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by Peter Moskos

April 10, 2011

Hating the Lovers

Speaking of issues I thought we had long since decided (like slavery, segregation, suffrage, medicinal bleeding, etc.), a poll found a plurality of Mississippi Republicans believe interracial marriage should be illegal. Forty-six percent oppose, 40 percent support, and 14% are "undecided" (as if they've weighed the pros and cons of this timely issue, but still need a few more days to decide). Wow.

It's not just the shockingly retro racism of this (and I do wonder how Democrats would fair), it's the fact that the question asked whether inter-racial marriage should be legal or illegal. I mean, you might be a Small-Government racist who personally disapproves of kids these days who go about miscegenatin'. Okaaaay. Whatever, dude. To find racists Republicans (or in any political party) is about as noteworthy as finding out that NPR might have a liberal bias (not that "the tape" showed this).

But to want interracial marriage to be illegal, to want your supposedly small-government non-racist Tea-Party Republicans to tell Americans who they can and cannot marry is not just unpalatable and racist.... It just doesn't make sense.

Wouldn't it be nice if one of the Republican candidates for President did something as radical as come out unequivocally in favor of the legality of interracial marriage? I mean, even Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment. But who is daring enough to piss off the base? Of course the candidates could release a collective statement, if they didn't want to take the risk of, gasp, coming out individually for the right of interracial marriage.

You know, the Tea Party and Republicans spend a fair amount of time saying they aren't racist. And it's nice that they care. And maybe most of them aren't. But when your Republican party is 98 percent non-black and the majority of your voters in at least one state are racist... you've got to wonder.


suz said...

All of the major parties have long ago been taken over by the money and the extremists. (Kind of like Christianity, but that's another can of worms...) They no longer know what their principles are.

If the far left and the far right had any clue how close they really are, they's crap their pants!

I'm somewhat relieved that sensible thinking people are actually noticing what kind of idiots are running this country. Is that optimism?

Alexander said...

I see your point, but I don't think racism should be cast upon one political party or another. Racism knows no bounds of conservatism or liberalism, and it isn't just white against black.

Racial biases work from each race against each other race.

A truly interesting survey I'd like to see would be a polling of each race and their thoughts on other races...

PCM said...

And I see your point, Alexander.

But the point I'm raising is at what point should it be cast upon one political party? If Republicans really are a party of racists, that matters. And it sure seems that way in Mississippi.

And I always find the "there are racists blacks, too" argument a bit naive.

So what?

Of course there are blacks who don't like whites. But it terms of national policy and personal life experience, it matters so much less. Why? Because blacks are the minority. Think about this: 1 in 7 Americans is black. Probably more than 1 in 7 whites is racist. So that means if you're black, you're outnumbered by white racists. All them "good" whites don't matter much if you're outnumbered by ones who hate you just for the color of your skin!

If you're the majority and a few people don't like you... so effing what? Who cares? Even if all blacks hated whites, there would still only be 1 hater for every 7 whites.

I just don't see the moral equivalence of white and black racism. Given the history of entrenched legal, cultural, and civic racism, whites literally got away with bloody murder for centuries and then all the sudden we're like, "Hey, that wasn't cool. So, uh, we straight? Let's just forget it all happened. No hard feelings, right? We cool? Great. But uh, you still gotta stay away from my daughter."

Marc said...

Peter, I'll give you a hint on how Mississippi Democrats would fare. Mississippi has the largest black population in the country (38%) accounting for 70% of all democrats in the state.

Republicans are shitting bricks about this poll. Every one of them I've seen is screaming about misleading and biased polling without even bothering to notice that the methodology is readily available. It was a simple question, they could have voted no.

Part of me thinks they doth protest too much

Anonymous said...

I think you left something out of the "blacks are racist too" argument.

Namely, all blacks have to confront racism. Whites can and often do avoid or deny it.

Minorities have more self awareness about race and so are more inclined to admit to negative attitudes.

PCM said...

Good points.

I've never understand the whole, "gotcha! I found a black saying something questionable about whites." Blacks saying bad things about whites neither defends nor justifies white racism. (Though admittedly black racism isn't right, and there's something not right about blacks being able to say things in public that whites would get fired for.)

But I can't even think of ever having to face anti-white racism when it mattered. Ever. (Besides, it would be laughable to hate me for the color of my skin when there are so many other better reasons to hate me!)

You're right, whites don't often have to confront racism when it mattered. How many whites have ever had a black boss? Outside of the police and military, it almost never happens. (Though a lot of my high-school teachers and professors where black, 9 immediately come to mind and influential, which is somewhat unusual).

And I can vouch that some of my white bosses were racist (yes, M&R Evanston Movie Theater 1986-1988, I'm thinking of you). That was the job, my first real job, where I first heard overt racism and also learned that whites and blacks, en mass, really do watch movies differently.

Kyle said...

Ah, so it's a matter of scope, then? If blacks were the majority, then all of a sudden racism from whites would be ok and from blacks would be bad? You mean all of a sudden I wouldn't have to be called whitey or honky or gringo? Maybe we could "take back" those words, then only we could say them, and nobody else!

If you want to argue that institutionalized racism is worse for blacks, that's definitely true. But to say that racism on an individual moral ground is worse coming from a white, and ok coming from a black is just wrong.

PCM said...

Yes, that is pretty much what I mean. And no, racism is never "right." But if the tables were turned, then yes, things would be different.

For reasons of history and power and demographics, right here and now in America it's generally worse for a white to be racist than for a black to be racist. Not at an individual level. But in terms of what we need to worry about as a society. It's not just about personal hatred. It's about the impact that hatred has on others.

If blacks were the majority and had most of the money and power, then indeed, white racism wouldn't matter so much.

That is exactly what I'm saying.

I agree than on an individual level, it doesn't matter what the historic context is. And yes, I do think it's possible for white people to be victims of racism. And if your job is on the line, or your personal safety, then it matters. A lot.

But racism matters so much less if the racist holds no power. Then you can just laugh at the fool. Imagine a prison guard and a prisoner. Let's say they're both racist. You're the warden. Who do you talk to first? And if you talked the guard would you consider it acceptable if he said, "But he hates me, too!"

I am saying that historically in America, blacks have a lot more reasons to hate whites than whites have to hate blacks. (That's obvious, right? Though figuring out the math of that equation is a bad road to go down.)

I also find it funny, and not surprising, that a post about white racists almost inevitably gets turned around to talk about black racists.

At some gut level, that bothers me. Because it's saying that white racists don't matter as long as there are black racists to balance them out. Or that black racists are as great of a problem as white racists. I find both positions absurd.

Data Room said...

I must say that people running this country are not capable at all. I think there is no difference between whites and blacks its just the matter of right path and faithfulness.

Don Penven said...

I guess it's just a matter of perspective. "Outrageous" is one way of describing your blog. To me it was pure entertainment. I didn't read all posts but it seems to lack the typical "doom and gloom" of many sites.

I've been checking out the "Top 50 Police Blogs" and I see you proudly display your "badge." I downloaded a badge for the Top 25 Forensic Blogs for the one I am contracted to write and post for.

Anyway, thanks for brightening my day with some intelligent posting.

All the best,