Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is “Racism” the New McCarthyism?

As a culture, are we going overboard in our pan-social crusade against perceived racial discrimination? 

Racism is actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently.

He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of honesty and decency in government.

February 09, 1950
Wheeling, W.V.

There were a few things that troubled me about the whole Donald Sterling fiasco from a few weeks ago. Sure, sure, I think we can all agree that the things Sterling said were pretty stupid, but at the same time, I can’t help but think that just a few elements of the story were misrepresented…or, in some cases, flat out ignored.

For one, let’s consider the fact that Donald Sterling, the man deemed irredeemably racist by the media at large, dated a woman whose ethnicity is probably best described as African-American. Now, call me crazy, but is there just a remote possibility that someone who sleeps with people of mixed ethnicities…who lives with them, and provides them with clothing and high priced meals and the like…may not be “racist,” in the classical, continental sense of the term? Where I come from, a racist is someone who generally wants nothing to do with the cultural other; they don’t want to see them, half the time they don’t want them living in the same country as they do, and most certainly, they would probably tend to avoid having prolonged romantic relationships with them. The fact that Sterling appeared to have a knack for bedding non-Caucasian women a quarter his own age would seem to indicate that he didn’t necessarily have a problem with white seed connecting with non-white ovary; which, again, in the classical, continental definition of the term, is what racism is all about.

I decided to type “definition of racism” into Google, and here’s what they gave me: “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

Now, according to transcripts of the illegally recorded telephone call between Mr. Sterling and his multiracial gal pal, all the much embattled soon-to-be ex-L.A. Clippers owner said was that he didn’t want her attending basketball games at his arena with a contextually unspecified “them.” Of course, the implied “them” is most likely “African-Americans,” but even if that was indeed Mr. Sterling’s perspective, is such a perspective, under the Google-sanctified definition above, actually racist?

Call me wacky, but I’m not sure how asking one’s romantic partner to stop publicly gallivanting around with African-American celebrities is indicative of “a belief that members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race.” Hell, Sterling said he had no problem with his girl sleeping with said African-American celebrities, it was just that he was opposed to seeing his girl out in front of cameras with those same individuals. Is it too crazy to mull that maybe, just maybe, Donny didn’t want his girl out in public with the same people she was sleeping with simply because it hurt his ego and not because he was a white supremacist with psuedoscientific convictions?

Yeah, we all know that Donald Sterling was apparently a slumlord who may or may not have said some unpleasant thing about the sanitary habits of his tenants, but once again -- using the Google-endorsed definition above -- is even purportedly saying that African Americans “smell and attract vermin” textually racist at all? Yes, it’s a mean-spirited, over-generalizing comment (if he said at all, of course), but it’s not exactly an utterance that indicates that Sterling himself considered whites superior to blacks based on innate racial differences. Indeed, the most classically racist thing about Sterling’s 2003 DOJ housing discrimination suit was that he appeared to celebrate and commend the supposed innate superiority of a racial group that wasn’t his own -- Koreans -- to the point that a district judge filed an injunction against him to prevent him from using the term “Korean” in his own real estate advertisements. And cue the ironically hilarious op-eds about how its discriminatory to think most Koreans are hard-working, honest people in 3,2...

And of course, that’s also to forget the fact that Sterling was once celebrated by the NAACP…yes, the same organization that celebrated the career of Fred Phelps, toonot once, but twice. And keep in mind, that first honor came a good six years after the initial housing discrimination suit was filed against Sterling. And, serving as the great Celestial punchline to all of this racism hullabaloo, it seems as if the media at large has completely misidentified Sterling as a Caucasian; seeing as how he was born Donald Tokowitz, you just have to wonder why the U.S. media conglomerates have seemed to go out of their way to downplay the fact that Sterling is, well…kinda’ Jewish. I’m sure the fact that a third of the league’s owners and its last two acting commissioners are also of the Hebrew persuasion has nothing to do with it, obviously.

Alas, the NBA -- utilizing its downright oligarchic collective policies -- have at least attempted to force Sterling into lifelong exile, with the grand scheme of wrestling the Clippers from his possession altogether. Of course, that’s the kind of business move that Supreme Court cases are made of, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of exciting legal action stemming from that in the future. At the current, however, what does this whole Sterling brouhaha tell us about racism in contemporary America?

Well, the Sterling case -- as does the respective cases of Mel Gibson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Michael Richards, Riley Cooper and Paula Deen (yet, surprisingly, not for Limeys Elvis Costello and Eric Clapton) -- tells us that, in contemporary America, there simply is no civic crime greater than perceived racial prejudices, in particular, Caucasoid disdain of Afro-Americans.

Funnily, the Google-provided definition of prejudice, alike its definition of racism, really doesn’t contextually sync up with any of the above mentioned celebrity shitstorms; “a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” By textbook definition, prejudice is something that exposes ignorance and misinformation, and not necessarily malicious intent -- and most certainly, not some eugenicist sense of racial superiority (you know, like championing yourself as “God‘s Chosen People“ or something else along those lines.) And before you drop the term “bigotry,” the Google-approved definition of that particular word has even less to do with ethnoracial politics -- it’s simply considered “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” Bigotry, per the Goog then, is about hating someone for what they believe, and not what they represent: technically, hating racists makes you a textbook bigot yourself.

Even the United Nations’ own International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination from 1965 doesn’t explicitly spell out a concrete definition of what “racism” entails. Sure, it gives us a fairly solid definition of what racial discrimination consists of -- “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life” -- but as to what constitutes “racism” as a concept, or what makes someone a “racist” him or herself? Nothing, zip, nada. For a term so frequently equated with career suicide, it sure does seem to be a word that’s suspiciously indefinable and peculiarly difficult -- if not downright impossible -- to exemplify.

Strangely enough, mere allegations of racial intolerance seem to only be death knells for Caucasian celebrities. At the same time the Sterling circus was in full swing, former New York Knick Larry Johnson called for the whole goddamn league to be segregated, yet Adam Silver didn’t try to remove his visage from every aspect of the National Basketball Association. Similarly, Shaq wasn’t castigated for his racist-sounding remarks about Asians, and nor did Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson get the crucifixion treatment for their use of homophobic slurs. And amid all of the Sterling scuttlebutt, you probably didn’t hear a peep about Minnesota T-Wolves player Dante Cunningham, whom over the course of 72 hours, was arrested twice; once for strangling his girlfriend and slamming her against a wall, and another for sending her terrorist threats via text after mercilessly pummeling her. The media as a whole went on a nuclear rampage to eradicate Sterling after his private conversation comments, but when a player ACTUALLY beats the living dog shit out of his domestic partner, it doesn’t even get picked up on ESPN. If there’s a singular message to take away here, it’s probably that in today’s multicultural uber alles culture, being an alleged (albeit, completely non-violent) porter of racially insensitive opinions is somehow worse than being a confirmed spouse abuser.

Nothing…beating your wife, failing to provide for your kids, drunk driving, drug dealing, committing vehicular homicide, running a dog fighting ring, or being booked on first degree murder charges…is as bad, in the eyes of contemporary media, than even the teensiest trembling of racist thought. Hell, the way Hollywood continues to celebrate almost assured child predators alike Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Bryan Singer, I think it’s a safe bet to assume that being outed as a paedo is less harmful to your career than allegations of the dreaded “R” word. After all; Jimmy the Greek and Fuzzy Zoeller never recovered from their ehtnoracial gaffes, but human trafficker Jimmy Page and registered sex offender Pete Townshend are still welcomed with open arms by the entertainment complex elite.

So, we have an all purpose, fittingly undefined term that can be casually tossed around to vilify others, a mainstream media hellbent on eliminating all perceived forms of intolerance and relentless (yet strangely one-sided) enforcement of a social ideology that supersedes even the criminal law of our culture. Is it just me, or does today’s media jihad against “racism” bear more than a passing resemblance to McCarthyism?

You remember Joey McCarthy, right? The Republican guy from Wisconsin, who run around saying that everyone who disagreed with his politics were Soviet turncoats? Well, that same mentality seems alive and well in today’s media, where pretty much everybody who isn’t lock-step in agreement with the hardcore social democratic planks of the media elite is yay close to winding up on a blacklist.

Seriously, no one’s drawn the parallels between what happened to Mel Gibson and Michael Richards with what happened to Dalton Trumbo and Samuel Ornitz in the 1950s? The same way the casual allegations of “communism” led to the end of so many careers half a century ago, we’re seeing very much the same type of allegations -- this time, regarding “racism” -- ending or attempting to end the careers of “dissidents” today. Funny how all the “blacklisted” media folks back then were progressives denied livelihoods, while celebrities accused of “bigotry” and “hatred” today tend to skew more conservative, no?

The same way McCarthy used the Red Scare to not only silence his political adversaries, but virtually prevent them from earning a living, it’s quite apparent that we’re seeing scores of Neo-McCarthyists today use the Redneck Scare to not just hush up politically undesirable celebs, but force them into mandatory obscurity. Ironically, toleration of fellows like Willie Robertson are absolutely off the table for these mass media witch hunters; they, and their like-minded brethren, HAVE to be stamped out, for the greater good of humanity, First Amendment rights be a good goddamned. To put a new spin on the McCarthy quote that kicked off this article, it’s not until all of these newfangled, right-leaning “warped, twisted thinkers” are culturally eliminated that a more honest and decent social framework can be erected in the eyes of today’s hyper-equalitarian media megaliths.

Maybe, just maybe, this doesn’t have anything at all to do with racism, you know. Really, are guys like Mel Gibson and Donald Sterling racists on per with guys like David Duke and William Pierce? Isn’t there, I don’t know, some kind of obvious danger in equating the political other with the political extreme other just to behoove you and your select agendas? And furthermore, isn’t it just a bit culturally concerning that we live in a society where the mere suspicions of racial prejudices -- especially as the ill-defined and nearly unidentifiable terms they are -- are enough to rid one of an opportunity to make a living, in this, the year two thousand and motherfucking fourteen?

You know, for the longest time, freedom of expression was our most cherished democratic hallmark. Today, however, it seems more like we’re striving for a post-democratic ideal of freedom from being offended. I’m not sure what that equalitarian utopia resembles, but this much, I am certain: it sure as hell ain’t going to be a place where First Amendment values are held in much esteem -- if even acknowledged at all, for that matter.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.