Cohenheads

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Memo to Richard Cohen, Fred Hiatt, and Richard Cohen: IT'S ABOUT TO GET A LOT MORE HURTFUL.

Gotta love afternoon developments. The traditional pattern is that person says horrible stupid thing, people point out how horrible and stupid the thing they said was, and they and their colleagues are shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone read their horrible stupid thing as horrible and stupid, when they are clearly wonderful and smart. And so it is with Richard Cohen and today's IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children." - Richard Cohen, in the Washington Post, really going out of his way to raise the bar on what racism is, for obvious reasons.

It is painfully obvious what Cohen is saying here. He's saying there are people in the GOP who are deeply troubled by Bill DeBlasio's miscegenation, to the extent of physical disgust. This miscegenation used to be avant-garde, you see, and now it's mainstream. And so these people are troubled. But they're not racist.

Except, of course, they are. And not just in the "black people are scary" "black people are lazy" garden-variety racism that is so prevalent in, for example, Richard Cohen's writing career. No, disgust at interracial marriage is the pure stuff. You can't pretend it's about crime, you can't pretend it's about class. It's just that people of one color shouldn't have kids with people of a lesser color.

Claiming that disgust at miscegenation isn't racist is defending it. Defending something obviously racist by saying it's not racist is, in itself, inherently racist. Richard Cohen is a racist. This isn't news to anyone who, for example, saw him call Trayvon Martin's hoodie "a uniform we all recognize" earlier this year. It's only news, apparently, to Cohen and his boss, Fred Hiatt.

"Anyone reading Richard’s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage. I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted." - Fred Hiatt, editor, Washington Post.

There are a couple of things wrong here. FIrst, nobody is arguing that he's saying that some Americans still have a hard time with interracial marriage. It's the part where he called those "conventional views" and said they were "not racist", but rather a sign of difficulty with changing times.

And you didn't err by not editing that sentence. You erred by publishing the column that contained it and paying the man that wrote it, a man who not only has written horrible, racist, stupid things time and time again, but who has the temerity to be regarded as one of the Post's "liberals". If you'd fixed it to make it not sound racist, then you'd have just been covering for and enabling one of several racists on your staff. Which, I admit, appears to be how you spend at least two days out of your average workweek.

"I didn't write one line, I wrote a column. The column is about Tea Party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held. The word racist is truly hurtful. It's not who I am. It's not who I ever was. It's just not fair. It's just not right." - Cohen, pretending to defend himself.

Let's address his three claims in order, because the first half is what Hiatt also said and yes, we get that, fuckwit.

Yes, calling you a racist is hurtful, Widdums. It's meant to be. It's designed to cause you discomfort so that maybe you'll STOP FUCKING DOING IT. Or, barring that, your boss will decide it's more trouble than it's worth to keep a racist on staff and fire your ass. Hurt is the intent. Hurt is deserved. Your feelings are not our concern.

As to "fair", well, fairness is a tricky business. I mean, you're a columnist with a national reach. And despite all your evidence to the contrary, that's a position that should, ideally, come with a certain responsibility. And part of that responsibility is shutting up, taking it, and learning from your mistakes when you fuck up. So, yeah, I think it's fair.

And of course it's true. We'll never convince you of that fact, because you don't think being disgusted by miscegenation is racist, and you are in fact less racist than that. But you are racist. Very racist. Which means you'll always have work on the op-ed pages somewhere. Maybe that silver lining will salve your hurt feelings.