To The Daily Sun,
It's ironic that Mr. Wiles can naively claim that racism is "no longer a problem", and just pretends it doesn't exist anymore, but he immediately takes up arms and wants to "bring it on" whenever he perceives reverse racism. He would have us believe that there is only one correct answer to discussing race. And that is: There is no racism in America anymore. Except reverse-racism against whites. To believe that reverse-racism is a bigger problem than racism — that's racist.
Racism remains a consistent if rarely acknowledged fact of modern American political life. Individuals on both the Left and the Right who deny racism may be deliberately lying, or they may have a distorted idea of what racism is, and what constitutes racist behavior and expression. They may, in fact, have no conscious hostility at all toward racial or ethnic minorities.
If Wiles needs proof of racism, he need only go to the reader's comments in articles on brietbart, World Nut Daily, Fox Nation, News Max, Patriot News, and other right-wing sites. In addition, there are better than 600 active hate groups (racist) in the United States. These groups are categorized as Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead, Christian Identity, Black Separatist, Neo-Confederate, etc.
While Wiles acknowledges there are right wing bloggers and radio hosts on the fringe of society with racist intent, I'd like to move in from the fringe and provide examples of conservative racism from within. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorium told a group of supporters: "I don't make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul sent out a newsletter suggesting that 95 percent of the black males in the city (Washington) are semi-criminals or entirely criminals, and describing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as "Hate Whitey Day." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talked of eliminating child-labor laws so that school janitors could be replaced by poor kids, and regularly referred to Barack Obama as the "best food stamp president in American history". He also announced that: "I'm prepared if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." It is my "misguided" belief that these statements are racist. Perhaps Wiles can explain the error of my reasoning.
Wiles would consider Mead's column superb, because Meade, like the other conservative writers he reads, tells him exactly what he wants to hear. Racism is based on an ideological belief that one race is somehow better than another race, and when you attribute the success of members of one race to that of another race, as Meade does, you are elevating that race while at the same time devaluing the contributions of others; this is considered racist. I wouldn't presume to label Meade a racist, but unfortunately, when he credits the success of Obama and Winfrey to white voters and white viewers, these comments are not being prejudice — they are racist. He further calls his column into question when he falsely accuses White House staffers of using "street talk" that played a significant role in "inciting rioters in the Middle East." My views only become "insanely twisted logic" because I'm attempting to point out racist attitudes.
I found it humorous, that in his criticism of my letter, Wiles felt the need to invoke a black man, Martin Luther King, as a means of trying to blunt the harsh reality of racism. He continues to demonstrate his lack of confidence and grasp of the meaning of racism by berating my opinions as being "juvenile amateur psychoanalysis." His attacks on me and others who may have opposing views are a deliberate effort on his part to discredit the views of every person who seems to fall into the category of liberal, progressive, etc. This form of argument — if it can be called that — leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.
I know I'm not saying anything new or insightful here, but just as there's no way not to talk about race and racism, I wish there was some way to talk about it that didn't instantly estrange conservatives and liberals even further.
We have witnessed the playing of the "race card" by many in inappropriate and often unfair ways. I agree with contributors that racism is not cause or explanation of every social problem and that legitimate different points of view are not obvious signs of racism. But let's be honest. We all know that racism still exists in America today. There is a hard core of any racial group who will not accept those of any other racial group. So, while we should not call every disagreement an issue of racism, it is time to call out racism that indeed does still exist, wounds and scars us as a nation, and obstructs the promise of our great country.
L. J. Siden