Walter Williams: “It’s Hard to Be a Racist”

Years ago it was easy to be a racist. All you had to be was a white person using some of the racial epithets that are routinely used in song and everyday speech by many of today’s blacks. Or you had to chant “two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to integrate” when a black student showed up for admission to your high school or college. Of course, there was that dressing up in a hooded white gown. In any case, you didn’t have to be sophisticated to be a racist.

Today all that has changed. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., pointed that out back in 1994 when the Republican-led Congress pushed for tax relief. Rangel denounced Republicans’ plan as a form of modern-day racism, saying, “It’s not ‘spic’ or ‘nigger’ anymore. (Instead,) they say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.'” That means the simple use of the N-word is not enough to make one a racist. If it were, blacks would be the nation’s premier racists. Today it’s the call for tax cuts that makes you a racist. That’s why the “tea” party, short for “taxed enough already,” is nothing more than organized racists. What makes tea partyers even more racist is their constant call for the White House and Congress to return to the confines of the Constitution.

Racism has other guises. Say that you’re a believer in Martin Luther King’s wish, expressed in his “I Have a Dream” speech, that our “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The call to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin is really code for racism. There’s no question about one’s racial antipathy if he voted for measures such as California’s Proposition 209, Michigan’s Proposal 2, Washington state’s Initiative 200 or Nebraska’s Civil Rights Initiative 424. These measures outlaw judging people by the color of their skin for admission to college, awarding of government contracts and employment. The call for equal treatment is simply racism by stealth and is far more insidious than name-calling and hood-donning.

One might think that seeing as America elected its first black president, it would usher in the end of racism; but it’s all a racist plot that’s easily uncovered simply by asking: “Who really elected Obama to the presidency?” It surely wasn’t black people. Of the 69 million votes that Obama received in the 2008 election, I doubt whether even 7 or 8 million came from blacks. That means white people put Obama in office, and that means he is beholden to white people, not black people.

You say, “Williams, that’s preposterous! What’s your evidence?” Just look at the unemployment statistics. White unemployment is 8 percent, and black unemployment is double that, at 17 percent, and in some cities, black unemployment is near 30 percent. It’s gotten so bad under Obama’s presidency that New York’s Urban Justice Center has appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Council for help. But Obama’s tired of black complaints. Obama told the Congressional Black Caucus to “Stop whining!” “Take off your bedroom slippers; put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining; stop grumbling; stop crying.” This kind of talk is unprecedented. Just ask yourself: “When have I ever heard a Democratic or a Republican leader talk this way to his party’s strongest supporters? Would Obama tell Jews to stop whining about Israel? Would he tell unions to stop grumbling about card check? Would he tell feminists, if they were complaining about sex discrimination, to shake it off?”

This kind of political treatment of blacks should not be surprising, because black people are a one-party people in a two-party system. That means Democratic politicians have learned to take the black vote for granted, and Republicans make little effort to get it. That’s not smart for blacks to set themselves up that way

Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page.

Copyright © 2011 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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Screaming Hippies in Tri-Cornered Hats: How the Tea Party & Occupy Wall Street Face the Same Foe

What exactly does the “Occupy” movement want?  That question has been asked and re-asked since the protests began at Wall Street and have continued in many major cities around America.

One recent article referred to the Occupy movement as a “Tea Party for leftists,” but that designation cannot be fully accepted given that some of the protests have garnered support from the right as well as the left.  In fact, it is quite accurate to say that the group is one of the most eclectic gatherings taking place in America, far more varied than any political gathering, to be sure.

Defying our culture’s desire to attach a label, the Occupiers continue on – in some cases, entering their fourth week – still no uniform message being offered.

One thing is clear, however, the protesters are angry with corporate America, with the vast control that the banking industry exerts over the nation.  While some may articulate it as being angry with capitalism (and some may very well be), perhaps it would be more accurate to say they are angry with corporatism.

Corporatism is capitalism gone mad.  Married to the government, deemed “too big to fail,” and bailed out on the backs of the poor and middle class, corporate America and massive banks may act with impunity.  Of course, what must be remembered is that many of the terrible loans and investments made by the banks were because of government requirements.  Forced to make loans that could not be paid back (in the name of opportunity), foreclosures and defaults followed in droves and the bubble burst.

So, while it is tempting to pin all the blame on the corrupt bankers, there is plenty of blame to go around.  Both big government and big corporations are to blame.  In this, the Occupy movement and the Tea Party are somewhat similar.

The Tea Party has been consistent in the message that government has far too much power, but they have struggled with two major issues: infiltration of neo-conservatives and unwillingness to completely separate from their big government ideas.

The Tea Party movement began as a grassroots movement to strip the federal government of its ever-increasing encroachments into the lives of American citizens.  It was, in short, a call to return to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

But as time has passed, the inconsistency of the movement has come to light and it has become clear that the Tea Party has been sabotaged.

At the Tea Party debate in Florida, delegates “booed” Ron Paul for speaking against America’s policing of the world which has led to terrorist acts against our nation.  Ron Paul is the man who, as Jon Stewart pointed out, planted the grass of this grassroots movement.

Yet, the Tea Party crowd booed him and cheered Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, both of whom indicated that further military action may be beneficial – perhaps next against Iran and North Korea.

Tea Party voters have shown a willingness to support every flavor-of-the-week candidate that comes along, despite their horrid big government attachments:

  • Rick Perry (Gardasil says it all)
  • Herman Cain (former Federal Reserve employee)
  • Rick Santorum (“bomb ’em” is not a foreign policy)
  • Michele Bachmann (a status quo Republican if ever there was one – continue the wars & extend the Patriot Act).

In other words, while the Tea Party began as a movement back to small government and grassroots activism, it has gravitated back to the very things it originally left – supporting big government politicians and overlooking unconstitutional policies when it suits them.  Promising as the movement may be, of late, its movement has been away from the original principles of small government and Constitutional faithfulness.

The Occupy movement, while growing, is in similar danger.  Though they may not realize it, failure to define consistent principles and stick to them is usually the death knell for any movement.

Some modest attempts have been made to define the group’s principles, such as the following, posted on one of the “Occupy Wall Street” Facebook pages.

1.   A “progressive” tax that doesn’t hurt the poor/Close loopholes/Reform corporate offshore taxation

2.   End the Federal Reserve.

3.   Campaign finance reform

4.   Overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (corporate personhood, etc.)

5.   Prosecute corporate fraud (including those who have gotten away with it)

‎6.   Abolish the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

7.   Implement Financial Speculation Fees on large stock trades

8.   Regulate/reform conflict of interest between government and business and SEC regulators

9.   End all US wars and illegal combat operations

10. Prosecute US war criminals (like Chenney & Rumsfeld)

11. Repeal Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act,  Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999/re-instate all provisions of Glass–Steagall Act

12. Financial Reform Package, including: Forgiving of student loans; Federal oversight/regulation of hedge funds & derivatives; mortgages can no longer be deemed commodities

13. Social Security will never be privatized or dismantled.

14. Companies will not outsource jobs and services that can be performed by Americans if their jobs and services serve American markets.

15. Bridge CEO-employee salary gap by lowering CEO earnings.

16. Make it illegal to commodify “life” or any resource necessary for the public good (philosophy of The Commons). Monsanto OUT of our food supply.

17. Election reforms to allow third parties better access

18. Department of Justice reforms to uphold civil rights in all states

19. Further health care reforms

20. Impliment green energy alternatives/hasten phasing out fossil fuels

Upon reading through the list, one cannot help but notice that it is a strange hodgepodge of libertarian and statist principles.

They want to end all U.S. wars, illegal combat operations, and the Federal Reserve; but they also want a guarantee that Social Security will never be dismantled or privatized.  They demand more access for third party candidates in elections, but they want their student loans forgiven (that is, paid by someone else).

In other words, the Occupy movement demands small government, but big government.  Sound familiar?

Lacking a clear and consistent message will enable the politicians and media to eventually dismiss the Occupiers or cause them to turn against one another, since they identify so many culprits already.  A muddled or contradictory demand is impossible to satisfy and politicians will take quick advantage of it and simply begin pointing fingers at someone else for the blame.

Another threat to the Occupiers is, like the Tea Party, being infiltrated by those who are actually part of the problem.  This is already happening as labor unions join the protests, acting as if they are not part of the problem in corporate America.  Labor unions have done great damage to the free market and their own abusive tactics, mandatory dues, and greed have simply mirrored what the Occupiers attack big corporations for doing.

The Tea Party and the Occupy movement are far more similar than they realize.  Yes, their looks, backgrounds, experiences, and tactics may be different.  But, as the picture above demonstrates (accurately, I think), the complaint is essentially the same.  One targets corporations and banks, while other targets Washington.  But, the real problem is that those two are one and the same and, on that, the Tea Party and the Occupiers should agree.

Teacher Calls Tea Party Leader a “Nazi”

Jonathan Bryant, a teacher at Edgewood School, called San Antonio Tea Party leader George Rodriguez a “Nazi.”  Bryant asked Rodriguez if students who were illegal immigrants should be reported and did not like the answer.

While one could argue that this is simply another example of the great skill with which liberals debate (that is, name-calling), I find something far more disturbing here.  Jonathan Bryant is a government teacher and he called a Tea Party leader a Nazi, as in the Nazis.  You know, the German political party which shortened its name from Nationalist Socialists.

In other words, Jonathan Bryant claims that Tea Party leader George Rodriguez is a socialist?  The Tea Party has been called a lot of bad names – terrorists, extremists, racists, hatemongers (and some others I won’t repeat) – but surely socialist is a new one.

The Nazis supported universal, government-run health care, control of the media by disseminating only their message, federal control of banks, State-run economic policies, and strict regulations on all businesses.  This all sounds familiar, but I don’t remember it coming from the Tea Party…