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Six Degrees of Liberal Racism

By Terry Michael

In the past week, if you made the mistake of reading New York tabloids or tuning into the reality-challenged world of cable babble, you were assaulted with the shocking (!) revelation of Rev. Al Sharpton's ties to slave-holding distant ancestral cousins of the late orange-haired senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond.

And now, quoting unauthenticated "research" by an amateur genealogist writing at his blog, the Baltimore Sun gets into the act with the equally amazing! disclosure that those of us with at least one Caucasian American parent, including Sen. Barack Obama, might have had slave holders in our family trees. Imagine that.

If all this reminds you of the six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, then welcome to the real world. If you aren't familiar with the small world concept, it is the reasonable statistical probability that everyone is no more than six "steps" away from each person on Earth.

Two words explain why the media find this nonsense so fascinating: liberal racism. Read Jim Sleeper's excellent 1997 book with that name, subtitled: "How fixating on race subverts the American dream."

"Racialism" is a softer descriptive version of the race consciousness demanded by the MainStream Media, and by the folks who mis-educate our children at major universities--the two institutions where you will most often encounter the unholy trinity of Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Affirmative Action.

You can also witness this religious belief system on the not-so-mainstream media, Monday through Thursday nights, on Comedy Central. I have to confess to being addicted to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but I want to gag when John Stewart and Stephen Colbert show how enlightened they are on the subject of race.

In a fawning interview with Sharpton, neither funny nor intelligent, Stewart did his bit for spreading the received wisdom of leftie racialism by letting an outrageous demagogue have his fix of TV-time crack.

And almost every night, Colbert lets us know with smug ironic "humor" that he doesn't "see race."

It's sad, because both of these guys are smart. Unfortunately, their intellects are informed by liberal attitudes appropriate to the 1950's, before America enjoyed a seismic shift away from actual racism.

But if you listen to the trainers, minority contractors and civil rights "leaders" representing the Diversity Industrial Complex, who make their livings by perpetuating a myth that we're all a bunch of bigots, you would have to conclude America hasn't moved past the era of Theodore Bilbo and the White Citizens Council.

Left liberal hallucinations about rampant racism are fed not just by indoctrination of the young on college campuses but by almost daily news "reporting" that demands we see everything from individual medical conditions to public school test scores and access to the internet through the prism of race and ethnicity. All of these disparities can be traced to economic and educational achievement differences among individuals, arbitrarily grouped into demographic cohorts by those who demand we imagine racism as a master narrative explanation.

Media and academic insistence on tribal identity consciousness begets foolish public policy initiatives, like the Virginia legislature's recent "apology" for the Commonwealth's history of slavery. Weren't the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 rather more substantive apologies?

The cup may be half full in the fight against liberal racism. Many of us who were sold on identity politics in our youth have been de-programmed with intelligent work by courageous black writers like Shelby Steele and Thomas Sowell, who have braved Amish-style shunning to tell the truth about race.

As I often challenge my political journalism students, if you want to end race consciousness in America, stop enforcing race consciousness!

Terry Michael is director of the non-partisan Washington Center for Politics & Journalism and writes personal opinion at his "libertarian Democrat" blog, www.terrymichael.net.

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