Tim Wise on CNN: Race Hostility a Factor in Health Care Debate

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tim Wise is right.

Wise got a big response about his commentary on CNN yesterday about the hostile racial undertones against Obama’s health care proposals, especially the now-endangered Public Option. He believes, quite rightly, that many white opponents of Obama’s health care reforms hold that it actually means other people–blacks, people of color, recent immigrants–will benefit from them, and not whites. Excuse me, but food stamps came into being in the Sixties not because of blacks and Latinos, who also later benefitted, but because many whites in West Virginia were starving–John F. Kennedy’s West Virginia that helped give him the nomination.

In his article on Daily Kos, which garnered over six hundred responses (and counting) today, Wise wrote that using the Founding Fathers as a take-me-back-to-the-good-old-days yardstick was actually a throwback to institutionalized racism as it used to be. People don’t know their history: that Roosevelt considered national health care along with Social Security during the New Deal, but he was stopped in his tracks by Southern Democrats–Southern Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats today. It would have meant enfranchising everyone–blacks, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans–those Americans who were largely shut out of New Deal benefits, particularly in the South, as Ta-Nehisi Coates also related recently. After addressing some of his virulent e-mails, including one that called him a fag, Wise went on:

Okay, I suppose. Of course, last time I checked God wasn’t offering to pick up the tab for chemo treatments, organ transplants, or any other medical procedure for that matter. Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but the founders actually did foster quite a lot of government dependence: enshrining slavery was about government protecting white people from the competition of free black labor, and white folks becoming quite dependent on that protection. Stealing native land and then redistributing it to white people was about dependence on government-imposed violence. And later, yet still in the supposedly “good old days,” government dependence was at the heart of segregation–which artificially subsidized white people in the job, school and housing markets–and was at the heart of the FHA and VA loans that white families used (and from which black families were all but completely blocked) in the 40s and 50s, which literally built the white middle class.

But I’m guessing that when she uses a phrase like “dependence on government” she isn’t thinking about the white folks who were given 270 million acres of essentially free land under the Homestead Act. Or the 15 million or so white families who got those racially preferential home loans, with government underwriting and guarantees, thanks to programs implemented by liberals and thanks to pressure from the left. I’m thinking she isn’t talking about the white soldiers (but typically not the black ones) who were able to return from World War II and make use of the GI Bill to go to college, or get job training. And the fact that she likely doesn’t think of those kinds of things and those kinds of people as being dependent on government is, of course, precisely the problem, and the point I was trying to make.

Right. And yet they want to continue to argue that this whole thing is not about race, while they insist today that health care is actually part of reparations. It is about race. It is also about defeating Obama’s policies, and make him out as just another black man (really, the n-word) spending white people’s money. Not just anybody’s money. Their so-called money.

~ by blksista on August 17, 2009.

6 Responses to “Tim Wise on CNN: Race Hostility a Factor in Health Care Debate”

  1. Folks being racist and then to top it off….deny they are being racist. What a world we live in.


  2. Love the post! Not only is the dog whistle to rile up racist whites being used, it’s being used to convince whites to act against their own interests. While there are 9 million blacks living in poverty in the US, there are 16 million whites living in poverty!

    They are only upset because when they hear the word “poor” they think “black”. That’s not based on reality, it’s based on racism.


    • Of course, white people aren’t poor…yet it was Oprah who recently had a show about the great height those in the middle class have fallen from. And how these formerly middle class now see themselves–food stamps and all–as poor as any inner-city dweller. It’s an awful realization.

      What scares me are all the guns at the health care meetings, and even near Obama’s speaking venues. I don’t like it.


  3. […] post “Race Hostility a Factor in Health Care Debate” on this black sista’s page is right on. Go read […]


  4. […] about Daily Kos as of August 17, 2009 Tim Wise on CNN: Race Hostility a Factor in Health Care Debate – thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com 08/17/2009 Tim Wise is right. Wise got a big response about his […]
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!


  5. […] about Daily Kos as of August 17, 2009 Tim Wise on CNN: Race Hostility a Factor in Health Care Debate – thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com 08/17/2009 Tim Wise is right. Wise got a big response about his […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: