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:
Idea that all racists are trolls and monsters feeds the idea that there are no racists today, or none we know.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) June 24, 2015
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.