If you don’t think racism is playing a role in some of the opposition to President Obama supports, dump a bucket of cold water over your head and wake the hell up.
Here we have a Republican, Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, telling an audience, “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope” and we have citizens bringing weapons to events where the president is. I’ve seen pictures of one fool with an assault weapon slung over his shoulder and God knows how many other fools with handguns strapped to their waists. Ask yourself this question, if the president was white, and armed black Americans showed up at speech by the president, what do you think would happen?
Jenkins’ staff said she was not aware that the term “great white hope” would be offensive. Spare me. She used the word white and whether you knew about the historical origins of the term great white hope, used when racists wanted to white man to defeat Jack Johnson, or not, you raised the issue of skin color. What is also troubling is reading a missive by columnist Cynthia Tucker, who happens to be black, who wrote, “I doubt she (Jenkins) meant “great white hope” literally, and she probably had no idea about its troubled origins.” Tucker should be ashamed of herself.
By the way, Jenkins did know of the origins of the term. On July 29th of this year she was one of those who voted to pass a resolution asking President Obama to pardon Jack Johnson. The resolution in part read, "Whereas the victory by Jack Johnson over Tommy Burns prompted a search for a White boxer who could beat Jack Johnson, a recruitment effort that was dubbed the search for the ‘great white hope.’" Confronted with this, Jenkins staff said, she hadn’t read it.
But the latter is a moot point. Jenkins said the Republicans are struggling to find the great white hope and unless you just started walking erect in the last two seconds, you know great white hope means white person, and so, it was a racist statement. What is astonishing, and scary, is the silence of too many members of congress about her statement.