Racism with a hood, and racism with a smile.
Racism that bombs churches, and racism that asks to touch your hair.
The racism of David Duke, and the racism of Thanksgiving Uncle.
But he is steeped and anchored in, and unable to educate himself out of, racism in the insidious tradition.
It isn’t just terminology. It is a mental model in which: American means white, poor means black, clean and articulate black people are a nice surprise, and the effects of systemic oppression are the victims’ fault.
You don’t want those existential questions neutralized by past tapes and comments and shoulder rubs.
But America is hugely changing, and he has not made the renovations necessary to lead it into the future.
It is possible to rewire yourself. Hard but possible. He has chosen not to.
And thanks to thoughts like this, I will probably never have my own show, and never replace Bret Stephens on the Op-Ed page of the @nytimes.