Beyond Race? Politics Beyond Sensitive, More Like It

'Perceiving insult' hurts discourse at all levels
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2008 1:18 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama talks on the phone aboard his campaign plane after landing in St. Louis, Mo., today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The story of an indicted Indiana student janitor underlines "super-heated capacities for perceiving insult" that color race issues in America—issues playing out in the presidential contest, too, Dorothy Rabinowitz writes in the Wall Street Journal. "Its presence is evident in this election campaign," she writes, "which has seen more than a touch of readiness to impute some form of racism to all tough criticisms of Barack Obama."

Rabinowitz still can’t believe the charge that Bill Clinton’s “fairy tale” quip constituted off-color material—and says Obama betrays his supposed “racial transcendence” by trying to launch a pre-emptive strike against future racism he may face. "All this may be far from the world of the universities," she concludes. "But to those aforementioned campus ideologues, the thinking is familiar."