Let me just start this off by saying that “race relations”, as they used to be called when I was a boy, are of no interest to me. I was raised in a racially colorblind household, and, come to think of it, I can’t recall ever having seen even mild racism in my nuclear or extended family. I attended colorblind schools with a variety of peoples of different races, and so forth. As a result of this upbringing I believe that racism is just wrong. This was an issue to press with my parents’ generation, and my parents in particular, and press they did. As for me, well, waging eternal war against racism is just not my bag.
Here in America, the advocates of racial equality won, thankfully. I was born at a time when the first inter-racial kiss on Star Trek was a notable event, and what seemed generations away back then has, after a generation or two, come to pass: we have a black* POTUS, as well as black Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, CEOs, and so forth. America has come a long way, yadda yadda yadda. The color barrier has been broken and racism dare not show its face in polite society. However, I’m of the opinion that racism has not been and never will be eliminated; we waged a world war trying to eliminate the f’ing Nazis and yet there are still admirers of that abomination to this day; racism, likewise, will endure. It usually takes some generations to make societal changes like these. We should neither sanction racism by law nor countenance it personally. I don’t make friends with bigots, and I keep myself from slapping them.
I find myself in good company on the American Right. In the midst of my political conversion during the Spring and Summer of 2003, I found myself visiting rightwing blogs for reasons wholly unrelated to politics and, to my surprise, I found paraphrased there the famous quotation of Martin Luther King Jr. from his “I Have a Dream” speech, to the effect that he wished for a nation that would judge people not on their skin color but the content of their character. I found it on several different rightwing blogs, actually, and it took a while before I came to believe that, rather than simply being than a cudgel with which to beat the hypocrisy out of their ideological enemies, it was indeed, as it appeared: an expression of genuine desire. After a couple of years of reading rightwing blogs, columns, and publications, I came to realize upon reflection that not only was racism absent from the places I visited on the Right, but also absent too was the soft bigotry of low expectations to which I had become accustomed in my previous life as a Liberal (not that I shared it at the time, but it’s so pervasive on the Left that I’d come to hardly notice it).
Accusations of racism, however, are cudgel in the hands of Liberals. They’re also big on calling us Nazis, notwithstanding the irony. Racists, like Nazis, have no legitimate currency in our realm, and no say in our national debate. That’s why they demonize us by calling us these names; not because it’s true, but because they would have their idological competition eliminated from the debate without having to address our arguments on merit. We end up having to defend ourselves from these scurrilous attacks which in turn reduces the time we can spend talking about the flawed policy and wrongdoings of our opponents and it taints our image in minds of the gullible and uninformed. It’s a despicable political tactic.
You’ll want proof, of course. By way of example I give you Rush Limbaugh, who was most recently pilloried when he tried to buy an ownership stake in a football team. The Left used one of Alinsky’s tactics (see “Rules for Radicals“): “Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It”. The Left set their sights on Limbaugh and opened up with all guns blazing – blanks. The quotes used against him were either fabricated or decontextualized. That was the best they could do, and bear in mind that Limbaugh has been broadcasting for the last twenty-five years. That’s an hour or two a day, five days a week, most of the year, year after year, and despite the vast wealth of material through which they are free to comb for examples to bolster their charge, again, this is the best they can do. If, like me, you think as serious an accusation as racism should be backed up by evidence, then that’s not just weak tea, that’s homeopathic tea, but then, Liberals neither require proof to make accusations against their political opponents, nor do they see this as being a problem.
All this brings me to my pet piñata of a dinosaur media columnist: Eugene Robinson of the WaPo, and his latest column, “Obama needs to stand up to ‘reverse racism’ ploy” (WaPo – July 22, 2010 – A19). Let’s start with the title, which calls out the “reverse racism ploy” of the Right. “Reverse racism” is sort of like racism, but in reverse. It’s when people of other ethnicities are accused of racism – other than white, of course. That is to say that racism, as defined by the Left, is when whites discriminate against people of other ethnicities, so the reverse of that would be when people of other ethnicities discriminate against whites (or, occasionally, ethnicities other than their own). Racism is, by their definition, exclusively the province of white people; racism, when exhibited by non-whites, is the reverse of that. “Reverse racism” is, therefore, a divisive and racist term itself (it’s a racist term, in that they have a special term for wrongdoing by a particular racial group). Congratulations, Eugene! Right out of the gate, you’ve beclowned yourself.
Let’s move on to the body of the text:
“After the Shirley Sherrod episode, there’s no longer any need to mince words: A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites.”
Leaving aside the false pretense that Robinson or Liberals have up until now been mincing words, the “right-wing propaganda machine” is what Leftists imagine to be the rightwing equivalent of their own propaganda machines. Like, say, JournoList, in which Liberal journalists and academicians colluded to coordinated smears of their political opposition and spike stories which made their side look bad. They imagine that since they work together in this way, their opposition must as well, and having imagined it to be possible, they suppose that it’s probable, and having supposed that it’s probable, they conclude that it must be true, and so with the speed of a caffeinated ferret they know to be true that which they’ve only imagined. Proof is no longer necessary for Leftists to delude themselves. At any rate, the target of Andrew Breitbart’s posting of the clips of Sheley Sherrod was not her; it was aimed at the group to which she was speaking, the NAACP. The NAACP, which is working together openly with the openly racist “Nation of Islam“. This was in response to the NAACP calling out racism in the Tea Party, citing now-debunked accusations of racism (see Power Line’s “Don’t leave it to Cleaver”, parts 1 through 17).
This was not, however, an accusation that when “minories reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites.” What it illustrated was that the NAACP, which hosted the event, applauded and gave approval to Sherrod’s recounting of her tale of when she racially discriminated against a white farmer, not doing all she could to help him (when she was working for a non-profit). She states that she was of the opinion that he should seek help from “one of his own kind.” She went on to say that she had since come to believe that poor whites are also worthy of her help. Middle class and rich whites should still, presumably, be helped “by their own kind.” (in her own semi-coherent words, “That’s when…it was revealed to me that it’s about poor versus those who have. And not so much about white — it is about white and black — but it’s not, you know…it opened my eyes.” )
“A few of the purveyors of this bigoted nonsense might actually believe it. Most of them, however, are merely seeking political gain by inviting white voters to question the motives and good faith of the nation’s first African American president. This is really about tearing Barack Obama down.”
This had nothing to do with POTUS Obama. The fact that this Marxist racist worked for the USDA was something of an embarassment to the Obama Administration, and she was fired for it. Now they’ve apologized for that, since, I guessing, they’re of the opinion that if you’re a Marxist racist, and not just a plain old racist, that’s OK.
“With the Obama presidency, though, has come a flurry of charges — from the likes of Breitbart but also from more substantial conservative figures — about alleged incidences of racial discrimination against whites by blacks and other minorities. Recall, for example, the way Obama’s critics had a fit when he offered an opinion about the confrontation between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a white police officer. Remember the over-the-top reaction when it was learned that Justice Sonia Sotomayor had once talked about how being a “wise Latina” might affect her thinking.”
Well, no, there haven’t been a flurry of charges about incidents of racial discrimination against whites by blacks and other minorities. Robinsons WaPo readers are not expected to doubt this despite having little recollection of any such thing, but rather his assertion alone, in their minds, will make it so. He imagines it, and so he asserts it, and on that basis they believe. His examples?
There’s the Gates/cops incident, in which Gates threw a tantrum, ranting and shouting about how he was being racially harassed when the police came to protect his home from burglars. They had asked him to step outside of the house, which is a standard police procedure which removes a person from any potential threat in a dwelling; even if a homeowner insists from within their own house that everything is OK, the police will ask them to step outside and say the same thing, just in case the homeowner is being coerced by, say, somebody behind the door, holding a gun on him. The problem with what POTUS Obama did was that, before any investigation, and before all the facts were known, Obama characterized the police as having acted “stupidly.” This was unpresidential and possibly racially motivated, as Gates is black and the police were mostly white, but not provably so. That was the attitude, by and large, of the Right on this flap; it was Gates who was the primary object of scorn on the Right, for playing the race card, and POTUS Obama a distant second for inappropriately injecting his uninformed opinion on an issue of minor national significance – and, predictably, automatically siding with the black guy screaming “Racism!”
Then there’s the then-nominee for the SCOTUS Sotomayor, who made an arguably racist statement in a 2001 speech to law students at the University of California at Berkeley: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” That remark was less about wise Latinas as it was about how white men are not as wise or fair as Latinas.
That should have disqualified her for the nomination to the Supreme Court. Don’t think so? Fine, let’s try a little thought experiment. Imagine the SCOTUS nominee of a Republican POTUS had said the following: “I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina who hasn’t lived that life.” Kinda pops out at ya now, doesn’t it?
Remember, these are Eugene Robinson’s cited examples of false charges of racism by the Right against POTUS Obama.
He goes on:
“Before Sherrod, the cause celebre of the “You Must Fear Obama” campaign involved something called the New Black Panther Party. Never heard of it? That’s because it’s a tiny group that exists mainly in the fevered imaginations of its few members. Also in the alternate reality of Fox News: One of the network’s hosts has devoted more than three hours of air time in recent weeks to the grave threat posed by the NBPP. Actually, I suspect that this excess is at least partly an attempt by a relatively obscure anchor to boost her own notoriety.”
Robinson will not let his lack of comprehension of the arguments of his opponents stand in the way of his characterizing them as being frivolous or malevolent – a pitch-perfect Liberal. In this case, what has the Right outraged has less to do with the New Black Panther Party than the Department of Justice. The New Black Panther Party is, indeed, a tiny group of violent racists who are, on the whole, of little consequence. During the 2008 election two of them, one armed with a billy club, were stationed just outside a polling station, and were intimidating voters. It was a clear violation of law, and regardless of the merits of the case, the DOJ had the case won through a default judgement, had they but taken it. The New Black Panthers did not show up, nor did they send representative council, and so would have lost the civil suit filed against them by the DOJ had only the DOJ accepted it. Deliberately, they did not do so, and it is the contention of J. Christian Adams (and initially corroborated by two of his colleagues, now a third) that it is the internal policy of the DOJ that the voting rights laws will not be enforced in the defense of white voters. The Right has a problem with that. So should the Left, but they don’t. Instead, they mischaracterize these allegations and their political opposition.
The last thing the Left wants is to have a serious discussion with their political opposition about the future of this country and Liberal vs. Conservative policies. Instead, as always, they seek to eject their opposition from the discussion by manufacturing accusations of racism against them. Granted, when your ideas are as bankrupt and divisive as theirs, it’s understandable why they would like to avoid that debate, even if it means throwing serious accusations of evil around. It’s understandable, and shamefully so.
Shame on Eugene Robinson, shame on the Left, and shame on you willing Liberal dupes who live in your Liberal bubbles. You will never understand your political opposition, or have a coherent political discussion with them, until you start to listen to what they have to say for themselves. When you let fools like Robinson (or the busted ThinkProgress) explain the Right to you instead of actually listening to the Right, you end up sounding incoherently disconnected from reality and dishonest.
* Regarding my usage of the word “black” instead of the more PC “African-American”: yes, that’s right, I still say “black”. I know, I know, black people aren’t actually black, they’re brown, in the same way that I’m not white. As inaccurate as these hues are in describing our relative pigmentation, they are a more accurate description of the thing we’re talking about than the term “African-American”. There are lots of black people who are not from and have never been to Africa, just as there are lots of people who are fishbelly white who actually live there, and, perhaps just as confoundingly, black people who were born in, say, Canada are not, obviously, African-American. As far as our use of language goes, black beats colored beats negro beats darkie beats the-n-word-I-can’t-say-because-I’m-white-even-if-I-do-so-in-contempt-of-it, but African-American is just silly and so I generally avoid it.