Touré, a commentator on MSNBC, has taken the high road, saying on the air that Mitt Romney’s assertion that President Obama should “take [his] campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago” was tantamount to “niggerization.”
Forget for a moment how inflammatory that false characterization is. It’s a potshot of the lowest order, and really an insult to Americans such as myself, who went to schools, public and private, where Latinos mixed with whites mixed with blacks mixed with Iranians mixed with Norwegians mixed with valley girls mixed with trust fund bunnies, and mixed it up, giving about as much thought to their friends’ skin color as to what their moms packed in their lunchboxes.
Americans may be fundamentally afraid of the race issue, but they are by and large not racist.
When someone’s man is under attack — and make no mistake about how dirty American politics will get — his defenders will stop at nothing to punch back. The whole thing is ridiculous — after all, the man (Obama, not the commentator) is half one skin color, half another. But it’s election season and facts are only intermittently relevant.
But what is most troubling here is Tour-with-the-accented-e’s pismire-weak rationale for injecting alleged “niggerization” into the campaign cacophony. “You notice he [Romney] said anger twice,” he said. Apparently that’s code for “accessing stereotypes about the angry black man” or some such hogwash.
No, what the whole televised fracas points out is how pundits and politicians alike have succeeded in emasculating American English, to the point where using the word “angry” makes you a racist.
To me this points to a lack of education about language. After all, say the word “Jew” with a certain accusatory intonation, and it could be construed as virulently anti-Semitic.
So what do you do — forbid use of the word “Jew”? Cross “anger” out of the dictionary and put some liberal/Puritan language council in charge of regulating its use?
The degree to which political correctness is railroading over any sense of logic is reaching Orwellian proportions. Not only does it stifle political debate, but it jeopardizes American national security.
As one example, recently America’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has come under fire for allegedly using racial profiling during its so-called “chat-downs” of some passengers at various airports. Whether or not those allegations prove to be true remains to be seen.
But it is obvious that the TSA should engage in geographic profiling, and the one part of the world that should be targeted above all others is the Middle East (well, and the Jersey Shore). Of course every airline passenger should be subjected to the same set of questions, but it may not be practical. In the meantime, everyone with a passport from Morocco to Afghanistan and everywhere in between (yes, including Israel) should eventually be “chatted down.”
In America today, however, where the imagined offense reigns supreme, any attempt to make a ripple in the sea of faux-Yankee rectitude only stirs anger — real anger, the kind that distracts and diffuses a power that the world shouldn’t take for granted.