Over the course of this interminable election season, there have been instances where racism has seemed to rear its ugly head. But Republicans calling Obama a socialist isn’t one of them.
The “socialist” label that Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate Sarah Palin are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.
J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality. […Snip…]
McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black. It set whites apart from those deemed unAmerican and those who could not be trusted during the communism scare.
I’m sorry, but trying to claim the term “socialist” as a Civil Rights Only issue just looks silly. This argument was quite a stretch when it appeared first in the Prospect, and it’s no more rational when presented as an editorial column in the Kansas City Star.
J. Edgar Hoover (who lives in my mind as being crazy as a bedbug) was rabid about Communism, as was a huge portion of the country. (McCarthyism ring any bells?) But Hoover was an all-inclusive paranoiac whose fixation extended to liberals, union organizers, socialists, communists, white people… and yes, black people during the Civil Rights Era as well.
The color he was concerned with was not black. It was red. As in “The Reds“.
Diuguid does get one thing right, though; Hoover and the FBI spent enormous resources trying to link Martin Luther King Jr. to the Communists. They failed.