You can’t make this up. White liberal Slate writer Timothy Noah got all bothered by a Wall Street Journal story that described Barack Obama as “skinny,” and speculated on whether his trim physique would be a political liability in a nation of overweight people. “Racist!” he said. Excerpt from his column:
Chozick insists that she didn’t intend her playful feature about Obama’s physique as potential electoral liability to carry any racial subtext. “I can’t even respond to that,” she told me. “That’s ridiculous.” Bob Christie, Dow Jones’ vice president of communications, phoned me in a flash to reaffirm that message. I believe Chozick and Christie when they say that the Journal never intended skinniness to serve as a proxy for race. (Full disclosure: I was a reporter in the Journal‘s Washington bureau a dozen years ago. I know neither Chozick nor Christie. Fuller disclosure: I phoned my formerJournal colleague, Michel Martin, an African-American journalist who is now host of NPR’s Tell Me More, which frequently addresses matters of race, to ask whether she was offended. She was not.
But I firmly disagree that a racial reading of Chozick’s story is “ridiculous,” and I would counter that any failure on Chozick’s part to recognize such is just a wee bit clueless.
The logic Noah uses to arrive at his conclusion is so tortured he ought to be teaching summer school courses to North Korean prison guards. He actually cites an episode of “Happy Days” to back up his contention that when white people observe that a black person is thin, they’re really using racist code language.
Remember, children, “Being Offended” is #101 on the list of Stuff White People Like. Excerpt:
But white people, blessed with both time and energy, are not these kind of people. In fact there are few things white people love more than being offended.
Naturally, white people do not get offended by statements directed at white people. In fact, they don’t even have a problem making offensive statements about other white people (ask a white person about “flyover states”). As a rule, white people strongly prefer to get offended on behalf of other people.
It is also valuable to know that white people spend a significant portion of their time preparing for the moment when they will be offended. They read magazines, books, and watch documentaries all in hopes that one day they will encounter a person who will say something offensive. When this happens, they can leap into action with quotes, statistics, and historical examples.
Like “Happy Days,” that well-known documentary series on white-people life in the 1950s.