Racism is a serious thing. Racism is a horrible thing. Racism deserves to be treated as a serious, horrible thing. Those who are truly racist need to be called out as such, held accountable for their awful attitudes and never allowed to turn their attitudes into action that can hurt anyone.
But we’re in danger of losing our seriousness on the subject of racism, and it’s precisely because the media and the left are more interested in using the issue as a wedge, even to the point where they’re goading supposed Republicans into signing on with this foolishness.
If everyone is a racist, then racism is meaningless. If you can be a racist without actually hating anyone or thinking ill of others because of their race, then it doesn’t deserve to be treated as the serious matter it should be. If you can be a racist without even wanting to, then what’s the point of bludgeoning people about it? If you can be a racist even though you know racism is wrong, then we’re redefining it such that means next to nothing.
Yet this is what USA Today contributor Josh Langdon wants to do, offering up himself as the self-flagellating example:
In college, I met a black guy who I thought was funny and gorgeous. And he was gay. Score! Each time I wanted to ask him out thoughts popped into my head that held me back. What would my family think? It was already enough of a shock for them when I drove home for spring break to announce my sexual orientation face-to-face. What would my friends think? What would people think when they saw us together? What if we hit it off and adopted a child? We could not torture our child by not only being gay parents but also interracial parents, right? Needless to say, I never asked him out.
I told you I am a racist. I have another confession to make. I am a Republican. I hope that does not make you question my sincere desire to learn. Bias comes in many shades and colors. As a gay man, it has been very difficult for me to discuss my political ideology. I grew up going to George Bush rallies in West Virginia, and I became the youngest person to be elected State Treasurer of the South Carolina College Republicans. When I was forced to leave my College of Charleston fraternity after gay rumors surfaced, I took the necessary step of distancing myself from Republican politics to focus on myself. I enrolled in what was then the only LGBT politics class in the South and moved to Washington, D.C. for an internship with the Human Rights Campaign. I never told anyone I was a Democrat, but they assumed. I also never told anyone I am a Republican. And they never asked.
Racism is alive in 2017, and it always has been. This last election did not make people more racist any more than the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made people less racist. People are just racist. Of course, not everyone is ostentatiously racist. You are racist if you even feel prejudice against people of other races. If you feel awkward or uncomfortable about that black kid walking towards you quickly on the street, you are racist. If you think Ray Tensing’s Confederate flag t-shirt is completely irrelevant to the killing of Samuel Dubose, you are racist. You do not need to believe white people are superior to be a racist. Implicit bias is unconscious racism. The first step in becoming culturally competent is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. You probably do, too.
This is so ridiculous.
For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll leave aside discussing the morality of homosexual sex, since we’ve covered that elsewhere. Let’s just focus on the reasons Langdon thinks he’s a racist, and suggests by implication that you and I are as well.
First, he says he wanted to ask the guy out, but didn’t do so because of what he thought his friends and family would think of him being with a black guy. If that’s the case, then it’s not racism Langdon is guilty of. It’s fear of other people’s opinions, and probably a good dose of judgmentalism, since he apparently suspects that his friends and family are racists. Are they? He offers no evidence that this is the case. He just figures that people being people, someone probably will be. Langdon isn’t guilty of racism here. He’s guilty of imputing racism to others who may or may not be, and of lacking a spine because he doesn’t do what he wants to do for fear of other people’s judgment.
If you wanted to date a goth chick who smokes filterless Camel cigarettes, but you didn’t because you thought your friends would not approve, you’re not anti-goth chicks. You’re a spineless worm who lets your friends run your life.
Now let’s deal with his litany of reasons everyone is a racist. “If you feel awkward or uncomfortable about that black kid walking toward you quickly on the street, you are racist.” Is that so? Well let me ask you some questions about the kid, Josh. Does he have an angry demeanor? Is his body language aggressive? Is he eyeing me? I’m not talking about, “It seems that way to you because he’s black.” I mean, objectively so. Because if a person is approaching me on the street and those things are going on, I don’t care what color he is, I’m going to take steps to minimize the possibility of a confrontation. Not because I’m a racist, but because I know how to look out for myself on the street.
What you’re saying is that it doesn’t matter how the kid is acting. The mere fact that he’s black means you have to be a racist for feeling that way, regardless of anything else he might be doing to suggest aggression.
This is simply absurd. If the kid is just minding his own business and not acting aggressive at all, and the fact that he’s black is the only reason you feel threatened, then of course that’s a racist way of thinking. I would even concede that if you’re not sure, but the fact that he’s black is a tiebreaker that pushes you into the “I feel threatened” category, that’s racist. But Langdon’s argument here is ridiculous. He wants to insist that if one variable applies - a black person is present - then any feeling you have of being threatened automatically makes you racist regardless of any other variable that may reasonably drive that feeling.
That’s the game, though. It’s to expand the definition of racism so broadly that it’s almost impossible not to be a racist.
Then he claims, “If you think Ray Tensing’s Confederate flag t-shirt is completely irrelevant to the killing of Samuel Dubose, you are racist.” Bolshevik. There could be all kinds of reasons you doubt the connection between the two. You might even be wrong in discounting the connections. But you could be wrong about it for reasons apart from being a racist. Langdon doesn’t know what’s in the heart of anyone who comes to that conclusion. It doesn’t matter to him. He simply assumes that there is no way to come to that conclusion without being racist, and declares the matter closed.
And now we come to his real point: “You do not need to believe white people are superior to be a racist. Implicit bias is unconscious racism. The first step in becoming culturally competent is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. You probably do, too.”
Got that? Even if you lack the attitude that essentially defines what a racist is, it doesn’t matter. You’re a racist because of “implicit bias,” and as we’ve seen from his other examples, “implicit bias” can implicate you even in situations that can be explained in many reasonable ways apart from racism. But that doesn’t matter. If there’s even the slightest chance that someone like Langdon can argue you’re racist - no matter how implausible or easily disputed the charge may be - it doesn’t matter. You’re guilty.
And who’s a racist? “Probably you.” In other words, probably everyone.
This is utter rot. If you don’t consider yourself better than others because of race, then you’re not a racist. If you don’t have hatred in your heart because of race, you’re not a racist. If you don’t have a distrust of people that’s based in race, you’re not a racist.
The media and the left are trying to expand the definition of racism to make it so broad that just about everyone is a racist. And to what end? Perhaps they think if everyone is guilty, then everyone will feel compelled to subject themselves to the ideological retraining the left is eager to perform on all of us.
But here’s the problem: If everyone is racist, then racism is mainstream. And if it’s mainstream, yet you insist on treating every racist like David Duke, then you’re spending all your time shaming everyone alive. What is the point of that? And how long do you expect people in the mainstream of society to put up with it?
If the left and the media would treat racism like the serious issue it is - a truly hateful ideology that lives on the fringes of society - then we could all probably work together to eradicate what’s left of it. Instead, they pull this crap. Which is the real reason we can never be rid of racism as an issue. They don’t want to be rid of it. They want to keep it alive forever, because nothing else sets them up quite so beautifully for the moral preening they need to do.
Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com
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