Nowadays the word racist or racism gets thrown around a lot, probably with good reason, but maybe excessively as well. It’s a broad brush that nobody wants to get painted with. My sense is there are very few outwardly racist people in this country. The kind that will yell racial epithets in public or even make themselves up in the cloak of white supremacy. We see them in YouTube videos or held up on social media as radical exponents of a sad belief system. Crazy people we can shake our heads at and avoid in normal society. It’s a real problem, but something that exists only on the fringe. But that strikes me as the tip of the iceberg. There is a much more insidious form of racism that is covert and runs through large swath of the public. It informs a lot of what people say and do, even if they don’t want to admit it to themselves.
The culture wars, if we can even call them wars, are mostly a waste of people’s time. In order for it to be a war there would need to be at least two participants. Instead we have the right wing half of the country fear mongering about the left. And most on the left giving a collective shrug about the nonsense that is discussed within the context of this made up war. I used to think there was some kernel of ideology underpinning most of what passes as rational thought on the right, and in a way I guess I’m right. It’s not some grand principled vision of conservatism or stemming the liberal tide towards socialism or even fighting for ‘traditional’ values. It’s all a ruse driven by nascent racism.
Right wingers don’t love guns. They love the idea of protecting themselves against those they perceive as other with lethal force. It’s not about protecting property or expressing liberty. It’s the last refuge of a particular social order that favors one class and race over another. Tools to be used if that order is ever attacked or subverted in any meaningful way. Right wingers don’t care about immigration. They love having poor and colored people do the work they wouldn’t dream of doing themselves. They just don’t want those people to enjoy the same rights as them. Share in whatever passes for the American dream these days. Dreaming is a luxury the under-class mustn’t do, lest it upset the the right winger’s own chances of attaining a desired end. Right wingers don’t care about police in a general sense. The elites most certainly look down their nose at them. They see them as a lesser for settling for a government funded job. They care only when that force is used in service of preserving the order they desire. Same for the military. Right wingers don’t care about critical race theory or any fringe conceptual framework. They just don’t want to have to feel guilt. They want to revel in the fantasy that their place is a function of something earned, rather than given.
When you’re a hammer all you see are nails. For a long time I thought a lot of what we referred to racism was wishful thinking. Now I’m certain I was wrong. It’s so naked, clear, unavoidably true that we need to call it what it is.