Democrats and liberals have become something of a self-parody over their blatant race-baiting and, against all who deign to challenge their ideas, thoughtless accusations of racism. But I’ve become increasingly disappointed with Republicans and even conservatives lately who have taken up that very same tactic whenever the opportunity presents itself.
There’s of course a big difference between a conservative mockingly calling a liberal a racist if, say, the liberal voices any of even the most minor complaints about President Obama (“I’m disappointed he hasn’t closed GITMO yet.” “Wow, what an incredible racist thing to say”). That’s fine because that’s an obviously satirical jab at liberals’ habit of calling any slight Republican disagreements with the man racist.
My complaint is with those on the right who see an opportunity to call a liberal a racist simply as a way of boosting their anti-racist credentials. If a liberal makes an off-color remark that even remotely has to do with race, some conservatives want to milk it for everything they can. It’s understandable why they’d want to do that, of course; it’s hard to blame someone for calling out “racism” when he himself is constantly accused of racism.
A recent example happened between Arizona Republicans and the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal. You’ve all probably seen the commercials for Dos Equis beer, starring “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” with the classy, raspy Hispanic accent. GOP chair Robert Graham called DuVal “the most uninteresting man in the world,” prompting the very white DuVal, in “good sport,” to take a photo of himself looking like the man from the Dos Equis commercials.
How does one undergo that transformation? Well, The Most Interesting Man in the World has a more-salt-than-pepper beard, for starters, so DuVal, who has eyes with which he observed said beard, put on a more-salt-than-pepper fake beard. The Most Interesting Man in the World also has tan skin, being Hispanic and all that. So DuVal, who has eyes with which he observed said skin color, digitally darkened his own skin.
Now one Arizona Republican representative (along with dozens of right-thinking commenters on the article at The Daily Caller) is taking a cue from the left, who are well-practiced at manufacturing outrage for political points. The unnamed GOP rep said, “Painful attempts at humor, especially with racial overtones, usually backfire on candidates,” and many of the commenters are outright calling it racist.
Guys—stop. It’s not racist. It’s observant. The man from the commercials dresses fancy, so DuVal dressed fancy. Is that class-ist? The man from the commercials has a gray beard, so DuVal wore a fake gray beard. Is that beard-ist? The man from the commercials has tan skin, so DuVal digitally painted his skin tan. Is that racist? “No” to each of these questions.
Calling attention to the double standard—”If a Republican had done this…”—is good. Writing satire in which you call liberals racist for the same idiotic things they call us racist over is good, smart, and clever. But acting as if you sincerely believe such jocular, good-hearted moments are racist is embarrassing, pathetic, and makes us conservatives look like whiny jokes.