Conservative Dennis Prager Asks ‘Who’s Racist?’ and Fails

Conservative pundit Dennis Prager is probably the whitest person I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t make him a racist, but it certainly doesn’t give him authority to take over a conversation defining racism. And given his arguments about voting restrictions and Herman Cain (among others), it’s safe to say that Prager trying to pin racism on progressives is like Homer asking Marge “Who’s the alcoholic now?” as she finishes an O’Douls.

Prager’s arguments are so chock-full of illogical leaps that I can’t catch them all. But there are a few trends. One of Dennis Prager’s assumptions is that racism is about intentions and the second that racism is rooted in the individual rather than systemically. These are two intertwined and false views held by many White people, but cross them with spurious rightwinger logic and we got ourselves a migraine.

Prager’s main argument seems to be that not passing anti-Black voter restrictions is inherently racist.

[T]he Left’s primary argument against requiring all citizens to show identification when they vote… is that such a requirement would greatly suppress the black vote. Thus, voter ID is racist. This is said so often and with such conviction that few people ask whether it is true: Will requiring ID really suppress the black vote?

The answer, shown in study after study, is no.

Of course Prager doesn’t produce these studies. There are no links of any substance in his article (Don’t ever say I didn’t get you anything). He postulates that those opposed to voting restrictions are under the assumption that all black people are harmed by voting restrictions. But this is not the argument because it’s not the reality of the situation. Prager is derailing because that’s what conservative racism does best. The fact is that voting restriction after voting restriction are passed by majority Republican state lawmakers in areas where poor Black people can challenge their rule. ID laws are passed to further disenfranchise those who have been denied access to mainstreaming for their whole lives, as Jamelle Bouie points out:

If you’re impoverished, unbanked, or otherwise outside of the mainstream economy, it’s hard to collect or purchase documents, and file for ID. Moreover, it’s simply true that, because of past discrimination and persistent racial inequality, blacks are more likely to fall into those categories. Any law that makes voting a function of resources—which is how voter identification laws work—is a law that will disproportionately harm African Americans.

And since there are few legitimate voting fraud cases, we ask why is this necessary.

Let us be clear that racism is not decided by intent or by imagination. Anybody can claim to not be a racist and the most obviously White Supremacist buffoons tend to deny their own racism. Yet, racism is alive in action, word and deed; we can tell by what actually happens, by what and who is affected. So when a large disproportionate amount of Black and other People of Color are marginalized or cast out, then the action is factually racist. Such is the case with laws that do not allow ex-cons to vote. When such laws are in place and there is no empirical reason for it, then we can go the extra step and say that the laws (and the people who establish them) are intentionally racist as well.

Oh yeah, Prager is still talking:

Either Democrats and the Left make this argument for political gain — to reinforce their hold on black voters by scaring them into believing that Republicans are racist — or the Left really believes that blacks are less competent than other groups are.

It takes a special breed of speciousness to make this argument. A special kind of racism. Not less competent. More restricted by historical and current racist policies and practices. 

So, there’s a strike in the Ol’ Racist Ledger, Mr. Prager. But this next quote is all we need anyway for our daily dose of horrible.

How, for example, does one explain that the most conservative Republicans were the ones who most supported Herman Cain, the one black running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012?

By “the most conservative Republicans” do you mean those who called Obama a “n*gg*r” or visually imagined his lynching? Do you mean those most opposed to the president?

Do you mean the Herman Cain that most black people do not like nor trust? Do you mean the super-unqualified Herman Cain? Funny how an incredibly intelligent US senator and Harvard law professor who has been in government for fifteen years didn’t meet “qualification” standards, even though that’s more than several presidents had before him. But put in an African-American pundit who spouts ridiculous and frankly anti-Black rightwinger logic and it doesn’t matter that, like Donald Trump, the only legacy he has is in the private sector. How would a pizza mogul protect the constitution?

The private sector, by the way, is not transferable to the public sector. The private sector has as its main point of interest the bottom line. The public sector is for the good of all the people, no matter how little they make or how little they can produce for you. But this is an argument that needs to be spelled out later.

The answer to who is the racist is not found in who one votes for, but in what one votes for. Dennis Prager, you’re a racist. Or do you not recall when you said that being sworn into office on the Koran “undermines American civilization“? Because Arab culture has never been called uncivilized before, amirite?


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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