Monday, April 16, 2007

more on racism

still thinking but from Kevin Drum, this exceptional essay.

We live in a country where one major party has spent most of the past forty-odd years depending on ever crueler appeals to racism to help it out in elections, even at the same time as society has largely taken it on faith that racism is a settled matter. Reagan and Bush may have had to do what they had to do to get the Snopes family to go to the polling place, but so what? When someone shows himself to be a "real" racist, he's stripped of his epaulets and driven from the fort. Unfortunately, in public life, you have to practically be filmed burning a cross in front of a black church and waving to the camera to be tagged as a "real" racist. If you protested the Vietnam War, you're going to be explaining and even apologizing for it to your dying day, but there are plenty of people who voted against civil rights legislation in the 1960s--an act that you might think would pretty clearly and unambiguously stamp you as maybe not being, as Don Imus says, "a good person"-- who have been allowed to go on to long, respectable political careers. People like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond were held by the Beltway not to be racists because, well, because they just couldn't be--they were duly elected politicians, so the thought was too morbid to be seriously considered.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh - you beat me to it. That is the best analysis!