Whoa, Nellie! Everyone’s Decided Bundy Is Racist! But Is He?

Written by Allan Erickson on April 27, 2014

Jake Tapper at CNN and a number of others have already ruled in the case of Cliven Bundy.  They’ve convicted Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy of racism. They have also convicted, by extension, most of Cliven’s supporters, sentencing them to political oblivion.(Curiously, in the next breath they’ll insist they support the rule of law, unlike Cliven it is argued, all the while lighting torches and carrying pitch forks.)

Several conservative luminaries have joined Jake and the rest of the self-appointed justices in condemning Cliven, people like Sen. Rand Paul, Glenn Beck and Charles Krauthammer.   Just wait until we hear from Reid and Sharpton.  It’ll be hay day in grassland.

Before we look at what Cliven actually said, let’s recall the actual definition of “racism” since the word has come to mean anything the Left wants it to mean, unless “sexist” or “homophobe” carries a bigger punch.  In other words, the word “racism” has become a weapon used instantly by the Left for any reason whatsoever simply to destroy any individual or group with a dissenting opinion.

Racism: the belief that some races of people are better than others; poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race. (Merriam-Webster)

Now to what Cliven Bundy said recently as reported by the N.Y. Times: “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.  And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Did Cliven say blacks are inferior to whites?  Did he say blacks are inferior to brown-skinned people?  Did he say blacks are subhuman?  Did he imply any of that by saying they never learned how to pick cotton?  Did he advocate mistreatment of anyone, or violence against blacks?

One must admit his remarks about picking cotton and asking if blacks were better off as slaves . . . ill-advised of course, and offensive.  But notice, Cliven says he is wondering if much has changed compared to the present-day situation many people find regardless of skin color: dependency on government, which often results in few options, cycles of poverty and aimlessness.

Obviously Cliven’s logic is faulty.  And his characterizations are inaccurate.  Blacks don’t send their young men to jail because they did not learn how to pick cotton, and being on welfare does not necessarily lead to abortion.  Cliven is neither a sociologist nor a media-savvy politician.  He’s a cowboy, a rancher and a melon farmer.   He does not study the social psychology of race relations, and probably doesn’t spend a lot of time watching television.  His experience with blacks is most likely confined to observing some families in government housing in Las Vegas, as he admits.

But does all this make him a racist?

I’ll wager if a black man drove by Cliven’s home he might very well conclude therein resides a redneck who knows little about what it’s like to be black in America, and he might even call him a racist.  But I won’t.  The word “racism” has been thrown about so much, it has lost its meaning, because the definition changes with the target.

Finally, when are conservatives and traditionalists going to show a little spine and stop diving for cover every time someone says something stupid?  Any number of prominent black men and women have called whites “devils,” even calling for their deaths, but we hear not one peep about that kind of real racism. Isn’t it time to stop throwing each other down the stairs every time the Left shouts “racism!”

PS:  Does Cliven’s case against the feds now deserve dismissal because of his ill-advised remarks about blacks?  If so, we’ve allowed the litmus test of political correctness to overwhelm all other considerations, as if citizenship itself hinges on one’s PC status, not the Constitution.

Image: Courtesy of: http://mrskhistory.wikispaces.com/*Ku+Klux+Klan

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012, serves on the board of www.RestoreAmerica.org. He is available to speak in churches addressing the topics of faith and freedom. Register & Vote! Contact: allanlerickson@gmail.com