Where’s The Outrage Over Scalia’s Racism?
When I first heard about Justice Antonin Scalia’s comment that the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” I thought surely this is coming from The Onion, and as such I thought it was nicely done satire. Not only an extremely racist statement coming from none other than a Supreme Court justice, but also a statement that is so stupid that it typifies the thinking of Idiot America, where the sky is not blue and water is not wet. But alas, I soon discovered that Scalia actually did say this! Poor Onion, I don’t know how you can satirize the right wing in this country anymore.
But what really startled me is just how little backlash his comment has received in the main stream. It’s one thing for the likes of Rush Limbaugh to be spouting racial slurs like this, but a Supreme Court Justice? I keep hearing that since Obama got elected we are in a “post-racial” world — but it seems to me that what we are really in is a “retro-racial” world. Conservatives for many years kept a close watch on their racism, being careful to say the politically correct thing in public, but in private they continued to keep up the best traditions of the KKK. And the Republican Party bent over backwards to appeal to these racists, although denying it in public. But these days as the country becomes more and more divided, it appears that Republicans and conservatives are starting to double-down on their racism and bigotry, not only letting comments like Scalia’s go unremarked on, but actually cheering them on.
And even after you get beyond the blatant racism of the remark, what the sam hill was he really trying to say? Was this just a case of him wanting to say something like “I hate people of color and wish they would all just go away”, and knowing that would be a little too inflammatory he just blurted out what he did? Or does he really think that for non-whites, voting is an “entitlement” and not a basic right of democracy? That only whites have a true right to vote? I don’t know how you intrepret what he said in any other way. And if that’s the case, again, where is the outrage? And of course the answer is that in this “retro-racial” age pretty much everyone seems to take it for granted that the Republican Party is the party of racism and bigotry, and there’s nothing surprising when conservatives make comments like this.
I keep reading that the country is changing demographically and that eventually this type of overt bigotry will disappear from our politics, if not from our culture all together. I guess I can see that happening if democracy can survive the current assault of the conservative movement — but sometimes I wonder just how big an “if” that is. This whole idea of getting rid of the Voting Rights Act does not bode at all well for democracy. And certainly having a scumbag the likes of Scalia on the Supreme Court doesn’t help either.