More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Eugene Kane is a black guy here in Milwaukee who writes a regular column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and like most columnists, he is prone to making a controversial statement or two every once in a while.

Okay, so I did say that Mr. Kane is a black guy here in Milwaukee. Allow me to explain the significance of that one minor detail.

Because even though his column this week, "Black or white, we're watching
Pennsylvania," (which I enjoyed reading, I might add) really had more to do with the two democratic candidates and the importance of Pennsylvania in determining who will ultimately win the still undetermined democratic nomination, than to do with color or Barack Obama and the much talked about Reverend Jeremiah Wright debacle, he no less mentioned it. Disturbingly, he gave it a pass.

At least in so many words. Or so, that's how I interpreted it.

Kane recalled a conversation he had very recently with his barber in which the barber told Kane that he thought Obama had no chance at all to win the election.

"You really think white folks will vote for a black guy?" his barber put to him.

Kane says this conversation happened to be weeks after the whole Jeremiah Wright fiasco hit the fan, which, as Kane puts it, "appeared to derail any chances the Illinois senator had of persuading white America to embrace a black guy who went to the kind of church many black people attend to hear black preachers talk the way black folks talk when white folks aren't around."

That's where my trouble starts. Right when he gets to the part to hear black preachers talk the way black folks talk when white folks aren't around.

I won't suggest for a minute that I'm naive enough to believe that many people, when behind closed doors, and in the company of people of their own race, religion, sex or otherwise, will not be more apt to say things in said company that they may also not so eagerly say elsewhere. Like in public forums with cameras on and reporters in the wait. But in no way does that make it right.

Mr. Kane is essentially giving Jeremiah Wright a pass to incite hate and anger in a people. In a culture. He seems to say, hey, we're all racists when we go home at night, so what's the big deal? Get over it already.

Can this guy really be serious? How would the black folks have felt if John McCain had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan? What if white folks would have said it's not that bad and actually most white people do feel this way about blacks? After all, many white Americans are anti-black, right? John McCain supporters could easily have said McCain's just listening to white people talk the way white people talk when black people aren't around. Or stepping away from race a bit, what if McCain were to make a distasteful comment in reference to Mrs. Clinton's breasts in a debate? He's just saying what many men say when there aren't any women around, right? No harm, no foul.

The Ku Klux Klan and Rev. Wright's church are a bit different, I'll concede. The Ku Klux Klan has a terrible history and there are very few white folks I know who subscribe to the violent and misguided-and frankly insane-beliefs of these cuckoos. I certainly count myself in this group of white people who does not support any supremacist group, especially the infamous KKK. And I am in no way suggesting that Rev. Wright would advocate violence toward white people to get his point across. So there are notable differences with my argument. It's not exactly apples to apples.

But hate speech is hate speech, and regardless of whether people talk about things like this behind closed doors or not makes no difference. It in no way makes it right. It doesn't make it okay. Nor does the fact that it is coming from a black guy make it okay just because this is the way, as Kane puts it, most black people talk, and as his comment suggests, feel.

Black or white, America is watching too. I'd like to believe that few of us want to live in a world where racism is acceptable under any circumstance, irregardless of the perspective it is coming from.

No comments: