Friday, March 30, 2012

3/30/12 - Republicans Defend Racism and Trayvon Martin's Murder

Opposition poster for the 1866 election. Geary...
Opposition poster for the 1866 election. Geary's opponent, Hiester Clymer, ran on a white supremacy platform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So here we are again. As the old saying goes "The more things change, the more things stay the same." We are now living in a world most would have thought impossible a mere few decades ago, in which a black man holds the highest office in the land, the Presidency of the United States. It feels as if a new era is being ushered into American history, one that might be seen by Americans centuries from now as the dividing line between our racist, exploitative past and the enlightened legacy we invariably left behind.

But then an unarmed black teenager is shot dead by a non-black gun owner and law enforcement enthusiast, and Republicans immediately dust off their black canes and top hats and leap into their well-choreographed "It ain't us, it's them" song-and-dance routine. It's almost like they can't help themselves.

It's hard to explain or rationalize. There seems to be this inherent inability on the Right to be able to admit that racism exists anywhere in the country, in any form whatsoever. What's even more bizarre is that they always attempt to argue against the existence of racism by claiming that those who disagree with them are racist, proving once again that Republicans seem to inherently lack any real sense of irony.

Portrait of U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Portrait of U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Take, for example, the comments by Tea Party favorite Rep. Joe 
Walsh (R-Ill.) in response to the controversy surrounding Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) appearing on the House floor in a Hoodie and quoting bible passages. Rush was speaking out in regards to what is now seen by many as the travesty of justice involving the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a young black man whose death was not fully investigated by police at the time, supposedly because the white man who shot him claimed self-defense, despite reasonable evidence to the contrary.

I will grant you that the House floor is technically not the place for activism. I say technically, because the House (and Senate, let's be fair) is regularly populated by whorish politicians who eagerly take the floor to push personal agendas motivated by either ideological biases or lobbyist dollars, often in defiance of public opinion and public interest. Rush's only real mistake in this case was incorporating a prop into his act that defied some dress code that Republicans will no doubt claim is mentioned somewhere in the constitution.

Now... it's bad enough that the Republican presiding over the chamber at the moment (Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi) had Rush removed from the floor despite the fact that he was reading quotes from the bible, something Republicans are usually all fighting for the right to do in government buildings. Angrily shouting down a fellow Representative for speaking out against the death of an innocent black child doesn't exactly help the GOP's public image when it comes to race relations. But then, just to make it clear that the Trayvon Martin incident isn't about race,
"I hope Congressman Rush will be as outraged with all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend," Walsh said. "This is where our outrage has got to be as well."
It's understandable that Walsh might try to indirectly defend the fatal shooting of children, considering how distasteful he seems to find paying the $117,000 he currently owes in late child support payments. It is quite possibly that Walsh actually hates all children, and not just his own. So it's feasible that this Republican Tea Party candidate (two groups not wholly unused to accusations of racism) wasn't even aware of how racist his argument against  Rush truly was.

Česky: Oficiální portrét amerického prezidenta...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's a Republican argument (supposedly based in unshakable logic ) that has been around ever since Reagan's apocryphal (and racist) "Welfare Queens" argument that welfare needed to be eliminated not because they don't care about poor black people, but that poor black people are merely lazy freeloaders taking advantage of the white middle-class taxpayers who unwillingly pay into the Welfare System.

Now, Reagan didn't phrase it exactly that way; I'm merely translating what is obvious to anyone not self-deluded enough to see through the forced logic. The narrative the Republicans are constantly struggling to maintain is that there is no racism left in the world. That way, they can back racist legislation without having to explain how racist it really isn't, even though it is. If they admit that racism is still alive and well, for example, they will invariably have to also admit that disenfranchising black voters is actually a racist act, and not just an attempt to prevent voter fraud.

But the problem is that when you are trying to support a racist ideal is that your logic comes out all eschewed and invariably becomes racist itself. What Rep. Joe "Deadbeat Dad" Walsh is saying here is that his black colleague is out of line because he doesn't speak out against black-on-black violence. The implication here is that he is a hypocrite for singling out this case of a violent white man, because blacks are WAY more violent. He's also implying that a white man killing a black teenager shouldn't be such a big deal because black men kill black teenagers all the time, although in the case of the latter the police tend to actually investigate the incident.

Now, if you think I'm being unfair to Walsh (about his black-on-black violence comment, not the fact that he stiffed his ex-wife and children) and am merely twisting his words to make them sound illogical, try this: the next time a white person is killed by a black person, argue that it's not a big deal, because white-on-white violence happens all of the time. Doesn't work, does it? You know why? Because the outrage isn't about the random color of the two people involved. In the case of Trayvon Martin, the outrage is not that a white man chased down and shot an unarmed black teenager ostensibly because he looked "suspicious" (ie: Black), but that the shooting was not properly investigated by either the police or the media until nearly a month of grass-roots activism helped the case gain national attention. It is about a case of grave injustice that left a teenager dead and his killer uninvestigated or prosecuted. To reduce it to being just about a white-on-black killing is... wait for it... racist.

This "Don't blame us, blacks are even worse" argument comes full circle with the inevitable cries of "Reverse Racism." In this case, the white Republican complains that blacks aren't oppressed or persecuted at all, but instead it is those poor defenseless whites who own the majority of American wealth and control the majority of American power who are constantly discriminated against for being white. To put it another way, they defend their argument that there is no real racism in America anymore by claiming that they are the victims of racism. Makes perfect sense, no?

Hoodie (Photo credit: jollyUK)
Instead of taking apart this flawed logic (which is a lengthy enough argument in it's own right), look at the term they have dubbed this incessant whining about being discriminated against: "Reverse Racism." This term that the Right has coined exposes their blindness to the inherent racism involved in their argument. The word Racism does not mean "whites prejudice against black," it means a hatred or intolerance of another race. Doesn't matter what that race is, hating it for being just that is racism. "Reverse Racism," therefore, would actually be a lack of racism, or rather, loving somebody because of their race. With this in mind, tell me how these "There is no Racism in America" Republicans can make such a claim when they don't even know what the word Racism means? Or, to put it another way, believing that racism is just about blacks is... wait for it... racist.

Now, if you're a Republican reading this (the thought just made me giggle), save your indignation for someone who cares. Launching into the predictable "Oh Yeah, well Liberals blah blah blah" defense is a complete waste of time, and don't cry to me that I've unfairly branded you as a racist just because you're a Republican. Suck it up, call me a Reverse Racist, and go back to applauding Newt Gingrich for saying that child labor laws should be lifted so that underage black children can work as janitors in their own schools and learn how to be productive members of society. Besides, if you're really that offended, I can switch back to talking about how much Republicans hate women. There's plenty of supporting evidence there as well.
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1 comment:

Lee said...

But the problem is that when you are trying to support a racist ideal your logic comes out all eschewed

I just want to say that I adore this statement. The logic isn't just screwed up, it's completely absent!