Another Inane Reason Not to Talk About Racism

The list of arguments that conservatives dash off whenever someone talks about racism is long and incredibly dumb. In response to Michelle Obama talking about racism during a commencement speech at a historically black college, a Fox News guest came up with a new one:

Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan asserted on Tuesday that First Lady Michelle Obama had been wrong to bring up racial issues in a recent commencement speech because she owed her success to the color of her skin…

McGlowan argued that Obama’s speech may have been acceptable if it had been a “regular time” in the history of the United States, but that she should have avoided the topic because her husband, President Barack Obama, and former Attorney General Eric Holder had “utilized race to divide this country.”

“By saying ‘we’ and ‘against us’ is saying that there is a white oppressor, that there’s a system that’s against us,” she explained. “However, why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of Affirmative Action?”

“The reason why she became an associate at a law firm was probably because of diversity, they needed a woman — not saying that she wasn’t qualified — but they needed a woman, and a woman of color. That’s a twofer.”

Notice that “probably” in there. She has no idea whether the first lady got into Princeton because of affirmative action or not. But she surely does know that she graduated from Princeton with honors and went on to Harvard Law School, where she also did very well. She also has no idea whether she was hired by one of the top firms in Chicago because of some need for diversity, but Harvard Law grads rarely need any such help.

But even if both of those totally unsupported claims were 100% true, so what? How would it logically follow that therefore she should never speak about racism in our society? By what possible reasoning would that be a rational statement? This is just a pretext, another fake argument from those who bizarrely think that racism is caused by us bothering to discuss racism.

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  • peterh

    We shouldn’t play the race card unless it’s expedient to play the race card, eh, McGlowan? Can she really be that oblivious?

  • colnago80

    I really love how the lying fuckers on Fox News prattle on about affirmative action. The poster child for affirmative action is Clarence Thomas who wouldn’t have gotten into Harvard Law School otherwise. Then there’s Dubya, who wouldn’t have gotten into Yale if his father had not been a graduate (legacy admissions, the elite’s version of affirmative action).

  • marcus

    it appears to me that McGlowan is attempting to say that since Michele “probably” benefited from racial and gender preferences, rather than suffering from racial and gender discrimination, that Michelle doesn’t have the right to speak as a victim of racism (because obviously, if a person’s brownness has ever benefited them in any way you can’t ever have been a victim of discrimination).

    I would also like to point out, unnecessary though it may be, that McGlowan is a fucking idiot.

  • reasonbe

    This reason is so much worse than “inane”.

  • magistramarla

    McGlowan is probably blond and shapely (I don’t know, since I don’t watch Fox, ever).

    Did that help her to get her job?

    Isn’t that Fox News’ version of affirmative action?

  • arakasi

    magistramarla

    McGlowan is actually black. Could she be admitting that she thinks that her accomplishments are due to the color of her skin?

  • alanb

    @magistramarla, arakasi

    McGlowan is also a former Miss District of Columbia, which suggests that she “probably” didn’t get her job solely on her intellectual abilities.

  • cottonnero

    This is just a pretext, another fake argument from those who bizarrely think that racism is caused by us bothering to discuss racism.

    I don’t think it’s terribly bizarre to think this way. If you are white, surrounded by other white people, and not terribly self-reflective or educated, it’s fairly easy to think about racism only when other people bring it up, and connect the “bringing it up” with racism. And the people trying to gin up your resentment (and votes, and donations) encourage this behaviour.

  • scienceavenger

    McGlowan is merely reflecting two underlying assumptions in the way most GOPers look at such issues:

    1) If something seems logically true to you, then its OK to assume its true. No need to verify that it is. Thus the assumption that Micehle Obama got where she got because of affirmative action.

    2) The playing field is completely level, so if you are the beneficiary of affirmative action, you got something you didn’t deserve.

    Thus, ipso facto, Micehle Obama didn’t earn the things she has.

  • Artor

    Surprisingly, McGlowan seems to be black herself. Obviously, she only got her position through affirmative action, so we shouldn’t bother listening to anything she says.

  • blf

    To join Faux & Kochroche Bros., you only need a correct correct color of skin; an absence of brain, morals, and integrity; and licked a Murdoch boot or a Koch oil sand.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Jebus. Princeton didn’t even allow women in until the late ’60s, the first graduating class being 1969. Strangely, I really doubt that the Fox Newsies are going to disparage anyone who graduated before that as an affirmative action case who didn’t have to compete with half the population.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    If anything, Urban Americans have it too good. Obamaphones, Obamafood, affirmative action, free background checks every time they drive on the good side of town (with complementary bullets whether or not they pass), etc. Plus they’ve got their own president (and wife, head of DOJ, Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones etc), who kowtow to their every mau-mauist whim.

     

    When are white people going to get benefits like those? I mean, it’s getting to the point where law enforcement is expecting me to pay for grazing my cattle on marginal public land that isn’t supposed to have cattle grazing on it on account of it being marginal! Plus, the government won’t even build a proper road to it, which makes it hard to ride my Medicare-provided scooter to get there! Where’s my Obamaroad?!

  • John Pieret

    marcus @ 3:

    I would also like to point out, unnecessary though it may be, that McGlowan is a fucking idiot.

    Now why did you have to start practicing brainism?

  • marcus

    John Pieret @ 14 You’re correct. i apologize. It isn’t proper to make fun of folks who are coherency-challenged.

  • abb3w

    Attitude bolstering, in contrast, involves support arguing- that is, generating thoughts that are consistent with and supportive of one's original attitude without directly refuting message arguments (Abelson, 1959; Cameron & Jacks, 1999; Festinger, 1957; McGuire, 1964; Sherman & Gorkin, 1980).

  • marcus

    Larry Wilmore:

    “Slow your roll, Fox’s convenient black friend, hold on. You can’t slam affirmative action because it’s condescending to blacks, because you say it’s condescending to black people, and then at the same time accuse obviously brilliant black people of getting in because of affirmative action.”

    The video is lovely.

  • jeevmon

    marcus- you left off the best part of that segment:

    “When a coke-snorting, alcohol-guzzling son of a CIA director DUI’s his way into Yale and ultimately into the Oval Office because his daddy was in both places—that’s affirmative action.”

  • marcus

    @^ Agreed!

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    First rule of Racism Discussions: never discuss racism*

    *Exceptions made for right-wing pundits, politicians and White people who want to claim racism doesn’t exist, Affirmative Action is Tyranny etc.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Slow your roll, Fox’s convenient black friend, hold on. You can’t slam affirmative action because it’s condescending to blacks, because you say it’s condescending to black people, and then at the same time accuse obviously brilliant black people of getting in because of affirmative action.”

    Corollary to that: You can’t slam affirmative action as racist, and at the same time hold up the “probable” affirmative action-based position of a black woman as evidence that racism no longer exists.

  • grumpyoldfart

    And there’s no racism in America anyway.