Jared Taylor of American Renaissance magazine stated that Americans spend too much time talking about whites' racism against Blacks, but never address Blacks' racism against whites. As an example, he pointed out that Blacks can call whites "crackers" without any repercussions, but whites cannot use the "N" word. Although I do not believe this is a good example, it might be worthwhile to examine whether Blacks should be able to use potentially offensive words when referring to whites. According to Mr. Taylor, whites live in constant fear of saying something that might offend Blacks. Is this true? If so, does this "fear" hinder opportunities for cross-cultural communication and impede the development of personal and professional relationships between Blacks and whites?
Taylor is not my favorite human being, to say the least. When even FrontPageMagazine calls you a "white nationalist who has clearly rejected a multi-racial society," that's a pretty powerful sign that the charge of being a racist is not hyperbole. I have no clue how he got included on a panel on a major television network.
That being said, I agree with Professor Maldonado: Taylor's "cracker" "N-word" example is really dumb, but there is something to be said for the notion that White people walk on egg-shells when talking to Blacks. This doesn't get discussed for a variety reasons. Obviously, its difficult to start a discussion when the topic is "we're anxious about having discussions." Moreover, the Whites who do tend to broach the topic tend to be the ones like Mr. Taylor, who are appalled they can't say the "n-word" on equal grounds with Black people, rather than White people who honestly want to pursue the topic in good faith. Because of that, the public discourse on race conversation tends to come from a particular wing of Whites that doesn't seem interested in truly pursuing a race-equal society. And thus, Black people look warily on the topic as a whole as well.
This is problematic. Patricia J. Williams notes that race topics are made to be unmentionable
[both] blacks and whites will feel keenly circumscribed. Perhaps most people never intend to be racist or oppressive or insulting, but by describing zones of vulnerability, by setting up regions of conversational taboo and fences of rigidified politeness, the unintentional exile of individuals as well as races may be quietly accomplished and avoided indefinitely. [Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights 65 (1991)]
Breaking this discursive impasse has to be considered a top priority for anti-racism scholars in the years to come.
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