Things I've Tagged ‘Race’

Page 1 of 1

Disingenuous Reporting at the Washington Post

The headline reads: “NAACP backs report that ties racist groups to tea party.“1 Say what? Is this implying that the Tea Party is tied to racists? Because that’s the conclusion I would draw from this headline if I were merely skimming the news this morning. Scandalous. Let’s read a little.

“A new report, backed by the NAACP, has found what it says are efforts by white nationalist groups and militias to link themselves to the tea party movement.“1 Oh, well that’s not quite the same is it? If this sentence is taken on it’s face it merely implicates the groups themselves, rather than the Tea Party. Except that in the next paragraph it states that the report claims “that tea party events have become a forum for extremists ‘hoping to push these (white) protesters toward a more self‐conscious and ideological white supremacy.’ ”1

A little further down you find out that the report isn’t necessarily concerned with the movement as a whole, rather it’s focused on the smaller county level groups that can be more easily infiltrated by these racist, nefarious groups. 2

It isn’t until you find yourself still sort of reading the article near the end of the first page that you get a Tea Party member defending themselves:

The national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, one of the groups mentioned in the report, said the report’s claims were not credible. “The Tea Party has only articulated three core values for the entire movement,” said Jenny Beth Martin. “They are limited government, fiscal responsibility and support for free markets. Everything we say and do is in support of these values. There is no credible method of making these values racist.“1

Plain and simple, that’s what motivates these guys. I call this disingenuous reporting because the headline and story structure make it easy for an individual to conclude that yes, yes indeed these Tea Partiers are associated with some racist scum. Not only that, but evidence pointing to a conclusion other than racist collusion is placed on the second page, almost the last paragraph:

Other analysts who have begun to study the burgeoning political force have come to the opposite conclusion. A report on political signs displayed at a tea party rally in Washington last month found that the vast majority of activists expressed narrow concerns about the government’s economic and spending policies and steered clear of the racially charged anti‐Obama messages that have helped define some media coverage of such events.

BAM! In your face (if you made it this far) defense of the movement.

It’s pretty clear that what motivates opposition to the Progressive Democrat agenda is purely related to disagreement over policy. I’m no Tea Partier, but I’ve been around enough of them to draw this conclusion without any hesitation.

I’m tired of Democrats painting these sorts of pictures of opposition to their ideas. And the media is happy to spin the same yarn. Good God am I tired of it.

  1. Thompson, Krissah. NAACP backs report that ties racist groups to tea party. Accessed 10/21/2010.
  2. One should probably note that the Tea Party has no official structure or organization. They are loosely related groups with a common set of principles. This Washington Post articles leans towards implicating the lot of them when that should not be the case

A Brief Discourse on Race

We are constantly assaulted–verbally bloodied, really–by the message that we are not beyond the issue of race in this country—that racism/sexism/et al runs rampant in the system, and that we have very little chance of progressing positively on this matter. In light of these facts, it is claimed that we must positively discriminate in order to make up for our past wrongs. 1

And boy, are our past wrongs terrible. Don’t get me wrong on that point, we have certainly not afforded liberty to individuals who should have had it, but I must ask: how in the world are we ever expected to move beyond race, when it is such an obvious factor in determining anti‐discriminatory discrimination? That sort of logic is a hell of a thing to figure out.

I don’t believe that we can realistically eliminate the discriminating nature of individuals, however wrong their conclusions may be, simply because we’re wired to do so. We judge situations, we judge ourselves, and we judge others based on actions, our surroundings, and past experience. You cannot eliminate that through legislation, no matter how badly you would like to do so.

To compound matters, we are dealing with a class of individuals who use such language (crying, “Racist!”) in a way that stifles debate on the matter; by many accounts, and by my own experience, I believe we are beyond race or gender being a realistic barrier to any sort of future opportunities. There is an equality of opportunity that surely exists, and there is no question about that. Unfortunately, not all individuals are born rich, well off, in the right neighborhood, attend the right school, etc. but we cannot possibly rely on the government to provide a level playing field in that regard.

Today, I learned of former President Jimmy Carter’s statements concerning opposition to the agenda of President Obama. He feels deep down that any opposition can primarily be attributed to racism, and racist attitudes. Mr. Carter refuses for a single moment to consider that it is opposition to the man’s policies, and not his color or creed, that causes individuals to refuse to support his agenda.

But, once it is claimed that we are racist in our thinking, it becomes difficult to defend our position in a debate–frankly, it is impossible to do so–and thus the debate is ended. In spite of the vitriolic way in which this is done, it is often brushed aside or given legitimacy as an argument against any opposition.

I find it difficult to believe this sort of rhetoric concerning race. In my own life I have not seen the effects of racism on others–though I attended a racially diverse high school–but what I have seen is the unequaled tolerance for diversity my generation has shown.

In brief, the United States seems unwilling to have an open, honest discussion on race simply because it is convenient to maintain the status quo; convenient only because of what it offers in terms of drumming up votes and maintaining the power of the few who would use race, gender, and identity to do so. We will never eliminate discrimination, but we’ve certainly created an environment of equal opportunity, and that is all that we can do in a society that favors liberty.

  1. We’re talking about affirmative action here. The program once had a usefulness in helping to foster equality of opportunity, but attitudes concerning racism today have taken the debate beyond reality.