This quiz is not about Joe Manchin.
It was designed by a team of experts for the elected members of the nation’s most exclusive legislative body. If you are unsure whether or not your actions are racist, simply take this 20-question quiz, email it to AmIracist@theroot.com and we will return your results in three to five business years.
While some may assume it refers to a certain senator from West Virginia who looks like someone used a cigarette lighter on a Lego Minifigure, it can also be used by any Republican senator, centrist Democratic senators, members of the House of Representatives, whatever-the-fuck Kyrsten Sinema is or any white person in general.
But mostly Joe Manchin.
A. Of course I care about things!
B. I do not care about things.
C. It depends on what kinds of things you’re talking about. For instance, I do not care about club-level European soccer, anime or Black people’s voting rights. But I care about Senate tradition, bipartisanship and democracy. I know that seems hypocritical because Black people’s voting rights are as essential to democracy as Senate tradition or bipartisanship. Even though I didn’t do or say shit when the opposing party obstructed legislation and rammed their judicial nominations down my party’s throat, I care about things. But only some things.
D. Technically, white supremacy is a “thing,” right?
C. If I said “yes,” that would be racist. I don’t see color. I know that means I am unable to see the well-documented disparities in education, healthcare, employment, law enforcement and voting rights. Even though my inability to see the problems people elected me to solve makes me unqualified to fix them, I but I stand by this idea of colorblindness, which is a thing no one (especially Black people) has ever suggested as a solution to inequality.
D. I feel like this is going somewhere and I don’t like the place where this is going.
C. If I say “yes,” you’re gonna say I’m racist. If I say “no,” you’re going to say I’m a reverse racist. I care about all people. And, since white people are people, then it means I care about white people, which is not to say I don’t care about Black people. I care about everyone equally. I know you’re gonna say something like: “If you saw three people and one of them was bleeding, would you care for them equally?” But I don’t want anyone to bleed. Also, why does everything have to be about race?
D. Everyone cares about white people.
C. I’m a United States senator, which is part of our democracy. But democracy must be preserved and the best way to preserve it is with the filibuster. The country was also a democracy before the filibuster but the filibuster made it democratic-er.
D. I’ve already said I care about people and things.
C. More than anything. Except for the racist parts. I want to be clear, I do not like the racist parts of the Constitution.
D. You’re going to use this to twist my words, aren’t you?
C. It’s not specifically in the Constitution, but Article I Section 5 gives the Senate and Congress the authority to make its own rules. Plus, the Senate does a lot of stuff that’s not in the Constitution. Committees aren’t in the Constitution. The number of votes required to pass a law isn’t in the Constitution. Hell, ensuring that Black people have the right to vote isn’t in the Constitution! Oh, it is? Well...you get my point.
D. I see where you’re going with this.
7. Do you care about the filibuster more than you care about Black people, Democracy and the Constitution?
C. What kind of question is that? It’s a strawman argument. Why would I have to choose? I know the state of politics in America has gotten to a point where I must make a choice but why should I have to? Oh, that’s right. I was literally elected to make choices.
D. Also, what is a strawman?
C. That’s not the point. The point is bipartisanship. It’s a tool that helps us work together by negating the decisions of the majority.
D. I kinda want to meet the strawman now.
A. Because I say it does.
B. The filibuster actually discourages bipartisanship. Why would I look for bipartisan solutions when I can just filibuster everything?
C. By forcing people in different parties to find common ground, which almost never happens. But, you gotta admit, it sounds great. Also, this talking strawman scarecrow sound cool. When am I gonna meet him?
D. What is this bipartisanship word you keep using?
B. All the time.
C. It literally exists to obstruct majority rule. In some cases, that’s a good thing but most of the time, it is not. It’s been used to stop Black people from voting, to prevent women from voting and to stop anyone who wants to help people vote.
D. Even the scarecrow strawman knows that.
B. Yes, but...
C. Only the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act and the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act.
D. Now you’re nitpicking.
B. Yes, but...
C. During Merrick Garland’s constitutionally prescribed Supreme Court nomination process.
D. And a few other times.
B. All the time.
C. OK, aside from those civil rights bills that I mentioned, the Senate technically used it to hurt Barack Obama for 12 years. Also, they filibustered criminal justice reform bills and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill.
D. Did I mention every significant civil rights bill?
A. According to Merriam-Webster it is “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race,” or “ the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another; specifically: WHITE SUPREMACY”
B. I don’t know.
C. I only pay attention to the first entry in the dictionary and ignore the other definitions because I get to make up things like filibuster rules and what words mean.
D. This is starting to look bad. Can I talk to the strawman for a second?
A. According to Merriam-Webster it is “someone who holds the belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race,” or “ of or related to the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another;
B. I don’t know.
C. Not me.
D. A person who does racist things.
B. I don’t know.
C. According to the definition, it is “related to the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.” So, technically, yes.
D. No. I get to make up my own definitions, remember?
18. Why would anyone who cares about the Senate, democracy or the Constitution preserve a tool of white supremacy and racism?
A. Because they are racist.
B. Because they care more about white people.
C. Because they don’t care about Black people, democracy or the Constitution.
D. Have you met white people?
C. The only way I could uphold the filibuster is if I were a racist, a liar or I made up a definition of racism that does not comport with the dictionary, the truth or reality.
D. I have a Black nephew-in-law.
B. No! That guy’s racist AF!
C. I am Kyrsten Sinema, who is essentially Joe Manchin in a skirt. Karen Manchin, if you will.
D. I am a living, breathing strawman argument.
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