Ray HananiaPosted Mar 7, 2008 •Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version
Mainstream Racism Only Becomes An Issue When It’s Convenient
Only Blacks, Muslims and “others” required to repudiate “their” bigots
By Ray Hanania
When controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barack Obama in a three-hour speech, the outcry demanding that Obama denounce Farrakhan was deafening. And the criticism of the widerspread racism against Muslims, Blacks, Arabs and “others” only became important as a way for mainstream media and leaders to defend themselves against the truth that trhey are more racist and bigoted that anyone associated with Obama who has ever said anything terrible about other people.
Obama “condemned” Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks made over the years, but that wasn’t enough. He had to “renounce” Farrakhan. And he did.
Then, it was pointed out that Obama’s “pastor” had given Farrakhan an award recognizing the many great things Farrakhan has done to strengthen the African American community, a community lynched, burned, beaten, brutalized and enslaved by White America.
Now, Obama is being criticized for failing to denounce and distance himself from his pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr., who heads Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The church publishes a magazine, Trumpet, which gave the award to Farrakhan “last year.”
This year, televangelist John Hagee said some nasty things about Catholics. Hagee is a big supporter of John McCain. In the light of the Obama controversy, the media was forced to take notice of McCain’s racist bigoted supporters, especially after Republican fanatic and radio talkshow host Bill Cunningham, a White Christian bigot, railed against Obama’s race and lies that he is a “Muslim.”
McCain distanced himself from Cunningham, properly so.
But where is the justice?
Cunningham has been spouting racist hate on a regular basis on his radio show, and no one cared until it became a balancing act to justify the attacks against Obama.
In other words, no one would have cared about Cunningham’s routine racism except that the media and other political leaders had taken issue with Obama’s associations, as distant as they might be.
So, had Farrakhan not endorsed Obama, there would have been no pressure on McCain to denounce Cunningham.
And, no one would have cared about Hagee, who continues to spout hatred on his anti-Muslim, hate-filled television program which is welcomed in the homes of millions of Americans everyday.
The spotlight was only put on Hagee because of the Obama controversy. The reality is Hagee is much like Cunningham, a long time bigot and racist who spouts anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and hateful attacks against people often thrown into the wide classification of “other.”
No one has said anything about their bigotry before because their bigotry reflects the fundamental racism and bias that drives many Americans, especially conservative Republican extremists.
Hate is an everyday occurrence in America and the only time people raise the issue is when hate applies to the victims of mainstream hate. Blacks. Hispanics. Arabs. Muslims.
Obama is accused of being associated with someone who hates, and suddenly it becomes an American debate that the media runs with.
Some in the media raise issues about the hatred of people associated with the other candidates, like the Cunningham and Hagee venom, and the story finds some balance. For a while, anyway.
When the Obama controversy is over, the focus on the real haters in this country will disappear.
The reality is that the American debate on hate and racism and even anti-Semitism is only an important topic when the people accused of engaging in hate are minorities.
When the people who engage in hatred are mainstream Americans, it’s just not an issue.
Hagee should have been kicked off television years ago for his record of vicious hatred. But Hagee’s hatred is an acceptable form of hatred, bashing Arabs, Muslims and the “others.”
Why is Cunningham on radio when his record of hatred is so pronounced?
Hagee and Cunningham are no different than Michael Savage, a vicious hater, too, and Don Imus, a hater whose hatred slipped out from under a blanket of American hypocrisy.
Imus is a racist. But like many Americans these days, he was too clever to let his racism show so openly, until he allowed it to spill out while joking about a mostly Black girls basketball team. Imus was punished, and is now back on the airwaves with a new show. Some punishment.
I can only imagine what it was like in America in the 1940s and 1950s when racism was an open American art form. They lynched Black people every day. White Americans openly used the “n” word without fear.
These days, that racism has been pushed under the radar screen. Americans are too clever to say how much they really hate Black people. Anyway, they compensate by openly hating “alternatives” to Black people, the “other” Black people. Muslims. Arabs. Hispanic immigrants. Pakistanis. Iranians.
After the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, some 14 people were murdered by White Americans because they “looked” like they were “Middle Eastern.” In fact, many of those killed were not Arab or Muslim at all. But who cares? They wore “turbans.” Had dark skin. Had names that sounded similar to the terrorists.
No one cared about them.
Maybe had this Obama controversy happened in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, the biased mainstream media and the biased American public would have complained about the killings, if only to justify their own actions.
Because the cry today against Hagee, Cunningham and others is only a temporary outrage intended to off-set complaints from the “others” that Americans only complain when it is about minorities they don’t like.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning author and columnist. He can be reached at http://www.arabwritersgroup.com )