It sounded weird to me when I first heard someone refer to a black person as a racist. It took a while, though until I realized the implications and potential of painting black people in that light.
Consider it today’s version of, “I know you are, but what am I?”
It’s obvious that a lot of folks bandying about the word “racist” have no idea what it means. Let’s clarify that.
At the core of racism is the belief in qualitative differences between races. That includes the belief that one race is superior to all others, which many white people seem to believe. An example of that would be the Third Reich’s Aryans, who thought that they were destined to rule the world and subjugate all other races.
Racism also includes the belief that another race is inferior to your race or, at its extremes, less than human. This would include all the white supremacy groups, skinheads and, of course the Nazis, who considered exterminating Jews as New Yorkers consider exterminating rats.
Hating people of another race does not make one a racist. With the exception, perhaps of Louis Farrakhan , black people don’t seem to think that the white race is inferior. Their fear, mistrust, hatred or what have you is based on feelings of victimization and subjugation.
We can argue about the validity of those perceptions, but the history of relations between blacks and whites in America, from the arrival of the first Africans to our shores to recent events in Florida, Missouri, Ohio and New York would, at least suggest a substantial basis for those perceptions.
Categorization of anti-Semitism can be problematic, but Jews are generally not hated or persecuted for their religious beliefs. Worldwide antipathy towards Jews is directed at them as a people, not a religious group. Jews’ practice of their religion varies from the completely secular to the ultra-orthodox.
Racism is actually a sub-category of bigotry, which is an intolerance or hatred based on personal opinion and can be directed at others based on their race, religion, gender or beliefs.
True believers of Islam tend toward an internal form of bigotry, most notably between the Shia and Sunni sects, but they all hate each other almost as much as they hate Jews and Americans.
Which brings us to my friend’s recent proclamation that, “Obama’s a racist and that’s all there is to it.”
It had been a trying weekend with my friend-let’s call him Mr. FOX-, so I didn’t challenge his proclamation. I merely asked, “Why?”
“I just told you,” he said.
What he told me was that President Obama should not have weighed in on the explosive events in Ferguson, Missouri. Events that threatened and eventually led to demonstrations across the nation.
Why would the President of the United States call for peace in her cities and justice for all Americans?
I wasn’t a big Bush (GW) fan, but I think he would have addressed the issue in much the same way as his successor. Then again, as a white man, he has a great deal more latitude to speak his mind.
Extending the (twisted) logic, a Jewish president would be prohibited from speaking out against any mistreatment of Jews, lest he (or she) be labelled a racist. Or, worse yet, an anti-Semite.
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