Sunday , May 26 2024

Racism Is Never OK

I must have missed something.

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of civil rights, through reading, interviews, visiting civil rights museums, etc.

For a white guy who did not live through the civil rights march I thought I had a pretty good handle on what the civil rights struggles were all about. I follow in the footsteps of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as a pacifist who speaks out against intolerance. This does not always make me popular, but so what?

But I must have missed the part of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech where he carved out an exception for Republicans, as in “My dream does not include black Republicans.”

I must have missed the part where he said it’s ok to throw Oreo cookies – black on the outside, white on the inside – at a black politician because of his political beliefs.

And while I read and wrote about Rosa Parks’ death recently I don’t recall her saying that she was standing up, or in her case sitting down, for blacks…so long as they are Democrats.

Or maybe I am not the one who missed something. Maybe it’s some of the black Maryland Democrats who are forgetting something.

Normally I would find it very inappropriate for a white man to tell a black man what he should and should not do. But in this case I feel I need to say something.

You see, I thought that the Democratic party was the party of tolerance, of fighting discrimination, of having an open mind.

But it’s hard to square that with how Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele has been treated in recent months. I should note that I’ve met Steele. I accompanied him on a tour of a local school and interviewed him and he seemed a nice enough guy.

I would be hard pressed to understand why it’s acceptable for a blogger, even if he is a black blogger, to photoshop an image of Steele (since removed) so that he looks like he’s in a minstrel show. I have a hard time understanding why it’s ok for said blogger to call Steele “sambo.”

If the same term or photo was assigned to a black Democrat, many would decry the act as racism and they would be right.

So why is it acceptable if the person is Republican?

Interviewed by the Associated Press and the Washington Times that blogger and other black Democrats defended their actions, saying it’s acceptable because Steele is a traitor to his race.

So now we have Republicans – not just in Maryland but across the nation – asking what I consider a valid question: Why is racism acceptable if the victim is a black Republican?

Contrary to what is being written by Michelle Malkin and other conservative bloggers, these attacks do not mean all Democrats endorse racism.

I started to write a rant the other day about how bloggers like Malkin love to make racism an issue only when it suits their cause. I don’t hear them decrying racial profiling of blacks or stereotyping of Muslims.

But I stopped because while my point is valid, all they have to do is point out the fact that some black Democrats are saying these attacks against Steele are acceptable to make my argument a bit more sticky.

Intolerance is intolerance regardless of a person’s political affiliation. Carving out exceptions to that is a slippery slope that does not lead anywhere good.

Ed: RJ

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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