MINOT, N.D. — Back in 2016, as then-candidate Donald Trump was storming his way down the campaign trail to the White House, I argued that his ability to survive the offensive things he was, and is, prone to saying was because we have become inured to accusations of racism.
We toss them around like confetti. The best-selling book about race relations in America, one called "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo, which has been elevated to gospel status by some, argues that all white people are racist and the only thing to do about it is to "strive to be less white."
I'm not making that up.
If you're white, you're racist, and if you try to deny that you're racist, that's just more evidence for how racist you are.
It's a neat trick.
A bit like how the fanatics of another age used to test people for witchery by tying them up and throwing them in the nearest body of water. If they floated, they were a witch, which probably meant a death sentence. If you sank, you were innocent of witchery but likely dead from drowning.
Either way, they got you.
By defining just about everyone (or, at least, all white people) as inherently racist, we've diminished what that term means.
We're left with just one category that includes everyone from perfectly kind and generous people to Ku Klux Klan members.
Which brings us to Kamala Harris and her new political partnership with presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Back when Harris and Biden were competitors for the Democratic nomination, she implied that Biden was a racist.
On the campaign trail, Biden had been touting his ability to work across the aisle during his long (seven terms!) career in the Senate, even describing the work he did with colleagues who were pro-segregation.
Harris unloaded on him for his comments.
Harris prefaced her attack on Biden by saying she does not believe he's a racist, but that's the sort of hedge politicians do when they know that, later on, they may have to campaign for or, in Harris' situation, campaign with, the person they're attacking.
If Biden were a Republican who had lauded his work with segregationists, and who had worked with them to oppose busing as a way to facilitate desegregation, Harris would not have felt the need to give herself room to maneuver.
Way back in 2006, Republican governor of Virginia George Allen's political career, White House aspirations and all, was ended because he said "macaca."
Current Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, wore blackface while standing next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe, and he's still governor.
Sen. Mitt Romney was a racist circa 2012, according to all sorts of Democratic politicians and left-leaning talking heads, for daring to campaign against the re-election of Barack Obama (he's since been rehabilitated thanks to his outspoken opposition to President Trump).
Joe Biden brags about working with segregationists, a record that includes opposition to busing, and the black woman who raked him over the coals for it earlier this year is now his running mate.
By the way, Harris' position on busing is about as clear as mud; she's on the record opposing the same sort of federal mandate Biden opposed.
For the record, I don't think Joe Biden is a racist. Not even close.
I do, however, believe that politicians today, and Democrats in particular, have a terrible habit of accusing people of racism, or at least racial insensitivity, as a tactic. They do it so often, and the flip-flop on the accusations so frequently based on various political calculations, that it becomes difficult for the public to discern actual racism.
The problem with accusing everyone of racism is that if everyone is racist, then, as a practical matter, nobody is and real movement toward solving real problems of racial animus becomes nearly impossible.
Harris, who has a habit of saying whatever she needs to say to please whoever she is standing in front of in a given moment, is a part of that problem.
By the way, Harris was chosen, explicitly, because of her gender and skin color. That's not supposition. Biden was under an intense amount of pressure to do just that.
Does that make you feel good about where we are with race relations right now? That someone's qualifications for as lofty a job as Vice President would boil down to race and which set of sexual organs they possess?
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.