Chris Rock once starred in a Saturday Night Live
sketch where he played a
rabid black nationalist who hosted a local cable
access show called "The Dark Side with Nat X." [Video]
During the opening of each show,
Nat X would give examples of how
was responsible for examples of "racism"—all
Thus, according to Nat X, The Man "invented the
game of pool: a game in which the player uses a white
ball and a
stick to knock a bunch of colored balls off a table
and into a bunch of holes!" and
"white-out. A tricky substance that only
eliminates black letters"; "makes
black jellybeans the most disgusting type of candy";
and "calls all his bad children the black sheep!"
But in our hyper-sensitive age,
you can never parody the lengths to which some
grievance-mongers will go will find racial undertones.
Thus in a recent case of phantom racism, two
black officials in Dallas objected to the use of the
word "black hole." During a meeting about traffic
tickets, white county commissioner Kenneth Mayfield said
that an office "has
become a black hole" in reference to the way
paperwork would often disappear. [Dallas
County officials spar over `black hole` comment ,
By Kevin Krause, Dallas City Hall Blog | The Dallas
Morning News, Jul 07, 2008]
An obviously flustered Mayfield tried in vain to
explain that it was a
Eventually other council members quelled the
But John Wiley Price later defended his indignation.
He claimed the term “black hole” was part of a
larger racist, linguistic conspiracy. He called
"devils food cake" and "angels food cake"
even echoed Nat X, "If you`re the `black sheep of
the family,` then you gotta be bad, you know. `White
sheep,` you`re okay. You know?"
A simple look at an
etymological dictionary disposes of this notion. A
black hole gets its name because it sucks everything
into it (hence Mayfield`s analogy) including light which
makes it, well, black. Astrophysicists have come up with
a theoretical "white hole" that gets its hue
because it spews out all the light sucked in by the
black hole. As for a
black sheep, most sheep farmers
breed their sheep to be white because their wool can
be dyed any color, so
black sheep are less desirable.
Even most liberals don`t take Price seriously, but
they see it as an isolated case of political correctness
But unfortunately, fictional cable access talk show
hosts and low level city politicians are not the only
people who find racial undertones throughout our common
During the presidential campaign, supporters of
Barack Obama have come up with just as creative cases of
subtle prejudice. Even Democrats are often accused by
the Obama brigades of using "codewords" when they
utter frequently used idioms. A few examples: Joe Biden
"bright and clean,"
Andrew Cuomo saying that you "can`t
just shuck and jive at a press conference," and
Hillary Clinton claiming that the Bush administration is
running the White House "like a plantation"
Not even his supporters are immune from the
onslaught. In April, Obama Delegate
Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski told a group of black
children—along with her own grandkids—who were in up in
a tree in her front yard to
"quit playing in the tree like monkeys."
After the kids` parents made a stink, the Obama campaign
then called her words "divisive and unacceptable,"
asked her to resign. (After some negative attention,
If this is what Democrats are subjected to, one can
only imagine how even the most innocuous criticism will
racism—racism so subtle that it appears innocent
to most people while pumping up the prejudiced. Upon
winning the Democratic nomination, Obama said
"They`re going to try to make you afraid of me. He`s
young and inexperienced and he`s got a funny name. And
did I mention he`s black?"[Obama
says Republicans will use race to stoke fear]
When it comes to actual criticism of Obama, even the
most obviously non-racial disparagement of Obama has
been seen as cloaked bigotry. Left-wing talkshow host
Norman Goldman said every time Republicans call
Obama a "radical"
it`s "really a codeword for n*****r." LA Times
David Shipler wrote, "`Elitist` is another word
for `arrogant,` which is another word for `uppity,`
that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for
resonance of racism, Los Angeles Times,
April 16, 2008]
If and when they come up in the campaign or –God
forbid—an Obama presidency, we can only imagine the
Expect any attempt at a legitimate policy debate to
be (ahem!) blacklisted.
Marcus Epstein [send
him mail] is the founder of the
Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the
Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be
views he expresses are his own.