I am reading an absolutely fascinating book by Ian Haney López, “Dog Whistle Politics.” It breaks down the coded messages used by the right to declare themselves as not being racist while in fact, being racist!
Growing up in the 50’s and experiencing the hardcore Jim Crow south (and defacto-segregated north) I have conditioned myself not to be surprised by the ridiculous statements people make to cleverly make their veiled racial points. So I’m not surprised to hear such an absurd statement as the one made by Georgia Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk who says “I feel safer in Israel than when I am in New York City, Chicago [or Baltimore!”]
Loudermilk made the comment on Washington Watch, the conservative radio talk show of the Family Research Council. He was trying to make a point about his overseas trip to discuss middle east security.
“The whole time we were there, of course, we had security with us, but there was no restrictions on travel, we never felt threatened one bit — unless you’re threatened by the merchants in the Old City trying to get you to come in their shops.” He went on to say, “In fact, I can say that we felt safer in Israel than we would in certain parts of New York City or Chicago,” Loudermilk said.
“Yeah — or Baltimore, I would think, as well,” interjected host Tony Perkins.“Exactly,” replied Loudermilk laughing.
Back to Ian Haney López and Dog Whistle Politics… López told Bill Moyers last year:
“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Moyers, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”
Fine tuning your mental filters is your best defense to guard against such outrageous statements such as that made by Loudermilk. Even if you want to believe it, call it what it is, and own it!