Wednesday, August 29, 2012

None dare call it anything but prejudice

I am going to just turn this into a regular feature.  If I knew how to set these posts off from all the others that clutter this blog.

Read this article at the National Journal, and you might be surprised that it ends up here:

That leaves one inescapable conclusion: The Romney campaign is either recklessly ignorant of the facts, some of which they possess – or it is lying about why (and how) it is playing the race card.
It is fair and balanced, however, because it never mentions the word "racism."  Hard to accuse anyone of something so vile if you won't say the word, but Mr. Fournier has his reasons for that:

 Men like Miller and Benson don’t use the N-word and they don’t hate (disclosure: I grew up with Miller, who now lives in Macomb County): For a five-figure salary and overtime, Miller risks his life fighting fires in a black neighborhood just south of 8 Mile Road.
 Please understand that Miller and working-class whites like him have reason to be angry and cynical. First, life is tough and getting tougher for the shrinking middle class, regardless of race. Second, as the National Journal reported in the story involving Miller a year ago, minorities are steadily pushing their way into the middle class, which was once the province of whites.
I heard these kinds of excuses all my life, growing up in the South.  I digested them, incorporated them, and finally regurgitated them late in life when I recognized them for the excuses for racism they are.  We used to say "prejudiced" as a perjorative, meaning a white who didn't hate blacks, but who didn't much like them, either.  A racist hated blacks; a prejudiced person just didn't like them.  Neither was good, but one was worse; which meant, of course, the other was acceptable.  Well, more acceptable.  Almost understandable, really; like working-class whites who have reasons to be angry and cynical, and to blame other people for their problems based on skin color.  I mean, really, it's almost reasonable, when you think about it....

Full disclosure:  I grew up among racists, and it took me a long time to realize how indelible racism is, and how easily it can be excused.  Read the whole article, and you'll notice the excuses live on:

I share this story to crack the code – the subtle language of distrust and prejudice that whites use to communicate deep-set fears, and that cynical politicians translate into votes. Translating Miller and Benson:

“Subsidization” = Welfare

“Generational Apathy” = Lazy

“They Slept All Day” = Blacks Sleep All Day

“I Feel Like a Fool” = I’m Mad As Hell
 Emphasis mine.  See, when you know the people involved, when you know they don't wear white hoods at night or shave their heads or have Nazi memorabilia around the house, you know they're okay; you know they're only a little misguided, maybe a little angry, and you know that's okay.  It's just prejudice.  It's just deep-set fears.  And I mean, really, what can you do about deep-set fears when skin color is involved?  You just have to accept it and move on.

God forbid any black men should get angry about it.  That would be terrible.....


  1. Sherri4:44 PM

    As Molly Ivins said about the creation of Southern liberals, "Once you figure out they're lying to you about race, you start to question everything." I had to leave the South to see that the everyday attitudes I grew up around were racist. (I'm not saying that the South has a monopoly on racism, but racism is deeply embedded in its culture.)

  2. Off Topic: Thought you might enjoy my reply to the 694th time someone said "Courtier's Reply" to me.