Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Who's a Racist?

It's completely weird how Americans go around accusing each other of racism. Racism is a pretty serious accusation, yet it's tossed around loosely, irresponsibly, recklessly, and with great vigor. Here's a quote from the London Times of Andrew Sullivan, openly gay Catholic conservative writer who lives in Britain:

In last Tuesday's North Carolina primary, [Hillary] Clinton got only 7% of the black vote -- a lower percentage than Nixon or Reagan had won in general elections.... No constituency has swung as much over the past few months. The Clintons are used to loving and supporting minorities -- as long as the minorities know their place and see the Clintons as the instrument of their salvation. Obama broke that dependency and that relationship. And that was why the Clintons had to do all they could to destroy and belittle and besmirch him. But in that venture the Clintons are destroying themselves and their legacy and their capacity to bridge the very gaps they now must widen to stay in the race. It is a Clinton tragedy -- and one that most Americans seem slowly, cautiously but palpably determined not to make their own"

It's kind of reminiscent of the old days when everyone went around accusing everybody else of being "faggots." You'd think people would learn. Is there some sort of litmus test for racism? Is racism confined to a single cultural or ethnic group? Is there a court somewhere where one judges?

Racism is a violation of civil rights law, as it should be. That means discriminating in employment and other vital areas. The term may also apply to one's feelings and thoughts but that is getting into dangerous areas. White people go around accusing other white people of being racist as if they are society's judges. I have been accused of racism because I don't trust Barack Obama and think he is a poor candidate. People don't have to like me because I'm 'white' (actually, kind of gray or tan). People don't have to like you because you're black (actually kind of tan and yellow or brown and white). What they can't do is discriminate against you under the law. But making these ridiculous and shaky charges of racism based on very flimsy premises is destructive and improves nothing. It's preposterous.

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