A few years ago, when Meghan Markle began her shenanigans with the Royal Family, I wrote a column about how not liking her did not make me a racist.
At the time I wrote that “As a society, we cannot get to the point where criticizing someone who happens to be Black or another minority is viewed as being “all about race. Dismissing genuine critiques about Markle is unfair because it both silences legitimate criticism of a person’s character while, at the same time, diminishes the impact of real racism.”
You can imagine the amount of pushback that I got from that column, which was written on the cusp of the Black Lives Matter movement.
How dare I suggest that criticizing a Black woman was not a criticism, even overtly, of her race? How dare I, a white woman, presume to understand what it meant to challenge a person of color, given what they had to confront in this racist society? How dare I not just accept everything that she did and said as the perfect manifestation of an unblemished character?
Reader, I dared. And I am going to do it again.
This week, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley tweeted out the following: “The truth is, a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for President Kamala Harris.”
The tweet was accompanied by a graphic of a quote from Haley referencing the current president’s physical and mental decline. It was a fairly obvious statement that if you re-elect Biden, you will be getting Harris before the end of Biden’s term, because the man is non compos mentis, as we say in the legal business.
In other words, his mental capacities are failing him.
Jemele Hill, the former ESPN commentator who has a habit of finding the race card in every single deck, responded to that tweet with one of her own: “So part of the reason racism is such a terrible sickness in this country is because politicians like this know they can rally a certain base with the fear of OH MY GOD A BLACK WOMAN MIGHT BE PRESIDENT IF YOU DON’T VOTE FOR ME. Then we want to act all surprised when the most hateful part of the base decides they need to act out on their feelings of hatred.”
That last sentence was in reference to the murder of three Black people in Jacksonville, Florida, the day before. That reference makes Hill’s comments horrific, and dangerous, but they would have been bad enough if she’d just stopped at the part where she accuses Haley, a woman of color, of being racist.
However, trying to tie that in to a racial killing is exactly the sort of stunt that could get other people killed.
You only have to remember what happened in Crown Hights three decades ago when a young Yeshiva student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death by a mob in a racial attack.
The mob was predominantly African American, and they were enraged at the accidental death of a young Black boy who had been hit by a car.
The mob, shouting “No Justice, No Peace,” blamed the “Jewish” community for the child’s death, and alleged that anti-Black discrimination had led to the child not being treated by an ambulance driver with the same attention as the Jewish driver of the car.
This was all based on rumor. But Rosenbaum’s death was very real.
People like Jemele Hill have a blind spot when it comes to that sort of historical reference.
They have no problem whipping up racist phantoms when it suits their purpose, and take perfectly legitimate comments as verbal lynchings. Nikki Haley was absolutely right to call out the mental competency of Joe Biden, who has been failing before our very eyes.
As I write this, it is the second anniversary of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the carnage that was left behind — including the unnecessary and tragic deaths of 13 U.S. military — can be attributed, in part, to the president’s inability to manage the initiative.
This is just one example of his failure as president, and his supporters are engaging in willful blindness if they deny that obvious decline.
But getting back to Haley, nothing that she said can even remotely be tied to racism.
Kamala Harris is not a serious person, with her word salads and her pandering to the lowest common denominator in public appearances. As a child, I used to diagram sentences in Catholic school, and as I listen to our vice president it seems as if she is doing the same thing, moving verbs, nouns, adjectives and participles around in bizarre combinations.
Beyond that, she is a partisan hack, who, as I’ve noted in a previous column, defamed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by essentially calling him a rapist.
This is not a woman who should be in a position of authority, and yet she has risen to the second most exalted executive office despite her lack of credentials.
Her stints as San Francisco DA, California attorney general and then senator were mixed at best, and she earned a lot of criticism from the Black community because of her “lock ’em up” approach to criminal justice.
I have to say that I actually have no problem with that philosophy, but it is ironic that when people of color criticized her, they weren’t called racist but when Nikki Haley criticizes her, bigotry abounds.
And then, as I mentioned before, first generation Indian American Haley is not a “white” woman, so there’s that.
I am tired of having to keep writing these columns. It would make me so happy to write about important issues like whether the “Barbie” movie is Oscar worthy, whether Marie Osmond has had too much plastic surgery, whether Donald Trump lied about his weight at his booking, or whether the UFO our government is investigating is actually Madonna.
This ridiculous race baiting needs to stop.
Christine Flowers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.