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The Boy Who Cried Racism

When I first heard of the racial discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR I did an internal eye-roll and thought “here we go again.” Then I looked at the complaint – page after page of specific incidents that Mauricia Grant says happened to her while she was working. A few of them are silly – like the complaint that people were using profanity at the track. (Mechanics swearing? Oh me oh my.) But if even a fraction of her other allegations are true she was treated horribly, and really did suffer from racial discrimination.

I felt a little guilty that my initial reaction was to brush off the complaint as yet another ridiculous claim. But I forgave myself about five seconds later; there were good reasons for the reaction.

While real racism will aways exist, far too many people have made non-existent racism their favorite tool.

The most obvious, of course, are the professional race baiters. Al Sharpton has made a very nice living at it. Jessie Jackson has turned it into a profitable career. Spike Lee recently used it to get back in the public eye. Some academics teach their students that there’s no need to ask if a white person is racist – they just are, no investigating is necessary.

Limbaugh defines a racist as anyone who wins an argument with a liberal. I’ve found this especially predominant in online forums. Back a lefty into a corner, and sooner or later (usually sooner) they’ll pull out the race card. If you don’t like Affirmative Action, you’re a racist. (Which is ironic, because it is a racist program.) If you don’t like Islam, you’re a racist. (Point out that Islam isn’t a race and they’ll insist your dislike of a barbaric superstition proves you hate Arabs.) Oppose a poorly thought out government plan that is supposed to help the poor and, yep, you guessed, some lefty wanker will make a comment about you hating brown people.

Far too many minorities are wired to look for racism everywhere, and find it whether it exists or not. I’ve run into this a few times myself.

I was driving down the streets of Schenectady on a Sunday afternoon, bringing my daughter to a piano recital. An elderly black man was waiting to cross the street, and I stopped and motioned him across. He waved it off, and motioned for me to continue. I did, parked the car, and when I got out he had corssed the street and was walking nearby. He said, “Thank you, but I don’t walk in front of cars.” I said, “I can understand that, but I don’t run over people.” He got upset, and said “What do you mean, you people. I’m a man just like you!” I sputtered a bit. “I didn’t say you people, I said people!” But he was on a roll. He didn’t hear what I really said, and was sure I had made a racial comment. Frustrated, I took my kid inside to her recital, feeling bad about something I wasn’t the least bit guilty of.

Several years ago I was traveling through Utica and we stopped at a Pizza place. I was in the passenger seat, and when I got out I admired the tricked out Mustang parked next to me, not noticing the man sitting behind the wheel. We started into the place when I said to my wife “Hold on, we forgot to lock the car.” We went back, locked it, and as I shut my door I looked into the eyes of the young back man sitting behind the wheel of the mustang. The anger in his eyes was palpable – he was seething. I could almost feel his thoughts – whitey was locking his car because there was a black man parked next to it. In fact I hadn’t noticed him before, but I’m sure the incident was entered in his mental book of racial slights.

So minorities, when a white person brushes off claims of racism, don’t get upset. If it weren’t for the endless race bating and constant stream of false accusations, most of us would take such claims a lot more seriously.

(As I was posting this I realized that the title of this post could be considered racist, because “boy” used to be used to put down black men. If that was your reaction, you’re part of the problem.)

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