Keith Olbermann's White Blindspot

Agent Orange, the toxic defoliate which America dumped on Vietnam to kill the growth of plants that were used as cover by the Vietcong. 19 million gallons of defoliates were sprayed on Vietnam, mostly Agent Orange, near Vietnam's borders north of Saigon and near the Mangroves lining Saigon's shipping channels, meaning it was not just killing trees, it was being breathed in by American soldiers who did not know exposure could later lead to potentially fatal conditions such as Hodgkin's disease, soft tissue cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

So said Keith Olbermann in Segment #4 GOP Vets "Not Helping" of last night's Countdown. This story focused on the effects on humans of Agent Orange and the need of many of our Vietnam veterans for treatment and compensation. It was a good segment as far as it went. The problem I had with it was that it didn't go far enough. Keith, Agent Orange was sprayed on the Vietnamese too, and you neglected to mention that. Even today, Vietnam has to care for about 3 million victims of Agent Orange. They range from their now aging war vets to the deformed babies still in the womb. What are they Keith? Chopped liver?

from Vietnam: American Holocaust This is rough cut when I narrate. Martin Sheen narrates the DVD.

In Tuesday's diary about Glenn Beck's Tea party on the mall, I said it was a characteristic of that crowd to ignore the victims of our war policies. I said it stemmed from the insipid racism that saw these people of color as not even worth an 'honorable' mention, but Keith, I expect better from you. How do you justify your continuing participation in a media conspiracy of silence with regards to the effect of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese? If my "conspiracy theory" is wrong here, please point me to all the MSM coverage of the effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese that I have missed. Effects that are today suffered by Vietnamese vets that fought on both sides of the conflict. Effects that are well known in Vietnam and recognized around the world but never reported here. And if you are not a participate in this conspiracy of silence, please explain your silence about the suffering of the Vietnamese last night since you were talking about Agent Orange anyway.

Not just our veterans but also our victims must be compensated for the crime of unleashing Agent Orange on humanity. America must recognize what we have done to the Vietnamese and start making it right by helping to clean up the toxic sites we left behind, for example. These sites will continue to add to the number of children killed by the U.S. in the Vietnam War until they are clean. Beck's show was a sham and a farce, but fixing this really is a question of restoring honor.

Resources on Agent Orange effects on Americans and Vietnamese:

Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign

This project is supported by Veterans for Peace, here is a speech by VFP member David Cline who died in 2007:

Agent Orange - A Continuing Legacy of the US War in Vietnam

Comments

The Vietnam War was a white supremacist war.

See my statement about this above. White racist policies can be carried out by Black people too. Just ask a Black cop, a black overseer, or a scab.

It's not a Freudian slip or a conversation for another time. American culture is the culture of the dominate group. America's policies aboard reflect the attitude of that group, including it's racism. All our war policies have been determined by rich white men and it's who determines policy and not who gets drafted, economic or direct, that's important in understanding the content of that policy.

Get Real.

Black soldiers carried out the same white racist

policies as white soldiers in Vietnam. It has to do with the culture and government that conducts the war, not the mindset of individual soldiers. It mattered little whether the German soldiers that ran the death camps hated Jews themselves or were just following orders. They were carrying out a racist policy.

And yes, the U.S. adopted a very racist attitude towards the Japanese during WW2 as shown by the propaganda of the time and the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans. Calling the Germany enemy "Krauts" and "Huns" was just and attempt to apply the well developed [well developed through the material development of slavery et al.] racist mentality, that is a specific method of dehumanizing a group of people, to a group of white people. That doesn't mean it's not racist.

Exactly were did I say KO is a racist?

I think Keith Olbermann is the strongest advocate for racial justice and against white privilege in MSM today and I include the corporate Tavis Similey in that group. Frankly, he is a lot more advanced in this area than a lot of my white 'socialist' friends that think themselves far to the left of KO. So no, I don't think he's a racist.

I said he has a white blindspot. That's not saying he's a racist. Saying you have a blindspot isn't even saying you're a bad driver. It's just pointing out a bit of reality of which you must remain aware.

Saying KO has a white blindspot on this issue, the effect of AO on the Vietnamese, is first of all saying that he doesn't even see the issue. A racist is one who is fully aware of the effect of AO on the Vietnamese, and just doesn't give a damn, or worst. Secondly, it is saying that his blindspot is a white blindspot. I am saying that it is very much related to the white privileged culture in which he is embedded.

So no, I will not change the title! And I will not be sidetracked by accusations that I called KO a racist! This is nothing more than a sleazy trick to obscure the important questions. So now, if you even suggest that someone's viewpoint is influenced by white privilege you are calling him a racist. Is that the logic at work here? Because I don't see any other.

having white blindspot = being a racist.

Now you have a position you can really condemn. Now that you have put words in my mouth, it's HOW DARE YOU CALL KO A RACIST! Because we all know it's a simple question of black and white. Either you are a racist or there's no problem. We don't have to look at the subtle influences of a culture that has been built on a bedrock of white supremacy. Suggesting those influences is tantamount to calling someone a racist. End of discussion.

The story last night was about Alan Simpson, AO only came up to critique him, but the story here is about AO effects on the Vietnamese, and that is a much more important story.

That story is little reported in this country and if I have given it a little more light and air with today's diary, then I have done what I set out to do. Now if my critic can just point me to some DKos diaries that handled this question in a better way, I will happily learn from them.

KO can take the hit, he's not perfect but I'll keep on working on making him perfect.