When they call you a racist

I had breakfast with a PR guy who began his career as an actor. The stage and public relations both require “alligator skin,” since people with an agenda are absolutely willing to lie about you these days.  (They believe their own lies, so it makes it easier, and, of course, they hide beyond anonymous accounts and fling defamation from seven states away, so it doesn’t take much courage.)

The facts are simple in my case: when I wondered, out loud, where all this mythical “white nationalism” really was, that alone was enough for some folks on the internet to conclude I was a racist.  When I ridiculed Louis Farrakhan’s gross and genocidal racism, and Barack Obama for courting his favor, they wanted to stitch a scarlet “R” on my breast again.  Since our story broke, dutiful progressives just followed along and repeated the charge like parrots taught to cluck vulgarities.  On Yelp, many of them actually made up stories about our employees using the “N” word to address customers.  Social Justice Warriors are something like their hero, Jussie Smollett; they have no shame.  At a loss to find real racism, they make it up, and if BLM Activist Ashleigh Shackleford is any indication, many of them actually believe that all white people are racist, so they feel justified in defaming their fellow Americans, facts be damned.

Here’s the problem: it’s one thing to endure a bit of this insanity from unhinged people in an internet conversation no one is reading, but when it becomes the subject of a media piece, when it threatens your living, it really can be unnerving. They know this. In my own case, I found myself thinking, “will black people who don’t know me think I’m a racist? Will people who don’t know me conclude the absolute worst about me?  I’ve just hired twelve new employees.  What do they think of me?”

Along with my attorney, Thomas Eastmond, I think the battle against racism is ongoing and necessary. In a culturally and racially diverse country, it is more than merely virtuous; it’s serves our self interest. Who wants to live in a perpetually festering war zone like Belfast or the Balkans or South Africa?  Who wants to be carrying a tribal spear everywhere they go?  Who wants to define themselves by something as utterly superficial as their skin color?

But unlike the vast majority of progressives and a few conservatives, I believe the battle is largely won. I don’t see segregated lunch counters, or separate seating on the bus.  I don’t see racist sheriffs using water cannons to break up protests. When even Obama’s justice department found no civil rights violations in the Michael Brown case, I’m sensing a lot of race-warriors desperate to keep the battle raging, desperate–Jussie Smollett style–to sniff racism and police brutality where it does not exist.

I profoundly believe that the worst thing you can do to any child is lead them to believe the odds are stacked against him, that America–the most generous, tolerant country in the world–is full of bigots anxious to hold him back. It is soothing to feel sorry for yourself, but it’s a false religion complete with false demons and a pretext for hating your fellow citizens of the wrong color.

On the contrary, the most profound liberation anyone can feel is the final realization that we are all primarily responsible to ourselves for our own success or failure.  I don’t need affirmative action to earn admission to college or federal agencies protecting me from loan and housing discrimination.  I need to study, to work, to earn, to be loyal to my family, and my obligations, and, ultimately, I pick my own path and my own destination.

Unfortunately, the left finds this message of self-reliance prima facie evidence of racism itself.  It’s all they have, and they will use it against you, but your obligation is to tell the truth.  Put on the alligator skin when you do, because they bite back hard.

Let them know they are messing with the wrong alligator.