If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. — Spencer Ackerman
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness. — Mary Frances Berry
It’s no secret that America has an ugly history when it comes to racial issues. It’s also no secret that racism still exists. In fact, it would shock me if there is anyone reading this column who’s never heard a racist sentiment uttered in his lifetime. But, what does seem to be a secret to far too many people is that the attitude of the American people towards race has radically changed over the past few decades.
Granted, some people, particularly older Americans, are going to be unable to see that change. It’s easy to see why. If you can actually remember a time when blacks weren’t allowed to go to school with whites, drink from the same water fountains, or eat at the same lunch counters, it’s easy to imagine that everybody still really feels the same way as they did back then, but they’re just hiding it.
Of course, that sort of thinking misses the fundamental change in American culture that’s happened since the sixties. Racism among whites became almost universally unacceptable. Moreover, people my age and younger drank from the same water fountains, ate at the same lunch counters, and have never seen government approved racism against black Americans. White kids in my era forward grew up with posters of black athletes on our walls, listened to rap music, and went to school with black kids all of our lives. We’ve never had to reform or “give up our racist ways” because the overwhelming majority of us were never racist in the first place. So again, although racism exists, it has been marginalized in American society. The KKK and the Nazi Party? They’re bad jokes. People who drop the n-bomb in conversation are thought of as extremely ignorant. Amongst white Americans, even in the Deep South, racism is overwhelmingly frowned upon not just publicly, but privately as well.
Furthermore, although this is a taboo subject that’s seldom fully discussed in public, being black is often an advantage, not a disadvantage, when it comes to work or going to school. Talented black students have a much easier time getting into schools of their choice and getting scholarships than white students. The government actually discriminates against white people in an effort to favor black workers. Furthermore, businesses will often work harder to recruit talented black workers for diversity purposes and will be much, much more reluctant to fire black workers because they fear lawsuits. The point being: the advantages of being black in today’s society are larger and more pervasive than the disadvantages black Americans will face because of their race.
Yet, as the evidence of actual bigotry against black Americans has become more and more scarce, the cries of racism have gotten ever louder. People have been accused of racism over the last two years for voting for John McCain, disagreeing with Obama, opposing health care, going to Tea Parties, listening to Rush Limbaugh, being Republican, wanting to secure the border, working for Fox News — it goes on and on. You might notice a little trend there: Anything and everything that’s harmful to the agenda of the Left inevitably gets labeled as racist. That’s no shock when you start to understand the dynamics of race in American politics.
Black Americans in this country have been voting for the Democratic Party, practically en masse for 40 years and they have very little to show for it. Moreover, black Americans tend to agree with Republicans on issues like abortion, illegal immigration, school choice, and gay marriage. So, how do the Democrats manage to hold 90% of the black vote when the Republican Party is a better fit for a large number of black voters?
Simple: the Democrats cry “racist” and it seems to work every single time. The sad reality is that even an average black man who agrees with the GOP on most of the issues and lives in a city the Democrats have run into the ground for decades will go to the polls and vote for a Democrat over a Republican because he’s been told that Republican is racist. Since crying “racism” has worked for decades with black Americans, why would the Democrats change their strategy?
Moreover, consider how something is defined as “racist” in this country. Liberals like the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton — who hate Republicans with a passion and who make their living “fighting racism” — get to decide what’s “racist.” In other words, the people who get to be the ultimate authorities on what counts as racism in this country have every financial and political motive to see racism EVERYWHERE and to accuse Republicans of being the ones fermenting it.
Then the media, which is loaded with people like Spencer Ackerman, and the Democratic Party which is loaded with people like Mary Frances Berry, do everything they can to amplify the charges. It’s a good way to change the subject, it keeps black voters in line, and it hurts their political opponents. In other words, our political system rewards liberals handsomely for making false charges of racism and so they do it constantly.
We now live in an Orwellian world where the government openly discriminates against white Americans, most black Americans openly advocate discriminating in their favor based on the color of their skin, businesses and schools do discriminate in favor of black Americans, and yet people who see every issue through the prism of race regularly accuse the people who don’t of being racist.
Bizarrely, not only have we gotten to the point where there are probably 20 false accusations of racism for every one that really exists, it’s also fair to say that false charges of racism are actually doing more damage than actual racism. It’s bad enough that reputations are being smeared and people are even losing their jobs without cause in some cases, but all these cries of racism are actually convincing black Americans of something that’s not even remotely true: That a large percentage of their fellow Americans hate them because of the color of their skin. These sort of malicious, pervasive, and poisonous lies have been wrecking lives and turning whole groups of people against each other in this country for far too long and decent people of conscience need to start speaking up about it.