July 11, 2010

White conservatives "angry about racism"

Tim Wise gives us another masterful essay about racism in America:

Black Power's Gonna Get You Sucka:  Right-Wing Paranoia and the Rhetoric of Modern Racism

By Tim WiseProminent white conservatives are angry about racism.

Forget all that talk about a post-racial society. They know better than to believe in such a thing, and they’re hopping mad.

What is it that woke them up finally, after all these years of denial, during which they insisted that racism was a thing of the past?

Was it the research indicating that job applicants with white-sounding names have a 50 percent better chance of being called back for an interview than their counterparts with black-sounding names, even when all qualifications are the same?


Was it the study that found white job applicants with criminal records have a better chance of being called back for an interview than black applicants without one, even when all the qualifications are the same?


Was it the massive nationwide study that estimated at least 1 million cases of blatant job discrimination against blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans each year, affecting roughly one-in-three job seekers of color?

Wise lists another thirty-two examples of racism that could offend conservatives, but doesn't. He continues:It is none of this. Neither the evidence of systemic discrimination against people of color in every walk of American life, nor the repeated examples of blatant racism directed towards people of color individually moves them.

But they're angry nonetheless about racism in America.

They're especially angry about the tax being placed on those who use tanning salons. Because this is racist. Against white people. No, seriously.
Wise is referring to this "controversy," which isn't an April Fool's joke:

'Tan tax' discussions include allegations of reverse racism

By N.C. AizenmanMention the new "tan tax" in a major news outlet and cries of discrimination and reverse racism often follow.

The complaint surfaced on reader comment boards to blogs and news Web sites back in December, when it became clear that the levy--a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet tanning beds--was likely to be included in the new health-care overhaul bill. Since then, it's been repeated by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Doc Thompson, a fill-in host for Glenn Beck who intoned in March, "I now know the pain of racism."
Wise's conclusion:While on the face of it, these kinds of right-wing inanities may seem so absurd as to hardly merit being taken seriously, it's important to step back and think about the internal logic of even the most outlandish claims. I mean, no one can honestly believe that health care reform is reparations. After all, what the hell kind of reparations is it where you have to get sick first in order to get paid? That's not a good hustle. And no one can really believe that some white kid got beat up on a bus because it's "Obama's America," as if the President had sent a text message to those black guys saying: HEY, YNOT BEAT SUM CRAKA ASS 4 ME, U DIG?

But the intellectual strength of the claims is not the issue. It doesn't matter. From a political perspective, even the most insane-sounding claim about Obama's supposed hatred for white people makes sense. It's a perfect way to prime white racial fears and anxieties, to say, in effect, they're coming for your money white folks, and then your children. In a nation where the population will be half people of color within 25-30 years, and where the popular culture is now thoroughly multicultural (and thus many of the icons don't look the way they used to), and where the President doesn't fit a lot of people's conception of what such a person is supposed to look like, and where the economy is in the toilet for millions, playing upon white anxiety is the perfect recipe for political mobilization.

They've said very clearly that they want their country back. And if we who oppose the right don't challenge these folks for the racists they are, or continue to shy away from making race an issue (as if it weren't already), they just might get it.
Comment:  This is exactly how we know so many teabaggers and other conservatives are racist. They don't know or care about the thousands of everyday examples of racism against minorities. All they care about is white people like them.

They won't devote one iota of energy to Wise's litany of injustices, but they'll cry like stuck pigs about a tanning tax. To them America doesn't have a problem with poor cities, schools, and hospitals. America's main problems are welfare spending, illegal immigration, and affirmative action. In other words, minorities. The inferior "mud people" who dare to equate themselves with the white Europeans who founded the greatest country on earth.

When the first conservative seriously discusses one of Wise's 35 examples of racism against minorities, I may faint. Until then, I'll continue to assert that teabagger conservatives are racist hypocrites. Their talk about cutting government spending is code for sticking it to the brown-skins.

For more on the subject, see:

New Hampshire Republican = racist
Whites fighting racism is racist?!
Mentioning racism = dwelling on past?
Poll proves teabaggers are racists
Buchanan sums up teabaggers
The evidence for teabagger racism
Teabaggers:  Obama = "half-breed"
Conservatives' pro-white agenda
Teabaggers support racist imagery
Right-wing racism against Obama