"By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires," Republican strategist Lee Atwater remarked in a 1981 interview, quoted years later by Bob Herbert in his New York Times column. "So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff."
With the Romney campaign, as it was with Reagan's, welfare is the weaponized code word. Among others. It's the GOP's 21st century Southern strategy deployed to stir up resentment, anger, and yes, hatred, among working-class whites, conservatives, and right-leaning conservatives against nonwhites.
Put this in the context of the GOP's very effective war against reality-based discourse -- recall Karl Rove's comments to Ron Suskind -- which many major news media outlets have abetted.
Touré didn't follow the script. He did something we thought the rightwing had made impossible: speak boldly of race and racism in a corporate-media setting.
The backlash has started, but perhaps Touré has created a little space in our national political chat room for hard talk about this elephantine issue.
UPDATE: So much for that.
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