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Racism Is Like A Box Of Chocolates: Generally Brown, And Kind Of Sweet

By Jesse Taylor
Saturday, October 10, 2009 15:44 EDT
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imageA lovely Georgia gentleman has decided to get attention by accusing Barack Obama of, get this, “nigger rig[ging] it”:

Lanzo put up a sign that reads “Obama’s plan for health-care: N*&%*r rig it.”

CBS Atlanta’s Michelle Marsh asked Lanzo why he put up the sign.

“I’ve been putting up signs for 22 years and I’ve put up all kinds of political signs,” said Lanzo.

“Why did you use the N word?” Marsh asked.

“Well, I’ve used it most of my life. There are different ways to put your opinion up, but that’s just the words I choose,” Lanzo answered.

Despite the sign, Lanzo said he’s not a racist.

Lanzo’s also been a not-racist in the past, as well:

The saloon is dubbed the Georgia Peach. Out front, a hard-to-miss sign proclaims: “Is Michael Jackson not guilty because he is a nigger or money?”

Ahem, not exactly a message one expects to see, circa 2005, driving along a pretty country road in Paulding County, Georgia, about 45 miles west of Atlanta.

Oh, there are plenty of folks hereabouts with sheets and hoods stored in the attic. But racism nowadays is more refined. Racist lingo just isn’t bandied about since the Ku Klux Klan shed its robes and moved uptown. Except at Lanzo’s bar.

Now, to their credit, many of our friends on the right are willing to call this racism. And yes, one of them is named Confederate Yankee, another claims that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a conservative and the third has a big image of Michelle Obama labeled “ugly”. But they’re not racists, either. Just like the guy who puts up all the “nigger” signs.

American Power is pissed that nobody is giving him credit for all the times he’s admitted things are racist:

Actually, there are a couple posts linking Lanzo to conservative opponents of the president. For one, Gawker has an entry titled, “Racist Old Man: ‘I Am Not Racist’.” That piece then links to some stupid episodes during the campaign last year that no one takes seriously (Obama food stamps?). Recall, in every single case like this conservatives denounce the racist imagery. Normally, the idiots who post such stuff are shamed by the PC police, and it’s not unusual for a political career to implode.

Of course, when you stop admitting that racist things are racist is when the problem comes into play. And the chief problem is that many, many conservatives refuse to admit than anything less than a six-foot-tall sign calling a black man a nigger is actually racist.

Confederate Yankee (NOT AT ALL IRONIC IN THIS SCENARIO – ed.) points out that calling this man a racist would have meant something if we just didn’t call anyone else a racist:

Democrats in the media and in politics have so over-used cries to racism in an attempt to marginalize legitimate opposition that the word has rapidly lost the stigma attached to it. Indeed, in the context of the political blogosphere, bloggers on the center-right have been using the term self-referentially as a sarcastic bit of snark to the constant knee-jerk claims of racism they know will radiate from progressives.

It’s a shame the left has decided to make such reckless use of the word in an attempt to stifle opposition, because when real racism occurs, calling it out with the level of derision it deserves becomes that much more difficult.

Let’s stop here for a second. On the one side, we have a group that calls out racism where it sees it, and accepts that racists can actually be intelligent enough to try and mask their racism. On the other hand, we have a group that spends all of its time complaining that things aren’t racism, and making convoluted excuses for why actual racist things aren’t racist because they aren’t as racist as real racism. And in the middle, we have the guy calling the President a “nigger” who says he’s not actually a racist, just a provocative fellow who enjoys Klan gear and pissing off the NAACP. Which side do you think is making it harder to debate what is and isn’t racist?

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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