A lot of people in the US believe that the r-word has no place in modern discussions. To say that an event is rooted in the word often causes listeners to tune out, because it’s immediately clear that you are making a desperate and false argument.
But, is that true? Does that explosive word never have a place in intelligent discourse?
Former President Carter boldly stepped forward and said what he meant– using the r-word fearlessly, but carefully.
The word shouldn’t be thrown about recklessly, but there are times when it is reasonable and not to be ignored.
Update: Watch Princeton’s Prof. Melissa Harris-Lacewell comment on this issue here. She sees a difference between anti-racism and neutrality.
Update: There’s been a lot said about the former President’s words and assertions that his comments were too broad and not limited to those with “who go beyond disagreement to making statements and committing acts that are filled with extreme emotion (extreme fear or anger).” So, here are two quotes (italics added). Judge for yourself…
“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.”
“When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds. I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American. It’s a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States,”