Friday, August 27, 2010

Allison Kilkenny: It’s not racism when we say and do racist things

It’s not racism when we say and do racist things
by Allison Kilkenny


The defacto leadership of the Republican Party has been – for many months now – the extreme right fringe. The RNC has done nothing to control the violent, racist rhetoric sputtering from its base. In fact, GOP leaders have been completely silent while media personalities – the unceremonious leaders of the party – like Rush and Beck continue their rich tradition of being disgusting racists.

Then, when racism erupted during the Park 51 controversy, Republican politicians clutched their fans and pretended to act appalled. As though there could have been any other possible outcome after months of Republicans encouraging the most fearful, primal responses from their frenzied mob.

Geller, Limbaugh, and Beck have successfully combined hatred of Muslims with hatred of the others (blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays – you know, the fake Americans). Without the presence of adult supervision, they have coaxed their listeners and viewers into accepting that Barack Obama is a creepy foreigner who is not to be trusted. It’s okay. You don’t hate him because he’s black. You hate him because you know he’s inauthentic. You’re just perceptive! And then one morning, we all woke up and found out one in five Americans think Obama is a Muslim.

Not only do they think he’s a Muslim, but apparently they’ve been harboring latent hostility toward Muslims since 9/11. The extreme right has lassoed that hatred into a movement to reject anyone and anything that isn’t white and Christian. At one of the Park 51 protests, two Egyptian Christian men were harassed by the mob. “Go home!” someone yelled. “Get out!” another chimed in. It didn’t matter that the men were Christian. They have dark skin, and so they are part of the others.

In another protest, Kenny, a union carpenter, who happens to be black, is screamed at as he walks through a Park 51 protest. The crowd has mistaken him for a Muslim because Kenny made the mistake of WWB (Walking While Black).

Defenders of the Park 51 protesters claim that not all of their members are racist. Of course not. In any bigoted movement, I’m sure you can find at least a handful of individuals who really believe what they’re doing will protect the motherland, and they don’t have anything personally against _____, but maybe if ______ just tried a little harder to assimilate, this wouldn’t be a problem at all. And then there are the people protesting ______ because their granddaddy hated _____, and their daddy hated ____, and now they’ve taken taken up the mantle of hating _____ because it’s something of a family tradition, but they would never hurt a _____, or anything, and to tell you the truth, they once worked a job with a _____, and he was a nice enough guy.

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