In the aftermath of Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks at a National Action Network event on Wednesday, white conservative pundits have used their airtime to complain about Holder ‘playing the race card.’ Some have even gone so far as saying that racism is no longer a problem in America and doesn’t even exist anymore. On two programs this past week, we witnessed panel discussions about race where all the participants were white.
Just to provide the back story, Holder and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) got into a verbal altercation during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. The exchange made news immediately. The following day, Holder was a speaker at a NAN event and strayed from his prepared remarks to discuss the level of disrespect that he and the President have received since coming to Washington. It was clear that Holder implied that racism was at the core of the divisiveness and obstructionism that has gripped Republicans since Obama took office.
On Thursday, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough defended Gohmert’s behavior and accused the Attorney General and the President of playing the race card too often. He then tried to lead a discussion on racism, or the lack thereof, in Washington. His feeling is that Washington is just a tough place to work, and that Bill Clinton, Janet Reno and Richard Nixon all dealt with worse behavior from political opponents. He was able to get agreement from others on the panel that racism is not an issue in Washington and that this is all just politics as usual.
Now, I’d like you to take a look at the composition of this panel discussing race and tell me what all of them have in common:
Hmmm. That sure is a diverse panel there, isn’t it? I am sure they can provide us with quite a bit of varied insight and experience when it comes to race relations and what it’s like to be black in America.
On Friday, Fox News’ The Five decided to have a ‘robust’ discussion on race in America. They started the segment off by showing Holder’s remarks as well as President Obama’s speech on Thursday acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Dana Perino started off the discussion by suggesting that Holder and Obama are trying to insulate themselves from criticism by bringing up racism. She then got Bob Beckel, the token ‘liberal’ on the panel, to basically concede that House Republicans are just behaving badly towards Holder and Obama but racism isn’t at the core.
This was as good as the discussion got, as it quickly went downhill from there. Perino made the false equivalency of stating that black Democrats that opposed George W. Bush must have been racist as well. Then, Tom Shillue, a comedian filling in for Greg Gutfeld, chimed in and said we shouldn’t even care about racism anymore. Shillue, I guess in an attempt to be funny, then tried to joke about locking his car door when a black guy walks by because that’s just what he always does.
Of course, no discussion on race would be complete without the input of an expert like Eric Bolling. Bolling spewed a bunch of hate at the NAN and ripped into Al Sharpton, calling him ‘ridiculous.’ He also pointed out that Americans don’t care about race issues and essentially called Holder a race hustler by trying to divide Americans and get them to focus on an unimportant topic like racism, instead of on jobs and the economy.
Beckel, to his credit, tried to tell Bolling that the NAN is not insignificant to black people in this country and that it isn’t fair for Bolling to dismiss the group. Bolling then said that blacks should be concerned more about their high unemployment rate. Of course, Bolling obviously doesn’t see the correlation of institutional racism with the high unemployment rate of African Americans.
All of this was concluded with Andrea Tantaros finally jumping in and stating that racism obviously can’t exist in this country because black men hold the two highest positions in the nation. She also pointed out that the Supreme Court voted down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, therefore proving that racism is nonexistent in this country. She jumped on board with Bolling in stating that this is just an issue that the President is going to use to divide the country with. For good measure, she also brought up climate change as an insignificant issue in this country.
Once again, like with the Morning Joe panel, I’d like you to take a long look at the makeup of The Five’s panel that decided to discuss racism:
Wow, such diversity! Only white people on a panel discussing racism in America. And wouldn’t you know it, they feel that racism is overblown and actually doesn’t exist. At the same time, two of the panelists couldn’t help themselves when it came to ridiculing Al Sharpton, a leader in the black community.
Video from Media Matters:
Few things are more offensive than white people explaining to black Americans how racism doesn’t exist anymore. I would have to think that African Americans hate hearing a white conservative whine about a black person ‘playing the race card.’ This is one of the biggest reasons why Republicans get less than 10% of the black vote in national elections, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).