Tackling Racism in GOP Politics


Nikki Haley GOP racism

By Sunana Batra

I first stumbled upon Nikki Haley last Thursday, on Gawker.com, one of my secret naughty pleasures full of all things dirty and bad. I was struck by her beauty. Indian women are ever oh so lovely. But once I read that some fatso ignorant republican from South Carolina was discrediting her not for her stances, not on her principles or how she voted on issues but because of who her parents are, and her ethnic background, I admittedly saw red.

South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts, on a radio show stated he opposed Haley, who is Indian-American, because “we already got one raghead in the White House. We don’t need another in the governor’s mansion.” It’s bad enough that he’s a hideous numbskull, but to add bigoted and ethnocentric bad taste on top of that is really too much.

For Chrissakes, must one be as white as Chris Matthews in order to be considered a legitimate republican? This ridiculous situation reminded me another unfortunate incident a few years back when Ann Coulter’s used the same reference, “ragheads” to refer to all Muslims at CPAC in 2006. I had been an occasional fan of hers up until that point, but her coarseness wore thin after that remark and now I too think she’s just an opportunist loon, unable to put forth a reasoned argument. Is it really worth resorting to crude racial epithets to stir up a few minutes worth of banter on blogs?

It is such a playground bully mindset to think one can demoralize one’s enemies by calling them names. No civilized person does that. But there are a couple of other things that I have noticed about this situation that don’t sit so well with me. First of all, when libs paint all those supporting the Arizona law as Nazi’s, conservatives jump all over them. As they should. They are not Nazi’s, they simply want our laws followed. Or when George Bush was referred to as a “fascist” same deal, conservatives come out in droves to defend him. But where are they now? Nowhere to be found apparently. In other political-semantic clarifications, feeling shameful of the sex you had last night doesn’t make it “rape,” and opposing gay marriage doesn’t automatically make you “homophobic.” Is consistency is a bit too much to ask?

But getting back to the issue at hand, I have seen not a single high-profile Republican other than Sarah Palin who has come out and publicly condemned Knotts and thrown their support behind Haley.

I don’t expect CNN, or MSNBC to really cover this situation, they obviously have a dog in this race and it aint a Republican. Its that old saying, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But why is Haley not being invited on all the big time conservative talk shows? As much as Newt Gingrich has probably booked up all the slots, is there no one out thee that sees supporting Haley as a positive thing for our party? Perhaps with the potential of attracting more women, and more people of color?

It boggles my mind that conservatives, who supposedly believe in universal and permanent standards of behavior, continue to stay mum about that ill-mannered idiot. But on the other hand, it’s always nice when people advertise their thoughts in such ways, so that you know in advance whether or not they are someone you’d like to talk to. Remember the howls across the country when someone referred to Democrats as “retards”? It told us a whole lot about what kind of person has the president’s ear. Or who forgets the three part drama of the man who referred to some female athletes as “nappy headed hos”?

Human prejudice can’t be legislated away, it requires people to speak up, coax, cajole and shame people out of their idiot ways. We all know there’s nothing a politician fears more than losing an election.

I do get it though, why he did it that is. He was appealing to those people in South Carolina that he knows agree with him. There clearly not a majority, but they are there, and they are also here, around us. He’s a state senator, he’s been shleppin his whole life, making all the rounds on the holiday BBQs and all the boring fundraisers, he deserves it dammit! How freaking dare this cute Indian chick even dare to think she can come and hone in on what is his destiny?

Knotts is an ignorant bigot and proud of it. He knows he can go some places and get high-fived for such a comment. But the real reason douchebag Knotts is against Nikki is because she is demanding he prove that he has some balls. And that, is a NO NO. You see, Haley has been pushing a good-government bill for years that would mandate roll-call votes in the South Carolina legislature. It passed the state House in late March, after which she appeared before Knotts’s subcommittee to make the case for pushing it through the Senate. The fact that they’re debating whether legislators can be forced to go on the record with their votes tells you everything you need to know about the state of transparency and entrenched power in SC. Can you believe only 5 percent of votes are passed on a voice vote? Are you kidding me??? Not half, or 25% ONLT 5% of votes are done in the open day of light where SC citizens know how their legislators voted.

Another interesting note on this situation though is that Haley is also endorsed by the philander, Mark Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford. Ms. Sanford said Friday that Mrs. Haley has her unwavering support. “I have watched with revulsion the spectacle that is now surrounding the governor’s race,” Ms. Sanford said. Nice.Let’s see if we get a few more standing up for her. I won’t hold my breath.


Sunana Batra is a freelance writer based in Encinitas, CA. She can be reached at sunanabatra@gmail.com


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