"Anti-Anti-Racism" - Macleans.ca
 

“Anti-Anti-Racism”

It’s increasingly believed in some circles that there’s no racism in America anymore


 

I read this last week, but it seems to have extra resonance now because of the whole Shirley Sherrod thing: blogger Ed Kilgore writes about Fox News’s obsession with the New Black Panther story and the phenomenon of “anti-anti-racism.” Kilgore is a former policy director at the middle-of-the-road, Southern-dominated Democratic Leadership Council, and he also recently turned up on some of those emails from the now-infamous liberal mailing list “Journolist.”

Anti-anti-racism is the notion that spurious charges of racism are a bigger problem than racism, but it also embraces the idea — which you hear very often from Fox News and related outlets — that the “real racists” are so-called reverse racists. Rush Limbaugh in particular spends a lot of time on this, arguing that the Panther story is part of a pattern of “payback” by the Obama administration against white America. (If it’s not part of a pattern of payback, then it’s just one of many cases that got dropped for one reason or another.)

Connected to this is the idea that white racism is no longer a major problem, and that there are organizations with a vested interest in pretending that there is. That’s what Karl Rove’s mentor Lee Atwater was saying when he talked about the coded appeals he used to appeal to white Southerners: he was arguing that because he had switched from open racial appeals to “coded” appeals that played on white fears about where their tax dollars were going, he was really “doing away with the racial problem one way or the other.” Organizations like the NAACP, which consider such ideas (like Reagan’s famous “Welfare queens” anecdotes) to be coded racism, are portrayed in this line of thought as the real cause of racial tension in the U.S.; if they’d just stop reading racism into things, the thinking goes, everything would be fine.

Now, accusations of racism probably got thrown around indiscriminately after Obama’s election — at the very least, for those of us who remember the ’90s, there’s no real sign that Obama is hated worse than Bill Clinton was. But anti-anti-racism basically posits that people are always wrong to read racism as a motive unless someone is openly, undisguisedly racist, with no code language. Except that’s never been the way racism manifests itself; even when racism was more socially acceptable, a lot of it came from people who denied up and down that they were racist. So saying that racism can never be “read in” more or less means that racism can’t be discussed.

This all culminated in Andrew Breitbart’s release of the edited Shirley Sherrod tape: it was in response, remember, to the NAACP’s call for the Tea Party to purge itself of racist elements — a call that caused at least one Tea Party spokesperson to embarrass himself completely. By releasing the tape, Breitbart was purporting to show that the NAACP supports anti-white racism and that the real problem is with them. It backfired, for once, though I don’t expect Breitbart’s career to be derailed by it; the U.S. media seems to be as eager to pick up his items as they were Matt Drudge’s items during the Clinton years. But the issue is going to go on: it’s increasingly believed in some circles that, as Ann Coulter puts it, “we don’t have racism in America anymore,” and that racism is almost always a false charge that people fling around to shut down debate about the real stories (New Black Panthers, Sherrod’s racism, or whatever it’s going to be next week).

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“Anti-Anti-Racism”

  1. I am going to posit the comments will go nowhere illuminating on this particular post….

    • Shut up.

      :)

      • Racist :)

        • You are probably right. Oops, you are probably correct. Not that you are "politically" correct of course. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course there is nothing Right about that either. Or, is it that there is ANYTHING right about that either.

  2. That's a nice, one sided picture of the argument. T Sowell's article from the other day presents the other side of argument.

    "Credit card fraud is a serious problem. But race card fraud is an even bigger problem.

    Playing the race card takes many forms. Judge Charles Pickering, a federal judge in Mississippi who defended the civil rights of blacks for years and defied the Ku Klux Klan back when that was dangerous, was depicted as a racist when he was nominated for a federal appellate judgeship.

    No one even mistakenly thought he was a racist. The point was simply to discredit him for political reasons— and it worked.

    This year's target is the Tea Party. When leading Democrats, led by a smirking Nancy Pelosi, made their triumphant walk on Capitol Hill, celebrating their passage of a bill in defiance of public opinion, Tea Party members on the scene protested.

    All this was captured on camera and the scene was played on television. What was not captured on any of the cameras and other recording devices on the scene was anybody using racist language, as has been charged by those playing the race card.

    When you realize how many media people were there, and how many ordinary citizens carry around recording devices of one sort or another, it is remarkable— indeed, unbelievable— that racist remarks were made and yet were not captured by anybody."
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/07

    • So you are arguing the US Congressman lied? Is that what you are trying to say? And in your fantasy world Andrew Breitbart can prove negatives?

      Brilliant… can the rest of us come live in your fantasy land?

      • The US congressman was mistaken. This has been proven by video. There is a video showing the whole scene.

      • It's the US Congressman who needs to prove his accusation and surprisingly in this age of cell phone cameras and the like, neither he nor anyone who desperately wanted his accusation to be true could come up with an iota of evidence.

        This wouldn't be either the first or last time a Congressman lied.

        There's such a dearth of racists at Tea Party events that Dem operatives are going to have to resort to plants or at the very least ignore the thousands of salt of the earth citizens and focus on the one loon.

    • So if people don't yell racist epithets, then they're not racist?

      • Ideally, a person's word should be worth something in a free and democratic society.

      • If people don't have sex, that does not mean they're not sexual deviants.

        If people don't speak Martian, then that does not mean they're not Martians.

        • hunh

  3. Only one word necessary …. Breitbart. All else follows.

    • Exactly!

      The whole point of Ms. Sherrod original speak / video was precisely criticizing anti-white racism. Then Breitbart manipulated it to sound the opposite and all the other hypocrites (including Jaime Weinman) overlooked it.

      These people are not really interested in fighting racism. They just want to pick any argument they can throw against "libralz".

  4. Oops – you mentioned Journolist, but forgot to mention their conversation about whether randomly choosing a right-winger and calling him/her a racist would be a good way to help Obama during the election.

  5. this is something that everyone know already

    • true – I'm not sure what they're getting all worked up about

  6. Weinman above: "But anti-anti-racism basically posits that people are always wrong to read racism as a motive unless someone is openly, undisguisedly racist, with no code language. Except that's never been the way racism manifests itself…"

    And just to make sure everyone understands what he's talking about, here's the Lee Atwater quote from the Wikipedia link:

    "Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.""

  7. Try again, with the n-word obscured:

    Weinman, above: "But anti-anti-racism basically posits that people are always wrong to read racism as a motive unless someone is openly, undisguisedly racist, with no code language. Except that's never been the way racism manifests itself…"

    And for the benefit of those who don't click through to the Wikipedia link, here's the Atwater quote from when he part of Reagan's administration in the early days:

    "Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "N-gger, n-gger, n-gger." By 1968 you can't say "n-gger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "N-gger, n-gger.""

  8. 90% of blacks voted for Obama last election. Nothing to do with policy–just his color and that's not racist?? This aggreived woman crapped on Fox despite the fact her people (NAACP) released the damning portions of the tape and the White House fired her before Fox even aired the story yet they are at fault. Please. Honesty from someone, anyone on the left would be nice. Just once. Huh.

    • "her people"?!?

      Dude, the fifties called, they…. well, they're just as happy without you.

      Also, calling out the LEFT for dishonesty when that sleaze Breitbart released a tape deliberately edited to smear Sherrod, is pretty rich.

    • 90% of blacks ALWAYS vote for Democrats in this landslide fashion. They voted upwards of 90% for Clinton (or was it Kerry?) too.

  9. Anything to get a leg up on the crowd these days is considered fair game. Look at stats hard enough and you can find any augment you want to have supported.
    All in all, the one thing not heard often enough is that a person got rejected self admittedly because they didn't add up.

  10. The problem with the racial debate in US, and Canada to a lesser extent, is that only white, working/middle class conservatives are racist while everyone else is pure as driven snow.

    Dems/libs/progs are still focused on Lee Atwater, who's been dead for twenty years and was not widely supported within Repub party, while completely ignoring the fact that Dems had Grand Kleagle (R Byrd) in their ranks up to a few weeks ago or Obama's pastor was condemning white people for all the world's ills (as just two of dozens of examples).

    The problem with Dems is that what they claim to be racism can be more accurately described as human nature. And if Dems actually spent time within black, asian or oriental communities, they would quickly realize those minorities are as racist, if not more so, than white middle class conservatives. In fact, white working and/or middle classes are just about the most tolerant people on earth.

    If America is going to have a race debate, all sides have to be able to say what they like, which will never happen while liberals and progressives remain convinced of their own moral superiority.

    • "…only white, working/middle class conservatives are racist while everyone else is pure as driven snow."

      We all know that's not true, and nobody is asserting that.

      "Dems/libs/progs are still focused on Lee Atwater, who's been dead for twenty years…"

      Atwater's handiwork is still in place, and his proteges are still in politics. Besides, the Atwater quote here is a perfect illustration of the phenomenon Weinman is describing.

      "And if Dems actually spent time within black, asian or oriental communities, they would quickly realize those minorities are as racist, if not more so, than white middle class conservatives. In fact, white working and/or middle classes are just about the most tolerant people on earth. "

      Well, I'm sure none of them can match your extensive personal experience in American Black and Asian communities, but this is hardly convincing. Got any data to support that?

      Perhaps you can show me the "reverse racism" equivalent of this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9ks36c549BI/TEfcweSExkI

      Or the "reverse racism" version of this: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104552.html

      Or the "reverse racism" equivalent to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Immigration_

      Look, there's no need to speak in absolutes and I'm not trying to condemn the entire white race (my children and I are card-carrying members, after all). But this whole "minorities are the real racists" bullsh*t is pure, unadulterated rightwing huffing juice.

      • TJCook,

        Check out a very recent Rasmussen "passion index"

        Overall Strong approve for Obama was about 25%
        Overall Strong disapprove for Obama was about 43%

        Percentage of black voters who strongly approve of Obama's performance?

        85%

        (I can't find the link because I think he only keeps the present day's results, so I might be 1 or 2 percentage points off on the overall approval numbers, but I'm 100% sure about that 85% number. The poll was either last week or this week).

        • I fail to see the connection between 'passion index' by race, and bergkamp's claims.

          In a single lifetime, Black Americans have gone from segregation to the White House, it's hardly surprising (or indicative of reverse racism) that they're supportive of the first Black president.

  11. Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

    Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

    In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.” Daily Caller, July 20, 2010

    I just came across this article. Spencer Ackerman is good example of why right wing is cynical about Dems motives. And another article today, I think, illustrates how many journos believed it was their duty to help Obama get elected.

    I often wonder if Canadian msm has some equivalent of journolist when I have a look National Newswatch and 80% of opinion articles argue exact same thing.

    • I'm a little skeptical that there would be an equivalent in Canada. While I do think most Canadian columnists tilt leftwards, at the same time I don't think they go so far to mislead or to attack, like the examples you've given (perhaps with a couple of exceptions like Heather Mallick). We've never had a moveon.org in Canada. We've never had crazy media spin machines like "media matters" and "fairness and accuracy in reporting", both of which do the exact opposite of what they claim to do. Why don't we have these things in Canada? I'm not entirely sure.

      • Give it time, once Fox North gets started. If we are going to import the 'media' spin machines from the right, we will eventually have to import the ones from the left as well.

        • Well, you're making the usual ridiculous statement that the most popular news network in America (by a wide margin) is a spin machine, which has become a little tiresome. Fox is no worse than the CBC, that's for sure.

          bergkamp has referenced a story about reporters working almost everywhere except Fox, conspiring not to report a story that has negative implications for a political candidate. And you're talking about Fox.

          • And clearly this group was influential. CNN declared itself a "Wright-Free" zone.

            Spencer Ackerman wants to label right wingers as racists, so MSNBC promptly finds a guy at a Tea Party rally with a gun and tries to make it about racism towards Obama, while cropping the video to hide the fact that the guy holding the gun was black.

          • My bad, scf.

            I don't watch either of CBC or Fox, so I was just going with the articles in the original blog post. I wasn't referencing bergkamp's comment, because it is pretty obvious the left was doing pretty much exactly what the left complains about from the right. But can you really show me an example of CBC 'creating' the news the way the original article shows Fox did? What with having the wingnut from the NBPP on the show all the time, I mean.

            But hey, as with my experiments yesterday of using the same tactics as many Conservative supporting commenters here, did I really change the subject? Because that was honestly unintentional. Man, this stuff sneaks up on you!

          • There are dozens of examples of the CBC "creating" news. Their ombudsman is kept busy full time investigating. An example where they were caught red handed in the past year was sewing together two vignettes so it looked as though Stephen Harper was giving a cold response to a Muslim woman in a headscarf when the two never met.

    • But there was so much more to this, that the Canadian MSM is completely in line with.

      Hayes urged his colleagues – especially the straight news reporters who were charged with covering the campaign in a neutral way – to bury the Wright scandal. “I'm not saying we should all rush en masse to defend Wright. If you don't think he's worthy of defense, don't defend him! What I'm saying is that there is no earthly reason to use our various platforms to discuss what about Wright we find objectionable,” Hayes said.

      Does this surprise anyone? Especially to those wondering how Liberals in this country are completely immune to the kind of gotcha journalism that plagues the Conservatives?

      There is not a doubt in my mind that the Canadian MSM collaborate in a similar way to memory-hole stories they don't want out there. Pablo Rodriguez' drunk driving incident is a prime example, especially after all the attention Rahim Jaffer got (before his other shenanigans were even known about). What's more, given our smaller population and PPG and the consolidated ownership of the media that we have here, it doesn't require a very large membership list to accomplish an almost complete news blackout on any given story.

    • And you also missed the part right before Ackerman advises playing the race card. It's just as shocking.

      Katha Pollitt – Hayes's colleague at the Nation – didn't disagree on principle, though she did sound weary of the propaganda. “I hear you. but I am really tired of defending the indefensible. The people who attacked Clinton on Monica were prissy and ridiculous, but let me tell you it was no fun, as a feminist and a woman, waving aside as politically irrelevant and part of the vast rightwing conspiracy Paula, Monica, Kathleen, Juanita,” Pollitt said.

      “Part of me doesn't like this sh!t either,” agreed Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent. “But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

      Ackerman went on:

      I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It's not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright's defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger's [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

      But of course, all the MSM people here tell us that liberal media bias is a myth, so I guess this email conversation probably never really happened.

  12. i live in s.e. asia, i i love it. i get charged more for things on a daily basis just because i am white, and therefore assumed to be rich, plain and simple. I am prejudged constantly because of my skin color and nationality, thats a fact.

    I am called a slang term for foreigner, to my face, daily and people , who assume i cannot understand the language ,openly speak about how "dumb" the foreigners are,. This is a fact, undisputed.

    but its not racism if its the white middle class guy who is the target.

    • This is not racism. You are the victim of a country that gets their info from American TV. You have never been the victim of racism here in America. Black ppl are victimized daily for no other reason, save the color of their skin. Plez read the book, THE GOD DEFINED SELF (A LAYMAN'S PERSPECTIVE ON RACISM IN AMERICA). It is available @amazon & barnesandnoble.com. See if this book will educate concerning what constitutes true racism & not this new trend created by white Americans. Thanks & I hope this helps. Sincerely, Andre'

  13. if you believe there is no racism in Canada.. dream on.. try having to live in govt funded housing, in Toronto, where Ethiopian Muslims are the racists. and are open about it because of the belief that the govt will ignore the situation. They are right so far.

  14. I remember very well when Barack Obama was elected the MSM were talking about a "post-racial" America. Who were they kidding? There is no such thing. Racism is alive and well in America. Look at the ugly posters that we saw during Tea Party rallies. Look at the ugly speech towards blacks that came out during the public healthcare reform townhalls. It didn't take too long for overt white racism towards Obama to come out. Right-wing crazies said that Obama was racist towards whites. And most recently, the despicable fake story about Ms Sherrod from Fox "News". The election of a black man as president has brought out this whole reactionary group of whites who can't or won't accept Obama's presidency. No where near "post-racial".

  15. Reverse racism? Isn't it just racism? The term racism refers to any group or person acting in a derogatory or harmful manner to another group or person of a different racial subset. Racism is just racism. Reverse racism is a nonsense term used as a buzz word to get people's attention by people who rely on ignorance and fear to spoon feed the sheep their message. Really gets on my nerves.

    • Very keen observation & straight to the point. Haven't herad any one speak the truth about this subject with such ease. Would to God we all could see the truth behind this new expression; reverse racism.

  16. Throw Sarah Palin into Boston Harbor.

  17. What will it take 2 cause white America 2 c their racism? In a new book, Author Andre' D. Davis, speaks to white America about why he believes them 2 b racist. THE GOD DEFINED SELF (A LAYMAN'S PERSPECTIVE ON RACISM IN AMERICA), is a must read 4 all Americans, but especially 4 those n white America that can't c their own racism. His chapters on the N word, Black Americans & Islam & word to the politicians is most profound. Please, read this book b4 u approach this serious subject. Thank you in advance. Sincerely, Andre'

  18. anti racist is code for anti white