You may have heard about Scott Adams getting dropped from hundreds of outlets today because of a racist rant on his YouTube channel, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams” in which he called black Americans a “hate group” and that white people should just “just get the fuck away” from them. An extended transcript is below, if you want full context.
What is this all about? Well, Adams was furious at a Rasmussen Reports poll which said that 53% of black people agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be white,” from which he then inferred that 47% of black people didn’t, and therefore they are racists, a hate group, and he is so over them.
The source of his anger is very telling. First of all, Rasmussen Reports is a strongly conservative polling outfit, typically setting the stage for republican politicians and talking heads with these rather obviously slanted polls designed to create controversy. This particular poll had two questions:
1* Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s OK to be white.”
2* Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.” You may or may not be able to see the screeching racist dog whistles in these two questions, but the whistle is there, loud and clear.
The first question asks if “It’s OK to be white.” You might think that this is a bit strange, as on its face, it sounds like any other response except “Yes” would be discriminatory.
Here’s the problem: it’s a racist dog whistle that many people are not aware of. It has been around for years in the alt-right community as a statement representing white-supremacist views, constructed specifically to impervious from attack because of how innocuously correct it seems—but nonetheless is used in a powerfully racist way. Like the slogan, “All Lives Matter,” it passive-aggressively attacks protests against racism by slyly suggesting that people of color who are being discriminated against are the real racists here.
So, if you know the history of the statement, then you know it is a racist slur, and you would react strongly against it.
However, in the poll, most respondents probably didn’t even know what it means. Without the historical context, you have to wonder, “Does this mean that being white is not OK? In what way? Is it OK for me to be white? For white people? For anyone, metaphorically? Culturally? What?”
When Adams concluded that 47% of black Americans are utter racists, he kind of glossed over—or did not pay attention to—the fact that only 26% said they disagree with it; he included in that group the 21% who said they were not sure, a reasonable response considering the lack of context. And, either not knowing or ignoring the context, he did not reflect on the fact that likely most, if not almost all of the 26% who said “no” did so because they did know the context, and were responding to a white supremacist slogan.
The heavily slanted nature of the poll becomes further clear with the only other question, about the statement that “Black people can be racist, too.”
This harkens back to a controversial quote, famously made by Spike Lee, that “black people can’t be racist.”
This statement was immediately attacked by, well, virtually every single conservative in the country, as an outrageous statement which, they accused, was racist in and of itself. “What, only white people can hate people of other races?” was the reaction. It seemed completely indefensible, utterly absurd, and was used to castigate anyone accusing white people of racism. It was used heavily in the campaign to cast white people as the real victims of an institution of hatred against abuse of every last single white person.
The thing is, that’s not what Spike Lee said. Here’s his actual full quote:
Black people can’t be racist. Racism is an institution. Black people don’t have the power to keep hundreds of people from getting jobs or the vote. Black people didn’t bring nobody over in boats. They had to add shit to the Constitution so we could get the vote. Affirmative action is about finished in this country now. It’s through. And black people had nothing to do with that, those kinds of decisions. So how can black people be racist when that’s the standard? Now, black people can be prejudiced. Shit, everybody’s prejudiced about something.
Read the last two sentences of that quote again, in case you missed it. “Now, black people can be prejudiced. Shit, everybody’s prejudiced about something.” In short, he is making painfully clear that black people can hate all white people, that they can be prejudiced.
His real message is that, as opposed to prejudice, which is personal, racism is institutional, meaning that it carries the force of the society with it. I live in Japan, so I can be prejudiced against Japanese people, but racism is institutional, so being racist here is the domain of the 98% Japanese population. It is simply a matter of definitions.
In that context, Lee’s statement is scathingly true, and uncomfortably accurate. It is only the intentional misreading of that statement which casts it as a racist slur in itself.
See how the meanings are turned around? Notice how, in context, the meanings cast an absolutely different light? This is profoundly intentional.
So again, when the poll asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement, “Black people can be racist, too,” they were blowing another deafening dog whistle.
Knowing the context of these two statements, the purpose and intent behind the poll become rather clear. They were intended, with clear dishonest motives, to make black people look bad.
The question that remains is, did Scott Adams understand this, taking the opportunity to make his racist intent look like wounded sympathy? Or was he so unaware of the context that he let himself be fooled by the clear intent of the poll?
I am honestly not sure; it could have been either or even both. One thing that’s clear is Adams’ racist beliefs. Note these quotes from his rant, after stating that he intentionally moved to a predominantly white neighborhood because black neighborhoods are shit:
Everybody who focuses their priority on education does well. If anybody in the black community focuses on education, they’ll do well as well, because the the system allows that if they don’t, I can’t make that my problem anymore. It just can’t be my problem. It can’t be my problem if the solution is so clear, so available, and people don’t want to take it. It’s just not my problem anymore, so I resign.
In short, black people have only themselves to blame for their lot in life because they don’t focus on education. As if they don’t want to, or that a hundred significant truths about the black experience do not weigh more heavily on that topic than does simple choice. As if society does not make utterly clear to black kids that only through sports or entertainment or crime that they cannot be successful, in a world where people whose very names just sound black don’t get called back for job applications, where these kids are virtually hunted by cops and given a rap sheet that hobbles them for life before they can even have a chance to get that education, that racism does not hobble the families’ incomes and opportunities, that… well, you get the idea. The list would be a whole essay in and of itself.
No, no, none of that matters. It’s all just a choice they make. After all, we elected a black man president, and that means that any black person can make it in our society, and that race isn’t an issue. Right?
Sure looks pretty clear to be that Adams believes in this alt-right bullshit version of reality.
Here is the relevant excerpt from Adams’ rant:
Well, Rasmussen poll had a provocative little poll today. They said do you agree or disagree with the statement uh it’s okay to be white. That was an actual question Rasmussen asked you know white and black voters and and probably others uh do you disagree or agree with a statement, ‘It’s okay to be white,’ 26 percent of blacks said, no, it’s not okay to be white. 21 weren’t sure. Together that is 47 of black respondents were not willing to say it’s okay to be white.
That that actually that’s like a real poll, this just happened. Did you have any idea, would you have imagined that that could have happened. So I realized, as you know I’ve been identifying as black for a while, years now, because I like you know I like to be on the winning team, and I like to help and I always thought, well, if you help the black community, that’s sort of the biggest lever you know you could you can find the the biggest benefit. So I thought, well that’s the hardest thing and the biggest benefit, so I’d like to focus a lot of my life resources in helping black Americans so much, so that I started identifying as black to just be on the team I was helping.
But it turns out that nearly half of that team doesn’t think I’m okay to be white, which is of course why I identified as black because so I could be on the winning team for a while.
But I have to say, this is the first political poll that’s changed my activities. I don’t know that that’s ever happened before. Normally you see a poll, you just look at it, you go, ‘Ahh, whatever. Oh, this is interesting, what other people think.’
But, as of today, I am going to re-identify as white, cause I don’t want to be a member of a hate group. I’ve accidentally joined a hate group.
So if nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people – according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll – that’s a hate group. That’s a hate group. And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.
And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the fuck away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. Cause there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. Alright, this can’t be fixed. You just have to escape.
So that’s what I did, I went to a neighborhood where [I] have a very low black population, because unfortunately, there is a high correlation between the density—this is according to Don Lemon, by the way—so here I’m just quoting Don Lemon, when he notes, that he—when he lived in a mostly black neighborhood, there were a bunch of problems that he didn’t see in white neighborhoods. So even Don Lemon sees a big difference in your own quality of living based on where he live[d], and who was there.
So I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no longer a rational impulse. And so I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t seem like it pays off.
Like I’ve been doing it all my life, and the only outcome is I get called a racist. That’s the only outcome. It makes no sense to help Black Americans if you’re white. It’s over. Don’t even think it’s worth trying. Totally not trying. Now, we should be friendly; like I’m not saying, start a war, do anything bad, nothing like that. I’m just saying get away, just get away.
And here’s my take on all of it: Everybody who focuses their priority on education does well. If anybody in the black community focuses on education, they’ll do well as well, because the the system allows that if they don’t, I can’t make that my problem anymore. It just can’t be my problem. It can’t be my problem if the solution is so clear, so available, and people don’t want to take it. It’s just not my problem anymore, so I resign.
I resigned from the hate group called Black Americans according to the Rasmussen poll, 46 percent of them don’t think white people are okay. Just being white… and there we go.
You didn’t expect that today, did you?
But the most helpful thing I can do is to say I’m not going to help. Do you understand that? Continuing to help in in that sort of you know classic ‘Oh, let me help you give you a you know a lift up, give you a hand, you know, Mentor you, hire you, prefer you…’ I’m going to stop all of that. I’m done with all of that. Yeah, no, it didn’t work. The only thing that will work is to say, you got to fix your own problem. You know how you know how to do, it everybody else figured it out.
I’m not going to speculate you know why you’re not doing it. I’m not going to speculate why there’s a difference. I’m just going to say it’s available to everybody, just pick it up. It’s free money. Focus on education and you could have a good life too.
But those who don’t want to focus on education you just need to get away from them just get as much distance as you can. That’s my recommendation.
And I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of black Americans beating up non-black citizens. I realize it’s anecdotal, and you know it doesn’t give me a a full picture of what’s happening but every damn day I look on social media and there’s some black person beating the out of some white person. I’m kind of over it. I’m over it right so I quit
And it feels good not to be in a racist hate group anymore so I’m now independent, not a member of any group I do not align with any group not the white supremacists, and not the black racists. All right.