Colin Powell: Republicans “Still Look Down On Minorities”

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It seems odd for the first African American Secretary of State, appointed to his position by a Republican President, would say something like this but according to Colin Powell the GOP has a “a dark vein of intolerance.”

So what, specifically, is evidence of this “vein of intolerance” according to Powell? Stuff that, frankly, isn’t all that convincing:

Powell, who endorsed Obama, pointed to a number of statements that were directed at Obama as evidence that there is still racism within the party.

“When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’.’ That’s a racial-era slave term,” Powell said, referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin using the term to describe Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya.

Powell also pointed to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who was an aggressive surrogate for Mitt Romney, for calling Obama “lazy” after the first debate during the campaign.

“He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well; he said he was ‘lazy,'” Powell said “Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is “shiftless,” and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”

Powell also eschewed the “birther movement.”

“The whole birther movement: Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?” Powell asked. “I think the party has to take a look at itself.”

I’ll grant that Powell has a point on birtherism. That sort of nonsense, promoted by conspiracy-addled morons, shouldn’t be tolerated by Republicans. It’s one thing to ask legitimate questions about the legal qualifications of a candidate. It’s quite another to pretend as though evidence answering those questions somehow doesn’t matter, or is part of the conspiracy.

“Birtherism” hurt Republicans. At a time when we should have been talking about President Obama’s poor track record on economic and fiscal matters, among other things, Republicans up to and including Mitt Romney were flirting with birther conspiracy theory.

That being said, Governor Sununu is a racist because he called Obama lazy? Sarah Palin is racist because she said “shuckin’ and jivin’?” How utterly stupid.

What really does harm to race relations in America, I think, is this dumbing down of racism by grievance mongers eternally looking to justify their opinions, and derail inconvenient debates, by seeing racism behind every statement or action they don’t like. Racism used to mean making blacks use separate water fountains or sit at the back of the bus. Now it means calling a politician who happens to be black “lazy.”

Give me a break.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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