Newsmax Wingnuts Sad 'The Blacks' Keep Acting Like Racism Is Thing That Exists
Since Wednesday, apparently, conservatives have been just an absolute mess over a post over on The Root titled "Whiteness is a Pandemic," by Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas, a very good writer with very good taste in glasses. The gist of the short essay, written the day after a very holy white boy had a bad day and murdered eight people including six Asian-American women, was that white supremacy is an infection that led not only to this murder spree and to other acts of white supremacist violence, but that has killed people in less direct ways as well.
There's a line connecting this act of terror to the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, and the nine people killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015, of course. But also to gentrification, to red-lining, to racial profiling, to gerrymandering, to voter oppression, to mass incarceration, to the war on drugs, to the subprime mortgage crisis, to the vast disparities in both COVID deaths and who receives COVID vaccinations, to how the men and women who stormed the capitol just went home and had dinner with their families afterward. While we were still processing and recovering from what we witnessed, they were already back on their couches, watching Criminal Minds.
He's not wrong.
Anyway, the gang over at Newsmax was very upset about this, so they assembled a random group of white people (one of whom even managed to be named Quill) and one conservative Black lady who was there to point out that this would be considered racist if a white person said it about Black people and said all Black people were responsible for everything any Black person did and so therefore it is reverse racism and bad. Except that was not what Young was saying at all.
Former Colorado Republican legislator Ted Harvey was there as well, and when it was his turn to speak, he lamented that "the Blacks" are destroying the colorblind society "that we've been fighting for," by rudely pointing out that we do actually not live in a "colorblind society,"
Transcript via Media Matters:
TED HARVEY (GUEST): Well, I think this is a prime example of the failure of our public education system and our higher ed system. This is what they are teaching in, you know, high schools all across the country. This is what they are teaching in our government-funded school systems and higher ed. You look at where you're seeing African Americans wanting to have segregated dorm rooms to separate themselves from the rest of the population. This is going backwards —
BOB SELLERS (HOST): Yeah.
HARVEY: In the entire movement to have a color-blind society that we've been fighting for, for all of these years. And now we're having the Blacks pushing this kind of junk on the American people. It's saddening.
BOB SELLERS (HOST): Ok. Final thought, Heather.
HEATHER CHILDERS (HOST): Yeah. Race, sex, and gender, I think that you have to look at people as a whole and not this identity politics that we've started to do. This article is inflammatory rhetoric and should be treated as such. And, you know, in order to overcome a pandemic, what do you do? You wipe it out. So this is clearly inflammatory and it's dangerous and everyone needs to recognize that.
We don't live in a colorblind society and pretending we do will not make racism go away. Not that that's Ted Harvey's primary concern. What he wants isn't for racism to go away, but for everyone to collectively pretend that white people who go on racist killing sprees are lone wolves unaffected by anything in our society, and also that it is purely coincidental that all of the things Young named disproportionately hurt Black people, so that they can continue to go on doing them without anyone saying "Hey Ted, that's pretty racist."
The problem with a "colorblind society" is that the problem with racism isn't people noticing that there are different races, different ethnicities, different religions and different cultures. That was never the problem! And sure, some of the problem is individual racist people acting like assholes, but a larger part of the problem has been systemically racist policies and statutes and acts of "just doing nothing" — and either ignoring the fact that those things disproportionately hurt Black people, or hoping that no one will bring that up.
Now, you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, Blacks get hurt worse than white ...
Coincidentally, there was another white man writing about this very same thing this week in The Federalist. In an essay titled, confusingly, "How Writing A Federalist Article Put Me On Chardonnay Antifa's Cancel List," writer Ian Prior explains how he wants to live in Martin Luther King's dream of a colorblind society, but all of these "anti-racist" people (who we can assume are often people of color) keep thwarting this plan.
As insane as this part of the story is, there is a larger concern here. It is important to understand that being "anti-racist" is not the same as being "not racist."
The large majority of tolerant people, myself included, put themselves squarely in the latter category. They believe that the color of someone's skin is as relevant as the color of his eyes or hair. They have been raised to be color-blind and live by Martin Luther King Jr.'s maxim to judge a person by the content of his or her character, rather than skin color. These people believe in race-neutral policies that have the ultimate goal of equal opportunity for all.
Those who pose as "anti-racist" claim that systemic racism is present in nearly every conversation, interaction, organization, and so forth. They aggressively advocate for race-based policies that inflame, divide, and deliberately destroy longstanding norms, language, and institutions.
Weird how they always conveniently ignore the part of Martin Luther King's dream that calls for jobs for everyone and a UBI. And also literally everything else he ever said, apart from that one sentence.
What conservatives want is for everyone to pretend that their policies are race neutral when they are very obviously not race-neutral. For everyone to pretend they can't hear the dogwhistles. They want everyone to pretend that they are only aggressively pushing to make it more difficult for people to vote — particularly in Georgia — because they truly care about voter fraud, and not because Georgia went to Biden, largely as a result of Black people there voting for him. They want to pretend that what happened with the water in Flint could just have easily happened in a wealthy white suburb. That the War on Drugs was just a war on drugs and that any disparate impact on Black people was purely coincidental. That sure, redlining was bad, but no one on this here Newsmax panel did any redlining so why should they be responsible!?!?
What they want is for racism to be some indefinable thing that is either in someone's heart or not and no one can really tell if someone else has it unless they explicitly say, "Hello, I am a racist person." And even people who just killed six Asian women deny that they are racist, so racism probably doesn't even exist.
One thing should be easy enough: If the vast, vast majority of people calling for a "colorblind" society are white, it's probably something that is in the best interest of white people and not anyone else.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse