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The reason it's a problem to be labeled racist is because stupid people have power and can hurt you. There's no finer example in recent years than this one. Please watch the whole thing. A student/janitor at IUPI was found guilty of racial harrassment (through a farcical procedureless process) for reading a book about how Notre Dame students defeated the Klan in a violent confrontation in 1924. It was an anti-Klan book, it was on the shelves at the university library, it's sold on Amazon, he was minding his own business reading silently on his break. Yet one stupid (in this case, black) employee was able to get him tarred and feathered and branded a racial "harasser" for reading a scholarly work regarding a true historical incident - at a college, no less. Of course, the stupid employee had the help of the equally, or more so, stupid college administration. She couldn't have done it by herself. But the point is, she was stupid. Too stupid to understand the concept that he was reading a book that was celebrating a setback for the Klan. And yet she still had the power to ruin his life, both personally and academically. If that doesn't make you think twice about swallowing your principles and going along to get along you're not paying attention. I'm not saying you should. I would wish we all had the courage to stand up for what's right in that situation. The person in the story above did and eventually he was given an apology, but it was a long, hard and ridiculous road he had to travel to get there based on one accusation by a moronic co-worker. I think things are changing, though - if slowly. I think more and more people are laughing openly at charges of racism when it's patently ridiculous. I, too, think the existence of the Obama administration will ulitmately help in that regard because more and more people will realize charges of racism are a crutch used by too many people as a means to "win" an argument. The sooner it loses it's force as a be-all-and-end-all the better. Then we get back to actually pursuing Martin Luther King's dream of judging people by the content of their character. It's a good system.
Props to the Denver Post for actually doing some reporting. Many other news outlets would have just gone with the easy narrative: "Health care haters break Democratic office windows" but instead the Post did some research and makes it pretty clear what really happened. And they featured it prominently instead of in one tiny paragraph at the end after giving the Democratic side entire paragraphs, which is a much more common M.O. Ms. Waak doesn't look too bright after that.