The Trayvon Martin case, which exploded onto the national scene last week, has reminded me of everything I utterly detest about colorblind conservatives. They will openly lie, use faulty logic, ignore facts—while pretending to “wait for all the facts to come in”—and twist words in order to promote their absurd “race-free” ideology. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that colorblind conservatives are sometimes as bad as the liberals they profess to dislike.
WATCH THIS TO LEARN THE BASIC FACTS OF THE CASE:
Before I begin to expose and refute the arrant lies and fallacies that have been swirling in the conservative blogosphere since this story broke, I must say that it is extremely problematic when people think that real conservatism is simply about having the complete opposite of every position liberals take on an issue. Clearly, that’s what colorblind conservatives have done with this Trayvon Martin story.
Because liberals have correctly decried the racist nature of the Trayvon killing, colorblind conservatives feel in order to be “authentically conservative,” they must take the opposite position on the issue—which means advancing the manifestly preposterous notion that the case has nothing to do with race, in defiance of the facts which suggest that it does. When you have credible evidence—which I will show later in this blog—that Trayvon’s murder was racially motivated, to have colorblind conservatives screaming that the situation isn’t racial just makes them look not only clownish, but also deliberately duplicitous on the issue of race. And then when minorities vote for Democrats at staggeringly high rates, they then concernedly begin scratching their heads while deeply pondering the question: “Why aren’t minorities attracted to the GOP?”
This is probably going to sound like heresy to the conservatives with the intellectual capacity that can only manage simplistic talking points that have been repeated ad nauseam, but the fact of the matter is that while I may completely disagree with liberalism as a political philosophy, it does not mean that everything liberals say is always wrong. I can come to the same conclusion as a liberal with different reasoning, and I can also agree with a liberal on completely non-partisan issues. The murder of a black teen while walking down the street after buying Skittles and ice tea should be considered a non-partisan issue. However, in an election year, conservatives have used it as a way to irrationally lambast President Obama for making the mildest, most appropriate remarks on the killing. (More on this absurdity later.)
So, with that said, let’s go through the fallacious logic and the arrant lies of the right on this issue.
LOGICAL FALLACY: THE “WHAT ABOUT THIS OTHER CRIME?” RED HERRING
Rather than addressing the issue of the Trayvon Martin shooting, many people think they are making high-level, logically coherent arguments by citing black-on-white crimes that haven’t received the outrage this case has. What they don’t realize is that they are guilty of throwing out red herrings. While black-on-white crimes are problematic, they are demonstrably irrelevant to the discussion of the Trayvon Martin case. The Trayvon Martin case is about a white Hispanic vigilante shooting a black teen in cold blood after using a racial slur. There is no need for “what abouts”—except to change the subject to avoid an uncomfortable discussion about this murder.
I don’t think there is a single person who is angry about the Trayvon Martin case who is arguing that black-on-white violence is a good thing, so to bring it up as if people who are upset about Trayvon’s murder are guffawing in celebration about these other horrific crimes is absurd. Sure, the Trayvon Martin case has had more recent attention, but giving a lot of attention to a recent, and incredibly egregious, travesty of justice is not tantamount to ignoring other cases.
Moreover, users of this fallacy fail to understand that the Trayvon Martin case is not analogous with the cases they are citing. I’m positive that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of black-on-white violence have the book thrown at them in courts of law—the criminal justice literature is clear on this fact. By contrast, George Zimmerman is sitting comfortably at home, polishing his handgun, and fantasizing about killing more “f*****g coons” — while enjoying the enthusiastic protection and shielding of a manifestly corrupt police department! To act as if the Trayvon Martin case is being blown out of proportion is to be woefully insensitive about the injustice that has occurred here.
THE LIE THAT RACE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CASE
This is perhaps the most heinous lie of all. It is frustrating to read conservatives say: “I’m waiting for all the facts to come in,” while ignoring the facts that are already in that plainly indicate that this was a racist murder.
“Waiting for the facts to come in,” to these conservatives, essentially means waiting for more evidence that makes Zimmerman look better. Conservatives are not following the facts where they lead in this case. Reading right-wing websites, particularly the comment sections, makes it clear that they are hoping for evidence to show that Zimmerman is not a murderer—hence their latching onto an anonymous witness, whose apocryphal testimony would be laughed out of court, that turns Trayvon (the victim) into the aggressor. Opposing Al Sharpton and Obama to these people is more important than the facts of the case.
We know that Zimmerman called the cops several times for “suspicious-looking” young black males. Being the nutcase racist that he is, Zimmerman even called the cops on a “suspicious-looking” seven year old, who was only four feet tall! We know that Zimmerman used the term “f***ing coons” before shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. I’m sorry for employing logic here, but THAT MAKES RACE A FACTOR! Yet some conservatives think merely chanting: “Race is not a factor!” – with absolutely no evidence or logical arguments to defend their position – makes them correct.
The only semblance of an argument they slap together is the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic, which, they argue, precludes him from being a racist. And they argue that Zimmerman has black friends and grew up in a “multi-racial family” (whatever that means). In point of fact, there is nothing that precludes Hispanics from being racist against blacks (or vice versa). Also, the main defense racists have utilized from the beginning of time is: “I have black friends, family, co-workers, etc…” Why people think this is a cogent defense is beyond me.
There are two techniques that those who are trying to erase race from this case are using: (a) either writing long pieces without even mentioning the fact that Zimmerman used a racial slur before killing Trayvon (the fallacy of omission), or (b) the more brazenly dishonest among them are arguing that Zimmerman used the word “punks” and not “coons” (the fallacy of “bald-faced lying”).
CNN had an entire segment devoted to refuting this lie. They hired sound engineers to isolate the word used, and the word was CLEARLY “coons.” Rather than acknowledging race as a factor, conservatives are still “waiting for the facts to come in.”
THE LIE THAT OBAMA RACE-BAITED IN HIS REMARKS ABOUT TRAYVON
This is another complete lie being propagated in the conservative blogosphere. Obama’s remarks were the mildest possible comments given the gravity of the situation. He said he does not want to impair any ongoing legal proceedings with his remarks, but that when he thinks of Trayvon, he thinks of his own children. Movingly, he said if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. (And, in reality, Trayvon actually did look a lot like Obama.) Obama then sent his condolences to the Martin family. In what sense is this race-baiting? Because the first black president of the United States showed empathy to a hurting black family who just had their child murdered by a racist?
Is this the pathetic level of argumentation that the right has been reduced to?
Michelle Malkin, in a blog on her website, quoted the president’s remarks and asked the following amazingly silly question:
What do Trayvon’s race and looks have to do with anything?
Of course, given the evidence presented in the previous section of this blog, it is insane to ask that question. It’s curious how Michelle Malkin can recognize the importance of race when she wrote her book defending the morally reprehensible internment of the Japanese during WWII, but she cannot recognize race in the murder of a black teen after a killer with a pattern of racial discrimination killed him in cold blood. This is why colorblind people on the right, as I have argued in previous essays, are not taken seriously on the issue of race. Their colorblindness is curiously selective.
Also, in an effort to foolishly defend the Democratic murderer, Michelle Malkin took to her silly new social media site Twitchy.com to post a fake picture of Trayvon Martin next to a suited Zimmerman. She later retracted the story and apologized to the Martin family. Nevertheless, the damage has been done. The left has legitimate power to accuse the right of dishonesty and overt racism—a power they speedily exercised.
With similar stupidity, Newt Gingrich, who is a completely odious and despicable person, ironically criticized Obama for his “despicable” comments. He said:
What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him. That’s just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot
This is—to use one of Gingrich’s favorite words—baloney. Obama said that all Americans should be concerned and outraged — as the video, posted earlier, shows.
Moreover, by what rule of logical inference does Obama saying that Trayvon would look like his son if he had one, imply that Obama would be fine with a white person being killed because that white person doesn’t look like him?
And the right has the temerity to talk about Obama race-baiting here? Really? This is intellectual dishonesty unlike anything I have ever seen on the right — and I am appalled by it.
Gingrich’s remarks were logically incoherent and conservatives co-signed it just because it was anti-Obama—just like when the right cheered and praised Sarah Palin for foolishly arguing that the first black president is champing at the bit to take America back to before the CIVIL WAR where slavery was still legal.
Apparently, this is the level of intellectual argumentation the right has been reduced to. To these people, launching every moronic attack on Obama is worth throwing logic and reason into the trashcan. Meanwhile, the many policy errors committed by Barack Obama continue to slip by without being given the argumentative devotion that they require. This is just pathetic!
THE LIE THAT TRAYVON WAS THE TROUBLEMAKER
In order to smear the victim and defend Zimmerman the killer, Glenn Beck’s site, The Blaze, wrote a disgusting piece attacking Al Sharpton and insinuating that Trayvon Martin was a dangerous criminal. They also falsely claimed that he was the aggressor in the case. The initial title of the piece was, Tawana Brawley 2.0? Al Sharpton Sides with Aggressor in Self Defense Case. After being correctly blasted by the Huffington Post and other sources, they changed the title to Al Sharpton Dismisses Self-Defense Argument in Shooting of Teen. They also removed references to Trayvon not being an angel, and added: “This story has been updated for clarity.” (More like, “This story has been changed because we didn’t have our facts, and we saw a black guy—who MUST be a criminal— killed by a white-looking—albeit Hispanic—gunman, who claimed self-defense, and we immediately sided with the gunman.”)
This is the problem with conservatives who mindlessly go with the “authentically conservative” position rather than reading facts and assessing information independently. Obviously, bashing Sharpton is de rigueur in conservatism—and he is certainly worthy of bashing for all his years of shameful race-baiting, but that doesn’t mean he is always wrong! Driven by the illogical, hyper-partisan goal of being against Obama and Sharpton, conservatives have found themselves in the tight spot of defending a Democratic murderer that even Democrats are roundly criticizing!
(Perhaps this was Obama’s strategy all along! Maybe he knew that Republicans are so foolishly hyper-partisan that if he spoke out in favor of a victim, the Republicans would instantly defend a racist murderer just to take the other side!)
Even more disturbingly, Riehl World View published a contemptible article in which the blogger compares a darker picture of Trayvon to one with a lighter contrast. The argument the blogger makes is that the media lightened one picture to make Trayvon look, to him, more innocent. (This has been debunked by Mediaite.) Clearly implying, despite the mollifying claptrap about the comment having “nothing to do with guilt,” that dark skin is more threatening. Quote:
Clearly, it has been lightened, or softened, somehow. Along with other possible alterations, he looks far more, perhaps innocent is the right word, in the altered image. For the record, that has nothing to do with the guilt, or innocence, of anyone involved, but more to do with the reporting of the story, which is why I’m bringing it up.
This isn’t just racially insensitive. This is the language of racism. To argue that dark skin is more threatening than lighter skin and that lighter skin signifies innocence is just shockingly racist! As a dark-skinned black man, I did not see innocence or guilt in either picture, yet I am the color-conscious conservative, and, if asked, that conservative blogger would probably swear by colorblindness! Can you see a pattern here?
PLEASE NOTE: SOME CONSERVATIVES HAVE WRITTEN REASONABLE ANALYSES
While I have argued against the popular conservative arguments in this case, I would be remiss not to mention that there have been some solid conservative analyses on this issue—all the ones I’ve picked are from the National Review Online:
While the first two pieces do not touch the evidence of Zimmerman’s racial epithet on the 911 call before shooting Trayvon Martin, these writers do not dodge this issue in order to proclaim “RACE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!” in a swaggeringly idiotic way. They don’t attempt to change the topic by throwing out red herrings about other cases that haven’t been as prominent in the news. Neither do they mulishly claim that Zimmerman’s actions are not criminally liable in order to demonstrate their Second Amendment bona fides. I respect these two NRO pieces.
Although Heather Mac Donald commits the logical fallacy of omission by completely neglecting to mention any of the racial facts of the Trayvon case in order to make Sharpton’s remarks sound more irrational, she is right about the absurdity of blaming Rush Limbaugh for the death of Trayvon. Moreover, unlike the “pundit” clowns in the GOP, she is an intellectual, which means she has too much self-respect to blatantly twist the law and the facts of the case to defend a murderer in order to make her points about black-on-black crime. I may disagree with some of her analyses, but I always finish reading her work knowing I’ve read a piece by an intellectual.
There is also a piece from the former FOX News White House correspondent Major Garrett, who argued that Obama’s comment on the Trayvon Martin shooting “is one for the history books.” While this analysis is a little too fulsome for my taste, what Obama said was indisputably right and effective—and every argument the right has presented against Obama on this issue has been nonsensical.
Of course there is a lot to critique from the leftist narrative of this case. Liberals blaming Trayvon’s murder on right-wing talk radio and attempting to argue that there has been no racial progression in this country is in fact reprehensible. I’m sure there will be some leftists who will use this to argue that apocryphal racism (the kind of racism that “keeps the black man down”) still exists in American society. However, that is conventional for lying liberals.
I don’t expect complete mendacity, shameful race-baiting, and utter deceit from conservatives. I don’t expect conservatives to ignore incontestable facts of a case—while pretending to be “waiting for all the facts”—in order to defend a Democratic racist murderer, just because Obama and Sharpton are defending a victim. That’s not conservatism. That’s hyper-partisan stupidity.
As a conservative, I find it completely embarrassing, and I categorically refuse to co-sign every idiotic narrative and statement that prominent conservatives advance. I will stick to facts, logic, and evidence—even if it means I will be called a faux conservative by simpletons without the faculty for coherent thought.
Before now, I never trusted the liberal media, and I looked to the conservative media for truth, facts, and logic. After the right’s reaction to this Trayvon Martin case, I must sadly admit that I can never fully trust the conservative media again. I will look at the conservative media through the same spectacles of skepticism I previously reserved for reading and watching the liberal media.