New York Times columnist Charles "Minstrel Show" Blow was at it again Saturday accusing Tea Partiers of being racists.
I guess for Blow, a day without calling some conservative a racist is like a day without sunshine.
Whatever the pathology, his "Trying to Outrun Race" made it crystal clear right from the get go what unfortunate readers were in store for:
Racist. Tea Party.
Not surprisingly, it was all downhill from there (h/t Hot Air headlines):
The Tea Party is a Frankenstein movement - an odd collection of factions, loosely stitched together, where the head, to the extent that it exists, fails to control the body.
It has attracted hordes of the disaffected with differing interests, including some who've openly expressed their dark racial prejudices and others who polls suggest harbor more subtle and less visible biases. Opposition to President Obama triggers a political Pavlovian response among some of these people, and they want to ally themselves with others around a common enemy.
Also by no means surprising, Blow cited poll numbers to support his position:
However, widely cited polling, like the multistate University of Washington survey released last month, has found that large swaths among those who show strong support for the Tea Party also hold the most extreme views on a range of racial issues. The fringe theory is a farce.
Ah yes, UW's WISER poll the media so adored last month.
As Cathy Young wrote on April 25, the data the press jumped for joy over conflicted with numbers that mysteriously went unpublished:
The lead investigator, political science professor Christopher Parker, graciously provided me with the fuller data -- which strongly contradict the notion of the Tea Parties as a unique hotbed of racism.
Thus, while only 35% of strong Tea Party supporters rated blacks as hardworking, only 49% described whites as such. While the gap is evident, these responses are close to those for all whites (blacks are rated as "hardworking" by 40%, whites by 52%). While whites who are strongly anti-Tea Party seem free of bias on this item -- blacks and whites are rated as "hardworking" by 55% and 56%, respectively - this is not true for intelligence and trustworthiness. Whites in every group are less likely to rate blacks than whites as "intelligent" by similar margins: 14 points for Tea Party supporters (45% vs. 59%), 13 points for all whites (49% vs. 62%), 10 points for Tea Party opponents (59% vs. 69%). On "trustworthy," the gap is smaller in the pro-Tea Party group (41% vs. 49%) than in the anti-Tea Party group (57% vs. 72%). One could write headlines about the "racial paranoia" of white liberals who consider blacks less trustworthy than whites!
Fascinating. I wonder what Blow would say about that. But I digress:
The endurance of racial stereotypes in this day and age is disturbing; but Tea Party supporters differ little in this regard from mainstream Americans. (It is also worth noting that, as in many other surveys, Asian-Americans in the UW poll are rated much more positively than whites.)
Compared to middle-of-the-road whites, Tea Party supporters show far more agreement with the statement that blacks should work their way up "without special favors" the way other minorities such as Italians and Jews did, or that blacks would be as well off as whites if they worked harder. The standard left-of-center view, shared by the UW researchers, is that such attitudes represent a subtler form of racism, or "racial resentment." In some cases, that is surely true. Yet these sentiments may also reflect a genuinely race-neutral belief in self-reliance and self-help -- or the view, shared by many black commentators, that the black community's problems are partly rooted in damaging behavioral and cultural patterns.
So, if you believe that blacks should work their way up "without special favors," or that they'd be just as well off as whites if they worked harder, according to the poll Blow cited, you're a racist.
Any wonder why this survey concluded Tea Partiers are racists?
But it goes deeper than this, for as NewsBusters reported two days later, the political science professor behind this poll has a history of finding racism where and whenever he wants:
What did Parker and his colleagues cite as examples of this? Code words, of course:
We begin this article by proposing that although Obama ultimately won, we cannot reject that race-and in particular racism-played a significant role in the outcome. During the campaign, race was a consistent narrative used by Obama's opponents. His primary opponents, particularly Hillary Clinton, and Republicans in the general election used racial references to attack the Illinois senator, citing him for his perceived inability to connect to "real working Americans" ~Bazinet and McAuliff, 2008; Canellos 2008; MacGillis 2008. A Republican in Georgia used the term uppity to describe Obama, a clear racial reference ~Los Angeles Times 2008. Even the infamous "Joe the Plumber" charged Obama with seeking to redistribute wealth, raising age-old stereotypes of African Americans as radical, welfare dependent, and not as hardworking as the White working class. In short, he accused Obama of seeking to take money from hardworking "real Americans" to give it to "those people" ~Rohter 2008.
So you see, calling someone uppity is a "clear" racial slur. Saying that someone doesn't understand "real working Americans" is some kind of code for saying they don't understand white people. Oh, and calling attention to President Obama's own self-proclaimed plan of wealth distribution means you think black people are lazy.
With such a lax definition of racism, it's no wonder Parker sees it everywhere.
Indeed, and the same can be applied to Blow.
In the end, just as there are people who have racist views, there are also folks who see racism in all human behavior.
Consider that Blow a few weeks ago referred to the tax day Tea Party in Dallas as "a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness and for those engaged in the subterfuge of intolerance."
In reality, it is Blow that is clearly oblivious and intolerant.
Unfortunately for us, he has a column at the New York Times to express his undeserving hatred for all those he disagrees with, which would be far more acceptable if he'd try to stick to the facts AND leave race out of it.
Or is that asking too much?