My immediate response to seeing this front page article on Friday was disgust, incredulity, anger — mostly toward CNN for allowing this message a shred of legitimacy, or implying that there’s enough of an argument here to merit prominent coverage from a major news network. The article itself is weak sauce: a mishmash of bullet points detailing alleged “signs of racial anxiety” among whites, miscellaneous quotes from academics and right-wing pundits, a conclusion filled with comment-baiting rhetorical questions about our country’s future, and ultimately an unhelpful shrug: “When you take the long view of human history, change is slow, but change happens.” OK then! That answers that.
Still, it’s been hard for me to dismiss the article altogether, or at least its existence. As of today it’s been recommended on Facebook by 39,830 people. There are over 8,000 comments on the article itself, which I can’t bring myself to read (the one on top declares, “Bush created DHS and used unwarranted wire tapping to find terrorists now Obama uses DHS to track down Americans that do not agree with him. Gradualism and lies is the way of the Marxist”). Yes, it’s a blatant grab for traffic on a Friday afternoon, posing controversial questions that the writer, John Blake, has no intent of actually attempting to answer. But the fact that the questions are being asked at all — and that people are interested in them — has to deserve a closer look. (more…)