After Toure’s assertion that Joe Biden’s “chains” comment was not racial but Mitt Romney’s criticism of it and the tone of the Obama/Biden team somehow was, I was by turns annoyed at the hypocrisy, outraged at the crudity in which it was expressed, and saddened by the unrelenting desire of a portion of the commentariat on the Left to smear anyone who opposes Barack Obama and his policies as racists and haters. I’m glad that Allahpundit wrote the excellent post, rather than me; I needed more time to approach the issue rationally, and frankly to pray about it and for our nation.
Later yesterday evening, I saw this video from young African-American conservative Kira Davis posted by Duane Lester, and earlier this morning by Jim Treacher. Kira harshly rebukes Toure for smearing Romney, but her entire missive has food for thought for everyone:
I read your comments about Mitt Romney today and they made me sick to my stomach, and very angry. You accuse Romney of “niggerizing” Obama. There is so much wrong with that statement, I hardly know where to begin. You see, that word…nigger….it means something. It means something very real to people like me who actually have intimate, firsthand knowledge of how it can be applied. I resent that you would use that so easily (though you claim it wasn’t ‘easy’, I don’t believe you). You used that term to get some press. Great. Mission accomplished. But in the process you have watered down a term of hate with deep historical significance by applying it where it most certainly does not fit.
But that doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist, either. Kira has experienced it, which is why she’s angry that commentators like Toure minimize its “horror” by conflating disagreement with actual hate:
Toure, I’ve seen hate up close. I know what it looks like. I’ve felt it’s hands on my skin, seen the look in its eyes, felt the burn of its words. It is deliberate and it is real. Racism is not disliing our black President because of his socialist leanings. Racism is the scar I carried near my lip for decades after one particularly harsh punch in the mouth from a kid screaming “NIGGER!” at me while swinging away. Racism is that guy in the diner, the hoses and dogs turned on folks from my grandparent’s generation just looking to drink at a decent water fountain. When you accuse a person of racism, THAT is the legacy of hate you are laying at their feet. It’s every bit as heinous as accusing someone of being a child molester arbitrarily. When you accuse Mitt Romney and other conservatives like me of being racist based on no other proof besides the fact that we vehemently disagree with this President and his policies, you dilute the history and experiences of people like me. You cheapen that word – nigger. You rob it of it’s true horror – a horror we should never forget or take for granted.Not only that, Toure; but you cheapen yourself. You make it clear to blacks like me that you, indeed have no clue in hell what real racism is or where it can be found.
Accusing Mitt Romney of the “niggerization” of Obama is ugly, base, cheap and just plain wrong. You owe him and people like an apology. You seem like an intelligent guy. If you disagree with Mitt Romney and me, do so on the merits of the issues at hand. Don’t prostitute yourself on a network that it more way more white (percentage-wise) than the Republican party. It’s a song and dance eerily similar the minstrel shows of the past. You and I know full well the execs at MSNBC laugh and applaud and sign your paycheck every time you put on your tap shoes. Don’t like that reference? Hey, as you said so yourself, Im just using the same old race-baiting playbook you and the Democrats have been using for decades.
You should be embarrassed.
I mention this because too often we forget that real racism still exists. There are actual virulent racists who make life hell for people like Kira, not because they disagree with her political point of view, but because they actually hate her for the color of her skin. Unfortunately, few people who sin in this fashion can be transformed through blaming politicians for arguing over legitimate policy differences. We can — and we have been, imperfectly at times — remove racism from government policy and enforcement, but passing laws will not change the hearts of those who hate. It just keeps them from using the power of government as a vehicle for putting their hate into action.
Keep that in mind when applauding Kira for her pushback against Toure. There are more lessons to learn from Kira than just that MSNBC hired a hack.
Speaking of which, Dana Milbank takes Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center to task for doing exactly what Toure did — equating political disagreement with hatred, and cheapening the latter to score a few bogus points for their own political point of view:
I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?
Since the shooting, conservatives have complained that the media have played down the story. This probably has less to do with bias than with the fact that nobody was killed. Still, there is something to the complaint.
Milbank uses the “pox upon both their houses” to a large extent in this column, but he’s right on the core of his argument. Organizations like SPLC and HRC have gone from the legitimate warning of actual hate groups that represent potential for danger and violence to claiming everyone who disagrees with their point of view belong in the same category as the Aryan Nation. It goes beyond “absurd,” and does real damage to efforts to those who want to end actual hatred.