I belong to a small email group of about eight people, two of whom are liberals, and the more reasonable of the two recently said of a comment I made that I was “viciously racial.” When confronted, he “clarified” the difference between “racial” and “racist.” I noted in response that it was ironic he would use this tact since he’d taken this distinct between racial and racist from me, based on an article I’d read, though the author himself didn’t make the connection. It’s a valid distinction. To say something is “about race” is a far stretch of saying it’s a “racist statement.” But that’s off point, so more about it later.
I think we’ll work it out because we’ve long been friends, but this entire business of racism vs. reverse racism, post-racial vs. active-racism, needs some pondering by all of us. First of all, I’m not going to dignify these accusations casually thrown at conservatives all the time by giving them any credit whatsoever. Racism not that long ago entailed violence, suppression, the inability to vote in many places, and many other true horrors. Today, however, the word racist is used with the same intent to describe the slightest difference in opinion between people with no harm done to anyone. It’s a little like the moral equivalency practiced by the left on the issue of terrorism vs. the U.S. response to it: that somehow cutting someone’s head off with a dull knife is equal (by moral equivalency) with carrying a sign saying “no” to a mosque being built at Ground Zero. When I bring this up to my liberal friends, they state, and rightly, that we’re better off being held to a higher standard. My response is always, yes, but you can’t forget that it is a double standard and that while being held to a higher standard may well be good for us, don’t forget that these are not equal sums. Otherwise, you create what I call the “brutality disconnect”: that mutilation is somehow equal to using a racist expression, and that’s a extreme example.
Since I am writing this at work, as the day goes on, I have made up with my liberal friend…mostly. Now we’re discussing this issues and for anyone who happens to be reading this, there is an excellent article today on the far left-leaning New Republic, a review by a black conservative linguist, on a book about race entitlements and how poorly, or even destructively they work.
Okay, racial means simply that it’s about race. If I say entitlements have almost destroyed the black community, that’s a racial statement because it’s about race. It is, however, not racist; instead, it’s part of an honest dialog between right and left about what’s best for American blacks. But, when you inject race into this discussion by saying that’s racist, then who’s the racist? I would argue you, not me. I think blacks would be better off with solid programs that are research-proven-effective and fewer of them. Welfare to work would be an example, but not endless handouts.
Racism, not long ago, carried with it conotations of brutality, lack of voting power, total disenfranchisment from the system. Now it’s parsed downwards to the point it’s nearly meaningless. I would argue that we are post-racial and that the only real racism out there is of the reverse variety. This is because we’ve done the heavy lifting on race in America better than anyone else on earth…BY FAR. And part of that effort has been to inform the public on these issues. Therefore, any one who continues to harbor racist thoughts has either been isolated from the world most of us inhabit, or they’re simply people with a disordered thinking process–in other words, they have a pathology. And there’s relatively few of them.
So let’s get on with the building of America and end this particular phase of destroying it from within. Americans of every color are welcome here and America guarantees you that you will be safe here and prosper from joining us if you give our embrace, always extended, back to us.