According to some bloggers and pundits, racial discrimination is an historical artifact. Not surprisingly, these bloggers and pundits are usually middle-class white guys. Perhaps they can explain why black people pay a higher rate of interest for houses than white people, even though they have the same or similar credit ratings.
The point here is not to catalogue prejudice or engage in some kind of white-liberal guilt or self-flagellation. Somehow, though, anytime a white politician makes a racist statement (and I realize that with some conservatives, their ilk cannot make a racist statement), or anytime a black politician claims that they are victims of racist advertising or racist statements, the hue and cry across pundit-land and blog-land is that ‘here we go again..pulling out the race card’.
Some actions are racist. Some ads are racist. George Allen with his noose and confederate flags was not celebrating the Confederate cowboy ethos. George Allen’s endorsement of the Conservative Citizen’s Council rises above code words and icons. Here’s part of the CCC mission statement:
We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character.
We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime.
We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
All the tap dancing in the world does not mitigate the racism in that credo.
When Ronald Reagan opened his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi he perhaps was a little more subtle than the above statement, but he was sending a clear signal to southern white folks with his message of state’s rights.
I want to believe that Bob Corker knew nothing about the creation of the ‘Playboy’ ad belittling his opponent, Harold Ford, Jr. I want to believe he meant it when he asked the RNC to pull the ad. I want to believe that Corker saw the inherent racism and wanted nothing to do with that attribute of the message.
I would like to believe that the spirit of racism is fading from our hearts and the political world, but I know that racism is more than a card.
For some people to see racism, it’d probably take a public lynching of a random African-American on December 25th on the new Courthouse Square. Even then, the complaint of some people would not be the lynching, but the fact that someone deigned to call it a HOLIDAY event…