Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Republican Racism Example #42: Randall Terry Calls Obama A Pimp

We knew that Randall Terry, a one-time leader of the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, was an extremist.  Who knew he’s a racist too?

Terry has a multi-racial family, having raised three African American foster children.  Perhaps he loves them in the same way that longtime segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina loved his unacknowledged bi-racial child. (See http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500164_162-589107.html).   Whatever is in his heart, Terry's recent rhetoric certainly is racist.  He called the president a "pimp."

Terry is  running a quixotic challenge to President Barack Obama in this year’s Democratic primaries and has threatened to mount a third party candidacy (He says he wants to run for president so he can air graphic anti-abortion ads on television, but has also expressed reluctance to draw away votes from what is certain to be an anti-choice GOP presidential candidate.  Don't let his entry into the Democratic race fool you.  He has consistently backed Republican candidates and recently had a private audience with GOP House Speaker John Boehner.)

Randall Terry, longtime anti-abortion crusader, protests outside of the White House with graphic photos of aborted fetuses.  He is running for president this year so he can run ads on television with these images.  (Photo from http://dylanrhymersstateoftheweek.tumblr.com/superbowl). 

Terry jumped onto the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy.  Recently he echoed the words of Limbaugh, who called Georgetown University Law Student a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she publicly advocated new rules mandating employers, except for houses of worship, to provide insurance coverage for birth control.  Earlier this month, Terry called Fluke a “political prostitute” and Obama her “political pimp.” Obama, he said, even had “pimped his daughter for the cause of sexual immortality.”  

He didn’t stop there.  “Obama prostituted Fluke in order to motivate and mobilize a small but important part of his base, fornicating college students who want to keep their beer money for beer, and get their birth control and abortifacients for free,” Terry wrote.  (See http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/randall-terry-weighing-third-party-run-against-pimp-obama).

Since the Emancipation Proclamation, black males have been stereotyped as 1) criminals and 2) having some deeply embedded need for a sexual relationships with white women.  A panic over the later led to widespread lynchings between the 1880s and the 1930s and laws against “miscegenation.”  The myth of black man as pimp stems from this pathology.

Portraying Obama , the nation’s first African American president as a pimp has become a recurring motif among the racist Republican right wing. For example, Carl Palidino, the failed Tea Party candidate for governor of New York in 2010, forwarded in email a picture like this that portrayed the president as a pimp and First Lady Michelle Obama as a  prostititue. (For more, see http://republicanracism.blogspot.com/2012/02/republican-racism-example-28-carl.html)

This is one variation of the demeaning "Barack-and-Michelle-Obama-as-pimp-and-hooker" images that were circulated by Republicans like Carl Palidino.  (Image from http://fx.worth1000.com/entries/535117)

Right-wing Republican syndicated cartoonist Mike Lester picked up the “Obama-as-1970s-Superfly-style pimp” in one of his op-ed panels earlier this year. (For more, see http://republicanracism.blogspot.com/2012/03/republican-racism-example-34-rush.html).    

Terry has spent his career engaging in deliberately provocative language, so perhaps that's his excuse.  The anti-abortion movement began with Catholics who had been active in the protest movement against the Vietnam War, as documented in the book Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War. Terry took the cause in a more extreme and violent direction as Leader of Operation Rescue.  Operation Rescue chained themselves to clinic entrances, vandalized facilities and harangued women seeking a range of reproductive services.  

As reported by the Washington Post, “In 1988, Terry and his legions started standing in front of local abortion clinics, screaming and pleading with pregnant women to turn away. They tossed their bodies against car doors to keep abortion patients from getting out. They waved crucifixes and screamed ‘Mommy, Mommy’ at the women. When Terry commanded, hundreds went jellyfish-limp and blockaded the ‘death clinics.’”  Terry managed to present a dead fetus to the pro-choice Democratic candidate Bill Clinton before the 1992 Democratic convention.  (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A32934-2004Apr21?language=printer).

When an anti-abortionist assassinated Dr. George Tiller of Kansas, who provided reproductive services and had been demeaned for months by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly as “Tiller the Baby Killer,” Terry released a video in which he called President Obama and other pro-choice politicians “child killers” and Tiller a mass murderer.  Terry said Tiller “repeaed what he sowed” and expressed regret only that he didn’t receive “a trial of a jury of his peers . . . [before he had] . . . a proper execution.” (To see the video, go here: http://crooksandliars.com/logan-murphy/operation-rescues-randall-terry-sorry).  Terry also opposes gay civil rights and has described Islam as “demonic.”

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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