"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trayvon Redux - What is Racism?

When your kids are little, if you are a responsible parent, which most people are, you teach your children that judging other people by their race or by how they look is bad.   It is wrong to ascribe a particular quality to an individual simply because they are a member of a group.   Thus, it is wrong to assume that all Arab Muslims are terrorists, just as it is wrong to assume that all Jews are avaricious, just as it is wrong to assume that all Chinese are good at math, just as it is wrong to assume that all black Americans are criminals.   That is prejudice, because it is "pre-judging" an individual based on group characteristics.

But who are the racists in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin affair?   If Zimmerman had been, as the media first suggested, a white person/Southern conservative who stalked a young black boy simply because he was black and murdered him simply because he was black or even who "profiled" him as a criminal simply because he was black, then, yes, that was racism.   He would have "prejudged" Trayvon.

But the stories that have come out since have thrown this narrative into the dustbin.   Zimmerman was not white, he was Hispanic, and now we have learned that he actually comes from a family with black ancestors and grew up in a home with black cousins.   Zimmerman was not a conservative; he was a liberal Democrat with strong Catholic social justice leanings, including doing a lot of volunteering in working for the poor, mentoring young black youths, etc.   In short.... narrative fail.  

So who were the real racists?   Hmmmm.... could it be the mainstream media and the race industry hucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?   Didn't they "pre-judge" Zimmerman solely because of how he looked?   Didn't they assume that because he was (they thought) white and from the South that he must be a racist murderer?   In abstract terms... didn't they attribute a malevolent quality to an individual based on his supposed membership in a group?   Isn't that the essence of racism?

We're reached an interesting moment in American history.   Liberals are reactionaries in terms of government, refusing to even consider any changes to the way we've operated the welfare state for the past fifty years.   And liberals are now the racists, because they see an incident involving a white man and a black man and they always assume that the black man is innocent and the white man is evil.   Facts be damned; defending the structure of the racialist narrative is all that matters.

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