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Rochelle Riley: Racists come in all kinds, and they’ve got a card, too

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:00 PM
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Rochelle Riley: Racists come in all kinds, and they’ve got a card, too

http://www.freep.com/article/20090916/COL10/90916049/13...

POSTED: 1:41 P.M. SEPT. 16, 2009

Racists come in all kinds, and they’ve got a card, too
BY ROCHELLE RILEY
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST


Thank God for western Kentucky voters.

They’re honest, hard-working folks who didn’t mind telling people during last year’s campaign that they didn’t want a black man to be president.

It was OK. It was how they felt.

What I can’t figure out is why seemingly more important politicians, talking heads, CEOs and others across America can’t be as honest.

Former President Jimmy Carter gets it. Hell, he’s from Georgia. He’s seen it. And this week, he said it.

A Facebook friend this morning asked what I thought of Carter’s contention that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s specious outburst during President Barack Obama speech to Congress (“You lie!” Wilson bellowed at the commander-in-chief.) was “based on racism” and the belief that a black man should not be president of the United States.

My response was: Carter is right, and what difference does it make?

For 24 hours after Carter’s remarks, television pundits and talk-show hosts asked a bunch of white people whether Carter’s assessment was accurate only to be told “Of course not” with righteous, but misguided conviction.

We should not automatically presume that these people are racist.

Some believe they are accidental racists. They cling to an ignorance of racism as if to protect themselves from an inconvenient truth.

Some are closet racists. They know that racism exists, and understand its origins. But they cannot publicly accept it because the weight of guilt would be unbearable. It would mean their ancestors were wrong, their ideals were wrong, that their lives were superior only because they created an inferior class. They include well-meaning folks in my hometown whose response to desegregation was to create a separate academy for their children. Those well-meaning racists now watch their children combine their high school reunion with that of the public high school so classmates torn asunder can be reunited.

The third group knows who they are. They are proud and, though outnumbered, certain. They are drawn to each other. And they offer no apology. They are the ones, the Glenn Becks of the world, whose defense against their own racism is to attack complaints about racism. They diffuse constructive efforts to end racism by belittling its frequent sightings.

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cheapdate Donating Member (197 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:49 PM
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1. Thank you for some clarity.
Every so often someone on the right will make a clear honest statement, like "I don't want my money to buy school lunches for poor people." Thank you for being honest, I respect you for it. But that seems to be the rare exception.
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