You are a racist.
Not a nice thing to say, right? It’s inherently hurtful. It lumps you in with horrible people throughout history. It’s virtually impossible to disprove.
It’s a shame that the media is so quick to label public figures as racists and from there simply dismiss them as tarnished undesirables.
Another problem with calling someone a racist is that it seems to imply that there are only two categories of people: evil racists and perfect non-racists. That’s nonsense. If there is a person in this world who has zero prejudice, I haven’t met her.
My observation of humanity is that racism is like the Kinsey Scale of sexual orientation. On one side of the Racism Scale is Hitler. On the other side is Jesus. All of us fall somewhere in between.
And hopefully as you live and learn, your place on the Racism Scale evolves as you do. Mine has.
Growing up in Vermont, my firsthand knowledge of black America was, of course, tiny. I don’t remember how I felt. Since I moved to Delaware and began working in a diverse office and socializing at diverse nightclubs, my perspective changed profoundly. Outrage at deindustrialization and the prison system and its effect on black families is at the core of my belief system now.
I wasn’t overly appreciative or respectful of Chinese immigrants. That is until I dated a smart, admirable woman named Xinyu from Beijing a few years ago. Now my whole perspective has changed and I can appreciate the virtues of the Chinese-American community.
I’m not saying that I was a Klansman before or that I’m an angel today. I’m just an imperfect person like everyone else, trying to slowly replace my feelings of prejudice with feelings of understanding. Calling me a racist then or now is equally unkind and unproductive.
Right-wing website creator Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012) made it his life’s work to challenge the mainstream media when it attacked people with spurious accusations of racism. “Hating Breitbart” shows us how hard it is to fight on the front-line of a culture war.
Andrew Breitbart was no one’s idea of a prototypical Conservative. He was a non-practicing Jewish guy from Los Angeles. He was unapologetically flamboyant.
But as this election cycle has proven, you don’t have to be a sincere Christian or a social Conservative to be worshipped by the Republican base. You just have to fearlessly take on the liberal media and win.
And Breitbart did a lot of winning in his short life. He observed that when the media doesn’t like a politician or a political group, it denounces them as racist. And if there is no evidence to back it up, the media will make it up.
When ThinkProgress.com published a video of a vocal Neo-Nazi wearing an SS uniform at a 2010 Tea Party rally, the left rejoiced because it could now prove that the Tea Party is a racist organization. When Andrew Breitbart got a hold of the full video, however, he discovered that the loud Nazi was, in fact, an actor hired by Democratic operative (and former Clinton Chief of Staff) John Podesta. And Breitbart saw that Think Progress carefully edited out the end of the video, when Tea Partiers kicked the would-be Nazi out.
The same year, Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis told reporters that he had just been called the N-Word “15 times” by Tea Party protestors during his short walk from his car to the DC building where he was attending a health care reform hearing. The press eagerly picked up on the story and reported it as fact in news outlets around the country.
Right-wing activists who were there admitted that they were obnoxiously chanting slogans at Rep. Lewis; but they were all about health care. Andrew Breitbart gathered video coverage from every step of the Lewis’s walk and discovered that either the Congressmen misheard the protesters or he made the whole thing up. Breitbart offered $100,000 to anyone who could produce audio or video evidence of a Tea Partier saying the N-Word that day. There were no takers. And Rep. Lewis changed his story.
Nevertheless, the NAACP used the fictional racist incident as a key point in their 2010 campaign to take down Tea Party congressional candidates.
Andrew Breitbart led a stressful life. And he died very young. His legend lives on at www.breitbart.com, where his proteges continue to fight back against media lies and slander.
So, next time you are thinking of calling someone a racist, remember the words of the least racist man of all time: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”