I’m willing to wager a bet that not many people have heard of Abigail Thernstrom, a Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who is calling charges that the Justice Department ignores the civil rights of whites, ridiculous.
Why is the mainstream media, and in particular, the right-wing media, not picking up this story?
Is it because it would blow Fox News and the rest of the right wing echo machine’s “scary black man” meme right out of the water?
Here is what Ms. Thernstrom had to say on the “New Black Panther” “issue”:
“We have no direct evidence that [the NBP activists] actually intimidated anybody, stopped them from voting,” Thernstrom said on CBS’ Face the Nation. In an earlier column, she called the case “small potatoes.”
“I think the evidence is extremely weak,” Thernstrom said. “If the Justice Department chooses – and I would be delighted if it did so – to send to us, for instance, somebody who is at that alleged brown bag meeting in which [Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Julie Fernandez said, ‘We don’t prosecute cases [against] blacks …’ fine. I’m an evidence girl, really. I want evidence.”
It’s what most people with common sense said after hearing the facts surrounding the case. The first warning sign that this entire case is questionable is that it is being pushed by former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams, who is now a conservative Republican activist. One New York Post columnist called him a “Republican activist posing as a whistleblower.
Instead, this case is the part of a larger trend of the far Right using pseudo-racist episodes as political fodder to inspire paranoia. Using the demographic changes in our country and the election of the first black president, the far right is making a concerted effort to scare white people in to believing they are or will be the victims of racism.
The case of Shirley Sherrod is the most recent example, with media outlets like Fox News helping to spread the story line.
“The Obama administration has been intimidated by the far-right wing, which is addicted to a kind of paranoia of race that then leads to paralyzing racial conversation,” Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, said on Face the Nation.