When someone insists on making negative judgments about a group, in the face of numerous facts saying otherwise, what do you call it?
As most already know, actor Morgan Freeman recently made headlines by claiming that Republican opposition to Barack Obama was driven by bigotry. His comments were made Friday in an interview with Piers Morgan. Here is the relevant portion:
Freeman: The Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican Party…and Mitch McConnell, their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What… underlines that? Screw the country. We’re going to do whatever we do to get this black man…outta’ here.
Morgan: But is that necessarily a racist thing?
Freeman: It is a racist thing!
Morgan: Is it not just Republicans…. Wouldn’t they [inaudible] any Democrat President?
Freeman: No, ‘cause they would’ve gotten rid of Bill Clinton, if they could have.
Morgan: They tried.
Freeman: They tried, but still…. Ah, uh, they’re not gonna’ get rid of Obama, either; I think they’re shootin’ themselves in the head.
What indicates that Freeman used little logical thought when formulating this opinion is that, not only does it ignore all evidence, he also contradicts his own argument. Let’s look at the facts.
Republicans not only attacked Bill Clinton – who wasn’t really America’s “first black president” – but also John Kerry (remember the Swiftboaters)? Now, given that a 2007 study found that Obama had a voting record to the left of Kerry’s – in fact, Obama’s was the most left-wing record in the Senate – why would anyone think that Obama’s ideology alone wouldn’t be enough to make the GOP apoplectic? Of course, conservatives will object to any liberal holding office, just as liberals will object to any conservative holding office. Yes, I know all this is obvious. Apparently, Freeman doesn’t.
Here are a few more obvious facts. Conservative blacks are very popular within the Tea Party. Congressman Allen West is considered a star, Lloyd Marcus is a much loved speaker Tea Party Express events, and Herman Cain has long been a favorite of this most right right-wing faction. In fact, this just in: Herman Cain’s last debate performance has just vaulted him into the lead in the latest Zogby poll of “all likely voters and of likely Republican primary voters.” That’s ahead of melanin-compromised Rick Perry and blueblood Mitt Romney. Ah, I guess those “racist” Republicans must need glasses.
Given his immunity to the obvious, what can we say about Freeman? Well, consider this definition from Dictionary.com, “1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.”
This, of course, is found under the entry “prejudice.”
Freeman, in his denial of the obvious, has clearly formed “an unfavorable opinion or feeling…without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Freeman is clearly a prejudiced man.
This explains why he descended into irrationality. Only someone completely driven by emotion would respond to a question about whether the anti-Obama sentiment was ideological by saying it was not “‘cause they [Republicans] would’ve gotten rid of Bill Clinton, if they could have.”
Something tells me that debate isn’t Freeman’s bag.
Prejudice also explains why, when told that the Republicans did try to get Clinton, Freeman could only answer with, “They tried, but still….” The sentence ended there because there was no palatable response. But allow me to finish the statement for the actor, “…but still, I’m a prejudiced man and simply don’t like white people and Republicans. And that’s all I have to say about that.”
An unprejudiced person would accept what truly drives dislike for Obama: Conservatives don’t like white liberals. They don’t like black liberals. They don’t like half-white, half-black liberals. They don’t like liberals. This is simply the way conservatives are.
In Freeman’s world, however, ideology cannot be the primary motivator because skin color is. He naturally assumes that white people who oppose Obama are driven by prejudice.
Because he is.
And people tend to project their own feelings onto others.
Freeman wouldn’t call blacks who opposed Obama “racists” (he might call them something else), but whites? Well, that is simply the way white people are.
As for conservatives, another way they are is defensive. And this is why we lose the culture war, my friends. Instead of simply trying to refute the race card with denials and evidence – when the latter is irrelevant to prejudiced people, anyway – take the offense. Call Freeman what he really is.
He is a prejudiced man.
He is a bigot.
He is, to use a term popular with the young, a hater.
He doesn’t have to pull the race card from the deck because he keeps it safely in his breast pocket – close to his heart.
This, fellow traditionalists, is how you can stop being conservative and start being something else: victorious.
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