Monday, December 17, 2007

Mike Adams: An Absolutely Excellent Racist

One of the interesting things about American racism is the creativity of the people who are hostile to the black civil rights movement, equality for women, and gay people. I'll just mention of few of the interesting ideas that have developed in relation to race. Probably the premier example of creative racism in the United States is the "color-blind" scam perpetrated by people like William Bennett. The audaciousness of "color-blind racism" is a thing of beauty. Quoting Martin Luther King, advocates of color-blindness argue that everyone should be evaluated "by the content of their character" while still claiming that African-Americans as a group deserve to be considered intellectually inferior and culturally inferior as well as deserve to be racially profiled, excluded from stores, and subject to random searches.

But color-blindness isn't the only interesting tactic employed by racists. People who plaster their cars with Confederate flag paraphernalia claim that they're "honoring tradition" without mentioning that the racist traditions of their families go back for generations. Confederate flags are now giving ways to nooses as symbols of racial hostility. But my students report that those who justify the nooses are saying "well, it's only a noose." Perhaps Kentucky high schools like Allen Central and Boone County that use Confederate flag symbols will start adapting nooses as "color-blind" symbols of "traditional Kentucky."

In today's column for, the conservative commentator Mike Adams developed another creative wrinkle on racism. Still unreconciled to the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, Adams suggests that the federal holiday for MLK be replaced by a holiday for the gun inventor John Browning. According to Adams, Browning deserved a holiday because his "inventions helped us preserve freedom (read: civil rights) for all by winning two world wars. This is approximately two more world wars than MLK helped us win – although I do acknowledge that he was our second greatest civil rights leader."

Well, it was mighty generous of Adams to view King as the "second" most significant civil rights leader. Of course, the point for Adams is not that Browning deserves a holiday, but that he believes that almost any marginally significant white figure (and Browning is very marginal in his significance) deserves a holiday more than King. I'm surprised that Adams didn't suggest replacing King's birthday with a holiday for Charles Murray (of Bell Curve fame), William Bennett, or Strom Thurmond. Wouldn't Adams also view these kinds of figures as doing more for what he would call "real" civil rights than King?

The thing that bothers Adams and other racists is that Martin Luther King is such a revered figure in American society and that the defeat of racial segregation is viewed as such a pivotal moment in the development of American democracy. If King and the civil rights movement are to be viewed positively at all, conservatives like Adams want to see thousands of white figures as being much more significant for "civil rights."

Of course, Adams and other conservatives won't say that directly. They like to maintain a "plausible deniability" for their racism. But that's what's implied when he claims that John Browning was a more important civil rights figure than Martin Luther King.

1 comment:

Cleo said...

Ric Caric: an Absolutely Excellent Dingleberry!!