Saturday, November 05, 2011

"Touré, Rush Limbaugh & How We Talk About Racism" (with video)

MSNBC-Dylan Ratigan, with video (03:57):
TOURÉ: This week I’m proud to say, Rush Limbaugh called me a racist.

RUSH CLIP: Touré on MSNBC, where the motto is “resist we much.” That’s right, Touré. For 23 years I’ve been hearing it. Maybe not from you, but people all over your side of the aisle. For 23 years, I’m racist, and I’m not. Never have been. You guys are.

Well, if that’s not a badge of honor, I don’t know what is. When I heard that, I said, “mama, I made it!” But whatever small comical victory that moment represents for me, it’s part of a loss for the country. It shows you the American conversation about race is devolving, because some people want to destroy that conversation.

The absurd idea that we are post-racial has emboldened many to reject the legitimacy of talking about race. To them, discussing race in and of itself is racist, because you’re playing the race card and injecting race into the world, as if it’s not already there.

For some people, racism is a word to fling around in an attempt to distort the meaning of the word and contort the necessary race conversation into meaninglessness. And whenever the conversation is pulled into the gutter of meaninglessness, we all lose.

Because we still have a significant racial problem in this country. We still have much to work on. Racism nowadays is more subtle and nuanced than ever, and that means un-nuanced thinkers like Rush can play easily dumb. “What do you mean I’m racist? I don’t have slaves, I’m not in the klan! What do you mean you experienced racism? You don’t have segregated fountains, you have a black president. Why are you still complaining?”

Well, white privilege is something while people need do nothing to access. White people who aren’t racist still accrue the benefits of being white. This in a world with institutional racism and glass ceilings and white men with felony convictions being more likely to get jobs than black men with clean records — that makes it too much to accept quietly. MORE...

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