What does "racism" mean? I hate the rhetorical crutch of "Webster's dictionary defines...", but here's a decent definition:
OK, let's use that definition.
Now go read this from the National Review's John Derbyshire.
Here's the crux of his advice:
Put more simply: "Negroes! Run away! Run away!"
(I do like the phrase "a strange black". As opposed to "a familiar magenta"?)
In Derbyshire's argument, blacks are inherently inferior and dangerous because they are black.
Guys, that's racism.
And let's be clear, Derbyshire is not "speaking truth to power" nor is he bravely uttering things which no one will say.
Blacks are poorer than any other group but Native Americans. There are currently NO African American Senators. To the best of my knowledge there is one African American Governor. Obama doesn't suddenly mean that blacks as a group are empowered. It means that a black guy got elected President once. Progress is not an end point.
As for being bravely contrarian to prevailing PC discourse, that's a cop out. "Women shouldn't become president because they get PMS and their lady brains are too small and they cry too much" is not "brave contrarianism". It's sexism. "Blacks are dangerous because they are stupid and cruel" is not an expression of courage, it's an expression of racist fear mongering.
Calling Obama a bad president or a socialist is not racist (though the latter is bad political science). Calling Sarah Palin a stupid nitwit is not sexist. But saying that you should treat every black person not known to you personally as a potential criminal... yeah, that pretty much is.
Derbyshire goes on to say:
(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
The word we are looking for here is tokenism. I mean, he uses the word "amulet" for crying out loud. Of course, he also opines that affirmative action insures that you will routinely run into stupid black people that would otherwise be cleaning toilets or, let's just go there, picking cotton. And you should run away from any black people you don't know personally.
What must he think of the classroom in which I now sit proctoring a test? There are two African American students sitting in here, scribbling away on the Iranian political system. One is going to UPenn. Now, would Derbyshire say that when a budding young conservative reader of his
It must be so hard acquiring these amulets to protect you from accusations of racism.
It must be so hard to be white in America.
UPDATE: Angry Black Lady pretty much nails it.
UPDATE II: NRO fires Derbyshire.