Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who plays the race card?

I was listening to one of the right wing radio stations in our area this morning and they were going on--and on, and on--about how Chris Mathews had said Newt Gingrich was a racist for calling Obama our first "food stamp president"--and how ridiculous and contemptible Chris Matthews was for saying that.

Well, Matthews was right--and BTW he didn't call Gingrich a racist per se but made a more nuanced statement about Gingrich playing a coded race card. However, even though he was right, so-called Liberals do play the race card wrongly every day--especially when they brand as "racist" anyone who dares to complain about illegal immigration.

This is a situation where two wrongs make two wrongs.

So-called Conservatives have been making coded racist statements ever since they found it unproductive to make uncoded racist statements, sometime back in the late 1960s--early 1970s. White Southern pols would say in their stump speeches "Y'all know whut ah stayund foah." And the audience did.

But the coded speech has a backup, which is to feign outrage if someone interprets the coded speech as conveying a racist message. Apparently Conservatives believe there is no such thing as innuendo. They live in a hard, bright, clear black and white world where you are totally not racist unless you say "I believe Negroes are inferior to Whites." Short of that, when you talk about welfare mothers and food stamp presidents and imply that Obama got into Harvard because of affirmative action not because he's smart and hard working and that he must have been born in Kenya and all the rest of that stuff--well, no racism can possibly be implied here.

And that too has a backup, which the general public never sees--which is the aggressive campaign the Right Wing Noise Machine mounts against anyone in the mainstream media who accuses any right wing pol or pundit of racism. Right wing websites marshal the troops, and the offending media outlet gets a torrent of letters and phone calls and emails to the offender, his boss, the advertising manager of the medium, and the advertisers/sponsors as well. This doesn't always work, but it does so often that many media figures privately admit they're daunted by it, and walk on eggshells around issues like accusing so-called Conservatives of coded race-baiting.

Meanwhile so-called Liberals race-bait anyone who opposes illegal immigration and various social welfare programs, along with inner city schools. And they do tend to have the sympathy of mainstream reporters, who generally vote Democrat themselves. Special interest groups with racial agendas--most notably The Race, an organization promoting advantages for people who regard themselves as Mexicans--play the race card daily.

Even media that steer clear of editorializing outside the editorial pages can be found advocating for the Leftists side when racial issues become involved. That's why so-called Liberals abandoned talking about overpopulation, from the 1970s onward.

The main difference between partisans of Right and Left is that the ones on the Right has a much bigger bullhorn, thanks to the billionaire class being on that side.

So--both sides play the race card incessantly; and both use it to shortcircuit debate by using race-baiting in personal attacks instead of dealing with the facts and logic involved in the actual issue.

Scoffing at the very idea that any so-called Conservative could possibly have any racial motives is just one part of this unsavory stew.


Anonymous said...

I consider myself more 'progressive' than 'conservative', and I agree with your analysis. I am very much against illegal and legal immigration as they hurt our environment, reduces wage rates and take jobs from others. I suppose that makes me a racist? The big problem for the cause is that the founder of Numbers USA came out with racist comments. He hurt the cause of all liberals and conservatives who want to reduce growth and protect our country.

Ehkzu said...

Agreed, and I'd classify my politics and why supporting illegal immigration goes against traditional Democratic party principles same as you.

And I'm certain that some percentage of opposition to illegal immigration is racist. I'm equally certain that most people and most of the media gives a pass to the racialism so often shown by the other side--such as the leading organization advocating illegal immigration, which goes so far as to call itself "The Race."