Dover Bitch

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Racism vs. Hate

I like Craig Crawford. I bought and enjoyed his book. I appreciate the perspective he brings to the shows he's on. But he's dead wrong on the issue of Don Imus and his offensive remarks.

At the end of his segment today on "Hardball," Crawford repeated a claim made earlier on MSNBC by Pat Buchanan: In order for something to be racist, it has to be hateful.

Absurd. Just absurd. So absurd, that I will respond with an outrageous analogy:

I have a cat. I love my cat. But I wouldn't hire my cat. I wouldn't recommend my cat for a job. I wouldn't sue a landlord or restaurant for discriminating against pets. But I do love my cat.

(OK. OK. I said it was an outrageous analogy.) But my point is simple. You don't have to hate someone to believe he or she is inferior or, at least, incapable of doing something you or people like you can do.

You don't have to hate people of color in order to think they aren't as capable as whites. In fact, it probably makes it easier to get away with having those kinds of thoughts. "Sure, I've never hired an African-American... but I don't hate them."

I don't know whether Imus "hates" anybody. I don't really care. What he said was racist. Period.

And no matter how many rappers say ugly things, unless Crawford has been on a crusade to end that, there's no reason in the world for him to start talking about that right now. Sure, it's an "opportunity." But the wonderful thing about America is that every day presents us with opportunities to do great things. He's had more opportunities to make an issue out of that or anything else than 99 percent of the country. He said he's been on Imus' show over 70 times. That's a pretty good platform right there. Has he ever used that microphone to raise awareness on this issue?

And the last time I checked, senators, members of congress, top-tier journalists and presidential candidates aren't hanging out talking policy with Fifty Cent every weekday. For these Imus defenders to all talk about how much "context" matters and then go on to compare his show to the lyrics on a 2 Live Crew CD is a reach of epic magnitude.

And if the president is going to invite radio hosts to his office, when they have called Congresswomen "ghetto trash," among other things, when the vice president is going to give interviews to a radio host who told an African-American caller to "get the bone out of your nose," and nobody in the national media seems to think that's inappropriate, then these people have some serious nerve whining about hip-hop.

UPDATE: No, I am not comparing people of color to cats. I am pointing out that you don't have to hate something in order to think you are superior to it. I chose my cat because there's no ethnic group I feel is inferior. And for what it's worth, my cat is probably cooler than I am. He definitely makes friends faster.

UPDATE II: The exact quote from Crawford was "To be a racist, you have to hate black people."

UPDATE III: What the hell is wrong with Paul Begala? Seriously.

UPDATE IV: CASE CLOSED ON IMUS. In addition to the luxury of being represented by Congressman Waxman, I can count among my West Coast blessings that Imus' show airs when even a night owl like myself shuts it down.

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