Is it racist to say that someone who has dark brown skin and an accent that’s common among African Americans could never win the U.S. presidency?
It could either mean that the utterer of those words (1) thinks someone is inferior due to the color of his or her skin and accent, and therefore should never be president, or (2) doesn’t think someone is inferior due to the color of his or her skin and accent, but thinks that too many other people do think so, and therefore he or she doesn’t have a good chance at winning the presidency.
As someone who doesn’t think that racism in America is near as prevalent as most leftists would have you believe, I would give the utterer of those words the benefit of the doubt and ascribe to him or her No. 2.
But most people on the left do think that racism is very prevalent in America – even among other leftists (who allegedly can exhibit “unconscious” racism in addition to the overt kind). They’re far more likely not to give someone the benefit of that doubt, and would ascribe to him or her No. 1. I’m sure if you did an experiment, you’d get those results.
Now we have a Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who (by saying Barack Obama could win the presidency thanks in part to his “light-skinned” appearance and lack of a “Negro dialect”) indicated that he thinks someone with dark brown skin and an accent that’s common among African Americans could never win the presidency.
Given that most on the left would reflexively consider that a racist remark (even if uttered by a fellow leftist), it’s hypocritical for them not to call for Harry Reid’s resignation.
I guess they’re just salivating too much at the thought of socialized healthcare, and in this instance are willing to let their principles go down the tubes.
Hey Andrew Sullivan – you certainly seem like the type who would think Reid’s remark is racist. When Trent Lott said “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years” if Strom Thurmond were elected president (to which Lott could have been referring to any number of things, but probably they were just empty words aimed at trying to flatter Thurmond at his birthday celebration), you didn’t give Lott the benefit of the doubt at all and reflexively thought his remark was nefarious. You proceeded to take the lead in the blogosphere in taking down Lott.
Why the silence now Andrew, vis-a-vis Reid?