The ever-growing meaning of ‘racist’
Orval Faubus is considered by most people to be the most racist governor in Arkansas history.
This Democrat governor’s use of the National Guard to prevent the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School was one of those watershed moments in the struggle for civil rights.
It took a Republican President of the United States federalizing the National Guard to enforce court-ordered desegregation to make it happen in Arkansas.
My grandfather, who I am named after, had to deal with Faubus. He had been mayor of the small Arkansas town of Mccaskill during some of the Faubus years.
Mayors had to work with the governor on rural development issues.
My grandfather described Faubus as “dangerous as a rattlesnake if crossed” and “crafty as a rat.”
While I was too young to remember the reign of Faubus from 1955 to 1967, the former governor published a book in 1980 and toured the state selling it out of the back of his old station wagon.
In 1980, I interviewed Faubus about his book and his 12 years as Arkansas governor.
Faubus contended that he was not a racist, but that he had been representing the will of the people who elected him when he called out the National Guard to prevent black students from entering Central High.
He said his poll numbers were never higher than right after Central High. The vast majority of Arkansans’ approved of his decisions on Central High.
While he knew history was judging him harshly for his stand on integration, he predicted one day he would be vindicated because the liberals who had taken over the Democrat Party would go too far in using the word “racists.”
Faubus predicted that while racist was a very demeaning term in 1980, there would come a time when so many things were called racist that the word would become meaningless.
Some recent events suggest this meanas-a-rattle-snake and crafty-as-a-rat politician might have been right about the overuse of the word “racist.”
It has become routine that calling something or someone “racist” has become the knee-jerk reaction to everything liberals disagree with.
Last week, the shoe company Nike announced it was yanking a sneaker line with the Betsy Ross flags on them after former NFL star Colin Kaepernick said that flag with 13 stars flag was somehow “racist.”
Kaepernick, who was ejected from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem — something else he found offensive — said he didn’t like that her original American flag had flown during the time when slavery was legal in the U.S.
It generated another round of cultural war between those who think Americas is good and those who see it as bad.
This cultural divide dropped to an even lower point in the state of Washington where the streets of Seattle are covered with human wastes from the homeless population that lives on those streets.
Those sidewalks outside the King County Superior Court are drenched in human urine and covered in excrement. It is not only unpleasant to walk on those sidewalks outside the court house, it is not healthy to breathe the stench.
Two judges who work in that court house asked the city to power-wash the sidewalks and clean up some of the filth around the courthouse.
This would not normally sound like an unreasonable request, but a county council member called it offensive and “racially insensitive.”
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett said he does not like the idea of power-washing the sidewalks because it brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists.
In New York, people are pointing out that if you live in a community with lots of black and brown people, your school is more likely to have a metal detector. Questions are being asked if having metal detectors are somehow racist.
Multiple Democrats are calling the idea of putting a question on the upcoming U.S. Census about whether the people are American citizens as racist. This has not been a problem in previous censuses.
Faubus, who died in 1994, seems to have been right that the word racist would come to be over used.
I still doubt this overuse of the word will ever wash his record on race clean as Faubus had hoped.