Update on the State of Race Relations in America

So here is an interesting local story giving us a window into race relations.    First, a black comedian named Katt Williams (I never heard of him either) called a Mexican man a "nigga" and told him to go back to Mexico.   Then a Hispanic woman created a profanity-laced 6-minute video calling Katt Williams "a white supremacist."

Outstanding.  Actually, I think that this has little to do with race relations and more to do with a post-modernist view of language.  I am still working on writing about this phenomenon, wherein certain political phrases have become all-encompassing insults or descriptors of the opposition, wholly stripped of their original meaning.  Thus "Soros-funded" or "Koch-funded" become synonyms for being extreme left or libertarian, rather than actually being supported by any evidence of such funding.  My interest in this topic began with a comment on Kevin Drum's site, where one sympathetic reader smacked Tea Partiers as merely mouthing Republican talking points, and the proceeded to repeat in now-standard terminology every Democratic talking point about the Tea Party.  The juxtaposition was so obvious I thought it might be performance art rather than a real comment.


  1. steve:

    I don't really begrudge people their use of talking points. I do it with libertarian ones. Presumably if you manage to say something original that is to the point and effective, the internet will pick up on it and it will be turned into just another talking point.

    Although, I do find that it can be tedious.

  2. perlhaqr:

    Hispanics are white. WTF?

  3. Elliot:

    ...I thought it might be performance art rather than a real comment.

    Satire is dead.

    I and people I read used to make ironic remarks like, "Next they'll be policing what you eat," or, "One day they'll hold you down and forcibly take blood from you." We've since learned to shut the hell up to avoid giving them any more ideas.

    Today, Jonathan Swift would either be jailed for terroristic threats, or the inspiration for a soylent green project.

  4. Don:

    I find it most interesting that we are now outsourcing racial epithets.

    You gotta love that free market of bigotry. ;^)

  5. Bill:

    "Hispanics are white. WTF?"

    Actually, they can be white, black, or most commonly mestizo. Generally they are either given their own "racial" category or not depending on the subject. For example, when doing political polls, they are seperate because they tend to vote (always excepting the Cubans) Democrat as a bloc. However, for crime statistics, they are usually lumped in with whites, as it makes the numbers closer to even.

  6. Mark:

    My favorite "talking point" that you NEED to include in any discussion, Warren, is the liberal's using the the term "you must watch Fox News" to denigrate anything they cannot counter. One time this happened to me about an economic discussion. I have a graduate degree in economics from a top 5 school in the field, and person I know who is a HS graduate basically told me I knew nothing because it was "all from Fox News". Laughable, but very common.

  7. Ian Random:

    Isn't the usual thing to say you're racist for pointing out the situation because it makes a protected class look bad.

  8. Dan:


    I hear the same thing from the other side. Basically, if I say it was in the New York Times, they discount it as liberal propaganda.

  9. Elliot:


    The NY Times refuses to return a Pulitzer won by Walter Duranty for his stories covering up the Holodomor—lies which went mostly uncorrected by the NY Times until 1987.

    For Fox News to be on a comparable level, they would have to have a Holocaust denier on staff at some point, and would be complicit in covering up the deaths of millions of Jews.

    Until then, I think a simplistic one-to-one comparison of the level of mendacity is unwarranted.

    I find myself at odds with much of the positions touted on Fox. I'm anti-war, an atheist, solidly libertarian on immigration and social issues, and an ardent critic of the law-and-order apologism for abuse of power on the part of law enforcement. Still, a network which features Judge Napolitano and John Stossel, as well as Juan Williams and a plethora of the usual Democrat spokespeople, features a diversity of opinion which I don't find in the NY Times.

    Take the issue of gun rights. Find articles in the NY Times which fairly present the position of gun rights proponents, ever. I haven't seen any yet.

  10. caseyboy:

    Dan, in the case of the NYT it is liberal propaganda.

  11. Dan:

    See the two responses to my posting. My case is closed.

  12. steve:



    What is the Libertarian equivalent? I don't think they have an outlet that is big enough for the average Republican/Democrat to recognize it as a Libertarian mouth piece. I guess Reason might come the closest.

  13. Elliot:


    Your "case" was never opened. You tried, and failed, to make a moral equivalence between Fox News and the NY Times. Since Fox News never employed a holocaust denier or kept mum about the truth for decades, there is no equivalence.

    As for everything in the NY Times being "liberal propaganda", I never made that claim. I'm sure they publish factual items and "centrist" viewpoints. It's the lack of counterarguments on particular political issues which is the problem.

    Fox News is chock full of Republican propaganda, but they do give Democrats a chance to come on and argue.

  14. Noumenon:

    I am happy you read Kevin Drum because I am in the middle of you two so you keep him honest, but you read his comments too? I've never found any value there, though they are better than they were at the Washington Monthly.

  15. caseyboy:

    Elliot, you are correct the NY Times does walk a straight line in some areas, the classifieds and sports comes to mind.

  16. J. W.:

    Dan, there's a difference between someone rejecting an opinion outright because it sounds (to the one rejecting it) like the sort of thing that one might read or hear from a particular source (this was Mark's example) and someone rejecting an opinion because it one supports it with something that one has read or heard from a particular source (your example).

    In the former case, a possibly-unrelated source is used to reject an opinion that, within the discussion, has been stated independently of the purported source. In the latter, an opinion that is supported by an explicitly-stated source is rejected on the basis of the supposed unreliability of that source.

  17. Supermike:

    I've noticed a string of incidents recently where (male) black comedians have been "called out" for racist or homophobic things. In each case, the comedian in question has seemed surprised by the rebukes. I wonder if these guys have been talking like this for years but the Obama presidency has removed the mantle of victimhood protecting them from this sort of criticism. (I'm not commenting on the statements or criticism, just noting the phenomonon)

  18. blokeinfrance:

    I always find it best to cite exactly the opposite source to my unoriginal remarks:
    "As Fox news / Voice of Russia / NYT / elders of Sion / the Grand Mufti / Martha Stewart says..."

  19. Sadie:

    I just met a girl named Maria, and suddenly that name
    Will never be the same to me.

    Yep, it's performance art, right out of West Side Story.

  20. Dan:


    I frequently see Republicans quoted in the NYT, and their views do get represented on the op-ed page as well, though certainly the Times' editorial writers and regular columnists all are on the liberal edge of the spectrum. Safire used to be a reliable conservative on the op-ed page, but David Brooks, though he's not liberal, is certainly not far right, either.

    I didn't say anything about Fox News, by the way. I hardly ever watch it or any other TV station, so I'm not knowledgeable enough to have an opinion.