How Rightists can be right some of the time… kinda.

The other day I overheard a certain Rightist pundit (hint: Rush Limbaugh), who was anything but right—but when are Rightist ever that? Then again, how often are Lefties correct? Good grief. I write the following in response to this Rightist’s claims about racism’s existence and with an aching suggestion for Leftist pundits/mouth runners/PC-bitches to be wary of the ongoing struggle against racism in contemporary America.


Stating that he hopes for President Obama to fail, this miraculous Rightist further suggests, “Racism is a problem on the left.” He goes on to accuse Leftists to be racist, while Rightists are apparently post-race. That is, Rightists are somehow beyond racism and the entire structure of race more generally. It can be proven (allegedly) because an increasing number of Republican party members are supporting Ken Blackwell of Ohio—yup, the very same guy who stole the votes of many black voters in the 2004 election, although this is not about that controversy—as the chairperson of the Republican National Committee (the intersection of race and sex and gender is not at question here either—at least not the Rightist conception of a post-race political party—they are THAT progressive, it’s amazing).


Any one of my conserva-Knight friends (yup, that’s what I call them), and I have a bunch of them in my life, who come across my words here will no doubt conceptualize this piece into the following in some way: ‘see race only exists because benny keeps talking about it,’ or something along those lines. Maybe it will be a tinge of colorblind liberal ideological denial: ‘We’re all equal, why can’t we just accept that.’ Of course this is precisely where Leftists fall prey to the very institutional practices that I charge with racism routinely.


I’ll briefly tell you my take on this ordeal and why the unknown Rightist and many Leftists are simply erroneous in their thinking.


First and foremost, the reason that Rightists believe racism only exists on the Left side of the aisle is because progressive thinkers/politicos/pundits/activists/citizens refuse to deny the very real material existence of racism while liberal ‘lefties’ (and I do hesitate calling a liberal a leftist—they are more aptly moderate at best) are far too enthralled with the utopic mechanics of colorblindness. These liberal-left types claim that all people are equal, or love sees no color, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, they (liberal-leftists) ignore the very real differences that manifest a livelihood (or lack thereof) for many people. Now, now hold on!


The issue at hand is far more complex at this conjecture. It is true that not all white people have it easy in this world—there is no denying that. However, whiteness is not what has held a white person back; it has been other socio-factors that have hindered movement in spite of a white persons skin (e.g. class, culture, body-ability, sexual orientation, gender, and other like factors). So race is never so easy to discern as simply saying, ‘race’ in and of itself. The liberal-left ideologue ignores these very real factors and makes the world better by painting in monochromatic colors exclusively. At this point we now see (simplistic of course, but open for further debate):


1. a progressive view of race and racism

2. a liberal-left view of race and racism


This brings us to category number three—and the point of this piece: the Rightist pundit and his minions, or echo chambers. As I stated above, the Rightist downright ignores race and racism at all costs—ignorance is bliss I suppose. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is: if you ignore the monster, it’ll just go away—that is what we tell children about monsters and bully’s right?! The Rightist is correct in saying that race and racism is a Leftist thing and that it only exists on the left—YES, he is correct.


Let me say that one more time so that my conserva-Knight friends can de-contextualize this piece and use it against me at our next gathering—Rush Limbaugh was right!


And that is because we extreme Leftists (progressive need only apply, no liberals please) do not deny the very real material differences that are seen among and between the races. In this way, I am more proud to be a Leftist who accepts and fights race and racism—hell, I don’t need to deny it, and my family has been at the forefront of its (racism) bitter bite for years. Yes, as many of you know, I am multiracial—my mother migrated here from Taiwan and grew up being called a Chink. My grandmother forebode the speaking of Chinese in our home—it was my “duty” to be ‘white American who speaks English only.’ My uncle, by marriage to my Taiwanese aunt, grew up in a Japanese internment camp, still scared from that hopeful time in our contemporary history.


So I extend the addition of a third category:


3. a Rightist denial of race and racism


So long as the Right continues to deny racism and use occasional markers as points of reference to disregard race and racism in America (e.g. look they made it to the top: Obama, Powell, Rice, etc.), institutions will continue to thrive on racist practices.

The beauty of colorblind racism is its blatant denial of racism, its subtle way in which racism is doled out to the masses.


In that way, many Liberals and Rightists are not so different after all.


Do you deny/justify/accept/exhibit/allow/perpetuate racism?


I think the time has come for every one of us to seriously consider that question. To ask ourselves if we have accepted our racist actions. If we have begun the process of changing those racist ways. Only then will we be able to move forward.


To Rush, the Rightist, thank you very much for sharing with us your very appropriate and predictable view of race and racism. Keep poppin’ them pills will ya. Maybe one of them will show you that race and racism wasn’t just some hallucinogenic side effect of one of your colorful pills.


Einstein and benny have a moment



About Benny

My name is Benny LeMaster. I am an academic, activist, and artist. I research questions of identity, culture, and representation. I am interested in exploring ways to relate to one another in critically affirming ways. In terms of identity, I identify as queer, trans, mixed-race Asian/white, fat, and, frankly, fabulous. Let's talk!
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