LOS ANGELES, June 28, 2013 — President Obama is right. We need a “national conversation” about race this instant. Let us have that “teachable moment.” In a productive conversation, both sides speak. Otherwise conversation can be confused with self-righteous lecturing.
Racism is poison. So are fake accusations of racism. So are double standards that mete out different punishments based on race, and so is injecting race into irrelevant situations.
An example of race injected as a toxin is the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. The media are covering this case because these two men were of different races. Two men fought, and one was killed. That happens frequently with zero racial role. An honest conversation asks why black children in Chicago and Detroit fear gunshots from other blacks while walking to school. That matters more than some street fight.
Star prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel quoted Martin referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker.” Unless that is a new product offered by Ritz, this was a racist comment. The prosecutor trying to rehabilitate the images of Martin and Jeantel actually inferred that such language was normal in their culture. What culture? Was he implying black people are incapable of civilized conversation about other races?
The double standard toxin involves Paula Deen and Al Sharpton. Deen is a chef with no political role who made racist comments decades ago. Sharpton made public racist and anti-Semitic comments and started race riots that left people dead. From Tawana Brawley to today, he persists. Deen is a white Southerner being flayed in the town square. Sharpton is a black liberal who was rewarded with an MSNBC contract.
Sharpton has actually stood up and defended Deen. Good for him, but Deen is being held accountable, and Sharpton never was.
The evidence toxin is self-explanatory. Deen and Sharpton were caught.
For conservatives with a platform, being targeted by leftists is routine. Accusing conservatives of racism is meant to bully, harass, silence, and intimidate them from the political process. Think of it as IRS abuses, although more destructive.
Sometimes those claiming double-standards are making excuses rather than honestly assessing problems. Black leaders have long complained that jail sentences for crack are longer than those for powder cocaine. Crack is seen, rightly or wrongly, as a drug for poor inner city black people. Powder cocaine is seen as the drug for wealthy whites. Law enforcement has insisted that crack is far deadlier, and therefore requires stiffer sentences. Yet those denying reality blame racism.
Seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock. Somehow this destruction of black families is seen as less problematic than pointing it out and trying to fix it. Compassion allows the cycle of hopelessness to continue, while those trying to break the cycle are labeled racists.
Many leftists accuse conservatives of racism without citing examples. Further probing reflects that this racism is defined as conservatism. Anybody attending tea parties or watching Fox News automatically becomes racists. Somehow Occupy Wall Street people and MSNBC viewers escape these charges.
Democrats were the party of slavery. Democrats elected Senator Robert Byrd, a Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan, as their Majority Leader. Yet Republicans are called racists for wanting tax cuts, welfare reform, and other policies that will actually strengthen black communities devastated by the liberal Great Society.
Policies. That is the key word. That is what political discussions should be about. Everything else is a distraction. Conservatives are routinely called racists for disagreeing with President Obama’s policies. Any honest assessment would reflect that conservatives see Obama as no different from George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Joe Biden. In the same vein, criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder is based on his many misdeeds, not his skin color. Any liberals refusing to admit this are unworthy of being part of any political discussion.
To make matters worse, black conservatives from Michael Steele to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are treated with a venom no human being should ever have to face.
Stopping real racism and all of its poisonous offshoots is very simple. Those engaging in it need to stop doing it. Bystanders need to call out those who do it. Those falsely accused must never back down in the face of scurrilous allegations.
Real dialogue occurs when both sides are allowed to speak. The left too often denies conservatives that right. That is one reason why racial animosity exists in this country today.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
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