You can’t be overtly racist anymore. So to express their hatred and intolerance, racists have resorted to a kind of code. You substitute more generally accepted words for the ones you can’t use.
An example of crypto-racism in on display in Dr. Mel Fein’s most recent MDJ column. In it, the sociology professor from Kennesaw State University lashes out at poor people, just in time for Thanksgiving. He uses the word “poor” in place of black, but his message comes through loud and clear.
So completely repugnant and prejudiced are his opinions, they invite translation:
“The fact that the poor are frequently the authors of their own misery is indeed a painful truth,” Fein begins.
This is scarcely a novel observation. It of course overlooks the cycle of poverty that keeps the poor/blacks where they are. They have made great strides in breaking the cycle in other developed nations by providing job training, child care, access to reproductive education and healthcare services, quality education and after school programs, drug and alcohol counseling and other significant social services, but Fein doesn’t want to discuss or advocate those advancements. He’d rather blame the victim.
“(T)he vast majority are too disorganized to make such efforts (to start businesses),” scoffs Fein.
When he says “disorganized” Fein actually means “lazy.” As in most all of his columns, Fein doesn’t employ research or statistics to support this argument. He just repeats a threadbare stereotype about poor/black people.
“(T)he poor, even if they have insurance, often do not seek help. Doctors, whom they regard as of a higher class, make them uncomfortable. As a result, even when they have Medicaid, they tend to stay home,” Fein baselessly declares.
Now Fein suggests that poor/black people have an instinctual inferiority complex that prevents them from seeking medical help when they are sick. Fein is apparently unaware of the multitudes of poor/black people showing up at free clinics nor does he have any data on the number of poor/black people not using their Medicaid benefits.
"(W)hen they do see a physician, they are inarticulate when explaining their symptoms. Both intimidated by the doctor and generally inartful in expressing themselves, they make poor reporters of their own conditions. But since self-reports are a physician’s primary means of initiating a good diagnosis, understanding what is wrong becomes problematic,” says the professor.
This passage is not only fact-free, it’s transparently racist. No translation is necessary.
“(T)he poor don’t enjoy being pushed around (and rich white people do?) — by anyone, and that includes doctors. As a result, they are less apt to follow medical directions. Perhaps they do not get off their feet when so advised or they refuse to take a prescribed medication,”
Fein deploys a stunning generalization to make his baseless point: Poor/black people are “uppity” when being told what medication to take and how to use it because they “don’t enjoy being pushed around.”
“(T)he poor…drink too much, smoke too much, and eat too unwholesomely. Oddly, most do not even exercise sufficiently,” Fein concludes.
The professor is oddly ignorant that the same statement could be applied to many Americans, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status. But we already know what he really means and who he’s really talking about.
Dr. Fein ‘s crypto-racist opinions are appalling and mean spirited, borne of ignorance and personal bias. He’d do well to just keep his nasty opinions to himself and not besmirch his university any further.