Dog Whistle Racism

More commentary on the rightie reaction to Coretta Scott King’s funeral:

Jane Hamsher:

It’s nice to know that whenever MSNBC needs something said that is so ugly, so fulminatingly rancid and dog-whistle racist that even Bill Bennett will not show up and do the honors that a vile, bilious hatchet-faced nag like Kate O’Beirne is always at the ready (see video at C&L).

Why didn’t she just come out and say “negroes don’t know how to act at funerals?” Because that’s exactly what she meant.

Steve Gilliard:

What so disturbed me about Kate O’ Beirne’s filthy comments is that is part of a conservative shell game to claim the legacy of Martin Luther King, by denuding every bit of the radical nature of his message and tying it to some bland form of equality. …

… Now, why does the GOP so desperately want to hijack the memory and legacy of King, with old segs like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell now tormenting gays as they once tormented blacks. Why do they embrace the damaged and offer them up as leaders? Former criminals and self-hating blacks, people unworthy to represent a dog pound.

Because being the white people’s party is a losing proposition. Ken Mehlman knows his party must look like America or die. And it look like anything but.

Amanda Marcotte:

… does this mean Peggy Noonan is going to write an editorial in the voice of Coretta Scott King where she imagines the civil rights icon wagging her finger at the still-living and telling us that it’s very rude and wrong to care about the poor and the oppressed?

Steve M:

November 23, 2002: Coretta Scott King argues against war on Iraq …

… So if the Reverend Joseph Lowery wants to talk about Iraq at Mrs. King’s funeral —

    We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.

— he doesn’t need the permission of Matt Drudge, Michelle Malkin, Kate O’Beirne, or any of the other spiritual descendants of the people who attacked the civil rights movement in its heyday, thank you very much.

Steve Soto:

This is what happens when you step outside of your bubble and away from the carefully screened Stepford crowds, in front of an audience of people who:

•Saw your level of concern for African Americans less than six months ago in New Orleans;

•Saw your commitment to civil and voting rights by disenfranchising them in both of your “victories”;

•See what lengths your Department of Justice will go to undo the Voting Rights Act in red states; and

•Have already shown a greater commitment to their fellow man that you will ever do in ten of your pathetic lifetimes.


If it will make the folks on the right feel any better about people not acting WASPY enough at funerals, I will gladly volunteer to appear at any one of their funerals to stand up and applaud. I’ll even pay my own way.

I think this is very white of me.

Oliver Willis:

For the first time, Bush met the people on the front lines of post-Katrina America. It was not a pleasant encounter for the 43rd president.


Greg Saunders:

Face it conservatives, Coretta Scott King was a liberal. While civil rights heroes like the Kings were leading a non-violent struggle for equality, your political heroes were finding new ways to court southern racists away from the Democratic party. The Republican journey to victory was fueled by the votes of bigots, so it’s a little late in the game to start acting like you have the right to speak for the leaders of a movement you fought against.

Dr. Atrios:

When I die, please let it be known that my family and friends are entitled to conduct my funeral in any manner they see fit, including but not limited to talking about the things which were important to me in life.


Not only do these hypocritical conservatives want to step in and tell me and my family that I can be kept alive for years against my wishes, a petri dish harboring their precious “culture of life,” now they want to control the “message” at my funeral. Well … I’ve got news for them. It’s time they shut their yaps, this GOP party of control freaks extraordinaire. …

… Here we have a woman who spent her lifetime speaking out, marching, lending her name to causes and fighting injustice with integrity in every breath she took. Her husband died for speaking out and she continued to do the same. Am I really to assume she would “tut tut” at the heartfelt and sometimes raucous, sometimes tear-inducing funeral we witnessed today? Am I really expected to presume that Michelle Malkin and the other winger crybabies know better than her family what would have pleased her at her last official ceremony?

Please, these people need – and I say this with all the respect it’s due – to shut up. Go have a second 10-day proto-patriotic binge about Ronald Reagan. Progressives won’t begrudge it, we promise, as long as we’re not forced to watch or attend. The music will suck and have a lousy beat, and the speeches will put everyone in a godawful coma, but … hey, whatever floats your flag-wrapped, compassionate conservative boat.

Just get out of our lives. And our deaths. And our funerals. And the way we honor our heroes, damn it.


Oh, please. Let go of your guilt, people, see the light, set yourselves free. So the disenfranchised and the unempowered and the disagreeing and even the powerful took the opportunity to make a few, slight, clever, quiet and accurate comments that alluded to the current Presidency at the funeral of a national political and cultural figure. Imagine that. How often does Reverend Lowery get George Bush’s ear? How about Jimmy Carter, for that matter? I’ll be the first to say it was inappropriate if Coretta Scott King’s family comes out and says they were unhappy about it. But that’s the point – it is their call. Who the hell is Kate O’Beirne to say? How does she think she owns this event? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s amazing how O’Beirne is entitled to blare her sniffling guilt-racked ignorance on national television.

Kevin Hayden:

Coretta Scott King and her husband stood with unionized labor, antiwar activists in the last big war of aggression the US was wrong to escalate, the poor, the downtrodden, the victims of injustice marginalized by the majority and the government.

Reverend Lowery and President Carter merely overturned the merchants’ carts in the temple yesterday, following a tradition the Kings lived, and the King of the Jews did before them. The Right can express their outrage till they’re red in the face, but they can’t overcome the facts of the very real lynchings men like King and Christ experienced for standing with the weakest with the greatest weapon of all: the truth.

I just hope Coretta Scott King’s spirit enjoyed hearing it once again, and may she rest in peace.

To view a collection bucket of rightie drool, see Dave at Seeing the Forest and Pam at Pandagon. At MDD, Matt Stoller deconstructs rightie racism.


Scott Lemieux:

Given the way that many people will attempt to “Wellstone” the funeral of Coretta Scott King, it’s worth nothing that the Wellstone meme itself is based on on a series of lies. The objectionable “politicization” of the Wellstone funeral was the way in which many people who despised everything Wellstone stood for distorted it for nakedly political ends.

Kevin of Lean Left:

Just a quick question for Senaotr McCain and Kate O’Brien [O’Beirne! She’s no kin o’ mine!– maha] and anyone else the right wing trots out in what appears t be a sure to grow smear campaign: where the hell do you get off telling the family and friends of Coretta Scott King what they can and cannot say at her funeral? What kind of soulless ghoul takes it upon themselves to tell the family of a dead woman how they should and should conduct themselves at her funeral?


.. the condescending tone used by critics of Rev. Lowery, a man who helped to found the SCLC with Dr. King and others, who fought on the front lines of the civil rights movement beside Dr. and Mrs. King and so many others, and who has dedicated his life to the principles of equality and liberty and peace — to say that he had no right to speak as he did ignores the whole history of the civil rights movement.

    “She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar,” Lowery said. “We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew, and we knew, that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.”

And it just goes to show how used to hand-picked audiences and shutting out any and all criticism this Administration and its supporters have become. Cowards, hiding behind their wall of secret service agents and GOP gate-keepers.

8 thoughts on “Dog Whistle Racism

  1. To all who you quoted here: Bravo and thank you for the voice , for mine is too ignorant and inelloquent.

  2. This is funny. I have noticed the difference in funerals for different poeple- black funerals , indian funerals are very demonstrative, emotional , full of music,singing, preaching and grief; white funerals are uptight, everybody’s trying not to be seen crying , very restrained and inhibited. There is a huge cultural difference here and it is amusing that some uptight white folks are upset about the deportment of others at a funeral.

  3. There is a huge cultural difference here and it is amusing that some uptight white folks are upset about the deportment of others at a funeral.

    It’s amusing to me that someone named Kate O’Beirne has never been to an Irish wake. Perhaps she wasn’t invited.

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms o’brien on CSPAN’s Washington Journal with BrianLamb. We need to hear this kind of factual and logical view point on regular basis. I’m looking forward to upcoming elections in 2006 and 2008, so that we can get rid of fear mongerers and so called religeous minded Right wingers. They have no idea about what Spirituality is. They, rather have us, we American in a box and not being open minded to gain Wisdom from all sources

    I’mlooking forward to when all americans respect and honour Divinity in all beings and start appreciating each other for what we are, instead of dividing us by labelling each.

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