Final Impressions

Don’t misplay the race card

Written by James Combs

When it comes to playing the race card, there seems to be very few limits these days. In fact, we’ve all likely made a joke about it at one time or another.

“What’s next? Are they going to start accusing yoga, candy companies, and popular Christmas songs of being racist, too?”

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…


Skip those yoga sessions because if you’re doing poses such as the cobra or downward facing dog, you are engaging in an activity rooted in white supremacy, according to a Michigan State University professor.

Buy M&Ms instead of Skittles. Countless people accused Skittles of being racist because it made colorless, all-white candies last June to celebrate National Pride Month.

Don’t dare sing “Jingle Bells” at your next Christmas party. A Boston University professor accuses the song of having “racist origins.”

First, let’s make something abundantly clear. There’s nothing funny about racism. Reducing a person’s sum worth based solely on his or her skin color is intellectually lazy and morally repugnant.

Real racism and bigotry continue to exist. Unfortunately, despicably false accusations of racism make it increasingly harder to battle real racism because it creates an us-vs.-them mentality and hinders the possibility of open discussion about race issues. Is the word “racist” an accurate portrayal of everyone and everything it has been attributed to as of late? Of course not.

The word is used far too often to smear good men and women. And accusers often do it without a shred of evidence to back up their claims. It’s far easier and less mentally exhausting to throw out the word “racist” as the first retort in any political discussion. You want tougher laws on illegal immigration? You’re a racist. Don’t agree with redistribution of wealth? You’re a racist. You have a political opinion that differs from mine? You’re a racist.

If we desire to effectively tackle real race issues in this country, then it must be done through honest debate and open discussion rather than immediate demonization and baseless name-calling. And we have to realize that, contrary to popular belief, not everyone—and everything—is racist.

Now that I’ve concluded this piece, I’m going to perform a yoga pose to relieve my ailing lower back.

Labeling me a racist for doing so would be… well…quite a stretch.

About the author

James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County’s many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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