So says John McWhorter, writing in The New Republic. Imagine, he says, that Barack Obama were accused of sexual harassment:
In short, the response to such allegations against Obama would involve playing the race card—and it would bear a strong resemblance to the way Herman Cain has responded to his own sexual harassment scandal. The left has been outraged at the Cain campaign’s response, but it also ought to feel a pang of recognition. If the race card is still a viable part of our national discourse in the Obama era, it is so at the behest of liberals—and it’s no less odious or callow when it is played by the left as when it is by the right.
Yes, says McWhorter, it’s cynical and even risible when the Right defends Cain by claiming his critics are motivated by a kind of racism:
But most of the left’s invocations of racism have also, in any objective sense, lost credibility—not because they follow Cain in trying to contradict specific facts, but because they have become so omnipresent and vague as to lose all meaning. Liberals imagine they are fighting the good fight, that they are uncovering truths about the hidden role of racism in the world. But what they have really been doing is making a dogma of racial grievance, one that has been exploited repeatedly by public figures on the left—and was bound to inevitably be deployed by politicians on the right.
Read the whole thing. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but McWhorter is black.