When did we arrive at the point where applying the words racist and racism were more radioactive than actually doing and saying racist things and demonstrating oneself to be a racist?
How is it that America insists on knowledge of the unknowable — what lurks in the heart — in order to assign the appellation?
Why are so many Americans insisting that racism requires conscious, malicious intent in order for the title to be earned?
Last week, much of America wrestled with whether to label the president racist after he published racist tweets about four congresswomen of color, demonstrating once again in the most overt terms that he is indeed a racist.
And yet many, including those in the media, struggled with whether or not to label his tweet, and by extension Donald Trump himself, as racist.
As the Columbia Journalism Review put it, some outlets did label the tweets as racist, but “On the whole, however, the news desks of mainstream news organizations did not call the tweets racist, or at least did not do so consistently across their output.”
In many cases it was up to critics, pundits and columnists to be the loudest voices in the chorus willing to call a thing a thing. And many of those voices were people of color who have been properly labeling Trump what he is from the beginning.
But, this raises a very serious question, particularly for our white colleagues in journalism and our fellow white citizens: What took you so long? Were these tweets really your racial Rubicon? Or, were they simply your last straw? Did nothing else in his decades-long track record earn him the designation? Or, do you simply reset the racism dial every few months?