While the left or those who enjoy attacking the right’s seemingly 1950’s esque “let’s take America back” style of reform, which if we were to go there, it would be horrendous, these quick labels of “racist!” hurt discourse and frankly are mostly inaccurate. The right is not stupid. Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are big figures who use racial stereotypes to joke or make their points and then whine when they are picked on. The judgments made on them may be overdrawn but they could save the headaches by avoiding inaccurate racial stereotypes in the first place.
I like John Lewis. A lot. His memoir was amazing. If you don’t know anything about him, he was part of the beginnings of the lunch sit-ins, the marches from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), and worked on plethora of other civil rights causes with Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and so on.
Unfortunately, Lewis wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times accusing new voting right laws that require unexpired identification to be shown at voting centers as racist and unfairly targeting minorities (whom vote for him and his Democratic base). His logic is quite weak. Anyone can go and get updated I.D.’s from your local DMV, right?
Doug Mataconis chimes in.
Don’t call Rush Limbaugh a racist, says Conor Friedersdorf, but a businessman:
In a long profile of Limbaugh published awhile back by The New York Times Magazine, the talk radio host is interviewed while sitting in his 24,000 square foot house, beside a brochure for the $54 million airplane he owns. “Do you know what bought me all this?” he told the interviewer. “Not my political ideas. Conservatism didn’t buy this house. First and foremost I’m a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates.”
Critics of Limbaugh would do well to avoid issuing the simplistic accusation of racism that merely causes his listeners to rally around him and improve his ratings. The more serious and accurate critique is that he deliberately plays on the racial sensitivities of minorities and liberals, and intentionally provokes the racial anxieties of his listeners. In doing so, he exploits one of the most sensitive and historically fraught divides in American society for the sake of lucre.
A very funny and real diatribe (not safe to view at work).
Operating on a charity model, rather than one of solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed, these service projects, while perhaps worthwhile in and of themselves, serve to reinforce the illusion that the society is basically a just one, requiring no substantial transformation, but rather, just a little more “helping out,” in order to attain perfection.
I am heading downtown today to help out with some cleaning and moving at a community center, so I guess I fall under the category of “charity actions” on this holiday. Standing up to housing, job, and food discrimination the way MLKjr did took entire towns marching many miles, taking many beatings, and sacrificing entire self for at the time little to any tangible results. The continual slow speed of results is what turned much of the civil rights movement from the non-violent approach to the “by any means necessary” with guns approach. Even at MLKjr’s funeral, a radical member of this new civil rights wave said King would have used a gun to get what he wanted.
Just as Barack Obama has been criticized by Wise for avoiding race in fear of being demonized, the CIA under J. Edgar Hoover adamantly and clandestinely worked to connect the civil rights movement to the smear of the time: communism.
It must sure take a special group of people to rise up against the status quo.
Tim Wise goes off against the notion that America is in a post-racial era and shits on the idiots (Rush Limbaugh, partly Barack Obama) for pressing racist buttons or shying away from such issues as “well they (the Tea Party and their racist signs) are just angry about the economy”. I love this guy.
I never watched one of his speeches before but his voice is quite deep (and almost similar to Jo Pa’s). I could see his voice putting some to sleep, but the content should have your eyes bulging open.
Weigel points out her poorly crafted smear of the Obama’s while defending the Tea Party of not being slightly racist:
Like a lot of conservative pundits, her Exhibit A is the inability for Congressmen John Lewis and Andre Carson to prove that they were actually subjected to racial slurs during the health care vote.
Despite the fact that everyone walks around these days with a cell phone capable of capturing video, evidence to support the charge has never emerged. In the weeks and months after the alleged incident, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart even offered huge cash rewards to anyone who could produce proof that the health care protestors had shouted racial slurs. No proof ever emerged.
This quickly wends into Palin’s much-excerpted rant about how Barack and Michelle Obama believe America is racist because “both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to his rants against America and white people.” The irony: There was a search during the 2008 campaign for video proof that the Obamas had been in the pews during the most offensive Wright sermons, but everyone came up dry, leading many people to conclude that, rather than being inculcated, Obama simply didn’t go to church that much.
This is in response to the Juan Williams / NPR meltdown. It starts around the 2 minute mark.
It was almost a year ago to the day that I moved into my current house. Two months before that I became a resident of Detroit for the first time, arriving from Pittsburgh, another post-Industrial city with very contrasting spirits (the state of sports at that time alone…). My move was ultimately the result of influences too numerable to count, that had all opened my eyes to the great injustice facing American cities, especially Detroit, and the implications of my faith upon that reality.
Sadly, in my opinion, what’s opening the eyes of many Americans to the situation in Detroit is what is referred to by a term I recently learned: “ruins porn”. While it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and isn’t my favorite tag, it communicates the idea. Too often, Detroit is seen by photographers and the public that support them as a spectacle to be gawked at and taken advantaged of. While understandable, this one-sided approach to discovery is predictably unfair. It’s like watching the evening news and wondering why so many bad things happen or feeling scared for the country’s future after listening to talk radio; whether you know it or not, they’re feeding you exactly what you want. One of my favorite things about my house is how many visitors I’ve had here from all over the country. Some are family and friends who want to share a little bit of life. Others are travelers who have come through connections to see for themselves. I like to think they get a closer idea of reality.
First, the bad news. In many ways, Detroit is languishing. The photos have an element of truth in them. What is more regrettable is the injustice and selfishness that brought about the current situation. Detroit’s history has revolved around racism. This documentary (free to watch online and worth the whole thing or just a quick glimpse if you don’t have much time) offers an excellent history. This display of 2000 Census data on race shows the city now. Of course, no one factor alone can explain a city’s slide. Blind loyalty to unions and the big three can’t be ignored. The inherent fruits of individualism and the automobile culture have played their destructive part as well. The lesson to learn, however, is that this was no accident, this drama is being played out in cities across the country, and the course can be altered.
The good news, omitted by “ruins pornographers”, is that Detroit has citizens, and is attracting more, who are full of hope and creativity. This summer I played in the inaugural season of a soccer league organized around historic neighborhoods. Folks in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood are making headlines with their imaginations (just one of their ideas here ). I’m especially proud of the vision of a group in my hood called the CDC
(Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation). What particularly draws me to them is the same theme that began to emerge in my life about four years ago; the essence of Christianity is not a get-out-of-hell free card, but an invitation into God’s process of bringing peace to the relationships between people and himself and people and each other. No camera can capture that.
You certainly don’t have to take my word for it. I’m just a random white dude that has lived here for barely over a year. If you’re not satisfied to just read about it though, consider this your open invitation to come visit. Seriously, I’ve had people with more random connections than this stay here with my roommates and I. We love it. We even have a private guest room with a queen-sized bed just waiting for you. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll leave the porch light on…
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
“I think Obama gets up every morning with a worldview that is fundamentally wrong about reality,” Gingrich says. “If you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.”
Finally, nasa. No explanation other than anticolonialism makes sense of Obama’s curious mandate to convert a space agency into a Muslim and international outreach. We can see how well our theory works by recalling the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 1969. “One small step for man,” Neil Armstrong said. “One giant leap for mankind.”
But that’s not how the rest of the world saw it. I was 8 years old at the time and living in my native India. I remember my grandfather telling me about the great race between America and Russia to put a man on the moon. Clearly America had won, and this was one giant leap not for mankind but for the U.S. If Obama shares this view, it’s no wonder he wants to blunt nasa’s space program, to divert it from a symbol of American greatness into a more modest public relations program.
I mentioned last night at dinner that almost anything Obama does, from supporting a mosque at GZ (upholding the 1st amendment) to supporting a world view that includes NASA as a platform for his diplomacy is misconstrued to horrible and malicious levels. I believe this scares denizens back home in the USA because he doesn’t cling first to American desires. But not only does he seem to see things in an international perspective (which some call racist, anti-white, anti-Christian, or colonial), he seems to view politics and change in a longer rage scope. He only has this term and the possibility of another term. Change can begin now but will last into several terms hereafter. I believe that what some see as colonial and catering to the Chinese or Egyptians or Middle Easterners is an act of helping our image and our country – both in the long and short run.
A few blog posts came my way related to this recent blow up.
Mark Williams, a national spokesman for the Tea Party Express, is quoted as follows in regards to the NAACP organizing a motion against the racism they see within the Tea Party:
You’re dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history.
Next up is Glenn Beck. When I watch Fox News, I am often scared – that the government is going to take away my liberties, that ACORN is going to rig the next election, or that the New Black Panthers are a legitimate threat I should lose sleep over. Dave Weigel makes the great point that although Glenn Beck may not “actually believe that the New Black Panthers — who have appeared, harmlessly and clownishly on Fox News for a decade — are on the verge of a violent, government-backed war against whites. But how many people hear this and believe him?”
As long as Jesse Jackson is given microphone time:
Shortly after James announced his decision last week, Gilbert fired off an incendiary letter to Cleveland’s fans, ripping the 25-year-old and promising to deliver a title before James wins one. He called James’ decision “cowardly” and later told The Associated Press he believes James quit during a handful of Cavaliers playoff games.
“He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” the reverend said in a release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship — between business partners — and LeBron honored his contract.”