LA Times op-ed reveals new racist code word: “Elitist”

posted at 3:37 pm on April 16, 2008 by Allahpundit

A new breakthrough towards the left’s unified field theory of how all criticism of Obama is essentially racist. The last great advance came from Harvard prof Orlando Patterson, scanning Hillary’s pedestrian 3 a.m. ad on Obama’s inexperience and finding the lost sequel to “Birth of a Nation.” Now comes David Shipler, thesaurus in hand, following a trail of synonyms that leads straight to the darkest heart of racist AmeriKKKa:

[W]hen his opponents branded him an elitist and an outsider, his race made it easier to drive a wedge between him and the white, rural voters he has courted. As an African American, he was supposedly looking down from a place he didn’t belong and looking in from a distance he could not cross.

This could not happen as dramatically were it not for embedded racial attitudes. “Elitist” is another word for “arrogant,” which is another word for “uppity,” that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves…

Furthermore, casting Obama as “out of touch” plays harmoniously with the traditional notion of blacks as “others” at the edge of the mainstream, separate from the whole.

If you take this tool seriously, there’s quite literally no good-faith way to accuse a member of a minority group of being snobbish or condescending. Every road through Shipler’s copy of Roget will lead inevitably back to “uppity,” no matter how circuitous the route may be. He’s also playing games with the definition of “out of touch,” a term typically applied to Republicans not to suggest that they’ve been marginalized from mainstream society but that they’ve become so consummately mainstream and establishment that they no longer relate to average people. The classic example of being “out of touch” is George Bush not knowing how much a gallon of milk costs. “Otherness” is practically 180 degrees from the concept.

But that’s all prelude. Here’s the master stroke, reminding us once again that for people for whom racial stereotypes are supposedly such alien concepts, progressives’ thoughts seem to turn awfully quickly to them:

When Clinton mocked Obama for the supposed emptiness of his eloquence, the chiding had a faint historical echo from Thomas Jefferson’s musings in “Notes on the State of Virginia” that “in music they are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time,” but “one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid.”

Hillary tells Obama he’s a blowhard and this guy hears Ralph Bellamy in “Trading Places” talking about what a “musical people” blacks are. QED.

Exit question: What doesn’t qualify as a racist term? Exit answer: See the end of this Perfunction post to find out.


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