The Unbiased Eye

A scientist's commentary on events and culture

Racism at the GOP Convention

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A Flash of Heat and Light

In what was no more than a than a solitary strobe light, a couple of Republican conventioneers threw nuts at a black camera operator, and said, “This is how we feed animals.”

CNN, which employs the camera operator, reported that a number of people saw the outburst, and the convention managers released a statement saying: “two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.” Here’s a link.

No names were forthcoming. Never was the “R” word mentioned in the big leagues of the media. In fact, the story received scant play.

What does it all mean?

The best answer I can give you is that you need to investigate — not in the sense of making criminal charges, but by finding out who these two people are, and what they think, and what they do. It’s not easy. Sometimes you’re lucky and you can talk to them, and to people who know them, by phone; otherwise, you have to go look for them and talk to them and their friends face to face.

No one who owns a printing press or a television station is going to pay for the work. It’s not worth it. Chances are these are two people on the fringes of politics who got drunk and lost it (and I’ve drank too much, too many times to believe for an instant in vino veritas).

That leaves the lesser pundits and the bloggers to strut and fret, full of sound and fury, and then shuffle off to the next thing.

The trouble in this incident is that it may well be revealing about a racist undercurrent in the heat and light of the tea party movement. I’ve believed from the beginning that racism was mixed up in the mélange of tea party motives. (And while booze is hardly a truth serum, it does destroy impulse control.)

That doesn’t mean every one of the 2,286 Republican delegates is racist. It doesn’t mean that any one of them is. It doesn’t mean that any one of the candidates in the primaries, including the winners, is racist, but it’s clear to me that all of them are happy to capitalize on any racist heat and light that carries through to the voting booth. They all certainly made enough innuendo to keep it burning, being well aware that it’s a black man in the White House. Without getting into it, the whole birth certificate thing, the odd label of “European socialist”, the bogus workfare issue are all canards.

This is a serious issue, and it is one professional journalists should be addressing, but instead, they hyped up the tea party to the point where radical extremists have found their way into the House of Representatives, and where they might be in a position to cash in at a White House should the election go that way.

I noticed that there is something of an outcry among right-wing bloggers, some of whom say the story was entirely made up and others who it was the work of agents provacateurs. That’s all silly, but in fairness, so is the sneering among liberal bloggers.

We know next to nothing about this incident, and next to nothing about the blossoming of the tea party, but the iron rule of political correctness. These two could be delegates, or workers hired by the party officials. Or they could be a couple of local people who work for the convention center. But we’ll never know.

Meanwhile, we’ll focus on the well-prepared lies and half truths in the formal speeches and wonder why people are too turned off to vote.

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Written by theunbiasedeye

August 30, 2012 at 10:38 am

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