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The Liberal Privilege of George Takei
Imagine for a moment if a reporter asked actor Walter Koenig (best known for his role as Pavel Chekov in the original Star Trek television series) a question about President Obama, and Koenig responded this way:
"He is a clown in blackface sitting in the White House. He gets me that angry. He doesn't belong there... This man does not belong in the White House. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America."
How do you think the national media would respond to such a diatribe? How would they react to someone of Koenig's notoriety calling our liberal, African American president a "clown in blackface" who "does not belong" in the White House?
There likely isn't a person reading this who doesn't already know the answer to that question: Koenig would be crucified.
It wouldn't matter what President Obama said or did that had provoked such anger from Koenig, nor would it matter how well Koenig was liked, or how many good deeds he had done throughout his life. He would be assailed quickly and completely.
The story would be headline news in major newspapers. Entertainment Tonight would dwell on it for weeks. MSNBC would spend days trying to tie Koenig to the Tea Party movement. Koenig's business dealings would be scrutinized, and any companies paying him money would be called upon and petitioned to sever all ties. Eventually, Koenig would turn up on Al Sharpton's radio show, seeking atonement for his sins, only to then fade into obscurity and never be heard from again.
Now, imagine what would happen if another former Star Trek star made those very same race-fueled, vitriolic comments... Only instead of making them about Obama, they were made about conservative Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. What do you think would happen then?
Well, we don't have to guess on that one, because it did happen... earlier this week. And the mainstream media response has been crickets.
The guilty party was George Takei, the actor who portrayed Mr. Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise. In an interview with a Fox Affiliate on Monday, Takei excoriated Thomas for his written dissent in the Supreme Court's recent gay marriage case, in which Takei believed Thomas was implying that there was dignity in being a slave.
I think most people reading Thomas's dissent would conclude that the justice was clearly referring to the inherit dignity of man, but that's not how Takei took it. And because Thomas is an unabashed, African American conservative who's largely despised by liberals, the mainstream media appears to have given Takei a total pass on his jaw-dropping racial slur.
As of the time I'm writing this column (four days after the Takei interview) no major news organizations, other than Fox News, have picked up on the story. In fact, the only non-conservative outlet that seems to have mentioned it at all is Salon, and they presented Takei's remarks as hard news without any commentary. This urges the question: Did the commentary-driven website even find Takei's words objectionable?
What we're seeing here is a clear case of Liberal Privilege: The exemption from criticism granted to liberals who say nasty (even racist) things about conservatives.
You see, in the eyes of the mainstream media, vitriol and racism targeted at conservatives is a largely forgivable offense. It's so forgivable (and generally accepted) in fact, that such occurrences are often not even deemed worthy of distribution to the public where regular people might find themselves forming different opinions on the matter.
As a liberal, gay-rights activist with a lot of Internet influence, the media recognizes that Takei has earned his Liberal Privilege. He might not have received a pass if he had directed his comments toward another liberal, but at a prominent, African American conservative? Set phasers to kill, Mr. Sulu. Fire away!
The double standard is breathtaking, but the progressive prime directive supersedes it all. And once again, the American people are none the wiser.