We have been here before. The accusation that harsh criticism of Barack Obama or his policies constitutes the use of “racially tinged” code words.
Invariably, the code word problem is defined in such a way that the accusation is self-fulfilling; the lack of an actual racial reference is used as proof of racial intent, even when the words are used by black Republicans such as Herman Cain or Allen West.
It’s a racial code word because they say it is, and the more you deny it, the better the evidence.
Take, for instance, these code words identified by Juan Williams (emphasis mine):
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are “entitlement society” — as used by Mitt Romney — and “poor work ethic” and “food stamp president” — as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the “Founding Fathers” and the “Constitution” also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core “old-fashioned American values.”
Does it matter that Newt also called Wolf Blitzer by his first name, with equal disdain?
NEWT GINGRICH: Wolf, you and I have a great relationship, it goes back a long way. I’m with him. This is a nonsense question.
So you see, Geraldo, calling Juan Juan was no more a code word than calling Wolf Wolf. And neither was my calling you Geraldo, Geraldo.DONATE
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