I feel as if those, (such as Jimmy Carter and most everyone on Npr) who claim that Joe Wilson yelling 'you lie' at Obama was an act of latent racism diminishes the significance of obvious and verifiable acts of racism.
Of course it is possible that J Wilson's comments were spurred by racism, but suppose his comments were not, how would they have appeared then? Probably just the same. How then, are we supposed to distinguish between angry disagreements inspired by racism, and angry disagreements inspired by being angry and disagreeing in and of itself?
When people attribute racism to areas where there are no obvious or clear reasons why it is racist other than that a black man was involved, then obvious acts of racism become diminished. It places genuine and serious acts of discrimination that actually cause harm to people in the same category as ordinary human interaction, in effect cheapening the claim of racism. If people continually hear acts that may possible be racist but may just as easily not be racist labeled as racist the charge of racism begins to lose meaning. If people become desensitized to the charge of racism because of it being used too freely, then it may lessen people's attention to it in times when necessary.
Because racism can be so harmful and destructive in subtle ways, I understand why people may feel extra vigilant about looking for it to reveal itself in concealed ways, but there is a fine line that when crossed dilutes the its meaningfulness.
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