Opinion: Ignorance and hatred go hand in hand
photo by: Contributed
It was the “National Weekend of Bigots.” At least, that’s what Ana Navarro called it Monday on “The View.” It was as good a description as any for the soul-draining drumbeat of hate that dominated weekend headlines. You had the Black rapper Ye, aka Kanye West, on Twitter threatening to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” who, he complained, have “toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone who opposes” their “agenda.”
Then there was Marjorie Taylor Greene, a white congresswoman from Georgia, telling a mostly white audience, “Illegal aliens are on the verge of replacing you, replacing your jobs and replacing your kids in school and … they’re also replacing your culture.”
Meantime, Nury Martinez, a Los Angeles city councilwoman of Mexican heritage, was heard on a secret recording disparaging people from Oaxaca as “little short dark people” and calling a Black child a “monkey” in need of a “beatdown.”
And Tommy Tuberville, a white senator from Alabama, warned a white audience that Democrats “want reparations” for slavery “because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
It was enough to make you wonder if someone’s been tampering with the nation’s water supply. But that’s a dodge, isn’t it, the idea that this baseness, this sordid profanation of our common humanity, must be the product of something external? It isn’t, of course. Indeed, the only thing that makes “The National Weekend of Bigots” stand out is the very fact that all that hate was concentrated into just a few days and — as is so often the case lately — felt no need to express itself covertly. Dog whistles are so 2007.
Not that there were not lame attempts to offer the haters deniability. The reliably silly pundit Candace Owens said of West’s vomitus swill that you couldn’t regard it as anti-Semitic “if you are an honest person.” Actually, if you are an intelligent person, you think a threat to go “death con” on people whose worship houses are routinely attacked is not just anti-Semitic, but worthy of attention from federal agents.
Meantime, one of Tuberville’s colleagues, Rep. Don Bacon, told NBC News he did not believe the racist comment was a racist comment, but did advise the senator to “Be more polite.” Because, yes, that’s the biggest problem with hate — it’s so darn discourteous.
It is not at all surprising that Navarro’s National Weekend of Bigots comes amid a National Era of Enforced Amnesia in which historic memory is vandalized, and any attempt to reflect on the trials of our tribes is barred from the public stage lest someone’s feelings be hurt. That’s how you get Holocaust memoirs banned by schools and shacks that once housed enslaved people turned into B&Bs.
It’s how you wind up with history books that tell lies sitting in school libraries and classes that tell truths removed from the curricula. It’s how you get putatively smart people believing incredibly dumb things: like Rick Santorum saying of America before the colonizers arrived, “There was nothing here,” or Nikki Haley saying of immigration, “We’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion.”
When amnesia is that profound, who can be surprised that we get weekends like the one we just had? Note that it’s been over 50 years since the one and only time this country sought to deal in a serious and sustained manner with its racial baggage. We’d rather impose ignorance instead.
And when you do that, can hatred be far behind?
— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.