is a land of labels. Clothes have them, and so do cars. Furniture,
glassware, even the pen in your hand has a label. Often people are
judged by these labels, and in many cases, status is assigned based on labels.
Along with clothing and cars, there is another label upon which people are
judged. This label has nothing to do with money or power. A person
can't purchase this label or trade for it, because this label is assigned
at birth and carried until death. This label is race, and more than
clothes or cars, race is the source of great pride and great tribulation.
America has seen its share of racial strife, and race continues to be a major
issue in political discourse. However, the discussion and coverage
of race has a set of unwritten rules: not everyone can talk about it, and
only certain racial incidents merit media coverage and outrage.
A case in point is the recent incident in Louisiana involving the College
Democrats and the Republican candidate for governor, Bobby Jindal.
College Democrat President Ashley Bell sent a memo to Democrat supporters
in which he called Jindal an "Arab American," a "Do Boy," and a "token" candidate.
Jindal, who is Indian and not an Arab, is hardly a "token" candidate.
One only has to look at Jindal's credentials -- Rhodes Scholar, former president
of the University of Louisiana system, and former assistant secretary for
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- to see that the Republicans
are well represented in the race for Louisiana governor.
When it was pointed out to Bell that Jindal is Indian and not Arab, Bell
responded by writing, "In a recent email describing the Republican Nominee
in Louisiana Bobby Jindal, I used what local news has termed Arab American
- But in Fact Indian American is the politically correct terminology."
The outrage from Republicans and other groups was swift. Republican
National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said, "This is completely
unacceptable and inappropriate, but indicative of the kind of personal attacks
Democrats have been launching against Republican candidates all over the
Use of race in a derogatory or belittling manner justifiably draws outrage
from most Americans. However, it is interesting to note just how this
incident was covered by the media. The story was first reported by
the web-based, conservative news organization Talon News. The next day, other conservative media such as CNSNews.com and NewsMax.com picked up on the story. Other media outlets such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all passed on the coverage.
In contrast, when Rush Limbaugh expressed an opinion to the effect that the
media may be more supportive of black athletes, the media jumped on the story
and created such an uproar that Limbaugh was forced to resign. All
the media outlets covered it, and liberals quickly stepped forward to condemn
Is it OK for Democrats to get a pass when playing the race card, while Republicans
are raked over the coals for the mere mention of race? No, it's not,
but the American people wouldn't know it considering the kind of coverage
given by the media to various racial stories.
When then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott spoke at retiring Senator Strom
Thurmond's 100th birthday party and said that America would have been better
off had Thurmond won the presidency in 1948, the media coverage was intense
and constant. Thurmond ran on the segregationist "Dixiecrat" ticket,
and the remarks by Lott followed by the nonstop barrage by the media led
to Senator Lott stepping down from his post as Senate majority leader.
Back in March, Democrat Congressman Jim Moran said that the Jewish community
was responsible for influencing America into going to war with Iraq.
The comments from Representative Moran drew condemnation from the White House
and Jewish groups, but little was mentioned by the media. At the time,
White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "Those remarks are shocking. Those
remarks are wrong. Those remarks are inappropriate. And those are remarks
that should not have been said."
The executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matthew Brooks,
said, "This kind of rhetoric is part of a deeply troubling pattern of anti-Israel
sentiment that is rising up within certain segments of the Democratic Party
and that continues to go unanswered by Democratic leaders."
Only after repeated statements by the White House and Jewish leaders did
the Democrat congressional leadership step forward to denounce the remarks.
All the while, the story slipped under the radar screen of most Americans
due to minimal media coverage.
A double standard exists in the media regarding race, and it is a double
standard which must be exposed and eliminated. On one hand, those on
the left claim that Americans should strive for racial equality, but on the
other hand push policies that promote, restrict, identify, and limit opportunities
for individuals based on race. When members of the liberal establishment
cause outrage for their racial "insensitivities," seldom is attention drawn
to the offending remarks or actions by the media.
For America to move beyond the racial divide that exists in certain segments
of society, the media must be fair in its coverage and equal with its condemnations.
The media must also identify those who seek to advance their own personal
agendas through race-baiting and racial politics. An evenhanded approach
to coverage will show America that racism isn't an exclusive facet of any
one political party or philosophy.
Bobby Eberle is President and CEO of GOPUSA.com.