The left has been throwing the “racist” epithet about so much lately that it, the epithet, has lost most of its impact. At the present rate, I predict the word will be semiotically empty by Thanksgiving.
The racial ambulance-chasers have rapidly and impetuously rebranded “racism” as “one who opposes Obama.” I don’t think they quite meant to, because it implies a significant number of
liberals progressives who ostensibly support Obama are, in fact, racists.
Many, many people people at Daily Kos, Huffington Post, firedoglake and MoveOn.org, etc. have regularly and roundly condemned Obama for being insufficiently progressive. His actions have been called a betrayal, and worse. When criticizing the President has become ipso facto, racist, all those president-criticizing progressives are, ipso facto, racists.
The words “petard” and “hoist” come to mind, because this attack on the meaning of racism brings up a problem not unlike the one that caused liberals to rebrand themselves as progressives. When all the impact has been sucked out of “you’re a racist,” what phrase will replace it? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright and the inquiring minds of the Congressional Black Caucus* want to know.
Bigot? No, you can be a bigot without caring about a person’s genetic code. Prejudiced? Ditto. Biased, illiberal, intolerant? Weak sisters. Chauvinist, xenophobic? The white feminists already trademarked the former, and the latter is just prejudice against people who are foreign, even if they are of your own race.
So I put it to you as a problem worthy of some thought, what word will replace “racist?” Its loss is a significant problem for the language.
*James Taranto notes that
…fewer than 1 in 4 Black Caucus members voted to stop spending taxpayers’ money on an organization [ACORN] that has been caught on video at least five times offering advice on how to practice slavery.