Plus ça change, the more they stay the same
In the advent of greater racial, ethnic and religious bigotry in the last few months, I wonder why their is so much denial and animosity in the blogosphere. I contend there are many who do not see themselves in racist but do not see this upturn in bigotry as a no big thing or don’t feel that confronting those they know with more bigoted views is worth the effort. People of color need to address the new racial racial rhetoric and realize that it is not very different than pre-civil rights rhetorical formations and hope that right thinking folks will eventually see these uptick in racial hatred is immoral and since 1968, unamerican.
These anti-black sentiments publicized recently by Tea Partier Mark Williams and Laura Schlessinger have been brewing since the early 1970’s. We really need to examine their rhetoric with post civil rights/Obama age eye. Williams basically touted that blacks are lazy. A trope whites have used since they first arrived in Africa. The new twist is that it is welfare, affirmative action and civil rights initiatives have created a culture of dependency among black folks. Even though their are more middle class black folks in America than ever before, these racially conservative pundits cannot let go of the idea that their is something inherently wrong with black people. It have nothing to do with centuries of oppression, racial terrorism and opposition to extending civil rights and American citizenry to black people. To these pundits Blacks are essentially less intelligent, lazy, immoral, violent and hypersexual and they are angry that they cannot speak about these “truths” in mainstream public discourse. The more things change the more things stay the same. Why spend the same amount of resources on education for blacks since they are not as capable as white children. Send more on incarcerating for the same crimes because they are naturally immoral and criminal. It is a little more sophisticated than pre-civil rights rhetoric but it basically the same old same old.
Schlessinger’s rant basically reflects the frustration that some whites have with the fact that they cannot express their bigoted, ignorant rhetoric as freely as they could before the civil rights movement. She is part of the white moral panic that will only grow as the demographics continue to change and people of color gain more political and economic power in this country. People like Schlessinger want to preserve a white dominated society and feel that people of color have already been “given” too much, need to stop whining and should start working hard like white Americans who are loosing their rights under the current era. She and other white as sick of hearing anything about blacks and feel that were should be grateful for what we have. Her rhetoric is similar to the ideology that slavers used to support the insanity that race based slavery was a civilizing influence on primitive Africans. As people of color we need to learn more about our history and see the parallels in the past. We need learn how to counteract this more brazen, post modern expressions of time old ideologies.