September 16th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

The Role of Racism in the Health Care Debate

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/10/health.care/art.barack.obama.gi.jpg]

Cynthia Tucker
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Scott is hardly a racial rabble-rouser.

A veteran Georgia lawmaker before he won a Congressional seat six years ago, he represents a working-class district in the Atlanta suburbs, where he has established himself as a cautious legislator who works hard to hew to his district’s moderate values. But Scott, who is black, is convinced that racism plays a part in the hysterical opposition to President Obama’s health care reform proposals.

“Racism is playing an extraordinarily unfortunate role in this,” he said in an interview Monday.

Many commentators, political analysts and fellow Democrats share Scott’s view that some part — perhaps just a sliver, perhaps more — of the right-wing assault on President Obama’s health care reform plans stems from a deep-seated racial antagonism toward the president. Count me among them.


soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    There is no role for racism in the health care debate, whether it relates to White people versus Obama or black voters views of his policy.
    What matter is the morality and health of the whole nation, black white Hispanic or whatever!!
    Bad headline.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:57 am |
  2. Dave

    I don't have a problem with someone making the claim that others are racist. However, when their claim has no merit and MSM reports on it, then I have a problem. A report about it is just a waste of time to watch as much as it was to say to begin with.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:55 am |
  3. Jamie Tankersley

    I believe Racism is one of key elements of peoples hatred toward Obama and this hatred also resides in our political leaders and in some media outlets. In conclusion, this immoral problem should not be swept under the rug or regarded as people simply expressing their freedom of speech rights.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  4. mindy

    Playing the race card is code for we are losing the debate.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  5. Tom

    America will never be post-racial until America construct a fittin monument for the thousands of victims of Lynching. tom

    September 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  6. Scientific Boozer

    At this time of the American history, we do not have time to show weakness. We are at war over seas and racism should be shattered. I love my brothers and sisters and you should too! We all bleed the same...

    September 16, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  7. Cathy Simon

    I believe that the majority of the american people are not racists. Why always add fuel to the fire by attributing everything to racism. I believe that President Obama will be judged on the contributions that he makes to this country and not on the fact that he is African-american. In my opinion there are no African-Americans but only Americans. By constantly contributing everything to racism it only fuels the opposition between the people of the United States. Everyone should be proud of their heritage and do what they can to make this a great country no matter what your color. God Bless us.

    September 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  8. Lola Brooks

    The disrespect that so many of the far right are displaying is due to their unwillingness to deal with the facts. They are upheld by far right propaganda and unfortunately, there is no cure for ignorance. Those who support the President Obama should become more vocal and push all ignorance, including racism, back into the closet of America's history.

    September 16, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  9. christina

    "You got your light-skin brother in the white house" this was said to me 5min after Obama won. The anger about Health Care has brought out the racist views of some people, as seen by some of their posters. I view these people, with racist posters, as not being there for Health Care at all, but being there to show their hate for Obama.

    September 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  10. Conserve' in USA

    Maybe those who pay most of the taxes are fed up with what the government is doing?

    September 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  11. Dee Dee

    Just because I disagree with Obama policy, I am a racist. Shame on President Carter, and all the people on your show that say I am. How about Jamie Fox saying Michael Jackson was on loan to the white people, now that is racist.

    September 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  12. Laurean

    There is racism in this health care debate. When opposers stop talking about the issues and choose to depict the President as a vicious racial stereotype (ie the african witch doctor), they lose any form of credibility. It's not about problems with health care reform, it becomes about demonizing the President. Just as little kids start calling you names when they have run out of valid explanations for not liking you, these tea party followers have gone so low in their name-calling that their valid points are drowned out.

    September 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  13. Joy KRamer

    My insurance premium is $787.71 per month because I have a pre-existing condition. We have almost 1 million medical bankruptcies per year when other nations have zero. I have no choice and the republican party is offering none.
    The republican party wants to block any kind of capitalist (note I said capitalist) reform that would bring true competition, because they are getting paid by the insurance companies.
    I do think part of this is about racism because opponents do not want to cover blacks or illegals and they can't figure out how to separate the two so they are claiming it will cover illegals and our tax dollars will pay for it. It's a clever guise.

    September 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  14. Omega Zareno

    Let's imagine the beloved President Bush trying to pass an identical health care reform. What do you think would happen then? It's clear that racism is an issue. Those who are truly racist at heart are the ones driving the uproar. Then there are people who are not racists, but indoctrinated by those who are. So NOT EVERYONE who opposes President Obama is racist, however the strong opposition is racist-driven.

    September 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  15. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The only thing that racism has to do with the health care bill is comments from a disgraced ex president talking trash about white people.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  16. MJay

    I think this country needs a change and fast if it is ever going to get better and if that means better healthcare fine by me

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  17. MJay

    I think people need to stop blaming racism because lately that is all I hear lately and I am sick of it . I think the republicans need to realize that they need to do what is best for the country which seem to be the real issue here instead of doing everything to sabotaging it.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  18. Penny

    Why does it always come down to this? Is there no other rational explanation that can be offered such as the one in which Americans are allowed to stand up for what they believe, hence one of the greatest things (freedom of expression) about our country?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  19. alicenyc

    I am not sure if its about race, but as a person who has worked all my life and have had health insurance always through an employer, and now that i am one of the millions unemployed without health insurance, and I don't qualify for medicaid because my unemployment puts me over by $ 24.00, All I want to say is this To all of you folks who dont want reform, I hope when I get the flu this winter because I cant afford the shots, I get to sit next to you or one of your darling family members on the bus.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  20. Rich

    There is no racism in Health care debate. Why do we need a reform when 85% or higher percentage of the population has a good insurance?
    Why don't we focus on Tort reform or national pricing and fix the healthcare only for uninsured – really. We don't need to replace insurance companies with Government bureaucracy and I don’t see any racism in debating it..

    September 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  21. Jennifer

    This is a hard debate or discussion to have. I do feel that any time someone says something negative about another person who happens to be of another race, more times then often the race card is played when that is not even the case.

    However, I do feel in this particular situation, people are very angry and are doing and saying things (racially) that normally they would not say or do. I mean if McCain was President and he was trying to reform healthcare, do you think people would post pictures of him as a black witch doctor? I highly doubt it.

    The reality is, over 70% of the population that voted, voted for Obama full well knowing reforming healthcare was part of the deal....why are so many upset now?

    September 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  22. Ed

    Of course, racism is behind the Republican opposition toward President Obama's health care reform. And, everyone knows it. Just listen to the morning talk show hosts on radio and television. As a Viet Nam vet from the 60's, I wander how long it will be before the country erupts in flames again. Remember, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Congress seems to be playing the same game.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  23. Amazing

    I would like Mr. Scott to explain how racism plays a role into the opposition of healthcare. I oppose the plan on the table because it is way too expensive and will destroy the quality of healthcare. I support a plan that makes healthcare affordable and available for all to purchase. What does racism have to do with healthcare, opposition to higher taxes, throwing money away to the corrupt ACORN.

    September 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  24. army mom

    Former President Jimmy Carter Needs to worry about our troops more then (Racism) now I'm white and I think everyone is always blame it on Racism I'm sick and tired of hearing it! Army Mom

    September 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm |