I found Maureen Dowd's op-ed in today's New York Times quite disturbing. Dowd argues that Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to the joint session of Congress was underlined by his racism, and the racism of the south. What Dowd heard was, "You lie, boy!"
I agree that Congressman Wilson's action was out of line and unbecoming; he embarrassed himself, he embarrassed the Congress of the United States. However, I find it hard (and problematic) to connect his outburst to an underlying racism. Dowd lists some of Wilson's affiliations and his record, many of which can lead one to conclude that he's not a fan of Black people.
However, in a country where politics is such a dirty sport, and where extreme partisanship is the norm, we should be very careful to distinguish between what is politics as usual and what is more nefarious.
I think Dowd is right: there are segments of the population that are disgruntled and hate the idea of a Black president. However, I am not convinced that Wilson's rudeness is one more manifestation of this.
Picture from Psychology Today "credited to 'Getty Images,' 'AFP' (Agence France-Presse)"