Monday, August 29, 2016

the hypocritical etiquette of our masters By:George McCartney

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have reached such a fraught point in their campaigns that they’ve taken accusing one another of America’s unpardonable sin: Racism. The broadcast news outlets are all delightedly agog. This is understandable. Nothing sells better in America than accusations of racial preference. It’s a near certainty that Barack Obama was elected president by people desperate to avoid the third rail of American political discourse. In today’s America you can’t be counted among the socially acceptable if you acknowledge the tiniest preference for your race over another. That’s why a person of color, the light-skinned, well-spoken Obama, was just the ticket in 2008 and again in 2012. He let those who voted for him off the racial hook. In one way this turned out to be a blessing. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney were and are in the Neocon orbit. As such, they would surely have mired us in more Middle Eastern wars.
Still, isn’t it odd that the charge of racism should be so potent? After all, nearly everyone in our nation shares this vice: white, black, brown, yellow. Most of us for most of our lives prefer to be with our own kind. And yet to say so earns one a sentence on the scaffold of public excoriation, humiliated by having a Scarlet R emblazoned on one’s breast.
Aren’t we supposed to have the right of free association? Not, it seems, in public and corporate life. Nor are we free to speak as we please. There’s an unforgiving linguistic etiquette to be observed with regard to race. ABC newsreader Amy Robach discovered this last week when she referred to blacks as colored people. Her media counterparts pounced immediately expressing their heart-felt dismay. Robach swiftly apologized for her egregious violation. She had slipped, she explained. She had meant, of course, to say people of color. This locution, as everyone knows, makes all the difference. 
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