Ralph Nader’s day after

I’m not sure which is more eye-opening in this video: that Ralph Nader referenced “Uncle Tom” in referring to Barack Obama or that a FoxNews anchor called him on it.

Nader got 30,155 votes in Minnesota

  • Neuropath

    Called him on what exactly?

    “Uncle Tom is a pejorative for a black person who is perceived by others as behaving in a subservient manner to White American authority figures…”

    from the wiki, if that is not good enough, check other sources.

    Ralph Nader is basically just saying that Obama has a choice between being a truly independent man and bringing about the changes he has promised, or being subservient to the large corporations which historically exercise so much influence over American politics.

    Anyone with even elementary understanding of reading comprehension can see that.

    Feeling guilty about what he said would suggest he felt it was wrong. However he refuses to retract his statements because he knows they don’t carry any connotations of bigotry.

    Maybe Ralph Nader is a racist ass, I don’t know my self. This however, is not any evidence in favor of, or against it.

    This is just more of the same fox news douche-baggery. One week prior they were calling Obama a Socialist and a Terrorist. Now they’re defending him from Ralph Nader? They are more than welcome to share in this glorious victory for all Americans.. but maybe they should do it without pointing any fingers. Lest we be called to point back.

  • I feel very sorry for some people who don’t have anything better to do than sit around and absorb wretched Fox-style news media. “Newscasters” like these are intellectual junk food for ignorant America. They’ll never know or understand an intelligence and awareness such as Nader. It’s too far a leap for their “The ‘The Plumber’ ” spin-mentality! THEY JUST DON’T GET IT!!

    or do they?

  • Bob Collins

    You know a few weeks ago there was a segment on MPR’s Midmorning asserting John McCain was a racist because he didn’t look at Barack Obama in a debate. He didn’t get a pass. Here, it sounds a bit like Ralph Nader gets a pass even though he actually used a term for an African American man who isn’t “black enough.”

    Do we need a more standard definition of what is racist and what isn’t?

  • verbcrunch

    excellent post, neuropath !

    Kudos to Nader for sticking to his principles. He’s got a message, and he delivers it eloquently. I’ve canceled my subscription to the Wall Street Journal since Rupert took it over, his Fox news is like a cancer infecting the minds of susceptible Americans.

  • nt

    Really? “Not black enough” is what you heard?

    The words Nader said were entirely based in economic populism. The analogy was entirely appropriate. Given all the eloquent talk on the campaign trail, one would hope that our president-elect, of infitesimal personal accomplishment, would manage just a small piece of what Nader has begun over the last 40 years.

  • D

    Of course FOX wants to discredit Ralph Nader and pump up their newly elected corporate president (just follow the money at http://www.opensecrets.org).

    Nader’s a threat to the status quo of more war, less healthcare, pro FISA, pro US Patriot Act, more bailouts, and basically the same unsustainable path economically, environmentally and democractically.

    Thank you Ralph for the following and for never giving up the ‘Good Fight’:

    Ralph Nader’s Record of Accomplishments

    Instrumental in the passing of the following legislation:

    National Automobile and Highway Traffic Safety Act (1965)

    Clean Water Act (1968)

    Clean Air Act (1970)

    Co-Op Bank Bill (1978)

    Law establishing Environmental Protection Agency (1970)

    Consumer Product Safety Act

    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

    Mine Health and Safety Act

    Whistleblower Protection Act

    Medical Devices safety

    Nuclear power safety

    Mobile home safety

    Consumer credit disclosure law

    Pension protection law

    Funeral home cost disclosure law

    Tire safety & grading disclosure law

    Wholesome Meat Act

    Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act

    Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act

    Wholesome Poultry Product Act

    Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1970

    Safe Water Drinking Act

    Freedom of Information Act

    National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

    Founded or sponsored the following organizations:

    American Antitrust Institute

    Appleseed Foundation

    Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest

    Aviation Consumer Action Project

    Buyers Up

    Capitol Hill News Service Center for Concerned Engineering

    Center for Auto Safety

    Center for Insurance Research

    Center for Justice and Democracy

    Center for Science in the Public Interest

    Center for the study of Responsive Law – 1969

    Center for Women Policy Studies

    Citizen Action Group

    Citizen Advocacy Center

    Citizen Utility Boards

    Citizen Works

    Clean Water Action Project

    Clearinghouse for Professional Responsibility

    Congress Project

    Congress Watch

    Congressional Accountability Project

    Connecticut Citizen Action Group

    Consumer Project on Technology

    Corporate Accountability Research Group

    Critical Mass Energy Project

    Democracy Rising

    Disability Rights Center

    Equal Justice Foundation

    Essential Information

    FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports)

    Fisherman’s Clear Water Action Group

    Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights

    Freedom of Information Clearinghouse

    Global Trade Watch

    Government Purchasing Project

    Health Research Group

    Litigation Group

    Multinational Monitor

    National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform

    National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest

    National Insurance Consumer Organization

    Ohio Public Interest Action Group

    Organization for Competitive Markets

    Professional Drivers (PROD)

    Professionals for Auto Safety

    Public Citizen

    Pension Rights Center

    Princeton Project 55

    PROD – truck safety

    Public Citizen’s Visitor’s Center

    Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS)

    Resource Consumption Alliance (conserve trees) 1004

    Retired Professionals Action Group

    Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest

    Tax Reform Research Group

    Telecommunications Research and Action Center

    see http://november5.org/ for a continuation of the movement to reclaim our democracy

  • chris

    I have had a lot of respect for Nader int he past, but I am sorry, these comments are wrong. He would NOT have used the words Uncle Tom with a white candidate for president. All it tells us is that Ralph sees people by the color of thier skin. There is no excuse for this.

  • Danny

    I get it, I really do. There’s so many people (and media) “celebrating” the fact an African-American has been elected President, and that’s already a racial thing. So Nader goes and says ok but be a good African-American President not an Uncle Tom.

    Kudos to him. The man (Obama) ain’t done anything yet and people are worshipping him because he can pull their emotional strings so well. No-one should be happier than African-Americans themselves if Obama does not become an Uncle Tom.

    If you don’t get this, you’re in the emotional Matrix having your own strings pulled. Rise above it folks. Yes you can yes you can! 🙂

    That Fox anchor was a joke. As was inviting Nader only after the election was over, to insult him and slander him. But the biggest joke of all are all the people who are parroting exactly what guys like that anchor wanted them to.

    Dudes, it doesn’t matter if the President is purple with polka dots, power corrupts, and so instead of celebrating you should’all be making sure every single day that he SERVES the PEOPLE and not the rich and powerful behind the scenes.

    I’m telling you now, and African-Americans especially take note – this is how the rich and powerful intend to get away with murder, by calling those who see any bad things Obama does, racists and pessimists.

    Evil affects every race. What the bleep does it matter what colour it is packaged in? If you want to help Obama, keep him honest, bring him back down to earth (and yourselves too while you’re at it).


  • Neuropath


    Great post.

    Though I think its fine to celebrate the civil rights victory for a day or two. So long as we’re all back to business when decisions start getting made.

    @ chris

    If it were a white candidate, he probably wouldn’t have said “First African American President” either.

    He didn’t CALL anybody an Uncle Tom. Referencing the term Uncle Tom on its own, or for analogy is not insulting.

    After the abolition of slavery, many African Americans, acted in what was considered by their peers, a manner which was “too subservient” to previous slave owners, or sometimes even white people in general.

    Nader isn’t insulting anybody, he’s simply asking, are you going to be an independent leader and keep fighting oppressors of the people? OR are you going to continue to accommodate our oppressors like the character uncle tom.

    he is using the pejorative uncle tom, to describe an undesirable course of action. The people the phrase “Uncle Tom” applied to, were free citizens of the united states. Whose peers felt they should be less accommodating to former slave owners now that they were finally free to make that choice.

    This is not an offensive word unless directly applied to somebody. Maybe he wouldn’t have used the term if it was a white candidate… but in that case, it wouldn’t have been as powerful a question, would it?

  • NoName

    I can’t believe some of you are defending Nader. I’m 100% sure that none of you are of African-American descent, or understand how demeaning that term is.

    If President-Elect Obama was oh, lets say…Senator Hillary Clinton, would you be a-okay with Nader saying something along the lines of:

    “..whether she’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of the country, or a harlot for the giant corporations.”

    Nader should get a free pass if he said that too… right? Yeah, didn’t think so hypocrites.

  • Neuropath


    It’s ONLY demeaning if its APPLIED to the person. This is the last time I’m am going to explain that.

    If I asked you, “Are you going to be a doctor, or a harlot.”

    That doesn’t mean I think you’re a harlot, it doesn’t insinuate that you are a harlot AT ALL. It doesn’t presume anything about you genetically.

    Also its rather presumptuous to assume that you know what all Black or African Americans will think or feel about this statement.

    In your mind, can you picture how many individual human beings that is? I can’t. Do you still think you’re qualified to speak with 100% certainty about what a number of people you can’t even visualize, would think or feel? Somebody is being ridiculous… and its not Ralph Nader.

  • Neuropath

    Correction to my last post:

    Apparently dictionaries are divided on whether or not the term harlot directly implies the sex of the subject.

    Still my point remains virtually the same. The question does not speak to your character in any way. It implies (possibly) only sex genetically when used this way, and so far as I’m concerned, being female isn’t a negative.

  • Danny

    @ NoName

    “..whether she’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of the country, or a harlot for the giant corporations.”

    I’d be a-okay with it, no matter how much I liked the person it was directed at. The insult only applies if the person lives up (or down…) to that, and if they do then so what? They are traitors to the people and deserve every insult they receive.

    *Scratches his head.*

    Could it be some are overly “outraged” because what Nader said is very close to the truth and they don’t want their secret revealed?

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much?

    Time will tell.

  • Joseph

    Anyone who sees this video should be outraged by the fake indignation of the corporate “news” commentators. This is a deliberate attempt to discredit a man by implying that he has made a racist comment when, in fact, he has not. Ask yourself the question, if Ralph Nader is so irrelevant as they claim why would they interview him or go to so much trouble to discredit him? No, they worry very much about Ralph Nader and what he has to say.

  • nt


    The commentators on that video segment are not as bright and consciously nefarious as you imagine. They care about things that are exciting, because that ups their ratings. A historical progressive, purportedly calling another progressive a racial epithet, is very exciting to them, so it was the classic “drive-by” interview, about as deep as a parking lot puddle.

    In his defense, Nader never would have been on Fox had he not phrased the challenge in such a culturally provocative way.

  • Scott

    Lots of scary comments here Bob. Reminds me very much of the Republicans defending Palin – both her remarks on the campaign trail and her qualifications to be President.

    Maybe it is time for a post on the blinders we put on when we choose a side of a debate.

  • Sheppard

    The fact is, there was no reason for Ralph to use the term – why would anyone choose to make a reference that folks with half a brain knows is going to offend – it was either stupid, for attention or deliberately insulting. For me, it was disappointing from a man I had admired. As for ‘Shep’ – his self-righteous indignation means nothing and is beside the point. This was Ralph’s mulligan.

    And Neuropath – you can try to ‘explain for the last time’ all you want – if Ralph, you or anyone else uses a term that you know is going to insult someone, be ready to be called on it. You question whether someone knows if Blacks are offended by this and you took a pretty strong stand most wouldn’t be. Are you Black? If not, what do we care about your opinion on that subject?

    Somebody is being ridiculous – you got that right…

  • Neuropath

    @ Sheppard

    Throughout my arguments I have attempted to focus entirely on the meaning of the terminology in context, and whether or not that should be construed as insulting or offensive.

    “You question whether someone knows if Blacks are offended by this and you took a pretty strong stand most wouldn’t be.”

    I have never taken a stand on what the opinions of an entire race of people would be. I have again, focused on how the terminology in context should be interpreted, by all people, of any race. If I have to explicitly state that every time I make an argument that I’m not speaking for a race consisting of millions of individuals, conversation is going to take a lot longer.

    Are you Black? If not, what do we care about your opinion on that subject?

    So if I’m black, its okay to question whether or not ‘NoName’ speaks for my entire race consisting of millions of individuals with 100% certainty, but not if I’m white. Likewise if I’m white, my opinion on how this terminology in context should be interpreted is completely valueless but if I’m black, my opinion counts for what millions of other individuals would think?

    Forgive me then, if I’d rather not answer as to my race one way or another. I’m neither ready for the great responsibility, nor to devalue everything I have said.

  • GO NADER!!

  • Yann


    “Are you Black? If not, what do we care about your opinion on that subject?”

    And you’re calling someone else racist? Maybe it’s time to look at yourself in the mirror…

    Yeah, Ralph used the Uncle Ton analogy ’cause Obama is (sort of) black, just like every single headline in virtually all media around the world on the 5th was: “First black president.” Obama is black (sort of), that doesn’t mean we gotta tip toe around that fact like it was a disease or something… People who get so easily offended are the real racists.

    FOX News calling Nader racist… If you don’t see the irony there… No one can help you.

  • Sadden

    Regardless of Nadar’s use of “Uncle Tom” in the pejorative sense, do you honestly believe that the majority of the population is intelligent enough to understand the difference in how the term “Uncle Tom” can be used? I know I don’t. People believe Obama is an Arab. People believe McCain was a carbon copy of Bush. Please do not give the public THAT much credit. It is good to see a nice intellectual debate on whether or not Nadar’s statements were offensive. The only problem that everyone is missing is simple…taking offense is subjective, not objective.

    I am personally offended by Nadar’s choice of words. Did he use the term correctly? Yes. Should those words have been chosen? No. Unfortunately, bringing up “Uncle Tom” does mean to some that it is nothing more than an adjective to describe someone as a sell out. However, to others it illicits the memory of slavery, oppression, and the continued disparity between the races of this country. It reminds them that they have to deal with being followed in stores, watching people move or clutch their belongings in elevators or supermarkets, etc.

    Nadar should have taken this opportunity to merely state that he meant only to state that Obama might continue down a path that goes against his words that he ran for president on. However, I think he just killed his political career. People are not going to take him seriously. Why? I doubt the media will let them have an opportunity to look past this and focus on what Nadar truly stands for politically.

  • tshirttt

    Sadden: I am one who is defending Nader and understands (though not necessarily agrees with) why he used those words. It is the ONLY way he can get any major broadcast coverage, and he is trying to push Obama to live up to his promises to the grass roots of his campaign (which he claims are poor and middle class people who are struggling).

    I simply don’t believe the faked outrage of Fox. They loved every minute of it. I also suspect that many people are privately thinking the same thing.

    However, your argument about not giving the general public that much credit I totally agree with, it’s a good point. Think Reverend Wright, etc.

    I am actually much more dismayed that Nader is willing to appear on Conan O’Brian talking to a puppet and letting them make fun of him. I think it’s humiliating to him and it saddens me. I really hope he doesn’t keep doing that. It trivializes everything he has worked so hard for.

  • Anyone who is offended by Nader’s comment is a result of the ongoing dumbing down of America, due in large part by the very people who did not hesitate to broadcast Nader’s comment for their own financial gain…namely Main Stream Media.

    Proof of this is at the end of the interview when, just as Nader was about to educate the viewing public regarding the historical meaning behind the term, they abruptly cut him off.

    Mustn’t let America get too smart, otherwise they’ll stop buying into all our foolish deceptiveness.

  • Neuropath


    All fair points. Whether or not the comments are offensive is in fact a subjective matter. I am only able to make an objective case on the interpretation of terminology in context.

    Whether or not the general public is intelligent enough to grasp contextual usage of the term Uncle Tom, is questionable, I will agree. However I think debate on interpretation of what was said, could in fact bring people around to what I feel is the side of reason.

    I have said that the term in context is ‘not offensive’ and perhaps that would suggest I feel this is a purely objective argument. This was not my intent, and has been done only for convenience.

    I personally, am obviously not offended by Nader’s question.. but the reasons you have given for your feelings, are reasonable and well formed. I’m not sure whether he will continue to be taken seriously or not. It is my feeling that he SHOULD, but I have already made my argument and you yours.


    I don’t buy into fake outrage on the part of Fox either, and I think it would be fairly naive to do so. I do feel however, that there have been arguments from genuinely concerned/upset people here, and I don’t mean to make light of their arguments by disregarding the behavior of fox anchors.

  • Heywouldja

    If all Ralph Nader had said was Uncle Tom, it would be one thing.

    But he has previously accused Obama of “talking white” He called him “half African American.”

    On election night, in his concession speech to the Detroit Free Press, he stated: “The streets are going to be filled with revelry … both here and in Africa”

    He loves using racially loaded terms to get attention. To his supporters, how about if he used the term “house nig—” Would asking Obama if he was going to act like a house nig—” been ok?

    If Nader is so holier than thou, why did he previously accept money for the Republican Party.

    So what’s Nader’s future – is he going to be a dignified politician and not run again, or is he going to try to play the role of Lebaneese Sand Nigg– Election spoiler? Will he act properly, or be a typical Dune Coon Raghead? Get it? I wish Fox News had been fast enough to turn his question around on him and asked it in return. Triumph the Dog would have.