- A racist
- A white supremacist
RACISM:My response to these assertions follows.
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
WHITE SUPREMACY: a doctrine based on a belief in the inherent superiority of the white race over other races and the correlative necessity for the subordination of nonwhites to whites in all relationships
On the Racism Definition: It is clear that Robert Stacy McCain is not a racist under definition number 1 above (he has never advocated or supported such a position and his actual life experiences, attitudes and deeds refute any such notion).
However, some say that McCain has, in the past, been guilty of the 2nd definition of racism, i.e. racial prejudice or discrimination. We'll get to that momentarily.
On the White Supremacy Definition: It is clear that McCain is not now, nor has he ever been, a white supremacist, for the same reasons as in the Racism #1 definition above.
The Charge Against R.S. McCain:
Two days ago a conservative blogger, Patterico of Patterico's Pontifications came out on the side of the McCain bashers and made a concerted attempt to paint McCain as a racist for a private comment he made in a listserve thirteen years ago. Patterico's hit piece could have been penned by Charles Johnson in its sneering insinuations. The quote attributed to McCain (which McCain has not denied):
As Steffgen predicted, the media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sisterinlaw, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.Now we have usual poseurs beating their breasts over the "searing racism" of Robert S. McCain. But was he right in his statement, that "a number of "rational people react to these images [of interracial marriage] with an altogether natural revulsion"?
Discussion and Rebuttal
As Dinesh D'Souza said in his ground-breaking book The End of Racism, "if it's true, it isn't racism." That fact applies to any number of factors that differ among racial groups, e.g. blacks are faster runners and better jumpers than whites, on average. Whites are better swimmers than blacks, on average. If it's true it isn't racist. In similar fashion, McCain's accurate description of this "natural aversion" was true, though attitudes have changed substantially since 1996. It is less true today than it is when McCain wrote it.
Remember, McCain wrote that comment 13 years ago, in 1996. The Gallup Poll on racial attitudes found that as recently as 1994, more than half of all Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. Indeed, for many years interracial marriage was illegal in most states; the last laws prohibiting it were struck as recently as 1967 -- within the lifetime of many reading this. To call McCain a "racist" for holding the majority opinion for the time is downright asinine.
NOTE that disapproval of interracial marriage was not limited to whites; blacks largely felt the same way (were they racists too?) as did any ethnicity you can name. The "natural aversion" that McCain referred to crossed all racial and color lines; it was a HUMAN attitude, not a "white racist" attitude. Ask my mother-in-law, who was dead set against her Asian daughter marrying a white boy like me. She has subsequently awakened to my enormous charm and worthiness.
However, times change and racial attitudes change with them. Today, most Americans, regardless of their race, do not have a problem with interracial marriage, Robert Stacy McCain included, by his own recent statements on the subject. About 75% of Americans now approve of interracial marriage. See the Gallup Poll data here. Even so, 25% of those who disapprove is still a fairly high number.
My personal opinion, being a part of an interracial marriage that is in its 34th year, is that interracial marriage is just fine. I didn't always feel that way. In 1958, when I was just a kid, I was dead-set against it, as were 96% of all Americans, per the Gallup Poll. I would certainly hate to have anyone hold my 1958 opinion against me today, or try to equate it with the attitudes and social mores of 2009, and then draw the conclusion that I am a "racist" based on some long-ago belief that was culturally appropriate and widely accepted for the time period in which it was held.
In measuring the stature or worth of any man or woman, we should look at who they are today, the sum and total of their lives, their deeds, their current beliefs and attitudes. Robert Stacy McCain has never been a hater and has friends and supporters from every race and gender, from all walks of life. He, through a life honorably lived, deserves the benefit of a doubt. Only those with an axe to grind or some personal vendetta would feel otherwise. I am proud to call Robert Stacy McCain my friend. Anyone who declares Stacy to be their enemy is my enemy as well.
Conclusions: Robert Stacy McCain is not a racist under any definition of the word.
What was Patterico's Motivation? What was Patterico's motive in giving credence to the false or exaggerated claims about R.S. McCain? Was it to establish his own credentials as an enlightened knight in shining armor, a morally superior individual to whom one must bow in wonder and awe? (If so, this is called "moral exhibitionism." It is common among college sophomores.)
I have noticed over the years that those who seek to drape themselves in the glorious robes of righteousness will often create a straw man to knock down. It is difficult to be a hero if there are no villains to punish, and if there are no villains, it becomes necessary to create one. For Charles Johnson and Patterico, McCain fits the bill nicely.