One of the things that I took away from my time in the military was a strong distaste for ascribing statements or behavior to racism or bigotry. While the military is by no means perfect, in general as an institution it was one of the more merit-based and color/ethnic blind organizations. In my experience, a charge of prejudice was more often used as an excuse, not a reason. A number of years in that environment, and you come away with an unwillingness to think “racism” or “bigoted” at first. But, reluctantly, based on the evidence, I’ve come to the conclusion that the core of a lot of the criticism of the President, from both the Left and the Right is indeed motivated by racism.
I’ve already detailed what I’ve seen from the Right. The major difference there is that it’s much more blatant. But yes, it’s there on the Left as well. One has only to look at how African-Americans are treated on various “progressive” blogs. Constant attacks, dismissal of concerns, choices of language which often lurch into unacceptable territory. The constant attacks on the President, all couched in “concern” about a “progressive agenda” which, remarkably, doesn’t seem to be a coherent agenda. In fact, they often turn around and attack him for doing something they themselves have called for. The constant, unrelenting look for things they can be angry with him about, and even the use of of various “dog whistles,” all lead to me to one conclusion: It’s based on his race.
I know that a lot of the frustrati and the “professional left” are going to go ballistic reading this because I’m calling them racists. That’s right, I’m saying that their reason for attacking this President is because of his race. They’re going to scream bloody blue murder about it. But you know why I think that? The Republicans are working to roll back women’s rights, unions, environmental protections, social programs, and education. Social Security and Medicare are being targeted. The programs and protections that progressives spent decades getting into place are being removed or weakened with startling speed. Do you see a real focus on this from the Professional Left and the Frustrati? Have they decided to spend most of their time going after Republicans? No, they’re still spending most of their time attacking the black President.
When this has been (and it has) pointed out to them, there is a remarkable defensiveness. They can’t be racist, after all, they’re progressives! One well-known writer at one of the major “progressive” sites told someone that pointed this out that he couldn’t be a racist. After all, he belonged to a group which had experienced horrible oppression, and he himself had experienced the prejudice and discrimination! Want to know something? That’s straight-up bullshit. Over the years, some of the most racist and bigoted statements I have ever heard came from the mouths of members of one oppressed group and were directed at members of a different oppressed group. The Republicans have been very good at exploiting those tensions and prejudices over the years.
I’ve heard all the defenses. I’ve listened to the denials. But one thing I do know: The more someone protests that they aren’t racist, or keeps having to say that “it isn’t about race,” the more likely it is that they are and it is. Being a liberal, a progressive, a member of a now or formerly oppressed group is not a magic excuse or preventative. Everyone has prejudices, stereotypes, or has made offensive statements. Being willing to acknowledge that, to learn and change, to apologize for it and use those lessons to grow personally is what you have to do. It’s acknowledging that you have a problem, and you are taking steps towards correcting it. But you first have to acknowledge it. If you don’t, you’ll never change.
Why do I think they’re being racist? Because they’re protesting too much that they aren’t.