September 16, 2009
Black Conservatives on "Racism"
The inimitable Project 21 injects some sanity into the national debate on race:
The public is outraged about the president's policies -- the spending, the budget, the deficit -- not his skin color.
President Obama was not elected only with black votes. Are those who cry 'racism' saying the American people suddenly woke up and said, 'oh, he's black so I don't like him anymore'? That makes no sense. The criticism of Obama's policies is about the policies -- the stimulus, the growth of government, cap-and-trade, the health care bills, the overspending.
It's easier for the left to play the race card than address the public's legitimate concerns, but what the left and the media are doing is damaging and dangerous.
It's damaging because when everything is racist, then nothing is. Those who cry racism without evidence will cause people to tune out in cases in which there is evidence.
It's dangerous also to send a message that racism is behind everything. What does that tell young black men and women? It tells them they will never get a fair shake and that white people who have never met them dislike them. With a message like that, its no surprise we're seeing apparently racial incidents like the widely-circulated video of a young white student being beaten up on a school bus by black students while other black students cheer. What message have those black students internalized from liberal leaders like Rangel, Johnson, Paterson, Matthews and Dowd and now former President Carter? That white people are their enemy.
If this continues -- if not already -- the left will literally have blood on its hands, and all because it was too dishonest and too cowardly to have a fair debate with the American people on policy."
People speaking out at town halls are genuinely concerned about the direction our nation is being pushed. They are frustrated because they feel they are removed from governing.
They are not racists.
What about their opposition? The White House suggested supporters "punch back twice as hard." At least one Obama follower took this literally in Missouri when Kenneth Gladney, a black man, was roughed up and reportedly called the n-word while handing out "Don't Tread on Me" flags at Representative Russ Carnahan's (D-MO) August 7 town hall meeting.
The actions. The disfranchisement. The hate speech. When all the facts are on the table, it's clear who's bringing race into all this: Obama and his team.
Another thing that is all too often noted: isn't it amazing how the media wring their hands about "violent signs"? Where is their concern when the President of the United States urges supporters of health care reform to "punch back twice as hard"?
That isn't self defense. It's aggression. I thought the Left said violence never solves anything?
Update: please consider supporting Black conservatives and moderates trying to make a difference. I just did.
Posted by Cassandra at September 16, 2009 12:29 PM
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I was encouraged by the Rass poll today on the subject. It shows that, among blacks, 27% view opposition to Obama as racist; 25% don't; the rest are unsure.
While that was more than double the percentage for the population as a whole, under the circumstances, I thought it was a good sign. It's within the margin of error, which is much healthier than I might have believed from the hair-pulling on the subject in the press.
Unsurprisingly, those who dissent from any part of the Obama agenda are less likely to view opposition as racist. Once you know why you object, it's easier to imagine that other people might have good-faith reasons too.
Posted by: Grim at September 16, 2009 02:10 PM
"Once you know why you object, it's easier to imagine that other people might have good-faith reasons too."Indeed. Proving a charge of racism is unfounded is right easy if the opposition is willing to listen, open to hearing what is said, and seeing through a clear eye that the words are backed up by actions, past and present.
That does not seem to be the case with the current Administration, or much of the Congress. And that cadre of bad-faith pronouncer's appears to include all of the media that makes up Pravda.
Posted by: bthun at September 16, 2009 02:24 PM
Besides, if Jimmah Chatah, WPotUSiH, is using the device, you know it's a failed policy.
Posted by: bthun at September 16, 2009 02:28 PM
One of the easiest tools, for those willing to listen and NOT have different standards based on skin color, is reversal.
If a White person said x about a y (nonwhite) person, would you consider it racism?
Of course, you run into people who freely admit that, say, a white male judge saying he'd be wiser than a "Latina" judge due to racial/ethnic upbringing is racist, but that it's not as big a deal when a Latina says it, at least not enough to knock her out of the running like it would a white, and they're proud of her anyway.
Posted by: Darius at September 16, 2009 03:54 PM
The word "back" in the expression " ... punch BACK ..." suggests that it is a response to antecedent aggression, rather than initiatory aggression.
Identification of racism and its absence is not so easy as y'all want to portray it - if I am a racist but say I'm not, how could you go about to prove that I am?
Posted by: I Call BS at September 16, 2009 06:49 PM
Identification of racism and its absence is not so easy as y'all want to portray it - if I am a racist but say I'm not, how could you go about to prove that I am?
Actually I don't think this is the point. People spend way too much time worrying about the inner thoughts of others, or about their motivation.
Who cares? You can be the biggest sexist in the universe inside your own head. But your thoughts can't harm me.
In real life, it's more likely to be your actions which are a threat. If your actions are openly discriminatory, that hurts me. But I don't give a flip about your private thoughts about women.
Likewise, I don't really give a rat's ass if someone secretly harbors "racist attitudes". The God's honest truth is that some of the worst racists I've encountered in life (and here I'm talking deeds, not words) have been black.
Do I tar (no pun intended) all Blacks with that broad brush? No, because broad generalizations are a poor substitute for firsthand observation. I take people - Black or White - one at a time. Everyone starts out with the benefit of the doubt until their actions cause me to re-evaluate or rescind my initial faith.
I've also noticed that some folks talk trash all the time about certain groups of people and yet their actions towards individuals from those groups are fair and evenhanded. Women contend with sexism all the time, but just as long as someone doesn't shove it in my face, they're welcome to their thoughts. I don't waste time worrying about what's inside someone else's head.
Looking at political opposition or animosity towards the other party (which have existed since the dawn of time) and choosing to project racist motives onto Obama's opponents doesn't make them racists. It seems to me that until his opponents start pulling out the burning crosses and specifically attributing their opposition to skin color, the race mongers really haven't a leg to stand on.
Racism is saying you don't want a black president, or that blacks as a class of people are too stupid or irresponsible to be President. Saying you think one individual (Obama) whose qualifications for office by every objective and measurable standard drawn from the last 200 years of American history were substandard at best is too inexperienced to be President isn't racism. I'd have voted for Condi Rice in a heartbeat, but I thought Obama was unqualified. Hell, in 2000 I thought Condi Rice wasn't ready either. My racial attitudes didn't change - only my assessment of her experience and her level of experience.
Applying the same standard you apply to a white person isn't racist. Many of the Townhallers hated Bush too, and for exactly the same reasons.
Absent some objective evidence of such, imputing racism to others is a fool's errand. You don't know what they think and have no means to discover it.
These people have no objective evidence except their own bias.
Posted by: Cassandra at September 16, 2009 07:12 PM
"Actually I don't think this is the point. People spend way too much time worrying about the inner thoughts of others, or about their motivation."Spot on M'lady...
The words and deeds of people trump self-proclaimed seer's clairvoyant pronouncements on those people's soul every single time.
But then I grew out of caring what most people thought a long time ago. Now, I'm fairly selective in that regard.
Posted by: bthun at September 16, 2009 07:55 PM
Well, Cassandra, that's where you're wrong.
White people can't be trusted. I know there are times I can't even trust my wife or kids. See? It's a tautology.
And I know white peoples, because I am one. Real authentic people like Van Jones, Kanye West and The Right Reverend Jeremiah Wright all say that white people are racist. And they should know.
I can't trust myself. I went down the hall the other day and checked the closet, and sure enough, there were white sheets in there. How did I subconsciously join the Klan? Because I'm white and can't be trusted, that's how.
So just watch. This is a growing meme on all the really good blogs, like "Firedoglake" and places like that. White peoples are going to turn on Obama, just watch. Jimmy Carter will do it too, eventually. Because he's white. Just watch.
I don't know if you can blame Bush for this, but someone will try. Because he's white.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 16, 2009 07:55 PM
"Absent some objective evidence of such, imputing [any particular trait or belief system] to others is a fool's errand. You don't know what they think and have no means to discover it."
This is true. Would that we remembered this.
Posted by: I Call BS at September 17, 2009 12:18 AM
I used to work with a Black conservative, here in the Military-Industrial Complex™; he retired a few years back, and I miss our conversations.
Posted by: camojack at September 17, 2009 01:26 AM
This is a growing meme on all the really good blogs, like "Firedoglake" and places like that. White peoples are going to turn on Obama, just watch. Jimmy Carter will do it too, eventually. Because he's white. Just watch...I don't know if you can blame Bush for this, but someone will try. Because he's white.
There are times when I really despair, Don. Maybe I'm doing some 'imputing of motives' of my own, but when I read nonsense like that from whites who are convinced there is a dark core of hidden racial hatred lurking in the breast of every Person of Pallor (except - of course! - the speaker), I always think of the old line about protesting too much.
We all have some unconscious biases.
That said, I've always thought that 9/10's of the differences we tend to attribute to skin color are, in fact, differences of culture. I have more in common with blacks who are conservative than whites who are very liberal because we share the same values. No, I can't know what it's like to be black but then they really have no idea what it's like to be a white woman.
And I really have no idea what it's like to be a white man. Or a black man. Or an endangered Arctic transgendered wolf fleeing from Sarah Palin's murderous rage :p
We can never fully step outside our own skin and our own experiences. Certainly these things shape us to some degree.
But I can't see how constantly reminding people of our differences helps bring people together or understand each other? We have so much in common - so much that we can share. It just requires the willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt. I suppose that's what I find most disheartening about race mongering: assuming the worst possible motive for everything doesn't seem like a tactic that will make the world a better place.
Posted by: Cassandra at September 17, 2009 05:35 AM
It just requires the willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt.
"Do unto others as they would have you do unto them -- within reasonable limits."
Posted by: BillT at September 17, 2009 06:05 AM
Things are never as bad as they seem.
My neighbors in back of us are African Americans. Nice people, nice kids, we get along fine. Our cat hunts bunnies that eat their strawberries (she will never catch one, she just scares them off). They have a yellow lab, we have a yellow lab. They have two boys, we have two boys. See, we are in symbiosis.
In our suburban "white ghetto" there are all kinds of people of pallor. There doesn't seem to be an imminent apocalypse or warfare about to break out. It's boringly peaceful and quiet.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 17, 2009 08:46 AM
"Come and see the racism inherent in the system!!!!" :p
Posted by: Monty Python's Naughty Little Sister at September 17, 2009 08:55 AM
I find it amusing, in a ygbsm kind of way, that after eight years of calling George Bush a chimp, a monkey, etc. that now it's racist.
Posted by: DL Sly at September 17, 2009 01:08 PM
Sly, can you imagine anyone calling Obie "Chimperor"? Good lord, they would be burned at the stake.
Posted by: Mark at September 17, 2009 02:53 PM
The saddest part is how some people automatically put their brains in neutral whenever race comes up.
If President Obama said the moon was made of green cheese and I disagreed, would that be proof that I hate Black people?
Are we supposed to believe that Barak Obama, by virtue of being The First Black President, is now infallable, like the Pope only in nicer suits?
Hit the clutch on the racist slanders, people, and shove that brain back into gear.
Posted by: Joe Doakes at September 17, 2009 03:32 PM
While an accuser can't prove racism, they accused can't disprove it, either. I think that's why they do it. They expect the accusation to end the debate, with the accuser being the winner...
Posted by: Miss Ladybug at September 17, 2009 09:11 PM
"While an accuser can't prove racism, they accused can't disprove it, either. I think that's why they do it. They expect the accusation to end the debate, with the accuser being the winner..."So if a person can't disprove a baseless accusation, one that is grounded in neither their words nor their actions, they can be assumed to be guilty? I don't think reasonable people will buy into that idea.
From what I have seen, the race card ploy seems to be used most often, by people on the one extreme, who do not base their judgment on analysis of fact, and on the other, by people who are too clever by half. Or at least suppose themselves to be.
Hopefully the people who are firing off all the racists accusation diversions based upon the use of such logic will not be able to influence the innocent until proved guilty basis of our legal system.
Then again, there is little that surprises me these days.
Posted by: bthun at September 18, 2009 01:41 AM
I never said it made sense to reasonable people. I just said I think that's why these accusations are made...
Posted by: Miss Ladybug at September 18, 2009 06:22 PM
I surely did not intend to imply that you did. I was just riffing off your observation in order to flail away on the characteristics of the Racists Choir, and the fallacy of having to prove innocence of an accusation that starts from a position of lacking any proof to the contrary.
I've not been able to sleep in the past few days so I think I'd better just back away from the keyboard for a while. My sleep deprived stupor seems to be tending me towards a less than succinct way of stating my usual blather.
Posted by: bthun at September 18, 2009 06:41 PM
Heh. No harm, no foul.
Posted by: Miss Ladybug at September 18, 2009 06:54 PM
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Posted by: Mack Hayes at October 18, 2009 10:50 AM