I meant to write
...the sale of Nazi and KKK memorabilia is not, ipso facto, overt racism
of a Nazi flag would most likely be an expression of racism, but is that what happened at the Nazi memorabilia booth? Pretty tough to sell the stuff without displaying swastikas and if you are selling the stuff and you want people to know, you are going to display Nazi symbolism.
I don't believe we can assume that sellers of authentic
Nazi artifacts are racists or intentionally engage in trade with racists. On the other hand sellers of Nazi trinkets and mass-produced symbols are either racists themselves or amoral. No one would believe any claim that they were not knowingly engaged in commerce with racists. I'm not at all sure what was being sold at the market on the UK campus. We only have the vendor's statement to go by.
If they are not racists then they are not playing a game of deception. If they are does it really make a difference? No one is going to be fooled by the denial of someone who sells Nazi paper plates and resin busts of Adolph Hitler manufactured in China for about 99 cents a piece. You may be right about the psychology of some of these folks, but I think it's irrelevant and not of much interest (at least to me).
Everyone is free to boycott establishments for political purposes. I wouldn't describe the former basketball players' action as a boycott though. It's not likely they were much interested in purchasing goods at the market in the first place. What they are trying to do is coerce the university into shutting down a particular vendor. There's absolutely nothing wrong with their wanting to do their bit to combat racism. If the vendor is supplying racists with Nazi paraphernalia, I salute their efforts. They may not accomplish their goal but they've taken a stand. I hope though that they have verified for themselves that the vendor is not, as he claims, selling historical artifacts to collectors and now that they know the university cannot shut down the vendor's business, regardless of what it is, they will alter their approach and discontinue the efforts to coerce UK. If they retain ownership of whatever memorabilia UK has on display, they are well within their rights to insist that it be returned to them --- for any reason, but if they stick with their demand to have it taken off display, despite the fact that there is nothing UK can do to satisfy their demand, it will be an empty gesture and likely motivated by ignorance and a less than admirable desire to appear virtuous.
You are, of course, correct that the Constitution only protects free speech from restriction and prohibition by the government, and so the efforts of the players would not violate the 1st Amendment any more than you or I refusing, for political reasons, to buy products from Nike or Chick-fil-A would. However, if the university is correct, and the arena in which the market is held is under the control of the State of Kentucky then a 1st Amendment argument could be made if the State shuts down the vendor because of the nature of his wares.
Overt displays of racism are certainly newsworthy. It would be very surprising if there wasn't some sort of news coverage of a KKK parade down the main street of San Francisco, not least of all because in 2018 everyone would anticipate counter-demonstrations that might lead to violence. When it comes to the Media, "If it bleeds, it leads."
To be fair though, events like a Neo-Nazi rally in Central Park, cross burnings in the suburbs of Atlanta or vandalism of the MLK memorial in DC deserve coverage. They would be news that the American people would want to know and should know. Not because there might be a gruesome spectacle of violence as Antifa thugs square off against Neo-Nazi goons, but because overt racism is despicable and threatens the stability of our society as well as individuals. If it is on the rise, the American people need to know of it. My only concern would be in coverage that made unsubstantiated charges of overt racism. Some people may disagree with me about the difference between selling historical Nazi artifacts
and Nazi nick-nacks
, but all charges of racism are not legitimate and I expect journalists to develop actual facts and not rely solely on accusers.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I am reading that your premise is that by focusing on overt racism, racists are being provided with a means to deflect attention away from their covert expressions and actions. They are able to use more sensational stories on KKK parades and Neo-Nazi rallies to push back against their victims. A hypothetical racist might now say something like the following to a black person who has confronted him or her:
"You're complaining about petty micro-aggressions. You're all bent out of shape because someone assumed you come from a fatherless household because you are black. Come back and talk when the Klan burns a cross on your front lawn, or cops beat you up for jaywalking!"
I'm glad to learn you don't believe there is some sort of organized conspiracy involved with this, but if you believe it to be happening, I'm led to assume that you must believe that news outlets are following very flawed editorial policy and are not aware of the consequences of their coverage.
I just don't see any evidence of it. Instead, it seems that every week one news outlet or another publishes a story about something said or written which has triggered offense and the claim of racist motivation. I really don't think we need more news coverage of such things and even if we did, how would we get it? Should the media have investigative reporters roaming America looking for subtle signs of racism in what people say and do? As Americans, we can't all agree that police around the country have a double standard when it comes to the enforcement of laws and the race of a suspect. Are we likely to be open to increased reporting on micro-aggressions?
You also seem to be suggesting that journalists could somehow trick covert racists into revealing themselves by taunting them and playing on their sense of superiority. I'm afraid I having a hard time with this. Maybe I don't understand your point, but I certainly don't see the job of journalists to include a crusade to rid America of racists through some sort of psy-ops missions.
To answer your question, ignoring overt expressions of racism would facilitate an increase in covert expressions the way ignoring bank robberies would facilitate an increase in petty thefts. If people began to believe the authorities for, some reason, decided to pull back on prosecuting bank robberies I strongly suspect they would interpret this not as a clever way to reveal and catch more shoplifters, but as a weakening of the authorities resolve to fight crime, and as a result be emboldened to shoplift even more. If the Media stopped covering overt racist incidents don't you think racists would conclude that America doesn't really care about racism and be emboldened to express theirs more freely? I do.
You know, a lot of people might consider your suggestion that what is needed is for blacks to rid their
culture of drugs and sexual liberalism so that white racists will be more open to integration to be a very racist
statement, and, frankly, I'm not sure how to react to it other than to ask that you explain what you mean.
The statement that "what's really needed is a strong black cultural movement against drugs and sexual liberalism"
would seem to mean that you believe (some) racists actually have a legitimate reason for fearing the integration of whites and blacks in American society: Contamination
I guess I didn't fully process what you've written until I began to respond specifically to each of the paragraphs of your post and then arrived at the penultimate one. I sort of feel as if I may have fallen into the rabbit hole.
There is too much knee-jerk condemnation and snap judging of others in our society and I won't presume that I have accurately interpreted your comments. We have not had prior discussions before this thread and so there is no history upon which I can fall back. It is entirely possible that I've misinterpreted what you've written and so I'll simply ask you to clarify your comments for me. Please understand that no offense is intended.