Carol Platt Liebau: "Unconscious" Racism?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Unconscious" Racism?

In a column today -- "What Lies Beneath" -- the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson effectively alleges that racism is alive and well in America today. Building on the Mel Gibson, George Allen and Michael Richards episodes, he concludes that nothing has really changed. "Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, come explosions of vitriol, suspicion and disdain, all aimed at minorities," Robinson writes. "Don't tell me that racism is dead. It just shuns the light of day."

Really? Does anyone believe that, based on two, maybe three (it seems a bit harsh to lump Allen in with the others) episodes, it's fair to conclude that the ugly spectre of race hatred lingers in most American hearts? No doubt people like Richards and Gibson completely lost it and behaved repugnantly. But their disgusting and hateful behavior doesn't mean that their views are widespread -- any more than the fact that wife- (or other women-) beaters still exist means that every man, deep in his heart, actually hates women and wants to hurt them.

Robinson writes that "We've buried [racial prejudices and animosities] under layers of sincere enlightenment and insincere political correctness, but they're still down there, eating at our souls." Speak for yourself, friend. That kind of talk makes it sound like Robinson is beginning to adopt the theory of "unconscious racism," first propounded (to my knowledge) by Professor Charles Lawrence in this 1987 article" in The Stanford Law Review.

Of course, if the racism is unconscious, the person supposedly afflicted by it can't identify it. Presumably, only members of the oppressed minority can diagnose the order -- but it's not clear how.

It strikes me that, in a country that makes herculean efforts every day to ensure fairness among all the races, where numerous African American and other minority public figures are idolized, and where people who express racist ideas -- from Richards to Gibson to, yes, Allen -- pay a heavy price, it's insulting and unfair for Robinson to conclude from the unconscionable words of an ugly few, that America is a country that carries hidden racism in its heart.


Blogger Larry Who said...

Is racism still alive? Yes, of course it is.

But I believe the laws of our nation have gone as far as they can to legislate racism out of society. And actually the playing fields are fairly level now.

The next steps to remove all racism from America will have to be done in the hearts of people by God. This will involve forgiveness, repentance and love.

And this will have to take place on both sides of the race lines. Not just on one side.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Diane Tomlinson said...

Fear not mortals!

Time will take care of racism, both the kind elitists refuse to see (exactly how many black folk do you interact with by choice on a daily basis Ms Platt Liebau?) and the kind that comes out when by those "beneath" whites point out their human failings as happened with Michael Richards. The USA will be mostly a nation of a white minority by 2080 many experts posit.

Do white people have an inherent tribal feeling of Divine superiority over other races. You bet. Is it right? Hell no. Can religion or the law do anything to change generations of kids being taught the less than white status of brown black and yellow people? I don't think so. Are all white folk racist? Hardly! But like any other tribe on top of all others its actions are driven by its desire to stay on top. Pro life, big business, medical advances, political coalitions steeped in traditional thinking no matter how arcane, denouncing "aberrant" behaviour that does not promote the above causes all point to this drive.

And before I go and make my oyster stuffing, for the thousandth time in my career I'd like to show, as a white woman, though dead, just how much there is for white people to lose: Someone name a white majority nation on the face of Terra that is "third world" or poverty stricken.

Happy Thanksgiving!


6:36 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Before I yet again correct the wacky Diane, let me just say that I am totally bored with the whole issue of racism. True racists are beneath contempt for perpetuating their proven stupidity of position. And those who cry racism, the boo-freakin-hoo victims, over the spewing of some epithet, need to find a way to thicken their skins. They are equally guilty of perpetuating the state of racism by playing that card for the slightest infraction. Though I don't use racial slurs as a matter of routine, I am not about to walk on egg shells for the benefit of some over-sensitive (and insincerely so in most cases) jerk who is merely seeking to use "racism" to advance himself.

I also am firmly of the belief that the use of racial slurs does not in itself indicate racism on the part of the speaker. It might certainly be "a-hole-ism", but it seems to me a little more than name calling is required for true racism. When one is hacked at another, and lacking in self-control and humility, one will use whatever language will cause the most emotional damage. If this person's opponent is black, or a Jew, or whatever, words like "nigger" and "kike" or some similar jumk will be puked out with the knowledge that "That'll piss him off!" Yet, that sorry individual may still have friends or aquaintences who are black or Jewish. As long as "victims" wallow in their victimhood, wailing and gnashing their teeth everytime someone calls them a name, racism will never go away.

Now for Diane, she takes this a step further by apparently believing one must seek out a minority to befriend in order to prove one isn't racist. Richards is hardly typical of those who might be judged by those of another race. If a black dude said I wasn't good at my job, I'd likely ask him to elaborate and, if he's insistent, demand he lay out ways to improve, just as I would with any critic. What the hell difference does it make what color the critic is?

I think it's really sad that Diane has a feeling of superiority over folks whose race differs from hers. I don't anyone who feels like that who isn't a blatant racist. Nor do I know of anyone who teaches their kids that their race is superior. Not where I live. Does it happen? I'm sure it does no matter what the race. But religion, taught as it should be, would prevent the spread of such nonsense, as I believe it is already doing, and far better than just saying "we're equal" by secularists.

"Pro life, big business, medical advances, political coalitions steeped in traditional thinking no matter how arcane, denouncing "aberrant" behaviour that does not promote the above causes all point to this drive"

This is drivel. Race does not matter to any of the above. This is liberal demonizing of the worst kind, and a form of bigotry in and of itself. Nor would it to the true racist. If the only difference between a racist and another is skin color, it won't matter to the racist how much a kindred spirit the other person is. Diane is simply wallowing in the liberal notions of American self-hate and guilt.

12:50 PM  

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