Obama’s “post-racial America” has not materialized. Instead, the nation has gone in the opposite direction and become race-obsessed America.
No, that’s not quite right either. We’re not obsessed with race — we’ve become obsessed with accusations of racism. Some of the accusations are true; some, not so much. But what used to be a last-ditch smear tactic used only by the most desperate political operatives, or something which as a society we’d try to ignore in the hopes that it would go away, has instead become a daily occurrence, a standard category in the 24-hour news cycle:
Politics • Sports • Business • Accusations of Racism • Weather
Just a few years ago, shortly before Obama appeared on the political landscape, I wrote this satirical dictionary definition of the word “racist”:
racist – A statement of surrender during an argument. When two people or disputants are engaged in an acrimonious debate, the side that first says “Racist!” has conceded defeat. Synonymous with saying “Resign” during a chess game, or “Uncle” during a schoolyard fight. Originally, the term was meant to indicate that one side was accusing the other of being racist, but once it was noticed that people only resorted to this tactic when all other arguments had been exhausted, it acquired its new meaning of “indicating one’s own concession of defeat.”
Oh, how times have changed, and how quickly. Not only do people now reach for the race card first in almost any political, social, or personal dispute, but sometimes the accusations are even true (or partly true), as public exhibition of racism has become more commonplace. No matter how you slice it — an increase of racism and of false accusations of racism — I see this as a huge step backward for our nation.
The Week in Racism
So many accusations of racism battle for space in your morning headlines, it’s easy to get them all confused. So I’ve created the following scorecard to help you sort it all out.
Here are the Top Ten Accusations of Racism for the last week, along with a handy “Level of Actual Racism” accuracy rating (on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being the most racist) to help determine to what extent each accusation is true, or if the accuser is just crying “Uncle” in a losing argument.
1. Mel Gibson “Pack of Ni@@ers” Meltdown
|Level of Actual Racism:
As everyone on Earth has heard by now, actor Mel Gibson destroyed his own career when he unleashed a series of abusive rants at his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva — which she secretly recorded and then leaked to the gossip site RadarOnline. Amidst all his rage and hate and hyperventilating threats, Gibson clearly says at one point, “If you get raped by a pack of ni@@ers, it’ll be your fault.”
Now, merely saying “the N-word” is enough to endanger any white celebrity’s career, but to say so in a derogatory sense is curtains. Gibson is finished in Hollywood. Yet what’s interesting about Mel Gibson’s rant is that it’s not racist in the “normal” way but rather at a deeper level.
If you calmly analyze the offending sentence “If you get raped by a pack of ni@@ers, it’ll be your fault,” you can see that Gibson never overtly says he dislikes or has a low opinion of black people. In fact, they’re not the subject of his vitriol but rather side characters in a hate-fantasy directed at his ex-girlfriend, who is the person he’s trying to insult. But this unconscious offhand reference to black people reveals his racism in four different ways:
b. By implying that black men will rape any provocatively dressed woman, Gibson is trafficking in the stereotype of blacks as sexually insatiable and violent.
c. He dehumanizes black people by using the concept of “a pack of ni@@ers” as an all-purpose bogeyman, some menacing evil force which lurks in the background waiting to pounce.
d. And of course, he uses the ultimately derogatory term “ni@@er” (so derogatory it’s no longer acceptable to even spell it out fully in a news report).
So, despite never consciously expressing an opinion about black people in his rant, Mel Gibson accidentally revealed his real attitudes about blacks, and so earns an Actual Racism rating of 8.5 out of 10.
2. The Brown Berets Tell Whites to “Go back to Europe!”
|Level of Actual Racism:
As discussed at Gateway Pundit, the race-based Hispanic paramilitary militia known as the Brown Berets showed up to counter-protest a Tea Party rally in Anaheim and started spouting mind-boggling anti-white racist rants. Here’s the video:
The action starts at 1:47 into the video, when the Brown Beret woman begins shouting through her bullhorn,
“You’re white! You don’t belong here! Back to Europe! Back to Europe! This was Mexican land! It’s still Mexican land! … Go back to Germany! Go back to Europe! The whites don’t belong here! This is America, the whites don’t belong here!”
For all the people accusing the Tea Party of being a racist organization: This video shows what a real racist organization is like. There is no need to ascribe racist thoughts to the minds of real racists, because their racism is self-evident. You will never find a performance like this at a Tea Party rally, because the Tea Party is not about race.
What makes the Brown Beret philosophy so totally absurd is that of course Hispanics are themselves also descended from Europeans. After all, isn’t Spain part of Europe too? Somewhere between 70% and 90% of Mexicans are of European heritage. And yet in the Brown Beret fantasy world, only certain Euro-Americans have to “go back,” while the rest get to stay. What we see on display here is racism combined with astounding stupidity, and so earns an Actual Racism rating of 8.0 out of 10.
3. Journolist False Racism Smear Campaign Ploy
Liberal media members
“Obama’s conservative critics”
|Level of Actual Racism:
In the most eye-opening scandal so far this year, the elite liberal email bulletin board known as “Journolist” was exposed as one vast brainstorming session on how to unfairly demonize conservatives. As reported at HotAir, the Daily Caller got ahold of the Journolist archives and discovered leading liberal pundits and mainstream reporters scheming during the 2008 presidential election about how to defuse the Jeremiah Wright scandal around then-candidate Barack Obama. Their solution?
In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”
As HotAir’s Ed Morrissey incisively notes,
Ackerman wasn’t talking about a strategy to expose real racists, in the media or anywhere else. The Washington Independent reporter wanted to conduct a campaign against any figure on the Right, including journalists like Fred Barnes, to smear him as a racist for the political purposes of electing a Democrat to the White House. Notice that Ackerman doesn’t even bother to ask people to look for actual evidence of racism, but just suggests to pick a conservative name out of a hat.
Sound familiar? This tactic is now Standard Operating Procedure used against any and all critics of Obama. Endlessly fling out baseless accusations of racism, and let your opponents waste their time trying to disprove the allegations. The problem for the Democrats and the Left in general is that the number of people dissatisfied with Obama has grown so large, that his dwindling cadre of followers lashes out with “You’re all racists! All of you!” on a nearly daily basis these days. And as a consequence, the accusation has not only lost its sting, but has become counter-productive, as average Americans are sick and tired of being continuously slandered by their President’s own operatives.
Actual Racism: 0.0
4. NAACP Charges the Tea Party with Racism
The Tea Party
|Level of Actual Racism:
The NAACP set off a political firestorm this week when it charged “The Tea Party” of being “racist,” an accusation which has dominated the headlines all week and led to a series of denials and counter-charges (see below).
Lost in the flurry of finger-pointing is any evidence by the NAACP to support its claim. The media seems to be still operating on the principle that the accusation of racism is the only evidence required to prove racism. But where is the NAACP’s actual evidence? Maybe I missed it, but I have the feeling there was no proof offered in conjunction with the accusation, only a statement of political opinion about what goes on in other people’s heads.
Here’s why I’m dubious about the charges of racism against the “Tea Party”:
a. First and foremost, the “Tea Party” is a frame of mind, not an organization. There is no central leader or committee which controls the Tea Party, nor is there a unified platform. The term “Tea Party” is just a shorthand way to refer to the large and ever-growing contingent of people who feel dismayed at the direction the country has taken under the Obama administration, especially in regard to fiscal matters. Yes, there are local Tea Party associations, and there are populist politicians and pundits who want to anoint themselves self-declared leaders of a leaderless movement, but the closer you peer at “the Tea Party” itself, the more vague and loosely defined it becomes. It’s not an official political party, it’s not a crisply defined ideology, it’s not a corporation, it’s not anything at all, really, except millions of people who sorta kinda have an overlap of opinion concerning American economic policy and cultural values. Because of all this, it’s impossible to declare that “the Tea Party” as a unified whole possesses some identifiable but hidden trait (such as racism).
b. Opponents of the Tea Party have made no secret of their intent to destroy the movement with infiltrators and agents provocateurs who purposely display flagrantly racist comments or signs, which are then highlighted by their colleagues in the media and used to impugn the entire anti-Obama mindset. So any individual documented example of “racism” within the Tea Party should be treated with suspicion.
c. Does racism still exist in America? Unfortunately yes. I have the feeling it’s not nearly as prevalent as it was in the 19th century or even in the 1950s, but it still lingers here and there. Because of this, if you get any large group of people together, you’re likely to find some people in the crowd with racist feelings. So: Are there racists in the Tea Party? Probably. But there are also racists in the AFL-CIO, in the audience at a Taylor Swift concert, in the National Ping Pong League, and even in the Democratic Party. Since there seems to be a simmering low-level endemic racism in the human heart (something which may be impossible to ever fully eradicate), you can find racists (or crypto-racists) at every level of society and in every large organization. So pointing out individual racists here and there proves nothing really about whatever organizations they belong to — especially if the organization has no official membership and is as loosely defined as the Tea Party is.
d. Considering everything in point “c” above, one must then look at the stated goals or ideology of any organization accused of racism. There are racists in the KKK, but is the KKK a racist organization? Yes, because its self-declared ideology prominently features racist sentiments and goals. There are racists in the National Ping Pong League, but is the National Ping Pong League a racist organization? No, because its self-declared purpose is to organize Ping Pong tournaments, and race is nowhere mentioned. There are racists in the Tea Party, but is the Tea Party racist? No, because nowhere in the ideologies associated with the Tea Party are there any racist sentiments, nor are there any mentions of race at all, except perhaps a sweeping dedication to racial equality. Are black people or other minorities excluded from the Tea Party? No. In fact, they’re eagerly embraced.
e. Some on the left have attempted to make the following argument: that the fiscal policies advocated by the Tea Party are themselves a form of crypto-racism, because lower taxes and lower government spending means fewer government entitlement programs which means fewer benefits for those at the bottom of the economic scale, which tends to have a higher proportion of minorities. So the argument runs: If you want to lower the deficit by decreasing government spending, then you’re essentially taking money away from minorities, which proves your racist intent. To that I say (and many analysts agree): Encouraging people to free themselves from dependence on public handouts is not malicious or racist, but rather a form of “tough love,” an acknowledgement of each person’s independence and potential and self-worth. I would argue that overly lavish social welfare programs are a kind of “soft slavery,” whereby the beneficiaries are essentially owned by the state. So, if anything, it is the welfare state advocated by the left which hurts minorities in the long run; whereas the fiscal responsibility advocated by the Tea Party leads to a robust economy which helps everyone, including minorities.
This is easily the most contentious and impossible-to-quantify of all the “Actual Racism” ratings in this list, but I see no hard evidence of racism as a fundamental belief guiding those people who identify as “Tea Partiers,” and at worst maybe a real racist or two showed up at some Tea Party rally somewhere and were not as quickly identified and chased away as they could have been. So, I’ll assign an “Actual Racism” rating of 2.0 out of 10 for this entry, much as I’d probably assign a 2.0 racism rating to humanity in general.