CBS Warns Common Words & Phrases Are Now Racist

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On Tuesday, the hosts of CBS This Morning warned viewers that common words and phrases with no racial context whatsoever were now somehow examples of “racism” in everyday life. It was all part of a segment designed to promote a “new book teaching kids the roots of racism.”

“Many headlines referred to the stock market plunge yesterday as ‘Black Monday,’ and that is just one of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that racism has been braided into our everyday culture,” co-host Tony Dokoupil lectured at the top of the 8:30 a.m. ET half hour segment. He then touted a new children’s version of the book, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by CBS News contributor Ibram X. Kendi and co-author Jason Reynolds. 

 

 

The headline on screen proclaimed: “Reconsidering History; Kendi & Reynolds on New Book Teaching Kids the Roots of Racism.”

Early in the discussion, fill-in co-host Michelle Miller fretted to Kendi about “lies” supposedly being taught to students in American history classes:

And speaking of the book, so many misconceptions and truly lies throughout the history of what children are taught about their history. I hate to put it that directly, but, you know, when you go back and you look at people like a Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, these founding fathers who were so revered, how do you re-teach that?

Later in the exchange, co-host Anthony Mason returned to the dictionary to list terms newly-deemed to be racist: “Tony made reference to it in introducing you, even terms like ‘Black Monday,’ ‘Black Sheep,’ can be freighted with a negative connotation that sometimes we don’t even realize.” Miller agreed: “Baked into the vocabulary.”

A graphic appeared on screen warning of which words and phrases to avoid: “Words With Negative Connotations: Black Monday, Black Sheep, Blackballing, Blackmail, Blacklisting.”

Kendi lamented: “Yeah, and I don’t think we even realize when you have a skin color and regular color and we’re connoting both in a negative fashion. There are relationships between the two and I think we have to break not only the relationship, but those negative connotations.”

Last year, Kendi appeared on the morning show and compared American race relations to cancer: “I had metastatic cancer, and I would argue we have metastatic racism in this country, there’s typically a local treatment in which you go in and surgically remove the tumors, which is essentially like going in to remove the racist policies...”

Perhaps rhetoric like that and shaming people into no longer using completely non-racial words is not the best way to address actual discrimination.

Here are excerpts of the lengthy March 10 segment:

8:40 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: Many headlines referred to the stock market plunge yesterday as “Black Monday,” and that is just one of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that racism has been braided into our everyday culture. CBS News contributor Ibram X. Kendi won a National Book Award for Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. And now he’s teaming up with best-selling author Jason Reynolds to rework the book for a younger audience. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You; A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning, it’s geared toward – long title – is geared toward readers 12 and up. Kendi and Reynolds join us first on CBS This Morning. Gentlemen, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Reconsidering History; Kendi & Reynolds on New Book Teaching Kids the Roots of Racism]

(...)

8:44 AM

MICHELLE MILLER: And speaking of the book, so many misconceptions and truly lies throughout the history of what children are taught about their history. I hate to put it that directly, but, you know, when you go back and you look at people like a Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, these founding fathers who were so revered, how do you re-teach that?

IBRAM X. KENDI: Well, I think first and foremost you ask the question, what does it mean that a slave holder heralded the American philosophy of freedom? And so you sort of start there. And then I think young people can understand the contradictions. And I think that’s one of the things we’re trying to show them through this book.

(...)

8:46 AM

DOKOUPIL: You know, there are people out there who, they see a book like this and they think, “Look America’s the greatest country that ever existed and to engaged in this sort of negativity is to dragging it down.” What do you say to that kind of parent who is not going to want their kid to read a book like this.  

JASON REYNOLDS: What I’ll say is if we love the country as much as we claim we do, then we must be honest about it. It’s no different than my brother and sister, if I love them like I say I love them, then that means that I can’t lie about who they are and I have to challenge them when I think they’re making mistakes. And I think that this is the ultimate act of patriotism, as far as I’m concerned.

(...)

8:47 AM

MASON: Tony made reference to it in introducing you, even terms like “Black Monday,”
“Black Sheep,” can be freighted with a negative connotation that sometimes we don’t even realize.

MILLER: Baked into the vocabulary.

MASON: Yeah.

[ONSCREEN GRAPHIC: Words With Negative Connotations: Black Monday, Black Sheep, Blackballing, Blackmail, Blacklisting]

KENDI: Yeah, and I don’t think we even realize when you have a skin color and regular color and we’re connoting both in a negative fashion. There are relationships between the two and I think we have to break not only the relationship, but those negative connotations.

REYNOLDS: And I think, just to add, is that language – I don’t think we give enough credence to the power of language and how language actually works when it comes to informing culture. And so if we can start paying attention to it and shift language, then perhaps we could also shift culture.

(...)

NB Daily Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism CBS CBS This Morning Video Michelle Miller Tony Dokoupil Anthony Mason