Iconic Ferris Bueller bit-player and eyedrop pitchman Ben Stein is at it again. Just days after calling Barack Obama the most racist president ever, Stein appeared on Newsmax TV’s The Steve Malzberg Show to hammer home his nuanced views on race, and level an even more ridiculous charge against the President. In the clip getting the most attention (which is the point, I suppose), Malzberg asks Stein why the lamestream media won’t report on Michael Brown’s mom allegedly confronting grave-robbing t-shirt vendors, and Stein went off on a bit of a rant:
“You would think, if you read the liberal mainstream media, that the main problem with race in America was poor innocent black people being set upon and mistreated by the police. That’s just nonsense. I mean, the real problem with race in America is a very, very beaten-down, pathetic, self-defeating black underclass that just can’t seem to get its way going in the way that blacks were able to before the scourge of drugs and the scourge of gangs. Blacks were on their way in this country, even after the horrors of slavery, and then drugs came in, the destruction of families came in. That, it seems, is something that Mr. Obama could have addressed but he’s ignored it completely.”
Man, that’s a big racism sandwich to wolf down, but here goes: yes, it’s too bad about all those drugs that black people do, even though white people in Ferguson were 50% more likely to have drugs on them when they were searched one-tenth as often as black people, and it really is a shame that gangs of heavily-armed men wearing common colors go around committing violence in Ferguson, but slavery wasn’t actually all that good for families, and neither were Jim Crow or the legacy of institutionalized racism they birthed. But I take his point, President Obama has completely ignored this, except when conservatives want to pretend Obama agrees with them about black culture. Smart take, Ben.
But then, Malzberg asks Stein about the recent kerfuffle over an Obama administration official anonymously calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit,” and that’s when things got really weird:
“He belongs, or at least at one time belonged, to that super-anti-Semitic, which, uh, Minister Farrakhan black Muslims in Chicago, he was not, he doesn’t belong to them but he was close to them. I think he puicked up some kind of residual Jew-hatred from that. But I could be totally, totally wrong about that.”
That sounds absurd, but hey, who knows? Maybe Stein is right, maybe Obama picked up some kind of injewenza when Farrakhan sneezed on him or something. Or maybe not:
At one level, this is just more of what you would expect from a conservative media that consistently just makes stuff up (especially Malzberg’s awesome speculation that it was the president who called Netanyahu “chickenshit”), but at another, this is indicative of racism creep in our broader culture. Stein’s views on race have found voice in the mainstream media, and Stein himself is a contributor to CBS News. What used to be hidden under a rock where it belongs is now just another side of the conversation.