Illustration for article titled A Screenshot of a Boat Shoe
Screenshot: Fox News (YouTube)

Spoiled milk-filled boat shoe repurposed as a moat for mice with sentience Tucker Carlson is a person who exists in the world and is paid money to say things on TV. He is, also, a racist. Which is less an accusation or an insult and more just an articulation of a relatively mundane observation. He’s racist the same way his blazer is navy blue and his face is artificially tanned and eminently punchable.


And despite the aggressively faux irony of this screenshot from his show last night, he’s as sure of his racism as a dog is of its anus. His entire steez is a performance of it; his wardrobe, his hair, his diction, his word choice, his occupation a meticulous curation of the sort of self-aware whiteness that swaddles itself in it. It is, for Tucker Carlson and the men and women like him, a signal-emitting motif. Racism looks like himexactly like himbecause he wants it to.

Because, of course, it isn’t fine to just be racist. What’s the point of even being it if it’s stashed away and forgotten about, like a loose Altoid in a glove box? Where’s the fun in that? Instead, racists perform racist vaudeville, complete with finishing schools and apprenticeships and rehearsals and season pass subscriptions. They have curricula and best practices; rubrics and metrics; team building retreats and professional development sessions. The claim that they’re not the real racists is the running gag, the milky tie binding each thread of whiteness.


Basically, racism looks like a boat shoe.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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