The most overused, misused, and even abused word in the English language these days is the term “racist.” Ironically, the upsurge in the use of this most distasteful of pejoratives coincided with the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president. Since his election, anyone—black, white, Hispanic, or Asian—who disagrees with his policies or questions his leadership is quickly labeled a “racist.” In his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, Governor Mike Huckabee writes about this phenomenon: “…consider the word ‘racist.’ If one ignores President Obama’s race and criticizes his policies or tell jokes about him, treating him exactly the way every other President has been treated, one is called a racist. Wouldn’t it be racism if we treated him differently because of his race?”
Why are liberals so quick to drop the “R” bomb on people who disagree with them? To answer to this question it is necessary to understand the powerfully negative connotations of the term “racist.” Because of the checkered racial history of our country, there are few things worse to be called than a “racist.” The term conjures up images of bigots in hoods and robes burning crosses in the yards of black families, bombs killing innocent little black girls in a church in Birmingham, lynchings, snarling police dogs, water cannons turned on peaceful demonstrators, segregation, Jim Crow laws, and George Wallace standing in the door of the University of Alabama to block black students from registering.
With the term carrying these connotations, what person in his right mind would want to be thought of as a racist? Liberals understand that nobody wants to be called a racist. Consequently, they use the term like a club to suppress opposing points of view. When liberals cannot debate a point of contention on the basis of facts, logic, or reason, they simply opt for the nuclear option and drop the “R” bomb on opponents. As long as it works, they will continue to call those who refuse to toe the line of liberal orthodoxy “racists.” But liberals are making a strategic mistake in overusing their favorite label for conservatives, Christians, and other thinking people. Frankly, because of its frequent misapplication, the term “racist” is losing its sting.
Disagreeing with Barack Obama’s policies or pointing out his inadequacies as president hardly qualifies one as a “racist.” Americans would do the same thing if he happened to be white, Asian, or Hispanic—just ask Bill Clinton. Better yet, ask every president from Washington to George W. Bush—all of whom were white and all of whom were criticized mercilessly by political opponents and even by their supporters at times. It goes with the job. Conservatives, Christians, and others who find themselves at odds with the socio-cultural narrative espoused by liberals can take the “racist” club out of the hands of those who use it to suppress dissenting opinions by simply turning the tables on them using common-sense facts such as the following:
- You are NOT a racist if you question the logic of Affirmative Action. In his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, Governor Mike Huckabee has this to say about Affirmative Action: “If employers and colleges are forced to accept candidates of certain races over better-qualified candidates, based solely on their race, that’s ‘affirmative action’ against ‘racism.’ So let’s make sure we understand: In order to keep an employer or college admissions office from preferring one person over another because of race, we order them to prefer one person over another because of race. Got it?” Affirmative Action is liberal code for legally codified discrimination and pointing out this obvious fact does NOT make you a racist.
- You are NOT a racist if you point out that comparing events in Ferguson, Missouri to events in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago is not only inaccurate but dishonors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who marched, bled, and died there. Consider some basic differences: 1) The Selma marches were led by Christians—black and white—who were seeking on behalf of black people in Alabama the right to vote in free elections. The Ferguson protests were led for the most part by a criminal element that sought only self-indulgence; 2) In Selma the bad guys were the police and a collection of local thugs who gassed, beat, and even murdered participants. In Ferguson, the bad guys were the protestors who looted, robbed, rioted, and burned and who, just recently, shot two police officers; 3) In Selma, the marchers were committed to non-violence and peaceful protest. In Ferguson, the protestors were committed to violence, arson, robbery, and other forms of criminal behavior.
- You are NOT a racist if you think young black students should learn to speak proper English like students of other races instead of mocking proper English as “speaking white.”
- You are NOT a racist is you challenge the tendency of liberals to blame the high rate of crime, drug-use, dropouts, and fatherless families on poverty. Poverty certainly does nothing to prevent these things, but it is not the cause of them. If poverty caused crime for example, all poor people—black and white—would be criminals. Since the overwhelming majority of poor people are not criminals, this rationale of liberals is just another attempt to advance an agenda of excuse-making and victimhood as a way to score political points in the black community.
- You are NOT a racist if you point out that a police officer is six times more likely to be killed by a black man than a black man is to be killed by a police officer. Those who make this point are simply stating a fact that is backed by undeniable evidence and hard data.
- You are NOT a racist if you point out that the biggest threat to the life of a young black man in America is another young black man. It is a clear statement of fact that black-on-black crime is an epidemic in our country.
- You are NOT a racist if you point out the obvious about the government’s misnamed war on poverty: that not only has it failed to eliminate poverty in the black community (or anywhere else), it has actually perpetuated it.
- You are NOT a racist if you point out that for the most part successful black Americans improved the quality of their lives in the same way that successful rags-to-riches people of any race in America have: through personal initiative, by taking education seriously, by accepting personal responsibility for their lives, by working hard and working smart, by refusing to make excuses or view themselves as victims, and by turning their backs on government dependence.
- You are NOT a racist if you question the left’s practice of labeling successful black Americans as “sell-outs.” If it is selling out for a black American to succeed by dint of personal initiative rather than buying into the lie of government dependence, what does this say about the future prospects of young black Americans?
- You are NOT a racist if you point out that to a liberal that diversity is just code for “uniformity”. The whole point of embracing diversity is to increase the number of opinions offered, debated, and discussed, not to browbeat people into accepting the agenda-driven narrative espoused by liberals. If Americans cannot offer dissenting opinions or ask questions about socio-cultural topics, where is the diversity, much less the freedom of speech we are supposed to enjoy in this country?
There are racists in America (as well as every other country in the world). Unfortunately, there always have been and always will be. Whenever and wherever there are people, there will always be some bad actors. But the overwhelming majority of Americans of all races are not racists. This is why branding people as “racists” for simply questioning liberal orthodoxy is such an unwise and counterproductive practice. If disagreeing with the liberal narrative on race makes one a racist, what do we call those in our society who really are racists?
The overwhelming majority of Americans—black, white, Asian, and Hispanic—are not racists, nor do they condone racist practices. Most Americans of all races long for racial harmony. The exceptions are the real racists—those who long for what they see as the good old days of racial segregation—and the race hustlers—those who benefit personally or politically from stirring up racial animosity. Liberals who carelessly label people whose views do not comport with their own as “racists” fall into the latter group. Shame on them.