Regardless of how many times they are shot in the brain with thoughts of equality and tolerance, elected officials like Rep. Doug Lamborn and Senator Rand Paul allow themselves to exhibit ignorant and racist behavior similar to that of a zombie. Since the election of President Barack Obama, many elected officials have said something ignorantly racist in the same breath as something associated with racial minorities. These ignorant slips have recently been referred to as race bating.
Colorodo Representative Doug Lamborn let his ignorant zombie shine through earlier this week when he mentioned the racially charged word, “tarbaby,” after stating his disagreement with President Obama's plan for the debt ceiling. He later issued an apology, saying that he intended to use tarbaby as a turn of phrase representing a quagmire. Whether Representative Lamborn's intentions were coming from a place of underhanded racism is irrelevant. If Rep. Lamborn allowed this phrase to escape his lips because of ignorance, there is something just as dangerous as blatant racism at work here. It is something called White privilege.
White privilege is not born out of financial standing or social clout due to graduating from an Ivy League university. White privilege has roots embedded deeply within every fiber of American society, and unquestionably exists here in Kentucky. Even the poorest White American possesses an unspoken privilege over any Black, Hispanic or Asian person due to the color of his or her skin. To quote Chris Rock, “There's not one White person in here who'd switch places with me, and I'm rich!” This privilege gives White Americans an excuse to allow racist terms, behavior and insensitivity squeak out of their everyday behavior.
This type of behavior however, is utterly inexcusable.
Kentucky's own Senator Rand Paul was possibly bitten by a zombie. The senator publicly stated he stood behind his father's opinion that portions of 1964 Civil Rights act should not have been enacted. How embarrassing for a state that is already the butt of many jokes that end with punchlines about rednecks, racism and ignorance to again have a national association with discrimination.
When Rachel Maddow questioned Senator Rand Paul on his personal opinion about segregated lunch counters, the senator deflected by discussing 2nd amendment rights for gun owners in privately owned businesses. Guns did not recently celebrate the election of the first gun-American President. Guns have never fought for equal rights as immigrants to this country. Guns do not have a 400 year history of being sold with chattel mortgages attached to their names. Guns cannot give birth, love or demand the right to marry. Guns are not people. Senator Rand Paul's White privilege has turned him into a zombie who cannot process the difference between the right to bear arms and the basic human right to be treated with dignity.
Photo: FreeRangeStock/Chance Agrella