Monday, December 3, 2012

Racism the Wild Card in America

In his recent article Will the Religious Right take on GOP Racism, David Sirota claims that University of Colorado football player and a conservative “white man” Bill McCartney, “is just stating the painfully obvious about a college football world that originally made him famous — namely, that it has a serious problem with institutional racism.”  Sirota manages to present his case cleverly to his readers but he is far from an anti-racist liberator.  If the purpose of his article is to diminish racism in America, he fails miserably. 

Sirota opens his article with provocative quotes chosen to invoke a sense of outrage towards white people as the following examples prove:

 “Ask yourself: If you heard the following comments, what kind of person would you guess said them?  I think men of color have a more difficult road to tread and I think many people don’t realize it.  Now ask yourself: What would your reaction be if you discovered that those comments were made not by a civil rights activist or a liberal politician subsequently being decried as a “race baiter” by right-wing media outlets, but instead by one of the best known Christian conservative icons in America?”

Indeed, Sirota’s example is the legendary Bill McCartney of University of Colorado fame who admitted that racism remains prevalent in academic institutions.  More importantly, (and herein is the main problem with Sirota’s argument) he takes the information a step further and states that, “the scathing comments [are] incredibly important not just in the arena of college football, but also in the larger context of national politics.”  Incredibly, Sirota takes an academic incident and makes it a political situation.  Should one call it insight or clever maneuvering?  Considering that Sirota accuses the “right-wing media outlets” of being “race baiter[s]” but then himself uses the same techniques to entice his readers to target the evil white man, it is impossible to dismiss his grotesquely liberal assertions. 

Sirota touts Obama’s “winning reelection” and warns GOP to pay heed to “the biggest — and most important — internal battle that needs to be fought inside the Republican Party.”  He argues that the GOP cannot “consistently win national elections by relying almost exclusively on the white vote.”  Indeed, his plan of action calls for the “Republican coalition’s most powerful subgroups to wage a ground-up campaign to change the racial views of the party’s grassroots base.”  Lest the Tea Party think Sirota means them, consider his opinion about the Tea Party campaign:  “That initiative almost certainly won’t come from the Tea Party, a majority of whose members are so bigoted (or ignorant … or both).” 

So, is Sirota truly trying to encourage Americans to unite and drop racist attacks against one another?  He would definitely want us to believe so but his attack against white people is obvious.  Why else would he pick a hot topic such as racism in relation to whites against African Americans only?  Why did he choose to skip the Asians or Native Americans altogether?  His defense:  The article is about African Americans.  Why did he not write an article about another race?  As an Asian, should I consider Sirota a racist for his lack of concern towards Asians or does he believe that other races have never experienced racism in America?  Furthermore, is he truly that na├»ve to believe that racism occurs only between whites against African Americans?  With his superior knowledge on the subject, has he failed to realize that racism can also occur between people of color?  Indeed, Sirota chose his topic because the Asian and Native American groups are unable to generate the type of reaction he needs to remain a bestselling author.  Yes, in the end, Sirota’s article is nothing more than another propaganda tool meant to antagonize Americans and pit them against one another.  After all, how else would he maintain his status and collect a hefty sum for his troubles?  Sadly, for all his care towards the rights of people of color he infringes mercilessly upon the rights of whites who are also Americans.  If we follow suit, we are guilty of falling into the same trap we accuse them of committing against people of color.    

To be sure, racism exists in all avenues of life but to say that it is only towards people of color is hardly true. It is evident that as long as the Sirotas of the world thrive on promoting such prejudice towards fellow Americans, racism will remain alive.  Sirota suggests that “more grassroots religious leaders” should behave as McCartney to break the “code” which defines racism in America today.  He notes that if the GOP hears “the call and seize[s] those opportunities [it] could determine the future of the GOP – and the direction of race relations in America for the long haul.”  We shall see if the GOP will actually follow Sirota’s advice.  In the interim, I have a simpler suggestion:  how about we treat all individuals with the same respect, regardless of their color?  After all, why should anyone have to be ashamed of his or her race?      


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