It would have been fun to watch Hitler come to power under the watch of 24 hour news channels. I wonder if it would have fueled his rise or stifled it. The commentators would have loved the ratings they'd get from defending or attacking such a vile character.
MSNBC's Ed (sounds a lot like, and looks a little like, a leftist Rush Limbaugh) is outraged that Glen Beck (an alarmist from the right) said that Barack Obama is a racist.
It's a topic worth talking about and I think it gets to the difference between race and racism.
If you grow up Latino or Asian in this country, you have a different experience than someone who grows up white or black. If you grow up poor or rich and you have a different experience from someone who grows up middle class. If you grow up in an Italian or Jewish family that clings to its ethnic or religious identity, you have a different experience than someone who grows up Mormon.
Race matters. (As does ethnic group or religion. Without race, religion and ethnicity we'd lose about half our jokes.) Plus, it simply isn't true that a government composed only of Latino Catholic females would be the same as a government composed only of White Protestant males or Asian Baptist transvestites. Race is part of a person's experience and it'd be foolish to discount it.
Racism is the conclusion that members of a particular race (or races) are inferior. Racism settles for less for a swath of humanity.
Pretending that race doesn't matter is a stance only slightly more sophisticated than racism. (Which is like saying that the service at a restaurant is only slightly more sophisticated than waitresses on roller skates).
Believing that race, gender, and ethnic or religious orientation matters and that a community's representatives should roughly match the community is very different from racism. It seems to me that missing this point requires willful ignorance.