Sean Hannity once again demonstrated that in matters of race, he seems to think that the real oppressed ethnic group in America is white people. However, he did allow as how, “I’ll be the first to admit the evils of slavery.” As if he isn’t more like the ten millionth to do so.
The subject of the discussion was not just Holder’s resignation but his comments on race, specifically Holder’s claim that we are a “nation of cowards” about race. As CNN noted, Holder meant that “Americans are afraid to talk about race, adding that “certain subjects are off-limits and that to explore them risks at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one’s character.”
Inadvertently making Holder's point, Hannity (and Fox News), have held up the statement as evidence of Holder's prejudice against white people. Hannity argued to Smiley:
There were white people that marched arm in arm with Martin Luther King Jr. White people that helped in the underground railroad in the days of Harriet Tubman. White people that supported blacks even during the time of slavery in this country. Are they cowards, too?
Nobody’s arguing that. What you’re talking about are certain individuals and certainly, there have always been individuals of every race, color and creed who have fought for social justice. Attorney General Holder’s point was… as a nation, we have not addressed these issues. In Ferguson, Missouri, what did we see almost 50 years after Dr. King’s death? That same triple threat on display: racism, poverty and militarism. America is a great nation, Sean. But we’re not yet as great a nation as we can be… If you can’t hear a principled critique of our shortcomings as a nation, how do we get better, Sean?
But while Hannity insisted he wants things “to get better and I believe in honest introspection,” he suggested that the only improvements needed are for white people:
“I’ll be the first to admit the evils of slavery,” Hannity grandly announced. Boy, that really shows his racial sensitivity, eh?
Then Hannity once again suggested that white people are the real race victims in the U.S.: "I’ll also be the first to admit that it wasn’t cowards that fought in a war to end slavery. It wasn’t cowards that marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hannity went on to say, “I got to know all those guys when I lived in Atlanta: Andy Young, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Maynard Jackson, Bill Campbell. ...John Lewis. All in their own way were courageous. But so were the people of other races that fought alongside. …For Eric Holder to deny the Civil Rights Act of 64 , the Voting Rights Act of 65. The Underground Railroad – that’s not a history of cowards on race."
Smiley did an excellent job of taking down Hannity’s interpretation of Eric Holder’s comments.
But let’s point out a few things about Hannity:
1. He has racially attacked those civil rights heroes he professes to admire, such as John Lewis and Joseph Lowery. He even racially attacked Coretta Scott King’s funeral (along with attendee Joseph Lowery and the NAACP). In fact, race baiting is Hannity’s stock in trade.
2. I can’t think of a single recent issue involving race in which Hannity hasn’t taken up the side of the white person: George Zimmerman and the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, e.g. And maligned African Americans who thought differently.
3. Smiley appeared on last night’s show to promote his new book about Martin Luther King. Instead of letting him discuss it, Hannity used most of the time trying to put Smiley on defense about African Americans being prejudiced against whites.
In the past, I have criticized Smiley for giving Hannity a pass on his race baiting and racism. Last night, Smiley did an excellent job parrying Hannity’s thrusts. If only Smiley had taken the bully by the horns and confronted him on his own disreputable record on race, I'd have been a truly happy camper.
Watch the debate below.