I'll be the first to admit that the state of race relations in America is much better than it was when I was a boy, but there is still a lingering racist subtext that just refuses to go away.
This week brought a couple of interesting stories that demonstrate that the old demon - racism - still lives in the hearts of some. Richard Cohen penned an editorial in the Washington Post (of all places!) where he stated that the GOP is not racist, but then immediately noted that some people with "conventional views" might "repress a gag reflex" when considering the mayor-elect of New York, Bill de Blasio, and his black wife and two bi-racial teenage children. He then went on to mention, sort of as an aside, that de Blasio's wife is a former lesbian. Mr. Cohen had a concern that the de Blasio family doesn't look like America to cultural conservatives.
It sounds to me like there is some racism in there someplace - and maybe just a pinch of homophobia!
Richard Cohen was very careful to stay away from proclaiming those views as his own - he just wanted us to know that is how some others feel. And by attaching those feelings to "others" he also managed to get the facts about the very diverse de Blasio family into print on the editorial page of a very influential newspaper. Cohen wasn't pointing fingers at the de Blasio family, he was pointing fingers at the other people who were pointing fingers at that beautiful family. The GOP, in Mr. Cohen's unique perspective, is not racist - but it's cultural conservatives might be.
The de Blasio family, by the way, truly is beautiful! They would look great on the White House holiday cards!
The second piece of news involved a white supremacist by the name of Craig Cobb. Cobb has been trying to establish an enclave for whites only in the very small community of Leith, North Dakota. Cobb, who has ties with an assortment of hate groups, has been an occasional guest on the television show, Trisha, which is hosted by Trisha Goddard, a black woman. At some point Ms. Goddard convinced him to have a DNA test to check his own ancestry. The cameras were rolling recently in front of a live audience when Ms. Goddard informed Cobb that he was 86% European and 14% Sub-Saharan African - or approximately one-seventh black!
Ms. Goddard said to her guest, "Sweetheart, you've got a little black in you." The audience hooted!
Craig Cobb was not amused to learn of his African heritage, and he was really not amused when Ms. Goddard referred to him as "bro" and tried to give him a fist bump! He denied the scientific accuracy of the test and referred to it as "statistical noise."
No word yet on whether cultural conservatives have started to gag at the sight of Craig Cobb.