“American conservatives aren’t necessarily racists, but they are invariably anti-anti-racist.”


Ironically, only moments before viewing this article, I was making a point to a friend as to why the city of New Albany typically refuses to do very much about the physical infrastructure of “domestic” disturbances, particularly as they occur (a) in rental properties, and (b) outside the geographical and socio-economic vicinity where such matters typically (and cynically) are “expected” to occur, and are planned for accordingly.

Now, there exist various mechanisms which might be deployed by functionaries to turn up the heat on the property owner, but in my experience, these are only sporadically referenced. Political will is virtually non-existent, as you already know. Your issues cannot possibly exist in this shining city on the hill (or, in the flood plain).

In short, any elected official capable of convincing himself that an incessantly chanted mantra of “fundamentally better” describes a city where one’s own two eyes persist in returning a different verdict probably is inclined to exist in a perpetual state of denial.

If this place is wonderful, then by definition, there can be no unresolved problems. It follows that those who continue to point to the unresolved problems must be doing so from malice and spite. In short, in the current climate of make-believe, my friend’s complaints are likely to be construed as direct attacks on the mayor of the city, whose campaign platform is restricted entirely to this:

“These nice things I bought for you using your credit card are proof that we are fundamentally better and simply must go swimming while consuming more ice cream and cookies.”

Meanwhile, there is the tendency of conservatives to be “anti-anti-racist.” The preceding example has almost nothing to do with racism, as does the article referenced here. However, I’d argue that there is a linkage in the sense of cognitive dissonance, and methods of rationalizing it. Feel free to disagree, as we’re still supposedly allowed to do so, at least until the guns come out.

National Review Magazine’s Racism Denial, Then and Now, by Jeet Heer (New Republic)

… This unwillingness to admit a racist motive for the Charleston killings has a deeply political motive, for doing so would mean admitting that racism is a real, ongoing problem in American society—one that requires policies to counteract it.

American conservatives aren’t necessarily racists, but they are invariably anti-anti-racist. The creed of anti-anti-racism goes something like this: racism was a problem in the past, but no longer is a serious issue; the chief barrier for non-whites to advance in American society is their own behavior; attempts to remedy racism, such as affirmative action, are themselves a form of racism. For the anti-anti-racist, the very word “racism” has a strange, talismanic power. To utter the word “racism” is to create racism, which otherwise does not exist in the wonderful meritocracy that is America.