Monday, September 28, 2009

Racism: More Than a Mosquito

Cultural commentator John McWhorter uses the mosquito as a metaphor for racism. I'll include two portions from his recent column in the New Republic that mention this metaphor:

"Like mosquitoes, some small, irritating racist element will always exist in every society..."

"It is certainly not pretty that some people's take on Obama is likely mediated by racism. But the phenomenon is less a matter of open bigotry than a breach of civility. Who ever thought that all people would be civil at all times? And who ever thought, given the inherent imperfectability of humankind, that racism is somehow different from our other flaws and could be subject to complete elimination? No one pens doorstop volumes announcing that mosquitoes still exist. We know they do, and we assume they always will, because life isn't perfect. The issue is how close to perfect we can expect to get. Surely, healthcare, two wars overseas, and a deeply ailing economy are more important than mosquitoes -- or whether some people's feelings about Barack Obama are less than, yes, civil." (Read the whole thing here)