Some interesting response over at Kos to my piece yesterday, and this piece from Eugene Robinson. Here's mk193 objecting to Robinson first:
You can almost hear Robinson fighting with himself as he typed these words. He was already envisioning his appearance on Morning Joe the next day where Mika would suggest that "playing the race card" has no place in the debate. Then Robinson would be cowed and have to spend the next 10 minutes reassuring the good white folks on Morning Joe that he really wasn't suggesting that Wilson was a "racist" but that he was saying that race "had played a role" in the whole episode. One can see why Robinson just doesn't want to go "there."But poor Eugene is not the only black person in media who doesn't want to go there.
That would be me:
Coates has his "suspicions" but is "not prepared to go there." He suggests that we cannot prove that Wilson is a racist because we are not "mind-readers." I believe that this is a true cop-out on the part of Coates. In private company among other Black people, I am certain that his "suspicions" would have been expressed less timidly. I anticipate that Jonathan Capehart will be on the tevee tomorrow tip-toeing and tap dancing around reality too.
Before boring into this I want to address this charge of being "timid," as this is the second time I've seen it come up. Expect that if I'm sitting at the table with friends, beer in hand, I will be a lot less reflective and a lot more emotional. But I don't confuse my bull sessions with friends, with cogent, coherent argument. Again, there's a reason that barbershop talk stays in the barbershop. I have no problem calling people out for racist statements, and calling it exactly that. I'm not Eugene Robinson, and I'm not Jonathan Capehart, though I respect them both. I'm Ta-Nehisi Coates, and my name is on every word. Forgive my biting tone, but the the pseudonymous writer inveighing against timidity, is the arsonist inveighing against fire.
More to the point, I think that this gets at the heart of my difference with mk193:
So this is why Black Folks Tend to Shout... It just gets to be too much. Yesterday unbelievably Joe Wilson took to Youtube to suggest that he "would not be muzzled." No indeed. The people who will remain muzzled (at least in mixed company) are going to be us Black Folks who really want to SHOUT.
I think there's a place for shouting, but it isn't a place I'm interested in. My thoughts on the Confederate flag, and Lost Causers, are out there. But, I've basically had enough of trying to get white people to see race, the wayI see race. I don't see how shouting, "JOE WILSON IS RACIST!! DON'T YOU SEE!!!" gets us any closer to shrinking the ranks of the (disproportionately black) uninsured.
I think back to Obama's first debate with McCain, and how some of us felt that McCain's dismissive attitude was evidence of racism. Maybe, so, But it really didn't matter, and ultimately McCain paid for it. I think the same thing applies here. Angry about what Joe Wilson said? Send some money to Robert Miller, and then get to organizing. We need to focus on policy. I am tired of shouting at white people. Shouting don't cover those pediatrician bills.