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KATIE ZERR: Barr’s comments part of our problem

Are we at a point where we will suffer consequences for spewing hate and divisiveness in our country?
Several high-profile incidences have occurred in the past couple of weeks in which people of privilege have gone on racist rants or used social media to make racist and highly offensive comments about another person.
The latest of these classless and racist rants came from Roseanne Barr, who often repeats right-wing conspiracy theories and engages in on-line conversations that push the line of human decency.
Not in a comedic manner, in a simply classless, bullying manner.
She went over the line Monday night as she joined in a conversation online concerning the theory that the Obama administration had planted spies inside the Trump campaign. While others commented on the overtness of the operation and how then President Obama had fooled the American people, Barr took the opportunity to make a comment about Valerie Jarrett, an advisor to the president. In the since-deleted tweet, Barr wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” referring to Jarrett. There was no need to take swipes at Jarrett’s looks or ethnicity, but like many others in this time in our history, Barr thought it acceptable to move into the racism realm to voice her distaste for Jarrett.
Early Tuesday morning, ABC announced that the sitcom “Roseanne,” which was a big ratings hit for the network, had been cancelled.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.
Both of Barr’s talent agencies have also dropped the star.
But the network is not blameless in this saga. They went out on a limb, trying to get those almighty ratings, appealing to the far right leaning viewers. That chance backfired, but they knew this might be the case with Barr.
This is not the first time that Barr has crossed the line. She has repeated baseless and factless claims about George Soros, who makes generous contributions to Democratic candidates, much like the Koch brothers do for the Republicans.
Barr recently repeated an online conspiracy theory that Soros, who was a child during the Holocaust, betrayed fellow Jews to the Nazis, selling them out for money.
She also repeated the lie that Chelsea Clinton is married to a member of the Soros family.
Many fact-based groups and online fact checking sites have debunked these conspiracies, but they still exists in the far-right world.
Barr is not alone in being punished when she took her right to freedom of speech to the racist level. Others in the national limelight, from politicians to television stars, have suffered the consequences in not knowing when to keep their racist, classless ideals to themselves. Charlie Sheen, Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin and Paula Deen’s careers all suffered after they went over the line with their racist or classless comments.
But one doesn’t have to be a celebrity to suffer when going public with their racism. New York lawyer Aaron Schlossberg recently became enraged at a deli after overhearing employees speaking Spanish. In a video of the incident posted on line, Schlossberg confronts an employee at the Manhattan restaurant and deli.
He threatens to call Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on a restaurant worker and a customer at Fresh Kitchen who were speaking in Spanish to each other.
“They have the balls to come here and live off of my money,” he says in the video. “I pay for their welfare; I pay for their ability to be here. The least they could do is speak English.”
Last week he finally apologized, following the fallout of losing his office space, calls for disbarment from government officials, and a 500-person protest outside his apartment.
Schlossberg, like Barr and many others, after being caught either online or on video, claimed he is not a racist and that he embraces diversity of the City of New York.
Therein lies the problem. Schlossberg, like Barr, is a racist of the worst kind. Not the kind that knowingly hate others because they are different, gather in groups of like minds to spew hate and division, but the kind that don’t realize they are racists.
Our lives are daily filled with this kind of racists. We constantly hear the “I am not racist,” or “I am the least racist person your will ever know,” exclamations everyday.
There are few of us who are completely void of racism. Many, once in while, have thoughts that can cross the racism line.
The difference is, some know it is wrong and a fault in their character. They work to correct it with education and information.
Others, like Barr and Schlossberg and other high profile individuals, continue to deny their racist behavior and make excuses for it.
Jarrett showed dignity and class in her response to Barr’s comments saying, “I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment.”
Those are two characteristics much lacking in today’s society.
– Katie Zerr –