As John Jackson shows in his account of a discussion about race and racism, which occurred on HBO on the Bill Maher's show, it is still impossible to talk about race in Obama's America. My suspicion is that it is because the goal of the participants isn't to have a dialogue, but to score points and win the argument to be able to dictate to the others what they should believe and do. Having a dialogue about race in America remains impossible because the main goals aren't to reconcile and to move forward, but to divide, to shame, to castigate, to vex, and to gain privileges and power that would be unchallengeable. Sugary excerpt:
Breitbart was debating Georgetown’s Michael Eric Dyson during the
telecast and arguing (it seems) that any and all invocations of racism
are bogus. They simply end debates with a broad-brushed attempt at
categorical demonization. Label someone a racist, he says, and you can
For instance, Maher called Rush Limbaugh’s antics racist, including the radio host’s giddy promotion of that “Obama, the Magic Negro” song. Breitbart took offense, calling the accusation utterly ridiculous. A liberal journalist coined the phrase, he responded. So, isn’t that journalist also a racist then?
Breitbart reminded Maher that “there was no greater defender of Clarence Thomas than Rush Limbaugh.” The crowd laughed.
Dyson and Maher pushed back, at which point Breitbart chalked all of this “hypersensitive” race talk (and seemingly all racist accusations) to strong-armed indoctrination and intimidation by the powerful “black studies intelligentsia crowd” that forces other African Americans to give lip service to the belief that racism is everywhere.
None of these three people wanted to listen to the other. Their goal was to express an ideological point of view and to get the other to shut up or to contest it so heatedly that the reaction or rather the over-reaction would be interpreted as an admission that the ideological viewpoint can't be illegitimate if it can't be challenged rationally. My point is that in America, people talk about race the way they talk about God, Jesus, and religion. To them, facts don't matter since they already have the truth on the side and are fervent believers in their dogmas.