July 09, 2002
BOGUS RACISM BULLSHIT ALERT: Eric Alterman smacks George Bush with the old "some of my best friends are Negroes" line.
The problem is, Alterman -- like most who abuse this rhetorical trope -- has it all wrong. The classic example was the white bigot who said he couldn't be a racist because some of his best friends were black -- only to have it turn out that those "friends" were his caddy and his shoeshine guy.
Bush, on the other hand, was referring to Colin Powell and Condi Rice, who he appointed to be Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. It's not really the same thing.
Alterman may just not realize where this phrase came from, because it's been morphed into an all-purpose way to ensure that white guys can't bring up counterexamples when charged with racism. But he ought to know better. And so should everyone who thoughtlessly employs the "some of my best friends" line.