By now we have all heard the ill worded, and, subsequently, hastily recanted racist statements, made by a, once, giant in his field. They’ve been debated, decried, re-tweeted, and the focus of much news radio bluster. You’re familiar with the story. He uttered words of hate and ignorance, and he was outed by a source he trusted. The aftermath of which may cost him his life’s work. He was a man on top of the world. He had it all; wealth, a public forum, and the respect of his peers. And, suddenly with no warning, it is all imperiled. He never expected the outrage, because in his mind he was safe, and perhaps he thinks everybody he knows and trusts believes as he believes. So, he may ask himself, why all the fuss? It almost makes you feel sorry for him.
Many of you are guessing you know the identity of the person this description is referencing. You are most likely thinking about dementia sufferer, former Clipper’s owner, and reputed white supremacist, Donald Sterling, but you’d be wrong. This article is about Toure’ Neblett, a well known political commentator for MSNBC, who recently let slip an anti-Semitic/ anti-white tweet, which elicited quick and decisive censure on twitter. With one tweet, this man betrayed his carefully buried, politely hidden racial bias. One tweet uncovered that at his core, Toure’ resents white people, and expects that all of their accomplishments are based on “the power of whiteness” as he puts it. Deep down inside of Toure’ is a simmering suspicion that being “white” helped European Jews escape the holocaust.
This was his tweet, “The power of whiteness: RT @hope_and_chains: My family survived a concentration camp, came to the US w/ nothing, LEGALLY, and made it work.” His tweet apparently insinuates that Holocaust survivors could only make it through the concentration camps, and then go on to thrive in the US, because they had white power. The irony is, if Hitler had thought Jews were “whites” they would have never been rounded up, then summarily thrown into death camps. Hearing of the plight and, subsequent, success of concentration camp survivors did not move Toure’ to quiet wonder at the strength of the human spirit. It did not lead him to consider the power of the human survival instinct. It did not provoke him to ponder the depth of human depravity or the evils perpetrated by mob mentality. It did, however, cause him to claim that Jews survived the holocaust simply because they were white. This is racism unadulterated.
My point here is that Toure’ did not mean to ignite a firestorm. He did not intend to arouse the ire of the The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit dedicated to fighting hatred and terrorism, which describes itself as a, “global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism…” He certainly wouldn’t have said what he said in order to be labeled an insensitive, ignorant bigot, or to raise the eyebrows of fellow liberals. On the contrary, the tweet was only made possible because what he said is so much a part of him, and so tied to his core beliefs about the world and it’s goings-ons, that it didn’t even raise any warning bells in his mind. He takes it for granted, and so out it came. This was more than an inadvertently slip. Rather, he said just what he meant. He thought it was innocuous enough to broadcast to the billion or so denizens of the internet, but rationale people immediately saw it for what it was. Hate.
Now, I don’t know this man, and I certainly can’t deign to divine out all that is in his heart. To try to do so is strictly forbidden. Jesus acts us to judge a man’s actions, not his heart. So, no, I don’t know if he sits in his study brooding over white privilege, or, if he pours over anti-Semitic websites and materials, but I doubt very much that he does. What is clear is that he has let some portion of himself believe a lie about a good and noble, albeit perpetually victimized, people. And his disdain for what he considers to be racism has caused him to become the very thing he hates, a racist. Friedrich Nietzsche once pruriently said, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…”. Jesus the Messiah said that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ” Luke’s Gospel KJV.
In the end, this could become a good thing for Toure’. The wicked thing which formerly only haunted his heart and mind, is now out there for the wide world to see and condemn. His secret sin is now public fodder for debate, and he has been humbled enough to apologize and refuse the temptation of retorts. Perhaps he will be a wiser, more self searching, and accepting human being, if not a more cautious tweeter. Oh the fury which can be ignited in 140 characters or less.