MD Lt. Gov. Rutherford Under Fire for Remarks about Hate Speech

Baltimore Sun, December 2, 2016:

Amid an uptick in hate speech following the divisive presidential election, Republican Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford said this week that he’d rather people “show their real colors than hide.”

Rutherford was tweeting in response to state Sen. Cheryl Kagan, a Montgomery County Democrat, who had tweeted that she was “shocked” by Rutherford’s lack of awareness about the root of recent anti-Semitic vandalism.

“You act as though hate is new,” Rutherford tweeted at the state senator. “It was always there. I’d rather people show their real colors than hide.”

The article goes on to discuss how Sen. Kagan characterized the Jewish community in and near her Montgomery County district as “mystified” by Lt. Gov. Rutherford’s remarks.

The divergence in perspective between the Lieutenant Governor, who is African-American, and Senator Cheryl Kagan, long a community pillar in greater Washington’s Jewish community both in office and out of office over the decades, should surprise no one.

It is quite common (though not universal) for African-Americans to prefer sunlight and openness regarding racism and for American Jews (and perhaps Jewish citizens of other nations) to find the same sunlight and openness more alarming.  More social commentators have noted this.  I will defer to others more learned than I as to the possible sociological and historical sources of this frequent divergence in response/coping strategy.

As for me, neither Jewish nor African-American and lacking actual chips on the table in dealing with either problem, I would hesitate to comment, other than to hope that our society improves such that racism and anti-Semitism are in the history books and not in the newspapers.  Doubt I will live that long.

Posted by Bruce Godfrey

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