The Perils of Accidental Racism

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A couple of weeks ago, a CNN reporter was forced to apologize for using the term “colored people” on the air. In her apology, she said she meant to say “people of color.” This explanation was sufficient, proving that we’ve reached the point in America’s history where logic itself has started to break down. People are running around being governed solely by their irrational emotions, ready to unleash hell on anyone who triggers them. There’s no time for even a moment’s thought, apparently, because it would take only a moment to realize these two phrases mean exactly the same thing.

The standard for racism in this country used to be based on intent. Today, we define racism by impact, even if the “impact” is just one dude who got his feelings hurt. And since you can always find someone to be offended by something, you can find racism wherever you look for it.

In recent years, this has transformed the following non-racist things into racism: The word “niggardly,” disliking Barack Obama, certain Halloween costumes, disliking rap music, liking rap music too much, dating only white people, serving another culture’s cuisine, attending a Donald Trump rally, the phrase “all lives matter,” describing a black suspect as a black suspect, the Confederate Flag, the word “thug,” and much, much more.

You think our prisons are overcrowded now? Just wait until liberals start putting hate speech laws on the books.

Last week, a sixth-grade teacher in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas divided her students up into two groups and allowed them to come up with their own team nicknames. One group chose “Dream Team.”

The other group chose “Jighaboos.”

When one of the students told his father about the nicknames, he was outraged.

“You put Dream Team and then you have the Jighaboos,” he told a local Fox affiliate. “Really? That’s unacceptable.”

Though spelled differently, the word “jigaboo” is a racist slur against black people.

Now, you may have already known that. The father obviously already knew that. And we may even be able to safely assume that, on the whole, “most people” know that jigaboo is a racist word.

But can we also agree that there may be people who don’t know? Isn’t that possible? And if they don’t know, what offense have they committed?

The teacher in question claimed to belong to this group. “The teacher took it down,” said a district spokesperson. “She was mortified, and she cried.”

But this didn’t mollify the father.

“Ignorance is not a defense,” he said.

Hmm. About that…

In this case, ignorance is not only “a” defense; it’s the only defense that she could possibly use. And it’s a perfectly reasonable one. Unless this guy is a trained scholar of racial slurs, guess what? There are probably dozens – if not hundreds – of such slurs that he is utterly unaware of. But since he knows this one, he can’t comprehend the idea that someone else on the planet doesn’t. Not because he’s stupid (though he may be); because he doesn’t want to comprehend it. He wants to feel that righteous outrage. He wants some drama in his life. So he took nothing and turned it into something.

No word on what nickname the teacher chose to replace The Jighaboos.

Maybe “Boos of Jigha” would work.