How can you wear a shirt printed with the words “Yup I’m a Racist” with pride? By redefining racism, of course.
This right-wing fashion statement was spotted at a July 4th celebration in Lexington, Kentucky by Greg Skilling, who spoke at length with Tea Party concessionaires (dialogue can be heard here). The report sparked over a thousand comments, many filled with violence, racial rhetoric and profanity. Skilling offers an edited sample and notes that much of the criticism dealt with his “failure” to properly discuss what was on the back of the shirt.
The legitimization of the statement “Yup I’m a Racist” is the ten-point thesis on the back that takes the racial discrimination out of racism (like taking the slavery out of the Civil War) and makes it a shiny new beacon of pride. Merriam-Webster may define racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” but not the Tea Party. According to the Tea Party, you’re a racist if you support: the Constitution, free speech, the 2nd Amendment, the Bill of Rights, capitalism, no government bailouts, closing the borders, the military, the Tea Party, and Jesus Christ.
If that were the case then the Tea Party would embrace membership of all colors (even if not of all faiths), correct? Yet once again the opposite is true. When a black man attends a Tea Party rally he’s ignored (dare I say avoided altogether) rather than embraced for his “patriotism.” The only black men embraced by the Tea Party at this Virginia rally were those willing to hold signs and say what the rally-goers wanted to hear; chiefly, that they’re not racist. (h/t The Nappy Diatribe, NSFW)
Andrew Breitbart asserts the Tea Party is NOT racist, and he’s right if you use the new white-washed definition. How brilliant. Calling yourself a “racist” is okay when the definition is engineered to suit your purpose. Calling yourself a “racist” is okay when you’re wrapped in a flag and shout how much you love your country. Calling yourself a “racist” is okay if you use enough smoke and mirrors to obscure the “negrophobic” tenets that comprise your agenda. Right, Andrew?
Wrong. This writer rejects the agenda of the Tea Party propitiates: neo-Confederacy. The agenda of the Tea Party is to take America back in time to where African-Americans were three-fifths of a person. The agenda of the Tea Party is to bleach America until its resemblance to what we have grown into is a pale white corpse. The agenda of the Tea Party is to enslave a mass of “have-nots” into giving their last ounce of dignity to the “haves” who, in their paneled libraries, laugh at the ignorance and misplaced fervor that fund their hatred, their greed, their vitriol.
I usually close with a quote and today I chose a slightly longer piece I found in another of Skilling’s articles. In Plessy v. Ferguson (notably overturned in Brown v. Board of Education) Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan stated in his sole dissent:
But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.”