Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Racism"

Elizabeth Scalia, whose initial skepticism about the Brietbart tape of Sherrod's speech has been amply justified, thinks it long past time for the use of the "racism" charge as a political weapon to be retired.
This whole sordid mess of a story–which is clearly not over–may tell us that it is past time for people of good will to stop tolerating politically-expedient charges of racism, regardless of whether they originate genuinely from overzealous, malicious bloggers or from Congressmen who are confident that any charge they make will be deemed insta-credible, or from journalists who ignore real racism while trying to ignite the charge elsewhere, for the advancement of their own partisan agendas, or from the rightly marginalized, fringe-living, stupid people who every sensible person condemns.

The NAACP’s maneuver last week was an attempt at cynical manipulation, a lazy card they thought they could play, because it’s always taken the pot before. They ticked off Breitbart, who upped the ante, but appears to have done so recklessly.

Everyone’s credibility is now strained, and perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps the left should finally leave behind the smug instinct to sniff, “racism, straight up” over sincere disagreements on policy. If they can manage that, then perhaps the right can stop feeling so defensive.

There is absolutely nothing simple about the matter of race in America; there is a ways to go before content of character will finally overcome color of skin. But I am not sure if further progress toward a truly color-blind society can be made until the manufactured cry of “raaaaacism”–by people who know that they are merely fanning flames or manipulating movements–has finally been rejected by both the right and the left. Race-baiters must be made to understand that their cheap tactic will no longer bear weight among fair-minded people, who are horrified by genuine racism but tired of its weaponized unreasonable facsimile. .... [more]
It has, I think, long since reached the point at which a great many of us automatically discount the charge of racism until actual evidence is produced. Like "fascism" and "anti-Semitism" a term has been de-valued by reckless, demagogic misuse.

Sherrod Blames NAACP for Resignation – UPDATED