Race: The stealth issue of the campaign

Actress Stacey Dash tweeted her support for Mitt Romney and will likely be one of a small number of blacks voting for the Republican.

Stacey Dash obviously did not read the “black memo,” said Crystal Wright in WashingtonPost.com. Dash, an actress of black and Mexican descent who won middling fame for her role in 1995’s Clueless, recently tweeted her support for Mitt Romney for president. Her nine-word endorsement, accompanied by a pinup photo, “uncorked racist rage from Obama supporters,” who alerted Dash to the unspoken rule that “all blacks must vote for Democrats.” On Twitter, African-Americans called her a “traitor” and a “house nigger,” mocking her hair, her heritage, and her intelligence. The insults all boiled down to one message, said Jesse Washington in the Associated Press. “A black woman would have to be stupid, subservient, or both to choose a white Republican over the first black president.”

Ugly rhetoric aside, there are good reasons why so few blacks support Romney, said Sherrilyn Ifill in CNN.com. The GOP’s assault on Obama from day one has been fueled by outrage that such an interloper could occupy the highest office in the land. He has been dismissed as “lazy” and stupid, and called the “welfare president” and the “food stamp president.” A congressman interrupted a presidential address by shouting, “You lie!” Millions of Republican “birthers” still insist against all evidence that Obama was born in Kenya and is thus an illegitimate president. For blacks, all this represents “an assault on our collective racial dignity.” The appeals to bigotry are not even coded, said David Sirota in Salon.com. A few weeks ago, conservative activists dredged up a 2007 Obama speech on Hurricane Katrina to a mostly black audience, and criticized the president for supposed “calls to racial solidarity,” while using a “phony” black accent.

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