Because It's Bad It Must be Good
National Review’s Jay Nordlinger posted a letter yesterday claiming that the incidents proved that “Racism in America is dead.”
As everyone sweats out the final Obamacare tallies, I’m struck by a couple of other stories. In one case, someone reported hearing an anti-black epithet used at a political rally. In another case, dogged police finally arrested the perpetrator of an intolerable crime. The perp is a 16-year-old kid who made a potentially offensive comment on a Wal-Mart overhead speaker. That these things are even remotely newsworthy leads me to one conclusion: Racism in America is dead. We had slavery, then we had Jim Crow — and now we have the occasional public utterance of a bad word. Real racism has been reduced to de minimis levels, while charges of racism seem to increase. I’ll vote for the first politician with the brass to say that “racism” should be dropped from our national dialogue. We’re a good nation, among the least racist on earth . . .
On his radio show this morning, conservative talker Bill Bennett endorsed the letter writer’s thesis, saying “I think that’s right”:
BENNETT: I think that’s right. Is there occasional racism, of course. But this country’s been transformed on the issue of race. You talk to young people, they don’t even understand how people could have judged people by race. They just don’t even, it doesn’t even parse. So, you know, what some of the liberal Democrats want to suggest is that Republicans and conservatives are still, you know, they have one, one scenario for this. It’s Mississippi burning and, you know, they’re still there. But the country is not there. Mississippi isn’t Mississippi of Mississippi burning. Transformed society on this issue. And everybody who is honest would admit to that.
To the extent that things are better, it's no thanks to the conservative racists, of course, who fought it every step of the way.
This is the essence of Bizarroworld conservatism: the fact that there were people screaming "nigger" at civil rights heroes in April 2010 means that racism is dead. And the statistics proving African Americans are still discriminated against? Why, the mere fact that we know about these statistics proves that racism is dead.
The 9.7 percent unemployment rate is an understated fiction. The “real” unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers and those who work part time instead of full time, is closer to 16.5 percent.
The African American unemployment rate, reported at 16.7 percent, is closer to 29 percent when discouraged workers and others are included. Last month, the Black male unemployment rate rose, while the white male rate dropped.
That's excellent news. Indeed, the fact that 60% of blacks are allowed to work at all, is a sign of great racial progress. What could be more logical?
Update: Amanda Marcotte makes an important observation about all this, as it relates to my earlier post about the right's seeming inability to accept the idea of democracy. This is correct:
Well, it’s simple, really. They assume, if they don’t state it outright, that large numbers of American voters shouldn’t have the right to vote. That’s the implicit argument when Sarah Palin praises white rural voters as “Real Americans”, when Birthers obsess over the idea that the first black President simply can’t be eligible for office, when tea baggers yell racist and homophobic slurs at politicians, and when they insist that you eliminate black voters from the count if you want to find out how popular a politician “really” is. When Bart Stupak laughed out loud at the very idea that nuns have opinions worth listening to---and listed a bunch of men whose opinions were the ones that counted---you had a similar sentiment being expressed. Universal suffrage seems like a fundamental part of democracy to liberals, but it appears that conservatives think it de-legitimizes the results of elections. And that if you do something without Republicans on board, you’re eliminating those who represent the only people who count.
These people believe they represent a majority and they do: of white people. Obama only has a 35% approval rating among whites, (which is down from the 42% of whites that helped elect him.) If you have white supremacist tendencies, you're going to believe that he isn't representing a majority of Real Americans.
Indeed, it explains why Democratic presidents in general can't ever be legitimate. They are, after all, always elected with the support of African Americans, Hispanics and feminist women. That wasn't what the founders intended, now was it?
Read Amanda's whole piece. She's answered this riddle.