ElliotWhile

We’re All Racists Now

Recently, Hayley White, a 29-year-old mother in the UK rushed to her son, Elliot’s, school in the middle of the day only to find him confused and in tears. Most would assume that Elliot had gotten into a fight at school, had been caught cheating, or engaged in some other cliché’-worthy schoolboy activity. Well, the majority is wrong.

On that cold February day, Hayley learned that her son had been labeled a “racist” by school administrators. Earlier that day, the inquisitive boy asked a fellow classmate, “Are you brown because you come from Africa?” Now, had Elliot been a 19-year-old high school student, the school might have a case for racism. However, Elliot White is a mere 7-years-old. Instead of taking the child’s age into account, the school instead forced him to sign a document acknowledging that he had “made a racist remark.” I doubt that Elliot will want to ask another question in class anytime soon. For him, intellectual curiosity and punishment now go hand in hand.

During my 20 short years on this Earth, I’ve seen the word “racist” drastically change in meaning. I used to think the word was only reserved for the most prejudiced among us. If only that were still the case. Now, cries of racism are tossed about like beads at a Mardi Gras parade. Criticize the President’s singing? Well, you’re a racist. Oppose illegal immigration? You guessed it, racist. And God forbid you dare step foot into a Tea Party rally. After that, you’re pretty much a card-carrying member of the Klan. Now, not even naïve children are immune from the bitter cries of racism. It seems as if we’re all racists now.

As accusations of racism grow more frequent, accusers often lose contact with fact and reality. As alluded to earlier, Rachel Maddow said that Newt Gingrich was going after “a southern mentality and racial allusions” when he said that “President Obama ought to stop singing, ought to stop being the Entertainer-in-Chief” after Obama was videotaped singing, “Let’s Stay Together.” Not once did Gingrich refer to the President’s race. He merely expressed his opinion on how the President spends his time. I certainly can’t see any racism in his comment, but then again, I am not nearly as cultured and perceptive as Rachel Maddow who used her fabulous mindreading abilities to see into Gingrich’s heart and found his racist intentions. Yeah, right. I know Obama is supposed to be America’s Superman, but not even he has that kind of superpower.  Baseless accusations like this one rely not on fact, but on mere assumption.  And you know what they say about assumptions, right?

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of baseless cries of racism is the affect they have on cases of true racism. When racism exists, it should be exposed, pointed out, and rebuked so that we all may learn from it. However, now that The Boy Who Cried Wolf seems to have multiplied and intensified, we are rarely granted this learning experience. Cries of racism are so frequent that few take them seriously anymore.  They’re hidden behind the baseless accusations of racial prejudice and rarely exposed. Because I’ve been labeled a racist so many times for my conservatism, I even find myself rolling my eyes occasionally when I see the word “racism” zip across my television screen. Yet, this is not the right attitude. Racism is damaging, ignorant, and downright evil. When “racist” is continually overused, real examples of racial prejudice are diluted and often ignored. To say this is a tragedy would be an understatement; too many cries of racism are now synonymous not with racial prejudice but political opinion.

Thus, I urge my fellow Americans to not only abhor racism, but illegitimate accusations of racism as well.  The latter perhaps do more damage than the former.  In addition, it’s time to pray for a little more common sense in our nation.  A 7-year-old boy is not a racist for being inquisitive, and politicians should not be labeled “racist” simply because they disagree with the President who happens to be of another race. Perhaps instead of Occupying Wall Street, Americans should Occupy Common Sense, Rationality, and Sanity instead.

Amy Lutz :: Saint Louis University :: Saint Louis, Missouri :: @AmyLutz4

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15 Responses

Leave a Reply
  1. James Young
    May 13, 2012 - 04:30 AM

    “Hate” and “homophobia” are used in the same way. All three are code for “a Conservative winning an argument with a Liberal.”

    Reply
  2. clownlucky
    Apr 09, 2012 - 08:09 PM

    The race card is getting old and dusty. Yes, it’s bad, but so many have used it to call shots that all it gets in response is people rolling their eyes. Sooner or later, it is bound to fizzle out.

    Reply
  3. Andy
    Mar 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM

    Dear Amy, in your article you say:

    During my 20 short years on this Earth, I’ve seen the word “racist” drastically change in meaning. I used to think the word was only reserved for the most prejudiced among us. If only that were still the case.

    So, by that I take it that you believe that some level of racism is okay and acceptable, and we, people of color who are the victims of racism, should just accept the systemic and institutional racism built into virtually every facet of daily life, especially where I live, in Texas.

    You see the problem is that you are patently unqualified to define racism because you are incapable of seeing it. You are incapable of seeing it because it does not affect you. You are not the victim of racism because you are not a member of a group that has been historically and systematically oppressed. I can say that because if you were a member of such a group you would realize that racism is alive and quite well in the United States. In fact, it has gotten more and more healthy over the last few years. What has happened recently is an increased level of toleration for racism and racist vitriol. You are in fact the victim in this case.

    I say you are the victim because by virtue of your professed youth, you have not the experience to create a perspective based on multiple decades of observation.

    You mention the tea parties and their association with racist behavior and in relation to that I would urge you to read the essay What If The Tea Party Was Black, with an honest and open mind.

    Finally, I would urge you to stop writing about subjects with which you have little or know experience, or write based on good and diligent research, conducted under the guidance of a true academic, to explore the history and pervasiveness of American Racism.

    Peace,

    Andy

    Reply
    • clownlucky
      Jun 04, 2012 - 06:41 PM

      She knows what she’s talking about.

      Reply
  4. A.M.
    Mar 04, 2012 - 05:06 PM

    Oh, haven’t you heard? All you have to be to be a racist is white. If you are white, then you are automatically a racist, even if you don’t know that you are, because you were born racist. (I believe I have actually heard of an article arguing that white children are somehow “born racist.”)

    Of course, hating or hurting white people or treating them unfairly or differently because of their whiteness is never called racism. Interesting, huh?

    A liberal’s defense of race just boils down to white racism. We are utterly to ignore, ironically, Martin Luther King’s own famous dream… judging a man by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin. If you are white, you are always rotten, malicious and guilty. If you are NOT white, then you are always innocent and perfectly good, and the victim every time. Especially if a white person points that out. That’s the liberal two cents on it.

    Reply
    • Chelle
      Apr 17, 2012 - 02:39 PM

      Which is why white men are more likely to face the death pently than black men for committing the same crime…oh wait, its actually the other way around…

      Reply
    • clownlucky
      Jun 04, 2012 - 06:40 PM

      Don’t forget the one about how babies can be racist.

      Reply
  5. Michelle
    Feb 27, 2012 - 08:45 PM

    I wonder how the black student felt when he was asked that.

    Reply
  6. Danny
    Feb 23, 2012 - 06:19 PM

    Racism is fine, it just has to be the “right kind of racism”.. such as the kind which suggest Black students are all so similar that they will automatically add diversity to an otherwise white environment.

    So certain are we that Blacks think different, act different and live different that we will even give preferential entrance above whites or Asians for the unique diversity they offer. After all White folk have to learn to get along with Blacks because… well because they are different.

    If there weren’t so many victims of this stuff (white and Black) it would be funny.

    Reply
    • Jon
      Feb 23, 2012 - 09:47 PM

      Danny,

      Why do you capitalize “Black” but not “white”? Wait for it… you’re a Racist!!

      Reply
    • Sean L.
      Feb 26, 2012 - 10:13 PM

      Affirmative Action is the most visible way we have done black people a disservice. Instead of busting their humps studying to get into good colleges like most other people, they too often sit back saying, “I’m black, they’ll let me in because my ancestors were slaves.”

      The fact that college admissions can be influenced by what pretty comes down to an accident of birth only feeds the entitlement mentality that is rampant in this country. And we have forgotten the words of Frederick Douglass: “And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … your interference is doing him positive injury.” This coming from a former slave.

      Reply
      • Michelle
        Feb 27, 2012 - 08:44 PM

        Considering the point of affrimative action, Frederick Douglass would support it.

  7. Logan Gill
    Feb 23, 2012 - 11:28 AM

    Great article! I feel exactly the same way.

    Reply
  8. ZT205
    Feb 23, 2012 - 08:03 AM

    Good article but you forgot to note Newt and Santorum really DID make racist comments about welfare. And then of course there’s Paul and that little newsletter of his.

    Reply
    • binky354
      Mar 05, 2012 - 09:39 PM

      How do you figure their remarks about welfare were racist. White Americans receive welfare too. duh…

      Reply

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