People For the American Way today released its latest report, “Right Plays the Race Card.” The report covers the Right’s continued use of racially charged rhetoric to excite its base and attack its opponents. It also explores the calculation that politicians from both parties have made that it is advantageous not to confront racist rhetoric from the far right.
The report maps out not only the consistent pattern of racially tinged attacks against President Obama, but ways that the Right’s rhetoric on a wide range of issues plays on racial fear and misunderstanding, including:
- Baseless claims from television commentators that President Obama “hates white people.”
- Claims that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was an “Affirmative Action” pick who would bring a radical agenda to the Supreme Court.
- Assertions that the Republican Party should ignore the votes of African Americans and Hispanics.
- Attacks on ACORN designed to raise unfounded fears about organized voter fraud by African Americans.
- Smears against African Americans who voted for President Obama, accusing them of putting race over God.
- Using “race coded” attacks to brand Obama as “foreign” and echo segregationist tactics as the appropriate response to an Obama presidency.
“Far from being isolated incidents, these examples show a clear pattern of racially charged attacks designed to undermine President Obama and the progressive agenda,” said People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan. “Whether or not individual right wing activists are motivated by racism is unimportant; the far right is displaying a pattern of inflammatory rhetoric and astonishingly few leaders in the GOP are standing up to it. That’s a reckless strategy, and members of both political parties need to stand up and put a stop to it.”
The report is the latest in a series of “Right Wing Watch: In Focus” reports drawing on the reporting and expertise of People For the American Way’s RightWingWatch.org. You can read it here or download a PDF version here.