Who Cares About Race?

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives is that many liberals are obsessed by race, while conservatives, in general, rarely think about it. This subject is not often plumbed by public opinion surveys for obvious reasons, but on the few occasions when I’ve seen such data reported, Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to express racial animosity.
That doesn’t stop them from trying to hang the “racist” label around conservatives’ necks, however. A couple of examples are in the news today. First, Jason Mattera of Young America’s Foundation spoke at CPAC. Here is his speech, which is good; you can judge for yourself whether it has anything at all to do with race:

Leave it to a left-wing reporter from the New York Times to read a racist message into Mattera’s inspiring talk. Secure in the knowledge that her readers would never see Mattera’s talk and realize that her characterization was a fantasy, Times reporter Kate Zernike accused Mattera of racism:

In the very first paragraph, Zernike writes, “How can conservatives win the youth vote that overwhelmingly went for Barack Obama in 2008? At the Conservative Political Action Conference, apparently, some are betting on using racial stereotypes.”

Racial stereotypes? Huh? No sane person who saw Mattera’s speech could say such a thing.

Her evidence? Nothing I actually said, but to her tin ears, I was allegedly channeling a “Chris Rock” voice. Yes, Chris Rock.
Regarding my closing statement, Zernike opines, “Can we save our generation from Obama zombies, he [Mattera] asked. He answered himself by borrowing the president’s campaign slogan: ‘Yes, my brothahs and sistahs. Yes we can!'”

I’ve never seen or heard Chris Rock, so I can’t comment on any resemblance between Mattera and Rock. But any suggestion that Mattera’s upbeat talk was “racist” is absurd on its face. Mattera has demanded an apology, but, as you would expect, Zernike and the Times have gone to ground and failed either to apologize or to defend their libelous reporting.
Here is another example: the appalling Keith Olbermann has delivered several bizarre rants accusing the tea party movement of being racist. This, of course, makes no sense: what does opposition to out of control spending, outrageous deficits and inevitable tax increases have to do with race? The Obama administration is rolling up unheard-of deficits, thereby borrowing–stealing, really–from our children and grandchildren. If those children and grandchildren are African-American, Obama is stealing from them, too. But no one expects Olbermann to make any sense. Plus, many have noticed that the tea partiers are a heck of a lot more diverse than MSNBC. That led to this amusing riposte from the Dallas Tea Party:

It’s easy to ridicule over-the-top lefties like Kate Zernike and Keith Olbermann. But still: do their baseless accusations of racism have any effect? Does anyone believe them? My sense is that they are more or less completely ineffectual. If someone says something about race that can be considered offensive, a charge of racism might stick. But if a person says something with which a lefty disagrees, but which has nothing at all to do with race, even liberals won’t buy the “racist” meme. My guess is that liberal activists like Olbermann and the New York Times have made fools of themselves in this way so many times that no one now takes their charges seriously.