In my weekend column for The Sun News, I asked readers for a definition of “race baiter” because it seems to be the preferred label of those who want to shut down uncomfortable, yet necessary conversations:
I suspect the people who breezily throw around the term race baiter are afraid to have any of their views and preferences challenged.
It’s a way of avoiding having to do any self examination and also puts their personal comfort above the pursuit of justice or real progress.
Who cares if there are racial imbalances throughout the criminal justice system? Or if black boys are labeled as threats as early as pre-school and kindergarten? Or the suspension rates of black girls are approaching those of white boys? Or if an educated black man with no criminal record has employment prospects similar to those of a white man with little education and a rap sheet?
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Or that a misguided war on drugs has devastated families and, in some cases, entire communities?
Never mind that the negative images of black men and women we’ve all been fed for decades have been so pervasive that the actions of many good people who would never intentionally discriminate are affected by race any way?
No, tell me only what I want to hear in the way I want to hear it when I want to hear it, they seem to be saying.
Tell them nothing that might make them uncomfortable, because their feelings are more important than correcting generational wrongs or challenging a damaging status quo.
Some of the responses are below. But I first wanted to share my response to a reader who claimed that I only look for the negative in race relations, never anything that speaks to “both sides,” etc.
Here are just a few recent examples of my doing precisely what that reader claims I never do:
I wrote about a white cop who is a long-time friend of mine.
I told people to not rush to judgment in the Michael Brown case.
I wrote about why I liked Rand Paul, a white conservative.
This column was praising white Myrtle Beach police officers, and it led to the cops getting a commendation.
I wrote about a white Alabama cop helping a black woman instead of arresting her for shoplifting.
I wrote about the need to honor police AND criminal justice reform.
I reminded people of good policing in Myrtle Beach when that ruckus in Texas broke out.
I talked about why we should not ignore news of a young white teen being shot.
I wrote about why white cops and black men should empathize with each other.
I wrote about why I refuse to fear and label cops, even given all of these shootings.
I wrote about how we put too much burden on the backs of police officers.
I wrote about why Ferguson cop Darren Wilson was owed an apology.
I dispelled rumors about a rash of hate-motivated black church burnings.
I asked people to pray for George Zimmerman.
I reminded people that most cops never shoot their guns and most black men don't commit crime.
I wrote about the efforts in the mostly-black Race Path Community to help itself.
I advised the president to sideline Al Sharpton to help the racial divide.
For some strange reason, those yelling ‘race baiter’ never cite any of the above examples and don’t even seem to know they exist. That gives me more reason to believe they simply never want to be challenged or made uncomfortable or forced to think. If all I wrote were pieces like the ones above, they’d be “fans” of mine again. But I’m not interested in that kind of support.
Bailey no longer neutral
Once again Mr. Bailey you have shocked me with you unbelievable stupidity. You sir are a race baiter because you continue to follow the ways of the liberal socialist media its all the white man's fault for black man's problem. When have you addressed the points where black men and women are seen on camera committing crimes. Oh it the white man's fault that black did it. You credit the likes of Sharpton and Jackson with King. They are nothing like him King was a good man the other two are out to help no one but themselves. These are ways in which you are a race baiter. I read a column by you giving Obama credit for the economy increases but it was the private sector that caused most of it and the rest came from the governors of different states. When you say Obama is a good president and people dislike because he is black not because he has done a crappy job. You are a race baiter. Where do you get the information on these polls done? If you really went to school you would know that polls are biased from the beginning. Lets say there is 100 people living in a town. It seams that most everyone hates the mayor so the do a poll funded by city hall. Out of that 100 they pick 25 people of that 25 15 like the mayor. So then they say the town likes the mayor. Which is not true. So when you use these kind of polls to back your argument on race you become a race baiter. At one timr i felt you were a good columnist but something happen you are no longer neutral and it is sad.
Recent Bailey columns are ‘calmer and less apt to spark agitation’
What in the heck is a race baiter? I will admit my ignorance. Until your column this morning, I am afraid that I had never heard the term. For me, it just resonates ignorance. It sounds like something someone would yell across an early grade school playground. Something akin to yelling "Four-eyes" or "Fatty, Fatty Two by Four". It sounds like something that does more to display the ignorance of the name caller than have anything to do with the recipient. It might have caused discomfort in second grade. By eighth grade it would earn the caller a fat lip. After that it would have been ignored among the cacophony of other noises that bore more importance. All true, except for one thing. This one has to do with race. That automatically elevates it from childish foolishness to something far more sinister. Plus, since it has been spoken to you by adults, I find it absolutely mind boggling. I must give you points for the restraint you displayed in your column today. I doubt that I would have been quite so refined. Although my response would have probably only fed their desire for name calling.
I've written you before in case you haven't figured that out by now. I've been meaning to write you for a while because I have a few questions for you. First question: Have you mellowed, or has the paper tried to put a clamp on you? Your columns over the past six months or so have struck me as calmer and less apt to spark agitation. Maybe it is just me. I don't mind if you've developed a new writing style but if it is the result of outside influences then that would be a shame.
Over a year ago, you told me that EVERY police force in the country is racist and corrupt. Now that you've spent some time doing ride alongs, do you still hold that opinion?
What are your thoughts regarding the upcoming film "Straight Outta Compton"? Do you plan on seeing it? I am going to see it if for no other reason than that Rap is one of the very few music forms that I have never been able to enjoy. The other ones that come quickly to mind are opera and the sitar music from the subcontinent.
Enjoy your week, Tom Casey
Editor’s note: I believe each of us has a problem with race, including every police department, school, store, church, etc. in America. That’s not the same as racism. Because of our history and the way our brains process information and so quickly put things into categories, race affects us in ways many don’t understand - even when we are trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to face that reality, which is why it is so hard to uproot some of the remaining vestiges of past racial unrest.
Bailey does important work
I can understand the flack you get in Horry County. Just don't get any discouragement. You mission and boldness we need desperately. Dalphon Thompson, Conway.
Bailey: Many of ‘your people’ act uncivilized
YOU GET DEEPLY INVOLVED WITH STATISTICS WHICH, ON THE SURFACE, ARE TROUBLING EVEN TO A BIGOT LIKE ME. THE PROBLEM IS YOU CHOOSE TO IGNORE REALITY. IN ADDITION TO COLOR, SEX, AGE, EDUCATION AND GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN,
THE MOST TROUBLING FACT OF ALL IS; MANY OF YOUR PEOPLE CHOOSE TO THINK, SPEAK, DRESS AND GENERALLY BEHAVE AT A
LEVEL UNSUITABLE TO MOST CIVILIZED PEOPLE. HOW DO YOU HIRE SOMEONE, TAKE THEM TO A MANAGEMENT MEETING, A
FOUR STAR DINNER, THE COMPANY PICNIC OR ANY PUBLIC PLACE AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION WHEN THEY
ARE SIMPLY OUT OF PLACE AND UNFIT TO BE THERE. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT BEGINS AND ENDS WITH FAMILY AND UP- BRINGING. WHITE SOCIETY DIDN'T CAUSE THIS IT SIMPLY DOES NOT CARE TO BE AROUND IT. WHEN THEY CEASE TO TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR IGNORANCE AND VULGARITY AND FLAUNT IT AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, YOU MAY SEE SOME IMPROVEMENT.
Race baiters try to instill anger and hate
If it weren't for your columns, I really don't think I would buy the Sunday paper. Some are good, some are really good and at times some can be peculiar. Nonetheless, I enjoy reading them.
As I sit and painfully watch some of these political debates that are going on and each time I log on to the internet, one of the continuous topics is race relations. I think to myself, why does this topic keep surfacing? Racial tension, black vs white, white vs hispanic, hispanic vs black. Why is it that every time I see a story that involves people of different colored skin, it is negative. The answer is simple. The answer rests with that powerful entity that controls our perceptions. The answer is the media.
Why do we never, or should I say on extremely rare occasions, see positive stories about everyday folks who work, live and play side by side. I've lived here in Murrells Inlet for eleven years now. Directly across from me for the past ten years (until she recently moved in with her daughter) was my beautiful neighbor Rose. We live in town homes, 5-6 per building. At the other end of Rose's building, diagonally across the street from me are James and Carla. Down the block from me is Delores. At my short-term wedding back in the 90's, my great buddy Larry was in the wedding party. As an usher, he escorted my mom down the aisle to her seat. We still keep in touch. Recently his mom and his sister passed from breast cancer. In October, I fly the pink cancer flag on my motorcycle. Their names are in the middle of my flag as a memory to them. Can you guess what color they are? Can you guess what color I am? To use one of the terms you used in your Sunday column.... who cares?
In answering the question you put forth in today's paper, I guess I would define a race baiter as one who seizes an opportunity to try to persuade folks that a specific incident occurred because of the color of one's skin. The white cop shot the black kid who robbed an Indian store owner. Ferguson. Riots. Looting. Burning. We heard all about the white cop and black kid but what happened to the store owner? Why has he been omitted from the story? Why hasn't the media repeatedly reported on how he is doing, how has he recovered, is he fearful of getting robbed again. Why haven't they? It's simple. He's not black. When that shooting happened, the federal government was all over the scene. Obama, Holder and a whole slew of the standard cast of characters promising federal investigations, civil lawsuits, etc. etc. Help me to remember here, Isaac. Did these same governmental officials venture to Memphis recently when a white police officer was killed? I must have missed that coverage. To me, they're race baiters. They are using an incident that involves someone of one specific race to draw an agitated crowd to focus their attention on that specific incident. As we've seen, the agitated crowd usually ends up burning buildings, looting, etc. What great leadership we have.
We both know there is no doubt that the way blacks were treated in this land was repulsive. The practice of owning and selling people is appalling. Have you ever visited Boone Hall plantation down in Mt Pleasant? As one of their props hanging on the wall is a shopping list from years way back. On the shopping list is the usual groceries and household goods. Also on the shopping list is 'Negro girl - 11 years of age' ( I can't remember the exact listing, but it was close to that). Repulsive.
What also bothers me is the lack of mention of the Abolitionists. The folks, most of whom were white, who wanted to abolish slavery in the very early stages of the 1800's. How come we don't hear of them? White folks looking out for the best interests of black folks. A few weeks ago I went down to Charleston to pick up my mom who flew in. Her being elderly, I get a gate pass and met her at the gate with the wheelchair. As I passed through the TSA line I noticed an easel with a poster board on it. It was the pictures of the folks who were murdered at the church. I took a picture of it on my phone. I'm going to print it out and hang it on my wall next to my other memorials to ordinary people who were murdered by the hateful actions of psychos. Each time I see the face of that psycho son-of-a-bitch that killed those folks in Charleston, it makes me sick. I don't want to see that m/f's face. I want to see theirs.
Because that psycho was pictured holding the confederate flag and had made hateful racial remarks, the immediate reaction was a movement to remove the confederate flag from the memorial at the statehouse. I wondered, why did the focus stop there? If the movement was created through the concept that the confederate flag symbolized racism and was a reminder of the oppression of black folks held captive under the bondage of slavery, why did the movement to eradicate the memory of that oppression stop there? Who was it that originally brought those imprisoned into slavery to these shores? Who were those folks that, prior to the triangular trade system, were enslaved? Slavery existed in this country well prior to 1776. Slavery included the American Indians and the Irish and the Scottish. They weren't called slaves, they were called indentured servants. They were held captive in penal colonies. Who created these penal colonies? Who enslaved them? Who initiated the triangular trade? If you go to the SC state museum in Columbia, there's a section on the British lords who once settled here. The British lords who governed the land and governed the plantations. The British lords who were paramount in the triangular trade. The British lords who have, I believe, six Counties and countless towns named after them. Where is the movement to rename the Counties and towns that were named in their honor? Where is the movement to remove them from the museum?
Perhaps I've gotten too far off the original path. Define race baiting, you asked. To me, race baiting is using the particulars of a specific incident to instill anger and hatred into the minds of folks of a particular race with the intention that their anger and hatred will fester into secondary anger and hatred to be used against those of another race. Unfortunately that sounds pretty negative. Perhaps if you can entice your colleagues in the media to start focusing on the positive aspects of folks who don't care what the color of one's skin is, then perhaps the hatred will start to subside. I'm not holding my breath in waiting for that to happen. If I did, I'd suffocate myself.