Racist Overcompensation

Why do so many Americans have a distain for truth? There are so many items I could mention here but the one I'll focus on here is the truth about race in our nation.

From the Texas School Board changing the name of slavery to "Atlantic Triangular Trade" in their school books, to Glenn Beck hosting a rally on the same date and place as MLK's famous speech to South Carolina celebrating their secession, (while claiming secession had nothing to do with slavery), it's really alarming how much a large portion of our nation is trying to erase the success of human rights and civil rights in this country.

From the smearing of Shirley Sherrod as a racist all the while ignoring her inspiring story which emerged from an era when institutionalized racism against black farmers was all too real, to the vilification of ACORN with a slanderous and fictional video, to hyped claims about a rising New Black Panthers movement there is an obvious attempt at elevating the idea of reverse racism as a national issue.

One word sums up all the attempts at revising our nation's history and understanding of racial issues is this:

Overcompensation n. An attempt to make up for a character trait by overexaggerating its opposite.

Also known as: Projection, appropriation, narcissism, ignorance.
The conservatives out there who are claiming reverse racism while revising the history of institutionalized and real racism are suffering from the most common traits of denial and lying: The guilty person may speak more than natural, adding unnecessary details to convince you. The guilty person gets defensive. The guilty person will deflect the issue and tell stories that are deliberately aimed at not answering the question you asked. And, the guilty person will reverse the accusation.

A perfect example was this "discussion" with Tea Party promoter Sal Russo on "Hardball" trying to change the subject when discussing Michele Bachmann's ridiculous claims on the Founding Fathers' supposed efforts at eradicating slavery.

Bachmann claims:
"The very founders that wrote those documents [The Constitution] worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

As anyone with at least a few years of education will recall the Civil War was almost 100 years after "those documents" were written. And, as anyone with a bit more book learning will tell you, those founders owned slaves too. (Though, Bachmann also claims our nation was founded as a Christian nation so this isn't the only issue she gets totally wrong in early American history).

I can understand why people would want to make themselves think their distain for truth and other human beings is justified and that past atrocities committed in our name never happened but I find it really hard to believe that their efforts seem to actually work. How their listeners can go along with such obvious lies and live in such ignorance of our history is as fascinating as it is frightening. History has a way of repeating itself if it is not remembered and learned from. Just as Holocaust deniers are shunned from a civil conversation, deniers of slavery and institutionalized racism should be shunned as well.

All the political discussions of our economic policies, foreign affairs and social services have valid and important arguments from both conservative and liberal circles but the opinions of people so deluded about the world they live in cannot be taken as anything more than what they are: The opinions of an ignorant person. We wouldn't take medical advice from an anti-vaccine crusader or a pharmaceutical marketing team, infrastructure advice from an anarchist or nutritional advice from an anorexic so why do voters, TV news watchers and a large percentage of Americans listen to these people?

Just like so many issues in this nation, race and our handling of its effects on society need to be discussed by sincere people if we are to continue along our proud journey of elevating the human condition so lets stop supporting the voices of people who prefer a time when women, minorities and the poor were oppressed. And if anyone feels threatened by the reverse racism of hostile words or affirmative action I'd recommend picking up a book or traveling to one of many oppressive places on the planet to learn what real oppression is.

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