Whom I always liked, to be honest with you, as a funny and seemingly sensible guy. And I’m not saying that one racist/prejudiced quote brands you as a racist for all time. But at the same time, he wrote something that would make most of us cringe.
Earlier today I asked whether this quote is racist:
As Steffgen predicted, the media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sisterinlaw, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.
I asked readers to tell me whether you think this quote is racist. Many of you said that it is. I agree. As one commenter said: to be as charitable as possible, it is racially prejudiced.
The quote is from Robert Stacy McCain. Founding Bloggers asked McCain about the quote and he admitted the quote and claimed that it had been taken out of context:
We spoke at great length with RS McCain today, and we are satisfied with what he had to say about the above comments. To sum up, here is what he told us:
The quote about interracial marriage [The same one I quoted in this post — P] is taken out of context, and is more about ethnographic-genetic philosophy than race (our conclusion). While we personally do not accept the premise being discussed in the quote, to the degree which we can divine intent, we do not feel that McCain’s motive was any kind of overt racism. It is possible to be wrong on issues related to race without being racist. Some people will probably disagree with that conclusion but there you are.
They’re doing their best to be charitable, but the discomfort is palpable. As for “context”: if you want, you can read the quotes in their full context here, or an Internet Archive version of the quotes here.
For context, I am placing the full quote in the extended entry below. The reader can judge for himself or herself whether the context renders non-racist McCain’s observations about the “natural revulsion” that many people feel upon seeing images of interracial marriage.
By the way, I found the Founding Bloggers post linked at this very lengthy and thorough post that is very harsh to McCain. But the author also has plenty of evidence to back up much of what he has to say. It’s worth a click and a read.
I have much more discussion of the evidence at this page, but I think it’s too lengthy to include here. I think the evidence set forth there is quite compelling and interesting — and shows how McCain has made sort of half-assed attempts to deny, or implicitly deny, the quote. But when he was finally asked the question quite directly by the sympathetic site Founding Bloggers in the link above, he admitted it. And claimed he was taken out of context.
So let’s turn to the full context of the quote.
To be sure, McCain says some other stuff here that is not racist, and some stuff that is less racist than the part quoted above. But I keep coming back to his claim that “the media now force interracial images into the public mind” that that “a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion.”
And that “[t]he white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sisterinlaw, and THIS IS NOT RACISM.”
You can put as much context around that as you like. It still sounds like racism to me. But judge for yourself. Here’s McCain in his own words: