During a congressional Armed Services hearing in March, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) expressed concern that stationing 8,000 Marines and their equipment on Guam, our Pacific territory, could cause the island "to become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize." Such a remark is grossly stupid but the liberal press didn't give it anywhere near the amount of attention and derision that they gave Christine O'Donnell.
On the campaign trail in March 2008, then-presidential candidate Obama told his Beaverton, Ore., audience, "Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go." Whether Obama misspoke or not, that's a grossly stupid remark, but white liberals among the intellectual elite and the liberal news media all but ignored it. Of course, when former Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled the word as "potatoe," they pounced upon it and had a field day.
So what might explain the liberals giving Hank Johnson and Obama a pass whilst playing up the perceived shortcomings of Christine O'Donnell and Dan Quayle? The answer might be as simple as just looking at the colors involved. O'Donnell and Quayle are white and Johnson and Obama are black. That means the white liberal vision comes into play where to openly oppose, criticize and ridicule blacks is racist. The key term is openly. I bet that when alone, in trusted company, white liberals crack up over the things that some black people say and do. The white liberal vision holds one set of standards to which white people are obliged and another that's lower for blacks. I don't believe that white liberals are racists in the sense that Klansmen and neo-Nazis are; however, their paternalistic and demeaning attitudes toward blacks are far more debilitating.
There needs to be a bit of elaboration of the statement that to openly oppose, criticize and ridicule a black is racist. If the black in question is a conservative, possibly Republican, then any sort of criticism and treatment is acceptable. This was seen in the criticism and ridicule of Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" cartoon featured President Bush referring to Secretary Rice as "brown sugar." Pat Oliphant showed her as a parrot with big lips and Ted Rall's cartoon had Miss Rice proclaiming herself Bush's "House nigga." Don Wright's cartoon depicted Justice Thomas as Justice Scalia's lawn jockey. These cartoons were carried in major newspapers nationwide. Ask yourself what would happen to a nationally syndicated cartoonist, and the newspaper that carried it, depicting President Obama as a wide-eyed, fat-lipped monkey.
Racial double standards are nothing new. It has been the currency on jobs and college campuses where there is an acceptance of behavior by blacks that would be condemned if done by whites. Often misguided white liberal professors, in the name of making up for injustices of the past, give black students grades they didn't earn. Being 74 years old, I have frequently told people that I'm glad that I received just about all of my education before it became fashionable for white people to like black people. That means I was obliged to live up to higher standards.
More blacks need to be bold and challenge the demeaning attitudes of white liberals. During the early years of the Reagan administration, I had a number of press conferences in response to a book or article that I had written. At several of them, I invited the reporters to treat me like a white person — just ask hard questions.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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