Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Habeeb argues that bigotry against the South is common among the elite media outlets, and that it has been on full display in the Paula Deen case.
"Over the years, my African-American friends... (we can't leave out the black friends) ...have shared with me stories of the senseless traffic stops they’ve endured for nothing more than driving while black. There’s an acronym for it: DWB. They admit it happens less than it used to, but it’s wrong, it’s bad, and Americans should not face a presumption of guilt for being who they are.
Which is why Paula Deen and the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act make for an interesting counterpoint. Both stories involve what’s perhaps the last socially acceptable form of bigotry left in America: bigotry against the South. It’s a brand of bigotry reinforced by our nation’s biggest media outlets — and by justices on the Supreme Court.
Let’s start with Paula Deen, who admitted to having used the “n” word — 30 years ago. If it had been, let’s say, Alec Baldwin instead, the media would have quickly given him a pass, because, after all, he’s one of them. Alec is a media guy. He’s smart and talented and thinks what they think about life. He’s also a northerner. He was born on Long Island! And my God, there’s no racism there.
Racism is a disease people catch when they cross the Mason-Dixon line.
Paula is from Georgia, and from that one slip, which she admitted and for which she apologized, was imputed all kinds of guilt. She was guilty of being born Southern, plain and simple. And the punishment she’s facing is so disproportionate to her three-decade-old lapse that it cries for someone in the media to defend her. No one has. No one will."
And no one should. I don't care where Paula Deen is from, she is a racist. And I would have thought of her as one whether she was from Michigan, New York, or California.
While I agree with Mr. Habeeb that racism is all over the country and not just in the South, this notion that the South has suddenly become a paradise of tolerance is ludicrous.
"Mississippi, my home state and once the worst of the Jim Crow offenders, had the highest rate of African-American turnout in the nation. And Mississippi has more elected black officials than any other state. Not just more per capita — more, period.
Judging from the hysterical reports in the media, and from the headlines of the lead editorials in America’s biggest newspapers, someone could have easily concluded that the court had overturned the entire Voting Rights Act, not just one provision — and that it was now open season for white racists in the South to bring back poll taxes and literacy tests and to make a push to return not to the 1950s but to the 1850s, to slavery itself.
“An Assault on the Voting Rights Act,” shouted the headline of the New York Times editorial.
“A setback for voting rights,” declared the Los Angeles Times.
Where did the media elite’s sense of outrage come from? It’s simple, actually. To admit that the South had changed would mean letting go of their own cultural and moral superiority, of their sense of regional superiority with respect to the issue of race. Media and academic elites believe that, but for proper adult supervision, the South will return to its racist roots and that they alone can protect helpless black southerners from the perfidy rooted in white southerners’ DNA"
There should be no feeling of "cultural and moral superiority" by any particular region over another when it comes to racism. You are all equally guilty.
The fact that blacks now vote in record numbers in Southern states does not mean that race relations are better and that Southern whites have suddenly become "post racial". It only means that blacks in these states realize that they better exercise their hard earned right to vote or they will lose it.
The reason we have more minority voter participation in these states ---that have traditionally discriminated against us--- is because of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which forced people in places like Mr. Habeeb's adopted home state of Mississippi to do the right thing.
"It’s quite a story. Black and white Americans are moving in record numbers to a part of the country that liberal elites think of as backward, where taxes are low, unions are irrelevant, and the locals cling to their guns and their faith.
And yet Americans heard almost nothing about this great migration. We know why. The ideological prejudices of our media and academic elites won’t permit them to admit the obvious. They’d prefer to focus, as Breyer did, on the old South because they are more comfortable with that narrative and more invested in it, while a new one marches on right under their upturned noses." [Source]
I am not "comfortable with that narrative". In fact, nothing about racism be it in the North, South, East, or West, is comfortable to me.