Name Calling ~ The Politics of Fear

The the Republican Party has brought upon themselves a reputation for discrimination and bigotry. It has done so by forming a coalition of  “socially” conservative and religious right groups to win elections.

opaAn author of a conservative blog, surprised that I had approved his comment after reading my posting on conservative vs. liberal economics, wrote an “off-line” email to me recently.

I had suggested in my posting that many attending the conservative tea parties on Tax Day, April 15th this year, were there more to protest the fact that Democrats have taken control of Washington and are now in position to advance their social agenda of change.  I also expressed the opinion that some were there to protest our having an African American in the White House for the first time, which was obvious to me based on demonstrators’ signs seen on national news programs including Fox News.  In my reader’s message, he said in part: 

 “As for the racist comments, your perspective is limited.  I work in the media (thus why I cannot post with my name).  I have met 10 times as many racists bearing the liberal label as I have conservative.  They often mask it by being overly nice to minorities while undermining them from behind or they are minorities themselves who feel it’s their turn for payback.  I have worked personally with members of the King family and some of these are the most fervent racists that I have ever met – not that I blame them entirely.  I have been blatantly and unabashedly discriminated against by BET even though my minority credentials with UNCF and the King Foundation are solid (there are many different “King Foundations”  reportedly cashing-in on the Martin Luther King legacy— perhaps my reader meant the King Center).  I simply feel racism is not anywhere near the level you dream it is.

So I have had it with racist and racism.  The term is exaggerated by those on the left and used as a name calling slur that somehow wins any argument just by labeling someone or some group racist.”

I have no idea to what group or organization my reader was referring with the acronym, BET. I can only assume that it has something to do with the publishing business, but I have not been able to find reference to it on-line. My reader had concluded his earlier, on-line comment with, “I don’t care if you approve my comments.  It’s your blog.”

My response was: “No, I do and have approved the comment you posted on my blog. I sincerely meant what I wrote when dedicating my blog to those of us who enjoy safe opportunities to express ourselves on controversial issues of the day.

I’m sorry that we see the racist thing from such different perspectives, but I have had a very different exposure to it than you have obviously had. So if my perspective is limited, truly, yours is limited as well. See my earlier blog posting, It Works Both Ways, if you have the time and inclination. But my observation about racists taking part in the tea parties was not name-calling. Obviously, all Republicans are not racist and, yes, racism persists in America regardless of political persuasion. But ten times as many racists in the Democratic Party as in the Republican Party? REALLY?

Name calling, according to Wikipedia, is based on both logical fallacy and cognitive bias. It is a technique used to promote propaganda, a technique that I personally disdain. Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears and arouse prejudices in the belief that invoked fear based on fearmongering tactics will encourage those that read, see or hear the propaganda to construct a negative opinion about a person, group, or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist wants recipients of these misleading claims to denounce. The method is intended to provoke conclusions and actions about matters apart from impartial examination of facts. When employed, name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against an idea or belief based on merit.

Yes, I believe the Republican Party has brought upon themselves a reputation for discrimination and bigotry. It has done so by forming a coalition of “socially” conservative and religious right groups to win elections. The Republican party, in my opinion, is definitely not the party of Lincoln anymore. Now Republican party notables, preparing for mid-term elections and recognizing that it has limited its appeal to the larger population, are talking about dropping it’s stand against single-sex marriages and labeling Democrats as Socialists and even Fascists. Is this not propaganda born out of desperation? It sure seems like it to me.

Please feel free to post a comment, pro or con.

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Published in: on April 25, 2009 at 9:58 am  Comments (3)  

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  1. Opa, I just opened my email and saw your blog. Phew! Some heated stuff there BUT then again, I think we need to be more open minded and really discuss racism in our country but to be frank about it, I am really tired of the old “refrain” of it is better now than it used to be. Well, all I can say is that I have been subjected to racism all my life and see it in the news media. I do not let it bother me as I understand the mentality of the human race. Right or wrong, it is on both sides and exist in both political parties so what is one to do? I merely suck it up and move on because I know who is really in control and who will make the final judgment. Yes, it sickened me to see the supposed “tea party” at this time when I did not see it several years ago. I have lived with the good and the bad—the good I cherish and the bad I use as a tool to aid me in growing in His grace and love. I know who my creator is so He who made all of us loves all of us. Now is our chance to prove who we are, who we love and how we can move forward.

  2. BET= Black Entertainment Television
    http://www.racewire.org/archives/2008/06/bet_vs_boondocks.html

  3. Racism will continue to thrive in America as long as there are those who deny its existence. Of course racism is not exclusive to whites and no one should assume that is the case. All races have a responsibility to teach tolerance and fight against hate. Due to our country’s history, those of us with white skin have a higher duty to this cause. The politics of divisiveness and fear should not be allowed to dominate the public debate. That is not what will bring us out of our current decline. Please don’t think that I am advocating we all purchase rose-colored glasses. Far from it. We do, however, need to recognize that we are all on this ship of state together. Steering it in the same circle it has been in the past eight plus years will not get us where we need to be going. Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill is as much a myth as Camelot. A balanced diet of political “-isms” may be just what the doctor ordered to cure what currently ails us. We must now certainly realize our “consumerism” diet is killing us. Supply, especially of such mythological creatures as credit derivatives, does not create real demand. Republicans of all shades need to understand that this is something the public is no longer “buying”. As to the subject of default, we are already there. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Pogo


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