“Do White People Not Drink 40s?”

It turns out that Fox Business' Eric Bolling's tweet about President Obama “chugging 40s” in Ireland didn't have any racial overtones at all. That's the assessment of Meredith Jessup, a blogger for Glenn Beck's The Blaze, who observes that white people, such as herself, have also consumed malt liquor out of 40 oz. bottles:

Apparently making a reference to “40′s” -- meaning 40 oz. -- is inherently racist. Why? NewsOne (For Black America) explains:

40s is slang for 40 oz bottles of beer, usually malt liquor, that was popular in hip hop in the 90s.

Uh, so? Do white people not drink 40s? I have. Did white people not enjoy hip hop in the 90s? I don't really want to admit it, but in fact I did.

All of this pseudo-racism nonsense detracts from the real struggles people have gone through in battling actual racism and only serves to divide people more.

So if white people also do it, it's not racially insensitive? By that standard, this horribly racist mailing from a California GOP group depicting Obama on a food stamp with fried chicken and watermelon is actually quite anodyne, given that white people also use food stamps and have been known to eat fried chicken and watermelon.

This is how racial stereotypes typically work -- they transform unremarkable things (food stamps, fried chicken, and 40s) into damaging slurs. Claiming that the stereotype Bolling invoked isn't offensive -- or doesn't exist -- is willfully obtuse.

Saying “white people also do it” isn't an argument against the hurtfulness of the stereotype. It's an acknowledgement of its unfairness, and argument against the stereotype itself.