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Psst! Slaves? We’re Calling It Even….

Psst! Slaves? We’re Calling It Even….

uncle-remus-syrupOK, howsabout a little test, shall we? The other day a well-known political pundit offered the following remarks about this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Twelve Years a Slave :

“There’s no way that movie was not going to win!… There was no way — it didn’t matter if it’s good or bad; I haven’t seen it — it had the magic word in the title: Slave.”

My question for you readers is this: Concerning the opinion that this film has absolutely no merit (despite this person not having seen it), but that it was awarded the Academy’s highest honor simply because it has the word “slave” in it and thus addresses issues important to black people, which is more likely, that this view was expressed by a left-leaning person or a right-leaning person? Is not the answer obviously the latter?

(You can click here to discover who voiced this view.)

Now I would contend (with scores of others) that the idea that the Academy basically affirmative-actioned its Best Picture award by bequeathing it to an obviously undeserving black film is a rather racist point of view. I mean, no one said that the only reason Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor was because he is white (although I’m sure plenty on the right think he won solely because he played “a gay”). Further, Leto actually beat out the black dude who played the Somali pirate in that movie about Somali pirates. If the pirate guy had won, would it have been because he’s black? If so, why didn’t Leto win simply because he’s white?

Are all right-wing types racists? Yes. Yes, they are.  Just kidding, of course they’re not, that’s not the point I am making. My point is more subtle: While all conservatives are not racists, most racists are conservatives. I consider this to be pretty indisputable. 

In fact, I’d like to broaden that claim. 

It seems to me that the Christian Right in this country somehow manages to come down on the wrong side of almost every issue imaginable, regardless of how removed it may be from overtly religious concerns (and by “the wrong side” I mostly mean they adopt the least compassionate and most unmerciful of all available options).

Should we eliminate the minimum wage? Yes. 

How should we treat illegal immigrants? As harshly as possible.

Should we seek a way to expand Medicare to cover all Americans? Absolutely not.

Should the federal government pass laws to curb pollution of the environment? No. 

Should we drill for oil in ANWAR? Yes please.

Should taxes be directed toward helping the poor? Nope.

Should corporations be given the freedom to harm millions of people in order to raise their profits? Sure, why not?

With whom may we justifiably be at war? With any country a Republican president chooses to invade.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Look, I’m a Christian myself for crying out loud, and even I have a hard time stomaching discussions among fellow believers when political or cultural issues arise, so I can totally understand why the stench of my religion is repugnant in the nostrils of non-religious folks of the more compassionate variety. And I must say that I find it extremely ironic that the most oft-leveled charge against the Religious Right by its opponents is that they fail to uphold the second-greatest commandment of the divine law.

In a word, people dislike conservative Christians because they refuse to “Love Thy Neighbor.”

18 Comments

  1. I’m sure once this piece hits the eyes of Rush (he’s ears aren’t so good these days, so I’m going with eyes), he’ll start his bellyaching. He find’s a way to always attack those the most who are without a voice, then moans for hours how incredibly put upon are the far right from the world at large. Couldn’t agree more with the central point…the guy spews hate consistently.

  2. To be fair, I’m sure there are faults that lefties are more prone to display than conservatives, but even then, they’re all better than racism and neighbor-hating. Maybe we’re too naive, or too patient, or too willing to be taken advantage of. But hey? WWJD, am I right?

  3. But you’re forgetting one (and a pretty big one at that–gorilla in the room alert): should women be legally unhindered to obtain elective abortions? And given your own current devotions and pastwriting, my guess is that the answer is no. Does this mean you’re a misogynist? Given what I’ve ever read, not bloody likely. Nor am I when I answer the same. So I wonder if you can appreciate what it might be like for someone to hear that because he disagrees with, say, ACA it’s one or two short hops to being a (hide the women and children) racist.

    Far, far be it from me to lend cover to neo-cons and politainers like Rush and Glenn. But loaded terms like racist or misogynist don’t really seem to help the conversation.

    ps I think anything with Jennifer Lawrence in it should win everything because Jennifer Lawrence is the George Clooney of women.

  4. This is awesome!! Everytime I post anything on FB regarding any type of compassionate stance I get private messaged about one day I will stand before God, and why did I leave my faith etc…. I’m sure glad I have the “Christian Police” to always put me back in line.

  5. Shannon: Feel free to share it on Facebook!

    Zrim: I anticipated that, and I think these questions should be tackled on a case-by-case basis. And for the record, I have the exact same moral principles regarding abortions as most pro-choice people: We both think it’s wrong to murder innocent people because they inconvenience us, and we both think it’s OK to have one’s appendix removed. The real question, which is a factual and not a moral one, is into which type of category does abortion fall?

  6. The gravitars in this here comment section appear funny, like too large, on the big 3 browsers, fyi

  7. My point isn’t really one concerning abortion per se. I use that only to make the larger point, which is the use of a scare word/phrase/concept. And it’s not too unlike one I’d make to fellow Prots slurring Cats with all the synagogue of Satan type stuff. People can strongly oppose one another religiously and politically, can’t they, without one maligning the character of the other? You know, dogma and posture and all that?

    Or let me try this: I consider myself a conservative. And when you say most racists are conservative, I can’t help but get the sense I’m being maligned, no matter what kind of rhetorical spin you use. I’m not whining, I’m just wondering if what’s good for the Catholic goose is also good for the conservative gander.

  8. OK, fair points, Zrim. But I’m curious, malice aside, would you agree with either of these statements?:

    (1) If a person is a racist, he is more likely to be conservative than liberal.

    Or

    (2) There is something about conservatism that is attractive to people prone to racism.

  9. Well, I’d put it this way. Having descended from Protestant liberals and married into Christian fundamentalism, I find the latter are much more comfortable with a kind of incivility than the former. I’m not sure that makes them racists, if by racist we mean social miscreants or morally bankrupt, etc. I’m sure those exist within the ranks, but by and large they strike me as more uncouth. And not to get too picky about words (you’ll have to pardon us logocentrists), but anymore I’d say those with an ease with incivility to outright racism tend to be more Republican (Fox News) than conservative (Front Porch Republic).

  10. Wow…. Mighty wide swath you paint there, and I really have to object to your self-proclaimed “truth”. While there is no doubt that there is racism within conservative circles, there is blatant racism on the left, and within the black community, that seems to be ignored by many, including you. I also disagree with your definition of racism (at least based on your use of the word). Racism is fear or hate or intolerance of another race. Perhaps you might want to re-think your vocabulary here. Recognition of racism and acknowledgement of its existence is not racism. While I am NO fan of Mr. Limbaugh (he makes me want to throw up a little when I hear his voice) you are throwing around labels, in a way that is pretty inaccurate and as harmful as any derogatory racial term. When bloggers and writers and commentators start using hateful labels against the opposition (I assume you consider yourself the opposite of Rush) it usually, IMHO, implies that you have not real beef with the person, so you are using personal attacks to mask your lack of real wrongdoing.

    Please do not feed into the culture that you say you dislike, and criticize real racism and hate.

  11. Zrim,

    And not to get too picky about words (you’ll have to pardon us logocentrists), but anymore I’d say those with an ease with incivility to outright racism tend to be more Republican (Fox News) than conservative (Front Porch Republic).

    Fair point, Zrim, and I agree (insofar as I am familiar with FPR, which is just a little). I am familiar with Fox, though. . . .

  12. gomergirl,

    While there is no doubt that there is racism within conservative circles, there is blatant racism on the left, and within the black community, that seems to be ignored by many, including you.

    I am focusing on the spokespeople for these movements. Can you provide some examples of “blatant racism” from any public black liberals? I’m sure it exists, it just seems like racism is more a problem of the right than of the left. There is something anomalous about a racist liberal to a degree that there’s not in the other direction, in my experience.

    I also disagree with your definition of racism (at least based on your use of the word). Racism is fear or hate or intolerance of another race. Perhaps you might want to re-think your vocabulary here.

    I think your definition is too narrow. If I see a black doctor or a black fireman and immediate think that they probably got hired over a white person because of affirmative action, that is subtle racism (even if I don’t hate black people). It’s an assumption of inferiority.

    … you are throwing around labels, in a way that is pretty inaccurate and as harmful as any derogatory racial term. When bloggers and writers and commentators start using hateful labels against the opposition (I assume you consider yourself the opposite of Rush) it usually, IMHO, implies that you have not real beef with the person, so you are using personal attacks to mask your lack of real wrongdoing.

    You can keep pounding the table all you like, but simply asserting that I am using “racist” improperly won’t make it so. Limbaugh, who admitted he hadn’t seen 12YAS, assumed that it was simply handed the Oscar because it dealt with the issue of slavery. That to me, as well as to most thinking people, is a pretty racist sentiment.

  13. “I think your definition is too narrow.”
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism?s=t Here is an unbiased dictionary definition. I am not afraid of, nor think inferior, anyone of any race. I believe that people are what they make of themselves. Period.

    “Limbaugh, who admitted he hadn’t seen 12YAS, assumed that it was simply handed the Oscar because it dealt with the issue of slavery. That to me, as well as to most thinking people, is a pretty racist sentiment.”
    Because one see racism and point it out in action (afirmative action is a great example, or other places where judgement is made on skin color or ethnicity) that makes a person racist? That is such a small minded thing to say. And “thinking” people all agree, so I am confused as to why you are even bothering to refute me. Obviously I am below your standard of thinking, so I’m not sure, are you trying to educate me? Thanks!
    I realize that the progressive left (and media) love to use -phobic/ racism to lash out at those who have intellectual disagreement with any stance that they have deemed “the right and only valid truth” This applies to conservatives mostly and is most exemplified when liberals talk about black conservatives and those who hold, what they see, as the biblical view on homosexuality. Liberals (which whom you seem to align)have no problem throwing out derogatory labels and hate speech when it is aimed at someone who is deemed unworthy of intellectual freedom.
    “I am focusing on the spokespeople for these movements. Can you provide some examples of “blatant racism” from any public black liberals? I’m sure it exists, it just seems like racism is more a problem of the right than of the left. There is something anomalous about a racist liberal to a degree that there’s not in the other direction, in my experience.”

    Wow, the fact that you can’t identify liberal racists really says a lot about your lack of current events or your liberal bias. I can give you a laundry list:
    Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Mary Francess Berry, the Congressional Black Caucus members, Joe Biden, Helen Thomas…. and this….

    “That’s just how white folks will do you. It wasn’t merely the cruelty involved; I was learning that black people could be mean and then some. It was a particular brand of arrogance, an obtuseness in otherwise sane people that brought forth our bitter laughter. It was as if whites didn’t know that they were being cruel in the first place. Or at least thought you deserving of their scorn.” — Barack Obama
    “You can keep pounding the table all you like, but simply asserting that I am using “racist” improperly won’t make it so.”
    I have not pounded a table in months, But if I do, I will let you know. Also, you just keep telling yourself that you are a good writer and maybe that will make it so. I was really hoping that you might actually be open to criticism, opent o discussion, but your use of progressive liberal (empty) labeling and name calling just goes on, so I bid you good day and extend to you the peace of God in this lent season.

  14. I’m just so glad that I live in Canada, where evangelical Bible-believing Christians pretty much all believe that the government should have a mechanism for funding medicare, should step in to protect the environment, should look back somewhat self-reflectively and ashamedly about how we treated the First Nations, etc.

    Thus, I don’t have to paint myself into these types of corners of either being for the environment or against abortion, etc., etc… Yeah, there’s lots of problems here, but conflating ultra-conservative free-enterprise agendas with Christianity isn’t such a big deal like in the USA.

  15. But Steve, haven’t you heard? All Canadians pine for privatized healthcare like we have down here in God’s country. At least that’s what the Fox News crowd tells me.

    Trust me, it’s bitchin. We even have 40,000,000 poor people with no insurance, so, no annoying lines at the doctor!

  16. Maybe instead of calling someone a racist, we should just identify things they say or write as racist things to say or write. Example: instead of calling Rush a racist, just say the thing he said about the movie was a racist thing to say. This way, the individual doesn’t get defensive about being labeled a 100% pure racist; instead, it might give the individual a chance to examine what they just said and recognize its racist aspects.

    Family and friends of mine often say racist things, but they tend to bristle when called a racist, and defend themselves by saying, “I don’t look down at any race; skin color doesn’t matter.” Deep down they know race doesn’t matter, yet mildly racist things pop out of their mouths about Muslims or Arabs or Mexicans or Asians. Calling out their racist speech might be more constructive than labeling the individual.

  17. But again, why is it racist for someone to point out that a group or person is acting in a certain way because of race? Why is the commentator racist for pointing out a bias in Hollywood that awards race, gender, orientation and progressive liberalism over content and talent? That is what is baffling to me. Why is it racist to point out a bias in someone else? By that definition, you are racist for pointing out that Rush “is being racist”, at least by your definition. This is the problem with so many of the race based political groups. They scream “RACISM” in everyone else, but rarely see it in themselves. We are all guilty of bias, but some people like to point fingers and only accuse others in opposing political or social groups.
    That is what is truly wrong with this whole situation and many more in the world.

  18. “While all conservatives are not racists, most racists are conservatives…”

    Maybe. If you consider racism a White-Against-Color thing. But as a member of an HBCU community, I think your whole take is a little too self-referential. GroupThink is very often “repugnant,” regardless of the power position of a group. If you do not believe that many co-cultures are themselves shot through with “racism,” you should look again. Liberal African-Americans are often “racist” in their stereotyping and attitudes. Though I also think you use that word (“racist”) far too cavalierly.

    Also wondering…

    “While not all Democrats are Libertines, most Libertines are Democrats,” or,
    “While not all Democrats are practicing homosexuals, most practicing homosexuals are Democrats,” or
    “While not all Liberals are anarchists, most anarchists are Liberals”

    A little bit of both “OK” and “So…?” When people discover I am conservative, they immediately start berating my FOX News mentality. They refuse to believe me when I suggest most FOX News watchers aren’t conservatives, just outage-mentality Americans. Just like most CNN watchers aren’t liberals, just victim-mentality Americans.

    Conservatives sin on the side of severity. Liberals sin on the side of laxity. Neither is more or less motivated by what you call “neighbor-haitng,” since most sin is not motivated by hate but by self-love. The manifestations are just different based on temperament.

    Relatedly:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/11/004-the-politics-of-architecture

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