Living in a ‘Post-Racist’ Society

Ground Zero MosquePost Racial America Myth

The MSNBC documentary series Lock Up ran a story earlier this month about a Maricopa County Jail inmate charged with identity theft named Cecil Kunkel. The 29-year-old Kunkel has a swastika tattooed on top of his “skinhead.” He’s covered in “white power” slogans and imagery. The only ink-free spot on him is an empty space in the shape of another swastika over his heart. The crew first finds him spending time in the hole as disciplinary action for refusing to house with black inmates. When asked why he refuses, Kunkel says, “Because it’s wrong…nothing personal – it’s just the way it is.” In the next scene Kunkel is caught on camera beating an African-American inmate who is, of course, smaller than him.

Filmmakers for the series interview a close family friend of Kunkel’s, also locked up in Maricopa County. When asked about Kunkel by the producer, the self-proclaimed cousin offers, “He’s not a racist.”

Yes, here is Kunkel – being documented on national television proudly boasting about being a criminal, who has more Nazi ink than a copy of Mein Kampf – and the person closest to him doesn’t want Kunkel to be vilified by the term “racist.”

The whole conversation about race has turned into a rigged game of Whac-a-Mole where every time you hit a mole with your tethered mallet, the mole declares, “I’m not actually a mole, and how dare you use such a horrible label to describe me and my mole-like actions, appearance and affiliations.”

Denying racism while being overtly racist isn’t a new thing. In the hilarious 2001 book, Them: Adventures with Extremists, British journalist Jon Ronson spends time with the KKK during their attempted image makeover. Not using the “n-word” was part of the New and Improved Klan. Yes, the Klan wants you to know it’s no longer anti-non-whites…just very pro-hood.

Making a living promoting a fictional idealized version of 1950’s morality while having saucy nudie pics on the Internet, Dr. Laura Schlessinger last week felt she suddenly needed to move us all forward about how an affluent white woman should be able to use the “n-word” with impunity. Dr. Laura said the slur on her syndicated radio show some 11 times. Then the melba toast ideologue decided to become the arbiter of what’s funny and said to the caller, the black wife of a bi-racial couple, “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry outside of your race!”

After taking such a definitive stand, Dr. Laura apologized the next day. See, she’s not a racist.

Racial agitator Andrew Breitbart is best known for promoting the heavily edited Shirley Sherrod video to show, according to him, the racism of the NAACP. That ordeal resulted in the firing of Sherrod from the USDA followed by the discrediting of Breitbart after the complete unedited video was released. And guess what? Breitbart is also not a racist. Sure, almost every one of his slanted stunts, including the one that brought down the community organizing group ACORN, targets black people – but that’s just a coincidence. How dare you imply race has something to do with it – such a horrible slight!

The right-wing is now frothing at the mouth over a Muslim community center — the Ground Zero Mosque — within walking distance (as are most things in lower Manhattan, including a couple of existing mosques) from where the Twin Towers used to stand. President George W. Bush at least gave lip service to the Muslim community’s being “peaceful,” but now he’s an embarrassment. So the GOP thinks they really have a winner in denouncing and “refudiating” American Muslims with their goals of occupying buildings. The subtext is that all Muslims are terrorists. This goes along nicely with Republican leaders attempting to make all Latinos into job-stealing, people-beheading, baby-dropping threats to national security. If you whittle down enough groups of people, you do eventually make a point. A pointed neo-Republican talking point.

But the GOP isn’t racist.

Yes – hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on race are no longer racist. So surprisingly, the next wave of the Nixon-founded Sout

The MSNBC documentary series Lock Up ran a story earlier this month about a Maricopa County Jail inmate charged with identity theft named Cecil Kunkel. The 29-year-old Kunkel has a swastika tattooed on top of his “skinhead.” He’s covered in “white power” slogans and imagery. The only ink-free spot on him is an empty space in the shape of another swastika over his heart. The crew first finds him spending time in the hole as disciplinary action for refusing to house with black inmates. When asked why he refuses, Kunkel says, “Because it’s wrong…nothing personal – it’s just the way it is.” In the next scene Kunkel is caught on camera beating an African-American inmate who is, of course, smaller than himself.

Filmmakers for the series interview a close family friend of Kunkel’s, also locked up in Maricopa County. When asked about Kunkel by the producer, the self-proclaimed cousin offers, “He’s not a racist.”

Yes, here is Kunkel – being documented on national television proudly boasting about being a criminal, who has more Nazi ink than a copy of Mein Kampf – and the person closest to him doesn’t want Kunkel to be vilified by the term “racist.”

The whole conversation about race has turned into a rigged game of Whac-a-Mole where every time you hit a mole with your tethered mallet, the mole declares, “I’m not actually a mole, and how dare you use such a horrible label to describe me and my mole-like actions, appearance and affiliations.”

Denying racism while being overtly racist isn’t a new thing. In the hilarious 2001 book, Them: Adventures with Extremists, British journalist Jon Ronson spends time with the KKK during their attempted image makeover. Not using the “n-word” was part of the New and Improved Klan. Yes, the Klan wants you to know it’s no longer anti-non-whites…just very pro-hood.

Making a living promoting a fictional idealized version of 1950’s morality while having saucy nudie pics on the Internet, Dr. Laura Schlessinger last week felt she suddenly needed to move us all forward about how an affluent white woman should be able to use the “n-word” with impunity. Dr. Laura said the slur on her syndicated radio show – some 11 times. Then the melba toast ideologue decided to become the arbiter of what’s funny and said to the caller, the black wife of a bi-racial couple, “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry outside of your race!”

After taking such a definitive stand, Dr. Laura apologized the next day. See, she’s not a racist.

Racial agitator Andrew Breitbart is best known for promoting the heavily edited Sherry Sharrod video to show, according to him, the racism of the NAACP. That ordeal resulted in the firing of Sharrod from the USDA followed by the discrediting of Breitbart after the complete unedited video was released. And guess what? Breitbart is also not a racist. Sure, almost every one of his slanted stunts, including the one that brought down the community organizing group ACORN, targets black people – but that’s just a coincidence. How dare you imply race has something to do with it – such a horrible slight!

The right-wing is now frothing at the mouth over a Muslim community center within walking distance (as are most things in lower Manhattan, including a couple of existing mosques) from where the Twin Towers used to stand. President George W. Bush at least gave lip service to the Muslim community’s being “peaceful,” but now he’s an embarrassment. So the GOP thinks they really have a winner in denouncing and “refudiating” American Muslims with their goals of occupying buildings. The subtext is that all Muslims are terrorists. This goes along nicely with Republican leaders attempting to make all Latinos into job-stealing, people-beheading, baby-dropping threats to national security. If you whittle down enough groups of people, you do eventually make a point. A pointed neo-Republican talking point.
But the GOP isn’t racist.

Yes – hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on race are no longer racist. So surprisingly, the next wave of the Nixon-founded Southern Strategy is no longer “racist.” Pandering to our darkest fears about “the others” coming to our side of the island to kill us is, also, officially no longer racist.

Perhaps the term “post-racial society” is a typo. What they mean is “post-racist.” Racism no longer exists because the word for it is too offensive to those who practice it. Nice twist.

Tina Dupuy

Reposted with permission.

Published by the LA Progressive on August 18, 2010
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About Tina Dupuy

Tina is a nationally syndicated political columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic and wedge issue fan.

Comments

  1. Marcos Aguilar says:

    This piece is right on!

  2. I printed out this article so I could make notes on it. I did this for two reasons, of thousands of examples of someone being a racist, you could not find one example from the left or of a black.

    All of the examples you gave were good (or bad) but used several of them more than once, you actually repeated the same words as if your article had to be a certain size. I can think of some examples of others being racist but why drag their names through the mud?

    Calling someone you do not really know a racial agitator is not so fair when I could look at you as an agitator also as you well may look at me. I like to let the facts stand where they may and give you the time to form an opinion yourself. While your article was OK it could have been more rounded and better. sometimes I wish LA progressive had a print key.

  3. Lauren Steiner says:

    Sharon, You’ve printed the story twice here.

  4. i realize the training i had in a former life is outside the norm but let me use it to give a warning. Both of our borders (north and south) can be crossed with little effort. Trucks come over and are not stopped. If one of our enemies put bomb parts (the ones small in size and big in bang) in trucks and sent the parts over the border and then put it together in one of our cities, how many of us would die, six figures easy? You think me a nut right, the same people that build bombs in Gaza are now in Mexico putting off bombs. Training for north America, who knows? providing information use to be my job and watching recent TV made me think out of the box once more. Tina also lives in the past but I bet she can not get arrested for importing a black person across state lines. We have come a long way but perhaps not yet far enough.

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