Ill over Racism in the Healthcare Debate

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Yesterday, my friend Megan admitted she was racist. Today, I’m admitting I am, too. We both took Harvard’s implicit association test on racial preferences, and we both got the same result.

IAT: IAT

Interesting and disturbing, isn’t it? 

So what’s the big deal with race these days, anyway? First Sonia Sotomayor was racist. Then there was the whole Henry Louis Gates ordeal, where Gates was racist, the cop who arrested him was racist and the neighbor who called the cops was racist too. Then Fox News’ Glenn Beck lost more than half his advertising dollars after he called Obama a racist.

And now the same insult has resurfaced in the health care debate. Earlier this week Tea Party leader appeared on CNN and called Obama a “racist-in-chief.” Jimmy Carter’s now calling Joe Wilson’s outburst and similar personal attacks on Obama racist, and—check this out—even your baby is racist, according to Newsweek’s cover story this week.

Some post-racial era we’re in, if “racist” is our country’s favorite insult. Right after socialist and Hitler.

What does race have to do with all this anger over healthcare, anyway? Our lawmakers and political commentators are so busy calling each other racists and reverse racists, we now have a healthcare bill introduced that Ezra Klein is calling the worst policy “possibly in the world,” and one that effectively encourages discrimination against hiring low-income workers.

And while we’re talking race and healthcare, let’s look at the stats that matter: A 2008 CDC survey found that 30 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks and 10 percent of whites do not have health insurance.

Individual racial discrimination is one thing. Systemic discrimination—racial, socioeconomic, or otherwise—is a whole ‘nother animal. Perhaps if our lawmakers (and our friends on cable news) stopped looking at each other for the slightest hint of discrimination, we’d have a more equitable bill to talk about.

Plus, if people are interested in calling out individual racists, they should just take the implicit association test. It takes 10 minutes and would spare the rest of the country—black, white, or any shade in between—from feeling any sicker in this rather unhealthy debate.

GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

Yet, we just came up pretty short on our first big fundraising campaign since Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting joined forces.

So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

payment methods

GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

Yet, we just came up pretty short on our first big fundraising campaign since Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting joined forces.

So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate