The story about two high school students who happened to be black beating up another student who happened to be white on a school bus might have been good enough for Belleville, Illinois local news, but did it really merit top billing on what has come to be, perhaps regrettably, one of the web's most influential news sites? Well apparently it did because at the time the Belleville police chief said the attack might have been racially motivated in his estimation. He's since backed off, and said that there's no evidence to suggest that it was indeed racially motivated.
Well, up in Palm Beach, Rush Limbaugh decided to run with it, deciding that, "We need segregated busses" And openly suggesting that if "the left" accepts homosexuality it should accept racism. You can hear a portion of his tirade in the video to the left provided by Media Matters which also has a transcript.
But the general thrust of his argument, as much as I can make it out, is that the only response the left can come up with to the right's criticism of Obama is that they're all a bunch of racists. Never mind that most of the criticism of the wingnuts leaves out racism, and when it is included it's usually tepid or nuanced. Limbaugh then goes on to imply that things have gotten so bad in "Obama's American," that it's white Americans who are being persecuted.
There's so much bullshit in this, I don't know where to start so let's just stick to two main points:
The Newsweek cover story Limbaugh repeatedly refers to doesn't prove that babies are born racist in the same way that some are born homosexual ...or black ...or blue-eyed. Rather, it's more about how more liberal parents assume their children are color blind, when they actually aren't, and having an open discussion about race goes a lot farther in positively shaping children's perception of race than not talking about race at all.
The study says that if you talk to children about race implicitly instead of just saying "we're all the same, let's all just be friends," their racial attitudes improve. There's no evidence anywhere to suggest that if you talk to kids about how they should all grow up and marry someone of the opposite gender, which let's be honest most parents do on some level, all children will grow up to be straight.
But Limbaugh is assuming that we are all colorblind now. He's making the same mistake as a white liberal parent, at least in theory.
He thinks we shouldn't bring up racism in America at all, because there's none left. Atleast not amongst his listeners (yeah...). But the article is saying we should talk to children a bit more candidly about race, and maybe it's not just children who should be having the discussion.
Secondly, the idea that the left is demonizing the right as racists whole sale is also wrong on two fronts: they're not, and no one believes every opposition to Obama is fueled by racism except for maybe Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro. And really, when are those guys ever right about anything?
And that's what the right is; "conservative" is just a nice word for "reactionary." Being reactionary makes "No" an easy response with no lag time to consider or weigh anything. Health-care reform? No. Environmentalism? No. Economic reform? No. This is one of the reasons that some liberals who are willing to acknowledge that racism plays a role in the anti-Obama sentiment are uncomfortable jumping on the "they're just racists" bandwagon because a one-word reason is too much like the nuance-less tone of the right. It is. Dismissing anti-Obama sentiment as simply "racist" is lazy and demonstrates an unwillingness to even try to understand the very diversity of the right.
Its discomfort with Obama's race is real; but it is tied to its fear of condoms in the classroom, a perceived de-emphasizing of Christianity and the loss of decent blue collar jobs. (In fact, if Obama were stringently pro-life, many of these so-called "racists" would immediately embrace him and defend him despite almost any fault.)
These fears are not independent of one another, so an accusation against any single one fear does not make any sense to any of the hard-line right. They simply cannot see themselves as racists because they act on a conglomerated fear that has no single identifying trait of any one fear. Just look at the lack of focus in terms of how anti-Obama sentiment manifests itself: The Devil, Hitler, Stalin, The Joker, Darth Vader, etc. It uses anything--anything--that our society finds unquestionably evil, and then imprints it on him.