The scenario usually plays out this way.
A white person says something about a nonwhite person a
statement perceived as racially insensitive, purportedly reinforcing a
stereotype, or otherwise considered racist.
"Black leaders" or members of the "civil rights community" pitch
a fit and make demands. Off with his head! The offender apologizes, denies
that the comment reflects how he "truly feels," agrees to take racial
sensitivity courses, grovels and then often ends up losing his job anyway.
Recognizing and accepting that sometimes people say silly,
stupid, illogical or disagreeable things won't do. Writing someone off as
wrongheaded isn't enough. He or she must pay.
Golfer and widely known jokester Fuzzy Zoeller lost millions in
endorsements after making a fried-chicken joke about Tiger Woods. Sports
analyst Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, in a pub after downing a few too
many gave a captured-on-video explanation of why black athletes often
dominate. His contorted anthropological answer cost him his job. The list of
those whose careers suffered or ended because of "racist" remarks includes
former Sen. Trent Lott, talk show host Don Imus, former ESPN commentator
(and talk radio host of some note) Rush Limbaugh, former Los Angeles Dodgers
general manager Al Campanis, former Major League Baseball player John
Rocker, former Sen. George "Macaca" Allen and many more.
This brings us to popular Fox News host Glenn Beck.
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Beck, on the morning show "Fox & Friends," called President
Barack Obama a "racist." He further said the President has a "deep-seated
hatred for white people or the white culture." In making his case, Beck
considered comments made by Obama-nominated Supreme Court Justice Sonia
Sotomayor that a "wise Latina woman" would make better decisions than a
"white male." Also, there's Obama's 20-year association with a bigoted
pastor whom the President once referred to as his "spiritual adviser." And
the President suggested the Cambridge police engaged in racial profiling
despite the lack of evidence.
How this adds up to Obama's being a racist escapes me. Indeed,
when Beck made the comment, one of the "Fox & Friends" hosts strongly took
issue: "You can't say he doesn't like white people. David Axelrod's white.
Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, is white. I think 70 percent of the people
we see every day are white. Robert Gibbs is white." The host might have
added, among other things, "His mother was white. For a time, his white
maternal grandparents raised him."
But where are the usual suspects calling for the stockade?
Where was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who once blamed racism for the
Democratic Party's failure to select him as a vice presidential running
mate? Where was the Rev. Al Sharpton, who demanded the firing of talk show
host Don Imus for making jokes about a black female basketball team? Where
was the NAACP (which "deplored" Beck's statement but failed to even request
an apology), whose chairman, Julian Bond, once vowed to pursue "the new
racists" and whose Philadelphia branch marched on behalf of black
quarterback Michael Vick, convicted of operating an illegal dog-fighting
ring? Where was the Congressional Black Caucus, many of whose members
attributed racism to the government's response following Hurricane Katrina?
What's going on?
President Obama's election proved that racism is no longer a
significant force in America. More voted for him because of his race than
refused to do so for that reason.
Had the usual race-card/always-offended players targeted Beck,
they stood to face a formidable counterattack. Beck's popularity and fan
base continue to grow. The Obama-is-a-racist accusation notwithstanding,
Beck raises legitimate criticisms of this administration. Demanding and
failing to get Beck fired stood to expose these "civil rights" groups and
"black leaders" for what they are a spent force.
Didn't black New York Gov. David Paterson sound pathetic when he
blamed his crashing poll numbers on racism? "Our black media outlets … are
the only ways that we have access," Paterson said, "and even our own
reporters from our own community buy the public line, which is, 'We're going
to get rid of David Paterson.' … And the reality is that the next victim
on the list … is President Barack Obama." Even after the President
chastised him, Paterson said, "One very successful minority is permissible,
but when you see too many success stories, then some people get nervous."
What to do when the primary problems facing the black
community 70 percent of black children born to unwed mothers, 50 percent
inner-city high-school dropout rate, black-on-black crime have little to
do with racism? Blaming racism absolves people of personal responsibility.
And in a country that elected President Obama, it loses its potency.
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of the day when we would judge
not by color of skin, but by content of character. For the most part, that
day has arrived. There is, however, a corollary. One may examine the content
of another's character or the appropriateness of his policies and
raise hell about it.