Fox and Friends Still Pretending Charleston Wasn’t About Race

The three headed idiot known as the Fox and Friends morning show are still defending their ridiculous claim last week that the Charleston shootings were about being anti-Christian rather than anti-black. Even after the killer’s manifesto that explicitly laid out his racist motivations, they still want to pretend otherwise.

The best part of the exchange:

Elizabeth Hasselbeck: I’ve said a million times, too, that it’s disappointing and it’s irresponsible to call racism when it’s not racism because it basically underscores the hate when it actually does happen.

Brian Kilmeade: It blunts it, sure.

Elizabeth Hasselbeck: It absolutely does.

Steve Doocy: Look, if we were a racist nation, Barack Obama would not have been elected president of the United States twice. It’s a math thing. If we were a racist nation, he would not be president.

Leaving aside the fact that Hasselbeck clearly has no idea what the word ‘underscores’ means (it means the opposite of what she intends here), that claim from Doocy is hilariously inane. But it’s entirely consistent with how conservatives like to think about racism. In their view, the only people who are racist are the KKK. Only horrible people are racist, not you and I. Or as Ta-Nehisi Coates put it on Twitter a couple days ago:

This is exactly how conservatives prefer to think about racism. Only monsters are racist and since they aren’t monsters, and none of their friends are monsters, then neither they nor their friends can be racist either. But that isn’t what racism is or how it operates in the real world. It totally misunderstands what implicit racism is and the way our brains compartmentalize things. Someone might be a racist, either overtly or not, and still be a perfectly fine person in a myriad of other ways.

Coates has been hammering away about this for the last several days, pointing out that, in fact, most of us (him included) would have probably participated in slavery ourselves had we lived in that time and place. We all like to think that if we went back in history, knowing what we know now, that we would have been the hero, always on the right side of what we know now to be utterly immoral. But that is highly unlikely to be true for most people. Most people go along to get along and accept the cultural assumptions they are raised with. That’s why change is so slow and painful and why opposition to it is so strong.

It’s also exactly why the symbolism of the Confederate flag matters.

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  • Johnny Vector

    Another example of why Ian Cromwell is right: we should reserve the word “racist” to describe actions, not people.

  • dmcclean

    Right Johnny, because if we did that Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade would definitely become reasonable people with a good understanding of racial issues. There’s no way they would figure out how to still be as dense as a a box of hammers or to willfully misunderstand.

  • Die Anyway

    And makes me wonder… what perfectly moral and upright thing that I support today will be abhorent 50 or 100 years from now?

  • Johnny Vector

    Right Johnny, because if we did that Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade would definitely become reasonable people with a good understanding of racial issues.

    Well apparently what I wrote was too terse, because that does not follow at all. Maybe I should just let Crommunist explain it; he’s better with words than I am.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2012/06/how-to-talk-about-racism-an-interview-with-ian-cromwell-of-the-crommunist-manifesto/

    Pull-quote:

    As far as I’m concerned, being “a racist” is a meaningless term. It’s like being “a stupid” or “an angry”. Behaviours, institutions, attitudes, and policies can be racist. To the extent that someone buys into or advocates those, they are being racist; however, that doesn’t make them organically racist. It makes them susceptible to bad ideas.

  • Matt G

    Most racists have redefined racism so it doesn’t include them.

  • kenn

    In their view, the only people who are racist are the KKK liberals.

    Fixed.

  • Pen

    It’s a level of nuance probably lost on these people but, ermm.. given the polarisation of America’s white population what could be surprising about the fact that:

    A nation in which > 50% of voters were willing to elect a black president still turns up a fair degree of broad-based racial discrimination, plus < 50% of an electorate who wouldn't have elected a black president if he was the last candidate on earth, plus the occasional hate-filled mass murderer?

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/LDORIGINALS Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Pen

    Especially since >50% of voters isn’t anything like 50% of the actual population. In 2008 and 2012, only about 60% of eligible voters turned out to vote, of whom about 50% voted for someone other than Obama, so you’re looking at less than a third of adults casting a ballot for Obama. Since PoCs vote overwhelmingly Democratic, they make up above half of that third, which doesn’t leave many white people voting for him at all, actually.

  • http://reasondecrystallized.blogspot.com andrew

    These guys do for racism what Karen Armstrong does for religion, albeit with a smaller vocabulary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.mulroney Josef Mulroney

    “‘In their view, the only people who are racist are the [liberals].’

    Fixed.”

    well, the the democrats did create the kkk, so it is true that the racists are liberals. [sarcasm]

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Only monsters are racist and since they aren’t monsters, and none of their friends are monsters, then neither they nor their friends can be racist either.

    How does this account for the Charleston shooter? They don’t think he’s a monster?

    And makes me wonder… what perfectly moral and upright thing that I support today will be abhorent 50 or 100 years from now?

    Eating animals, perhaps?

  • thebookofdave

    Or carbon-based fuel consumption.

  • billyeager

    And makes me wonder… what perfectly moral and upright thing that I support today will be abhorent 50 or 100 years from now?

    Which makes you a decent human being capable of questioning your conditioned assumptions and likely to be most open to ideas which serve to challenge and change inherent dysfunction in society.

  • StevoR

    Elizabeth Hasselbeck: I’ve said a million times, too, that it’s disappointing and it’s irresponsible to call racism when it’s not racism because it basically underscores the hate when it actually does happen.

    If Roof murdering unarmed people who welcomed him to their event based on their race and stating so forcefully and unambiguously isn’t racism actually happening then what the fuck is?!? Is Hasselbeck really saying she thinks this wasn’t racist because ..?? Fucks sake, really!?