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What defines racism?

The latest from Christopher Rabb over at Afro-Netizen starts out by taking on a load of Uncomfortable Race Questions all at once -- it's quite a earful:


Was Kanye right to say what he said about Dubya on live TV several months back?
Is calling Judge Samuel Alito -- an Italian-American -- "Scalito" an ethnic slur?
Is calling Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice "Condosleeza" racist? And would calling her "Condoskeeza" sexist?
How about those who think that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is a sock puppet for money interests and are calling him "Ragin" (a la conservative demi-god and icon Ronald Reagan)? Cognizant of this increasing public perception in and beyond New Orleans, do you think Mayor Nagin was being racist for pandering to his MLK Day audience by saying that New Orleans needs to remain a "chocolate city"?
He goes on to address an email being forwarded around stating that Jamie Foxx's music special is being sabotaged by NBC because he refused to put white people in the lineup. Says Rabb:
Was Foxx acting with conviction or with racial malice? And regardless, so what? After all, of all the things to clog up my inbox with, why moral outrage regarding a televised music show, of the kind that Blackfolk have been disproportionately visible for years? Why is this what people have chosen to be up in arms about and leveraging the Internet to advocate for versus, say, Darfur, Haiti, Katrina, political corruption, corporate greed, the fight for a living wage, etc., etc.?

Just as an aside, if you missed AlterNet staff writer Maria Luisa Tucker's article "Finding Words to Talk About Race" from a week ago or so, now would be a good time to go check it out.

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