You’re all racists

UpdateNMI published this column today, September 27, 2009.  Original post (written September 21) below:

You’re all racists — that was to have been the title of my New Mexico Independent column today.  But about an hour after I submitted it, I received an e-mail from my new editor (my previous editor, David Alire Garcia, having left not only the New Mexico Independent, but New Mexico as well, to my great sadness) at NMI announcing that she was calling a temporary moratorium on columns about race because the comments on recent columns have become so incendiary.

Even though the editor of the New Mexico Independent has decided that “this issue is not going anywhere good,” I’d just as soon all my hard work and profound insights not to go waste.  Fortunately, I have another venue here at Moralia.  My little blog doesn’t get as much traffic as NMI, it’s true, but at least I have sole editorial control here.  And I’m not finished writing about this issue.  Not by a long shot.

Neither are a lot of other conservatives, like Sister Toldjah, Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek, A Conservative Teacher, Jonah Goldberg (at whose table I sat at the New Mexico Turn Around conference where both of us spoke on Friday), S. Weasel (who ruminates on how to turn the same savage wit she unleashed on the Clintons for eight years on the Obamas without being raaaacist),  McCain, Cassandra at Villainous Company, Kathy Shaidle, Ed Driscoll, David Brooks (HT: Patrick the Paragraph Farmer), Another Black Conservative and, as I linked the other day, but whose excellent treatment of the issue deserves another plug, Nice Deb.

So here’s the column that was supposed to run at NMI today.  The column that was going to get the commenters at NMI too riled up for safety.  The column my editor didn’t want you to read. But as I said before, here at Moralia, I am the editor, and I get to decide what gets published and what doesn’t.  Having complete freedom of expression doesn’t pay quite as well as writing for somebody else, but as the MasterCard commercials say, it’s priceless.

You’re all racists

written for (but not published by)

The New Mexico Independent

“You’re all racists!”  That’s the meme sweeping the mainstream media and left-leaning websites these days.  Conservative opposition to the Democratic policies championed by President Obama.  Everybody is saying it.  Former President Jimmy Carter is saying it.   Frank Rich of The New York Times is saying it.  Orlando Romero of the Santa Fe New Mexican is saying it.  All the cool people are saying it, so it must be true, right? The fact is, conservatives oppose leftist politicians because they try to enact leftist policies.  Barack Obama is a leftist politician and therefore conservatives oppose his policies.  Because the swing voters who joined committed leftists to elect Obama are now having second thoughts, the liberal media elite is now desperately searching for a way to bring those swing voters back, and has decided that guilt-tripping them with accusations of racism is their best bet.

I frequently hear how racist people still are in the South and in some other regions of the United States.  I will admit that I have never lived in the South (as opposed to the Southwest) so I cannot speak personally of the Zeitgeist concerning matters of race in conservative circles there.  I do have a number of friends who are Southerners and Republicans, and I can say that I’ve never heard any of them make racist remarks about Barack Obama even though I have heard them attack his policy positions.

This is not to say that there aren’t younger racists in the South and other regions of the country.  I’m sure there are.  I just do not believe that there are even a tenth as many of them as the recent glut of opinion pieces suggests. There will always be people with anti-social and even pathological attitudes in our society.  There are people walking the streets among us who will at some point in the future commit murders and rapes, people who will kidnap and molest children, people who will swindle the elderly and the feeble-minded.  The fact that there are sadists and sociopaths among us does not make us a nation of sadists and sociopaths, however.

There are men in our society who hate women, men like George Sodini, who last month went on a shooting spree in  which he murdered three women and injured nine more, because he felt as though women rejected him sexually.  The fact that a small percentage of men burn with murderous rage against women does not make American men as a whole misogynistic.

Likewise, there are people in our society who hate blacks.  A few are violent, pathological racists, who think the murderous violence of the KKK was fully justified.  More are racists of a milder degree, people who would never condone the murder of a black person, but who would be distressed if their son or daughter dated one.

In personal conversations with other conservatives, I have heard exactly three people make racist remarks about the president.  All three of them are in their 80s.  These are people who were already well into adulthood during the 1950s, when segregation was still considered acceptable by a large minority, if not the majority, of the white population of this country. The vast majority of Republicans, Libertarians and registered independent conservatives who voice opposition to Barack Obama do so because they oppose his policy positions.  This is true of the overwhelming majority of conservatives under the age of 60.  For the most part, Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and people younger even than that do not share the often frankly racist sentiments of some elderly people.

President Obama wants to take the country in a direction those of us on the right see as the wrong direction – dangerously wrong.  That is why the great majority of us oppose him. The allegations of racism against conservatives are not only slanderous, but ignorant.  Didn’t we vote against John Kerry, a white man, in 2004?  Didn’t we vote against Al Gore, a white man, in 2000?  Didn’t we vote against Bill Clinton, a white man, in 1992 and 1996?  And did not Barack Obama, a black man, win a great many more votes from white Americans than either Kerry or Gore?

The case of Bill Clinton is particularly damning to the “they’re all racists” argument.  Imagine Bill Clinton had been a black man rather than a white man.  When Republicans in the House of Representatives impeached Clinton, the pundits would have cried racism, arguing that conservative targeting of Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes was playing to the stereotype of the highly sexualized black male, that the right was demonizing him because we were afraid of a sexually predatory black man who threatened white women. But, alas, Bill Clinton was a sexually predatory white man, and so the argument could not be made.

In the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency, it was mainly crackpots like Janeane Garofalo who were insisting that everyone who wasn’t in lock step with the president’s policy agenda was a racist.  Now, more respectable voices are picking up this slanderous rallying cry.  Shame on actual racists, but shame on those who slander principled conservatives as racists, too.

Comments 27

  1. John Hitchcock wrote:

    Hello, I am the creator of Truth Before Dishonor, and racism is a pet peeve of mine. And false accusations of racism drive me up a wall. I have written several articles on the subject, but not at your quality level. One of my articles came from the blog Black&Right with small addendums (Addenda?).

    While I am looking for a plug, feel free to delete this comment. But please look through my articles listed below before deleting it.

    BTW, Head Noises has you in her sidebar, and that’s how I found you.

    I’m listing the article names in the hopes I don’t find my way into “spam” for multiple links. Hopefully “moderation” or less. :)

    Let’s Talk About Racism
    Here A Racist, There A Racist, Everywhere A Racist
    Don’t Link-Surf
    Sheriff Joe (Foxfier authored)
    Democrat Civil Rights History
    Liberals Are Racists
    Raise Up A Child

    I hope this information is of some value. I created my blog on the Biblical idea of: “If not you, then who?”

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 8:16 am
  2. Rob wrote:

    Brigette,
    I wish you best of luck and pray for your strength. I’ve read your NMI posts, and the comments after it. I don’t know which group of comments are crazier; those who agree with your column or those who do not. Not to say that I don’t typically agree, but geesh. I feel like I’m reading a transcript from a third grade playground argument sometimes.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 12:03 pm
  3. Judy Edmundowicz wrote:

    Brigette,
    Thank you for the time and effort you put into this article. It was such a thoughtful and well written piece. You are so in command of the English language. It would be a blessing if more people could read and process these thoughts. Keep up the good work. It’s great to read such thought provoking material.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 2:41 pm
  4. Foxfier wrote:

    *points up* What they said.

    It is pretty low of them to tell you AFTER you submit the article “oh, yeah, we’re not doing this anymore…..”

    And I had such high hopes for this NMI paper.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 3:59 pm
  5. Dan G wrote:

    Well, the sources are important, no? Frank Rich hardly speaks for progressives, and it’s been a long time since Jimmy Carter led the Democratic Party and the country. Instead of demuring, the NMI should figure out how, editorially, to frame a constructive discussion on race.

    I actually like President Obama’s response to David Letterman, which was something along the lines of “I was black before I became President.”

    But here’s what I really think. Our civil discourse and tone is not just heated over opposition, but it’s personal and mean. This isn’t new. George Bush and Bill Clinton and many others faced similar meanness.

    But I think there’s clearly an added element of bite because people are interested in the racial implications of harsh criticism. When criticism becomes disrespectful, where do you draw the line before it crosses over into something with racial implications? I think the Jimmy Carters are conscious of this, as are conservative critics, who want to be heard but are conscious of how their criticism might be interpreted (or misinterpreted) as somehow racist.

    I think we’re seeing a lot more race consciousness in the political debate than we’re used to, and that comes with its own set of challenges.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 3:59 pm
  6. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Our civil discourse and tone is not just heated over opposition, but it’s personal and mean. This isn’t new.

    Indeed it isn’t. The political rhetoric in the days of Adams and Jefferson was pretty vicious, and when Andrew Jackson was president the opposition regularly attacked his wife. None of this is new.

    What gets me is that leftists today suddenly expect everyone to be all sweetness and light, simply because the current Democrat president happens to be black.

    Sorry, he’s a politician, so he’s fair game, black or white. The ironic thing is, I get the impression this is how Obama sees it himself, and he seems — to his credit — more than a little uncomfortable by the “No fair picking on the black guy” approach many of his supporters are taking.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 4:49 pm
  7. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Good, good, good piece Brigette.

    It is obvious that the left can sure dish it out, but they can’t take it in return.

    The left is so intellectually bankrupt it’s now pathetically laughable.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 6:57 pm
  8. Deb E. wrote:

    Brigette, very well-written article.

    However, I see this debate in the broader light of political power and the response to opposition. Conservatives disagree with the direction in which the current administration is taking us, and the party in power is using the “racist” label in response to that opposition. It was not so very long ago that liberals vehemently disagreed with President Bush’s war policy. The conservative response was to deem all liberals “unpatriotic”.

    Neither is true: All conservatives are not racist and all liberals are not unpatriotic. And I don’t believe that either side is “intellectually bankrupt”.

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 8:19 pm
  9. Foxfier wrote:

    Correction, Deb E.:
    Bush was accused of being a war-mongering Nazi and people tried to claim supporting the troops, while calling us idiots, children or worse; additionally, any attempt to catch those trying to kill Americans was met with accusations of being a Nazi. Conservatives responded by calling those folks unpatriotic.

    Objecting to *anything* Obama does gets labeled “racist.”

    Trying to draw more than a very, very, very basic similarity is as wrong as those who try to equate 9/11 Truthers to anyone with doubts about Obama’s legal right to serve as president (US gov’t conspired to kill thousands of our own people, vs “Obama is acting suspicious about his birth certificate.”)

    Posted 22 Sep 2009 at 9:38 pm
  10. Dianna wrote:

    Brigette,
    I am so inspired by your writing! Not many can take this subject and stick with the intellectual side and not be pulled another way. I was born in the 1940’s and I am a baby boomer. Proud of it as well. I was raised by a mother who taught me to respect all people. That is what I have tried to do. But I strongly oppose Barak Obama and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. He could be purple and I would still know that he is destroying the liberties Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years. The rights so strongly fought for by young boys and old men so many, many years ago.

    The bottom line is I was hoping President Obama would be a successful President and become the first Black man to not only be elected to that office, but the first Black man to take the true stand that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL and be seen in history as not a good President but a Great President and an even Greater man.

    Posted 23 Sep 2009 at 12:18 am
  11. Ivan wrote:

    Doesn’t that bother you Dianna to no end that while you’re opposed to his agenda, his allies in the media and congress will say, “you’re just doing this because you hate blacks.”

    It makes my head spin. It’s insulting at the least.

    Posted 23 Sep 2009 at 5:48 am
  12. MIT Mommy wrote:

    Brigette – Well said, as usual. I commented on Nice Deb the other day as well and am anxious to add my own voice.

    I am very distressed that NMI will not publish this. I have to assume they did not even have the decency to read it first. I have quite a bit of trouble believing that any media outlet would shy away from topics that draw emotion and discussion.

    In fact, it seems recently that most media outlets seek out topics and writers merely on the basis of their incitefulness, as opposed to insightfulness, which is clearly your talent.

    If NMI hasn’t the sense to print you, then someone else certainly will.

    Posted 24 Sep 2009 at 3:36 am
  13. Brigette Russell wrote:

    The editor did read it, and in fact said there was nothing wrong with my column at all, per se. She just decided that she would not publish any more columns on race at all, no matter the perspective and no matter the merits of the individual columns, because certain commenters at NMI had become quite vitriolic in past columns on the subject.

    What this tells me, of course, is that this issue really resonates with readers, and so it’s a mistake to ban the topic altogether. I’ve been urged to write on other issues — issues that people don’t have such strong feelings about, in other words, issues that people don’t care as deeply about.

    It’s a strange way to practice journalism, I tell you what.

    Posted 25 Sep 2009 at 1:49 pm
  14. Laura wrote:

    Brigette,

    I love how you can put my conservative thoughts into words! It is so insulting that most liberals would look at someone like me and assume that I am racist because I don’t agree with the policies of President Obama. I could care less what color he or anyone else is, but if what they believe and their agenda goes against my moral beliefs and political views, then I will speak out against it. I think liberals turn to the race card because, when it comes down to an actual argument, we have the upper hand and race is the only thing they can think of to retaliate. It is basically a smear campaign against perfectly legitimate arguments proposed by conservative Republicans.

    Posted 25 Sep 2009 at 6:29 pm
  15. Dan wrote:

    I’m looking forward to your articles decrying similar conservative tactics like claiming healthcare reform includes “Death Panels” or that Democrats want seniors to die, or any of the myriad of other right-wing disgusting political tactics.

    Posted 01 Oct 2009 at 2:51 pm
  16. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Hey Dan,

    Did you see how the economy lost 995,000 jobs in September?

    Link here to the real data:

    http://market-ticker.org/archives/1485-September-Unemployment-ACTUAL-LOSS-995k.html

    With the economy losing about a million jobs a month, just what effect do you think that will have on the Democrats election chances in November of 2010?

    How many seats do you think the Dems will pick up in the House? Senate?

    Posted 03 Oct 2009 at 4:33 am
  17. Dan wrote:

    Yes Bowden, I’m sure that the GOP will make political hay out of the economic meltdown that they caused, just like they always do. The GOP may not be competent enough to actually hold office but they’re extremely competent at exploiting stupid people.

    Posted 05 Oct 2009 at 2:29 pm
  18. Bowden Russell wrote:

    But Dan, the economy didn’t enter a recession until Dec. of 2007, 11 months after Reid and Pelosi took power.

    How do you figure the GOP is responsible when it was Democratic legislation signed by that hyper-liberal Bush that helped push us into this maelstrom?

    PS I don’t think Bush vetoed a single piece of Democratic spending, thus he’s as liberal as Reid and Pelosi as he did sign onto their liberal agenda.

    Posted 05 Oct 2009 at 6:54 pm
  19. Dan wrote:

    It was the Bush administration’s deliberate decision not to regulate the credit default swap market that caused the economic catastrophe Bowden. Keep trying to blame it on Nancy Pelosi/Barney Frank/minorities as much as you want but the fact is that sub-prime mortgages were not the actual cause of the economic meltdown. Allowing financial institutions to bundle them together and get a friendly credit agency to stamp a AAA rating on them is.

    Bush “hyper-liberal”. Ha. Fringe right wing conservatives are so predictable. Give full-throated support to some incompetent right wing clown his whole time in office and then, after he turns out to be a dismal failure, immediately claim he was a liberal after all. Maybe you can get Palin in office to continue Bush’s tradition of being of being a down home incompetent moron who nearly destroys the country and forces her Democratic successor to do unpopular things to rescue the economy.

    Republicans spend all their time ranting and screaming about how government is too incompetent to do anything (excepting the sacred conservative fetish military of course) and then they get elected and prove it.

    Posted 05 Oct 2009 at 9:00 pm
  20. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Dan,

    I’m sorry, but can you list for me all the pieces of legislation Bush vetoed? He was a bigger spender than liberal Bill Clinton.

    I bet you didn’t know that Dan. Bush spent more money, was more liberal, than Clinton.

    Did you know that Dan?

    Now tell me how Bush WASN’T liberal, given the facts I have stated.

    Posted 06 Oct 2009 at 11:48 pm
  21. Dan wrote:

    I love how you try to conflate spending with liberalism Bowden. Surely you realize by now that there hasn’t been a GOP president who didn’t run massive and irresponsible deficits since Nixon. Conservativism hasn’t been about small government since Goldwater. It now consists of warmongering and pushing your ridiculous religions down the rest of our throats.

    Here’s just 10 ways that Bush is not a liberal:

    1) Invaded a foreign country for no reason whatsoever
    2) Gave government funding to religious organizations
    3) Gave gigantic tax cuts weighted heavily towards the wealthy
    4) Encouraged fossil fuel use and exploitation at every turn
    5) Signed the defense of marriage act
    6) Ran gigantic deficits in a time of economic prosperity
    7) Turned a blind eye to global warming
    8) Refused to even attempt to regulate the credit default swap market on the long-since dis-proven theory that the free market always knows best
    9) Alienated the majority of our allies because, just like you, he believes that the US is the only country in the world that matters.
    10) Was a charming but dumb figurehead who didn’t understand the simple-minded and intellectually bankrupt policies he espoused (just like Reagan, and you hope, Palin!)

    I could go on like this all day but there’s really no point since you’ve convinced yourself (or more likely some idiot on freerepublic has convinced you) that Bush is in fact a liberal, because you’ve been brainwashed by the right wing echo chamber into automatically labeling anything that sucks (and we can certainly agree that Bush suuuuuuuuuuucks) as “Liberal”. This is the same mindset that allows conservatives to label someone both a fascist and a socialist without blinking.

    I on the other hand am capable of seeing that someone sucks (like Marty Chavez or Bill Richardson) without having to label them “conservative”. Admittedly the GOP has been the banner carrier for corruption the last ten or so years but that doesn’t make corrupt Democrats “conservatives”, any more than it makes incompetent and corrupt Republicans like Bush “liberals”.

    Posted 07 Oct 2009 at 3:37 pm
  22. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Dan, we’re discussing the economy and spending, remember?

    6) Ran gigantic deficits in a time of economic prosperity

    Your number 6 point makes my case. Bush was a big spender, i.e. “liberal”. Conservatives don’t believe in big government such as No Child Left Behind or the stupid Prescription Drug bill which dramatically increased government spending.

    Now, I’ll ask this question for a third time, if you don’t answer it I and everyone else here will assume you’re too embarrassed to admit you were wrong: Name for me a spending bill which George W. Bush vetoed since Pelosi and Reid took power in January of 2007.

    Posted 07 Oct 2009 at 5:02 pm
  23. Dan wrote:

    Your number 6 point makes my case. Bush was a big spender, i.e. “liberal”. Conservatives don’t believe in big government such as No Child Left Behind or the stupid Prescription Drug bill which dramatically increased government spending.

    If that’s the case then Saint Ronnie Reagan is also a liberal as he also ran gigantic deficits in a time of economic prosperity.

    I don’t see how Bush’s veto record is relevant to whether he’s a conservative or not. Conservatives in both the white house and congress have spent just as wildly as liberals have for the last twenty years. Keep pretending to yourself that conservatism is about keeping spending low as long as you want but conservatism now is all about Jesus, low taxes, invading as many countries as possible, and making abortion illegal, because those are the only issues that conservative voters actually care about.

    It takes a truly stupid and demented mind to actually believe that George W Bush is a liberal.

    Posted 07 Oct 2009 at 10:57 pm
  24. Bowden Russell wrote:

    I don’t see how Bush’s veto record is relevant to whether he’s a conservative or not

    Yes, let’s NOT examine Bush’s track record as a borrow-and-spend liberal as that would make Bowden’s point that Bush was, in fact, a liberal.

    Whatever Dan.

    Say Dan, how’d you like those election returns for Albuquerque???? The Republicans also won the City Council!!!!

    Can’t you just wait for 2010? The Democrats are going to be so paralyzed this next year that they’ll be afraid to pass any major legislation! Ha! That 2008 election will be essentially for naught.

    Ah, too bad. They had the House and a filibuster-proof Senate yet those artards still couldn’t pass much of Obama’s agenda!

    Talk about poor leadership.

    Posted 08 Oct 2009 at 3:59 am
  25. Dan wrote:

    So was the inventor of borrow-and-spend, Ronald Reagan, also a liberal Bowden? Stop ducking the question. The fact that you’ve allowed Grover Norquist and his lackey Rush Limbaugh to brainwash your weak mind into believing that “liberal” means “government spender” just shows how dim you actually are.

    I liked the election returns for Albuquerque fine. I voted for Berry, because Chavez is a corrupt douchebag and Romero ran an awful campaign. Cadigan lost mainly because of a SunCal financed last minute smear campaign against him so that they can build another Rio Rancho out in the Atrisco land grant.

    Fortunately I don’t live on the West side which is a GOP paradise of plywood McMansions, chain resturaunts, and strip malls. They’re welcome to it. Maybe you should move there instead of that Liberal hellhole Santa Fe with their dumb ole Liberal city planning. Just think, you could eat at a different Applebees every night of the week!

    Posted 08 Oct 2009 at 2:36 pm
  26. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Yes, in the spending side of politics, Reagan was. At least his spending though won the cold war while Obama’s spending, and Bush’s, lost the war on terror.

    Glad to see you voting Republican for a change! Welcome aboard!

    Hope you stay that way for the 2010 elections. Everyone loves a winner.

    Posted 08 Oct 2009 at 6:00 pm
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