I am going to spell this out for everyone. I will be as simple and direct as possible. Print it out, paste it next to your computer, and refer to it often. Some of us need this.
1)Making fun of, or disliking, a black president is NOT racist.
Making fun of, or disliking, a black president because of his skin color IS racist.
Examples: The president has big ears, and Cheshire grin; those are fair game. Disliking the President’s policy is not racist; go for it. A composite photo of all the portraits of presidents from Washington to “W”, followed by a black square and two eye balls ala Scooby Doo, is not fair game. That is a joke not possible without his skin color, hence a joke about his skin.
2)White America has a long and well documented history of calling black people monkeys or gorillas, insinuating, or outright declaring, that black people are sub human, animalistic, and less intelligent. Because of this historical fact, calling George W Bush a monkey is not the same thing as calling Obama a monkey.
If you are unaware of this historical fact due to youth or cultural isolation, you are not automatically a racist. You may be ignorant of historical facts and unaware of others in a way that leads to inherent insensitivity, but those things are not automatically racist. Should you make a mistake in this regard, or witness someone else doing so, the correct response is apology, not defense.
Example via metaphor: If I mistakenly punch you in the nose, my primary concern should be for your medical welfare, not defending my motivation.
3)If you are aware of the historical precedent of insults against black people, yet your initial response when witnessing, or hearing of such an insult is to defend the possible innocence of the offender, rather than the feelings of the offended, you are allying yourself with racism, If not becoming allied with an actual racist.
Example: Don Imus called the Rutgers basketball players an insult that was directly tied to their race. He knew this when he did it. If your initial reaction to the story was to defend his freedom of speech as opposed to your being offended at the racist nature of the event, you have just allied yourself with racism at the expense of those being directly affected by that racism.
4)Being nice to a racist does not make you a racist. Excusing or saying nice things about the racist things a person does or has done… is probably racist.
Example: Saying nice things about Strom Thurmond is not racist. Saying you wish Strom Thurmond would have won the presidency when he ran on the platform, and in the party, whose stated purpose was segregation, is a statement saying you wish the racists were in charge. Why would you say that if not racist?
If you get an email breaking any of these rules the correct responses are:
- Reply with a request to cease and desist. Maybe even correcting the mistake
- “Reply all” refuting the error in the email
- Attempt all the earlier and if it is an elected official sending you the email… call the press.
Feel free to email me anything you like. Just sayin’.