Can a negative be proven?

He’s a racist. How do you know? He’s white, isn’t he? Let him prove he’s not racist. The handy flowchart above represents the challenge of trying to prove a negative–in this case, that someone who has been accused of being racist, is not racist. It reminds me of the question “have you stopped beating your wife?” Comedian Henny Youngman, once and perhaps still the “king of one-liners”, used to beat that joke to death, unlike his wife, who survived the years of “take my wife” double entendres. Sigh, you’d have to be a Baby Boomer to appreciate that joke. So, back to our favorite shibboleth, racism. I say “favorite”, because there’s no accusation that gets a faster denial….which is the main point of the accusation! The only kind of person who doesn’t mind being called a racist is…..you guessed it, a racist. The kind of person who most frequently calls someone else a racist is the one who benefits from calling someone else a racist. Is that what we call a “race-baiter” or “race-hustler”? What attitude or set of beliefs, exactly, is racist? Our flowchart deals with actions, and whose attitude is more revealed by it. Which of the actions along the top row are definitively racist? What about the accusations in the second row? Are they an accurate assessment of the meanings of the actions? If not, then what is their purpose? Who accuses? Can you define racism without falling back on the godlike ability to know the heart and mind? Is racism hating someone because of the color of their skin or country of origin? If so, how can you prove what is inside of a person? Most of the failed efforts by government to eradicate poverty and define disadvantaged groups were based on assumptions of inability of those groups to raise themselves. Was that love, or truly racism?

Which brings me to the guy who probably gets called a racist more than any other individual–President Trump. According to the following objective and balanced (ahem and various throat clearing sounds) media, Huffpost, Washington Post, NY Times, indisputable evidence of his racism is expressed by these headlines: “He attacked Muslim Gold Star parents.” “He questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States.” “He treats racial groups as monoliths.” “He stereotyped Jews and shared an anti-Semitic meme created by white supremacists.”He treats African-American supporters as tokens to dispel the idea he is racist.” “He called Maxine Waters a low IQ person.” “He referred to Haiti,  El Salvador, and “various African countries” (Yemen, Somalia) as “shithole” countries.”   

I am not saying he is or is not racist; knowing what is in his heart and mind is the province of God alone. I personally suspect he harbors plenty of racial and ethnic prejudices, but what I suspect is irrelevant. The issues here are: 1. The futility of trying to prove a negative; 2. Judging on what a person does rather than what he says.

1. Since I am using President Trump simply as an example of the futility of trying to prove a negative–that he isn’t racist, I have to consider three factors about the charges: Are they accurate? If so, are they evidence of racism? Do the accusers reap a payoff for making the charges? The last point is very different from asking, “what are their motives?” I am not God, so I can’t know motives, but I can see for myself the payoff. We’ll get to that. As to the accuracy of the charges, I can acknowledge they are probably more accurate than not, but they fail the test of being evidence of racism. Regarding those “Muslim gold star” parents, Khizr Khan and his wife (whose son, Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq), what Trump actually said in the Stephanopoulos interview, when asked to comment on Khizr Khan’s claim that Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one,” Trump replied: “Who wrote that? Did Hilary’s scriptwriters write it?” Following that interview, Khizr Khan told CNN’s Jim Acosta that ‘Trump is a black soul‘ and has a ‘blackness of his character, of his soul.’“This behavior is totally unfit for the leadership of this country,” he said. Trump defended himself on Twitter, saying that while Humayun Khan is a hero, the GOP candidate’s policies are about “radical Islamic terror and the weakness of our leaders to eradicate it.” Some uncomfortable facts: Khan’s law firm financially benefited from unfettered pay-to-play Muslim migration into America. A snapshot of his now deleted website, as captured by the Wayback Machine which takes snapshots archiving various websites on the Internet, shows that as a lawyer he engaged in procurement of EB5 immigration visas and other Related Immigration Services.” Once attention was focused on him, he deleted his firm’s website. What about Trump’s quip about Hilary’s script writers? Khan used to work for a powerful D.C. law firm that represented the Clinton Foundation. Hilary was touting Khan’s family all over the DNC as a direct rebuke to her opponent’s (guess who) Muslim policies, and Trump’s quip called attention to that; it was not a criticism of Khan. I also wonder, since Khan used “blackness” twice as a proxy for evil, why was he not called out as a racist? Naive of me, it wad more important to get Trump, and Khan is a Muslim, another PC-protected group. 

Speaking of which, the “total and complete Muslim ban” was campaign rhetoric, but actually restricted immigration from seven countries–Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen–which are either failed states or sworn enemies of our country, and were put on the list of probable sponsors of terrorists by the Obama administration. Is that ban valid evidence of racism? Not to me. Lots of people questioned whether President Obama was born in this country, and there were five other historic presidential candidate “birther” controversies, all of which were against white men. Once again, not evidence of racism. If treating racial groups as “monoliths” was evidence of racism, then the entire democrat party and all the liberal media are racist. Treating “African Americans as tokens” means he appears to befriend them (when it’s to his advantage). The parenthetical phrase requires the ability to read his mind. As far as his stereotyping Jews as evidence of being anti Semitic, isn’t his son-in-law Jewish? Maxine Waters does act very much like a “low IQ” person. She’s even ridiculed by Walter Williams. Is he racist too? Instead of “shithole countries” he should have said “failed states”, and they are. Privately, many of us, including the media, consider Haiti, Somalia, Yemen, El Salvador and the like shithole countries.

So all the charges of racism I copied from Huffpost, WaPo, and NY Times (there were others that I didn’t copy) are not evidence of it; they are “row two” accusations that are hurled with a payoff in mind. It’s no deep state secret that President Trump and the major media are hostile to each other. It would take willful ignorance to deny that the major media, especially the three I cited, want him out of office and preferably in jail. The payoff in crying racist! is obvious.

But let’s carry the concept over to individuals. Proving a negative to someone who hates you and avows to get you is plain impossible. What if someone wanted to get me with a charge of racism? They could not find a single person in my life and history who could truthfully show anything I said or did was racist, nor anything in my blog that denigrated a race, or a person because of their race. Not that the lack of evidence would stop them from accusing. I would be foolish to act as if I had the burden of proof. The burden of proof is always on the accuser!! Since you cannot prove you are not something, the accuser better have significant proof that you are that something. If they don’t have the proof, it’s slander, and if they published the charges, it’s libel, and therefore worth suing over.

Finishing up here, what is the more accurate judge of the heart–what someone says, or what they do? What is more important for a President, his words or policies? I wish Trump’s words were leavened with more prudence, but then again, the media and the Democrats would be less revealing about their character. Or not. Those same blockheads also denigrated President Reagan, whose charm and humor were as far from Trump as can be. Maybe it isn’t about proving a negative, but getting and retaining power. 

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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