No, anything but that. (*big, long, looping eye roll*)
Macon D has a new thread where the expression, the trial in denial, appears. But this isn’t a thread about the many assorted ways Macon gets things screwed up. All you have to do is Google the words “stupid+but+not+racist” and, in the first page alone, you get references to comments made by Sen. Hillary Clinton and VP-Elect Joe Biden framed in such blatant denial. It’s blatant because there’s is little about stupid — something “stupid” said or done in a racial context — that makes it independent of racist (though, I guess, I’d make “stupid racists” a different category than just plain ole, run-of-the-mill racists).
Me, I’m one of those people who views racism as something that exists in varying degrees. You know, like pretty much every other ‘ism. I mean, we just witnessed a presidential campaign that tried to make the argument that socialism varies quite a bit, so much that the idea was stretched out of proportion. Progressive tax system that’s been in existence for decades + Barack Obama? SOCIALISM.
But I digress…
I do have a pet-peeve when it comes to people trying to pawn racism off on ignorance. The idea not only flies right in the face of the other conventional wisdom that “THEY” (you know who “they” are; that “they”) want “US” to fight against each other instead of coming together — the old “divide and rule/conquer” notion which, by definition, means the “real” racists or exploiters know all too well what they are doing and are doing it on purpose. BUT it suggests that, after all this time, people who do/say something racist:
- Incapable of understanding rather basic stuff (and must be living in caves); and
- Aren’t responsible for what they say.
Ultimately, that’s what happens. And, frankly, I can see no reason for the almost knee-jerk rush to declare non-pc comments as “not racist” (see the commentary in Macon’s thread and from those responding to it) other than providing blanket immunity — excuses for why the person isn’t responsible for what they said.
Now contrast that to the outside-of-the-job-description responsibilities added on top of POC’s plate… Seriously, think about the “race relations” division-of-labor and the often unstated but, no doubt, very present and unequal expectations… No, I said seriously. Seriously consider the kind of extra-added burdens the status quo represents for POC. I’m talking about everything people talk about when they mention the “Black tax”, e.g., and everything people forget for lack of time, space and sanity.
In other news, this is a recurring theme — a reflexive fallback narrative for wrong goings on the U.S. commits as a nation. The war in Iraq was a “strategic blunder” instead of racist “fight THEM over there” bloodlust or restyled Manifest Destiny resource grab/control for the new millennium. It’s “we goofed” — an attitude that we merely made a “mistake”… said with no references to the grave “killing innocent people” consequences.
The implicit assumption, indeed, the very idea people want to project about Whites who “slip up” including the US-American nation-state (which, according to our nearly departed president and many others, is a White country) is that they are good, “well-meaning” people who never intend to do wrong. I guess that explains what I always found curious: how Whites tend to equate racism/racists to “evil.”
I just have a problem with the premature assessments. IMO, we can determine whether someone is “well-meaning”, etc. once all the facts are in and once all the questions about what drove them to say or do what they did (what was the war really about? did we think the world was/would be better off killing tens and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?) are answered. More specifically, it’s wrong to declare something as “stupid but not racist” or “ignorant but not racist” until the latter has been determined. And, allow me to reiterate: that something done/said was “stupid” or “ignorant” doesn’t eliminate it from also being racist.
Matter of fact, a lot of what people rush to dismiss as “stupid” or “ignorant” are often “stupid” or “ignorant” because of how obvious the racism is. To go beyond the abstract, in the Lindsey Lohan situation highlighted on Macon’s blog, the fact that Lohan or the commenter on YouTube “didn’t know” that “coloured” was a racist, pejorative term is racist itself.
As the saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no defense.” And, me myself, I don’t think White people are that damn dumb.