The issue of race in America erupted again this week when national liberal commentator Juan Williams, a black man, supported conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's bid to be a co-owner of the St. Louis Rams national football team. (For those who could care less about these matters, Limbaugh is white.)
Limbaugh was invited earlier this year to join a group of other investors who were preparing a bid for the team. According to Limbaugh he immediately informed the group's lead contact that due to his status as the pre-eminent conservative commentator in the country, there would certainly be controversy over him joining the group.
Limbaugh has said and written that he was assured that the investors were aware of his status as America's dominant talk radio host and that he would be a lightning rod for his liberal enemies, many of whom would love to see him eviscerated, drawn and quartered, burned at the stake, crucified, and otherwise eliminated. Supposedly Limbaugh's status didn't matter. Supposedly.
Limbaugh was right, and as soon as his name was leaked to the overwhelmingly liberal media, the firestorm began. The liberal media dispensed fabricated racist statements that were falsely attributed to Limbaugh a few years ago, and typically the outlets that printed or broadcast the accusations made no effort to check their accuracy.
These racist statements that were entirely fabricated, that Limbaugh never made, that do not reflect his real views on race, were nonetheless repeated exponentially by the liberal - Mainstream, State Run, Co-opted, In The Tank, Pro-Terrorist, Anti-American - media.
Immediately, professional race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both of whom lay claim to the title "Reverend" but apparently are "ministers without portfolio" in that they are rarely seen in their tax-exempt "churches" wherever those "churches" may actually be, jumped on the divisiveness bandwagon demanding Limbaugh's ouster. (Oddly enough, had he succeeded, Limbaugh's contribution would have made him a "minority owner." God I love irony.)
Williams was drawn into it mid-week when he appeared on the FOX cable channel's O'Reilly Factor and supported Limbaugh. Opposing Williams was another black man, Internet host Warren Ballentine, who took the other side of the debate.
Williams got the best of Ballentine from the outset and Ballentine, his back against the wall and his store of relevant information exhausted, retreated to a pre-school intellectual level and retorted "Juan, you know what, you can go back to the porch."
In many quarters that is meant as the ultimate black-to-black insult. It means he was calling Juan a "Porch Negro" or an "Uncle Tom" - in other words a black man who forsakes his own race to bow and scrape to his white masters. It is obsolete, it is passe, it is irrelevant in modern America unless you are a professional race-baiter, and it had no place in an intelligent debate over a viable issue.
It was low, crass, gutter level and frankly, a stupid response. It was akin to saying, "Oh yeah, well your mother wears Army boots." But it was far below even that pre-kindergarten level doltishness. It was a vapid, knee jerk commentary that only showed the speaker can't hold his own in an intellectual debate on a national stage.
The liberal media, upon hearing this outrageous comment, immediately - went silent. I mean they shut up, not a peep.
But can you imagine what would have happened if a white man had made a comment like that to Williams? These same incompetent, unprofessional, libelous, lying, liberal media stooges who don't even have the integrity to make a REAL apology to Limbaugh would have been all over a white man in that situation like - well, bees on honey. (Thought I was going to say like white on rice didn't you?)
Williams was not cowed though. He staunchly repeated his defense of Limbaugh on Fox News Sunday this week, and good for him. FNS must be having a ratings bonanza with Williams this week - not to mention a spirited debate between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Karl Rove - following a dynamite appearance by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn spouting non-stop common sense last week.
Two great shows in a row! I bet Barack Obama is rethinking his boycott of FOX.
But back to our original subject, could someone tell me how anyone is supposed to have an intellectual, goal-driven debate on the status of race in America when we are tainted with a media that lies, spreads the lies, and doesn't even admit it when caught red-handed? Then, these same propagandists won't report on it when the most outrageous, despicable racist comment that was actually made in all of this reporting on racist comments came from a man who apparently wants to be the next Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton?
(The term "red-handed" refers to being caught in the commission of a violent crime and having blood on your hands. It has no bearing on any racial or ethnic group that inhabited the land now known as America before Europeans got here. FYI.)
I have been alive long enough to know that race relations in America have come light years from the days of separate restaurants, drinking fountains and seating sections in bus stations. It also is evident to even the most casual observer that there still is much work to do.
But at least the laws have been changed, the playing field has been leveled, and if someone is held back from jobs, promotions, raises or business and educational opportunities due to race, there are avenues of appeal. These avenues did not exist when I was a child.
I have written here in the past that I usually do not agree with Juan Williams. In fact, I watch Fox News Sunday most weeks in part because I hope to see another chapter in the ongoing debate between Williams and Brit Hume. For political junkies that amounts to high theater, even though I hardly ever share Williams' point of view.
But that doesn't mean I don't like him. He is aggressive, he doesn't back off of his viewpoints - even if they do sound way too much like Democratic talking points - and he is obviously highly qualified to articulate the liberal position on most issues. (I had to laugh when one propaganda dispensing organization referred to him as a "moderate-liberal" commentator. Moderate? Are you kidding?)
But I was impressed a few years back when I saw a segment on Williams' daughters working in the Washington area collecting prom gowns so high school girls in New Orleans who had lost their belongings to Hurricane Katrina could get some normality back in their lives. His approach to parenting and the willingness of his family to actively help showed me that we have much in common even if we don't agree politically.
So I took it personally when I heard that racial slur aimed at Williams. I may get all worked up over his views versus Brit Hume's, but I still believe he is an honorable, decent man who should not have to put up with low-class gutter comments from offensive wannabes seeking a national audience.
During last year's presidential race, when Obama began to rise above the rest of the pack, America was tentatively treated to a superficial discussion of racial issues by a timid liberal media that supposedly wanted to have a meaningful conversation. But when you take a close look at the media, it is clear that the "liberals" really want to maintain the status quo, and this is proved simply by reviewing who gets the attention and which viewpoints get disseminated without even the most basic fact checking.
A REAL discussion on race? Here is exactly where it should start.
Black leaders, including those who have real churches and preach real Christianity, should stand up for and alongside Juan Williams and denounce the bigot who made such a vile statement to him. They should denounce Sharpton - who now claims he's going to sue Limbaugh for fighting back - as well as Jackson and any of their clones. They should point out that these hucksters are continuing to hold the REAL advance of racial relations in America at post-Civil War levels and that as long as they are allowed to hold center stage, not much is going to change.
When black Americans stand up to the hate mongers in their own ranks, when they acknowledge that their considerable advances in the past 50 years have come with assistance from white Americans, not to mention the 400,000 who died in the Civil War to end slavery, then maybe we can start on other issues.
But as long as reprehensible racist comments are allowed to go unchallenged because they were made by a black man rather than someone of another race, as long as sensible, intelligent individuals like Juan Williams are the focus of efforts to stifle their viewpoints from within the black community, there really isn't much hope for widescale changes. These are the dominant factors holding back progress in race relations in America, not fabricated racist statements that are used simply to punish political opponents.
As long as the current crop of bigots within the media, and those who use the media, are allowed to dominate our culture and our politics, as long as revisionist historians and commentators are allowed to spew their vitriol without challenge, then Americans of all races, across the political and social spectrum will suffer.
If we want meaningful advances and true unity the bigoted commentary must be replaced by intelligent, honest discussions. Otherwise we will be having this conversation 50 years in the future and little if anything will have changed.
And that is a REAL discussion on the issue of race in America.
Sunday, October 18, 2009