Saturday, February 27, 2010

Race Matters

In his run for the Presidency, Barack Obama stuck to the line that his race meant nothing. Supporters called him the first post-racial candidate, and of course, he became the first post-racial President. All's well that ends well. And then, buddy Eric Holder declared we weren't post-racial enough because we are cowards when it comes to speaking about race. Followed closely by the very American "Beer Summit." Guess it wasn't the end, after all.

We fought a Civil War, and almost a hundred years later, we fought the Civil Rights battles. Statutes were passed, blacks moved into the corridors of power, schools ceased to be segregated, and two generations of whites and blacks learned to live together. At first it was uncomfortable and strained, but as the years went on, it came to seem natural. But the left and the race-hustlers just can't leave well enough alone. Keep picking at those old scabs, and with a little luck, they'll re-infect and the government doctors can rush in to save the patient.

But if Barack Obama is actually post-racial, why does he insist on identifying himself with "black causes?" If an assumption of evil must be made between a black person and a white person, why is it always the white person who gets the tar and feathers? The same can be said for Holder. Why did he have his lieutenants dismiss the already- obtained judgments against the Black Panthers who intimidated voters in Philadelphia? Shouldn't his white blood have caused him to protect neutral-color voters rather than black thugs? And of course the answer is simple. Racial neutrality is just fine, so long as it doesn't lose you votes in a large segment of your radical base. The base has blacks in it, but it's largely incidental. It's the doctrinaire left that the Democrats can't afford to lose, and they say "race doesn't matter, unless it works to divide Americans and create a permanent underclass which will also vote for the more liberal Democrats in exchange for a lifelong social safety net."

Democrats try to prove that Republicans are racists, or that they at least exhibit benign neglect in dealing with racial issues. In reality, that's because Republicans largely don't really care about race, just performance. But the Democrats bray: "Why, other than racism, would anyone oppose the welfare state, affirmative action, and wealth redistribution? And why, above all, would they oppose Barack Obama if they weren't secret racists?" Depending on which day of the week it is, the Democrats' elected President is post-racial or black. If he's proposing socialized medicine, he's black, which is the racist reason behind Republicans opposing him (his color is an issue, but not because he's black, but because he's slightly red). But when he needs those votes from the largely white voting population, he's post-racial, just like his typical white grandmother.

Victor Davis Hanson, my favorite historian of the Peloponnesian Wars, has recently produced a very good work on the subject of race. He asks: "Why the progress and tension at the same time?" He sees it as result of some of the political problems mentioned above, but goes into much more detailed analysis of those and other factors. Hanson views it as a problem of the "contradictions in matters racial."

First, he addresses "fossilized categories and programs." He questions what race even means anymore. Intermarriage and assimilation should have made racial lines almost meaningless. "Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and Eric Holder talk about being black; but they are not nearly so in comparison with my Sikh neighbors in the Central Valley [of California], who are both darker and, I imagine have had harder childhoods. (What constitutes being 'black,' or are we back to the Old Confederacy for the one-sixteenth rule?)," says Hanson.

He also mentions the fashion of "self-identification." I can speak to that one. My ex-wife's ethnic background is one-half Irish, one-half German, and I am all German. That means our kids are full Northern European. Both daughters are now married to men of Mexican descent. So my older daughter's two sons are half-Mexican, half Northern European. My younger daughter has been married twice. First to a man who was pure Irish, so we know where those two girls fit into the scheme of things. But what about her other four--children of the Mexican/Northern European marriage?

All the grandkids are still young enough not to have made final choices yet, but their public schools have encouraged the two boys of the one daughter and the three girls and one boy of the other to "get in touch with their ethnic past." And they didn't mean the Irish or German portions. Six of the eight have Spanish surnames, and by the fashion of the day, that means they are all classified as "Latino" or "Hispanic." The two Irish/German girls are out of luck. They're just white, or caucasian. Considering the views of their parents and grandparents (including the Mexican families), they will try to self-identify simply as "American." But outside the families, the cards are stacked against them.

Hanson goes on to describe the contradictions that have become pure incongruities. He goes so far as to call them caricatures. "The n-word is a felonious offense. OK--but apparently on the comic stump it can be easily voiced (only) by black comedians." But what are you going to do about a recent fistfight on a bus in Oakland, California, where one combatant was white, the other black? The words got nastier and more pointed, finally resulting in the one calling the other a N----r, several times. Not what you think, though. The worst insult the black combatant could hurl at the white combatant was to call him a N----r. How on God's green earth does that make any sense at all?

Hanson continues with the plethora of racially-confusing and self-contradictory words and phrases tossed about by nearly everyone obsessed with race. "Entrenched old white elite," for example. The races were starting to deal well with each other, right up until the the schools started indoctrinating on the "race/class/gender categories." The otherwise benign word "diversity" took on a much more sinister meaning. Instead of uniting, the liberals use it as a bludgeon to beat anyone who isn't a person of color. Young people wanted to live it and get on with life. They didn't want race differences hammered into their heads constantly, ostensibly for the purpose of harmony. But after years of lectures on white oppression and black persecution, even otherwise race-neutral kids started to view their classmates as potential enemies.

Obama seemed to be genuinely shocked by the reaction to his dumb white guy, smart black guy Pavlovian response to the Henry Louis "Skip" Gates fiasco. Everybody knows that racist white cops perpetually harass innocent black victims, don't they? Well, they may have taught you that at Columbia and Harvard, Mr. President, but it ain't necessarily so in the real world. It's political incorrectness of the highest order to suggest that blacks are ever wrong or whites are ever right. Obama was amazed to find that outside his incestuous group of pseudo-intellectuals and race-baiters, Americans of all races, ethnic groups, and social classes recognize the reality that when a cop detains a black suspect, it is based on genuine statistics of higher criminality among blacks (for reasons that are far too complicated to discuss in this post, and which actually have very little to do with being born black).

Yet Obama felt perfectly free to refer to white conservatives as people who "cling to their guns and Bibles." And Holder felt free to call white Americans "cowards" for not discussing race in a manner entirely favorable to blacks and entirely unfavorable to whites. Neither could understand why anybody would take umbrage at those cracks, because these epithet-slingers are partially-black and partially-white radicals. Aren't all people of such post-racial makeup immune from the disease of racism?

Hanson says, "But among the elite, where the lucrative jobs, prestige, and big money are--sports, entertainment, law, academia, medicine, high-power finance, big government and politics--our elites con each other. They often strain to find some sort of ethnic or racial or gender edge over the competition. Most Americans assume racial affinities and go about their business; elite utopians demand there be none--and then prove themselves far more racialist. The white-guy leftist on television will talk ad nauseam about diversity on the assumption that such preemption shields him from the sort of diversity affirmative action salvo that might knock out his own job."

Blacks who are far blacker than Obama must be dismissed as "Uncle Toms" and "Oreos," lest they upset the diversity apple cart. Thomas Sowell and Michael Steele are perfect examples of black men who have made their way to the top without regard to their color. But according to Obama, Holder, and the racial diversity-crowd, they can't be "genuine" because they are Republicans who oppose the concept of group rights and group victimization. Instead of being able to say proudly that blacks and whites are really very much alike because they can believe such different things from those who are of the same complexion, they see black conservatives as race-traitors.

It's very sad, and it's a giant step backwards from what I dedicated myself to during the Civil Rights Movement over forty years ago. At that time Obama was living a cushy toddler's life in Hawaii while we were getting chased by police dogs and rednecks in the South. We did that to guarantee his right to live anywhere he chose to live in complete safety and equality. He talks the talk. We walked the walk. Many of us feel betrayed by Obama and the leftists who imagine that New York, or Los Angeles, or San Francisco today are Oxford, Mississippi in 1964.


StanH said...

What started out to be a noble, and just crusade, has turned into a self perpetuating race industry. With the likes of Jesse Jackson introducing to the broader country the hyphenated moniker African-American, Latino-American, etc. This is the intentional Balkanization of our great country, is as stupid as it is dangerous. Then our race pimps give us in reaction, seemingly to “The Bell Curve,” introducing Ebonics to America, that by making black kids speak proper English is racist, further relegating black kids to poverty, proving by default The Bell Curve…tell that to the brilliant Thomas Sowell. Good article Lawhawk, and not to give credit Eric Holder, we do need to have a discussion about race, but he wouldn’t like a real discussion, excluding the Jesse Jackson’s, Al Sharpton’s, et al., where we are judged by the content of our character, as opposed to the color of our skin, too much money and power at stake.

Unknown said...

StanH: Balkanization is an apt term for what racial dividers accomplish. It's a classic trick of those who want to maintain power. If you can keep the populace divided against itself, they can't organize against you. Statists need to create classes to identify so they can "solve the problem." Race is a big issue in America because of our historical past, but if race isn't "the problem," then use "class," or "religion," or "wealth." Anything readily-identifiable that sets people against each other will do so that the government can "solve the problem" and perpetuate its own existence.

Tennessee Jed said...

A fine post, Hawk on a subject that can always arouse heatedemotions. I actually remember when I thought Jesse Jackson was doing a great thing ("I am . . . somebody" and "black is beautiful") since it was clear everything in American culture at that time reinforced a negative self image for black children. But Jackson got corrupted by power. He, Sharpton, and others understand the use of anger in politics.

I don't believe we are yet living in a color blind society, but agree we really have made incredible progress to the point where most people will judge a person on what they say and do rather than their sex, race, or religion. Maybe we reach that point when we can openly make racial jokes about each other in good fun and good faith.

The Obama's concern me. Whether it is 20 years at a black liberation church, statements like the "proud for the first time in my life" appointments of Van Jones, or the beer summit, I have a nagging suspicion that not only do the Obama's understand race as a political tool, they actually harbor a deep seated resentment (if not outright hatred) for whites. They are savvy enough to keep it submerged, but as always happens, something occasionally slips out. I think Barrack Obama would legislate reparations openly if he could, but understands it must be cloaked as "progressivism." Remember, justice includes "economic" justice.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--The way I look at it, racial relations have improved steadily since the Civil Rights movements, but it's been two steps up and one step back much of that time. For a party that claims to be the party of diversity, the Democrats always seem to be the step back, consistently stirring up racial animosities by "picking at the scab."

Unknown said...

Tennessee: The best of causes can be perverted by demagogues and exploited by special interests. I attribute many of Jesse Jackson's later actions as much to a lust for money as to a lust for power. From noble to ignoble in less than a generation. His major competitor, Al Sharpton, is even worse. Jackson stirred up racial divisions by advancing the concept of racial victimhood. Sharpton encourages outright racial hatred.

We were getting close to understanding that a "color-blind" society is a goal that can never be entirely achieved. It unintentionally expects people not to notice the difference in physical characteristics of the races. So by the good nature and the good will of the American people, we advanced to the concept that "I see that your color is different from mine, and it doesn't matter to me." Now that's true diversity. Respect differences, celebrate unity.

So, along comes "post-racial" Obama, and he says during his campaign that "some people won't vote for me for president because I don't look like other presidents." Gee, I wonder what he meant by that?

Writer X said...

I think Stan hit the nail when he said it's turned into an industry and, I would add, a revenue stream for the usual suspects--Jackson, Sharpton, et al. Without it, what would they do for a living?

Obama, unfortunately, has cheapened the overall race discussion because he only trots it out when he believes it will score political points. Unfortunately, each time (e.g. the Boston incident, denying he really listened to the Rev. Wright "sermons")he does, it backfires and only serves to reveal the man he truly is.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: That nicely sums up a major problem with the Democratic Party. Each time it goes off on its racial agenda, the story changes a bit, but they just can't help themselves. The current trend is for the left to call the entire Tea Party movement racist, and the Republicans the "white people's party." The more timid among them simply say things like "Republicans don't care about black folks." Some of them actually believe what they're saying, but for most in the limelight it's just another way to divide Americans from each other so they can pick up the pieces.

AndrewPrice said...

I've got to say that when I went to high school, there were few racial problems. We all just kind of took each other as fellow students and liked or disliked each other based on our behaviors. Race/gender/religious problems were for the prior generation. We had friends who were black, gay, female, nerds, football players, even a special ed kid. And that really wasn't that unusual.

But by the time I got to college, things were changing. A lot of groups radicalized themselves in college and suddenly they just knew that we non-them kids were there to opress them. They self-segregated, they whined that my poor parents (dad was Air Force enlisted) had somehow kept their upper-middle class parents down.

Then the craziness started as these groups and their members started clamoring to have students and teachers expelled for the slightest perceived insult. And I say "perceived" because little that they claimed as insults could in any way have been considered an insult.

But the whole while, the majority of the rest of us, black white or purple, just went about our daily lives thinking that these assholes needed to be put an on island where they could kill each other off.

So while I think that the vast majority of Americans really are post-racial, post-etc., etc. I don't buy for a minute that these groups have ever had any intention of becoming post-racial. The thrive on hate.

Nor do I think that Team Obama isn't part of this crowd. When I see Obama appoint people like Van Jones who accuses whites of dumping environmental problems on black communities, and then talks about getting even, or when I see him appoint radical Muslims to represent us, etc. etc., then I know that they are just the same crowd that's always preached race hate, gender hate, religious hate, you-name it hate. So f... them.

Unknown said...

WriterX: And a big industry it is. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being extorted from the taxpayers and businesses to solve a problem that was pretty much solving itself.

"Racial Diversity Training" has become a major industry that didn't even exist a mere twenty-five years ago. People with no real credentials or expertise now charge big fees to put on a dog and pony show about racial problems that most of the attendees hadn't even thought existed. It's no longer good enough to treat others equally, you must spend hours agonizing over how the persons of color might feel about your attitude of equality just in case you might be an unconscious racist.

And as the big bucks roll in for the racialist bigwigs, black poverty continues to worsen because of governments and institutions who blame it all on racism and discourage blacks from "getting into the game."

Obama was doing a very good job of exploiting racial divides while cleverly looking like he was doing the exact opposite. But after the Boston fiasco, the Black Panther voter intimidation cases that Holder dismissed, the Van Jones debacle, and his "typical white person" remark, the facade is slipping badly.

Unknown said...

Lawhawk. I must be a racist because I don't want reds running our government.

Unknown said...

CalFed: I guess I suffer from the same problem. I oppose Obama because he's a least a bright shade of pink, and his favorites (like Van Jones and Valerie Jarrett) are a deep crimson. LOL

Unknown said...

Tennessee: It sounds like you got back to the Mainland just in time. The tsunami is a few minutes away from hitting the Islands as a result of the big quake in Chile. My friends in Honolulu are taking this warning seriously, though nobody can be sure how big the waves might be. They might be as little as a foot or less, but the experts won't call it. The older gang was there for the tsunami in the early 60s, and they're taking the warnings very seriously. No panic, just good sense. Haven't heard from anyone on Maui so far.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I visit the UC Campus every once in awhile, just to see some of my old haunts. Each time I've gone, the school seems more segregated and more hostile. It seemed to go downhill rapidly after the creation of the black students' union building. We fought to end segregation, and one of the homes of the Civil Rights movement builds a building to keep the races apart. It's tragic.

You're right about Obama. He's right in the thick of it, just better than most at attempting to hide it.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--There is one racial group that I would keep in isolation. I do believe that blue people with tails should be kept away from decent red, yellow, black, white and brown people. They're a destructive lot, and they spend all day talking to trees.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: I see someone conned you into going to see that cartoonish mess of a movie.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I neglected to mention that when I was in high school, our entire ethnic mix was comprised of three Asians, and a fair number of kids from Mexican families (legal immigrants, all). We had zero black students. My training said that being among black people was not a big deal, but until I got to Cal, I couldn't be sure. It was great. There was simply no tension among the ethnic and racial groups at the University. Lot of "getting to know you," and good-natured jokes, but no serious problems. I can't even come close to saying that about the Cal campus today, after years of affirmative action, race-baiting, leftist indoctrination in oppressive America, and sensitivity training. Racial and ethnic tension abounds.

Individualist said...


My senior year of high school we had an incident with a football player who got kicked out ot the Catholic high school where he had a scholarship. His problem was he thought it OK to beat kids up in the bathroom for money.

At my high shcool he was on the football team because colleges were looking to recruit him. He beat this one kid half his size so severely the administrator called the cops to scare him.

As I heard it the kid spent three hours at the police station before being released, no charges were filed but somehow the story was he was still in jail and it wqs some kind of racial abuse. This other kid became an adjitator and it got into the papers. We had all these people at the school from wo no where and classes were cancelled for around three weeks.

In the end they accused the white administrator of inpropriety and moved him to the second high school in town. The accused a black woman that worked as a teacher of inpropiety and moved here to another shcool. The offense was changing this kids grades.

After the event the kid went I beleive to FSU where he did something that got him expelled. The last I heard he was shot dead robbing some conenience store but those were just rumors.

I could not help thinking to myself if the adults had taken that event to try to straighten this kid out instead of developing some circus like protest maybe this kid would have enjoyed a life as a successful pro football player. Who Knows?

Very insightful post Lawhawk it made me think of this.

Unknown said...

Individualist: Sadly, I expect that story is not an isolated incident. It's probably endemic nationwide, dividing the races at ever-earlier times in their lives, with alleged adults stirring the cauldron of irresponsibility and hatred.

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