Republicans in general, and certainly the Tea Party contingent of that party, often (usually deservedly) get a black eye on race issues. They glibly made use of their “Southern Strategy” throughout the seventies and eighties and would later boast about it. While not all conservatives openly espouse active racism, many of their pundits casually use dog whistle terms to get frightened, middle and lower class, conservatives to act against their own best interest. The Grand Old Party, however, does not have a corner on the bigotry market.
Witness this stupidity on the part of a Kentucky progressive PAC. I do want to offer two caveats. First, Progress Kentucky has issued an apology for the comments. They only did so after being hammered by other folks on the left, but it was more than an “I’m sorry YOU were offended” non-pology, so there’s that. Also it should be noted, as it was by a friend of mine, the difference in reactions by the general groups. The left did jump all over this as soon as it happened. When someone on the right does this, they ignore it until someone on the left calls it out and then gauge their response to the overall reaction. If it is weak they cry “reverse racism”, if it is strong, they leave the individual or group out to dry and try to distance themselves from them.
Which is not to give the left a pass on this. It may be less prevalent, and they may call it out when it is exposed, but racism is still a problem even among liberals. It sneaks out every once and a while. Sometimes in thoughtless comments like those made/propagated by Progress Kentucky, sometimes in the silencing of minority voices by privileged groups within the progressive movement. Leadership in the feminist movement, almost always white women, has often ignored the intersections of sexism and racism. I have written before about the disturbing trend of racism among gay, white, males.
When PoC, of any kind, speak up about this they are treated with a cruel sort of condescension by the “white knights” who are more concerned with their feelings than the oppression experienced by those they claim to champion. In many ways this is so much worse than the blatant racism displayed by the right. Yes the left in general may call out the obvious stuff when it comes out of one of their own, as it did with Progress Kentucky, but they so often turn a blind eye to the more insidious privilege hoarding in their own ranks, allowing it to blossom.
I don’t expect things to be perfect right now. I suspect many PoC feel the same, though no sane person could blame them if they do not. What we should expect is an honest effort towards that perfection. It is obtainable, but only if we are are willing to take a long, hard look at ourselves and are willing to do the dirty work. I know I am, do you care to join me?