The NAACP Was Right, Cont.


Good to see Dave Weigel back in business. Whatever our blogespheric disagreements, my respect for him as a reporter is a matter of record. And here he is giving us the goods in a piece that is almost too surreal to believe. A few choice quotes:

"The left has wielded racism like a dirty nuclear weapon, destroying whole cities and the hopes and dreams of many Americans, not just black Americans," said Kevin Jackson, a self-published author and blogger who calls himself "a leader in the consulting industry in America" and frequently appears on talk radio. "It's time that reign of terror ended....

"Being called a racist is the single most damaging charge for any American," said Niger Innis, the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, a major player in the civil rights struggle that since the late 1960s has been aligned with the right. "Because of this new phenomenon, the NAACP, in a betrayal of its own legacy, and in a betrayal of black Americans, has now adopted the tactic it was formed to fight in the first place--racial terror! The same racial terror that was employed by whites in hoods is now being employed by blacks and whites in suits! The terror is employed against Americans who want to exercise their First Amendment rights..."

"If my white brother was to use the word--now, bear with me--nigger, in a friendly and playful way towards my black brothers, he would be seen as a racist," said [William] Owens. "But if my black brother used the same jovial banter, no one would see him that way. ... The word racist has lost its meaning..."

On the way out, Niger Innis of CORE admitted that he preferred discussing issues--the 14th Amendment, for example--but that explaining why liberals were the real racists was too important to avoid. He repeated what he said when a listener chastised him for going on TV to talk about "hyphenated-Americans," instead of being colorblind. "I empathize with you dropping the hyphen," said Innis, "and I'm for that, but we have to let white America see black people condemning the NAACP."

We had a few years, post-9/11. where it seemed like this sort of language disappeared--at least as it related to black people. Now we're back to situation where the most publicized political movement of our time believes, that charges of racism have destroyed "whole cities," that the NAACP is as bad as the Klan and is perpetrating "racial terror," that white people should have the right to say nigger, that the amendment that granted African-Americans citizenship should be repealed, and that "white America" needs to "see black people condemning the NAACP."

It's worth remembering that this is the Tea Party's reply to charges of racist elements in their ranks. It feels like something out of 1986. 
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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