Post Racial Wink


I found this on Politics365, a blog whose mission just may be seeing racism in everything in Washington DC. It’s particularly disturbing considering its author,* a man whose resume would suggest that he’s much smarter than the drivel he’s offering here.

Posted by Charles Ellison in The District1 day ago

One eager, red-faced and mildly influential Republican hack salivating for burger and plate of fries one day confirmed the GOP’s “all-out” for 2010: race.  He didn’t quite use the “R-word,” but there was an invisible wink-wink, also an effort at hidden incredulity confirming worst fears about the situation.  Spot blown, he simply shook his head and, at first, mumbled something about “well … it’s not what you think, not like Willie Horton.”

I know it’s silly of me, but I found the assumptions driving this piece so poorly constructed that I had to try to wake the author up. Knowing, of course, that the particular coma that Mr. Ellison has apparently chosen to live his life in is not one that a person generally comes out of.

Interestingly enough, it didn’t seem like an attempt on his part to keep political strategy under wraps – more so small glimmer of guilt due to the scent of wrong on it.  For a party that swings madly on trees and bangs floors with hairy fists every time race is mentioned, they use it rather liberally when the mood suits the campaign or as a last resort nuclear option.  It’s selective and it’s desperate.  As you watch national political narratives take shape this summer, watch closely for people of color sandwiched between and the hard turn right to put it all on us.

The racially charged conclusions reached here sound like a long way to travel based on the invisible signals from a low level, buffet crashing political hack who may have been so impressed with Mr. Ellison’s resume that he was pandering for a simple opportunity to cut in line.

Acting as though it’s not among the mainstream media elite, FOX News’ Judson Berger laments “lack of coverage” on two peculiar news items generating recent attention from conservative talk show hosts and activists:

Last year, it was Van Jones and ACORN that slipped under much of the media’s radar. But despite pledges to pay closer attention to the “polemic world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs,” two new stories have taken their place in the annals of things not much reported.

One is NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s claim that one of the space agency’s primary missions is to improve relations with Muslim countries. The other is the ongoing investigation into why the Justice Department dropped its case against New Black Panther Party members accused of intimidating voters on Election Day 2008.

These stories, among others, have germinated heavily on the conservative talk and blog circuit.  Going into this November cycle, we’re actually pressed to find the usual focus on classic social issues such as abortion or gay rights.  The new madness is New Black Panther Party takeovers and NASA conspiracies, a twist of Thurgood Marshall’s indelible legal legacy, the sun tan tax and illegal immigration paranoia for good measure.  Even though folks have good reason to show concern over immigration (maybe not the way Arizona shows it), and can nod a suspicious side glance at the DOJ’s dismissal of the NBBP case, there is easy worry over where these consolidated narratives are headed.  The common theme linking all stories is a certain fear of certain “colored” protagonists.

No no no! It is liberalism that scares us… a movement that pursues its goals while fending off honest policy debate by turning everything into a conversation on race, with only invisible evidence required. The pattern of skin color in these stories comes from those who originate the policies that drive the stories – liberals. It is liberals who insist on not enforcing border laws and then claim that one is a bigot for wanting to do so. It is liberals who insist that Blacks who intimidate at the polls, on video, should be excused from their maliciousness when the response would be outrage if skin color was reversed. The pattern is yours.

In the case of the tan tax, Washington Post reporter N.C. Aizenman reports on how the ridiculous blossoms into serious political movements:

The complaint surfaced on reader comment boards to blogs and news Web sites back in December, when it became clear that the levy — a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet tanning beds — was likely to be included in the new health-care overhaul bill. Since then, it’s been repeated by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Doc Thompson, a fill-in host for Glenn Beck who intoned in March, “I now know the pain of racism.”

The response to the tan tax is an exercise in political irony. Were the story reversed – ie, if Blacks went to a salon to get lighter because they thought that made them look better, and it was given its own unique tax by a White president, tell me please what you would have to say about it?

These days, White conservatives are finding an unusual degree of comfort in talking – rather explicitly – about race.  While they might argue it’s simply an attempt to insert alternative perspective on America’s controversial past time, Republicans privately whisper reverse racism is the move for 2010. Paint the perception that “Blacks” – with their Black President, Black Attorney General and pro-Muslim Black NASA head (following the “activist” philosophies of their late great Black Supreme Court justice) – have “taken over” and that scared Republican base voters and equally nervous White Independents should vote GOP as a collective defense mechanism.  The perceived quirkiness of the “tan tax” flap gives it away: “we’re surrounded.”  It’s a delirious run-for-the-hills strategy that could pay dividends for Republicans come November.

Yes, we conservatives have gotten so comfortable talking race that we now feel free to do it only with invisible winks and private whispers, says Ellison. But, in fact, talking about race has become easier now for conservatives because the R word has been devalued by its obsessive overuse on the left in an era that you’ve described as post-racial.

Race is only one possible prism through which one can view political events. It’s time to try another.

* Charles D. Ellison is author of the critically-acclaimed political thriller TANTRUM, Huffington Post, and Arena contributor, and Host of “The New School” on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio Sirius Channels 110, XM Channel 130 (POTUS) and XM Channel 169 (The Power).

Based in Washington, D.C., he is Director for the Center for New Media, Politics and Policy and former Visiting Fellow for the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University and former Senior Fellow at the University of Denver.
California-born and Philadelphia-raised, Charles is a former Congressional speechwriter, noted public policy analyst, media expert and writer. Charles has lectured for the Close Up Foundation and was a Youth Radio board member. As a commentator, he has been featured in numerous television, radio and publishing venues, including: Sirius/XM Radio.

2 Responses to “Post Racial Wink”

  1. 1 mrDarcy

    “White conservatives are finding an unusual degree of comfort in talking – rather explicitly – about race.”

    And it’s about TIME we did! We tried the liberal/PC/don’t offend/be sensitive route for the past four or five decades. That course certainly hasn’t worked wonders if “crackers” are being labeled racists by virtue of their birth.

  2. 2 Ilene

    It was the liberals who brought up the ‘racism’ . All in the Rules for radicals. blah, blah.

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