Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Casual racism

Writing about where we go from here, Marc Ambinder said:

Eric Cantor, who won't escape the casual racism of being referred to as the "first Jewish majority leader," will appear as the voice of policy and conciliation.

Let’s leave aside the quibble that religion and race are two different things. As far as I know, “first Jewish majority leader” will be a truthful descriptive phrase, like “first Black President” or “first female Speaker” or (vaguely remembered from many years ago) “first male national officer of the Future Homemakers of America”. Perhaps Americans’ pride or happiness or gratification when positions of authority are attained by those who have historically found them difficult or impossible to achieve is a bit too artless for Ambinder but it’s hardly racist, casually or otherwise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this comment. I read Ambinder's post and wondered what I was missing -- am I just dense? Why is it racist to say that he's the first Jewish majority leader? Is that supposed to be a bad thing? Accusations of racism ought to be made carefully, not casually.