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The Watering Down of “Racist”

(bumped up from Tuesday morning)

webracismtoon_edited-3

Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary Definition of racism: A belief in or advocacy of the superiority or inferiority of a particular group on the basis of supposed racial differences.

Not so much anymore…

Real racism exists. And it’s bad news. It devalues who we are as thinking beings. It exposes innocents to hate and oppression. It disrespects, as Martin Luther King observed, the option to assess people as individuals and on the basis of their character.

Not too long ago, to call someone a “RACIST” was a condemnation reserved for those who displayed their ignorance and intolerance against an entire people.

But the term has been watered down so thin that it has almost lost its meaning.

Currently you can be called (and may have been already) a racist IF:

You were a Hillary Clinton supporter. (That’s when most of us got first stung with the label.)

You are a Republican (and maybe a Blue Dog Democrat).

You attended a town hall meeting because you were concerned about what was going to happen to your health care.

And most notably, you disagree with anything President Obama proposes or endorses.

Obama’s supporters and campaign started expanding the use of the R word by suggesting that criticisms of him on the basis of his Chicago associates, his razor-thin resume, and the blanks in his record were mere smoke screens to hide seething racism. That many of us could have genuine concerns about an individual candidate that transcended race was summarily dismissed.

Damage has been done. But the victims are no longer those who endured that dreaded label slung wide to politically intimidate us. The attempted manipulation was soon seen for what it was. And with that discernment, the term “racist” became neutralized.

But there are victims. Those who endure true racism are now deprived of a once powerful term to describe what it is. And words matter. If there is no word to clearly describe something, it essentially doesn’t exist.

  • AdrianS

    Barack Obama is The Consummate LIAR:

    Author confirms Bill Ayers helped Obama write ‘Dreams’
    New release on president’s marriage verifies work of WND’s Jack Cashill pointing to ex-terrorist’s role

    Confirming the literary detective work of WND columnist Jack Cashill prior to the 2008 election, author Christopher Andersen says in a newly released book that former domestic terrorist William Ayers helped Barack Obama write the president’s highly acclaimed memoir “Dreams from My Father.” — from article.

    Andersen writes:

    In the end, Ayers’s contribution to Barack’s “Dreams from My Father” would be significant – so much so that the book’s language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers’s own writing. — from the article.

    “To admit that Obama needed a collaborator would have undercut his campaign for president,” Cashill says, “and to reveal the name of that collaborator would have ended it.” — from the article.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=110784

    Obama is an incessant LIAR and he do and say anything to save his hide. Obama is of such low caliber in every and any redeeming quality that we should expect Obama to be thrown out of office.

  • wbboei

    I do not care if Mr. Obama is a racist. It is the wrong issue to focus on–unless you happen to be in the business of saving souls. The issue is not state of mind. He is free to think whatever he wants to think about a “typical white person”. But when racist thoughts lead to racist actions, then I become concerned. For example, I believe it is a racist act to falsely accuse someone of racism to win an election. Mr. Obama has done precisely that through his campaign in South Carolina, and in the course of governing in the area of health care. The bottom line is this: false claims of racism are the last bastion of scoundrels.

    • Solara 9

      The bottom line is this: false claims of racism are the last bastion of scoundrels

      .

      Good one, wbboei

    • rosa

      The arm twisting of the leaders of the democrat party{because he was their chosen one} to support Obama and then play the race card on the Clintons,supporters or just anyone that didn’t believe in him is finally dawning on some people but if the MSM would be a real news media , it would have never gotten to this. When people say no one has been so badly treated as OB is ,IT is a fairy tale, HA!!!!}, ……….they are still slamming the Clintons, especially if something positive is said about Hillary or Bill and also Bush ,he was called Hitler and was booed during his speeches, and Olbermann launched his MSNBC career on this,still doing it to this day. He was burned in effigy and and portrayed as a devil but if someone shows a bushman as Obama they are racists !! How about the nutcracker,witch,bitch C*&t,threaten by maddog Olbermann,yet no outcry about this,only about race even when there wasn’t any ,just what most politicians go through. the problem is now on both sides it is happening for real, … they even doubted Hillary’s emotions in N.H….The person who cried wolf too many times as he said he wasn’t quite like anyone else before ,what was that? brushing his shoulder off in regards to Hillary ,giving her the finger ,real mature. Maybe it is from listening to those woman bashing violent rappers he has on his ipod!

      You know, I have been pissed and depressed since Bush stole the election and then we got this election by people that intimidated ,lied and used race instead of real issues. We finally had a chance to advance this country and now all we have is more Bush tactics just by a democrat{not really}! I believe that many republicans have gained because of it. Shame on those responsible.

  • proud mobster

    My eyes glaze over when they call it racism to disagree with Obama on Healthcare. I worry about Healthcare rationing for Seniors. I know Obama said he wasn’t interested in killing Grandma however, with the Swine Flu Pandemic a good possiblity and the Govt not having enough serum for all Americans–those 65 and over will be the last to receive medicine. The death panels are alive and well.

  • Don X

    In recent talk show appearances, Obama has deemphasized the notion that the emotional outbursts in town hall meetings and the Wilson epithet are because of the color of his skin. He has associated the heckling and name calling more with people’s fear of the expanding role of government. I think he is trying to reduce the emotional temperature and racially toned remarks. He disagrees with Carter’s statements. While it’s true he didn’t do much to cool the racist remarks made during the campaign, I think, as President, he feels he has to do something to keep things from getting out of hand. It’s in his best interests to play it cool and defuse the situation.

    Nice toon, Pat, and a touchy subject.

    • jwrjr

      Obama said those things, not because he believes them, but because he knows that his supporters will accuse us of Racism and he can pretend that he had nothing to do with it.

    • clairtx

      I think Obama’s posture on racial remarks is just that. He let the mess be created and now he steps in as the ‘peacemaker’? C’mon!!

      • Ani

        Spot on. His campaign played the race card every day last year and used it as a bludgeon to silence all critics and opposition.

        He is still doing it. This is his habit — to pretend he is not part of it and look on in a dispassionate, professorial manner, pretending he is above the fray. He is smack dab in the middle of this.

        Fabulous ‘toon, Pat.

    • Solara 9

      Don X–I don’t give him that much credit. If the race card was working for him he and his handlers would still be playing it.

  • yttik

    The fish are adorable.

    Racism means you don’t want to pay your 3800 dollar fine for not having insurance you can’t afford.

  • ksclematis

    Since the integration of races in public schools there is more interaction of young people; however, I still believe it will take several generations before there is little attention to the differences.

    Obama is, after all, half Caucasian, but that doesn’t enter into any of the conversations and media reports, simply because he has the Af. Am. features.

  • Sassy

    There could be some positive effects of this situation in the distant future. For now, perhaps there will be a better understanding of the harm of using this word lightly!
    Just as the Clintons were stunned, so are some of us in the general population.
    My daughter, through athletics, from a young age through college, had black friends, or so we thought. Now we don’t really know, do we?

  • Portia Elizabeth

    Pat — do you get tired of people telling you how great your cartoons and posts are? Too bad cuz I have to say it again. Loved it!

    I also loved reading all the analyses of the illustration. Everyone here has such agile imaginations.

    I hope the predictions are wrong about the race card diminishing chances for future candidates. I hope simply that people will wake up and realize how important their votes are, and will elect the most qualified candidate, no matter who she is. ;)

    • Pat Racimora

      Thanks Portia Elizabeth! I do this becaise it is fun and helps relieve my frustrations, but to get some nice comments is very thick frosting on my little cake.

  • clairtx

    You know, I used to admire Jimmy Carter, but after the comments he made about Senator Wilson and those who voiced their opinions at the town hall meetings, I don’t like him much anymore. To call those who disagree with Obama’s policies ‘racist’ is a new low for him.

  • Rich

    This is an unfortunate situation, but Obama’s people brought it on themselves. Rev Wright showed how much hate there is agaist whites, and maybe that is good to know. But instead of atttempting to start the healing, the fire as just fanned.

    Love the toon.

    • Peggy Sue

      I’m not so sure there is a “huge” level of hatred against whites, Rich. But I do think there are “enablers” out there, who just love to whip up resentment and make all matter of false accusations to stir the emotional heat. It behooves them them to do that. If in fact racism was/is waning [which I believe is the case], how in God’s name could they [the civil rights' gurus] make a living, demanding ever-lasting wrongs be righted, reparations be demanded and legal suits be filed?

      The old line: follow the money seems appropriate here.

      And it’s not as if the so-called “people” ever see the real money. It’s the legal eagles, the people already on top who thrive and have the most to gain on generational memory [which they encourage], minor slights and/or unease that they whip into a frenzy, and/or the unusual abuse, which they insist is the norm. These are the same people who are unwilling to give the American public [black and white] any credit at all for the last 50 years of absolute, difficult struggle, an ugly history, but undeniable progress.

      Everything old is new again! Divide and conquer.

      It pays certain professional types to have segments of the population at one another’s throat, whether the underpinnings are true or not, ie: a Rev. Wright. He’s prospered handsomely in fomenting hate between the races.

      And he’s not alone. The parasites come in all colors of the rainbow.

    • ksclematis

      The media has a large part of the continuation of anything that will make for good “news”. Then, they drag it on, and on, and on. The news for now is “racism”, especially by some networks.

      I have noticed that CNN has the most racially diverse (Caucasian, Af. American, Asian, Latino, etc.) list of reporters of any networks I have watched, and FOX has the least (if any).

  • Peggy Sue

    I agree, Pat [liked the toon, btw--the word has become "fishy"]. I argued throughout the primaries and GE that the misuse of the word “racism” simply diluted its real meaning to the point that it meant nothing at all. And that’s unfortunate because real racism does exist but far less than what was once the case.

    You could attach the whole attack to the “boy who cried wolf.” And we all know what happened to him. When the wolf does come what will the victims scream? I’m guessing the word “racism” will be easily ignored. The Obamatrons and Obama’s WH minions can take a bow for that.

    I just love living in a “post-racial” world!

  • Carmen

    I for one am glad they are using it at will. White people and businesses used to just run in fear of someone calling them that but now they are getting people used to it and when we get used to it the word loses it’s potency.
    When ACORN or Sharpton comes around to a business, or when the next campaign comes around we will all speak freely, and maybe even the fringe media (ex-msm) will even write a truthfull article.
    I have made a prediction and sealed and filed it away with friends to watch over the next 3 years. It may not be healthy for us, but I have made the prediction that the number of black people elected to office be it local to white house will make a drastic decline unless they come from a totally black district. As I said it may not be good, but that is my prediction based ONLY on the behavior THEY as a race have shown and the racist, hatespeech we (white people) have heard them say to and about us which so took us by surprise. I for one was shocked to hear Rev. Wright, I really did not believe there were people out there that hated white people, still to this day.

  • Pennsylvania Caucasian

    Locally, we had a situation where objections to Michael Vick, convicted of
    cruelty to animals
    were characterized as “racist” by Jerry Mondesire, head of Phila. NAACP. The live audience in attendance booed MOndesire’s remarks.

    (background: Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after his release from prison. This action was met with outrage from animal rights activists as well as just plain folks in the tri-state area.)

  • candymarl

    The racist label bothers me not at all now. Until Obama ran for Prez no one had ever labeled me a racist. What amused me the most was lectures by people who had no idea I was AA about how tough it had been for black folks in America.

    I’d let them rant at me online and accuse me of being a member of the KKK etc.

    Then I’d reveal my ethnic identity. I admit it was naughty but frankly I enjoyed the heck out of it.

  • jiminycricket

    Great toon, as usual, Tricia. The depiction of the WATER is totally accurate (take it from another artist), and leaves no room for doubt.

    Insofar as the message is concerned, you are as usual, right on target, and have pointed out the inherent danger of capriciously applying the term, “RACIST”, particularly by Obama loyalists and supporters, unscrupulous politicians and TV commentators harboring personal agendas. Since indiscriminately and unfairly using it during the ’08 campaign, especially against the Clintons, these people have come to see it as a tool and apply it anytime things are not going their way. You are so wise to have pointed out the diminution of it’s effectiveness when used so routinely.

    At a time when irresponsibility is rampant, especially when one focuses on the climate of fear being promoted by Ms. Pelosi, it would seem that people should be more cautious about their vocabulary!

  • Yeah Right

    Pat

    This is a excellent piece and so true!!

  • Marvin

    I like the abstraction in this piece of art, Pat. I wouldn’t change anything, no water line needed, I think. :)

    Is it really Obama’s political camp or fervent Obama supporters (i.e., private citizens) who are misappropriating the word?

    Kinda reminds me of how you were labeled a “terrorist,” or something along those lines, if you were anti-Bush and/or his politics after 9/11.

    • Pat Racimora

      Thanks Marvin. I did go ahead and change it because if oowawa didn’t see it then I did something wrong.

      Now, you ask a great question. Was it the campaign or some supporters?

      Here’s my take. First, defniitely it was the supporters who were wide open in their verbal thuggery. (That did not characterize all of them, of course!) BUT, those of us working with the HIllary campaign contacted the Obama campaign frequently to ask them to call off their pitbulls. It never happened.

      Obama himself had many chances to openly castigate those who attacked the Clintons as racist who, in fact, had far better civil records than did he. He never made a gesture. Letting this go on worked to Obama’s advantage because he needed the Black vote that would have otherwise been Hillary’s.

      It worked too well for Obama really. He won a battle but lost a war. It will be a while before things go back to where they were before when “racist” actually meant something. Even Jimmy Carter is keeping the craziness going.

      • oowawa

        Oowawa was just being a silly flake, as per usual. Your depiction of water was excellent, Pat. Next time oowawa tries to be such a wise guy I’m going to punch him in the nose.

        • http://www.rabblerouserruminations.blogspot.com/ Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy

          LOL – oh, too funny, oowawa…

          And Pat, you are absolutely right. Obama makes no serious effort to stop these attacks on us, allowing this word to lose it’s power. That would be sad if it wasn’t so disturbing…

          • http://www.lesstalkmoreactivism.blogspot.com whoframedrudy

            Amy, you’re on to something with your post on Gov. Patterson. He’s going to scream ‘race, race, race’ just to embarrass the President. I think it’s going to be a real clown show.

            Frankly, I’m disappointed in ‘my team.’ Look at the right: First we see Sarah’s ‘Death Panel’ master stroke. Then the Joker ‘Socialism’ poster. Then Joe Wilson’s lightning strike to advance his anti-immigration agenda. Next, Giles-O’Keefe’s blindingly brilliant takedown of Acorn. The right brings their A game–creative, bold, fresh, dazzling. And what does the left answer with? The played out race card.

        • jwrjr

          Roses are red
          Violets are blue
          I’m schizophrenic
          And so am I

  • politicsisdirty

    Obama and his minions started this racism charge during the primary against the Clinton…and kept milking it to their advantage…still has an effect on the clueless naive americans.

    • http://noquarter foxyladi14

      but that cow has gone dry,so quit trying to milk it

  • http://www.bestnewspolitics.com Jamie Holts

    Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  • oowawa

    Well, this ‘toon is so confusing that it befuddles my usual smarty-pants analysis. Some very skillful skywriter has written “RACIST” in the sky among the wispy clouds. Since we have been transported over the rainbow, it is possible that the Wicked Witch of the West (who was famed for skywriting “Surrender Dorothy”) was employed to do the job. However, I do not know what the fish are doing up in the air. Perhaps they are flying fish. Or, perhaps, like most of us, they are just very confused and disoriented and don’t know which end is up anymore. At any rate, the wind will soon dissipate the “RACIST” word, just like it did “HOPE” and “CHANGE.” Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    Thanks for the challenging artwork, Pat.

    • Pat Racimora

      oowawa–The word is under water, hence the fish. I think the letters are just foam. The fish are emitting bubbles…

      Maybe I should have drawn a water line on top…maybe I will just go in and do that…

      • Pat Racimora

        OK–I changed it a little. Didn’t want you all thinking I put fish in the sky. If oowawa missed it, then there is defnietly something wrong with what I did! LOL!

        • oowawa

          Nah, Pat–your image was clear enough–I was just letting my imagination play around with associations. I like the idea of fish swimming around in the sky! We might as well try to enjoy the surreal landscape in the U.S. of O.

          • oowawa

            And for a change, I will be serious: I approach everything (e.g., literature, art, dreams, symbols) with the idea that meaning is association, and so to understand anything you must start looking imaginatively for its associations. These associations can be similarities, opposites, or just things that hang around the object being considered. Run down as many associations as possible and let them coexist. Don’t try to settle on a fixed interpretation or settle on a few associations to the exclusion of others. Meaning is a matrix of associations and is complex.

            • TeakWoodKite

              oowawa; love drifting too.

              To all appearances he was just drifting. In actuality he was just drifting. Drifting is what one does when looking at lateral truth. He couldn’t follow any known method of procedure to uncover its cause because it was these methods and procedures that were all screwed up in the first place. So he drifted, that was all he could do.

              pg 122

              Great work Pat. Thanks.

              • oowawa

                Thanks for this citation, Teak. I found it was from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Never read it–probably should–but I’m afraid I’m all zenned out. Oh, I mean zoned out. My chopper’s broke down.

                • TeakWoodKite aka It’s not just me.

                  Next time you in the badlands of Montana…it’s a good read.

                  Sorry to hear about the chopper. :)
                  Best.

            • oowawa

              And, in keeping with this idea, to consider the concept “Racism”

              Fish One: What does it mean?
              Fish Two: Nothin’ much anymore.

              The reason “racism” doesn’t “mean” much anymore is because it has been “watered down,” that is to say, its original associations (segregation, lynchings, racial epithets, etc) have been weakened by using the word in too many ways that do not relate to the powerful original associations. For example, there is just no associative link between the original charged images and political criticism, so the concept of “racism” is indeed watered down by using it in this way. The concept has been compromised by its misuse. Okay, I think I’ll shutup now.

    • Shina Tawana

      how about “FECKLESS”

  • SoCalDem

    Very good article. I always love your art work.

    • http://www.rabblerouserruminations.blogspot.com/ Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy

      I absolutely concur – excellent toon and post, Pat. You are sooooooo right!

  • Solara 9

    This is true. The first time I thought I would explode. I was only wearing a Hillary tee-shirt and walking down the street when someone yelled it from a car. It felt just awful.

    Now, “Racist” apparently includes about half the population. It has lost all meaning.