Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bigot smackdown

Back in slave times, well-meaning folk made the argument that slavery hurt whites as much as blacks. For whites, the harm, of course, was to their moral character, and in a deeply religious society this was (and still is) serious business. You could go to hell. The argument also worked because it allowed whites to think of themselves as victims rather than perpetrators or beneficiaries of an unjust system--so they could be less defensive and more open to the abolitionist message.

When we read such arguments now, how bigotry harms the bigot as much as the victim, they mostly seem facile. But a deeper, subtler truth is still in there, and Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks it. This is a great, great post on how dumb bigots really are harming themselves and the mini-thems of the next generation, to whom they hope to pass the burning cross.

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