Posted by Joe R. Hicks
Remember Henry Louis Gates? He’s the Harvard professor who went ballistic when a white Cambridge police officer hand-cuffed him and hauled him off to jail for disorderly conduct. He had refused to cooperate with officers who thought he might have been involved in home break-in (his home).
Gates offered another story. The arresting officer was a racist who simply couldn’t believe that a black man lived in a high-priced, Harvard-adjacent neighborhood. The back-story however was that this cop had no history of bad behavior of any kind and numerous black officers on the force came to his defense.
The cap on the issue was that Obama eventually hosted a White House “happy hour” involving Gates, Vice President Joe Biden, and the arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley. They came by, had a beer or two, and talked about their disagreements. It was a nice media moment, but it glossed over the victim politics and bad behavior exhibited by Gates - one of the country’s best-known and most respected black scholars.
But now there’s new reason to bring Gates back to the table – perhaps for another beer or two – but this time to ask him why the publication he presides over is publishing nasty, bigoted, and just plain dumb-assed racial material?
is a website operated by the Washington Post and its editor-in-chief is none other than Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates. This site features commentaries “from a black perspective” (whatever that is).
So be it. But what got my attention, and elevated my blood pressure several notches, was a recent article onThe Root
“Black Folks We’d Like To remove From Black History,” written by Jada Smith.
For starters, the premise is dumb as a rock.
But getting beyond that, the writer used the well-known Zora Neale Hurston’s quote that “All my kinfolk ain’t my kinfolk” to act as the catalyst for listing the black people she’d like to erase from the pages of history. By doing so, Smith dusts off the old and lame notion of race-focused “authentic” black people versus “sell-out Oreos” who insist on wandering away from the racial plantation. Somebody please tell Smith that it’s 2010, not 1949.
On Smith’s list are discredited politicians (the former Washington D.C. mayor and crack-head, Marion Barry), indicted physicians (Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of presiding over Michael Jackson’s death), reality television “attention-whores” (Omarosa), and clownish rappers (Flavor Flav).
However, also on the list is Michael Steele, the Chair of the Republican National Committee and Clarence Thomas, an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Why Steele? Apparently she objects to Steele’s Republican Party affiliation and mutters something about him being “the bozo of politics.” But, what’s a sitting Supreme Court Justice doing on this list? According to Smith, his crime should be obvious—Thomas has the audacity to see the Constitution as a “colorblind” document.
This gives insight into the race-obsessed, victim-based worldview of this writer and others who share her ideology. People like her think that black people, like Thomas, who insist that judicial fairness and justice rely on race-neutral interpretations of the Constitution are naïve rubes – thus subject to ridicule.
Not yet done embarrassing herself, Smith fleshed out her list by adding, along with others, these individuals:
• Double-murderer, O.J. Simpson
• The mad-man of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe
• Idi Amin, the man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Uganda
• And two ruthless men largely viewed as being responsible for Haiti’s horrid, impoverished state, “Baby Doc” and “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
So, accomplished, successful men like Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas should be “written out of the race” and put on a list of fools, clowns, criminals and mass-killers.
Are you kidding me!
Its not enough that those invested in racial identity and racial authenticity see black conservatives as “self-loathing,” now they’re advocating that they be removed completely from history.
We get this nonsense from the very same liberal race advocates and activists who obsessively scold us about the need, no the demand, that we tolerate differences and champion diversity. They do so until it grates against the racial group-think they adhere to. They will then turn a blind eye to an inescapable reality; that black people don’t all think alike, nor act alike, and with increasing frequency also reject the victim narrative so often published inThe Root
What’s ironic is that the hyper-sensitive Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, allowed this on a website he presides over. I’m willing to sit down with the professor, have a beer or two, and hear his defense of a brain-dead, insulting screed that he allowed into print. Hey, I’ll even cover the cost of the beers.
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February 18, 2010 | 2:47 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
Occasionally, research is reported on that confirms beliefs you hold but haven’t been certain of. You think that your observations and conclusions are correct but you lack the empirical data to assert the beliefs with any kind of assuredness.
That reality made The New York Times Health section this past Monday so refreshing.
It contained an article that confirmed what I have believed for years but never saw documentation of—- “that team sports can result in lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects.”
As budgets for education are cut left and right, with the arts and sports being among the first casualties, it’s worth noting that there are unforeseen benefits to the less traditional aspects of education that aren’t simply “reading, writing and ‘rithmatic.”
The lessons of sport aren’t amenable to easy assessment and evaluation, but they arereal
—-I, as a parent with nearly three decades of schlepping to basketball, baseball and track events, can vouch for that.
As the father of four children, all of whom participated in organized sports through high school (my oldest daughter who was and is a dancer [now a professional] was in a ‘non-traditional’ sport); I can attest on a personal level to the impact that team sports has on kids.
The notions of excellence, of striving to attain better skills, of recognizing differing levels of talent, of learning to work with others of diverse capacities, the joy of victory, and even the disappointment of defeat all result in life-long lessons that extend far beyond the playing field.
By the way, those realities run head-on into to the all too prevalent “self-esteem” notions that we are all “winners” and there aren’t levels of achievement and skill (i.e. that winning and losing and talent are relatively unimportant). Early elementary school kids can figure out who does better and see through phony praise intended to “protect” them. One of my children played on a high school team where the athletic director “strongly suggested” to coaches that every criticism of a player be preceded by four “positive” comments. Mercifully, that was at the end of my kid’s tenure at that school.
Two new studies confirm everything I have ever believed about the impact of team sports—-especially how wonderful they are for young girls.
As the Times reports:
Using a complex analysis, Dr. Stevenson showed that increasing girls’ sports participation had a direct effect on women’s education and employment. She found that the changes set in motion by Title IX explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women.
“It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life,” she said, adding, “While I only show this for girls, it’s reasonable to believe it’s true for boys as well.”
Another question is whether Title IX has made a difference in women’s long-term health. In a carefully conducted study, Robert Kaestner, an economics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, compared rates of obesity and physical activity of women who had been in high school in the 1970s — as Title IX was taking effect — with similar women from earlier years. Controlling the results for other influences, like age and changing diets, Dr. Kaestner was able to tease out the effects Title IX had on women’s health.
He found that the increase in girls’ athletic participation caused by Title IX was associated with a 7 percent lower risk of obesity 20 to 25 years later, when women were in their late 30s and early 40s. His article was published this month in the journal Evaluation Review.
According to the Times, the evidence is overwhelming and convincing. These data might chasten our educational leaders who think they know where funding cuts should be made—-nothing is easy.
February 16, 2010 | 4:39 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer and Joe R. Hicks
As long-time civil rights veterans, we have been around the block a few times with colleagues who appeared committed to the work of bettering civil dialogue in our country. The platitudes about getting along and tolerating opinions one doesn’t like are easy to mouth and come trippingly off lots of tongues; actually adhering to the precepts of tolerance and civil dialogue is a lot less easy.
Invariably, those who don’t really believe what they say are undone by their actions. They will commit to Voltaire’s dictum (“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!”) in the abstract, but will falter when confronted with someone they disagree with—-usually offering a lame excuse as to why this or that activist should be muzzled or shouted down.
A long-time colleague who has done service on a variety of “civil rights” and “free speech” panels and commissions, Salaam al Marayati, the LA-based national head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (“MPAC”) proved, once again, our rule of “true colors” ultimately coming out.
Last week, MPAC issued a bizarre press release justifying political extremists who assaulted the First Amendment and civil dialogue in our community.
Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was scheduled to speak at the University of California, Irvine. He was invited by the UCI Law School and UCI’s Political Science Department to deliver a lecture and then offer himself to questions from the audience.
Prior to the lecture, the members of the Muslim Student Association at UCI “condemned and strongly opposed” the presence of Oren on the UCI campus (parenthetically, they did it “In the Name of God, Most Gracious and Most Merciful”). They “strongly condemn the university for cosponsoring, and therefore, inadvertently (sic) supporting the ambassador of a state that is condemned….. Oren and his partnersshould only be granted a speakers platform in the International Criminal Court
and should not be honored on our campus.”
At the lecture, eleven students (eight from UCI and three from UC Riverside) acted out their commitment to keeping Oren’s voice off campus; they interrupted his speech on ten separate occasions in a vain effort to prevent him from speaking.
In the words of UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, “they shouted him down.” Campus police escorted each protestor out of the auditorium and then arrested them for disturbing a public event.
Now comes al Marayati and MPAC to argue that the tactics employed by the students, that of the “heckler’s veto” (i.e. shouting down those with whom you disagree) is really just an “exercise in free speech….these students had the courage and conscience to stand up against aggression, using peaceful means….we cannot allow our educational institutions to be used as a platform to threaten and discourage students who choose to practice their First Amendment right.” MPAC then urged the UCI chancellor not to punish the Muslim students for “peacefully voicing their opposition.”
MPAC and al Marayati fail to understand the most rudimentary elements of what free speech and the First Amendment are all about. Shouting down a speaker with whom you disagree does not demonstrate “courage and conscience,” nor is it “a practice of First Amendment right(s).” It is the very antithesis of the First Amendment—-it demonstrates disdain and contempt for those who came to hear the speaker.
As Dean Chemerinsky has rightly asserted, “there is no right to a heckler’s veto.
” If there were, the First Amendment’s notion of the free marketplace of ideas (usually an especially valued principle on university campuses) would be meaningless—-the loudest most raucous voices would be the only ones heard.
To add insult to injury, Ambassador Oren and his hosts made clear before the speech that there would be a question and answer session following his presentation—-had the MSA leaders wanted to confront him with their challenges, there was a time and a place for that exchange.
It is clear that MPAC and its leadership now want to intimidate UCI’s leadership into acquiescing to the breach of campus rules and drop all charges against the student thugs. MPAC’s press release in effect says we should be grateful that the students used “peaceful means.” One can only shudder when thinking of what actions might have been taken that wouldn’t have been peaceful.
UCI is an educational institution and these students need an education. One invaluable rule of life that applies to everyone in a democracy, especially young people, is that actions have consequences. The conscious decision to disrupt and harass a guest speaker on a university campus, after being admonished not to engage in such conduct, and to deny others the right to hear a guest speaker demands a response; a response that resonates on other campuses—-this conduct is not acceptable
UCI is not an isolated case; an Aljazeera.net blogger proudly describes the phenomenon of disruption that has become an MSA tactic:
But by in large, what is making me take notice is how pro-Palestinian students seem to be growing more vocal and organized with their frustrations.
It’s a phenomena (sic) that seems to have caught the Israelis off guard. When Oren’s appeal for Middle East-like hospitality failed, Oren jousted: “
This is not London or Tehran!
He must have been clairvoyant. Across the Pond at Oxford Union on that same day, it was not exactly going swimmingly for Deputy Foreign Minister Dann Ayalon, trying also to lay down a rote defense of Israel.
Students there also used timed interruptions, and apparently racist invectives, to upset their Israeli guest
Only if the UCI administration stands firm and demonstrates a commitment to the First Amendment—and the right of students to hear diverse and even controversial voices—-will we be assured that we don’t become “London or Tehran.” Perhaps, MPAC and its leadership will learn that free speech and civil discourse applies to everyone.
February 12, 2010 | 4:07 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
The Los Angeles City Council ought to send a thank you note to Sen. John Edwards, the New Orleans Saints, Sarah Palin and the TeaParty folks for sucking up much of the PR oxygen over the past week. If it weren’t for those stories, much of LA might be completely pre-occupied with wondering how we elected a group of officials who blithely pretend that LA isn’t facing what is undoubtedly its worst financial crisis since the Depression.
Last week, the Council—-to the amazement of most observers of the local scene—-failed to cut the city budget despite the Mayor’s and the city’s Chief Administrative Officer’s (“CAO”) unquestioned warning that financial disaster was imminent. There is a budget gap of $218 million for this fiscal year and a projected $484 deficit for next year.
The CAO urged that 1,000 jobs be cut—-there is virtually no other place to find the savings necessary to keep us solvent. There is no question as to the scope and depth of the crisis—-everyone acknowledges it. There is only a shocking unwillingness on the part of a large majority of the council to demonstrate the political backbone to make very difficult and, possibly, unpopular choices.
The crisis is so profound that Mayor Villaraigosa, a product of the labor union movement and hardly one prone to eliminate public employee positions out of animus for public workers, has been forced to act in the face of the Council’s inertia. He announced plans to make the 1,000 employee cutbacks unilaterally and warned this week that even more may be needed.
We are by nature optimists; we’ve thought that given adequate information and the opportunity to make the right choices, most elected officials will act responsibly and appropriately; after all, most of them are there because they care about the common good.
How much more so, we’ve thought, when crisis looms—-when the abyss is before us—- surely electeds will suck it up and do the right thing. Boy, were we wrong!
Whether in Sacramento or now in the City Council, the capacity of elected officials to avoid making tough decisions that require a modicum of leadership seems boundless. Clearly too many of our leaders would prefer that someone else take the heat and do their dirty work so that they can go back to their funders and say, “see, I didn’t buckle, I’m your real friend!”
The posturing of Councilpersons Hahn, Koretz and Alarcon has been especially tough to take seriously—-they offer no remedies, they just want to protect every city job they’ve ever seen (assuming the members are in the favored unions) and not be concerned about the consequences of their position.
Over fifty years ago John F. Kennedy wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, in which he wrote about political leaders who were willing to make tough choices—-even at the cost of their political careers—-because of the public good they were sworn to serve.
A man does what he must—-in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—-and that is the basis of all human morality..…each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—-they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
Other than Councilpersons Parks, Smith and Perry, our leaders have been AWOL; unwilling to demonstrate even a little bit of the “courage” that Kennedy wrote about.
Would that our local leaders would do a bit of soul searching and summon up just a touch of backbone—-the city sure needs it.
February 5, 2010 | 5:44 pm
Posted by Joe R. Hicks
Is the growth of the nation’s charter schools a throw-back to the racially segregated schools that once consigned the children of minority families to separate, but mostly unequal, educations? This is the alarming claim today of some civil rights advocates. But raising false alarms is mostly what the advocates of “social justice” do these days—-with or without facts.
Case in point is UCLA’s Civil Rights Project which argues that charter schools have increased segregation for black students. Nationally, 70% of black students attending charter schools are at schools where approximately 90% of the students are black. Researchers at the UCLA group say that a typical black student goes to a charter schools where three out of four students are black. Gary Orfield, the director of the UCLA advocacy group, argues this means we’re in a new era of “enforced segregation….a race to the past”
Not addressed by Orfield or his group is the reality that the LA public school district is only 9 percent white. Given this, how would he suggest we go about “desegregating” schools - without resorting to some version of the old, bankrupt notion of cross-town bussing and even then, you would need lots of mirrors to spread 9% of students among the other 91%?
The Superintendent of LA’s public school district bravely addressed the claim that LA’s charter schools are “segregated.” Ramon Cortinas said “
If charter schools are doing the job for the student, and it is a better job … I’m not as concerned about racial isolation.”
School and housing segregation, as any student of American history knows, were enforced by the weight of law, as well as by the norms of white supremacy. Today, no such laws exist on the books anywhere in the nation – not even in the Southern states where racial segregation was once a way of life. The stigma that attached to forced segregation is totally absent today, students and their parents choose to attend the charter schools that they prefer and that think will be effective—-demographics may or may not play a role in that decision…it’s their choice.
The three-fold increase nationally in the growth of independently managed public schools has been driven by the frustration of parents with the generally substandard level of education to be found in poor, urban public school systems. This has little to do with racism, since many of these districts and schools are directed by minority-run school boards, with schools lead by black or minority principals, and with teachers who are often non-white. In these circumstances, parents have opted for charter schools that – while perhaps not always delivering the goods – have at least offered parents educational alternatives.
But what drives advocates like the UCLA’s Orfield is the time-frozen view that the nation has changed very little in regard to race relations.
This past Martin Luther King holiday, I debated the state of race relations with Orfield on an NPR radio program. Astoundingly, Orfield contended that little has changed regarding the dimensions of segregation and discrimination since the days when Dr. King was alive (over forty years ago).
He, of course, is not alone in this view.
• Speaking last year at a Black History Month celebration, president Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, argued that the U.S. is a nation of cowards on matters of race and that Americans live in “race protected cocoons.”
• When briefly arrested by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officer, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates contended that every aspect of the episode was the product of race and racism.
• Spike Lee, the well-known and quite successful filmmaker, has argued that “racism is woven into the very fabric of America.”
• This past December, New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow, wrote that “We are now inundated with examples of overt racism on a scale to which we are unaccustomed.” Blow’s examples of this “overt racism” were exactly two: online Google ads directed at the first couple which he said were racially offensive, and a four percent increase nationally in hate crimes against blacks in 2008. By the way, this four percent cited by Blow is an increase of exactly 162 hate crimes against black victims in a nation of 350,000,000 people.
Despite contentions like these, the nation has changed significantly since the days when Dr. King helped orchestrate civil rights campaigns.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 70 percent of white Americans and 60 percent of blacks “believe that values held by blacks and whites have become more similar in the past decade.” This poll also found that 39 percent of black Americans say the “situation for blacks in the U.S. is better than it was five years earlier.” In 2007 only 20 percent of blacks said this was the case.
However, the critical finding is that more blacks are rejecting the victim mentality that clouds the view of all too many civil rights leaders.
The Pew poll discovered that an amazing 52 percent of blacks said that blacks themselves are “responsible for their own situation,” with only one-third of blacks maintaining that racism is what’s keeping blacks down
A more recent Pew poll found that almost all “Millennials” – young people between the ages of 18-to-29 – express support for interracial dating and marriage. Roughly nine-in-ten say they would be fine with a family member’s marriage to a black-American (88%), an Asian American (93%), a Hispanic American (93%), or a white American (92%).
What does all of this mean?
Despite racial advocates, like the UCLA’s Gary Orfield and others who share his world-view, this nation’s racial landscape has changed in amazing ways. While they insist otherwise, we are not entering some new period of racial isolation or segregation, quite the opposite.
They haven’t acknowledged the progress because it contradicts their claim that the sky is always falling and because their gaze has been fixated and frozen on another era of American history – a time when meaningful racism and discrimination actually existed.
February 4, 2010 | 7:20 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
Today is one of those days when the stars aligned and light illuminated realities that are otherwise too often hidden or ignored.
The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown penned a scathing portrait of Sen. John Edwards—-former vice presidential candidate and a few votes in Iowa away from being the winning candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in the last cycle.
The catalyst for her piece is the just published book The Politician, by Edwards’ former “body man, beard and shit-eating courtier” (her words) Andrew Young. Reading her account of the immoral narcissist that is John Edwards is chilling. Not because it is “shocking” to learn that a politician has an out-of-control libido and ego, but that his disgusting duplicity was known by many in the media but was left unmentioned in miles and hours of analyses and political punditry.
As Brown writes, “
there was virtually no aspect of the Edwards campaign persona that was true
.” Yet, it was the National Enquirer, of all sources, that was left to dig into the muck which finally revealed the person behind the slick-haired persona that sought to become the most powerful man in the world.
I have no illusions about the saintliness of those who seek to be president, from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, monogamy and honesty in inter-personal relations are not derigueur for political leaders. But somewhere between accepting moral shortcomings and being a compass-less, empty suit playing a role, there is a point at which the public has to be treated like adults who need to know whom they might be voting for.
When Edwards was bleating about the “two Americas” that only he cared about, we should have known that he was simultaneously deriding the “fat rednecks” (his words) he had to meet who reminded him of his own humble beginnings. His campaign workers were so cynical that during the Democratic candidates’ debates, they would “knock back a drink every time he uttered the words ‘son of a mill worker’” to describe himself—-“soon they were howling with laughter.”
As Young writes about Edwards, “
Virtually every word that came of his mouth was a lie, but it was convincing
But where were the media—-the guardians of the First Amendment’s freedom of the press and the public’s right to know? Apparently, they were too busy with other issues (e.g. was Hillary genuine when she teared up before the New Hampshire primary) and the unending nonsense that fills the 24/7 news cycle.
The mainstream media couldn’t or didn’t want to let us know what a dangerous, disingenuous phony Edwards was.
Lest this blog be perceived as being a partisan posting, today brought another example of political theatre that the media didn’t appropriately report on. A phony politician who had presidential aspirations and who might have slipped through, but for the unpredictable vagaries of history and an unchecked libido—-Gov. Mark Sanford.
In excerpts from his wife’s just published book, Staying True, Jenny Sanford offers a portrait of a politician seduced by the trappings of political success into becoming a thoughtless, narcissistic, self-deluding putz. As The New York Times reviewer summarized, “she watched her husband morph into a restless, distant character. He stopped bothering to be strict with their children. He worried about his bald spot. And he spent more and more time away from home, telling what turned out to be flagrant lies about his reasons for travel.”
The Sanford story isn’t just about adultery and the lies that inevitably accompany it, these days that may be a relatively minor blot on a politician’s resume. Rather it is about the warped view of the world of which the adultery seems to have been a symptom.
What kind of judgment does someone have who seeks his wife’s permission to continue his affair, who calls her after his disastrous “mea culpa” news conference to ask, “How’d I do?” and who thought nothing of lying to his aides and his state about his whereabouts overseas while still serving as governor (he was in Argentina, not on the Appalachian Trail).
Where were the reporters who covered him as the governor of South Carolina in all the months leading up to his very public fall? Where were they in letting the public know that this man had no right to think about being president of the United States, let alone governor of South Carolina? His flawed judgment must have been manifest in so many ways, especially to reporters who practically live with their subjects in smaller state houses. They must have known about Sanford’s wackiness, but they didn’t let the public know and the jabber about him being “presidential timber” continued.
These two incidents converging on one day’s news are reminders that our electoral system is only as good as the information we have about the candidates and issues we vote on. When reporters don’t inform the public about relevant personal traits and the shortcomings of our leaders that speak to judgment, honesty and integrity—-the system is compromised.
Garbage in—-garbage out!
February 2, 2010 | 8:22 pm
Posted by Joe R. Hicks
According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of “retarded” is slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress.” But now Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel has gotten himself into hot water after referring to liberal activist groups as “f—-ing retarded.” Gotcha!
As could be guessed, advocacy groups and political opponents of the president jumped on the remarks – some seeking advantage for organizational agendas or to cause the president embarrassment. It seems of no consequence that the President’s staff head dropped the “F” bomb in the midst of a White House staff meeting – who cared. But the word “retarded,” once made public, allowed disability groups to use the comment as a weapon in the bully-pulpit of advocacy politics.
Last year, the president appeared on Jay Leno’s NBC show and joked about his inability to bowl, saying “It’s like – it was like Special Olympics, or something.” Gotcha!
Of course, Emanuel has prostrated himself before the Gods of political correctness, calling Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics, among others to apologize for the comment.
But let’s put Emanuel’s comment into perspective, shall we? Emanuel is known as a less than sensitive fellow, one who routinely uses “colorful” and crude expressions to help get his often abrasive points across. He was reacting to the announcement that some liberal activists groups planned to air some attack ads aimed at conservative Democrats who dared be less than supportive of the president’s healthcare bill – legislation which lies prostrate and on life-support.
In true form, Emanuel called this idea “… retarded.” I mean, why would you want to alienate members of Congress – folks whose votes will be needed in upcoming House and Senate battles? Yeah, it is kind of, well, retarded – in the classic Webster’s sense of the word.
But isn’t this just more of the same political correctness game that has afflicted almost all aspects of our lives? Beyond their wildest dreams, advocacy groups have succeeded in affecting the ways that government tries to control the kinds of food people eat, the types of cars we drive, or the manner in which children’s games and sports events have managed to make winning a new sort of sin. Excellence is no longer the coin of the realm, what matters in this world of the “touchy-feely” is that you played the game – even if you sucked.
The penchant toward political correctness is what drove some reactions to the recent use of the word “Negro” by Senate Leader Harry Reid in comments he made in support of Barack Obama’s run for the White House. Of course, there was nothing derogatory about Reid’s comments.
Nor was there anything to take offense at in the recent comments of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. To the horror of the racially-conscious, he admitted that he “nearly” forgot that President Obama is black while watching the State of the Union address. The race police leaped to the attack. Gotcha!
But what Matthews said – albeit awkwardly - is actually indicative of the nation’s contemporary racial landscape. There was some initial amusement over the first black president “thing” – however, Matthews stumbled onto something real. Most Americans tend to concentrate - in these hard times - on the content of what he says about important issues they care about, and not on the President’s skin color.
The claim that “disadvantaged” minorities, and Americans with disabilities, are perpetual victims is a disempowering message. The majority of Americans with disabilities are strong, contributing people who have overcome adversity and aren’t about to wilt simply at overhearing a word that strident advocates now claim is the equivalent of the “N-word.”
But go tell that to Sarah Palin. Responding to Emanuel’s comment, the former vice presidential candidate and now a media commentator said: “Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the ‘N-word’ or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.”
Come on! It should be clear to all, except those with political agendas to serve, that Emanuel’s comments were directed at left/liberal political activists, and not at any individual – certainly not those with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities. Unless you’re a black rapper, who perversely claims another meaning, “Nigger” has only one use – to offend. The word “retard,” however, can be utilized in many ways - most often not offensive. So, “retarded” is now the new “N-word?”
Enough already! There are all too many critical issues facing the nation, and using politically correct “gotcha” politics to bludgeon others into submission or to win political points somehow seems beyond pointless.