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Freedom of Expression: Racism

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We have at least twice already touched this subject, once when discussing the concept of hate speech and again on the subject of epithets, but there is another aspect to it.

Others have written and spoken about this, but it struck me particularly because last year, according to my Facebook profile on October 13th, I read an article by a black author published a few days earlier entitled America Needs a White Republican President. The author's contention was not that white Republicans make better executives, but that no one ever claimed that opposition to the policies of such a person was "racist". If you say that Obama is pursuing progressivist liberal policies toward the establishment of a socialist state in this country, someone will accuse you of being racist, according to the article. It was interesting, but I wondered whether any intelligent person would ever really make that mistake, to assume that those whose criticisms of the President are patently about his policies are really making those criticisms because of latent racism. I don't assume that people who criticize my articles are prejudiced against me; I assume that they disagree. To assume otherwise is to insult the integrity of those people. You would have to be pretty stupid to hold that kind of view.

Then a month later it was all over the news, that Oprah Winfrey asserted people who criticized the President did so because they are racist.

In fairness to Winfrey, that shock snippet headline does misrepresent what she said. She said only that this is true "in some cases and maybe even many cases". Sure; but how is that relevant? There are undoubtedly many people who hate Bush because he is white, who hate Jane Fonda because she's an anti-war activist, who hate Oprah because she is rich, people who hate cops, who hate beggars, who hate welfare recipients, who hate conservative Christians, who hate Jews, who hate Poles, Italians, Irishmen, Scotsmen, Germans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Turks, Swedes, Danes, who hate football players, cheerleaders, musicians, artists, factory workers, fast food workers, office workers, road crews, blondes, redheads, midgets, fat people, skinny people, bald men, pseudo-hippies, dog owners, cat aficianados, environmentalists, industrialists, and the list goes on and on and on. Every group is hated by someone, and the haters sometimes outnumber the group. Of course there are going to be some people who hate President Obama--and Oprah Winfrey, and Kevin Jackson (who wrote that article)--simply because they are black. There are those who object to what I write simply because I am Christian. I still extend to everyone the benefit of the doubt, that if they criticize what I say it is because they disagree with what I say, not because of who I am or what I represent to them.

So feel free to tell me that you disagree; please, though, don't tell me that I'm racist simply because I think it should be possible to criticize the President without being called racist.



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