April 2014 could be called “racial intolerance” month: The attorney general played the race card in a speech before the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network; Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy made racist statements about blacks; Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign tweeted a link to an article which equated black Republicans to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis; and the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling is under investigation by the NBA for allegedly making anti-black comments.
As in most cases, attention and condemnation of such comments by the major media and liberal political establishments depended upon the politics of the perpetrator.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s race baiting comments got much critical coverage by conservative journalists and pundits but nary a negative mention in the mainstream media.
Contrast that with the near blanket coverage of Bundy’s comments by the mainstream media. Unlike in the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, the media pretty much ignored his and his supporters’ challenge to the federal government wasting taxpayer dollars by sending a small army to round up cattle.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even called those who rallied in support of Bundy “domestic terrorists.”
Although rightly and roundly condemned by both conservatives and liberals for his deplorable remarks, it was only after his racial comments that the major media paid him any significant attention.
And then there was the tweet by Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign referencing an article that compared black supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis. It was pulled only after Jewish organizations and the RNC condemned the article and Quinn.
Other than these objections, there has been little reaction and coverage from the national media or from black leaders or civil rights groups.
If this racist and anti-Semitic shoe were on the doorstep of a Republican governor, there would be a firestorm of protest.
Now we learn that Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling is being investigated by the National Basketball Association for allegedly scolding a female friend for posting a picture with black basketball legend Magic Johnson and telling her not to bring black people to his Clipper games.
He is also allegedly said that “it bothers me a lot that you want to . . . broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”
Because of his stature as an NBA owner in a business where several coaches and the majority of the players are black, his alleged comments have received extensive media coverage. Several prominent NBA players have condemned his statements. President Obama weighed in saying that his comments were "incredibly offensive racist statements."
Except for Sterling, the reaction by the major media was pretty much based on the politics of the speaker and/or their supporters. If perceived as conservative or Republican, the media pounced; if considered a Democrat or liberal, mum was the word.
Just ask Harry Reid, Jimmy Carter, and Joe Biden how their “slips of the racial tongue” were treated by liberals and their friends in the media.
Reid, who called Bundy “a hateful racist,” apparently forgot his 2008 reference to then presidential candidate Obama’s appeal as a “light-skinned African-American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." There was barely a mention from black or white politicos or their friends in the major media.
And how about Jimmy Carter’s classic comment about Obama. When asked if his election or nomination would send a positive message on race, Carter said “just knowing that this black boy . . . has now had a chance to become the nominee of the Democratic Party for president” has sent “a wave of . . . admiration.”
Finally, there was Joe Biden’s famous comment that “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent." Was he drummed out of the contention for the 2008 presidential race? No.
So what is the lesson in the April rush of racial rhetoric?
It’s that racism is still alive and well in America and that those who thought Obama’s election was going to inaugurate a “post-racial” America beyond race were naïve — for all too many, the color of one’s skin still means more than the content of their character.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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