In 2008, Barack Obama’s supporters did something previously unseen in American presidential politics–they made race an issue in the election. Recognizing that America’s long-standing racial guilt could easily be played upon, supporters of the then-presidential candidate were quick to paint any criticism of their guy with the tag of racism.
Socialism was one of the first terms to be so racially tinged. Obama’s supporters successfully convinced a very-willing press that the word implied blackness, despite most Americans not being able to name a single black socialist, with the possible exception of former actor and high school graduate Danny Glover. Likewise, partisans have managed to attach racial import to the term ‘community organizer,’ Obama’s primary leadership position before assuming the mantle of Leader of the Free World–this despite the ignorance of most Americans as to what a community organizer is in the first place. These tactics were so successful that to this day, any opposition to the president’s policies evokes cries of racism from some quarters.
With the 2012 election approaching, Democratic strategists are hard at work to devise new English (and perhaps some Spanish) words that evoke the secret racism of Obama’s opponents. Although “community organizer” and “socialist” should still have some traction, new and innovative racism-indicators will be required if this advantage is to be maintained.
There have been some successes. Although the DNC has yet to release any of 2012′s racially tinged words, well-placed observers have confirmed a handful of the new terms. Among them are “state senator,” “Hawaiian” and “shitty president.”