November 06, 2008

Ralph Nader Reveals His Racism Yet Again

During the course of the contest for the presidency now ended, I was pleasantly surprised to note the absence of Ann Coulter from the airwaves. Coulter's slide into obscurity since the publication of her paranoid and bizarre screed, Godless, is one of the things that have given me some hope that America may be returning to reason and repudiating the visceral hatred of the radical right.

Leave it to Ralph Nader to remind us, in Coulter's absence, that old-fashioned racism and bigotry is still very much alive and isn't the exclusive domain of wingnutters. In a quote from Nader discussed in an election night interview on Fox News, Nader accused Barack Obama of being an "Uncle Tom" in his relationship to corporate interests.

Whether or not one agrees with the assertion that Obama is too accommodating to big business, clearly the assertion itself could be expressed without one of the most incendiary references to his race possible. In fact, the unapologetic Nader has gone out of his way to include the slur in his statement. What does it mean, after all, to ask whether Obama would be an "Uncle Sam" in the first place? Nader could simply have said that Obama was misrepresenting himself; there was no reason to do this.

Still, Nader has a long history now of making racist statements. Some prior instances of this have been collected here, including such gems as:
There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white?
The assertion that Obama's ethnicity should make him predisposed to speaking a certain way and cause him to focus on a particular set of issues or to hold to some specific set of priorities is, without question, utterly racist. Obama, just like any other person in this country, is free to think about things in whatever way he wishes, to speak however he thinks best, and to prioritize things in whatever way he desires. The whole point of equality is that everyone enjoys the same freedoms and the rest of us get to agree or disagree without consideration of the coincidence of skin color. Clearly, Nader disagrees with Martin Luther King's contention that we should judge people based on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin.

I've previously made note of Nader's racist tendencies. This latest fuselade is in itself no longer surprising, just revolting. That it took an interviewer on Fox News, of all places, to call Nader out on his garbage should be an embarrassment to anyone who has ever put stock in the man enough to have even considered voting for him. At this point, Nader is no longer due any respect whatsoever from anyone at all. He should be cast onto the rubbish heap of history, right next to Ann Coulter.

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