The red herring of racism

Media delight in trotting out Southern stereotypes to smear conservatives

“In South Carolina, where a Confederate flag still waves on the front lawn of the State Capitol largely because of the efforts of the state Republican Party, it remains good primary politics to stir up racial animosity and then link it to President Obama. Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum and the crowd that cheered them are following in a long and tawdry tradition, singling out a minority group for lectures while refusing to support policies that help all Americans.”

The New York Times

 

That’s just good writing. Regally stinkin’ thinkin’. But good writing. It neatly packs decades or more of sneering stereotypes into one compact paragraph. Yep! You got us, Times! We’re all racists down here!

Such ignorant, lazy broadsides tend to defame lots of good people. And it all smacks of a snickering effort to portray an entire political party and region of the country as racist – and ironically, other than being ethically dubious, isn’t that, itself, racist?

Oh, and by the way, it’s a blatant lie besides: None of the candidates “singled out a minority group for lectures.” That’s the vivid imagination of the liberal media. Most poor people are white. And Newt Gingrich has been addressing the problems of the poor – talking about the extent of the problem under this president and possible solutions, in honest ways the media and White House will not.

The only racial aspect of this is that the first black president has been an unalloyed disaster for black America.

As for the flag, it’s safe to say Southerners understand better than New York editorial writers the baggage that comes with the Confederate flag. This newspaper, as well as a solid majority of Georgians, supported changing our state flag to reflect that baggage.

But people down here lost ancestors in that awful war, and the Confederacy, whatever you think of it, was a significant portion of American history. Recognizing those facts is a most delicate matter best experienced firsthand, for more than a week every four-year election cycle.

Our friends in South Carolina have chosen to deal with the touchy conundrum in their own way, by moving the flag off the Capitol to a flagpole on the grounds.

But that, and Gingrich’s correct assessment of this president – that he is responsible for more food stamps than any president in history – is giddily seized upon by the media to paint South Carolina as backwater and racist.

MSNBC commentator and former Democratic operative Chris Matthews this week tried to advance that stereotype – by pointing to the fact that a South Carolina woman thanked Gingrich for putting debate panelist Juan Williams “in his place” for insinuating Gingrich was being racist. In response to Matthews, genteel former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford put the condescending media in their place:

“You know, I think that politicians can be known to pander to certain audiences or segments on certain issues. But so can pundits. And I think that the press likes to make issues sometimes about things where there are no issues. I mean, I for one live on the coast. My congressman is an African-American named Tim Scott, a Republican of whom I’m very proud, and my governor is an Indian-American woman named Nikki Haley, of whom I’m also very proud.

“So, those were both people that were elected by the electorate here in South Carolina. So the notion that we have a racial electorate here in South Carolina is absurd and nonsense and frankly just, you know, stirred up by people in the press. And I think that ... people in general are sick of politics as usual and part of that is they are sick of the press stirring thing ups with an angle. And you know what? I think that woman is right. People should be cheering.”

Good for her.

But here’s the modern media’s Catch-22: They imply Southern conservatives are just racist – and when the maligned get a chance to cheer someone who fights back for them, the media only see it as confirmation of the racism. You can’t win with these people.

The only relief from this slander, it seems, is the intervening years between elections.

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