By George Noga
Racism: Discrimination or prejudice based on the belief a particular race is superior to another in character or ability.
In my three score and ten years I have witnessed both overt racism and the sea change in the hearts and minds of my countrymen that has taken place in the past half century.
I experienced Jim Crow firsthand growing up in rural Florida and Georgia in the 1940s and 1950s and understand the ugliness of racism. I also witnessed the transformation in attitudes and race relations in America that began in the 1960s. So, where are we today?
In any country of 310 million souls one can find some of everything. Certainly there are some among us who are racist. We cannot therefore aver that racism does not exist in America nor, in all likelihood, will we ever reach that exalted state. Opining about how much racism exists in today’s America requires a Clintonian construction, i.e. it depends on what the meaning of racism is. Let’s begin by understanding four things that are NOT racism.
- Racism is NOT disparate outcomes. Those who assert America is a racist nation use self-fulfilling criteria. Race mongers use false and convoluted concepts such as disparate outcomes to claim racism exists where there is none. In the recent Countrywide case, the DOJ used disparate outcome theory to assert Countrywide discriminated because 40% of minorities paid higher mortgage rates than the average of all whites. Duh – 50% of whites also paid a higher rate than the average of all whites. Countrywide paid $335 million to DOJ to be distributed to minorities (but not to whites) who paid above average mortgage rates. Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.
- Racism is NOT based on statistical legerdemain. In New York City crime rates have plummeted because of tougher policing policies; yet liberals employ statistical prestidigitation to allege the policies are racist because a disproportionate share of blacks is stopped. They fail to mention 75% of all violent crime in NYC is committed by blacks compared to less than 5% by whites. The NYC police policies target behaviors and not race. Meanwhile, the victims which are 62% black, support the tougher police policies that have made their neighborhoods much safer.
- Racism is NOT disagreeing with liberal shibboleths. The last refuge for race baiters is to tar everyone who doesn’t agree 100% with their politics as racist. This is liberals’ go-to method of avoiding arguments they can’t win on the merits. I started the first private school voucher program in Florida in 1995 and was a leader of the school choice movement. I raised a large amount of private money to pay for non-government schools for hundreds of children from low income families attending failing public schools. Even though 90% of the beneficiaries were minorities, in every public forum where I spoke, I unfailingly was publicly branded a racist because school choice was against liberal dogma. We often used to guess how soon into the program I would be called racist for the first time; the over and under was 5 minutes!
- Racism is NOT being opposed to black politicians. Racially tailored electoral districts serve to make black politicians more extreme because they never run in multiracial districts or have to appeal to multicultural voters. The predictable result is that only blacks run for office; the turnout is low; and those who play the race card best and are furthest to the left win and then retain the seat for life. Black voter turnout is suppressed by racial gerrymandering and lack of competition – not by voter ID laws. Keeping blacks in inner city ghettos therefore becomes indispensable to black politicians because if ghettos didn’t exist, there would be few safe black seats as is the case for Hispanics, Asians and Indians who are not residentially clustered enough to create safe seats. Thus, residential integration is not in the interest of black politicians and the end result is much greater racial strife than otherwise would exist.
It is clear enough that if one imputes racism based on disparate outcomes, statistical prestidigitation and any utterance inconsistent with liberal dogma or opposed by black politicians, there will be legions of racists in America. If none of these is racism, then what is?
Real Racism and its Prevalence in America
To determine if someone is a racist is uber-simple and straightforward; he/she must conform to the commonly accepted definition of racism given supra; to wit: be prejudiced or discriminate against people of another race because of a belief they are inferior in character or ability.
The only way to know if this definition applies is by a person’s direct words or actions. Calling someone racist is so serious and ugly it can only be justified by such direct and unambiguous words or actions. Furthermore, anyone who blithely charges someone with racism without such a standard is hardly better than a racist.
The same standard for determining racism also applies to organizations and racism cannot be imputed by the racial makeup of its membership. However, even if an organization is not racist, it should not tolerate racist behavior on the part of any member and must actively police itself to purge any such speech or behavior. No group does this better than the Tea Party which has been called racist solely for its stance against liberal orthodoxy.
How many racists do you know? I know a great many people and I don’t know even one who conforms to the accepted definition. From my perspective genuine racism in America is well along the path to extinction. We have come a long way in the past 50 years; however, we should never rest until the scourge of racism is reduced to its irreducible minimum.
The greater danger today is race mongering, i.e. creating or exacerbating racial differences for political or economic reasons. It is far past time also to end that scourge.
Leaks from the secret liberal media JournoList are revealing. One blogger urged fellow journalists to call Obama’s critics racists; he wrote: “Call them racists to raise the cost on the right of going after the left . . . to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear.”
Sadly, but paradoxically, the left’s chronic misuse and overuse of racism has caused that charge to lose much of its erstwhile moral power just as overuse of the ef word has diminished its once potent shock value.
It’s long overdue for liberals to give up name calling and try to win arguments the old fashioned way – based on the facts and logic. America is not a racist nation despite concerted efforts by liberal race mongers to portray it as such for rank political benefit.
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