The 2008 presidential campaign had not produced any overtly racist attacks until the Reverend Wright episode exploded onto the scene. It's like conservatives were thinking, "We're not going to say it, we're not going to say it, ...auuuggggghhh, we can't stand it any longer! For God's sake, wake up!! He's a Negro!!!"
It isn't an unusual attack. It is typical right-wing, an irrelevant moment dredged up by the minions of the right and plastered across Fox News, The Weekly Standard and other puppets of the Republican Party.
They want their audience, to fear, once again, the rebellion of the slaves. The message is more subtle today than it used to be, but the meaning is the same: "This should make you afraid, white boy; vote for the Republican. Those blacks are getting to the point they might think we owe them something."
I watched Ken Burns "The War" and I was drawn into the stories of the black soldiers who went to war, died, fought and survived only to come home to the belittling contempt of white sheriffs in towns where white privilege was the law.
I grew up in the border state of Tennessee. We had no white-only water fountains, but all the blacks lived in one section of town. You know what it was called.
When I was six, we had a maid named Candy and she cleaned once a week. I remember when my mother told me and my brother that Candy would be working there. My parents both escaped the deep south without the usual baggage of inherent racism and they did their best to pass that along to their children. We treated Candy with respect but, she did not particularly want to talk to us or we to her. That was my first introduction to black women.
In high school, we were integrated one year. There was an announcement by the school administration, and some expectant talk, but nothing much happened. They came and they weren't very many and they followed the rules and they behaved and, most of all, they kept to themselves. There were a few in the band with me. One was named Willie; he played saxophone. So did Melanie. I never spoke to them at all.