The real problem with the Pat Buchanan's words

Well, he's done it again. Pat Buchanan has said something racist, and now the news is full of debates about whether or not it's ok to call a black man, in this case our president, "boy."

I'm finding some people's professed ignorance about the term baffling, but what's especially troubling is the anger that comes up among whites when they don't understand why a term is wrong.

Here's the thing. If millions of people who are the collective target of a word say it's demeaning, and that it's been a part of pain and suffering for generations, that should be all anyone has to hear.

So many whites get mad that the N-word is off limits to them even though some African Americans use it. But where's the anger at racism itself? If not in whatever case is all over TV screens at the moment, then at the incidents that happen each day, and at our nation's shameful past?

If there was, even once, a real outcry against a racist incident by millions of whites, that would go a long way toward bridging the divide in our country. If we collectively would say, in some manner, that our fellow citizens matter to us, we'd see the beginning of change.

For now, though, the power of racism is all too alive and well. The Buchanan defenders were surely the same folks who defended Don Imus a few years ago when the radio talk show host called African American women basketball players "nappy headed hos." In the words of Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post: "The First Amendment notwithstanding, it has always been the case that some speech has been off-limits to some people. I remember a time when black people couldn't say 'I'd like to vote, please.' Now, white people can't say 'nappy-headed hos.' You'll survive."