Charging someone with racism has become the ultimate trump card for almost anyone in modern American society. So what do we do when the person playing the race card is simply a moron who’s seeing something that isn’t there?
In the case of the University of Alabama’s student newspaper, the answer was to apologize anyway and promise to be even more un-racist. In doing so, the paper is bowing to idiots and promising to self-censor in an effort to make it harder for morons to misunderstand what they’re looking at.
Let me back up.
After Alabama’s last-second loss to hated arch-rival Auburn in a football game nine days ago, the Crimson-White ran an editorial cartoon that satirizes the current tendency by many to blame the president for anything that goes wrong. The cartoon shows an Alabama player tripping while an Auburn player races by to score the winning touchdown. The caption says, “This is what happens in Obama’s America.” It’s clearly a parody of the graphic memes that say, “Thanks, Obama,” any time something goes wrong in the country.
I don’t think it’s an especially funny cartoon, but it’s probably no worse than what many college-level cartoonists produce. (When I was on staff at the CW many years ago, we had a couple of really excellent cartoonists, so the current work looks amateurish and lazy to me, but that’s a different issue.) Even though I don’t find the cartoon funny, it’s impossible to find racism in the art unless you’re determined to see something that isn’t there.
Even if you believe it’s a political slap at Barack Obama — a belief which require you to be pretty dense and lacking in the ability to see obvious sarcasm — you can’t turn it into a racial issue unless you believe that any attack on Obama is inherently racist. There’s absolutely nothing racial about the cartoon, even if you’re not bright enough to understand the satirical intent.
In her apology for the cartoon, CW editor Mazie Bryant said, “This cartoon was, by no means, intended to be racist or insulting. It was the unfortunate product of editorial oversight and a lack of a critical eye in determining possible implications the cartoon could have. This mistake will not be made again. We are taking actions now to correct this mistake, and we are instituting a change in the way we address editorial cartoons.”
“Unfortunate product of editorial oversight”? “Lack of a critical eye”? “Mistake”? “Mistake”?
In other words, we weren’t guilty of what we were accused of, but we’re going to change how we do our work — to make it harder for people to play the race card.
This approach is wrong-headed and gives power to people who are neither smart nor reasonable. It might sound as though I’m judging the people making the accusations harshly, but I think it’s deserved. They’re morons and bullies.
When we fail to stand up to bullies, all it teaches them is that they can get what they want through further bullying. And that’s exactly what this is. Some ignorant (or maybe dishonest) bullies screamed “racism” in order to attack a newspaper. Instead of pointing out the lack of racial content — and calling the accusers on their lack of grounds for the charge — the student management has chosen to give power to the bullies.
There’s a lot of genuine racism in this world, but there are also many false charges that undermine our ability to take the actual racism seriously. Many people have become too intimidated to resist attacks when there’s no racism involved, because it’s easier to take the politically correct approach and promise not to do what they haven’t done to start with.
It takes courage to stand up to bullies. It especially takes courage to stand up to idiots screaming about racism that isn’t there. But there are times when people don’t deserve to be taken seriously.
This is one of those times. The people screaming about racism in this case should have been ignored. They’re simply idiots with an agenda.