The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the Republican Party and its President-elect Donald Trump.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thank You Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter is America's 39th president, a respected elder statesman, and a lifelong resident of the deep South. He's clearly not just some crafty ideologue who's talking out of school. So when the Georgia native says the animosity directed towards President Barack Obama is rooted in racism, it raises yet another serious flag in this increasingly heated debate.

Speaking to NBC's Brian Williams in Atlanta Tuesday, Carter said:

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans....And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

Of the angry opposition the president's been facing, Carter said: "I think it's based on racism. There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

Bravo, President Carter, for having the guts to stand up and say what many believe but are afraid to say publicly for fear of being accused of playing the un-PC race card. But the reality is, much of the vitriol directed at Obama is indeed because he's in a very powerful job that's been held by rich white men for 233 years. It's an ugly truth, and we may not be willing to accept it, but there's a lot of whites in this country who, as Carter's comments basically imply, are repulsed by a black man calling the shots from the Oval Office.

To be sure, the hatred we're seeing towards Obama is rooted in generations of deep-seeded ignorance, fear and insecurity. These racists are trying to delegitimize Obama's presidency in any way they can--no matter how irrational, illogical or offensive--and further fan the "he's not one of us" flames which serve to turn people rabidly against him. Whether it's the "birthers" who claim Obama's not a U.S. citizen; those who've labeled him a socialist, communist, fascist or terrorist; those who kept their kids home last week rather than have them hear his back to school speech; or South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's "You Lie!" outburst at Obama's address to Congress, there's a raging disdain and disrespect for this president unseen in U.S. political history. And it's because he's black. I'll say it again: it's because he's black. Carter has served America well by calling us as a nation out on it.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.


  • At 3:02 AM, Anonymous vibaku said…

    Unfortunately anything to do with race relations in America causes people to shut down and scream, "I'm not racist!" But Jimmy Carter spoke about it from a place of "unbiased opinion"; and that's something black people can't do these days. Our accounts of racism are "foggy", "clouded", "biased", or "manipulative", and sometimes it takes a guy who looks like Jimmy Carter, someone who has achieved what he has, to make such a statement and be taken seriously.

  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As soon as it came out what President Carter said, I wrote his Carter Center ( to thank him before all the crazies start flapping their jaws. President Carter did not say all those against President Obama's policies are racist, but there are many who are. Just read their posters. You don't only have to use the N word to be considered a racist. Many of those signs use code words to get their ideas out.
    Do those folks really think we are stupid? They will not accept a black (even a half black) man and his family living in the White House. We who know better must continue to speak out loud and clear. I applaud President Carter for saying what needed to be said and I applaud President Obama for being above it all. The righties want President Obama to get into the subject of race, but he is too smart to fall for that. So again, thank you President Carter. You certainly know from where you speak!

  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger VennData said…

    Nobody knows what other people are thinking. The GOP did the same sort of nonsense to Bill Clinton: Black Helicopters, UN takeovers, Whitewater criminality, Secret killings... etc... etc...

    The GOP media machine throws this stuff until something sticks.

    They'll turn this "Jimmy Carter racist" stuff into "they keep calling us poor old Freedom lovers racists" by the end of the week.

  • At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Memo to Carter: I was just getting to like you after your book exposed what Israel has been doing for 60yrs. Then you make a statement like this. BTW Jimmy, Obama couldn't be elected w/o the white vote. He didn't get my vote...but neither did McSame. The last time I voted was for Perot...then I realized it doesn't make a difference.

  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Amy said…

    It seems like no matter what happens, there will always be an issue of racism to some degree.

  • At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The indiscriminate use of the charge of racism undermines its potency in cases where racism truly is to be found.

    Shame on Carter. Shame on people who conveniently throw out the charge just because it suits their immediate political convenience.

    Don't you realize the damage you do to generations of effort to bridge the gap between the races? Don't you care enough about the country to look past the immediate goal you have in mind?

    Shame shame shame

  • At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    President Jimmy Carter is a much respected and loved human being who has the moral standing to call it as he, and most of us from the reality-based community, sees it. It has been a rather strange time since Barack Obama became our 44th President. The throwbacks were besides themselves with rage from the get go. They were planning to attack any Democrat elected as president with as much viciousness as was necessary to destroy them. With Obama they had this huge trump card of racism available and were not afraid to use it when they could find little else to attack him with. It's 24/7 racism directed at Obama by Fox Noise; I'm wondering what the FCC can do about this fascist network of liars.

  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Some of the above posters must be blind. My husband hears daily how the white guys he works with hate the N in the White House.

    That's reality folks!!

  • At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Realist said…

    As anonymous 4:59 relates, I have also heard such comments. Sadly, some of these utterances are themselves emanating from non-black minorities.

    Regarding Jimmy Carter, I say this with a great deal of respect and not snark: he's made a much better ex-president than he did a president. He took his celebrity and used it to expand the coverage of so many difficult topics and bring them to the attention of the world that no other ex-president can even stand near the Carter spotlight. He continues to strive to improve life on this planet, which is more than too many other national leaders can hint at.

    Laying out the truth about America's deep-seated racism is yet another such difficult topic, and I hope he continues to speak out about this. In doing so, he does allow Obama some breathing room (which I hope he decides to use productively!) to maybe do the right things regarding American's future. Obama has an opportunity to alter his heading, and I hope he does so. If he chooses the course that Carter would now take, then he will also improve life in America, and he will have a lot of support to fend off the scurrilous attacks of the Great White Hate Party. He will have earned it.

  • At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sad to say, the righties have already twisted what President Carter said and are using it to hurt our side again and again.

    Why are 99.9% of those against the policies of President Obama (which he ran on BTW) white?

    They keep saying they are having a revolution. And just what does that mean? I am white and would never be on their side. They totally embarrass me to no end.
    We, as a nation, are rotting within and I will never stand with the white pracing, racist repubs!!!!!

  • At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Disagreeing with the President is not racism. Racism is manifested in degrading personal remarks. Remember when sexism was evident when the man screamed at Hillary: Iron my shirt? Remember when they criticized her laugh, cleavage, etc. There have been no such racial slurs to or about Obama.

  • At 11:57 AM, Blogger The Ostroy Report said…

    Yeah, you're right, Anon 1024. Good thing no one's ever called Obama a terrorist, a Muslim radical, a socialist, a fascist, a communist...or called him an illegal alien and questioned his ctizenship....or kept their school kids away from him. Because, as you say, those kinds of personal attacks sure would be racism.....

  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ostroy Your examples are not racial slurs. Any man (or woman) can be a Muslim, a socialist, a fascist, a communist etc. Bush was called a fascist.

    Only a woman, for example, can be made fun of for her clevage Usually only a woman irons shirts for a man. Usually only a woman is held accountable for her appearance.

    To be racial it has to be something that can only be said about that race.

    Dowd got to racism when she added "boy" to "You lie." Only blacks in our country have been humiliated by a man being called "boy".

  • At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How about this one....

    shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds. ”
    — Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944,

    Yeah - Democrats fought a war to enslave Blacks, fought integration, instituted poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent their acquisition of political power, keep them entrapped in substandard inner city schools with their fealty to the school unions and their opposition to vouchers and charter schools.

    Yeah - it's the GOP that hates black people. Suuuuuuuurrrre....


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