White Folks Can Talk About Race Without Being Racist

Roland S. Martin
Roland S. Martin
Brit Hume is wrong. Of course white people can talk about race without being called racist. They just need to be smarter about it.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume went on Bill O’Reilly Monday night to seek comfort and reassurance that he is not a racist. Forgive me if I don’t shed any tears.Hume was perturbed by a few accusations hurled at him on Twitter—like that doesn’t happen all the time—that he was racist for comments he made on Fox News Sunday. The panel was discussing Attorney General Eric Holder’s complaints about mistreatment at the hands of Republicans in DC.

What raised the ire of Hume and so many others on the all-white Fox News Sunday panel was the fact that Holder dared to complain about the mistreatment he and President Obama have received.

Because he made those comments at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference—voila!—Holder must be playing the race card. If you watch conservative Fox News, and then listen to conservative talk radio and read conservative websites and blogs, that was the general conclusion. Nowhere in Holder’s speech did he even mention race, but for Hume and the others, his comments were a dog whistle.

Poor Bill O’Reilly, never one to screw up the details of an event, concluded that Holder did say he was being mistreated because of his skin color. But he was wrong: he never said it.

Let’s deal with Hume’s overarching theory that whites can’t discuss race without being called a racist.

Look, Brit, when you are trying to make a point that has any validity, it helps to at least use some sound analysis. Relying on a handful of Tweets don’t do that, buddy.

What Brit needs to understand is that as a black man, I have engaged in numerous discussions over the years with blacks, whites, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and anyone else about the issue of race. And Brit, when it involved whites, not only did I not call them racists, we actually provided a perspective for others to consider.

Heck, folks commenting on CNN.com message boards used to blast me for raising the issue of race in column after column, except that in many of them, I never even mentioned race. Assumptions can be pretty faulty, Brit.

I recall as a sophomore at Texas A&M University engaging in a discussion with a white fellow student. It was 2 a.m. and a bunch of people were hanging out in The Commons, one of the campus dormitories. I have no idea how the discussion started, but somehow this guy began to talk to my brother, and me, and he told us that he didn’t like blacks.

I asked why, and he said that it was because when he was a kid, a young black kid took his football after a dispute and ran home.

I started laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” he asked.

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Source: The Daily Beast | Roland S. Martin

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