Monday, February 13, 2006

Rainbow Coalition racism

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Just pretending racism doesn't exist doesn't mean it isn't there.
Racism is not a forest; racial slurs pelted at black Republican candidates are not trees falling silently. People hear them, people see them and they are coming from a Democrat near you.
Yes, the Rainbow Coalition party has a dirty little secret: racist practices against blacks who dare to speak differently.
Democrats know how to fight and attack opponents whose skin color means they should not play for the other team.

How else can you explain Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland being pelted with Oreo cookies at Morgan State University in Baltimore? The unfunny joke -- Oreos are black on the outside, white on the inside -- shouldn't make any reasonable person laugh.
Otto Banks, a black Republican and recent Harrisburg City Council candidate, endured his share of similar racial attacks. Mailings by the Democratic State Committee portrayed him as a sellout, his signs were defaced with the word "whitey" and he was constantly called "Uncle Bush Tom."
Said Banks, now an outreach director for the Republican State Committee: "An African-American Republican running for office can expect to be pictured incessantly with President Bush, linked with the NRA and gun proliferation ... labeled a sellout and compared to Strom Thurman."
Yet that has not scared him away from the GOP. One campaign Banks will concentrate on is that of Lynn Swann, newly endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate. Swann, the ex-Steeler, ex-chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and self-proclaimed conservative, is black.
Racism is based on fear and fear makes people behave in ways they might not normally consider. The Democratic Party is fearful of losing its black-voter base, so it attacks. But the same bile it hurls on a daily basis at white Republicans comes out racist when it attacks black Republicans.
Just ask Condi Rice. Numerous unflattering labels have been hurled in her direction.
Something to consider, though. The superheros of the black movement -- Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton -- are noticeably absent when a black Republican is attacked.
They have no problem donning their race-card capes when a liberal black is attacked. But they had a hard time finding Maryland on the map when New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's henchmen did an illegal credit check on Michael Steele.
Where was their outrage? Their circus-like news conferences?
Oh, wait -- Steele isn't black, he's Republican.
What made the civil rights movement so great was that it was an agenda that was not personal; it had the support of all races. But somewhere along the way, the civil rights movement was hijacked by radical liberalism.
Somehow, I find it hard to believe that Martin Luther King would have advocated anyone of any color being treated in such a despicable way. Nor would he have appreciated his wife's funeral, a celebration of a life well-lived, being turned into a political rally intent on embarrassing a sitting president. This is the legacy of the civil rights movement?
No matter which way you cut it, racism is ugly, vile, and used as the lowest common denominator when all else fails.
If you have problems with candidates, attack their principles or their ideas, not the color of their skin.
Last time I checked, that was called racism.

Salena Zito is a Trib editorial page columnist. Call her at 412-320-7879. E-mail her at

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