I have been told that there are three types of people that will tell you the absolute truth: the extremely old, the extremely young, and the extremely drunk. I'm not going to defend Rosanne Barr for her tweets, even if she was on Ambien. What I am concerned about, though, is the way we, as a nation, react to such thoughts. Within 24 hours of the tweets, ABC decided to walk back their decision to renew her show. That's fast, and affects hundreds of people that had jobs working on such a project.
Really, though. Why are so many of us so quick to distance ourselves from the taint of being seen as "racist"? I am curious as to what is so bad, so "wrong", about it. I can tell you the illogic of it, as racism is a specific example of the fallacy of "Generalization." Generalization is when one assumes the qualities of a few examples of a class to exist in all members of a class. (Since these apples are red, all apples must be red.) Is the "wrong" because of the history of how racism was used to justify "our peculiar institution"?
Let's back up a bit. Where do "racist" ideas come from? I posit that they come from two sources: they are taught by those we know, and are learned from observation. I could very easily see how such ideals held by "far right" groups might be handed down over generations. If one's Pappy, Grand-Pappy, and Great-Grand-Pappy held those opinions, then emulation of those men would include holding those ideals, too. On the other hand, multiple examples, presented over and over, are often just as powerful in helping people form opinions. Most young children will draw carrots using an "orange" crayon, as every carrot they've seen is orange. It's quite a surprise to these kids when they run into an "heirloom" carrot that's either purple or white.
What do orange carrots have to do with learning to be racist? I grew up in Nashville, TN, where "black folks" make up roughly one-fourth of the population. Since I attended public schools, I was frequently in class with children from that portion of the population. The majority of the time a student "acted up", the student in question was one "of color". The noisier kids in the cafeteria, and the one's running in the hallways of the school were usually from that group, too. As I got into later grades, I discovered how funny it was to these same kids to "pick on the white nerd". By the time I graduated from high school, I had enough evidence to decide that I wanted nothing to do with "people of color" as they seemed to me to be a self-destructive, stupid people who deserved to live on the bottom rungs of society. (Years later, I would discover that there are "white" folks that behave in a similar fashion. Both groups fit under the category of "poverty class".) I didn't learn "racism" from my family, I learned it from people of another race!
That leads me to another point. I see two kinds of racism in America, today. There is the version that, when exposed, has people pointing fingers and demanding someone to be burned at the stake. This is the stuff that people lose jobs and social position for expressing. The second type is the kind that points fingers a demands retribution. This is the "respectable racism" of America. The respectable racism allows groups like "The Black Caucus" and "The Black Chamber of Commerce" to continue to exist. This puts some sort of sanctity on the "Historically Black College or University." This respectable version creates the bulwark from which unscrupulous people "of color" can hide behind and blow raspberries at everyone else. You see, this respectable racism is to create a generalization that allows for the "black community" to have an advantage. I risk being called "racist" to even suggest that groups like the NAACP are outdated and need to be disbanded. This power, this ability to destroy with a word, is a crutch. It does nothing to "build up" the group it supposedly protects, and does nothing but destroy those outside the bulwarks.
I've had enough of this junk. When is the majority going to finally tell these small groups to "shut up and get with the program"? When are we going to get over our fear of being called "racist" and start telling the other side to dump their racism? When are we going to stop rushing to cover our behinds when the finger starts to point? When are we going to demand people to check their "black privilege"? I want to see some one tell these folks to spend more effort on being "people" rather than "of color".