If ignorance is a sickness Glenn Beck is Patient Zero.
Confronting ignorance gets tiresome because the ignorant are stubbornly persistent in maintaining their state of bliss and spreading their stupidity like germs Beck contaminates millions of Americans by passing on particularly virulent strain of senselessness via his radio and television shows, books and appearances.
Beck and his radio co-host crony’s were shootin’ the breeze over the 2010 Census and a possible dilemma that one specific group might encounter.
CO-HOST: There’s a little confusion because there’s three boxes you can check if you’re a certain race. I don’t know what the race is because there’s three different terms for them. Black, African-American, or Negro.”
BECK: African-American is a bogus, PC, made-up term. I mean, that’s not a race. Your ancestry is from Africa and now you live in America. OK, so you were brought over — either your family was brought over through the slave trade or you were born here and your family emigrated here or whatever but that is not a race.
What infuriates me most about bigots like Beck is not so much their insensitivity and dumbness, though that does bug me plenty. It’s their sheer arrogance and how they revel in their lack of knowledge.
If Beck pulled his thumb out of his butt long enough to pull up the Wikipedia definition of “African American” he might actually have learn something. Perish the thought.
African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the black populations of Africa. In the United States, the terms are generally used for Americans with at least partial Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Most African Americans are the direct descendants of captive Africans who survived the slavery era within the boundaries of the present United States, although some are—or are descended from—immigrants from African, Caribbean, Central American or South American nations. As an adjective, the term is usually spelled African-American.
African-American is not so much a matter of race as it is a matter of preference. White conservatives revile the term as political correctness that keeps Blacks separate from the larger culture by hypenating their identification. With the possible exception of the census and the United Negro College Fund, “Negro” is an identifier that is both dated and archaic. It’s reflective of how Whites once defined Blacks to their liking . With the advent of the civil rights era, Blacks chose to now define themselves with their own preferred terms and without the prior approval of outsiders. Like Glenn Beck.
I get where Beck is coming from though. I can see him working here. He’s running some “we’re all Americans” smack and he’s flexing his God-given, Constitutionally-protected right to bitch as a White, Christian, conservative male about having to call people what they wish to be referred as instead of what he’d prefer to call them.
Last November, Beck interviewed several Black conservatives and even they left him feeling perplexed:
BECK: How many people here — how many people here identify themselves as African-Americans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s interchangeable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black, black.
BECK: But wait, wait. No, why not identify yourselves as Americans?
FRITSCH: When people go look at you and said, “You’re black,” you can’t escape that.
BECK: Yes. But I don’t identify myself as a white or a white American.
FRITSCH: But look at you, I mean, you have — you know, we’re black. I don’t mind being black. I love being black. I embrace that.
BECK: No, no. But…
FRITSCH: I don’t embrace the African part of it because I was born here. My great grandparents were born here. Sure, we came here. Thank God we come here. Thank God we landed here and we triumphed here and we overcame here. But I don’t consider anything about me African.
WILL BROWN, NY REPUBLICAN COMMUNITY COALITION: It is a revolution from the N-word. So, yes — I mean, if we are going to be called anything versus what we were called, my preference would be African-American.
BECK: This is one of the problems that I have. And I have to tell you, as a white guy — as a white guy — I’m just being real honest with you — as a white guy, white people are uncomfortable sometimes saying, you know what, Martin Luther King, and then quoting Martin Luther King because it’s almost as if society says, “No, no, no, that’s our guy, not your guy.” And it shouldn’t be that way.
Beck fixates on the “African” and forgets about the “American.” As if African Americans haven’t fought in every war this country has waged, contributed centuries of free, unpaid labor and spilled their blood on foreign soils to protect the liberty of others while being denied it for themselves.
There is a duality to being both Black and American, or Negro and American as W.E.B. DuBois explored in The Souls of Black Folks when he wrote, “One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Beck couldn’t begin to understand what DuBois was attempting to explain.
Black. Negro. African. American. These are words and these are names. DuBois used them interchangeably and there are still are those who identify themselves as “Negroes.” Not many, mind you, but there’s always a few holdouts.
However I reserve the right to change my mind and perhaps what I will call myself if it pleases me to do so. Whether it confuses Glenn Beck doesn’t even factor into the consideration.
Just because you think there’s going to be confusion when it comes time to fill out the census with “Negro,” “black” or “African American,” doesn’t mean I’m going to have a problem figuring out which one I am, G.B. You, on the other hand are going to be totally discombobulated when you can’t find “Advantaged and Entitled Anglo-Saxon Whack Job” as a choice.
Beck admitted previously he doesn’t have “a lot of African-American friends, and I think part of it is because I’m afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare.”
By that score, Beck probably doesn’t have a lot of European-American friends either.