Letter from America

Things are different in America - still. Despite all the togetherness of the internet and super-easy air travel, you can even today be surprised (for good or ill) ...

...at what's going across the Atlantic. This blog, borrowing its title from the legendary Alistair Cooke, aims to keep you in the picture about things you might not otherwise know.

Read more...
3 October 2012 - 10:12am | posted by | 0 comments

The street remark that stunned me: "Getting rid of the nigger president"

It is still possible to be shocked by the ferocity of American politics. Scratch an angry voter, and shocking racism can come to the surface. In a conversation with friends and neighbours in the street the other day, a heated discussion arose over the relentless attacks of Republican candidate Scott Brown, fighting to retain Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat , on the Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren.

One of those arguing for Brown , said eventually, "It doesn't matter as long as we get rid of this nigger president!"

I was stunned . The F Word is common in everyday conversation. I had never heard the N word used before.

Only then did I realise the enormous hidden mountain that Obama had climbed in getting elected in the first place. And how recent and raw racial prejudice was still in the US.

Warren, a college professor, has an exemplary record as an achiever in the Obama administration. She was the driver behind the establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

When she was a child she learned how her parents were forced to elope after their parents objected to the American Indian heritage of Warren's mother. At one point, Warren included her American Indian link in her bio.

And that is the subject of Brown's attacks, in commercial after commercial, night after night., claiming that Warren had use her heritage to gain career advantage and that this was a reflection on her character. Warren refutes that, also in commercial after commercial .

At one point, Brown supporters staged a demo waving tomahawks and chanting war chants. Brown ordered the attack dogs to desist - but the point had been made. I found myself wondering if there weren't other issues worthy of discussion in this campaign.

Tonight we have the first presidential TV debate in Denver. Obama faces up to Romney , desperate now to secure an advantage with polls suggesting tha Obama is ahead . I am sure it will be civil . Contentious is fine, but civil. I still can't get that yelled remark out of my head.

Don't miss out... Get your Advertising news by email

See all specialist newsletters

11 related companies from Profile Hub, The Drum's modern marketing directory:

Be the first to comment on this article: sign in or register.

Have your say

Opinion, blogs and columnists - call them what you like - this is the section where people have something to say. You might agree or you might not - whatever opinion you have make your views known in comments. Views of writers are not necessarily those of The Drum. If you would like to contribute a comment piece, email your idea to opinion@thedrum.com.