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SILVER SPRING, MD — Tommy Thayer, 30, is quoted by the Washington Post as saying the following:

It’s a damn shame there hasn’t already been a black president as far as I’m concerned. We are so used to all the presidents being all whites and all men. That’s like telling everyone we are a racist nation. I think people are robbing themselves if they don’t get to know other cultures.

Thayer identifies himself as “all white, 100 percent white, Irish, Italian if you want specifics.” Irish and Italians as members of a cultural or ethnic majority: discuss. Have we as a nation outgrown Grandmother’s fears that Kennedy was taking his orders from the Pope? Would latter-day incarnations of Sacco and Vanzetti be regarded as white troublemakers?


  1. In a word, yes. We are, as a nation, no longer prejudiced against Italians and Irish in any serious way.

    As for the main point of the quote, it is indeed a shame that we have had no black (or female!) presidents, but this merely a symptom of the deep-seated prejudices from which we are only starting to recover.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with your second point, and cautiously with your first (I’d hate to overestimate the progress my country has made and be accused of foolish optimism).

  3. The conspiracy complaint about Kennedy, I think, is certainly not over. We heard the same comments about towing the Catholic line when Kerry ran. I guess in the more recent case it was more about “Kerry’s not anti-abortion, so can he receive communion?” rather than “The pope will rule the US!” But it certainly wasn’t a nonissue.

    Bigotry has changed in the past century. The huge influx of immigrants in the early 1900s inspired a lot of racism, but over time it seems that racists have settled on accepting all Americans of European decent, regardless of previous nationality.

  4. Finally! A world in which all Europeans are equal!

    • Michael
    • Posted Tuesday, 10 June 2008 at 17:54 pm
    • Permalink

    “That’s like telling everyone we are a racist nation. I think people are robbing themselves if they don’t get to know other cultures.”

    First Obama is half white so so calling him black is in fact racist; second Obama is of a different culture? What is he Japanese? AND all Europeans are not equal Finns are the best!

  5. The natural question must then be, is calling him half-white half-racist?

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