Modern American 'Racism'

RACISM!

The word itself, and its kissing cousin, RACIST! are perhaps the two most feared words in the English language. They can destroy lives, wreck careers, even land people in jail.

But what do they mean -- exactly?

Words have clearly defined meanings, and not just in English, the language of white, homophobic, bigoted, misogynistic America. I've been told by reliable sources that in other languages words also have specific meanings.

Webster's says that the English definition of racism is a belief that some races are by nature superior to others; also, discrimination based on such belief.

That is the dictionary definition, but what about the modern cultural definition, the political definition, the bludgeoning accusatory definition?

In modern America, racism means anything you want it to mean. If you want a job you're not  qualified for, or you don't want to work at all but still want to get paid, or if you want to stop someone from doing something, or you want to punish someone for doing something, just scream racism at the top of your lungs until your lawyer gets someone to pay you to shut up.

Here are some practical examples of racism, as practiced by racists, in modern America:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal questions whether to take federal stimulus money because to do so may obligate the state to continue to fund some programs long after the federal money runs out. He's a racist.
  • Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield says paperwork that keeps getting lost in a county office has disappeared into "a black hole." He's a racist.
  • Toddlers who say "yuk" when fed unfamiliar ethnic food. They're racists. (Technically, this was based on a British study, but they speak English, too.)
  • An Indiana University student working as a part-time university custodian reads the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan in an employee break room (the book is available in the school's library). He's a racist.
  • A man tells a co-worker he wrecked his car after losing control of it on a patch of "black ice." He's a racist.
  • Anyone who suggests a link between Islam and violence is a racist.
  • Anyone who suggests stricter border security is a racist.
  • And obviously, anyone who didn't vote for Barack Obama is by default a racist.
These examples aren't made up. They're not hypothetical. They're real, and the people involved were accused of being racists, even the toddlers in the British study.

When I was in school in the 1970s, my biology teacher said scientists divided humans into three races: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. In English, that's European descent, African descent, and Asian descent.

I realize that political correctness has probably blasted those classifications into oblivion, but for the sake of argument, I'm going to say that prior to the establishment of politically correct science, back when science was based on observable facts and hypotheses were examined using scientific principles, those classifications had some validity. Every other species on the planet is divided into subspecies for more accurate classification, so why not homo sapiens.

Islam is a religion, not a race. Islam comprises adherents from all three races. There are European Muslims, African Muslims, and Asian Muslims.

Given that Muslims come in all races and colors, how can any action, discriminatory or otherwise, that affects them be racism?

Is discrimination against Jews or Catholics racism? Of course not. It might be religious bigotry. It might be hatred. But it's not racism.

In modern America, racism means anything you want it to mean. That means that if your advocacy group says something is racism, then it's racism. Even if it has nothing to do with race.

Certainly there is racial discrimination in this country, as there is in every country. There is plenty of it, and it goes in all directions. But not all discrimination is based on race.

So why don't the accusers use the right term?

The race mongers and the leaders of the racism industry are using the wrong word on purpose, because it is so effective. Other than being accused of child molestation, there is no accusation more feared by your average white person (a descriptive phrase I admit I lifted from President Obama's description of his maternal grandmother) than that of being called a racist. The beauty of the charge is that it doesn't have to be defined and it can't be defended. In the twisted logic of modern American culture, trying to prove you're not a racist proves that you are racist.

You get a lot more traction calling someone a racist than you do accusing him of being a religious bigot, a xenophobe, or almost anything else.

The words racism and racist are so overused and their meaning so diluted that I've heard one black politician accuse another black politician of being a racist. Black people accuse black police officers of being racists.

Fear of those two words means that certain complex and important issues are banned from discussion and debate in this country because they deal with race. And depending on which side of the issue you fall, as well as the color of your skin, you're labeled a racist for even raising those issues.

I'm fed up with it, but perhaps if enough of us are fed up, and together we express our disgust and begin to shout down the race mongers, we can be heard. And if we can be heard, maybe we can engage in an intelligent debate when the subject of race comes up, instead cowering in the corner hoping not to be accused of RACISM.

Chuck Hustmyre is a book author, freelance journalist, and retired federal agent. Contact him at chuckhustmyre.com
RACISM!

The word itself, and its kissing cousin, RACIST! are perhaps the two most feared words in the English language. They can destroy lives, wreck careers, even land people in jail.

But what do they mean -- exactly?

Words have clearly defined meanings, and not just in English, the language of white, homophobic, bigoted, misogynistic America. I've been told by reliable sources that in other languages words also have specific meanings.

Webster's says that the English definition of racism is a belief that some races are by nature superior to others; also, discrimination based on such belief.

That is the dictionary definition, but what about the modern cultural definition, the political definition, the bludgeoning accusatory definition?

In modern America, racism means anything you want it to mean. If you want a job you're not  qualified for, or you don't want to work at all but still want to get paid, or if you want to stop someone from doing something, or you want to punish someone for doing something, just scream racism at the top of your lungs until your lawyer gets someone to pay you to shut up.

Here are some practical examples of racism, as practiced by racists, in modern America:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal questions whether to take federal stimulus money because to do so may obligate the state to continue to fund some programs long after the federal money runs out. He's a racist.
  • Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield says paperwork that keeps getting lost in a county office has disappeared into "a black hole." He's a racist.
  • Toddlers who say "yuk" when fed unfamiliar ethnic food. They're racists. (Technically, this was based on a British study, but they speak English, too.)
  • An Indiana University student working as a part-time university custodian reads the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan in an employee break room (the book is available in the school's library). He's a racist.
  • A man tells a co-worker he wrecked his car after losing control of it on a patch of "black ice." He's a racist.
  • Anyone who suggests a link between Islam and violence is a racist.
  • Anyone who suggests stricter border security is a racist.
  • And obviously, anyone who didn't vote for Barack Obama is by default a racist.
These examples aren't made up. They're not hypothetical. They're real, and the people involved were accused of being racists, even the toddlers in the British study.

When I was in school in the 1970s, my biology teacher said scientists divided humans into three races: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. In English, that's European descent, African descent, and Asian descent.

I realize that political correctness has probably blasted those classifications into oblivion, but for the sake of argument, I'm going to say that prior to the establishment of politically correct science, back when science was based on observable facts and hypotheses were examined using scientific principles, those classifications had some validity. Every other species on the planet is divided into subspecies for more accurate classification, so why not homo sapiens.

Islam is a religion, not a race. Islam comprises adherents from all three races. There are European Muslims, African Muslims, and Asian Muslims.

Given that Muslims come in all races and colors, how can any action, discriminatory or otherwise, that affects them be racism?

Is discrimination against Jews or Catholics racism? Of course not. It might be religious bigotry. It might be hatred. But it's not racism.

In modern America, racism means anything you want it to mean. That means that if your advocacy group says something is racism, then it's racism. Even if it has nothing to do with race.

Certainly there is racial discrimination in this country, as there is in every country. There is plenty of it, and it goes in all directions. But not all discrimination is based on race.

So why don't the accusers use the right term?

The race mongers and the leaders of the racism industry are using the wrong word on purpose, because it is so effective. Other than being accused of child molestation, there is no accusation more feared by your average white person (a descriptive phrase I admit I lifted from President Obama's description of his maternal grandmother) than that of being called a racist. The beauty of the charge is that it doesn't have to be defined and it can't be defended. In the twisted logic of modern American culture, trying to prove you're not a racist proves that you are racist.

You get a lot more traction calling someone a racist than you do accusing him of being a religious bigot, a xenophobe, or almost anything else.

The words racism and racist are so overused and their meaning so diluted that I've heard one black politician accuse another black politician of being a racist. Black people accuse black police officers of being racists.

Fear of those two words means that certain complex and important issues are banned from discussion and debate in this country because they deal with race. And depending on which side of the issue you fall, as well as the color of your skin, you're labeled a racist for even raising those issues.

I'm fed up with it, but perhaps if enough of us are fed up, and together we express our disgust and begin to shout down the race mongers, we can be heard. And if we can be heard, maybe we can engage in an intelligent debate when the subject of race comes up, instead cowering in the corner hoping not to be accused of RACISM.

Chuck Hustmyre is a book author, freelance journalist, and retired federal agent. Contact him at chuckhustmyre.com