Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Playing the Race or Ethnic Card is Offensive

Throughout history people have gone to the Kilarney Castle in Ireland to kiss the Blarney stone to hopefully become eloquent and articulate. According to some elite Blacks, the word “articulate” can be a racial code word.

Lynnette Clemetson wrote an article in the New York Times, titled, “The Word that Makes Black’s Blood Boil: Articulate”. She related in the piece that President Bush innocuously described Barak Obama as “articulate” which somehow was supposed to have racial overtones. This is ironic since President Bush is constantly attacked for being inarticulate himself.

In the same article University of Pennsylvania professor, Michael Eric Dyson said, “the implication is that most Black people do not have the capacity to engage in articulate speech, when White people are assumed to be articulate.” This is an absurd stretch of reality as there are few White, Asian, Hispanic or Black people who have the eloquence or charisma of the senator from Illinois.

A miniscule number of African-American elites feel they have the right to use their prerogative to establish a double standard. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Whoopie Goldberg have supported making the “N word” a “hate crime” for Whites while excusing its use among Blacks. These “so called” leaders are perpetuating not easing racism.

By deciding arbitrarily when any word strikes them as insulting the elites are even more dangerous. Even though the word “articulate” has a positive connotation in mainstream culture these elites reserve the right to use their peculiar sensibilities to dictate what is appropriate and what is not. This is ridiculous.

Using the same type of illogical reasoning any compliment by a racial or ethnic minority to a Caucasian could be interpreted as a racial slur by a few White elites. Substituting Black for White and White for Black and changing “articulate” to “athlete” the above mentioned Dyson quote would read “ the implication is that most White people do not have the capacity to engage in athletics when Blacks are assumed to be athletic.” This would make any mention of Bret Farve as a good athlete a racial slur towards Whites. In this bizarre logic minorities are ridiculing the athleticism of the White race by saying Bret Farve is a good athlete.

In the same way an Hispanic saying to a White that you have a “green thumb” may be turned on its head from a compliment to a derogatory racial comment.

Anytime a group has the ability to determine when a word is offensive to them they are in a superior position and everyone else is in a subservient position. This ability for one racial or ethnic group to randomly determine what is offensive places any other group in an unenviable position of having to defend themselves against being racist.

This use of the race card is not isolated to Blacks. Whenever any American, especially a Caucasian, demands our borders be secured against the invasion of illegal immigrants, or logical and reasonable profiling for security at the airport, the race card will surely be thrown. It doesn’t matter if they are recent legal immigrants or a tenth generation American of Black, Asian, or even Hispanic or Middle Eastern background, they will probably be considered by many to be an anti Mexican or Middle Eastern racist.

It appears in the United States Whites are between “ a rock and a hard place”. When they say anything critical, no matter how accurate, they can and probably will be called a racist. And if they say anything complimentary, no matter how true, they can and probably will be called a racist.

Walking on eggshells regardless of the situation is not a good way to exist. All of us should become aware of what are the “hot button issues” for individuals, racial or ethnic groups and attempt to understand them. For everyone’s long term well being, this game of “I gotcha”, has to be exposed not avoided and alternative ways of relating must be developed. In the long run the method of ignoring or appeasing another group does nothing to bring people together.

By all of us courageously and honestly expressing our feelings and thoughts openly we will increase understanding between all Americans. It will make it very difficult to get away with using an “offensive racial or ethnic card.”



Post a Comment

<< Home