Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Race – Up for Discussion or Not?

Written : Mar. 3, 2009

Juan Williams is probably the fairest of the liberal pundits appearing on TV today. He actually has ideas of merit and substance and I respect him because he has the guts to engage conservatives without the usual anger or demagoguery. Sometimes I even agree with him. On Fox News Sunday on Feb. 29 I believe, Mr. Williams implied that black leaders are sometimes two-faced about having an honest discussion about race. He said that the attitude where Jesse Jackson suggests that Barack Obama ought to be castrated for saying that Black fathers should be more responsible makes it harder to have an open discussion about race. He has it right.

Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) says that the Republican governors who are saying that they will not accept the current stimulus package money are being racist. As I understand it, he thinks that those governors are governors of states in the south with relatively high black populations and therefore to deliberately not help blacks, they are denying their entire states the aid. To me that’s a completely unreasonable explanation. The governors are resisting because they believe the stimulus bill will not help their states’ economies. There may be other political reasons for their refusal, but let’s be honest, it has nothing to do with race.

In 2002, Trent Lott (R-TN), former Senator and congressman, was accused of being a racist and was forced to resign when he praised Sen. Strom Thurmond at Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration. Thurmond had segregationist views in his early career and never publicly renounced them. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton imitated the black accent in a speech a couple of years ago. She said the House of Representatives was run “like a plantation”. She slipped into a jive accent when she added, “and you know what I’m talkin’ about!” Many were angered by her remarks. Talk show host Don Imus was thrown off his show in 2007 for kidding around about race. He’s not poor, and I’m not defending his remarks here, but he surely lost his job after black leaders rallied for his dismissal. Many accused him of being a racist. A N.Y. Post cartoonist and his editor are now being asked to resign their jobs after a cartoon ran that may have been interpreted by some as comparing our president to a chimpanzee. There are others who say the cartoon references the Feb. 17, 2009 story of a chimp that had gone crazy and mauled a woman in upstate N.Y. Who knows what the cartoonist actually meant? I think that going after people’s jobs is the wrong way to fix any issue. Let’s sit down and discuss it instead.

The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder recently said that we are a nation of cowards for not discussing race. Personally, I have no problem with discussing race in an open manner - verbally. But, really, how can whites be expected to discuss race openly, especially on television, when the risk is so immense when they talk about it? Wow, one slip up and you could be fired. On the same show last week, Fox News Sunday, conservative commentator and anchor Bret Hume added, “Who in their right mind would discuss race under those circumstances?” As Mr. Williams is, Mr. Hume’s right, too, but I wish the atmosphere was such that we could discuss race openly without fear of recrimination for what may be said.

Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative, blog, politics, political, social, racism, race, race discussion

Keyword Phrases: “conservative blog”, “liberal and conservative”, “conservative and liberal”, “republican blog”, “From the Left to the Right”, “racial stereotypes”, “Mark Cohen”, “Mark A. Cohen, discussing race”

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