Racist Scare: The New McCarthyism

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During the 1950s “Red Scare,” innocent Americans were smeared and sometimes blacklisted for being supposed Communists. Real subversives existed, including Alger Hiss, a traitor and Soviet spy whom liberals – to their misfortune – made into a poster boy of McCarthyism. But the actual number of Communists was tiny and utterly not commensurate with the fervent public witch hunt led by right-wingers.

Today’s group hysteria comes from the left, as a fanatic political mob sees racists behind every door. Their paranoia is not harmless, as they use the racist bogeyman to intimidate political adversaries – and sometimes erstwhile friends – while seeking to silence political dialogue. As with the Red Scare, there’s some reason for vigilance regarding actual racists, as Charlottesville reminded us. But as with the hunt for Communists under every bed, the scare tactics far outweigh the actual problem.

The New McCarthyism revealed its full absurdity this week via the ACLU’s Twitter stream, which had the temerity to post a picture of an adorable young toddler holding an American flag and a doll with the tag line “This is the future that ACLU members want.” Because the girl (TRIGGER WARNING: I assume it’s a girl, given the doll) happens to be blonde and Caucasian, the ACLU was promptly attacked – the ACLU!

Immediately the politically correct rage mob commenced a digital protest led by credentialed injustice professionals such as Professor Nyasha Junior of Temple University who posted, “A white kid with a flag?!” Yes, Professor. In much of America outside of your faculty lounge, young American children waving Old Glory warms the heart and makes us smile rather than prompt thoughts of white supremacy lurking under the sheets.

Did the ACLU, a group once known for taking brave and unpopular stands, hold its ground or, better yet, simply ignore the online rabble? Sadly, no. The organization shortly responded with a Kermit the Frog image saying “That’s a very good point” and the post “When your followers keep you in check and remind you that white supremacy is everywhere.”

Come again? This lovely young kid holding a flag equals “white supremacy”? Who even thinks of such things? Answer: the diversity hustlers. Shame on the ACLU, which apparently should have posted a picture of a gender-fluid dark-skinned child, holding a rainbow flag, perhaps with a COEXIST sticker on [gender-neutral pronoun] wheelchair.

This is not merely social-media silliness. It’s not even lunacy, although it certainly seems insane. This is a weapon used cynically and viciously -- little girls are apparently acceptable collateral damage -- by the left to isolate and demonize opponents, and particularly President Trump and his supporters. As MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch said of Trump: “He is a racist -- can we just say it once and for all?” Such accusations are not rare. If I had a dollar for every time the mainstream media accused Trump and his voters of racism, I’d be about as rich as the recent Powerball winner.

As a Hispanic, I believe that people of color, for far too long, have been taken for granted by the Democratic Party. I also believe that the Trump movement represents real policy solutions for the woes of poverty and violence that burden too many African-American and Latino citizens. But the digital rage mob holds people like me in particular contempt, as I saw during the 2016 campaign in the form of a constant stream of online slurs. Yes, today’s liberals are quick to use racism’s terms when it suits their purposes, calling me a “coconut” (brown on the outside, white on the inside) and “Tio Tomas” (Uncle Tom in Spanish).   

One of the main reasons America has succeeded as a country lies is our rejection of the tribalism that afflicts and paralyzes so much of the world. America is an idea, and one open to all who embrace it, regardless of skin color, heritage, or religion. To be sure, America must own the racist sins of our history. Thankfully, such systemic racism is just that, history – as evidenced by electing twice to our highest office an African-American man with a decidedly un-European name.

Instead of allowing a new scourge, this Racist Scare, to corrode our discourse, we must embrace our common American identity, rooted in our best traditions and elucidated in our founding documents. We should be difficult to offend and slow to accuse others of the disease of prejudice. As the incumbent president of the United States explained in his inaugural address seven months ago: “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for bigotry.”

Amen.

Steve Cortes, a contributor to RealClearPolitics and Fox News, is the national spokesman for the Hispanic 100, an organization that promotes Latino leadership by advancing free enterprise principles. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.



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