Racism by Other Means
We’re gonna spell out a word here, a few times actually, that is often politely acknowledged by only its first letter, although we’re not sure for whose benefit.
It’s from testimony at Tuesday’s first congressional hearing into the January 6 insurrection, given by one of the Capitol officers protecting the heart of American democracy — what passes for it, anyway — against its opponents.
“You hear that guys, this nigger voted for Joe Biden,” the officer was told.
“Put your gun down,” a colleague reported about a separate encounter, “and we’ll show you what kind of nigger you really are.”
Here’s the point, we guess, where folks rush in to insist that two examples don’t reflect the rioters as a whole, that they’re just bad apples among, uh, more bad apples.
And here’s the point where we’re reminded of a campaign that preceded the hearing for weeks, a twice-loser ex-president demanding the identity of an officer responsible for the death of a rioter.
The rioter was a white woman. The officer, we were to understand after some initial confusion about the demand, is a black man.
While we’re there, thinking about DC — a majority non-white community denied statehood Because Reasons — we’ve been curious for months about approval ratings for the Vice President, who constitutionally does nothing but sit on her hands. Well, Uncle Joe remains personally popular, we’re told, so Republicans have to go the next rung down for their venomous attacks. Just a coincidence that she doesn’t share two significant demographic features with him!
Hey, you know who else was personally popular? The last president to win two terms! We recall a constitutional crisis almost erupting because he wore a tan suit.
Anyway, that was all Tuesday, and attention abruptly shifted the next day when an Olympic athlete removed herself from competition because she didn’t consider herself psychologically fit for the moment.
Lord, did that open the floodgates. People who don’t follow sports, people who don’t know all the medals in her background and the personal challenges she surmounted to achieve them — people who had never heard of her — suddenly had strong opinions about her decision, people as far away as Piers Morgan in the Daily Mail, for reasons that obviously had nothing to do with her being black.
And that reminded us that barely two months ago, the NFL agreed to stop presuming “Black players started out with lower cognitive function” in a billion-dollar brain-injury settlement.
We’re just two years younger than that iconic photo at Little Rock’s high school, when Elizabeth Eckford walked through a vitriolic mob to attend class. We’ve been told all our life — as a white dude in America — that the emotions of that crowd have long since passed, that we’re all only judged by the content of our character now, that enduring evidence to the contrary is just circumstantial coincidence.
As long as we don’t say it out loud, anyway. You can just feel the joy of the Capitol rioters in that moment, finally free of any restriction to hide their true feelings, knowing that just a few moments later they’ll be taking back the power from — well, from those niggers — who are denying them their rightful dominance of this nation.
But it wasn’t to be, and we’re back to racism by other means, getting it across without actually saying it, and pretending that by avoiding nigger-nigger-nigger it’s not really there at all.
“America is Not Racist” proclaim Republicans who think they have a winning hand in next year’s elections, which they’re aggressively engineering to exclude from participation or significance anyone who isn’t white.
Might even work, too. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned in our years walking this forever cursed land, the white version of The Talk is denying it.