This may surprise you, if you haven’t been following it, but a pretty interesting dialogue has opened up on the right about whether it’s possible to build a conservative movement free of racism. I know. It sounds like trying to build a coal industry without pollution. But the conversation has been—to a point—encouraging. I’m going to walk you through the recent phases of the argument so you’re right up to speed.
It all began with a well-reported piece that appeared on the left-leaning web site Splinter, in which reporter Hanna Gais obtained some emails back and forth among some people in the conservative universe; none of them tier-one figures you see on cable a lot, but nevertheless people who occupy fairly prominent positions. I won’t try to summarize the whole thing, but just to give you a little taste, Gais was leaked a 2015 email in which one rightie writes to another: “In public places we avoid using certain terms. Like N and K. N’s are Alaskans. Hebes are Hawaiians.” Like that.
Writing off that story, conservative Tim Carney in the Washington Examiner wrote that while liberals too often caricature all conservatives as racist, sometimes these charges are true, as the Splinter story proves, and that it’s on conservatives to deal with that. Carney’s headline states the admirable goal: “It’s time to build a conservative ecosystem that doesn’t welcome racists.”
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