Again, With The Racism...

Lots of push-back, over e-mail, on not sussing out the race factor with Joe Wilson. First this:


Joe Wilson's outburst should not be swept under the rug as just rude discourse....I don't think the burden is on African-Americans to prove that the "Lie" outburst is tinged with racism...As you know, we have history on our side...From the Birthers movement to the uproar over Obama talking to school children 9that's just the recent shit..) sometimes a duck is a duck...

You are a thorough cat when it comes to research...The fact that you had the insight to show that political particism once meant fools physically assaulting each other in Washington, showed there is a bigger picture...But let's talk about such conduct over the last 40 years...The truth is, in my lifetime, I've never heard any person holding political heckle a sitting President in that manner, on national TV....To say that race is the only reason Wilson shot his mouth off is too simplistic...But it is certainly part of the equation......No one has to bait me into that thinking...It is what it is...

And then this:

I am disappointed with your statement of "not going there" in considering race. It seems to me to be a cavalier dismissal of a valid factor. When did it become so scary for people not to be able to at least consider the possibility? Give us credit as your readers to know that everything is not about race but also to know that opinions can be tinged by race. We know as well as you that it doesn't have to be "either-or". I also understand that we cannot get into people thoughts but we have to be able to at least prescribe and discuss possible motives for disrespectfulness.

This is the same "your not the boss of me" attitude that many professionals get when they assume leadership positions. Resistance can often be traced to gender, age, sexual orientation and yes-race. I clearly understand that race is not the only factor but it is a factor. (I also think that this mentality came into play in the Skip Gates affair.) My frustration is that we, as black Americans, are censuring our own thoughts. We have become so sensitive to attacks of "playing the race card", being Farrakhan or Sharpton apologists, being paranoid, being racist, etc. We no longer want to raise the question when it is perfectly valid for fear of getting our teeth kicked in. This lack of deference to the POTUS was surprising to me at the town meetings but from a member of Congress just boggles my mind. Race is not the only factor but it is still a factor in this hyped "post-racial" age. You can argue that the Clintons saw similar malice but not this early in the term and they are a much more contentious couple.

I enjoy you column and blog because you are willing to question your views but also the comments from your readers do seem to have a diverse discourse that gives me plenty to think about. I have followed you for a while and hope that your youth, your increasing popularity with centrists and your friendship with Andrew Sullivan is not dissuading you from calling it as you see it. To paraphrase Chris Rock when Bill Maher tried to bait him to absolve Michael Richards of racist charges after Richard's tirade, "What does it take to be called a racist nowadays? Do you have to be caught shooting Medgar Evars?"
I think I wrote something like that, too. In all seriousness, I'm not sure how you resolve this one. I understand skepticism of the GOP, and skepticism of Wilson in particular. But I don't really know how you demonstrate that race was a factor, and more importantly, how it played out. I think if you read the body of this blog, I've never really been dismissive of racism. I'm not starting now. But I have work in the world of facts. I just don't have many specific ones, in this case.