Is Elitist Code for Uppity?: On the Last Day of the 2008 Republican Convention, a Georgian Congressman Hits the Obamas with the U-Word

The Hill reported today that a Republican congressman, bluntly and without apology, used the “U-word” to describe the Obamas:

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.
Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Is it any wonder that of the thousands of delegates to the Republican convention this year, only 36 are African American?

And isn’t it curious that the congressman so easily conflates the two terms—elitist and uppity—within his quote, using them interchangably?


It wouldn’t be because the term elitist, when Republicans refer to Obama, is code for uppity, would it?

Republican strategists wouldn’t be comfy speaking to the electorate in racial code, would they?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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