Somebody sent me this Kathleen Parket column a few days ago all outraged and I scanned it and didn’t quite get the outrage. Here’s the lede:
That’s how 24-year-old Josh Fry of West Virginia described his preference for John McCain over Barack Obama. His feelings aren’t racist, he explained. He would just be more comfortable with “someone who is a full-blooded American as president.”
When I read this in a fog, not realizing who Parker was, I just assumed that was a set-up for a column about racist opposition to Barack Obama and skipped past the rest. But no! Parker is endorsing Fry’s allegedly non-racist sentiments here. And yet, how could sentiments get any more clearly racist than by making explicit references to alleged deficiencies in Obama’s bloodlines? Parker later cashes out the concept more thoroughly as “It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.” Again, blood equity? Heritage? That’s not racist code words, she’s just saying directly that Obama lacks the appropriate ancestry to be President and also that in virtue of his ancestry he’s probably lazy.
Jon Chait notes the similarity to some traditional tropes of anti-semitism, “a device that’s historically been used to deny the possibility that rootless, cosmopolitan Jews can be full members of a society.” More broadly, it nicely dovetails with the anti-immigrant sentiment currently blossoming on the right as we learn that people with unduly recent roots abroad lack what it takes for full-bloodedness. How disgusting.