Saturday, November 05, 2011

Toure, Limbaugh And How We Talk About Racism

Preach, Toure!   And here's the transcript.

TOURÉ: This week I’m proud to say, Rush Limbaugh called me a racist.
RUSH CLIP: Touré on MSNBC, where the motto is “resist we much.”  That’s right, Touré. For 23 years I’ve been hearing it. Maybe not from you, but people all over your side of the aisle. For 23 years, I’m racist, and I’m not. Never have been. You guys are.
Well, if that’s not a badge of honor, I don’t know what is. When I heard that, I said, “mama, I made it!” But whatever small comical victory that moment represents for me, it’s part of a loss for the country. It shows you the American conversation about race is devolving, because some people want to destroy that conversation.
The absurd idea that we are post-racial has emboldened many to reject the legitimacy of talking about race. To them, discussing race in and of itself is racist, because you’re playing the race card and injecting race into the world, as if it’s not already there.

For some people, racism is a word to fling around in an attempt to distort the meaning of the word and contort the necessary race conversation into meaninglessness. And whenever the conversation is pulled into the gutter of meaninglessness, we all lose.

Because we still have a significant racial problem in this country. We still have much to work on. Racism nowadays is more subtle and nuanced than ever, and that means un-nuanced thinkers like Rush can play easily dumb. “What do you mean I’m racist? I don’t have slaves, I’m not in the klan! What do you mean you experienced racism? You don’t have segregated fountains, you have a black president. Why are you still complaining?

Well, white privilege is something while people need do nothing to access. White people who aren’t racist still accrue the benefits of being white. This in a world with institutional racism and glass ceilings and white men with felony convictions being more likely to get jobs than black men with clean records — that makes it too much to accept quietly.

While some things have changed so much has not changed. Smart people understand we’ve got to talk about all this.
LOUIS CK CLIP: Oh, god, I love being white. I really do. Seriously, if you’re not white, you’re missing out, because this [bleep] is thoroughly good. But, let me be clear about it. I’m not saying that white people are better, I’m saying that being white is clearly better. Who could even argue?
Pointing out that race still matters isn’t racist any more than bad weather is the fault of the weatherman. I’m not the problem. People who want to destroy the still-necessary American race conversation are a big problem. The refusal to feel white guilt is understandable, but the almost violent use of the word racism to battle against actual instances of racism and pointing out racism and trying to silence those who would call out racism is, in fact, disgusting, and frightening, and that is racism.

DYLAN: And at the end of the day, even in a rant like that, you obviously don’t expect Rush Limbaugh or anybody who has that thought process, that you’re going to persuade them to think differently?

TOURÉ: No, of course not.

DYLAN: At the end of the day, when you look at the conversation we were just having with the Stanford professor that wrote this book, “Rights Gone Wrong,” Richard Thompson Ford, how do we move collectively toward an advocacy where we’re resolving the race conversation in this country, but moving towards an advocacy of equanimity, which is the intention of Civil Rights. The intention is, you and I are equal, and me and him and her are equal, and that is our aspiration. And I guess, quickly, interested in whether you think we’re closer towards that — or moving towards it?

TOURÉ: Are we moving toward it? I don’t know. Is there a desire of certain people to not even have the conversation and not move forward that? Absolutely.  But are we moving toward it? I don’t know.

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