A Frank Luntz focus group thinks it’s just so unfair that when they “speak the truth,” people think they’re racists. What kind of “truth” do you think they want to speak?
The discussion was about why South Carolinian voters are “mad as hell,” as pollster Luntz put it, during a segment on last week’s The Kelly File. And somehow, rather than discuss issues like income inequality, stagnant wages, high cost of health care or student debt, all we heard about was white racial grievance – of the sort that Fox would surely be squawking about if any black people spoke that way about whites.
The bigoted insinuations began immediately as one man complained that we pay as much for “refugees and immigrants” as we are paying for veterans’ care.
There was a brief attack on ObamaCare as a woman claimed that health care “is going straight down the toilet” and “We can’t convince doctors to treat patients.” A man said he “got laid off because of ObamaCare and it’s not fair.”
And then there was this guy: “What bothers me the most in this country is that you can’t even speak the truth any more or else you’ll be called a racist or a bigot or any other thing.” Got that? It doesn't just bother him, it bothers him more than anything else in this country.
Rather than challenge him, Luntz asked if others agreed. There was significant applause.
“So, political correctness, does that bother you?” Luntz asked, as if in agreement with his focus group member that there’s something wrong in trying not to be racially offensive.
A woman sitting next to the “truthteller” – both in the front row – said, “It bothers me very much.”
“Because…” Luntz probed.
“Because I have a right to my opinion without being labeled something. I mean, it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Somebody else called it “reverse discrimination.”
Then there was this unfortunate or perhaps telling phrasing by a woman: “Anyone who says anything has to watch everything they say and you can’t label a spade a spade. Everyone is afraid to talk,” she said.
Another woman said, “What it really boils down for me is, the cultural change. I could have never imagined that in eight years of my country, I could have seen such a huge cultural change. …It’s an overwhelming umbrella of everything. It goes to how we treat our veterans, how we treat our older people, it’s a culture change, how we’re educating our children or not educating our children, how we have to treat one another."
Hmm, what could she mean about a “cultural change” in eight years?
Later, several members said they want to impeach President Obama.
Now, I have many times felt that I could not say what I really wanted to say. But it was never once because I thought somebody might think I’m a racist.
Watch the discussion below, from the January 15 The Kelly File, and I think it will be very clear what kind of “truth” these people want to speak.
Ding. ding, ding, ding, ding! Nailed it, Ellen. Well said.
If right wing GOP people don’t want to be called out for racism, then perhaps they shouldn’t do or say racist things. It’s not that hard. Just don’t be a racist and people won’t think you to be one. I agree with Ellen – what “truth” is it that these people feel they can’t speak out loud? That they don’t like Muslims? That they don’t like immigrants? That they don’t like black people? That they hate this President and are willing to believe any and every lie they are told about him?
Back in the 1990s, there was a silly right wing meme that got floated, saying that America was suffering from “compassion fatigue” – that privileged white Americans felt that they shouldn’t have to address the country’s long history of racism and discrimination. Members of FAIR had a great response at the time – they answered that this was an interesting question but millions of Americans were continuing to suffer from “racism fatigue”.
It’s like what I keep trying to explain to racist rightwingnuts: if you want to call me, or any other African American, a n!663r, go right ahead — you do have a 1st Amendment right to do so.
The only thing is (and this is the part they have problems with), they have to be willing to accept any consequences that result from their free speechifying.
What racists fail to realize is, freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from consequences — or even freedom from retaliation . . .
I) you don’t speak the truth.
2) And you are racist , and that’s the truth.
She would deny ANOTHER PERSON’S “right” to an opinion of HER because SHE gets offended by the “label.”
Hey, hon, here’s a bit of news for you. If you don’t like being called a racist, then you might just want to withhold saying racist crap. But, if you insist on the “right” to spew racist garbage, then you need to accept it’s another person’s “right” to call you a bigot.
Free speech: It’s not just for butthurt white people anymore.