“Lord help us, they’re talking race again,” writes Leonard Pitts columnist with the Miami Herald— talking about race. For nearly half a century since the “content of character” was supposed to trump the “color of skin,” racial agitators have never stopped talking about it. In fact, it seems to be getting more shrill and bizarre instead of fading into a “colorblind” America as promoted by civil rights activists. Actual racial discrimination has been long legislated into oblivion. Now, as Mr. Pitts reminds us, it’s all about offending words. (link)
Pitts brings back some past cases starting with Newt Gingrich. During the recent GOP presidential primary Newt “had engaged in dog-whistle (only dogs can hear it) politics designed to rouse the racial resentments of white working-class voters,” says Pitts. How did he blow this silent whistle? Gingrich called Barack Obama a “food stamp president”—clearly racial. Apparently, only black non-working class people sign up for food stamps. I didn’t know that.
White people must be very careful about the words they use so to avoid the dreaded “racist” word stuck to them. Pitts even accuses President Ronald Reagan because Reagan used the term “welfare queens.” These were code words to white voters referencing “lazy blacks,” Pitts writes.
Pitts seems to be a nonpartisan critic of political racial language. He called Joe Foot-in-Mouth Biden’s remarks to a black audience that the GOP will “put y’all back in chains” “stupid” and “linguistic blackface.”
And he recalls Hillary Clinton’s slavery reference in 2006, when she accused the GOP of running a “plantation.” Other words reference “black” without saying “black,’ writes Pitts: “drug users,” “urban,” “poverty,” and “crime…carry racial weight.”
Yes, we’re heavily burdened with race.
So white folks are on constant notice of intolerance toward their choice of certain English words used in any political context. Our language has become nullified, purged and colorless out of paranoia that we might, God forbid, offend some hypersensitive political group.
Speech is a terrible thing to waste.
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