“Are you calling me a racist?”

The libertarian case for racism.

Cory Doctorow
5 min readSep 29, 2021


Protester seen at Chicago Tax Day Tea Party protest with sign reading ‘I am John Galt’. Edited to protect protester’s identity. Three tiny Klansman in hoods and robes have been superimposed in the corner of the picture. Image: HKDP (modified) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TDTP08.JPG CC BY-SA: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

In “I Can’t Breathe,” Matt Taibbi’s book on Eric Garner’s murder he writes, “You could reduce…Fox News and afternoon talk radio to a morbid national obsession that could be summarized on a t-shirt: ‘Are you calling me a racist?’”


It’s a passage I found myself turning to regularly during the Trump years, when right wing figures bristled at being called racist merely for supporting an explicitly racist party that took power by appealing to white nationalism.

The media spent a lot of that period asking itself whether being a Republican was the same as being a racist, and one commonsense answer that cropped up a lot was, “It may not mean that you are racist, but it does mean that you’ll accept racism as the price of GOP rule.”

I was reminded of this by the current episode of Backbench, Canadaland’s national politics podcast. This week, host Fatima Syed interviews a listener who sent an angry email to the show after hearing voters for the People’s Party of Canada called “racist.”