Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A woman has the right to change her mind

"I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that you can prove a negative, and that Stacy must now prove he is free of racism. Can’t they do that with an MRI these days?"
-- Little Miss Attila

What a zany cut-up, that one. More madcap misadventures in miscegenation!

True fact: One day in the newroom of the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, I was making fun of something -- I forget what -- and with an expression of mock horror used the word "miscegenation."

One of our reporters, Marla Edwards (who subsequently went to work at CNN's Web site) looked at me and said, "Wow, I've never heard anybody say that word out loud before."

The word has an interesting etymology, evidently having been coined (from Latin roots) in 1864 as the title of a pamphlet distributed by New York Democrats, who accused the Republican Party of promoting miscegenation. True fact.

And here's another true fact: "Racism" is of 20th-century French origin. (Unlike "collaboration," which the French did not invent, but merely perfected.)

One of the basic assumptions made when somebody goes to accuse a Southerner of racism is that the accused is an ignoramus, to whom the accuser is so intellectually superior that the ensuing argument is going to be a slam-dunk victory for the accuser.

Like I ain't been around this track a time or two, y'see? If anyone ever wants to schedule a panel discussion about stereotypes, just give me a holler. I've been stereotyped from birth.

Since we're dabbling in a bit of linguistics, semantics and other elements of forensic rhetoric here, y'all go take a gander at what Jeff Goldstein has to say in this matter.

(And don't let Attila fool you, boys. You know who she'd rather have beers with.)


  1. Sadly, as much as I wish to assert that "true fact" is redundant, that no longer seems the case.

  2. If indeed an ignoramus ye be, ye be the world's only sesquipedalian ignoramus. (how often do you get to use the word "sesquipedalian" in a sentence?)

  3. Talk about channelling your little [Charles] Johnson, lifted from the comments of Patterico:

    Somebody respected on the right needed to call out RSM’s racist (my opinion) comment and his vacillating on whether or not to even admit that he made it.

    Why? Because it’s right to call out bad arguments, regardless of who is making them.

    Comment by oneisnotprime — 12/9/2009 @ 8:23 pm

    Good grief. The only person winning here is Chuckle’s Little Green Johnson with his own smear campaign.

    Comment by zaugg — 12/9/2009 @ 8:30 pm

    oneisnot, you’re right.

    i feel like sharmuta for agreeing so much with Patterico, but someone needed to do this.

    This is the best time to get this shit out and talk it over. Do you really want RSM to get a big story on Obama that is diminished by that “Have you whipped your slaves today” Usenet post? (comment #90 in the last thread on the topic has a link).

    RSM is a GREAT blogger. He actually goes out to the story and gets some news. It’s tough to be a fan and also condemn someone’s work, but he’s got, at best, severe irresponsibility when it comes to this topic. Now everyone is comparing Patterico to Charles Johnson, when really, the comparison makes clear that there’s a fair and proper way to criticize someone, and there’s a psycho way to overblow your criticism like a maniac.

    Everyone bashing this for the timing, or because it’s friendly fire that will somehow hurt us in the ballot box, or because they don’t think this should even be discuss, you folks are mad a someone for verifying a quote. It’s not that harsh of an attack. The way RSM responded was much harsher. I am no man’s judge, but you do not want this guy to be a leader of the right. RSM keeps blaming others for his career problems. It’s time for personal responsibility. Pajamas Media would still be using him, and I think he’s be very successful, if he didn’t have these several examples of racially jackassed comments. Professional writers who do this have only one place to point the finger when it burns their ass.

    Comment by Dustin — 12/9/2009 @ 8:30 pm

    Why? Because it’s right to call out bad arguments, regardless of who is making them.

    How many people here agree with oneisnotprime?

    I do. It seems few others do.

    I’m my own person, so whether you like it or not I won’t refrain from calling out bad arguments from any “side.”

    The people who can deal with that, will deal with it. Those who can’t, don’t have to.

    Comment by Patterico — 12/9/2009 @ 8:33 pm

  4. Joe said...
    Talk about channelling your little [Charles] Johnson, lifted from the comments of Patterico

    Concern Troll HQ. Yeah, that's the surefire formula for blog success.

  5. Chance said...
    the world's only sesquipedalian ignoramus

    "Sesqipedalian"? You're just trying to provoke me into posting that Speedo photo again, aren't you?

  6. Hi RSM,

    In an earlier post you asked "Who have I wronged, that I should seek their forgiveness?" I have a mixed race marriage as does one of my brothers. My daugther and his are both biracial. I am a lay minister in two churches that have a number of mixed race marriages, even black/asian. Your words about tribalism and natural revulsion may be true, but they are not good. Words are important. They have consequences. Your words can be used by others to justify thier hate and racism. If someone in my family, my wife's family or one of my church member's families accepts what you have written as a justification for their own racism then you share some of their sin.

    I believe you have injured us and you owe us an apology. You also ought to make clear that this natural revulsion/tribalism is not a moral good. It would be even more wonderful if you would use your power with words to help people overcome their revulsion.

    My name is Peter J Barban.

  7. RSM,
    Don't mean to cause you trouble, but this business reminded me of a Sunday School lesson I taught some years back. Moses had brought home a wife who wasn't white enough for his sister, and you know how that worked out. And Israel had taken Canaanite wives in the time of Ezra and that didn't work out. You'll note the girl in the first case was said to have a dusky toned complexion and the Canaanite babes were lilly white. My read of the OT is that if you're hankering to get hitched, it's more important that the girl belongs to the same religion as you than the same race. My final word was, "I'd rather have brown Christian grandkids than lilly-thite pagan grandkids."

    I think that once you start getting into the nuts and bolts of what exactly people are talking about, these charges of racism evaporate in the light of day. But if everyone keeps quiet or speaks in vague platitudes, there is too much risk of being unfairly accused. Consider abortion, King Barry got a pass from Evangelicals because he spoke with the same platitudes as King George, II. If he'd delved into details, if we'd insisted he disclose details, then he'd have been outed as a sheep or a goat.

    Same goes here. If we openly discuss the parameters of our beliefs abour Racism, we immunize ourselves against accusations of Raaaaacism.

    And (in the words of Greg Gutfeld) if you don't agree with me, you're probably a racist.

  8. I am trying to understand this; why will anyone feel uncomfortable if they have an in-law of a different races? As a person of color, who also happens to lean conservative ideologically, who reads your blog everyday, I want to understand. Is it a generational thing? Is it a geographical thing?

  9. Robert, in the words of Richard Nixon, "I gave them the daggers" what were you thinking, that passage is impossible to defend, now it doesn't seem at all in character with much of your other comments.

    Now Frey's pileon is unforgivable,
    particularly since they didn't give Obama's more pertinent statements, anything close to the same scrutiny, in fact they vouched for him being a'good man,' and we 'should give him a chance,'but facepalm, all around

  10. Wow. So the whole point of Patterico's broadcasting and misconstruing a comment left 13 years ago on a list-serv no one reads is to prove to the rest of the blogosphere that "I'm not with him." Classy.

  11. George Wallace demonstrated that there is a statute of limitations on racism; the question is not "are you now or have you ever been a racist".

    Even had RSMcC intended that comment as his detractors are wont to interpret (a "fact" considerably in question) it would only be material if he still espoused such views. Does the absence of additional evidence constitute proof that he has become vastly more adept at hiding his racism??? What ought we conclude about the agenda of anyone establishing such standard? Why would anyone cooperate in efforts to make raaaaascism the new McCarthyism?

    N.B. PJB -- You have suffered no harm from those words except as you imagine somebody might abuse them. If we were all to be held accountable for how OTHERS might misconstrue our statements we would all perforce keep silent. By your logic, even Jesus's words are sinful because those words have been used to justify grievous sin, thus Jesus shares in that sin, did not die sin-free, rendering his an imperfect sacrifice and denying salvation.

  12. The earliest reference to "racism" I've been able to locate is by Leon Trotsky, who coined the term to disparage Polish and Russian patriots who objected to the Communist reconstruction of their traditional institutions.

  13. Before roasting Stacy at the stake, please look at

    Not to take a cavalier attitude with some of you more sensitive souls, but this entire controversy is not worth your outrage. In fact, you might want to look at what is really happening before demanding apologies.

    Patterico employed what some might call the ransom note method or bearing false witness against your blog neighbor. Rather than sending the "offensive"party an email to clarify the true nature of his statement, he extracts statements from a decade old conversation from a dead listserve, posts it on his pubic forum, and poses the question "tell, me folks is this racist?" Next, ensues a blog feeding frenzy of the magnitude that no jr. high could contain.

    I feel sorry some of you that feel the need for an apology, but to me there are more pressing matters and issues to worry about.


  14. With all sincerity, Pastor Barban, bullcrap. One thing our Lord hates: self righteousness. Look into it.

  15. I am not a Pastor, just a part-time Bible teacher/self-supporting missionary. I regret that taking a moral stand makes me appear self righteous. I like McCain, "he fights". Even when he loses an engagement, he marches forward. Reminds me a bit of General US Grant. HA!

    I do not judge RSM, my brother in Christ. I can however judge his words. He has written of a justification for aversion to interracial family members and natural revulsion for public interracial images. Interestingly that was written about the same time I married a woman of another race.

    I appeal you RSM, one Christian to another: in Christ there is no revulsion based on race. To the extent such sin lives in men's hearts we must help them overcome, not surrender. Now that is something worthy of your fighting spirit.

  16. I do not know much about relationships outside my own, I've been out of the market for a lot of years. I can remember when an inter-tribe relationship was fraught with peril. This does not mean that none at all worked, just that the odds used to be against them.

    I told my kids, when they were coming up, to only date folks they might someday marry. I warned them that going outside our tribe would subject them to societal pressures that could easily make that relationship fail, even after there were children.

    In other words, I said much the same as Stacy. I am purposely not mentioning my particular tribe because it doesn't matter. What matters is there is nothing racist about noting how the world is, rather than how some, including me, think it should be.

    Please note the Tiger Woods flap, many of his harshest critics are black women. I believe humanity will be better off in that far distant day when intermarriage has rendered us pretty much all the same, racially. Unfortunately that day is as far off as the day when we ain't gonna study war no more.