage, you have no idea whether she gained weight from turning to food as a source of comfort, or whether her hormones just got the better of her.

Right, Brad?


Do you have any real friends who are African-American? Did you talk to them before writing this hit piece?

Sure I do. Why, some of my best friends are…


I live in a town that’s 50% black. I regularly hang out with black friends. I’ve always done that. Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in San Jose? (For your reference, it’s a rather large, racially diverse city.)

But if you think that spending time around black people when you’re not black yourself makes you “get” the whole black experience thing then you obviously didn’t read Mrs. Obama’s thesis. That was, in its own way, her point: integrationist lifestyles separate a person from truly understanding the “plight” of lower-class blacks. (Her words, not mine.)

Reality check: claiming supporters who are black, white, and brown is not being racist. It’s recognizing the fact that people of different backgrounds are coming together.

Describing people by their skin color means continuing to describe them as discrete racial groups. In big, fancy terms that’s known as racial classification. In any other context such racial classification would be offensive. Why isn’t it now? Why not point out what all these supporters have in common — they are voters — than pointing out what makes them different from each other (e.g., their race)?

And, seriously, would someone tell me who the “brown” people are?

I recall Dr. Martin Luther King dreaming of a day when black and white children would be able to play together. Was his “I Have A Dream” speech racist?

In 1964 when such things weren’t allowed? No. That was an admirable goal. In 2008, when black and white children regularly play together and don’t have any idea why that’s such a big deal, continuing to point out the difference implies that it’s something worth noticing. I can’t recall the exact psychobabble term for it, but there’s a condition in which a person’s continual re-living of past experiences, despite things having changed in the meantime, holds them back and keeps them mentally imprisoned in the old mind-set, thus depriving them of any growth that might otherwise occur.

The repeated trudging up of things like Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech as if it were still applicable ignores the progress that’s been made — how most kids don’t even notice or care about skin color, for example. It’s insulting to those people who have rejected the racist attitudes of the past and it’s insulting to those who once lived through them to liken today’s climate with the horrors they once put up with.

It is impossible to get past the issue of race, Brad, until we stop making race an issue!

Moreover, your implication that Michelle Obama is somehow anti-white is interesting. Where’s your proof? Oh, that’s right you don’t have any. The mysterious tape was a hoax. (What Republican race-baiters don’t seem to understand is that the only one in 2008 who use the term “whitey” are white people trying to paint someone black as racist. That is a term from the 1960s. It’s not in use by African-Americans for the last 30 years. You won’t find it in popular cultural or colloquial speech.)

I don’t recall once saying that she’s anti-white. Let me just go check my original article… nope. No mention there of being anti-white. So, naturally, you can see why I wouldn’t offer proof to support something that I didn’t say in the first place. Just like I didn’t mention that fake “whitey” tape: I don’t believe it exists, either. But thanks to your mention of it there will be thousands of people searching for it yet again.

The slice and dice job of her senior thesis was debunked.

Where? By whom? And what “slice and dice job”? I read her thesis. Did YOU? (See note above where it’s rather obvious you either didn’t or don’t understand statistical models, much less the English language, to know what her point was.)

(Have you ever commented about the Republican Southern Strategy? What about the well documented cases of Republican voter suppression in black communities?)

Nope. I haven’t. But you’re gettingn off topic. Wait a second, glancing at the rest of your drivel below I say this is just the start of a pattern.

Then there’s your statement about her marrying a “half-white” man. Well, obviously, someone who is racist wouldn’t marry someone who is the object of her alleged hate.

Again, at no point did I say that she’s anti-white. But that’s okay, Brad. I believe we’ve already discussed a couple of times now the difficulties you seem to have with reading comprehension.

You may want to do a little research to understand that the majority of African-Americans have European ancestry. You know, like Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Chris Rock, etc. So, did it ever occur to you that Michelle Obama has white ancestry, too?

Well, Brad, when she describes herself has having grown up as “a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” I take that to mean she’s black. Now you say she’s got European ancestry in her, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s just yet another thing you’re pulling out of your ass. Or, to quote you, “Where’s your proof?”

But, hey, I can’t say I’d be all that surprised to learn she has European roots. After all, Barack Obama is Brad Pitt’s distant cousin. (Then again, both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush are cousins of Barack, too.)

Even so… so what? First you say that her marriage to a half-white man proves she’s not anti-white… and then you go on to argue that she might be partially white herself.

You know, I can’t help but think that argument is a bit racist in itself, Brad. I mean, here you are pointing out people of mixed-race ancestry as if, by dint of having some European blood in their veins, that makes them somehow better? Different? Miraculous for having accomplished anything of note?

Let me be really clear for you, Brad: I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about race. I could not care less whether a person — or a political candidate — is black, white, “brown” (whatever that is) or freaking polka-dotted. Because I don’t think race matters. Not at ALL. I’m an Equal Opportunity Bitch, I am.

But I maintain that it’s the continued reference to race as a distinguishing feature that is the hallmark of racism!

There was thing called the One Drop Rule that nice racist people but [sic] into law that any person with 1/64 African ancestry would legally be considered black and subject to segregation and other horrific laws. The famous case of Plessy v Ferguson that legalized segregation was about a man who was 7/8th white but considered “black” being forced from sitting in a “whites-only” section of a train.

Yep, horrible case law that. Repugnant. Completely hypocritical and un-Christian if you ask me.

That also happened in 1896, Brad. Over a century ago. Were you on the bench then? Were you even alive? Was Barack Obama? Michelle Obama? Were their parents? No. Neither was I. So tell me, at what point is the past the past? At what point do we in the present stop paying for the idiocy of those who came before us?

And, more importantly, what does that have to do with the original question about whether Michelle Obama is a racist? Or were you just bored?

When most, not all, white American refused to associate with mixed-race people, they were embraced within the African-American community. Have you seen a picture of Adam Clayton Powell or Thurgood Marshall? Have you ever read about Walter White, the blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned head of the NAACP?

Why, yes, I have. But there you go once again seeming to argue that these individuals — all of whom were known to have battled a particularly insidious form of racism due to their bi-racial ancestry — have some bearing on the subject of whether Michelle Obama is a racist. I don’t see the tie-in.

However, since you’re clearly into history, let me also remind you that one of the worst things to have occurred under the Jim Crow laws was the rejection by mixed-race individuals of their black friends and families so they could “pass” as white. Do you understand why they did that, Brad?

It wasn’t solely due to the fact that our ignorant forebears had created a system under which blacks were hopelessly discriminated against and disadvantaged. It was also because those blacks who wanted to “pass” perpetuated the mistaken belief that one race deserved to be superior to another.

Have you ever wondered if someone else might have given an “I have a dream” speech, oh, forty, fifty, even ninety years earlier if only more people said: “Race doesn’t matter, not at all” and meant it?

BTW, “brown people” is a term that many people of color have chosen for themselves. For instance, Indian-Americans claim that for themselves as do many non-white Latinos and mixed-race people. Check out, a site for Indian Americans or read the book “The Soul of Brown People.” Your revulsion at the term just shows your willingness to not understand that other Americans don’t share your world-view and the presumption that your perspective is “normal.”

You do mean Native American, right? As one, let me just tell you that despite being of Native American ancestry (along with Iranian) I’m not brown myself. (See the picture at the top left of your screen.) I’ve never called myself “brown”, for that matter, nor do any of the other Native Americans I know.

But, hey, your patronizing explanation to me of my own heritage — and assumption that I couldn’t possibly understand it — provided a good chuckle. (Okay, make that a cackle.)

Finally, if you want to try to pass off John McCain as a man of the people, it would be pretty hard considering he has 9 houses, had a private lake built because he wanted to fish, and, through marriage, is worth $100 million.

Where, oh where, did I try to pass of John McCain as a “man of the people”? I’m rather confident if you did some searching around here you’d find that I’m not particularly fond of him, either. But obviously, you haven’t bothered to do your homework before imputing beliefs or conclusions to me. Had you done so, much of the foregoing discussion wouldn’t have been necessary (which, by the way, proves your virtuosity at jumping to conclusions).

[Rant about McCain snipped because it has nothing to do with whether Michelle Obama’s a racist or not. And note to Brad: feel free to use that “Contact Me” button to send me your thoughts on McCain. It’s infinitely easier to respond to your statements than have to come up with my own material.]

But back to your attack on Michelle Obama, how long do people like you think if you keep up with these attacks that Cindy McCain won’t fall under the microscope? Didn’t she commit adultery, steal another woman’s husband? A woman who had suffered a horrible, crippling injury and endured painful and therapy? We could also talk about Cindy’s history of drug abuse and criminal history of writing forged prescriptions to score some drugs.

That’s “back to Michelle Obama”? Brad, you really are both confused and bored, aren’t you? Look, as soon as Cindy McCain starts giving stump speeches for her husband I’ll be happy to jump all over her, too. Happy now?

Now, because your incoherent line of reasoning above leads me to believe you’re the type who pretty much just skims stuff, listens to sound bites and then forms what he’s convinced is an “educated” opinion — which you proceed to spew at anyone who doesn’t see you coming in time to beat it — I’ll summarize it for your convenience:

1. As long as we keep referring to people by their race we are perpetuating racial division;

2. The only way for race to cease being an issue is for us to cease making an issue of it;

3. Michelle Obama repeatedly speaks about people in terms of their race;

4. Michelle Obama wrote her Princeton thesis based on the premise that blacks who mingle with whites can’t understand the “black community”;

5. Michelle Obama’s expressed her “surprise” that her husband won in Iowa by saying “Ain’t no white people in Iowa!”;

6. That statement in and of itself reflects a stereotype about whites: that they won’t vote for a black man (see Item 1 above);

7. Michelle Obama refers to herself as a “little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” (again, see Item 1 above);

8. The voters in Iowa and elsewhere didn’t give a damn about Barack Obama’s race;

9. Nevertheless, Michelle Obama continues to refer to race: hers, her husband’s, and those of voters;

10. If her husband’s race, or hers, shouldn’t matter then why does she keep referring to it?

So, to repeat the question that led you here in the first place: If Michelle Obama isn’t a racist, what is she?

31 Responses to “An Idiot Defending A Racist By Any Other Name”

  1. HAHA, lil’ brad gets PWNED! 😀

    Lincolns last blog post..Why I’m Giving Up On Christians

  2. Brava! Brava!

    kimschs last blog post..Tim Russert, R.I.P.

  3. WOW! Now that’s a rebuttal response if I ever saw one!

    Loris last blog post..A Cowboy’s Wife Favorite WordPress Plugins List

  4. That was amazing! Good job, Kate!

    Amandas last blog post..Pac-Man

  5. So many people say that “whitey” is a term from the 1960s and doesn’t get used any more. Which is odd to me, as I’ve heard it in person, and I wasn’t born in the 1960s.

    I guess some people live in insular worlds without slurs.

    Brian J.s last blog post..Late Night CMT Musings, Delayed

  6. Kate, if you’re at all curious as to why Michelle Obama may or may mention race more than, oh, say *you* do…consider the fact that her husband is currently running for president and she’s being called everything from a “black bitch” to “Obama’s baby mama”. Ponder the fact that her husband’s been receiving death threats since February of last year–based solely on race. Take a gander at some of the hateful, awful racist comments on blogs and websites about she and her children, not to mention her husband. Listen to some of the truly disgusting racial commentary of some people on the street. I’ve taken a little time to do both, and it absolutely blows my mind how some people truly still define others by race alone. You really should look at the other side of the coin; until you’ve been a Black American woman in this American society (regardless of income) trying to raise young girls to think colorlessly yet not only be aware of and prepared for how some others view them, not to mention proud of who they are and knowledgeable about their history and culture, then you really need to examine your preoccupation with this concept of Michelle as a racist. It’s simple:if everytime you turn around you’re being called ugly, you’re going to become obsessed with mirrors and self-image; if people keep telling you you’re fat, you’re going to form a preoccupation with food . Likewise, if it begins to feel like everyone around you is preoccupied with race, it inevitably parks itself in the forefront of your mind and is predominantly reflected in your conversation. I personally appreciate that Michelle is authentic and doesn’t try to talk around how she really feels like so many people do (and not in an effort to understand and bring people together as Michelle does, but instead in a vain effort to protect their prejudice or bigotry). I reject your opinion of Michelle, and would hope that you would begin to see her as simply an accomplished woman, wife and mother and not some angry Black woman with a chip on her shoulder. The latter classification is more a reflection of your issues than hers.

  7. You know, after reading this I realized how much I’ve missed your fiskings…! Classic; you’re on the top of your game here!

    pams last blog post..Friendly Fowl

  8. I’d just like to point out that inviting a fisking from someone with legal training is an open invitation to the verbal equivalent of a bloodletting.

    That was a beautiful thing. I’m all choked up here.

    wgs last blog post..Obama campaign responds!

  9. Ashleigh,

    Funny, I’ve watched Condi Rice for many years and she never struck me as an angry black woman with a chip on her shoulder like Obama’s Mama does. Maybe the reason Michelle-O comes across as an angry black woman is because she is, in fact, an angry black woman.

    Perhaps if she learned to be more like Pearl Bailey and less like Whoopi Goldberg people might be less inclined to throw things at their TV set whenever her ugly mug shows up. Ya feel me? 😀

    Lincolns last blog post..Why I’m Giving Up On Christians

  10. “You do mean Native American, right? As one, let me just tell you that despite being of Native American ancestry (along with Iranian) I’m not brown myself. (See the picture at the top left of your screen.) I’ve never called myself “brown”, for that matter, nor do any of the other Native Americans I know.”


    I think he means Indian-Americans not American-Indians. And Definitely Not YOU. FYI, We Brown people exist. We exist in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Western Asia and everywhere else due to immigration. But not in Iran because they think they are all white over there. Its OK that you dont know. Some people are too old to know all the races that exist in America these days and the many ways they identify themselves. But must you be so ignorant that you dont know that Indian-Americans and American-Indians are different people?! What a joke. Thanks Ultrabrown!

  11. Beautiful fisking job! The only thing that struck me as wrong was the assumption that “Indian-American” meant “Native American” instead of Americans from India. I think it’s rather strange they would refer to themselves as “brown” since many of them are darker than so many Afro-Americans, especially those with slave-owner bloodlines as well as slave bloodlines.

    As a blue-eyed, extremely white person, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those with any skin tone that didn’t have to fear a little sunshine. Not everything about being “caucasian” is all that great.

    If only the black community would follow the lead of many hispanic and asian communities, I would be happy. In general (there are exceptions) these groups are as proud of their heritage as they are of being Americans.

    The huge difference in viewing oneself as a “group” victim rather than one whose “worthiness” depends on individual effort and identity.

    I will stop now because I think I’ve exceeded the ” ” limit.

    Donna B.s last blog post..June 6, 1944

  12. lmao Kate tell us how you really feel

  13. hmm… I see Sudha also sees a difference between Indian-American and Native American.

    Should I mention that all the Indian-Americans I’ve met are doctors? Hopefully, I’ll get to meet our Indian-American governor someday.

    Donna B.s last blog post..June 6, 1944

  14. Maybe you heard it in Eminem’s song “Kill Whitey”?

    Or Everlast’s song “Whitey” or their follow-up “Whitey’s Revenge”?

    Or Sebadoah’s song “Whitey Peach”?

    Or Every Day Life’s song “Whitey on the Moon”?

    Maybe you were just listening to the band Whitey itself?

    Oh, wait. It might not have been in a song. Perhaps you read the book “Kill Whitey” by Brian Keene? (Or the book by the same name written by Ken Harvill?)

    Or “Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes” by David Horowitz?

    Nah, couldn’t be because — supposedly — that’s a term not in use in popular culture anymore.

  15. Do you actually think I’m not aware the Indian-Americans (dot) and American Indians (feather) are different people? I just frankly didn’t know which Brad was referring to. Big deal.

  16. Damn!

    I’m proud to be able to call you friend.

    Equal opportunity bitch… I love it! Can a guy be one of those???

    Jeffs last blog post..Billy Bob vs Hybrid

  17. Sure you can, but don’t blame me if people look at you oddly when you call yourself a bitch, Jeff.

  18. Yes, but you have to have a lisp. 🙂

    wgs last blog post..Obama campaign responds!

  19. Plus he’d need to perfect the wrist-flick finger-snap-then-flutter thing. While batting his eyelashes.

  20. I can deal with that. Sashay, sashay, sashay… Fosse, fosse, fosse… easy.

    Jeffs last blog post..Billy Bob vs Hybrid

  21. Jazz hands, people. JAZZ HANDS!

  22. What is this rant about black people who have made it over poverty? I read your first paragraphs and all I am getting is two blacks who I kinda dislike if not hate because her family was making some $42k a year and because they went to prestigious universities that apparently would be super ok if they were white but no, damn they are blacks?? Jesus God, what in heavens is this? Sorry, with all due respect… I am shocked at the trash they are throwing on the Obama family, even on their kids!! I am shocked at the nuances you are intelligently straining to argue when the most obvious is out there and you choose to ignore. I am not black, I am white if anything of worth I add with that but I am disgusted and appalled at what I am seeing and I pray God that the good of this country, which is raceless, survives over the evil, this November, whoever wins!!

  23. Love this post. Brilliant. Scary, but brilliant. Remind me never to get on your bad side…does your hubby tiptoe around alot? 🙂

    Man, this may be pretentious of me, not being an American, but I hope to hell you people get this next election right! I don’t think the world could survive another mismanaged mess in the White House 🙂

    Question: do you think this is shaping up to be yet another case of choosing between a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich (South Park reference)?

    Steves last blog post..Starforce and the stupidity of copy protection

  24. Of course he does, Steve. You don’t think he’s unaware he married an attorney, do you? 🙂

    For all of the carping coming from the right-wing side of this season’s politics about how McCain isn’t a “real” conservative, one thing I have to give him props for is that he’s got a lot of years of documented ability to push through bilateral support on legislation. I can’t imagine a better candidate to pit the first really serious minority candidate against.

    If Obama wins in November, it’ll be hailed as a victory for minorities – some level of that kind of thing is good, but I wish that people would quit making such a big deal about it and focus instead on his politics. If he loses to McCain, I’m afraid we’re in for four solid years of liberal complaining about the Man keeping minorities down. A hard-core right wing president like Bush isn’t going to be able to successfully deal with that, whereas I think somebody that’s a bit more moderate has a better shot at it.

    Either way, race is going to be a central point in this election. I wish it could be about politics, but that’s not gonna happen.

    wgs last blog post..Tagged

  25. I believe that’s called Californian Judo if accompanied by a “THTOP IIIT!!!!”. 🙂

    wgs last blog post..Tagged

  26. WOW! Utterly superb writing, had me hanging on your every word. I’ll be forwarding this post to my friends!

    Barbara Lings last blog post..Instant Nobility – Make Your Own Dynasty in 3 Easy Steps!

  27. Well done article. Your facts are convincing. Racism is said quickly, but in fact the sitaution and interest especially of the afro-american people are much more complex.
    We always see that in many cases money separates people more than colour of skin or religion. True is that black people suffered a lot, but its not all of the story

    Antons last blog post..Our ghostly Mumuye couple

  28. Steve, that’s the best description of presidential elections that I’ve ever read.

  29. “Racist” is one of the insults we easily sling around these days, and yet it’s one of the most difficult to defend against. How does a person demonstrate their NOT racist? Obviously, saying “Why, some of my best friends are…” is supposed “proof”. Pointing out where we live, who we encounter in our careers, things we’ve done or ways in which we just don’t consider race in the least bit doesn’t work, either.

    It’s one of those labels which, when it’s attached to us, we’re almost expected to hang ourselves and say “You know, maybe you’re right.”

    And, apparently, we’re then supposed to go vote for Obama to redeem ourselves (and the other members of our race).

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