“Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, once pronounced herself a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To a cultural conservative, this doesn’t look like his country at all.”—Richard Cohen, Washington Post
That one paragraph in an editorial about Chris Christie has set off a storm of criticism across the internet. I couldn’t figure out it’s placement within a discussion about how Christie fits into the Republican Party with the current heavy influence from the Tea Party. Even after reading his explanation, I’m still confused as to how that all fits into his column. He says that, “What I was doing was expressing not my own views but those of extreme right-wing Republican tea party people. I don’t have a problem with interracial marriage or same-sex marriage. In fact, I exult in them. It’s a slander” to suggest otherwise. “This is just below the belt. It’s a purposeful misreading of what I wrote.”
I’m not going to pile on him like everybody else as I respect everybody’s right to free speech here. I also understand that right to free speech does not absolve the speaker from criticism of what he/she says. Maybe Cohen would have been much better off by stating, within his column, that he was attempting to express the views of the extreme right-wing Republican tea party people as he stated in his explanation. There are no such context clues within his column that would lead an average reader to that conclusion on their own.
We’ve come a long way since Loving v Virginia, and there is no need for us to have to cross that bridge again. As evidenced by the story about the White supremacist who’s DNA test revealed he had sub-Saharan DNA within his body, we are all pretty much one and the same inside. The only difference is the concentration of melanin within our skin. If anything, we should celebrate the fact that the mayor-elect and his wife are raising their family within a loving home. As often as I hear whining about single parent homes, this is at least one elected official who appears to be active in raising his children. We need more examples of that and less of the gag reflex crap.
- Richard Cohen on Black-White Marriage (theatlantic.com)
- Washington Post Columnist Says People With Conventional Viewpoints Want To ‘Gag’ When They See An Interracial Family (businessinsider.com)
- Was Richard Cohen’s column racist? (politico.com)
- Yet Another “Accidental” Racist (isaiahlcarter.wordpress.com)