I have a new post up at Global Comment
Slavery is one of the worst crimes that we can commit against one another. No country is free of its stain. In the United States, its legacy still haunts African Americans and stands as a wedge between Blacks and Whites. Lingering social inequalities mean that when conversations about slavery occur, language must be carefully chosen so that African Americans are not further demeaned and their experiences are not appropriated.
Apparently, Harry Reid missed this important memo when he made a very insensitive comparison regarding the failure of Republicans to support the health care bill.
“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ’slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ’slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’”
Is it really the place of a man who continues to benefit from the crime of slavery to decide that this is an accurate analogy to make? Reid clearly wants Republicans to be aware of the selfish privilege that is the basis of their resistance to universal health care, but obviously the standard of caring about marginalized people does not apply to fauxgressive White liberal Democrats. Whatever point Reid was trying to make was lost in the offensive words he used trying to shame Republicans.