Thursday, September 22, 2005
GOP Cluelessness, Black Racism & Other matters...
Steven Kelso, the reason why I chose not to address the "racism of black people", as you put it, is because it was completely beside the point.
This is my blog, my platform and I don't feel the need to waste space by making an aside every time I criticize the GOP or conservatives by saying, "Oh, don't forget the Left does X,Y & Z" which is even WORSE!!
Furthermore, the "Why don't you decry X" game never ends. As an example, when you raised this point earlier, I referenced the things I've said in the not-too-recent past about Sharpton and Jackson. You said, no, not those blacks -- the racism found in the barber shop or on the street corner. That's ridiculous. Obviously, one could find examples of Caucasian Aunt Clara making inappropriate remarks about black people. That's a poor aspect of human nature. Thus, I am then placed in the position of denouncing every outrageous comment that every black person -- regardless of their public profile -- has said.
(As for other sorts of extremist rhetoric -- like the NAACP ads against Bush -- that is called most appropriately racial demogoguery. It's still an odious practice but it is distinct from simple "black racism."
While the impulse comes from similar dark places (no pun intended), there is a difference between saying the racial fantasies of a Farrakhan talking about the evil scientist Yacub and his creating "white devils" and "Don't vote for Republicans because they are racists."
Both actions are reprehensible and are to be condemned, but the latter is a demagogic political statement to scare voters to make their choice in a certain way, similar to "Don't vote for Republicans or because they hate the poor" -- or "Don't vote for Democrats because they will sell the country to Al Qaeda and the Chinese.")
This is ridiculous because I'm not on THAT team. I already know how I feel about black radicals and their statements.
The post was about comments -- not explicitly racial -- by prominent Republicans, that I felt were problematic given the GOP's reputation (fair or otherwise) of being intolerant. I'm not trying to play "Woe is me." I'm saying that there is a certain frustration one feels being a black Republican, and then repeatedly stumbling over these situations.
I don't think blacks vote for Democrats simply because they (blacks) are locked into racism. I think they vote that way because it is in their best interests as a group. Different subgroups vote as groups. Historically, that has been the case for Catholics, Jews and others. As I said, there was a clear break between a time when blacks split their vote and when they made a determination that the GOP would no longer court their vote.
Yes, that was 40 years ago, but once a group has locked in, it takes a long time for those attitudes to change. Why did it take the South more than a 100 years to move away from voting solidly Democratic to voting solidly Republican?
That said, for completion sake, here is an article I wrote three years ago, where I called the NAACP's Bush 2000 "harsh and blatantly unfair."
Here are criticisms of the NAACP and Co. on their role in Florida 2000. Here is something from just a few weeks ago praising Bush and the GOP on race, while slapping NAACP Chairman Julian Bond.
Finally, from just two weeks ago, here is one of my earliest extended Katrina pieces where I began my analysis of Bush's response. The racial insinuations had only just begun. You will notice however, that even then I pointed to Hastert's comment as being problematic and that combined with Bush's tepid response, they would prove problematic for all Republicans down the road. The only reason that hasn't happened yet is that Bush's decisions have proven difficult enough by themselves. Again, please note my critical comments of the Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson and, yes, Kanye West.
Now that I've listed my historical (there's much more -- not all of it is online and, alas, much of it is written in the forms of unsigned editorials) and contemporary condemnations of various black leaders (none of whom I agree with ideologically), we can get back to the point of THIS post: My frustration with off-hand quotes by various Republicans that on issues of race and class that, ironically, end up strengthening the power of the racial demagogues that I and other black Republicans try to counter.
Some may believe that I am making too much out of these words. That's someone's right. I can't ask you to walk in my shoes. I am making an argument that is extremely subjective. However, the black Republicans that have responded me since I wrote this -- either in the comments section or by e-mail -- indicate that they know exactly where I am coming from.
It is precisely because I have been part of the Republican "team" for so long that I find it important to talk about these issues. After all, if you were a football coach, wouldn't you think it important to address your team's annoying tendency to turn the ball over at critical moments?