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On Racism

Of late, it seems one of the biggest threats to America -- at least in the eyes of some of the loudest people -- is racism and white supremacism. And I've been giving the matter some serious thought.

The first observation I've made is that racists are really not that huge a danger today. On a list of what are real problems for us, "racists" and "white supremacists" are way, way down there. Behind Islamist terrorists, economic morons with power, blind idealists, one-worlders, hyperpartisan hacks, reality TV, and a host of others.

The reason why? Because the war of race is over, and the purists lost. Nowadays, even the casual racism that was common and tolerated as recently as 30 to 40 years ago is now utterly repugnant to general society. In a sense, it's followed an arc much like that of drunk driving. When some idiot says something flagrantly racist, there's hardly anyone rushing to their defense -- witness the reactions to Mel Gibson and Michael Richards when they went on racist tirades.

The second observation is that the greatest "racists" and "white supremacists" are being condemned not for being obsessed with race, but with not caring enough about race.

Let's start off with one of my least favorite people, Rush Limbaugh. And let's take a loot look at some of his so-called "racist" statements (ones he actually said, not ones his detractors fantasize he said) that have so many people fitting him for a Klan hood and robe.

For example, his comment about quarterback Donovan McNabb was not about race, but a commentary on sports media -- and the aspect race plays in it. Here, Limbaugh's great sin was in putting another issue more important than race, by saying that race is a component of another issue. Limbaugh's "racism" here was in allowing race to be a mere aspect of another issue, not an issue in and of itself.

Limbaugh is a racist because he does not spend all his time dwelling on race in and of itself, but sees it only as a part of larger issues -- when he considers it at all.

Then there's the current bete blanc of the blogosphere, Robert Stacy McCain. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- if RSM is a racist and a white supremacist, he's one of the most inept ones I've ever seen. I've read quite a bit of his recent material, and -- except when he's addressing the smear war being waged against him -- he doesn't seem to talk much about racial matters at all. In fact, reading his stuff, I find myself wondering how the hell he could believe in the inherent superiority of his race when he spends a good chunk of his time running himself down and holding himself up for mockery.

Oh, that's not to say that there aren't genuine racists (or, at least, people who have a history of racist behavior and making racially insensitive remarks) holding the reins of power. But they have discovered the miracle cleansing agent, the one thing in today's politics that... er... whitewashes the stain of racism away:


There's one national leader who has a truly repugnant background. He's a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who, as recently as a few years ago, was still unabashedly tossing around such terms as "white niggers." But that doesn't keep him from being the fourth in the line of presidential succession -- does it, Senator Byrd?

Or, if you like, the condescending, genteel racism of a man who talks about how exceptional President Obama is for being a black man who is clean and articulate, who jokes about how the most prominent representatives of India and Pakistan are the ones who own convenience stores, ending up the Vice-President of the United States?

Or how a demagogue and shakedown artist who can toss around anti-Semitic slurs and discuss graphically "cutting the nuts off" of President Obama can not only be considered a major political figure, but also a man of God? Or how another alleged "man of God" can also be a race-baiting, riot-instigating con man? Take your bows, Reverends Jackson and Sharpton.

We were told that the election of President Obama was a defining moment in America's racial struggles, that it was proof that we were moving into a "post-racial" era. In the leadup, a lot of his detractors expressed concerns that instead, it would further polarize racial issues -- that every single criticism of Obama would be attributed to racism and not taken on their own merits.

Well, that certainly has proven prophetic. The presumption behind that argument is so specious as to be laughable -- that Obama's policies of consolidating economic power within the executive branch, of offering an open hand to our adversaries while giving the back of the hand to our allies, that his attempting to assert his authority of defining who is "legitimate" or "illegitimate" among his opponents, that his ham-handed attempts to intervene in matters far below the purview of the federal government, that his handing over the details of national policy to inept Congressional leadership, that his "we're sorry, world" tour of apologizing for America's reputed sins of the past, and a host of others, would be acceptable to a lot more Americans if both his parents had been white, instead of just his mother.

At least, it would be laughable if the proponents of it weren't so tenacious.

Yes, there are racists in America. Yes, there are even racists in the halls of power. And yes, there are even some racists in the right wing. But they are remarkably impotent at getting anything done to advance their racist agenda. America, by and large, simply ain't buying that any more.

So, what's left? Why, their pernicious and corrosive beliefs. Their motives. Their goals. Their aspirations. Their hateful ideas.

In other words, their thoughts. Their thought crimes.

I've known racists in my life. Some quite noxious ones -- those who raged against the niggers and the chinks and the spics who were ruining this country. Some less obvious -- they contented themselves with yelling at the TV when some jigaboo won a prize or praised a singer as "pretty good for a darkie."

Some times I verbally slapped them around. More times, I ignored them. (Much of my life, I was afraid of confrontations.) But one thing I never did was to give the slightest credence to their beliefs. In fact, it was just the opposite -- the harder they tried to push their beliefs, the more repulsed I was.

That's one of the reasons I don't subscribe to the Charles Johnson School Of Policing Blog Comments -- deleting hateful, vicious, racist diatribes. It's been my experience that such actions are actually valuable anti-recruiting tools for the racists. So I take a bit of perverse pleasure in letting them demonstrate that they are complete and utter losers and assholes to the world at large.

The "war on racism" has long been a code phrase for "war on those insufficiently liberal." The election of President Obama has simply made that far less transparent and more pernicious than ever before.


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Comments (10)

I agree, except we don't ne... (Below threshold)

I agree, except we don't need to take a loot at anything. That's racist.

Posted to <a href="http://s... (Below threshold)

Posted to Smallest Minority this morning:
I'm living a nightmare. A nightmare where I am forbidden to judge a person by the content of his character, because of the color of his skin.

It's obvious that "THE MAN ... (Below threshold)

It's obvious that "THE MAN is keeping me down" won't play anymore because of who is in the White House. The entire Black vote in this country would not have been enough, by itself, to put him there.

So now it's more about 'those who've fallen through the cracks'. It's always something.

Too bad that the first Black man to gain the White House is an empty suit.

EXIT QUESTION: Over the last 40 years (since LBJ and the Great Society) have a sufficient number of white people been so indoctrinated into "White Guilt" that they'd vote an incompetent into office just because of the color of his skin?

The obsession with race and... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

The obsession with race and racism is purely and totally political. Without a large majority of the Black vote the Democratic Party is an asterisk. It is absolutely vital to the Democratic leadership that race be central to political thinking because it is the only issue on which they can build a majority. Every Democratic leader will pick at the scab of racial tension and promote the concept that racism is the critical issue on which any domestic and most foreign policy issues must be based. They know that the constant repetition of race as central to American society creates racial hatred and eliminates any chance for progress toward racial harmony, but those goals are secondary to gaining and retaining power.

Barrack Obama is without doubt the most attractive Democrat to seek the Presidency in a long time and John McCain was about as bad a candidate as I can remember the Republicans offering. Obama won by 7%, but he won the Black vote by between 9 and 11 percent. Without that 95% of African Americans, Obama wins narrowly if at all. The Democrats know this. If African Americans ever begin to vote for their individual best interests instead of against an imaginary racism, the Democrats are in deep trouble. So they'll claim racism if you say you like day better than night (day is lighter than night. Racism!) Or if you like vanilla ice cream, you must be a racist. They have to find a racist under every bed or they'll find a bunch of non-Democrats in public off.

Sure, there are some racist nuts out there and we need to treat them with the scorn that following a philosophy as stupid as racism deserves. But they are a small and decreasing factor in American life. Unfortunately, to the leadership of the Democratic Party, they are a greater threat than the Taliban.

The election of President B... (Below threshold)
len williams:

The election of President Barack H.Obama is a signal to the world that America is a indeed a special country. It's a signal that America is ready to reclaim it's moral leadership amongst the world community.

Racism still exist in this country, and for a while, some of the racist activist who were hiding or no longer practicing, found cause to come out of hiding, and make their presence known.

They started to show up in large numbers at "tea bagger/birther'deather organizations," and before long racial caracujars were depicting our president as a monkey, witch doctor, and a assortment of other racial stereotypes.

There are some who see this as "good old boys," just having a good time, but to some it is a hurtful reminder of the not to distanced past. It seems that today's racist attitudes are fueled by Fox News Commentors, and right wing radio(Beck & Limbaugh)Historically, when racist attitudes become overt, we will hear from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and/or Rev. Sharpton.

They have both dedicated their lives in the fight against racism. There's a lot of pople who hate the Reverands, and try to paint them as racist themselves, but this isn't true.

They were followers of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, and they both follow a strictly non violent discourse, and that is why it is almost laughable when someone calls them the biggest racist of today.

Loon Williams wrote:... (Below threshold)
The Exposer:

Loon Williams wrote:
"when racist attitudes become overt, we will hear from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and/or Rev. Sharpton....They have both dedicated their lives in the fight against racism. There's a lot of pople who hate the Reverands, and try to paint them as racist themselves, but this isn't true."

Thanks for the laughs. Always great to start off your day with a smile.

TO "the exposer:" It's good... (Below threshold)
len williams:

TO "the exposer:" It's good to see your kind of comedic continance exposed.To be honest, that was a rather wierd reaction to a commentary on racism. It may not fit your "racism is dead" mentality, but it was written by someone who lived in the South during pre-civil rights era.

" They started to show up i... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

" They started to show up in large numbers at "tea bagger/birther'deather organizations,".."

Loonie, you're just full of shit.
Sad, but true.

To:les messman.you're about... (Below threshold)
len williams:

To:les messman.you're about as full of shit as a Christmnas turkey yourself. All you need is an empty head to follow Beck and Limbaugh..

messman, you're A reaL "MES... (Below threshold)
len williams:

messman, you're A reaL "MESS!" Anyone who follows the doctrine of RUSH"ORLY TAIZ" LIMBAUGH, shouldn't call anyone a loon. Makes sense to me!






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