Saturday, September 4, 2010

the imprecise vision of anti-racism

The singer Morrissey, a vegetarian and animal rights activist, said about China, "Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies." He's being called a racist. But he didn't say that about Asians. If he'd said the same thing about Germans, would he be called racist?

Given how imprecise "racist" now is, perhaps. But Morrissey was clearly speaking of a nation, not a race.

This fuzziness of language may explain why anti-racists insist the Tea Party is racist. They don't have a way to say the Tea Party is even more capitalist than the Democrats. Perhaps they do this because "racist" suggests an absolute failure, whereas discussing capitalism puts them on a slippery slope. After all, Obama is working to cut social security now, and while that will hurt poor folks of all hues, it will disproportionately hurt poor folks of color.

Possibly of interest: Is the Tea Party racist?