Perspectives: Falsely crying ‘racism,’ the latest weapon of the thought police

Composite image. Television and gavel image by Talaj/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION — Comedienne Roseanne Barr has built a highly successful career over the past 30 years by joyfully sticking her finger in the eye of those who consider themselves her societal betters. While her schtick isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it clearly has resonated with enough rank and file viewers to generate a considerable television audience — twice.

The fact that Barr sent an insensitive, politically-motivated tweet shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with her brand of crass, populist humor.

What’s far more disturbing is the violent overreaction that has resulted from Barr’s tweet insulting former government official Valerie Jarrett. ABC quickly canceled Barr’s program and the social justice types went to work agitating to put a decisive end to her career.

Comparing Jarrett’s appearance to the product of an unholy union between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes was petty and insulting. To call it racist is simply the latest attempt to create mountains out of molehills.

Genuine racism is rooted in a belief of one’s inherent superiority over someone of a different race. It’s a manifestation of the pack mentality that some collective narcissists still cling to as an excuse to dominate or disenfranchise anyone who is not sufficiently similar to – or supportive of – their tribe.

It’s not an accident that the most predictable accusations of newly discovered racism always seem to originate from those who are most preoccupied with race.

Like the little boy who cried “Wolf!” those who cry “Racism!” at the drop of a hat, are rendering the word meaningless through its misuse. Instead of drawing attention to situations where objectively measurable harm is being done, accusations of racism have become an ideological bludgeon used to gain power over others.

These spurious accusations stifle the open exchange of ideas in which irrational or poorly informed ideas may be superseded with better ones.

The answer to making popular ideas which are sound and to expose those which are unsound is to encourage others to speak freely. Truth is more resilient than we’re being led to believe.

As Justice Louis Brandeis explains in Whitney v. California:

The fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. … If there be a time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.

One doesn’t have to agree with Barr to recognize that the scorched earth reaction to her insult is disproportionate, to put it mildly. Given Barr’s recent open support of President Trump, it’s likely that this jihad of outrage is a form of political payback from the left-leaning entertainment industry.

It’s a timely illustration that politics and entertainment have become leading sources of toxicity in our culture today. We’d all be wise to reconsider how much time and attention we’re willing to give them in our lives.

Barr’s tweet was a slap in the face to Muslims and a clear disparagement of Jarrett’s looks. To label it as “racist” is to attempt to weaponize the word as a catch-all with which to smear one’s ideological opponents.

Accusations of racism have become a verbal taser used by zealots to silence and shut down anyone with whom they disagree. It’s a tool to prevent wider dialogue by keeping certain ideas off limits and keeping everyone off balance as to what they may safely say or think.

Contrary to what we’re being told, tolerance does not equal uniformity of thought. That’s the characteristic of oppression and tyranny. Even when someone holds a viewpoint that others consider awful, so long as their behavior is peaceful, they have an absolute right to their beliefs.

Peter Bowerman describes how the self-proclaimed enforcers of tolerance have become the most vicious enablers of authentic intolerance:

One can only be darkly amused by the delicious irony of those espousing diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and openness being mighty intolerant, exclusive, and closed to the diverse perspectives of others.

Those doing the condemning would be wise to get a refresher in the power, simplicity, and brilliance of one’s natural rights. And to realize that, by definition, living by these rights—and letting others do the same—is the only way this grand experiment of ours can work.

The dogmatic need to silence those with whom we disagree is not a virtue. It’s the clearest possible evidence that we are not at ease with who we are or what we believe. That’s something we can fix.

Seeking to destroy others for perceived differences in opinion should never be mistaken for the higher work of trying to persuade others on the merits of our own beliefs. This is easier to do when we’ve paid the price to know where we stand.

Any time we find ourselves wishing to silence another person for merely disagreeing with us, it’s a safe bet that we don’t hold the moral high ground.


Read St. George News columnist Ed Kociela’s take on the Roseanne Barr incident here: “On the EDge: Why the Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee comments differ”


Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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24 Comments

  • No Filter June 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I am not defending Samantha Bee or ABC for firing Ms. Barr, but Bryan, stating that we are making a mountain out of molehill is by far one of the most ridiculous things you have ever said. Everyone knows that when you make a comment about African American people and compare them to apes, it is a racist comment. Anyone who denies that is just a racist themselves. It is amazing how many of your readers (who will surely attack me) will agree with you. You may think your not a racist, but agreeing with this article puts you in the category of a racist plan and simple.

    • Utahguns June 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      You expose yourself as a prime example of what Bryan Hyde is describing here: The Thought Police.

      Your use the word “racist” freely and “weaponize the word as a catch-all with which to smear one’s ideological opponents”.
      In Bryans example, you and other’s like “comments” and “bike and fish” …..”seek to destroy others for perceived differences in opinion” and “should never be mistaken for the higher work of trying to persuade others on the merits of our own beliefs.”

      Actually reading the article first then making your opinion will save you the embarrassment of reactions from readers that describe you as “the pompous blowhard and the juvenile cloggy”.

      • bikeandfish June 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm

        Do you think anyone is embarrassed by John’s prepubescent insults?

        I personally provide the same level of thought as the written piece. After a year that tends not to include much response to Hyde’s lazy dog whistles.

        If when Hyde chooses to truly engage ideas instead of engage in psuedo intellectual regurgitation than I will spend more time considering them. But it doesn’t take long to see that Hyde is currently a echo chamber fear mongerer who doesn’t even remain consistent to his own constructive criticisms of others. His first step in the right direction would be to learn to be more specific and stop attacking broad, nebulous groups of manufactured enemies.

        I don’t tend to think most readers here are racists but many do perpetuate racism and racist ideas.

        • Utahguns June 6, 2018 at 7:17 am

          Bryan Hyde seems to have a superb track record for telling it like it is.
          If his discussions and opinions are so off track, then why is he so accepted by the majority.
          You don’t get to have a successful radio talk show if you’re perceived as an antagonist, racist, activist or off-the-rails ideologist.

          Which brings me to this point: Conservative radio is unbelievably successful compared to liberal radio talk shows. There’s hardly any evidence of the lefts existence on radio.

          In addition, you brought up an accusation about Bryan, which in reality, you are very good at.
          That is: psuedo intellectual regurgitation.
          This shoe fits you superbly.

  • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Its not shocking that Hyde lacks an awareness of the racism driving the comment or that he utterly fails at critiquing the foundations of the claims of racism. Once again he goes to the dog whistles of “jihad”, “social justice types”, etc. Hyde’s comments are lazy and ill-informed about an important topic (racism in the US) that has dire inpacts on minorities.

  • ladybugavenger June 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    I find it interesting that some of the same people that dont believe in God and say we evolved from apes, find it offensive to call someone an ape.

    • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      LBA, you clearly don’t understand human evolution. We didn’t “evolve from apes”. Humans and many primates share a common ancestor, which isn’t the same thing as your statement.

      And while your statement is cute it takes a willful ignorance to ignore how much of our country’s history and culture involve(s)(d) demonizing and dehumanizing people of color via comparison to primates, etc. This is common knowledge and happened regularly into the 20th century. And much of white supremacy still relies upon such beliefs.

      You might benefit from reevaluating your approach unless you actually value racism because ignorant comments like yours perpetuate discrimination even if you don’t recognize it.

      • ladybugavenger June 4, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        We didnt evolve! How about that! 😁😁😁

        • ladybugavenger June 4, 2018 at 6:58 pm

          Because if a specimen evolved and eventually became apes and the apes became people then there would be no apes.

          I’m not as racist, but I do stereotype. However, as the definition of racist evolves, I may be called a racist for saying, Mexican, black, or Asian because I’m white.

          My husband is native american, I saw the looks he got from the white folk in St George, their look would change when I walked up.

          • Pheo June 5, 2018 at 12:26 pm

            If Americans came from England, why are there still English people?

        • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 8:57 pm

          It’s not shocking to me that you proudly take an antiscientific stance. And you it appears you actually don’t understand the basics of evolution nor the multidisciplinary evidence that supports the well-established scientific theory (ie different than lay use of word).

          And stereotypes are often based on racist assumptions. You may not value racism directly but your ideas here have directly and indirectly played with racism. We can differentiate between racism and the occasional racist behavior and the benchmark of being honestly racist. Nickdanger is one of the few people I can comfortably call a racist here; I’m guessing most others just haven’t fully inventoried themselves to understand how racism influences their ideas, ie why we were never “post-racial” in this country.

          I have no doubt your native American husband has dealt with plenty of racism. Our country has never been accountable for our racist actions with the many native tribes and it percolates to the surface on a regular basis.

          • Utahguns June 4, 2018 at 10:05 pm

            Well then professor, if the scientific stance of the”big bang” theory holds water…..Who created the materials/mechanism for this reaction?
            For the less informed, I’ll ask…”Who lit the fuse?”

            Scientists tend to explain that in the beginning, there was not yet any matter. However, “there was a lot of energy in the form of light, which comes in discrete packets called photons. When photons have enough energy, they can spontaneously decay into a particle and an antiparticle.” Supposedly they’re explaining the “seed” of evolution. So again, how did the “form of light” evolve?

            I don’t think LBA is antiscientific, she just poses an interesting theoretical question, you can’t logically answer.

            No matter how your care to spin this, matter, its existence and the physics that support matters existence and the reaction to other types of matter……..evolved somehow. Right?

            How about intelligent design?
            OK, so where do the forces that dictate intelligent design come from? Did that just happen by chance too?

            Yes, there is evolution in the universe and earthly species, but, where did the “Laws” of that oversee evolution come from?
            The laws of physics state that “matter” just doesn’t come out of “nothing”.

            That’s why the majority of scientists who don’t want or care to discuss creationism, usually stop here…at the big bang theory.

          • comments June 4, 2018 at 10:20 pm

            yuuuuuuup, all kinds of questions that “librul science” can’t answer. Unfortunately it still doesn’t make your Jesus and your holy bible (or is it the holy buybull?) any more than just a contrived set of fairytales. Same with the BOM for us LDS’ers ;).

          • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 10:38 pm

            Ugh, intelligent design is a religious antiscientific claim, not a scientific one.

            LBA didn’t pose a question and therefore didn’t get an answer. She stated an idea that exposed her fundamental ignorance regarding human evolution. Its a common mistake and rhetoric.

            And yes, her stance is inherently antiscientific. She denies a fundamental scientific theory based on personal ignorance.

            The rest of your comment is unrelated to the conversation and I will rightfully ignore it.

          • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm

            PS…scientists don’t discuss creationism because its a religious construct not a scientific theory.

  • John June 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    More “eye rolling” clueless comments from the pompous blowhard and the juvenile cloggy! hahahahahaha! You two should actually read the piece

  • commonsense June 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    To the left, racism is the answer to any question about conservative values. It even tops homophobia as the preferred answer.

    When honest law abiding Americans want an end to illegal immigration, border security, voter ID, sanctuary of criminals, police asassanation they are called racists.

    Truth is, it’s about laws that this country held dear until Dems decided to buy votes to expand their power base. Racism almost disappeared until BHO started promoting Michel Brown and Travon Martin as national heroes. The gloves came off and Obama was exposed as a race baiter. The divided nation played to his fantasy of global socialism through class warfare, a Nazi tactic used by Hitller to kill a particular culture of non arians, not just Jews.

    Any success by moderates, and there are plenty, is painted by Dems as racist. The great era of full employment and lower taxes is just about racism, right? Read about Clarence Thomas, George Sowell and Ben Carson and see if racial prejudice ever got in their way.

    • bikeandfish June 4, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      BS take. Immigration reform isn’t racist. “America First” rhetoric is racist; not because many Americans value the superficial element of that phrase but because it was a historic marketing phrase often deployed by racists through time. Its resurgence by Trump wasn’t accidental and his team knew those meanings and leveraged that unfortunate undercurrent.

      You can create foreign and immigration policy without racists foundations. Many conservative Americans do on a regular basis. But Trump doesn’t fit into that category. He scapegoats entire people (and continents) in racists manners constantly.

      • John June 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

        Didn’t you bother to read the piece? Looks to me like it’s calling people like you out! Not a single mention in the piece of immigration or America First. I think your reading comprehension is broken! You and your long winded rabbit trails that lead nowhere.

        • John June 5, 2018 at 9:17 am

          It’s no wonder democrats can’t get anything done!

  • Striker4 June 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I got a new lawnmower

    • No Filter June 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Sweet, nothing better than that new mower smell. That is by far the best news on this website in a long time. Congrats

  • jaybird June 5, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Most people who are racist dont think they are.

    • bikeandfish June 5, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      I’ve seen some evidence of that. But personally I tend to differentiate between people who occassionally behave or speak in racist ways versus those who seem to perpetually do so and adhere to racist values. Most people are willing to change their behavior when critiqued if its a behavior inconsistent with their values. Behavior tends to be move malleable and values tend to be more fixed.

      An example, the only open racist I have seen on this forum is Nick Danger. He seems to thrive in some of the worst racism of our era. On the other hand, even the best of here who value equality and anti-racist behavior sadly still behave inconsistent with those values because of how persistent racism is in this country. Its a resilient beast and most of us sadly still have been informed by it in some fashion.

      In my opinion, its folks like Hyde who enable its persistence at moments in which we could be doing the hard work of change. Even if he isn’t racist, which I assume he isn’t, he unwittingly protects its most overt behaviors in pieces like this that provide safe harbor for the dehumanizing words and conspiracies like Barr forwarded. The racism is clear cut in the ape comparison and Hyde is being lazy in not addressing that history; its the epitome of white privilege to attack some diffuse group of SJW types and “identity politics” (his laziest of manufactured enemies) instead of diving deep into the racist realities underpinning our current issues. But in my observation, Hyde has never exhibited a true curiosity or interest in research of new knowledge that is required to truly analyze these American problems. He’s too busy perpetuating the laziest of libertarian rhetoric.

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