Republican Westmoreland Won’t Apologize for Calling the Obamas Uppity

ImageRepublican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia has refused to apologize for calling Barack and Michelle Obama uppity. He has released a statement claiming that he has never heard the term uppity used in a racial way. He is from Georgia, and has never heard the term used that way. Does anybody buy this?

“Honestly, I’ve never paid that much attention to Michelle Obama,” Westmoreland said to CQ Politics. “Just what little I’ve seen of her and Senator [Barack] Obama, is that they’re a member of an elitist class…that thinks that they’re uppity.”

Westmoreland defended his use of the term in a statement, “I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem —- snobbish.’ That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up.”

Technically, his dictionary definition is correct. However words also take on a social context and meaning. The dictionary also gives an example of how this term is used, “But maybe also these midwives are just getting too uppity and need to learn their place.” We all know that this is what Westmoreland was really saying. Barack and Michelle Obama need to learn their place. In this context, he was implying the Obamas are black people with money who think that they are better than what they are.

Believe it or not, Lynn Westmoreland is seriously considering a run for governor in 2010. These are the kind of comments that can derail a gubernatorial campaign before it ever starts. His remark was shameful, but it goes to show that race is still a factor in this campaign. Should Obama win this election, comments such as Westmoreland’s, are evidence of why his victory will be so historic and important.

10 Replies to “Republican Westmoreland Won’t Apologize for Calling the Obamas Uppity”

  1. Uppity as defined from the online Dictionary: Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one’s station, form the 1880s, up; originally used by blacks of other blacks felt to be too self-assertive (first recorded use is in “Uncle Remus”). The parallel British variant uppish (1678) originally meant “lavish;” the sense of “conceited, arrogant” being first recorded 1734. I think someone should have watched the show Benson.

  2. I totally agree with Lynn Westmoreland that the word “uppity” is not racist.

    Just like if I said “That catty Sarah Palin is just too haughty and shrill and bossy and emotional to be a proper role model,” it’s not sexist at all…

    According to Westmoreland:

    Catty- adj- venomous, feline and hateful
    Haughty- adj- arrogant, cavalier and condescending
    Shrill- adj- biting, high-pitched and piercing
    bossy- adj- dictatorial and domineering
    emotional- adj- sensitive, hysterical and distraught

    See, nothing remotely sexist or denoting women in any way.

    By the way, Westmoreland is a total cracker.

    Craker- n- biscuit, wafer.

    Let’s not jump too quickly on Lynn Westmoreland. That guy is clearly not prejudiced or discrimiatory in any way. how can he be? The man grew up being called “Lynn.”

  3. You are not from the south are you? Uppity is clearly a racist term – it means the “n” word with education, money, etc who don’t know their place in society as second class citizens. Westmoreland is from Georgia and he knows what it means. If he didn’t know before, he knows now and should just apologize and call it a day. If a number of people are telling you it is offensive you need to take it at face value that the word is offensive.

  4. Where have you been for the past couple of centuries? Let’s keep it real! Uppity has always been used by whites to demean blacks, especially in the the South. Being from the South, Westmoreland knows it; you ought to know; and we all know it. Stop trying to justify smut. If you don’t know it, then ask someone. It’s all about context and not just dictionary meanings and wishful thinking. Even the McCain camp knows how and by whom “uppity” has been used and that it has racist connotations. It is a racist term. Period. That’s why the McCain camp uses the term “elitist” instead. Why should Westmoreland apologize–he’s just doing what comes naturally to him. The people of Georgia should now act accordingly, unless of course they agree with having a bigoted fool represent them in Congress.

  5. uknowbetter and anonymous:

    You guys should read my post again. Look for the sarcasm. I thought the comparison to the McCain camps’ cry of sexism was enough to make my point, but I guess it wasn’t. Don’t we all know catty and shrill pretty much demean women in the same fashion uppity does to blacks (and other minorities)?

    And I thought for sure you all would have gotten my joke when I said “Westmoreland is a cracker,” and then defined cracker as a biscuit or wafer.

  6. I am from New Orleans and the word uppity is used the same as the word snob would be. It is used to reference people who think they are better than, race irrelevant.

  7. How dam’ stupid some people think we are! I am sick to death of the BS dished out, and we’re supposed to buy it! They think were stupid, just like McCain thinks American women are all so stupid as to “buy” Palin, just because she’s a woman.

    The arrogance of Westmoreland reflects the arrogance of McCain, of his supporters, of Palin – they think we’re all fools – white, as well as non-white.

    But maybe this white person is just a bit uppity to talk like that about ma betters!

  8. Is he kidding?? is anyone who has been living more than “a minute” kidding? Westmoreland knew exactly what “uppity” meant when it came out of his mouth. the only saving grace is that he didn’t finish the statement, thus, attaining the ability to deny, deny, deny. How heartbreaking it is for someone like me (invloved in this country’s most daring attempt to “change” – the civil rights movement)at this stage in my life, at this time, in this place (my beloved country)to have to hear this kind of mind-set AGAIN in my lifetime. It’s all been a waste of time…how very sad.

  9. I’m born and raised in the south, and proud of it. I don’t begrudge anyone pride in their birthplace, I just don’t care. All my life I have heard the term uppity used interchangably to black, white, mixed. It refers to ANYONE trying to “look down their nose” at those they ‘perceive’ to be below themselves, especially when they are actually in the same ‘class’, ‘station’, in life as those they look down upon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.