I’ve been thinking about race and racism for the past few weeks, and I have come to the conclusion that at its root, racism is the result of viewing people as groups rather than as individuals. For example, it is racist to believe that purple people are lazy, and green people are smart just because they are purple or green. But it’s not racist if you think Joe is lazy because he never does anything, or Jane is smart because she’s both a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist.
Here’s my working definition of racism: the belief that a person’s race is important in judging the superiority or inferiority of that person; also viewing everything through the filter of race. The idea that purple people are better than green people is a racist idea because it judges the groups based on their race classification only. And a professor of Green Studies who sees every real or imagined insult as an attack on him personally because of his Green color is likewise a racist.
The sad news is that we have not gotten past race and racism as a nation yet. As proof, I offer President Obama. He is often referred to as our nation’s first black President, but is he really? OK, ignoring the claim that President Clinton was our first black President, President Obama’s mother was white and his father was black. That makes Obama a half-and-half mixture of the two races. To identify him as black implies that the 50% of him that is black is more important than the 50% that is white. Another example is Tiger Woods. As Wikipedia puts it, he is “one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.” But every time he is called black or credited as the “first African American to win a men’s major golf championship,” a value judgment has been made stating that the 25% of him that is black is of greater worth and mention than the other 75% of his ethnic makeup. That is a value judgment based on his race, and to my mind that is racist.
I don’t care about the President’s family background; I care about his stated goals and policies. I disagree with his plans for government control over more and more aspects of Americans’ lives.
Is this attitude racist? How could it be racist if my disapproval of Obama has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with his far-left policies? But people on the left are crying “racist!” when people criticize or lampoon our Dear Leader. Don’t believe me? The left is now worried that calling Obama and his supporters “socialists” is now code for much nastier racial epithets. Here is MSNBC host Carlos Watson, making this claim:
The second half rambles off onto immigration, but here’s the part that shocked me. Watson is paraphrasing David Brooks:
More credible conservatives have to stand up and say that there is a line that has to be drawn, that there is a line of responsibility that’s important, and that extends to the words that we chose. Including how we use even legitimate words like socialist.
Words mean things, and it is quite accurate to label Obama and other Democrats as socialists as they are trying to take over the nation’s economy, but it is also accurate to identify his plans for government control of businesses, like banking and auto industries, as fascism. Are either of these words racist? If you say that they are, I have to ask you to point out how they target a specific race. I am left to believe that they may be considered racist words solely because they are used to target Obama. Consider the two images below.
Both Presidents are being compared to the Joker character as portrayed by Heath Ledger in the recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.” But people are calling the poster on the left racist, while there was no outcry when the same thing was done to President Bush. The same treatment was given to both Presidents, but it’s virulent racism when done to Obama and mere good humor when done to Bush. I am led to believe that to the left, any criticism directed at President Obama is racist because it is directed at President Obama. That reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus:
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15
If someone sees everything through the lens of race, that person is a racist and nothing is pure to him. I look forward to the day, as did Martin Luther King, Jr., when we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. On that day we will have put racism behind us.