aside The Conservative Right Is Plagued By Denial Of Racism

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I have been decrying the conservative rights’ need to deny that racism is a prevalent thread  interwoven into the fabric of today’s American culture. The symptoms of this denial is so destructive that it infects the rights’ discourse and thinking on so many levels. And worse, this denial allows for society and governmental entities not to have to develop solutions for the negative consequences of racism pervasive in our society.

A perfect example of what I’m talking about is reflected in a 9/2/15 TPM News article by Caitlin MacNeal, “News Conservatives Are Now Convinced Black Lives Matter Is A Hate Group.” Here are a few excerpts:

“On Monday night (8/31/15), Fox’s Bill O’Reilly said he was sure that the shooting (a police shooting on 8/28/15) and the protest were in some way connected, and he labeled Black Lives Matter a “hate group” because “they hate police officers” and “want them dead.”

“They’re a hate group, and I’m going to tell you right now, I’m going to put them out of business,” O’Reilly added later.”

“Later on Tuesday night (9/1/15), conservative writer Katie Pavlich told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that Black Lives Matter “promotes the execution of police officers.”

“Although conservative outrage over the Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota bubbled over into talk of hate groups just this week (8/30/15), the hosts at Fox News have been shaking their fists at the organization for a while, with O’Reilly leading the charge. In July, he said Black Lives Matter activists were engaging in “Gestapo tactics” and that they are “only interested in condemning white society.”

It is my contention, that the right has to discount that our Black brothers and sisters have legitimate grievances about the disproportionate number of unarmed Black individuals being fatally wounded by police officers because the facts challenge their core belief of racism’s non-existence. For reference see “What A Difference A Year Makes In The Black Lives Matter Movement’…

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Tim Wise discusses this issue of denial in his 11/25/15 CNN News article, “What whites don’t know about racism.” The following are some excerpts:

A just-released poll from CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which finds that white Americans are far less likely than persons of color to believe that racism remains a serious problem in the United States.”

“Even a simple recognition of ongoing racial inequities in life chances differs markedly across racial lines, with clear majorities of African Americans perceiving that the typical black person is worse off than the typical white person in terms of income, education and housing, while about half of all whites fail to perceive such inequality of condition.”

“So despite the fact that African-Americans are worse off than whites in every single category of well-being, and despite the research indicating that these disparities owe significantly to discrimination both past and present, most whites believe there are few, if any, ongoing inequities.”

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Who gets discriminated against

“For instance, even though young blacks with college degrees are twice as likely as similar whites to be unemployed, regardless of their field of study, most white Americans don’t appear to see much of a problem.”

“Despite the fact that white male high school dropouts between 18-34 are more likely to find work than black men that age with two years of college, most white Americans don’t see much of a problem, or again, insist that “reverse discrimination” is the real issue when it comes to racism.”

“Despite the fact that the typical white family has about 16 times as much wealth as the typical black family — and that even white households headed up by a high school dropout have, on average, twice the wealth of black and Latino households headed by a college graduate — most white Americans don’t see much of a problem.”

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“Despite the fact that black children are about three times as likely as white children to be suspended or expelled from school, even though the rates of serious school rule infractions are largely the same (contrary to popular belief), and despite the fact that black children are about twice as likely as white children to be taught by the least experienced teachers, most white Americans don’t see much of a problem.”

“According to the survey, whites are also far less likely to believe the Voting Rights Act is still needed, even as several states have moved to create impediments to voting that will disproportionately affect voters of color.”

“And while the overwhelming majority of blacks see biases in the justice system, only about half of whites agree; this, despite the racial dis-proportionality of police-involved shootings, and the blatant disparities within the so-called war on drugs, whereby blacks, for instance, are four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana, even as rates of usage and dealing are virtually identical.”

“It apparently doesn’t register as a “big problem” in the eyes of most whites that there are roughly 160,000 black folks arrested for drug possession annually who wouldn’t be were it not for the racially-disproportionate way in which African-Americans are targeted in the drug war.”

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‘Likewise, it fails to give us pause that there are also about 160,000 whites who would be arrested for possession each year if arrest rates actually mirrored rates of drug law violations. It’s apparently no big deal that in recent years, persons of color have been subjected to massively disparate treatment by police stop-and-frisk policies.”

Isolation the problem?

“That white Americans don’t by and large see what people of color see doesn’t mean that white folks are horrible people, of course; nor does it suggest that whites are all inveterate racists who don’t care about the impediments to opportunity still facing our black and brown brothers and sisters. But what it does suggest is a degree of isolation and provincialism that should lead us to think twice before pontificating about a subject that we don’t know as well as those who are the targets of it.’

“It is to say that we white folks know black and brown reality better than those who live it… “

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“Sadly, white denial of this sort has a long and ignoble pedigree… In 1963, for instance, more than six in 10 whites told Gallup pollsters that blacks were treated equally with whites in their communities, a number that grew to 75% the year before Dr. King was killed (but at which point the Fair Housing Act still hadn’t been passed). Even more tellingly, in 1962, fully 85% of whites told Gallup that black children had the same chance as white children to obtain a high quality education.”

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“If we were so oblivious even when racism was formally embedded in every fiber of the nation’s being — when the U.S. was an official apartheid country — what in the world would lead us to believe that we had suddenly become keen interpreters of black and brown folks’ lives?”

Dangerous denial

“Although white denial has been a constant throughout American history, one thing about today’s version of it seems potentially more dangerous than that of past generations, and it is this fact more than any other which should give us pause… Today’s denial comes wrapped in a patina of resentment and anxiety…Too many of us apparently believe the tables have turned and now it is we who face those obstacles.”

“Only by challenging white denial — can we turn back the rising tide of white anxiety, which has manifested recently in the campaigns of Donald Trump, the backlash against Syrian refugees and the growing hostility to Black Lives Matter protesters.’

“In moments like this, we must proclaim that black and brown lives matter, and that facts matter, too, The facts suggest that white America has some waking up to do.”

8 comments

  1. i always enjoy reading your work. You really are clear about the conservative right. Write on!

  2. I don’t want to appear to be an azz, but you have grown immensely as a writer since I started reading you. Always you have been clear and concise, but now you are even better.

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