Moral Low Ground


Racism Rears Its Ugly Head at Phoenix Anti-Obama Protest

(White House photo)

(White House photo)

Racism reared its ugly head in Arizona on Tuesday at a protest against President Barack Obama’s visit to a Phoenix high school.

The president visited Desert Vista High School on Tuesday, part of an economic tour on which he has been promoting home ownership as part of a “better bargain for the middle class.” But it wasn’t home ownership that was on the minds of some of the anti-Obama demonstrators who gathered outside the school to trade chants and wave signs at supporters of the president, who were also out in force.

Most of the anti-Obama side were well-behaved and civil in their criticism of the president. Some, especially those who were personally affected by the housing meltdown, expressed eloquent opposition to the president’s policies and actions.

“They enacted all of these programs and the president’s going to talk about them, but they haven’t helped anyone,” Tim Ray, who lost his West Valley home to foreclosure, told the Arizona Republic.

But there were also unfortunate displays of overt racism. At one point, Obama opponents sang “Bye, bye black sheep,” an obvious reference to the president’s skin color. Protester Deanne Bartram was seen holding a sign reading “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!”

Bartram, a 17-year-old University of Arizona student from Black Canyon City, denied that she’s a racist and accused the president’s supporters of playing the “race card” against her just because they disagree with her political stance.

“Obama is ruining American values,” Bartram told the Arizona Republic. “He is ruining the Constitution. He needs to go back where he came from because obviously, he is a liar.”

“I am not racist. I am part Indian,” Bartram continued. “Obama’s half black, half white.”

“He’s 47 percent negro,” shouted 77-year-old Chandler resident Ron Enderle, who said he was “ashamed” that Obama is president.

Other demonstrators voiced their support for the president.

“He’s the best president we’ve had for a while,” Dorn Cook of Gilbert told the Republic. “He’s much better than Bush.”

“There’s so much extremism in Arizona,” Jonathan Rines, a US Navy veteran who attended the protest with his wife, told the Republic. Rines said he was “appalled” at the singing of “Bye, bye black sheep” and stressed that “the people who are doing that are a vocal minority.”

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