Like many of you my friends, particularly the Americans of a more conservative bent, I am long- and over-sick of the overuse and misapplication of the term "racist." Those of my friends inclined to commit the offense of which I speak, you should be the ones most dismayed by and guarded against this failure to hew to the truth; and when a conservative replies to a liberal "You're the racist," that admonishment should be heeded because very often it certainly is largely true.
One of the root difficulties in discourse- political, religious, or other- in this modern age is the failure to use the lexicon we have accurately, or with a common understanding. You use a word, your understanding of it only loosely corresponds with my understanding of it (if it even corresponds at all), and our conversation rapidly becomes meaningless and not of the least use. We end up with all heat and no light (not that heat hasn't its uses too).
This tends in fact to be more likely with simpler, more common words than it is with jargon or specialised lexicon. A good personal example for my purposes here is the common and fundamental word faith. For many of you, "faith" is a word you use to reflect the notion of having affirmed the veracity of something without a full and rigorous accounting of evidence. This is particularly true of course with things for which the evidence can by nature only be sketchy or incomplete at best (think of our speculations regarding the origins of the universe). But for that I have other words, phrases actually, if for no other reason because my purposes require I use the word faith only as a very close synonym to the noun trust.
Some words are particularly predisposed to very subjective understandings. This is of course one good reason to avoid in public discourse the use of the simple noun "God" as much as possible. Think about it.
Recently in the heated and difficult climate we face it has become exceedingly popular for the moniker "racist" to be widely and utterly misapplied, for the term is not properly the same as "bigoted" or "bigotry." Actually it's not even close. And it serves us not, to mistake one for the other.
To be racist is a very specific condition which applies to relatively few people and redounds to their material benefit (of course while doing a requisite disservice to the more numerous folk on the receiving end); to be bigoted on the other hand is, sadly enough, a common heritage we all share and a condition of the mind... and far from conferring benefit, it serves to damage the calculations and observations of the bigot. It actually harms the individual's own purposes and success rather than enhancing them, by obscuring the true picture of the world one must navigate.
So, as to the headline? American racism is a very real legacy, and my calculation is that no one person has benefited from it more than I. The fact I am (partly) a white Anglo-Saxon isn't even directly material to the advantage I derive (likely I have some African-American cousins similarly benefited), my good fortune arises out of my lineal descent from a clan of monied colonists- Yankees, no less- who operated merchant shipping in and through the Revolutionary times... and who doubtless engaged in the slave trade. And while in my particular case the money itself is long gone, I am afforded a freedom of thought and action unusual in its scope; freedom not even available to my wealthier and more financially secure cousins, I doubt not.
This freedom gives me great leverage in the struggle against one particular hobble to which we all are subject: that being my native bigotry, which is the actual point of this particular disquisition. Bigotry, which causes missteps, makes one miss actual threats through silly distraction, causes the growth and expansion of ill feeling... and is the indulgence which is presently damaging America's crucial war effort and hamstringing this war-time Chief Executive's scope of action and capacity to serve and expedite our common interests.
All this self-indulgent bigotry going on now could very well destroy America, and with it humanity's last and greatest hope for liberty and progress. Even shy of that, the cost of it is outrageous and excessive. It's past time it stop, people. To cop a phrase from the silly-minded supremacists: Wake up, Americans.