Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Recently, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, in response to a Trump tweet about LeBron James said:
The President is always interested in race-baiting. He’s always interested in finding a black person or brown person to call dumb or stereotype in some way, so this is consistent.
To Ryan and his ilk, calling someone “dumb” or “low IQ” and if they happen to be black is akin to the grossest form of racism. For Ryan’s theory to hold any water, two facts must be ascertained: (1) Trump singles out people of color for such attack, and (2) the attacked must be of average or above average intelligence.
As we are all aware, Trump is an equal opportunity offender. He has ongoing feuds with Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and Jeff Sessions- all white. During the campaign, he had some not nice characterizations regarding Jeb Bush and John Kasich- also white. He has attacked Marco Rubio and Jim Acosta- both Hispanic. Thus, Ryan’s theory fails on point (1) above.
As for the blacks he has accused of lacking in intelligence, he has singled out Don Lemon, LeBron James and Maxine Waters. Lemon once theorized that a missing Malaysian airliner was sucked in by a black hole… seriously. LeBron James is a great basketball player and probably an all-around nice guy all things considered, but he did enter the NBA right from high school. And Maxine Waters stands in a category all her own when it comes to stupidity and lack of intelligence.
So, what does this have to do with the recent kerfuffle involving Laura Ingraham? Just as Tim Ryan seems to see a racist dog whistle in a Trump tweet, so too do many- including some conservatives- see the same thing in Ingraham’s comments on the air this past Wednesday. The so-called controversial quote is thus:
Because in some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people and they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal and in some cases legal immigration that of course progressives love.
To at least two writers here and many conservative writers elsewhere (not to mention the many liberal outlets whose lines are parroted by those on the right), these words have been interpreted as Ingraham being a white supremacist, a bigot, a racist, an alt-right goddess, and pining for the days of Jim Crow and possibly slavery, or all of the above. To some, this latest outburst by Ingraham somehow proves her inherent racism because- as we all know- any white person born pre-1970 is a closet racist hoping for a return to those Leave It to Beaver days.
Some of this commentary, including the commentary here at this site, is right off the pages of DailyKos and Splinter and because a conservative echoes those thoughts in no way makes the theory that Ingraham is a closet white supremacist any more rational or believable. Do those who now take offense to her remarks about immigration also believe that telling LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” is a racist remark? After all, LeBron James is paid a pretty penny to dribble a basketball…and he happens to be black.
Furthermore, Ingraham is not selective in her attacks. Case in point: her feud with Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg. And not being an Ingraham fan, I am quite sure she has offended many other whites and many other groups of people at times. Hence, like the Ryan scenario above, the criticism of Ingraham fails on point (1).
But, even if not and let’s for the sake of argument assume she is a closet bigot who dresses her adopted Hispanic daughter in a white robe and hood every night, we have to look at the “truth” of her argument. It is a fact that there are parts of this country that in no way resemble the America we know and love- mainly, liberal bastions. The massive demographic changes foisted upon the American public are the result of illegal AND loopholes in the legal immigration system. There ARE enclaves of immigrants- both legal and illegal- who would prefer NOT to assimilate into American society and culture and even some elements that would prefer to radically alter it. There ARE fewer and fewer people who identify as strictly “American” and would instead prefer to be a member of the growing number of hyphenated groups.
The critics like to center on the above quote by Ingraham, yet ignore an equally important one in that segment which dealt not only with immigration, but self-proclaimed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That quote is:
There is something slipping away in this country and it’s not about race or ethnicity. It’s what was once a common understanding by both parties that American citizenship is a privilege, and one that at a minimum requires respect for the rule of law and loyalty to our constitution.
The demographic change she notes goes hand-in-hand with the political changes being foisted on the country. One can almost rest assure that among today’s crop of immigrants, they are more accepting of some brand of socialism than any previous crop of immigrants.
Most importantly, what the critics fail to understand is that not every negative comment about immigrants or black celebrities, sports heroes and politicians is born of racial or ethnic animus. Those who make those connections are no better than Tim Ryan. Through their righteous indignation and their propensity to signal their virtue while seeing a racial/ethnic bogeyman behind every tree, one has to ask: who is the one preoccupied with race or ethnicity?