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September 16, 2009 § 6 Comments

(CNN) — Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that racial politics played a role in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech to Congress last week and in some of the opposition the president has faced since taking office.

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,” Carter told NBC News. “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 shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.”

“That racism inclination still exists, and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of 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,” Carter said.

Carter made similar remarks at an event at his presidential center in Atlanta, Georgia, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, pointing to some protesters who have compared Obama to a Nazi. “Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care,” the former president said at the Carter Center, according to AP. “It’s deeper than that.”

He grouped Wilson’s shout of “You lie!” during Obama’s speech in that category, according to AP. “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,” he said.

“The president is not only the head of government, he is the head of state. And no matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect.”

The House voted Tuesday to formally disapprove of Wilson’s behavior during the joint session of Congress. The resolution was approved largely along party lines, with Republicans calling the measure unnecessary partisan politics.

Wilson apologized to the White House last week, but congressional Democrats said he owed the chamber a similar statement of regret.

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§ 6 Responses to *

  • Christine says:

    Good article! Thanks for sharing.

  • jen says:

    “The resolution was approved largely along party lines, with Republicans calling the measure unnecessary partisan politics.”

    doesn’t that just say it all?

  • gayla says:

    Excellent article.

  • Auntie Gail says:

    I am PROUD of our President for maintaining a dignified composure and speaking the truth regardless of the opposition.

  • Katherine says:

    I think Carter is completely correct. And it’s just so sad. I was saying this to my friend last week- I definitely think that’s why people are so emotionally charged. Most people know it’s not socially acceptable to be racist, and they are reacting so emotionally and they don’t even know why- probably people aren’t even aware on a cognitive level some of the time that the reason they are so upset is because he is African American. Obviously that’s not everyone but I do think it’s very significant.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful photos! And I think they are starting to get to me. My sewing machine is now unpacked and I have started sorting all my handwork supplies.

    Regarding the article, which I also read this morning, I agree with Katherine. Most people don’t know the extent of their racism. And I think the misbehavior that is being directed to our president is based on racism.

    That former president Carter, who grew up in the south, made this statement is significant. I know for a fact that some of my siblings are racist but would never be able to identify it.

    Being in a multi-national family is a real eye-opener. And as difficult as this has been for me at times I feel more in tune with people who don’t share my “white” privilege.

    Thanks for posting.

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