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Richard Thompson Ford

Publication Date: 
February 13, 2008
The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert

Professor Richard Thompson Ford discusses his book "The Race Card" on the Colbert Report:

Playing the race card is when people used trumped up or false or misplaced allegations of racism to gain some unearned advantage...So for instance Clarence Thomas...that allegation 'a high tech lynching for uppity blacks'... I think it was a way to distract from the charges that Anita Hill had made and move the focus onto the Senate Judiciary Committee...Joe Biden is the head of a lynch mob... I don't buy it...

One of the things I point out in the book is that anyone can place the race card these days. It's not just racial minorities. For instance in this campaign, the Clintons have used race in order to kind of pigeonhole Obama...on the one hand suggesting that he's winning...just because of his race...On the other hand some their supporters are suggesting that he's not black enough...For instance Robert Johnson saying he's a "Sidney Poitier kind of black"...[in] "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"...

...Racism hasn't gone away. We have real racial injustices and we have old school racism that's still a problem in our society but accusing people of racism when they're not racist is bad for race relations for a number of reasons...