Bigot of the Week Award, November 15: Richard Cohen

15 Nov
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

This story weighed heavy on my heart, for it is a very painful reminder of just how racism lives and breathes in the 21st Century. Richard Cohen has a problem with words. That’s more than a little ironic, given that he’s been a reporter and columnist at the Washington Post for 45 years and had his column nationally syndicated for over 30. In his latest effort, however, he conjures up an aggressively racist image (and tosses in a bit of homophobia) and labels it “conventional.” The column is an analysis of how the Tea Party drives the GOP featuring a comparison of Chris Christie and Ted Cruz. After some reasonable dissection of why moderates are at risk in the modern Republican party, he takes a sharp turn away from reality and presents his readers with this paragraph:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)

Wow. Where do I even begin to address the great trespasses committed here? Arguing that racism is absent from the GOP is not only categorically false, but shows just how much of the Kool Aid (Tea) Cohen has consumed. Sadly he gets even more offensive. Let’s set aside “mainstreaming…avant-garde” for a moment (presumably a reference to treating the LGBT community like people) and focus on one stunning phrase.

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex…

So the idea of a mixed race family is so horrific that a normal person will be brought to the edge of vomiting just by seeing a picture? How did this column get past Cohen’s editors? Of course Cohen — faced with justifiable anger over his horrific image — offered a nonpology.

The word racist is truly hurtful. It’s not who I am. It’s not who I ever was. It’s just not fair. It’s just not right … The column is about Tea Party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.

Again, wow. Let’s ignore the de Blasio / McCray family’s feelings because calling racist writing “racist” is hurtful to poor Mr. Cohen. Then let’s have fun with the “out of context” excuse. Really?! Sorry, Richard, but you didn’t say “extremist;” you said “conventional.” Whether this is YOUR view or not, you made it clear that you believe that choking on one’s own bile is a reasonable response to seeing a loving multi-racial family. That’s racism.

As a bonus non-sequitur, he also defended himself by noting “you’re talking to somebody who has written, I don’t know, 100 columns in favor of homosexual rights.” Sorry, Richard, but that has NOTHING to do with the racism in your column. Oh, and by the way, “used to be a lesbian” rather erases your claim of support for “homosexual rights.”

Of course, Mr. Cohen has a checkered past around race anyway. Just one week earlier he wrote about the movie 12 Years A Slave, noting his ignorance of how bad slavery was.

I learned that slavery was wrong, yes, that it was evil, no doubt, but really, that many blacks were sort of content. Slave owners were mostly nice people…

In addition to proudly trumpeting his ignorance of basic history and humanity, he supports racial profiling. He defended the Zimmerman verdict describing Trayvon Martin’s clothes as “a uniform we all recognize” and defended THAT gem by saying “I don’t think it’s racism to say, ‘this person looks like a menace’.” Clearly, he doesn’t have a clue what racism means.

Sadly, he has an international forum for presenting his twisted, oppressive words. I am truly nonplussed as to how he still has a job.


15 Responses to “Bigot of the Week Award, November 15: Richard Cohen”

  1. Central Oregon Coast NOW November 15, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  2. Elizabeth B. November 15, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    His whining comes from a place of white male privilege with a lack of any compassion or understanding The breathing version of Le bête dame sans merci. He resembles Palin who recently exhorted that black people didn’t understand the word “slavery”.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      Liz, you got it spot on. Sadly, his white unearned privilege precludes him from any sense of humanity. Thank you for your constant voice for social justice and for commenting here.

  3. Jueseppi B. November 15, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Jueseppi, thank you for reflagging this and for your constant voice to help eradicate racism and homophobia.

  4. Dr. Rex November 15, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Racism is alive and well. It’s never been gone …

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      Dr. Rex, thank you for reflagging this article. Sadly, Cohen demonstrates just how alive racism is in the United States.

      • Dr. Rex November 15, 2013 at 9:29 am #

        You are welcome! Anytime … this was a great post!

        Hugs!! 🙂

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 9:31 am #

        Thanks, Dr. Rex. I always appreciate you!

      • Dr. Rex November 15, 2013 at 9:47 am #


  5. Goldie Lowry November 15, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    You write so eloquently Michael. To know that people such as this man exist makes me physically ill. Thank you for bringing this hatefulness to light. You are a true gentleman and crusader for the rights of all.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Goldie, you are so lovely and so wonderful. Thank you for the kind comments. I’m actually just very fortunate enough to be surrounded by very loving people who are committed to social justice.

  6. Gator Woman November 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    My best friend lives in Union, MS. It is in full control there!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Yes, sadly racism and homophobia and all of the isms are still a very strong part of United States culture. Thank goodness there are those of us fighting against this culture of hate.

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