Friday, September 5, 2008

UPDATED: Yep. Someone forgot to use code and just went ahead and said uppity.

Yes, this is egregious.

Update from therawstory:

WASHINGTON -- A Republican congressman from Georgia who referred to Barack and Michelle Obama as "uppity" says he wasn't aware of the term's racial overtones and did not intend to insult anyone.
That's a pile of bull! He's absolutely lying. Or, at least I hope he's lying. A lying racist has a bit more sense than and idiot racist.

In a statement Friday, Westmoreland - who was born in 1950 and raised in
the segregated South - said he didn't know that "uppity" was commonly used as a
derogatory term for blacks seeking equal treatment. Instead, he referred to the
dictionary definition of the word as describing someone who is haughty, snobbish
or has inflated self-esteem.

"He stands by that characterization and thinks it accurately describes the
Democratic nominee," said Brian Robinson, Westmoreland's spokesman. "He was
unaware that the word had racial overtones, and he had absolutely no intention
of using a word that can be considered offensive."

The Obama campaign had no immediate response.

Westmoreland is one of the most conservative members of Congress. He has
drawn criticism from civil rights advocates on a number of issues, including
last year when he led opposition to renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also
was one of two House members last year who opposed giving the Justice Department
more money to crack unsolved civil rights killings.
On one hand, I hope he loses his re-election. He's not qualified to be in Congress. Then again, he does help bring attention to the continuing problem.

from Hungry Blues

“Uppity,” That’s Racist for “Kill”
This was written by Benjamin T. Greenberg. Posted on Thursday, September 4, 2008, at 11:10 pm.

US Representative Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican from Georgia, made a very bald appeal to racists to unite against Obama. This wasn’t a private statement caught on a mic he didn’t realize was on. This was a statement for the record, to reporters, in the halls of the United States Congress.

Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said.
When asked to clarify, Westmoreland said it again, pretty much to say, you heard me, they’re uppity n—s.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
I bring up the N-word because that is the debased level of rhetoric that the word “uppity” belongs to, especially when a white Southerner is directing it at Blacks.

This is overt racist thuggery. As Ta-Neshi Coates put it:

The worse part is it isn’t vague. Uppity is exactly the term white thugs and terrorists used to use for high-achieving blacks–right before they burned down their neighborhoods and ran them out of town.
I suppose this might seem hyperbolic to some. It is a factual, historically accurate statement.

When I interviewed the children of Samuel O’Quinn, an African American man who was shot dead by a sniper at the gate to his property in Centreville, MS in 1959, they said that the main problem their father had with whites was that he was well educated and successful.

Samuel O’Quinn was a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute—”the highest form of education you could get” at that time, if you were Black, Rance O’Quinn emphasized.

“My mother and father gave away a fortune,” Rance O’Quinn continued. “They gave money to every cause, the building of every church. They bought the bus for the kids to go to school and paid the bus driver to take children to school.”

“That’s why he was hated,” added Phalba O’Quinn Plummer. “They said he was biggity. They would say ‘uppity’ and ‘biggity.’ ‘Biggity’ means too big for his britches.”

Five years after Samuel O’Quinn was murdered, in April 1964, his eldest son, Clarence, was attacked on the Centreville Post Office steps by Chief of Police Bill Ivey. “You damn uppity nigger, you think you own the town,” Ivey said, as he beat O’Quinn with other whites looking on. Clarence O’Quinn’s 94 year old grandmother, mourning the murder of her son Samuel, urged Clarence to leave town. “You have a life worth living; you should not throw it away,” she said. “You have no rights and privileges here.”

“I left Mississippi that same day,” Clarence O’Quinn recalled. “I was humiliated. I was alone. There wasn’t a Black person other than myself that I remember being at that post office, and I felt the evilness that lurked throughout Mississippi and Wilkinson County at that time. The separation from family, from friends was horrible and still is. Many have stood in my shoes and had no place to go.”

“We used to see kids get beat up,” Rance O’Quinn said. “There were lynchings that were never reported. Kids never showed up again. You’d see them in school today; tomorrow you never heard from them and you never would know what happened to them.”

“So and so run away,” his sister Laura O’Quinn Smith added. “That’s all people said. ‘They run away.’”

Lynn Westmoreland’s slur was a conscious evocation of the the racist sentiment that Blacks who refuse to be subservient to whites should be put in their place through violence—beatings, bombings, murder. Westmoreland’s slur is also a call to arms to extremists who would still carry out Klan-style violence. Westmoreland is not fit to govern. I hope his colleagues in Congress are fervently asking for his resignation.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis