American Spectator Online
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
You may be anti-Islamic or anti-Christian or anti-Judaic, or like the journalist Christopher Hitchens anti-religion in toto, and still have a profound respect for all races.
Indeed the equation of religion and race has long been the favorite hobbyhorse of genuine racists. Were not the Nazis adamant that Jewry was both a religion and — first and foremost — a race?
It is easy to understand this fixation with race. The race card is the most effective way to silence critics and undermine the credibility of one’s opponent. When legitimate debate fails, cry racism. In this way, Muslims piggyback on the legitimate animosity toward racial bigotry.
By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Like many readers, we at Peace and Freedom live and work in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural arena. When we see the “race card” played it is often a sign of desperation or an act to get attention or win a point. Accusing someone of racism, in my view, is to accuse someone of a serious flaw and dilemma. But, thankfully, all too often, the accusers have no idea of the many facets of the people they accuse. The accusation of race discrimination is often a smoke screen to mask something more profound on the part of the accuser.
A case in point is the rebuttal to Mr. Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel by one Mr. Nasir Jones, AKA “Nas.”
Here is the way Shaheem Reid of the MTV web site reported on this situation:
“During a recent airing of his Fox News show, ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ the commentator blasted Nas’ free concert for the students of Virginia Tech (see “Nas, John Mayer, Dave Matthews To Headline Free Concert At Virginia Tech”) as an ‘abomination’ and ‘atrocity.’ O’Reilly referred to Nas — or ‘Nazz,’ as the TV host pronounced it — as a ‘gangsta rapper’ and said his lyrics are as ‘violent as they come,’ citing songs such as ‘Shoot ‘Em Up,’ ‘One Mic,’ ‘Ether’ and ‘Made U Look’ as his musical history of violence. (The show also displayed some of Nas’ concert footage and videos, plus the scene where Jay-Z gets shot in the video for ’99 Problems.’) O’Reilly called Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger ‘a villain’ for allowingm Nas to perform.”
“Having a rapper who trades in violence perform at Virginia Tech insults the victims, the university and the entire commonwealth,” said Mr. O’Reilly.
The response to all of this from Nas was:
“He’s a racist. Everybody has a marketing plan; his marketing plan is racism. ”
“He doesn’t understand the younger generation. He deals with the past,” Nas continued.
We believe that an attack (calling someone a racist, in this case) is vastly different from a defense. We do not believe we are too old or too dumb or too racist: yet we agree with Mr. O’Reilly that songs based upon violence, the “N-word,” degradation of women (or anybody else) or erotic themes contribute little to our world. Sexual overtones and violence intermixed with music may be “art” to Nas but we believe it to be trash.
At the Virginia Tech concert, Mr. Jones, AKA “Nas” reportedly said:
“To all those people who don’t know what Nas is about, like this chump Bill O’Reilly. I said that chump Bill O’Reilly. They can’t stop us, Virginia Tech. They cannot stop us.”
Most places, the opinion I just expressed (and that expressed by Mr. O’Reilly) is protected as free speech and not the grounds for playing “the race card.”
Nas’ eagerness to go on the attack rather than defending an indefensible way of making his income shows that he himself is a man of little merit who contributes nothing to the human race but hate, violence and disunion. These are the themes of his “music.”
We do not consider the likes of Nas as lofty role models or cultural icions either. If Nas is a manifestation of some praiseworthy culture; then that culture needs to seriously self evaluate the course it is setting for itself and its children.
Personally, I used to be offended when I saw anyone accuse another (especially someone that is practically a stranger) of something as foul as racism. Now I think, most of the time, that the accuser has no defense — and therefore goes on the attack.
I live and work in a predominately Asian-American environment. Many are refugees and many have lived through extreme hardships. Few complain. And you know what? They almost never hurl “the race card” during argument and debate. That kind of tactic is considered a “bridge too far” and “out of bounds” by many. Why do some think this is an effective way to make conversation? I haven’t a clue.
As I am interested in the origins and roots of names I thought I might mention that Nasir, the given name of Mr. Jones, is of Arabic origin and it means “supporter.” We suggest Mr. Jones ask his parents why he wasn’t names “attacker.” Either that or maybe he should modulated his conduct more toward that which his namegiver intended.
Finally, we have grown tired of attempts to intimidate by the pulling of “the race card.” We urge everyone to grow up and get used to living, functioning and getting along in this wonderful and diverse universe we inherited from others. Attacking each other rarely helps and often hurts.
And we urge the victims of these stupid accusations of racism to just walk away with the full knowledge that only fools go on the attack — instead of justifying, explaining and clarifying what they mean or stand for.
“Nas Slams Bill O’Reilly”
Nas on stage, 2006.