City Desk

Scenes from Post-Racial America: The Outburst Edition

Maureen Dowd, in yesterday's New York Times column, "Boy, Oh Boy," on Joe Wilson's outburst during Barack Obama's speech to Congress: "Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it."

Author Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad of the Institute for Policy Studies, in a Saturday Times article on the recession's racial divide: "What do you get when you combine the worst economic downturn since the Depression with the first black president? A surge of white racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt. An article on the Fox News Web site has put forth the theory that health reform is a stealth version of reparations for slavery: whites will foot the bill and, by some undisclosed mechanism, blacks will get all the care."

racism signA sign spotted at the weekend "Tea Party" event, where protesters – carrying pictures of Obama defaced to look like Hitler or the devil – insist there are no racial undertones to their vitriol: "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THIS SIGN SAYS YOU'LL CALL IT RACISM ANYWAY!"

Washington Post readers, responding to columnist Michael Wilbon, who said yesterday's Serena Williams foot fault call was a really bad one (even if her reaction was too): "Youtube clearly shows Serena stepping on the baseline. Is that a foot fault? Or are rules determined by race. Is Serena allowed to break the rules of tennis because she is African American, a woman, a champion and American or whatever?"

And: "Wilbon, you lie or don't know the rules. Don't play the race card! Find another job!"

Keli Goff, weighing in on the same subject at the Huffington Post, saying one "can't simply blame race." Throw class in there too.

With the Williams sisters it has always been less about what color they are and more about who they are: from Compton, not from Connecticut; wearing wildly colored fashion combos, instead of pristine tennis whites; talking loud and proud of their roots, instead of quietly trying to blend in; rocking braids and cornrows in the early days, instead of joining the ranks of Beyonce and (some of the rest of us) by getting a more socially acceptable, "lady-like" weave....

Yes Serena was wrong.

But so was the lineswoman.

And so is every tennis fan who isn't willing to honestly admit that Saturday's call never would have happened, nor been deemed acceptable for any other player under those circumstances.

But other players are not named Williams.

Who wants to go there on Kanye West and Taylor Swift?

Image via brinux on Twitpic

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