Friday, July 23, 2010

Who Weaponized Racism?

Use of racism as a political tactic breeds cynicism

Simple answer: the far left did.

Savvy political observers have known this for years. With the revelations emerging out of the "Journolist" story in the United States, in which a number of journalists colluded with one another to shape an ideological media narrative with the goal of electing Barack Obama as President, many more people are waking up to the weaponization of racism by ideologically-motivated individuals.

Hopefully, more people will wake up to the peril of this, and be prepared to confront them.

The smoking gun of the matter is an email by Wired blogger Spencer Ackerman, who at one point writes the following:
"If the right forces us all to either defend [Reverend Jeremiah] Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes them sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."
Why did Ackerman want this to become a generial meme amongst the media? The answer is actually rather simple:
"What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [presumably, face] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically."
Meaning this rhetorically, of course, doesn't really excuse absolve Ackerman from the notion underpinning this particular comment.

Ackerman declares, simply, that in order to create an opportunity for the left to impose its agenda unopposed, it needs to make it hurt to stand up to them. The opposition is to be utterly destroyed -- and in order to do that, Ackerman recommended that he and his fellow Journolist members utilize the one issue that nearly everyone finds so repulsive that it virtually guarantees a social ostracism: that of racism.

Those observing the culture war raging in the United States -- one that Canadian pollster Frank Graves so desperately wants to bring to Canada -- have long noticed this, and have noticed the extent to which the left-wing media has twisted the narrative in order to meet their goals.

Various left-wing media commentators were more than content to lob vapid accusations of racism at the Tea Party. The New York Times took it a little further. They lobbed such accusations based on the notion that not many visible minorities were participating. Then they tailored a poll to confirm that after already reporting it as if it were fact.

The detail that their poll drastically diverged from various other polls on the racial and ethnic make-up of the Tea Party was also conveniently overlooked by many of the other organizations that reported on it.

That was, by no means, the most blatant attempt to link the Tea Party -- whose message, interestingly enough, has never had anything to do with race -- to racism. Perhaps that prize goes to the MSNBC producers who heavily edited (read: doctored) footage of a black man with an AR-15 assault rifle at an Arizona Tea Party rally in order to conceal his race. Footage of the man -- edited so that no skin would appear in the shot -- was coupled with commentary alleging that a racially-motivated assassination attempt on President Obama was imminent.

These are people who know exactly what they're doing, and they know exactly why they're doing it. And they seem to believe that no one else is smart enough to figure it out.

But the greatest danger of the tactics these individuals are emloying doesn't actually lie in false accusations of racism themselves.

Rather, it lies in the risk that cynicism on the topic of racism will proliferate -- that whenever an accusation of racism is made, people will simply dismiss it out-of-hand. Even when that the accused is actually racist.

The Ackerman tactic -- as it should henceforth be known anywhere and everywhere the topic of race is discussed -- risks providing cover for actual racists. Using racism as a political accusation allows racism to be dismissed as such.

That is the extent of the social irresponsibility of individuals like Spencer Ackerman, who couldn't honestly give a flying fuck about racism. Not really. They are more than willing to risk the breeding of widespread cynicism on the topic of racism for short-term ideological gain.

Moreover, Ackerman seems to have very little to say for himself to date. He seems rather unashamed of his actions, even in the wake of such a public revelation.

This is a point that, quite naturally, will be lost on the ideologues most eager to use accusations of racism as a weapon.

But it's time to hold the far left accountable for their blatant and shameful exploitation, for selfishly ideological ends, of what is actually a lingering social illness that still infects western society.

Who weaponized racism? The far left did.

It's time to make them wear it.

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