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Monday, January 06, 2014


Racism! Squirrel!

Kevin Williamson on the racism of the Left.

It is no accident that American progressives put so many of us in mind of our Puritan ancestors: not for their virtues, such as they are, but for their sanctimoniousness, their humorlessness, their grim little mouths set permanently in rictuses (surely Mr. Salesses would insist on “ricti”) of self-satisfaction biting down on disgust. Like the accusers in 17th-century Salem or the contemporary Wahhabist eager to behead such witches as may be found lingering upon Saudi soil, the progressive sees the work of the Archnemesis everywhere at all times — especially when there is something to be gained from doing so.

As in the case of witchcraft, trials on charges of racism admit spectral evidence. Martin Bashir on the IRS scandal: “Republicans are using [it] as their latest weapon in the war against the black man. ‘IRS’ is the new ‘nigger.’” Touré on Mitt Romney’s vocabulary: “[He] said ‘anger’ twice. . . . I don’t say it lightly, but this is niggerization.” Jonathan Capehart: Mentioning that Obama went to Harvard is racist “because it insinuates that he took the place of someone else through affirmative action, that someone else being someone white.” Lawrence O’Donnell: “The Republican party is saying that the president of the United States has bosses, that the unions boss him around. Does that sound to you like they are trying to consciously or subconsciously deliver the racist message that, of course, of course a black man can’t be the real boss?” Janeane Garofalo: “Do you remember teabaggers? It was just so much easier when we could just call them racists. I just don’t know why we can’t call them racists, or functionally retarded adults. The functionally retarded adults, the racists — with their cries of, ‘I want my country back.’ You know what they’re really saying is, ‘I want my white guy back.’” Karen Finney on Herman Cain: “They like him because they think he’s a black man who knows his place.” Chris Matthews: “It’s the sense that the white race must rule . . . and they can’t stand the idea that a man who’s not white is president. That is real, that sense of racial superiority.” Etc., ad nauseam.

Touré’s concept of “niggerization” is very subtle, so subtle, in fact, that only the most discerning of sensibilities — presumably Touré’s — can detect it, like one of those world-class master sommeliers uncovering notes of burnt pencil shavings in an ’82 Bordeaux. The less subtle forms of that phenomenon — for example, using the famous racial epithet on national television — have been in the 21st century restricted to members of the political party that Touré supports, for reasons that are no doubt subtle beyond the brute understanding of the uninitiated. And that is the state of play today: When Robert Byrd, a Democratic senator and Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, helpfully elucidates the concept of “white niggers” on the evening news, that’s an unfortunate episode that demands sympathy for the wretched old coot. But when the Associated Press accurately transcribes the current president’s faux-folksy “g”-dropping — “Stop complainin’,” etc. — the verdict from MSNBC is not just “racist” but “inherently racist.”

Except he really does talk that way. Sometimes. And if you’ve ever noticed that Barack Obama’s propensity for slipping into ersatz southern cornpone preacher-speak correlates with the complexion of the audience being addressed, you might wonder who, exactly, is behaving in a way that is “inherently racist.” But such thoughts are unthinkable.

It isn’t just politics and the president. Jesse Jackson on Dan Gilbert’s dealings with LeBron James: His actions “personify a slave/master mentality.” A Dallas county commissioner flipped out over the “racist” name of devil’s food cake, and insisted that the astronomical term “black hole” was similarly “racist.” (Challenged by some constituents on his acuity, he replied: “All of you are white. Go to hell.” Still in office, not a racist.) The NAACP doesn’t think “black hole” is racist, but it thinks that a space-themed Hallmark audio card is actually saying “black whore.” In a Buzzfeed piece on racial “microaggressions,” a young woman complained that she was victimized by racism in the form of having been picked to play the part of Dora the Explorer in a school skit “just because I’m Mexican.” Dora the Explorer, for the record, is not Mexican, but instead belongs to a demographic cohort of recent vintage: generic Latina.

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