Sunday, April 1, 2012

willfully denying reality

I was effusive in my praise for Rod Dreher last week, holding him up as a thoughtful conservative with whom one could reasonably dialogue on racial issues. Well, I spoke too soon. On Thursday Dreher linked to a little known story about another murder in Florida, in this case of two white men by a black teenager. Dreher's clear intention was to demonstrate the bias of the mainstream media and the hypocrisy of black leaders stoking such outrage over Trayvon Martin's death.

And what was the occasion of the article Dreher linked to? Oh, nothing too important, just that the black teen has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. This is like a kindergarten activity where you find what's different in the two pictures. It's a fun challenge for a 5-year old, but it's a bad sign when adults can't figure it out. Hmmm....so what might be different about these two cases? Do you think it might possibly be that in one case justice is being done and in the other the shooter is walking free? No, surely that can't be it.

This kind of stuff is all over the conservative blogosphere. I frankly refuse to believe that the average conservative writer is as stupid as they are making themselves appear. After all, these basic distinctions between the cases are ones that very young children could make. I think this is a willful obfuscation of the facts so as to better score points for the team. I don't for a minute believe Dreher doesn't understand that the disparity in news coverage between these two cases makes sense. But he has decided that another chance to blast the mainstream media is more important than truth or justice.

I know I sound harsh, but at a certain point, what is one supposed to think? Back when conservatives were ignoring the Trayvon Martin case, I wrote that it was a threat to them simply because it brought race to the center of attention. Now that they are talking about it, that has become all the more clear. Trying to maintain the pretense of a colorblind society will twist you up in knots of absurdity, and that's what we're seeing across the conservative blogosphere.

I need to look into how much has been written about colorblindness and its development as the dominant racial narrative of white people. I think we're due for a book-length study of how it developed in opposition and reaction to the gains of the civil rights movement. If you hold to the standard conservative colorblind point of view, you're closer to George Wallace than Dr. King.

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