Why Liberals Are Wrong to Equate Conservatives with Racists

University of Virginia political scientist Gerard Alexander has an interesting essay in the Washington Post in which he argues that liberals are wrong to characterize conservatives as racist. The piece is very nuanced and deserves close reading. Some snippets:

The narrative usually begins with Barry Goldwater opposing provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and with Richard Nixon scheming to win the presidency through a "Southern strategy" -- appealing to the racial prejudice of working-class whites in the South to pry them away from the Democratic coalition assembled by Franklin Roosevelt. In this telling, bigoted Southerners were the electoral mountain to which the Republican Moses had to come, the key to the GOP winning the White House. Wooing them entailed much more than shifting the party slightly away from Democrats on racial issues; in return for political power, Republicans had to move their politics and policies to where bigots wanted them to be. This alliance supposedly laid the foundation for a new American politics.

As Dan Carter, George Wallace's biographer, put it, "The Wallace music played on" in "Barry Goldwater's vote against the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, in Richard Nixon's subtle manipulation of the busing issue, in Ronald Reagan's genial demolition of affirmative action, in George Bush's use of the Willie Horton ads, and in Newt Gingrich's demonization of welfare mothers." More recently, it continues through inflammatory campaign ads ("Harold, call me!"), offensive tea party signs, Rand Paul's unusual-because-explicit skepticism about the Civil Rights Act -- all the way to calls to end birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants and to keep Muslim worship well away from the nation's hallowed ground in Lower Manhattan. In this interpretation, core conservative principles -- limited government, tax cuts, welfare reform and toughness on crime -- actually have race at their heart....

These policy positions remain central to the conservative domestic agenda, but calling them racist, the third assumption, presumes something very strange: that conservatives do not mean what they say about them. Welfare reform is deliberately anti-black (or anti-minority or anti-poor) only if conservatives secretly believe that welfare actually does help its beneficiaries and are being deceitful when they argue that long-term dependency devastates inner-city communities. Tax cuts are part of a racist agenda only if conservatives do not believe that lower taxes will enhance economic growth and social mobility for all. Conservative opposition to raising the minimum wage is anti-poor only if free-marketeers are feigning concern that increases will price less-skilled people out of the workforce (as when Milton Friedman called the minimum wage "one of the most . . . anti-black laws on the statute books") and secretly agree with liberals that increases will benefit the working poor over the long term.

By such reasoning, conservatives should oppose all government programs that they believe help minority groups. But at least one expansive policy area defies this expectation: education. Most conservatives, even as they turned against busing and welfare, continued to support large public education budgets. Many conservatives may support issuing school vouchers and shutting down the federal Education Department, but those positions concern which level of government should control schools -- not whether government should pay for education for all. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans joined Democrats in 2007 to reauthorize Head Start, the early-education program in which well over half the students are from minority groups. And substantial majorities of whites (conservatives as well as liberals) have voiced support for what sociologist William Julius Wilson calls "opportunity-enhancing affirmative action," policies that would unofficially but inevitably direct disproportionate benefits to minorities.

Whole thing here.

While I agree that conservatives (and Republicans more generally) are not motivated by racism or anything like that, I'm not fully persuaded by Alexander's argument that race hasn't played a significant role in the consolidation of the conservative movement.

For instance, Reagan talking about "welfare queens" driving Cadillacs on Chicago's South Side had a racial dimension to it that clearly spoke to a specifically white anxiety about urban and national decline; I don't think Reagan (or the vast majority of whites) are racist, but casting issues in those terms helped draw in-groups and out-groups in such a way that Republicans were not going to ally with blacks and other minorities. I don't think people such as Sen. Trent Lott, who lobbied against intergration as a student at University of Mississippi and scandalously praised Strom Thurmond for his Dixiecrat presidential run, define the GOP but he was a major player in it. Surely that matters to how parties are perceived by whites and black alike (and spare me the mention of Democrat Robert Byrd, the former Klansman who was a total piece of garbage; however conveniently, Byrd explicitly repudiated his racist past). One Trent Lott goes a lot further in creating a negative image regarding minorities than one Jack Kemp does in creating a positive or welcoming image.

For much of the late '60s through at least part of the current decade, there was little reason to think that Republicans cared about black and other minority voters very much, which might help explain why there are so few black and minority Republicans. I do agree with Alexander that this may be changing:

Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, Tim Scott, Ryan Frazier, Raul Labrador and Jaime Herrera are GOP nominees for the Senate, governorships and the House because Republican voters preferred them over their white opponents. Allen West in Florida and Jon Barela in New Mexico were the consensus GOP choices to run for competitive House seats. Many of these candidates are well-positioned to win their races and help change the public face of modern conservatism.

I suspect that as the public face of the GOP changes, so too will the complexion of its rank and file. Conservative policies are in no way inherently racist or anti-minority, but until recently the sociology of the party certainly wasn't particularly inviting to them either.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Apologetic California||

    Race-baiting is a two-way street. The post civil rights era was a hot mess of incredible racial paranoia from the Black and Hispanic communities (but mostly Black). I mean jaw-dropping stuff. Shit like that the K in Snapple bottles stood for KKK. Even to this very day the hateful racialized language of Black public figures are common.

  • A is Awesome||

    *is

  • ||

    They made fun of this kind of thinking in the movie 'Black Dynamite', where Anaconda malt liquor turns out to be part of a plot by the CIA to cause black mens penises to shrink.

  • jtuf||

    Frankly, I've gotten tired of debunking trumped up charges of bigotry by dishonest Liberals. Now I just call them on their own bigotry. That strategy is much more efficient.

  • Tony||

    Two posts in and already it's "but the blacks are the real racists!"

    Even if I bought the notion that everybody's a racist except white teabaggers, I don't see why you pure, colorblind hippies have any business airing the same racial grievances you deny those mean racist black people.

  • ||

    "I do like black people! It just took a white one to prove it to me."

  • A is Awesome||

    Trollolol?

  • ||

    Tony, do blacks believe such nonsense: AIDS was invented by the (white) federal government to exterminate black people, for example?

  • Tony||

    Some probably do. But some white people believe all their problems are caused by Mexican immigrants and black people on welfare.

    The difference is the Democratic party doesn't base its electoral strategy on exploiting fear of the AIDS conspiracy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    True, Tony, but the Democratic party DOES base its electoral strategy on exploiting racism and wealth envy, among other tools in its bag of tricks.

    Which is why Democrats are just as reprehensible as Republicans. But you won't buy that, because you've been programmed otherwise.

  • Democratic Strategist||

    Black churches will burn if Democrats aren't elected.

  • jtuf||

    Wayne, I read one study on Blacks who believed the AIDS conspiracy. According to that study, the majority of Blacks don't believe the conspiracy. The study also showed that Blacks who finished college were more likely to believe in the AIDS conspiracy. So, the most likely source of the conspiracy theory is academia.

  • .||

    So, the most likely source of the conspiracy theory is academia.

    That would not surprise me in the least.

  • jtuf||

    Actually, since you brought it up, most of the Liberal bigots I've encountered were White. That makes sense, because most Liberals are White. Tell me, Tony, why are you so full of hate?

  • ||

    Two posts in and already it's "but the blacks are the real racists!"

    He did not say "blacks are the real racists" he called Liberals bigots.

    Democrats are bigots. If they were not then why do they always look down on minorities as inferior and need government hand outs to get ahead?

  • Tony||

    Because it's better than looking down on minorities as inferior and saying they deserve their plight?

  • ||

    Because it's better than looking down on minorities as inferior and saying they deserve their plight?

    I do not think minorities are inferior.

    But it is nice that you finally got around to admitting your own bigotry.

  • Tony||

    Josh I am black. A strong black woman, in fact (honorary). I am as liberal as they come, yet I have struggled internally with not being a racist all my life. I just don't buy the fact that colorblindness comes any more naturally to white conservatives than it does to me or anyone else. The fact that you guys dismiss the whole subject so glibly doesn't convince me that you're more advanced on the issue.

  • ||

    Josh I am black. A strong black woman, in fact (honorary).

    Say what? You didn't really write that? What a dickhead(honorary).

  • ||

    The libertarian perspective is that everyone should do their own thing (and be allowed to do so), and generally not give a shit what anyone else does as long as it isn't harming anyone. From this perspective, racism is fairly irrelevant. You can be black, white, or racist, and as long as you obey the same rules, nobody gives a crap. You're free to live how you want, with who you want, as long as you can do so through your own means, and nobody will touch you.

    This point of view may explain why libertarians don't care aboput race so much. We don't advocate a system where individuals have much power over eachother, so individual racism is no long a powerful force.

  • MNG||

    Hazel
    I think you are right in your analysis of why most libertarians don't think about race (or class or gender for that matter). However, I've always found this to be a weakness of the philosophy. It fails to see that because of past racial, gender, etc., barriers (many of which I grant libertarians would have been duty bound to have opposed as they involved coercion and/or terror) disproportionate members or certain groups start off with fairly severe deficiencies (in actual, human or cultural capital). This seems morally important to most people, maybe morally important enough to override the natural and correct aversion to coercion to remedy them...

    I've said it before: sometimes libertarians strike me as the kid who knocks everyone hat off and then when chased yells "ok, from NOW ON, no more hat knocking off!"

  • MNG||

    I should add that on the other side I find most liberals make waaaaaaaay too much out of race, class and gender.

  • ||

    I think there's room for a social libertarianism that focuses on reforming social mores to be more inclusive and tolerant. Not just race, but all sorts of social differences. It needn't involve government enforcement, or any focus on the state at all. But it differs from liberalism in that it would be a purely non-state social effort to be more inclusive.

  • AA||

    "I've said it before: sometimes libertarians strike me as the kid who knocks everyone hat off and then when chased yells "ok, from NOW ON, no more hat knocking off!""

    MNG,

    That doesn't make any sense. Sure, we certainly say "from NOW ON, no more hat knocking off." But we weren't the ones who started knocking hats of - Libertarianism has never been a racist ideology to begin with.

  • Tony||

    AA but the only way the moral premise behind your economics works is if everyone starts out equal. Otherwise luck (such as how you were born including the color of your skin) begins to play an increasingly important role in your ability to succeed in life. Thus everything is just darwinian, not fair. Why should that be even remotely acceptable, let alone considered the most moral of all models?

  • AA||

    I will say that racism does not play as big a role as it once did. I know just by working with and interacting with all sorts of races every day(Mexicans in particular since in from AZ and half my friends and family are Mexican) Now, if we want to credit some of this advancement to government intervention, I wont try to agree that too much.

    So what I'm saying here (as the Ambion kicks in. Sorry for any incoherence) is I don't believe any of these rightfully aggrieved races aren't good enough to make it in a market society. They are, no question about it. I just feel government handouts create an entitlement mentality(to all races it effect. whites aren't immune, thats for sure) that serves no propose than often making them dependent, which keeps them in poverty and, correct or not, give the impression of incompetence, which we both a agree they are not incompetent. Honesty, I agree with you a lot about race relations Tony. I respect your empathy; there is certainly a place for that is part of the healing. But You cant force others to change their minds, through classes or schools or whatever. My best answer is just ignore the real racists. A good public ignoring is in store I think, as social pressure and persuasion will go a lot farther to correct these problems. Thats my Ambion infuenced take.

  • AA||

    agree should be argue.

  • AA||

    Before I go to sleep Tony, would like to point out that a true free market would not hold minorities back like you think. It is the best tool to encourage business and people to work together. The races would come together much more than now if we minimize the things I said above. I think they are held back more by government "taking care" of them,(or laws that obviously incarcerate them more frequently) or exploiting insecurities for votes than anything. Goes for Red and Blue Team.

  • ||

    I agree with AA here.
    The way I was raised, was pretty much in ignorance of the existance of most racism. I mean, I had no idea that Jews were supposed to have big noses until I went to college in New York State. Why didn't anyone tell me these things? I really was only aware in the vaguest terms of what all the racial stereotypes were supposed to be, and it hadn't even occured to me that someone might be racist against Hispanics.

    (That one still doesn't make sense. Hispanic = half-spanish. As in Spain. The country in Europe. Full of Europeans. )

    It wasn't until I was exposed to campus identity politics that racial tension became a noticable feature of social life.

    My personal feeling is that more people are educated to be hypersensitive to race than are actually raised to be racist.

  • AA||

    "My personal feeling is that more people are educated to be hypersensitive to race than are actually raised to be racist."

    I've noticed that too, Hazel. Spot on.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "AA but the only way the moral premise behind your economics works is if everyone starts out equal."

    Nope.

    Economic reality exists no matter what you would like to believe, you half-wit. It doesn't "work" if people start out equal or not. In fact, one of the principle beauties of free-markets is the economic mobility they create. No matter what your starting point, low (or preferably NO) barriers to entry and a level legal playing field (i.e. policing against fraud/theft/etc.) give everyone an opportunity to be creative and produce a product or service that other people value and subsequently become rich.

    It's easily the most egalitarian of all possible systems, because it doesn't put onerous restrictions on people who wish to use their intelligence, creativity, hard work and skills to develop a better life for themselves... And of course, because it relies entirely on *voluntary* transactions, rather than theft & force, it is pretty much necessarily the most moral system.

    What you fail to grasp, as usual, is that that market competition is ADDITIVE, not destructive - so when you say it's "darwinian", all you're really trying to argue is that someone wins and someone else "loses" - and that is simply incorrect.

  • ||

    However, I've always found this to be a weakness of the philosophy. It fails to see that because of past racial, gender, etc., barriers (many of which I grant libertarians would have been duty bound to have opposed as they involved coercion and/or terror) disproportionate members or certain groups start off with fairly severe deficiencies (in actual, human or cultural capital). This seems morally important to most people, maybe morally important enough to override the natural and correct aversion to coercion to remedy them...

    Where are the people who committed these coercive crimes? They are dead.

    One white person is not liable for the crimes of another. It is unfortunate and shameful that minorities suffered in the past, but I don't how the solution is to punish those who were not responsible.

  • ||

    I would agree with that. The problem that I have as a libertarian with government programs is that they seem ineffective. When one looks at census figures of black family structure from 1960 (an assessment of 1950's America) and than compare them to either the 1970's, 80's, 90's or later, you see a destruction of the family unit. The data I have read seems pretty compelling that children without fathers fair pretty poorly. Yet it seems odd that there were more black families with fathers in the 50's without all the emphasis on social programs than later, with all these programs designed to "help" black people.
    I think this is the flaw of government programs - the metrics (income) are shallow, and often lead to unintended consequences.

  • Joshua||

    I'm curious what the honorary here is supposed to mean. My college roommate was a little gay white dude who thought he was an honorary black woman...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    That sounds pretty much identical to what I think Tony was trying to say... And I'm not sure anything gets more racist than that. Not unlike people who declared that Bill Clinton was America's "first black president".

  • Sam Grove||

    Looks to me he was talking about LIBERALS, not blacks.

  • Tony||

    Though I do buy the notion that every white teabagger is racist, and are the ONLY racists, for that matter.

  • Sviluppo||

    The Texas GOP wants to criminalize--not just forbid, but throw people in jail--for gay marriage, sodomy, and stripping. Those conservatives, whose members are restricted to mere fringe candidates like former two-term president Bush, do so out of love and respect for unpopular minorities, not out of bigotry.

  • Mosquevite Sandwich||

    Yeah, no group appreciates gay marriage, sodomy, and stripping like blacks and hispanics.

  • Texasman||

    Black people are fine, but fuck if I let a queerosexual breath MY air.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Damn, that's funny. I LOLed.

  • ||

    By praising Jefferson, in any way, does one implicitly endorse slavery?

    By praising Jesse Jackson, in any way, does one implicitly support race-baiting?

    If one is paid a compliment by Trent Lott, should one not accept it as it comes from a person who has been accused of being a racist?

    Should one be regarded as racist because one has supported the maintenance of race based slavery if the same preserved the fatherland?

  • pat||

    to what "fatherland" are you referring? is that last line a joke?

  • little mike||

    The South is gonna rise again, right daddy? This time we gonna whoop 'em hard!

  • ||

    No, this time the anarcho-free enterprise-individualists are gonna whoop em' hard!

  • ¢||

    I suspect that as the public face of the GOP changes, so too will the complexion of its rank and file.

    Nope.

    The in-the-wild, working definition of "care about" is "use (or make loud and unchallenged false claims to use) power to favor." To whatever degree the GOP occupies the political-theoretical ground conservatives and libertarians share—in principle or by reputation, if not in fact—it doesn't "care about" the Democrats' bloc constituencies (or any others).

    If the GOP maintains its reputation for fiscal conservatism, or especially if it earns it, no matter what "face" it has, the party's voters will get proportionally more white, male, and middle-class, because (statistically) only J. Random Whiteguy supports that.

    Oh—and his wife does, too, but she didn't until she married him and came to identify his interest as hers. Until then, she used her votes to make the world a challenge for suitors.

  • Coeus||

    + 10. Going a little heavy on the reality today, aren't we? You should go watch an Obama speech on acid to get re-centered.

  • Alice Bowie||

    You can talk all the 'Bla-bla-bla' u want.

    Conservative whites (particularly outside of the Blue States) are generally racist. I'm GENERALIZING. That is, NOT ALL are. Nonetheless, most are.

  • Sugar Ray Bradbury||

    The key passage conveniently missing from the end of your statement is, "I know this because..."

  • Alice Bowie||

    ...because I'm imagining it and Racism doesn't exists today

  • Contrarian P||

    No, you're just making gratuitous assertions without a shred of evidence. I could just as easily assert that most of the citizens of Utah are from Pluto. Not all of them, but most of them.

  • ||

    Conservative whites (particularly outside of the Blue States) are generally racist.

    You realize, I hope, that you are promulgating a collectivist stereotype of your own here.

    -jcr

  • ||

    How many conservative whites do you hang out with?

    Seriously. How many Republicans do you know. And are you *certain* the people you think are Democrats actually are?

    In my experience a lot of moderate Republicans tend to keep their mouths shut around Democrats because of their (the D's) political bigotry. They just quietly vote Republican anyway.

  • Big Cat Kahuna||

    Having an aversion to conflict I go to desperate measures to avoid talking politics here in Chicago. The sheer hate aimed at those without official party documents is frightening. Even flirting with conservative ideas is held in contempt.

  • ||

    Having grown up in Chicago, in the very belly of the Democratic beast, I can say with certitude that Dems are the most racist group I have ever associated with.

    Now I associate with a very conservative bunch of people. I have never heard the word "nigger" used by any of them. They just want to make a living and live their lives.

  • Spoonman.||

    I saw a very chilling sticker yesterday, in the model of those W: The President ones: "D: The Party".

    I live in Houston, but it was on the Rice campus, so...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And you know this because you asked every one of them, Alice? Or are you telepathic, and thus can read the real truth in their minds?

  • Alice Bowie||

    BTW, I find Libertarians to be Conservatives but NOT racist. So, perhaps I speak of non-Cato Republicans.

  • alan||

    I never rip on you because I believe you once said you were from the Virgin Islands. From my experience VI natives are sexy as hell, and you should always take looks into consideration when evaluating the opinions of others because ugly people only know how to be sincere while good looking people are constantly teasing. If Ezra Klein said what you said in the previous two post I would be annoyed, but I know you are just trying to get our goats, you tease.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Actually, I'm pretty ugly...and a Guy.

  • alan||

    That was the worst possible answer of all. What is it with dudes named Alice and ugliness? So . . you believe that stuff you write? It isn't intended to be a joke?

  • Alice Bowie||

    Nope I'm a pretty ugly dude that is not a troll...although I'm always called on here.

  • ||

    You don't know your Cheech & Chong, alan?

  • alan||

    I never made that connection. It was even in my bib sis's collection.

    BTW . . which one of the ladies said they were from the Virgin Islands? Not that I am in the market, as I passed on flaming Alice one day, and I believe that was the reason, I could of sworn it was him.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    The idea that 60% of the population (conservatives and right leaning independents who are consistently polling against the Democrat agenda) is racist is laughable.

    Arguing the the GOP is racist when Obama et al. are the ones who refuse to use the Justice Department to go after people who commit voting fraud because they're black is simply retarded.

    Arguing that the Democrats, who boast 90-95% of all the black people in the country as loyal voters, are the non-racist party is moronic.

    And so is anyone who ignores these types of facts.

    Is there racism amongst the GOP? Probably.

    Is it any more intense and widespread than the racism in the Democrat Party? No way.

  • Tony||

    The idea that 60% of the population (conservatives and right leaning independents who are consistently polling against the Democrat agenda) is racist is laughable.

    So is the notion that among white conservatives racism has almost completely disappeared, as you imply.

    Arguing the the GOP is racist when Obama et al. are the ones who refuse to use the Justice Department to go after people who commit voting fraud because they're black is simply retarded.

    The GOP isn't racist because Obama is alleged by the GOP lying machine to engage in racial preferences. Uh huh.

    Arguing that the Democrats, who boast 90-95% of all the black people in the country as loyal voters, are the non-racist party is moronic.

    Or it could be evidence of the GOP's hostility or indifference to black people. The GOP is almost all white. Is that because all black people are too stupid to know what's good for them? There's really no way to weasel out of this fact.

    Again, you're denying that black people have cause for grievances, all the while appropriating the same language of grievance. It's, literally, I'm white, I'm a victim of racism, let my people go. What a bunch of bullshit.

  • Coeus||

    Is that because all black people are too stupid to know what's good for them?

    The policies supported by team blue seem to make that argument (but that's for people in general, not just black), but I don't think he did. You're projecting again.

  • Tony||

    If almost all members of a race vote one way then either it's either because the other party is hostile toward that race or members of that race are all easily duped. I prefer the non-racist explanation.

  • Coeus||

    No, I prefer the non-racist explanation, which is that voters of all races are easily duped. You seem to prefer the "GOP are racists" explanation.

  • Tony||

    I explicitly (and generously) said below that the GOP isn't racist, that they just exploit voters' racism.

  • Coeus||

    Fine, so you just think all (or most) GOP voters are racist. That's still a "racist" explanation.

  • jtuf||

    I think social pressure and having a closed social system could explain why so many Blacks vote for Democrats. The same explanation applies to Jews. Only half of my extended family is Jewish, so I grew up with plenty of Christian relatives. Many of them were Republican. It didn't seem odd for me to hang out with Republicans in college. It was only a few years ago when I returned to my hometown that I realized how difficult it can be to be a Jew who isn't Liberal. I was attending the Bible class regularly, and every week this guy would denounce Bush even though Obama had been the president for a while. Finally, I just got sick of it and stopped going to the Bible study. Shortly after that, I left the congregation. It you belong to a traditionally Liberal demographic, it can be very socially difficult to speak against the Liberal doctrine.

    Come to think of it, when I taught in a Brooklyn public school, one of the Black students once announce that "If you are Black and vote Republican, then you are stupid." It just takes a few vocal bullies like you, Tony, to make life harsh for anyone who tries to leave the Liberal fold.

  • Tony||

    That may be so... I happen to think if you're [fill in blank] and vote Republican, you're stupid.

  • jtuf||

    Of course you do, Tony. That's because your snarky. :)

  • ||

    That may be so... I happen to think if you're [fill in blank] and vote Republican OR DEMOCRAT, you're stupid.

    FYP

  • Tony||

    anon,

    While that might appeal to you as a cynic/undergraduate, you really only have two choices in this country. And there's no such thing as not making a choice. Sucks, I know.

  • ||

    You only have two choices:

    Vote for the Democrats or be a stupid right-wing racist!

  • jtuf||

    Tony, you can vote Libertarian. Come on, man. Stop chaining yourself to the Dems.

  • Bo||

    You sexist! You assumed she's a man!!! You're going to rot in atheistic hell!!!!

  • jtuf||

    When there's a Libertarian on the ticket, I vote for him. Otherwise, I vote Republican.

  • jtuf||

    Nah, it's more like: I'm White, but I'm a Liberal, and Blacks are Liberal too, so I get to scream "RACIST" and be holier than thou every time I meet someone who's opinion differs from mine. That just about sums you up, Tony.

  • Tony||

    But now all you hear out of the mouths of white conservatives is "Al Sharpton is the real racist!!"

    I just don't think, if you're going to deny minorities their racial grievances, that you should be expressing any of your own.

  • jtuf||

    Hmm. The last thing I heard out of the mouth of a White Conservative was, "What can I pick you up for lunch." Contrary to your beliefs, Tony, White Conservatives don't spend all their hours acting out your stereotypes of them. They have jobs, and families, and social lives. Maybe you should meet one or two in person so that your perceptions of them are not based entirely on what you watch on TV.

  • ||

    But now all you hear out of the mouths of white conservatives is "Al Sharpton is the real racist!!"

    I've never heard any conservative ever claim that Sharpton is the racist, although it's plain to anyone paying attention that he is a racist. There are plenty of other racists on your side of the Ruling Party, like every asshole who ever demeaned a college applicant by demanding that they have the bar lowered for them on account of their race.

    -jcr

  • Joe R.||

    Translation: Tony wants you to shut up and take it.

  • jtuf||

    Yeah. Too bad for him, he's not my type. I'm not into the whiny self-righteous guys.

  • ||

    Is that because all black people are too stupid to know what's good for them?

    Given the evidence: virtual destruction of the family unit among blacks, such a conclusion is not exactly implausible.

  • Tony||

    And wayne comes along and makes everything feel all icky.

    I think poverty is the real issue here on almost all fronts.

    The problem with libertarians is that you look down on poor people and blame them for their situation, so it's hard to distinguish that from racism in some cases (not yours though).

  • MNG||

    I'm sure some (self-described?) libertarians think that Tony, but in fairness many of them do not but rather feel that any government coercion to ameliorate the situation would make things worse and/or essentially involve "two wrongs to make a right."

  • Contrarian P||

    Did I miss the part where poverty among African-Americans dramatically increased since the civil rights era? I'm not sure you can blame everything on poverty and by extension racial oppression, as you seem to be implying.

  • Tony||

    Let me put it another way: poverty is the real issue. It's precisely the issue Republicans want to distract you from by stoking racial resentment.

    I would much, much rather talk about poverty than race. But it's as if that subject is even more taboo, in all circles.

  • ||

    Yes, Tony, no one ever talks about poverty at Reason...

  • jtuf||

    Don't lie, Tony. Reason writes about economic policy often, but you chose to hang out in the post about race.

  • Zeb||

    This is a large part of why many of us are not republicans.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Perhaps Tony, you might want to familiarize yourself with the writings of one Walter E. Williams on the subject of poverty, the African American nuclear family and government's so-called "help" to the underprivileged and minority population.

    I'd start with this:
    http://www.amazon.com/State-Ag.....0070703787

    And I might peruse his archived articles on the topic which can be found various places, including the man's homepage, but there's a fine one at Townhall.com too: http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/

  • ||

    Given the evidence: virtual destruction of the family unit among blacks

    Hold on there. The destruction of black families is primarily the fault of government, who did all they could to undermine any attempt at self-reliance once LBJ figured out how to turn black people into a new class of sharecroppers. "Vote for massa Lyndon! Massa will give you a handout!"

    Throughout its sordid history, the Democratic Party has been for slavery. The Republicans at least opposed it for a while in the late 1850s, and then pretended it still mattered to them during and for some time after the war.

    -jcr

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    Like I said. Moronic.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Perhaps racist is a strong word.

    But, not giving a shit about spicks, niggers, and faggots is embedded in their so-called religious policies.

    And BTW, I doubt the HOLY FREE MARKET with NO REGULATIONS would have done ANYTHING to help the spicks, niggers, and faggots in america.

    It's a good thing for Government intervention into the LACK of equal protection under the Law. Had we had to wait for the FREE MARKET we'd still be in the BACK of the BUS and in the CLOSET.

  • Texasman||

    Good thing there's a difference between racism and "not giving a shit".

  • ||

    Equal protection of the law is a prerequisite for a free market.

    It's an oft disregarded point, but a crucial one. If a black business can get firebombed and have no legal recourse, I don't think any libertarian would consider such a situation a free market.

  • ||

    Do you meean the laws mandating segregated businesses? That guvmint intervention?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    And.... You're back to being a fucking moron, Alice.

    Good to see.

  • Some Guy||

    The idea that 60% of the population (conservatives and right leaning independents who are consistently polling against the Democrat agenda) is racist is laughable.

    Depending on your definition of "racist" that is incredibly plausible. I would say easily 60% by my definition.

    Arguing the the GOP is racist when Obama et al. are the ones who refuse to use the Justice Department to go after people who commit voting fraud because they're black is simply retarded.

    I wasn't aware that only one group was allowed to be racist at a time. Is there a baton of some sort that they pass?

    Arguing that the Democrats, who boast 90-95% of all the black people in the country as loyal voters, are the non-racist party is moronic.

    Well assume for a minute that one party in a two party system is racist against some race. Would you not expect 90-95% of them to be in the other party?

    Is there racism amongst the GOP? Probably.

    I would be embarrassed to type something like that.

    Is it any more intense and widespread than the racism in the Democrat Party? No way.

    Tough call. I think it could go either way. I might give them that because at least the GOP makes a half-hearted effort to pretend otherwise. I mean if you're only considering those two.

  • alan||

    In spite of my criticism of Nick's loosy goosy use of the word 'care' and its derivatives, I agree with the overall premise on the history of the GOP.

    He neglected to mention that history also needs to be balanced with the fact there was an actual crime wave running rampant in the late 60's and through out the 70's, so what some attribute as code words were not code words. No implicit signifying necessary when the reality is explicit.

    If the GOP was exploiting fears about crime to sway white voters with an undercurrent of racism, you can only say the same was true of Hollywood, as they make quite a bit of bank on cop shows with the same underlying message and have done so for a long time. Personally, I blame neither in the craven morality story being played out here because the opportunity to exploit was and is there to be grabbed like low hanging fruit. Hollywood and the GOP would have been fools not to use what is handed to them on a silver platter.

    I can only really blame them to the extent their actions obscured the underlying problems that lead to the crime wave. It took the likes of Irving Kristol in the late 70's and Charles Murray later in 'Losing Ground' to really make a solid connection to the welfare state and the destruction of social order.

    It is also silly to see whippersnappers that were not around then using their membership in the Democratic Party like it is a shiny, polished halo displaying their own goodness for the world to see and take awe in. You don't have to go very far to find it. Only a few post to the top and to the bottom.

  • mofo||

    It is also silly to see whippersnappers that were not around then using their membership in the Democratic Party like it is a shiny, polished halo displaying their own goodness for the world to see and take awe in.

    Ding ding ding, you hit it on the head there. Most all leftists dont give a fuck about blacks or racists, its just a vehicle for them to feel morally superior to everyone else. They harp on race not because it is some overwhelmingly pervasive problem but because race is one of the few subjects where they can safely pontificate without having to worry that they might be wrong.

  • ||

    It's the Democrat wing of the Ruling Party that consistently demands an official policy of racial discrimination. They call it by another name, of course.

    -jcr

  • Abdul||

    Wait, if I am racist, who do I vote for?

  • jasno||

    The greens.

  • SF||

    No way I would ever let my daughter marry Kermit the Frog.

  • Miss Piggy||

    You'd better not! Heeee-YAH!

    Love,

    Piggy.

  • jasno||

    I would say that most white people aren't active, KKK style racists. In many cases they love to see minorities succeed, as long as they play by the rules. I think that helps soothe the lingering white-guilt.

    But this is a really complicated issue, and distinctions must be made between race and culture. I would argue that black people who embrace white culture experience quite a different reality than those who don't.

    Regarding the republican party - I had a chance to share a few drinks with the CA GOP at a recent state convention. Hispanics were well represented, a few old jews, some old-money, genetically challenged white people, and lots of average white folk. Not many blacks, unless you count the 7' tall Bircher I talked to while medicating in the smoking section.

  • A is Awesome||

    Whoa now, white guilt? I have absolutely no guilt for something I had no control over. No one, ever, should feel guilt for the faults of their ancestors.

  • ||

    >I have absolutely no guilt for something I had no control over.

    That drives collectivists up the wall. Individual responsibility? How DARE you?

    -jcr

  • ||

    The main reason not to chuck around accusations of racism is that it clarifies the choice for independents - one side insults them and the other that does not.

  • alan||

    or much of the late '60s through at least part of the current decade, there was little reason to think that Republicans cared about black and other minority voters very much

    That was then, this is now. Barely a day past that an RNC staffer doesn't call on the phone and ask me how I am doing, is everything alright in my life, and if there is anything he can do to make my life better.' It is nice to be shown how much the party cares.

    For Jesus Christ Khomeini sakes, what the fuck does carrying have to do with it? Either you have mutual interest, or you don't. You think when Tammany Hall passed out the government cheese, they were doing it because they cared, or because it was a cheap way to win votes? Cheap so long as it is done with other people's money, that is.

    I agree with the premise, but what is up with the hippie crap?

    Caring.

  • alan||

    fuck does carrying have to do with it

    aieeehh! Fucking autocorrect. Did not notice the switch up first read through.

  • ||

    I'm of the opinion that what liberals get wrong on the issue of racism is the other side of the coin that conservatives get wrong too...

    It's hard to suffer liberals saying that public policy should be a function of what the vast majority of Americans want--and then turn around and say that the American people are inherently racist.

    If the American people are inherently racist, then why would liberals advocate letting so many questions be decided by democratic institutions?

    The conservatives are victims of the flip side of that. My thinking on this goes back to that super awesome Howley piece from not so long ago...

    If conservatives really want things decided by private parties--rather than big government--then it would behoove them to work to make racism a lot less acceptable. ...rather than deny the facts.

    The fact is that a lot of minorities support big government as the only protection they have against private party racism--and so long as conservatives fail to address that, they'll continue to have limited success in limiting the scope of government.

  • ||

    I haven't seen the Howley piece. What did she recommend (concretely) that cons should do?

  • ||

    The piece is "We’re All Cultural Libertarians", and the byline is "Freedom is about more than just the absence of government".

    It should be required reading for regulars in the Hit & Run commentariat.

    I'd love to quote the whole piece, but maybe just this relevant bit will encourage a click-through...

    "It ought to seem obvious that a philosophy devoted to political liberty would concern itself with building a freedom-friendly culture. But the state-wary social conservative flinches when his libertarian friends celebrate the power of culture itself to liberate: the liberty of the pill, of pornography, of 600 channels where once there were three. The social conservative will refer to these wayward anti-statists as “cultural libertarians,” by which he means libertines. And it will always be in his interest to argue that the libertarian, qua libertarian, should stay mute on issues of culture."

    http://reason.com/archives/200.....hts-enough

    She's writing a lot about sexism there, but everything she says is applicable to racism just as well.

    It shouldn't come as a surprise to many regulars around here that there's a certain strain of libertarians out there who think, for instance, that freedom means the freedom of landlords and employers to discriminate against blacks and gay people.

    When we're making the case to women or latinos or blacks or gay people or other minorities that government shouldn't coerce people into employing or housing people they don't like, it really does leave some big questions unanswered for them...

    What's the solution? I'm not a racist. So minorities have nothing to fear from my racism. I think that's the beginning of the answer right there. I don't advocate using the government to solve any of these problems--but anybody who knows me knows I'm intolerant of racism.

    I won't tolerate it at work or among my friends. And I hope the more people who won't tolerate that kind of thing, the more it will make freedom palatable to those who really probably would suffer some consequences if the government weren't there to punish racism and sexism.

    And what I took away from Howley's piece was that if much of society won't accept libertarian realities out of fear of discrimination, then it should be the work of every libertarian to eradicate racism and sexism from private life.

    It's up to you.

  • ||

    It shouldn't come as a surprise to many regulars around here that there's a certain strain of libertarians out there who think, for instance, that freedom means the freedom of landlords and employers to discriminate against blacks and gay people.

    What part of freedom don't you get, Ken? Freedom means doing what you like, but only as long as it is approved?!?

    I would not patronize a business that said "No Irish" or "Whites Only". I would consider the proprietors imbeciles, but part of being free means free to do things I think imbecilic.

    Libertarian doesn't mean what you think it means. I suspect that most of them do believe that yes, a person should be free to be an asshole, regardless of type. This is not the same as believing being an asshole is a good thing, only that Liberty implies the right to do things other people don't like. This doesn't apply to government, however, which should be forced to be color blind.

  • ||

    What part of "nothing to do with government" did you not get, Marshall?

    I didn't say the government should enforce or not enforce anything. I said in plain English--over and over--that the government is NOT the solution to racism.

    That doesn't mean I have to tolerate racists or racism. Ever.

    That's the great thing about freedom--it means the government can never force me to tolerate racism or racists. That's why I love living in this country.

    Libertarians shouldn't try to force me to tolerate racism either. I will never, ever shut up about the disgusting racists in our midst.

    Ever. I hope to make the racists feel so uncomfortable that they go somewhere else, or better yet, that they just disappear entirely.

  • ||

    What part of "nothing to do with government" did you not get, Marshall?

    Apparently, I misunderstood what you wrote. I thought that the quote to which I responded implied government force. You do later say, in the same post, that government isn't the answer. So to clarify, you are not saying that non-discrimination should be imposed upon private individuals or groups of individuals?

    there's a certain strain of libertarians out there who think, for instance, that freedom means the freedom of landlords and employers to discriminate against blacks and gay people.

    I took this to mean that you were not among them. I certainly agree that it is individuals and not government that ultimately changes hearts and minds.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Yes Mr Shultz,

    Co-ops Apartments are basically a good example of the PRIVATE MEMBERSHIP you refer to.

    Co-ops are basically allowed to deny people (mostly spics and niggers as they would be referred to in non mixed company ) without having to give a reason is a classic loop-hole around the 1865 fair housing act

  • ||

    U talking about coops in NY City? Won't find too many repubs on those admission boards.

  • Alice Bowie||

    very very true dave

  • Some Guy||

    But you can't get Navin R. Johnson to invest in them.

  • .||

    Co-ops are basically allowed to deny people (mostly spics and niggers as they would be referred to in non mixed company ) without having to give a reason is a classic loop-hole around the 1865 fair housing act

    Hm. Kinda makes me wonder how whites are referred to by those "spics and niggers" in non-mixed company. Also: I believe the fair housing act was passed in the 1960s - not 1865.

  • ||

    I won't speak for Alice, but just for the record, I'm not criticizing the law or the federal government if co-ops discriminate against people of certain races. I'm criticizing the co-op.

    I think that's part of the problem with government attempts to solve these problems--it's basically a bait and switch. If the Fair Housing Act passed in the '60s didn't really address the problem, then maybe the government isn't the solution.

    I know this will probably get a lot of negative feedback, but I think we libertarians should approach the spread of libertarianism like Christians of old approached the spread of Christianity. We're talking about winning hearts and minds here.

    We're talking about values. Government appears to be ineffective in changing people's hearts and minds, and as I already alluded to, in a nation of minorities, I think stamping out racism, sexism, etc. is necessary before we see a lot of things libertarians want to see happen. So, if the federal government can't change the hearts of co-op owners, then maybe it's time for libertarians to give it a shot.

  • AA||

    Well I'm right with you there Ken Shulz. We'll all be better if some for of this can achieve some level of acceptance.

  • Some Guy||

    Any suggestions on how this might be accomplished?

  • ||

    "Any suggestions on how this might be accomplished?"

    Again, look at what the Christians did. If Libertarianism had the same sized impact on American culture as Christianity did, that would be optimal...

    ...and they didn't run for office in the First Century. But it spread all over the place, and I think their two point strategy worked great.

    1) Be a non-racist libertarian.

    2) Never shut up about it.*

    In the Bible, there's a verse where people are told, paraphrased, "If you're a slave, be the best Christian slave you can be." Tweak that strategy for libertarians today, and it's about doing what you can from where you are.

    It isn't about winning elections, seizing the levers of power, and cramming libertarianism down everybody's throat anyway.

    Some people think that any strategy that doesn't involve wining elections isn't practical--but in all of the big movements I've seen that have brought about big change, they had nothing to do with seizing power--not so much as power came to them once they'd won so many hearts and minds.

    That's how the Christians got their influence; that's how the communists got their influence; that's how Gandhi got his influence; that's how MLK got his influence; that's how the environmentalists got their influence...

    I would love it if we were as influential as the environmentalists. "Think globally, act locally" isn't just a stupid slogan. That's about as practical advice as you can get...

    What you say to your friends, coworkers, and family is more practical than winning any election can be--at least for right now.

    So that's my advice. If you're a libertarian, chances are your friends and family think you talk too much about politics and stuff anyway--but don't think what you say doesn't matter.

    ...especially when so many people think we're racists because we're libertarian--we just gotta keep preaching the libertarian gospel.

  • AA||

    +10

  • Some Guy||

    So that's my advice. If you're a libertarian, chances are your friends and family think you talk too much about politics and stuff anyway--but don't think what you say doesn't matter.

    Most of my friends and family are hardcore Rush Limbaugh Republicans, so they think I'm an Obama-loving librul terrist because I am call them on their bullshit. As someone who has advocated trying Obama (and everyone else behind the bailouts) for treason, I find this puzzling.

    But as Christianity got more popular, it became much less about turning the other cheek, and much more about killing infidels.

    Same with communism "Hey, let's all get together and feed some poor people" -> "Let's take all the money from everyone and give some tiny fraction to poor people, which is now everyone."

  • Liberal Blogosphere||

    If the law didn't work, it simply means the government needs more power, and that all who oppose that conclusion are racist.

  • Hockey Guy||

    We need a racial draft.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nMB1u5ocS4

  • Tony||

    Almost the worst part of the GOP's disturbing history of racism is that the GOP elite haven't, for a long time, actually been racists. They just use the racism of voters to get elected while distracting from their awful policies that those racist voters would actually never be in favor of if they paid attention to that instead.

    But what the GOP does is worse than have mere feelings of racism. Their policies are bad for the poor and working class, and that just so happens to affect minorities more. I'd argue that having policies that continue to punish people for being poor, and hence punish racial minorities disproportionately, is more relevant and more abhorrent than just harboring racist feelings.

  • Alice Bowie||

    They're call'n it 'Racism without the racist'

  • ||

    Racist in Name Only

  • A is Awesome||

    What the shit are you saying "punishment" for? While I hate the GOP with a passion, their policies don't "punish" anyone. And so what if poor people are minorities? Why does race matter at all?

  • Tony||

    Race matters because it's what the GOP exploits to keep dumb white people voting for them and against their own interests.

  • ||

    I know a good many dumb, white people and they're overwhelmingly solid D voters.

  • Coeus||

    Well, the dumb white people I know are like half team blue and half team red, so where does that leave us?

  • Coeus||

    To Tony, punishment means "not giving enough free shit to".

  • jtuf||

    Tony, I believe that the Democrat policies are worse for the poor. As a member of the working poor myself, I know first hand the negative effects of the Liberal agenda. I had a client who was enthusiastic about me working for him through December. Then the Democrats made plans to raise taxes on the "rich" this Fall. He owns the small business that hired me. This week he explained that he's facing a budget crunch and that he probably will have to terminate my employment in mid-October.

  • MNG||

    If only we could repeal the minimum wage laws perhaps he could afford to employ you after all...Dream the dream!

  • ||

    You could "dream the dream" or read an Econ 101 textbook...

  • jtuf||

    Speaking of minimum wage laws, did you know that farms are exempt from them. They can hire crop pickers without any minimum wage. I guess Liberal believe that some people deserve economic equality more than others, because they ignore that loophole.

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    In Libero-Pragmatic land it makes sense. They believe that by ignoring the working conditions of the farm workers, they help keep food prices down, thereby helping a larger number of the "poor". Isn't utilitarianism grand?

  • alan||

    I would love to be able to give this fifteen year old kid that lives near my rental properties the job of handling the outside maintenance. I'd pay him about 125 to 150 a week for about 10 to 12 hours of work. I brought it up with my accountant, and all of the red tape involved makes it not worth it even if I low balled it to 80 bucks a week (I'd prefer to pay the higher figure straight out even if the lower figure was doable, that way I know the kid has an incentive not to try to fuck me over). If it was only a simple monetary exchange involved, I could devote a hundreds of more hours a year to my primary profession and likely afford to squeeze in time for one or more contracts a year than I can at this time, but as it stands I just do the labor myself.

  • Tony||

    jtuf the reason you may be out of a job is not because Obama might restore the Clinton-era tax rates on the rich.

    The shitcan economy we have is mostly not the fault of Democrats.

  • slurpman||

    Well I'm sold!

    *slurp*

  • jtuf||

    Tony, I beg to differ. First of all, the Democrats ran the economy into the ground with the stimulus bill. It diverted capital from investments that could have geared up the economy. Second of all, my specific situation has more to do with Obama's planned tax hike than with the general economy.

    Tony, you are just another snobbish Liberal who thinks he knows what's good for "poor lesser" souls like me.

  • ||

    Again, you are assuming that the GOP elites don't actually believe what they claim to believe.

    For instance, that they don't actually believe that the minimum wage hurts the working poor.

    You can argue the evidence for whether it does or does not, but how about taking them at their word that they in fact believe it does?

  • MNG||

    Hazel
    Do you honestly think the GOP opposes minimum wage laws because of their concern for how these laws affect poor people?

    For example, if business lobbies suddenly wanted minimum wage laws, do you think the GOP would stick to their positions? The "it hurts black people" argument usually is a nice "add-on" for people who oppose minimum wage laws for other (certainly not necessarily racist) reasons.

  • ||

    How about concern for the general effect on the economy?

    Personally, I would like the most optimally functioning economy with the fullest employment. It isn't out of any special concern for the poor, but a broad view that everyone is better off with a more properous society.

  • MNG||

    Hazel
    1. I have never had a reason to think you have a racist bone in your body. Few sincere libertarians I've come across seem to.

    2. I'm sure many conservatives may feel opposed to minimum wage laws for the reasons you state.

    3. I do however maintain that most GOP pols are not primarily against minimum wage laws because of their alleged effect on black people.

  • ||

    3. I do however maintain that most GOP pols are not primarily against minimum wage laws because of their alleged effect on black people.

    Maybe so. When you're selling your soap on tee-vee, do you run a list of the ingredients over a static shot of the soap bar or do you show a comely lass enjoying a good lather?

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

  • ||

    3. I do however maintain that most GOP pols are not primarily against minimum wage laws because of their alleged effect on black people.

    And you'd be right. The GOP doesn't give a crap that minimum wage laws hurt black people.

    They give a crap that minimum wage laws hurt ALL people, rich and poor, black, white, and other.

    They make it hard for business to prosper, and hard for workers to get hired. They artificially inflate prices by arbitrarily inflating the cost to do business.

    And, they don't last. Eventually, everything resets to make that new higher minimum wage have the same value in what can be done with the money earned as the lower one before it.

    Democrats want to raise the minimum wage so they can hand out money. They, too care nothing about blacks--save that the handout work as an incentive to keep the blacks voting for them.

  • ||

    Their policies are bad for the poor and working class/I>

    This is true, but not for the reason you think. The Republicans have failed to live up to their own platform, which would mean poor people having a far better chance to escape from the poverty trap that the Democrats want to keep them in.

    -jcr

  • pat||

    what i like about this article - and the comments it has provoked - is that it points to the important fact that there are degrees of racism, ranging from bona fide hate crimes (like lynchings, for example) to institutionalized segregation (like slavery, jim crow or illegal gay marriage) to other programs and institutions that have a more implicit class, race, or gender biases installed in their everyday mechanisms. the first is a behavior with a personal agent behind it, acting upon personally held beliefs while the second and third demonstrate how (1) those personal prejudices held by all sorts of people - left, right, whatever - can seep their way into the very institutions designed to prevent that sort of persecution or tyranny, and (2) how individuals associated with institutions that are labeled as "prejudiced" are consequently labeled with the same prejudice, whether that's accurate or not.

  • pat||

    i should add, though, that by describing these "degrees" of racism i do NOT mean to excuse any form or racism or prejudice to any degree, but instead to point out the varying fronts on which the struggle against prejudice has to take place.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Meh. The Republicans, like any other political party, looks out for the interests of it's constituents. In the case of the Republicans, the overwhelming number of those constituents are white.

    Of course, that's exactly what the Democrats do, too. And the ethnic groups that compose the Democrats aren't even coy about the fact that they're jockeying for political position as ethnic groups. Of course, when whites do the same thing, it's racist.

    I submit that the smartest thing the Republicans can do when accused of promoting policies that favor the interests of whites, who are their primary constituents, is to respond, "Yeah? So what?".

  • Alice Bowie||

    ..and they do

  • ||

    The Republicans, like any other political party, looks out for the interests of it's constituents.

    You WISH!

    They look out for the interest of their cronies, not their constituents.

    -jcr

  • SIV||

    Reagan and the "welfare queen":
    From Nick's link:
    Cadillac Queens.
    Over a period of about five years, Reagan told the story of the "Chicago welfare queen" who had 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and collected benefits for "four nonexisting deceased husbands," bilking the government out of "over $150,000." The real welfare recipient to whom Reagan referred was actually convicted for using two different aliases to collect $8,000. Reagan continued to use his version of the story even after the press pointed outthe actual facts of the case to him.

    Her name was Linda Taylor. She really did exist. The Chicago press dubbed her a "welfare queen" before Reagan, he was just repeating what was in the newspapers. She may have collected as much as $200,000 in welfare benefits so Reagan was using a "conservative" figure. After she was busted authorities found tens of thousands of cases of welfare fraud in the Chicago area. She drove a Cadillac too.

    Here is a "lefty" source about Taylor:

    In 1974, the Chicago Tribune began covering the bizarre case of Linda Taylor, the original "welfare queen." She was charged with defrauding Illinois welfare programs by collecting welfare cash grants, social security and food stamps under multiple aliases. Taylor's story generated significant media coverage nationally, as well as in her hometown of Chicago. Although the specifics fluctuated considerably between articles, Taylor's deceptive techniques were described in careful detail. The Chicago Tribune reported that she had illegally received over $200,000 by using more than 100 aliases in 12 different states.

  • Alice Bowie||

    The Chump-change welfare crooks steal from the system is NOTHING compared to the taxes evaded by businesses EVERY DAY.

  • jay||

    Alice,

    Business don't pay taxes. They do have to fill out the forms and send in a check (sometimes), buy they just pass the cost of the taxes to their customers.

    I suggest you start a business, learn how to fix bicycles, for example. You'll find that all the taxes and government fees will be recurring overhead, no different than the rent you pay for the bike shop or the phone bill.

    If you don't pay the rent or phone bill those services will be cut off. If you cheat on your business taxes by purchasing a noticeable quantity of personal goods and services through the business you will get audited by the IRS. You will pay for that mistake.

  • Your HR Department||

    Actually, they hire us to do all that paperwork, along with lawyers to ensure the company is in compliance with the thousands of laws that impact the bottom line.

  • ||

    HAHA

    Nick got burned. But in his defense it rarely happens.

    Anyway good work SIV my hat is off to you.

  • SIV||

    Actually Nick is kinda prone to linking to those sorts of things.

  • MNG||

    When did Josh become such a right-wing fanatic? Did you lose your mental health insurance or something?

  • jtuf||

    MNG, that is a bigoted stereotype. Look up the psychiatric survivor movement sometime. Calling an opponent "mentally ill" as an insult is as prejudice as calling him a "fag".

  • ||

    See, here is the problem. There are opposing narratives with completely different sets of "facts" supporting them. Nobody knows what the real facts are, because each side conveniently filters the facts it accepts to paint a picture of themselves as the bearers of the truth, and the other side as purveyors of dangerous lies.

    So, you get the right peddling the welfare queen story, and the left responds by selectively editing the facts to paint that story as a lie - just so they can say Hey the other side is full of lies!' Despite the reality that there are actual credible version of the story that DO support the Republican version.

    I don't know whether this is deliberate, or if the left is just that fucking insular that the only version they have ever heard is the one that conforms to their view, and they have just never actually bothered to investigate it beyond their own insular sources.

  • MNG||

    Hazel
    I don't recall leftists focusing on the welfare queen narrative as being a lie as much as they were bothered by the invocation of a black face on this problem and the idea that to focus on the fraud of those on welfare and not, say, corporate welfare, is indicative of something nasty.

    Liberals should probably get over the first point; they are just very uncomfortable with the fact that on many pathological issues blacks have "disturbing" numbers. They should argue the effects of the legacy of many years of oppression and not try to demonize anyone who hints at something we all already know to be true...

  • SIV||

    Linda Taylor had a Black face, a White face and a Filipina face depending on which wig and identity she was using.
    Liberals are always fond of pointing out "most people on welfare are white", yet any criticism of the welfare state and the dependency it fosters is somehow RACIST.

  • MNG||

    Liberals failure to understand why any taxpayer would be irrate about their money going to someone on welfare who could and should be supporting themselves is a big one (I've stood in the supermarket line behind many an inconsiderate goofball who paid with "government coupons" and thought WTF?).

    But conservatives who seem more focused on and/or irrate over that than defense contractors collecting $100 a hammer seem questionable to me. Despite liberals best efforts we all know welfare has a disproportionately black face, so conservatives who feel more outraged by welfare cheats than corporate welfare cheats strike me as disingenuous...

  • ||

    I don't know which thread features Weigal's latest antics on Hardball. But whoever hired that jackass needs to be fired immediately.

  • ||

    I am so fucking sick of Reason entertaining this tired old cannard. Any sane observer knows that the culture war is a game played in Washington DC to make sure we get generations more of dependents.

  • Newt Gingrich||

    Obama has Kenyan anti-colonial beliefs.

    Nope no racism in the GOP!

  • MNG||

    The Democratic Party has some racists too, especially the "reverse" kind. I'd submit that affirmative action programs probably hurt far more working class whites than tax cuts hurt working class blacks. Think of government jobs like cop, fireman, etc., that white working class males aspire to. Racial preferences are crazy prevalent there. That alone has led to a great deal of racial resentment.

    Clinton floated the idea of making affirmative action race neutral and black groups freaked out. You can't support those programs and then act all shocked that working class white people have some racial anger...

  • Tony||

    I will not deny that I felt disadvantaged being white when, say, applying to grad school and scholarships.

    I suppose what I wish conservatives would learn is some empathy. They only seem to care about racism when they feel like they're the victims of it. I may have felt and possibly was disadvantaged when applying for scholarships and grad school--but I can still walk down the street downtown every day and not be looked upon as a potential mugger, so I still think I get the better end of the deal.

  • MNG||

    Tony
    I must say that the posters around here who seem obsessed with reverse racism but rarely racism speak volumes about themselves. It's hilarious when they castigate blacks for their "racial" thinking and act like they don't see race. Why, what in the world could have made many blacks so racially sensitive? What could it have been?

    On the other hand, you being screwed out of a scholarship is not made "ok" because you are less likely to be thought of as a mugger than whoever got it.

  • Tony||

    Yeah and that's the point I was trying to make above... if you categorically refuse to acknowledge the grievances of racial minorities then you really have no business having your own racial grievances. I just think it's people like you who are more apt to have solutions to any reverse racism problems than people who think it's the only kind of racism because it's the kind that affects them.

  • MNG||

    I support needs-based government programs to try to equalize opportunities for all races, genders, etc., but not race based ones. They are just bound to breed racial resentment, and they are insanely blunt (giving Bill Cosby's kid a preference over Joe the Plummer's).

  • AA||

    I certainly respect what both of you (Tony, MNG) are saying here. As a Libertarian, I'm not gonna sit here and try to pretend I know what its like or that "reverse racism" is somehow worse or just as bad. For obvious reasons, black and other races do have real, legitimate reasons for feeling the way they do, and that shouldn't be taken away from them. The two type of racism are not the same.

    But for me, I don't think government force or calling people you don't agree with racist is a very effective way to deal with the problem. And the left does this a lot, and I think you know it. Thats what gets me. Its one thing to call it like you see it. Being a racist is a pretty terrible way to view life and other human beings. Its also a pretty bad slur to call someone when it isn't true. Using race as a way to rally the masses as Tony somewhat correctly says the Republicans do is awful. But so is calling a group of people racist just because you don't like or understand policies they support.

  • MNG||

    I agree with your last paragraph a great deal. People who cry racism recklessly have done more to undermine race relations than anyone else recently imo...

  • SF||

    I know I pay zero attention to accusations of racism. I'm not naive enough to believe it doesn't exist, but the charges and counter charges don't carry any weight. I don't think I'm in the minority in feeling this way (no pun intended).

  • Coeus||

    if you categorically refuse to acknowledge the grievances of racial minorities then you really have no business having your own racial grievances

    I don't think that I've seen anyone here actually do that. Just because something is said to be racist, doesn't mean it actually is. You get all bent out of shape when someone says, for example "hey, a black hole is an astronomical phenomenon. That's not racist". That's not categoric denial. That's denial based upon common sense. Most of us here just don't believe in the "disparate impact" type of racism, and for good reason. It's complete bullshit. If it wasn't, then all it's proponents would have called the "tanning bed tax" racist. As a matter of fact, the only current form of institutional racism that I see is affirmative action. I don't deny that racism against minorities exists, and I don't think that most of the other commenters her would either. I've worked in a field where it's alive and well, and quite frankly it's sickening. (But I've also lived places where I was the minority, and I've seen it both ways.) But it was certainly not policy, and it was punished wherever it was found. But when you throw around terms like "institutional racism" you're bound to get grievances aired from the only group that it's government policy to be racist against.

  • Bo||

    Isn't it racist to use the term "reverse racist"? That implies that the only people of "race" are non-white. Therefore, white people are not a race but the norm. That makes people of color, "the other".

  • Zeb||

    Indeed. I have always thought that was a stupid term to use. Same thing with the term "people of color"; it just serves to reinforce the idea that white is normal and all other races are somehow of the same category relative to white people.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The evidence of a particular problem is almost entirely on the affirmative. We can't talk about it publicly although it's widely accepted among experts in this field. I think we may have stumbled into the best possible solution, systematically ignore it.

  • AA||

    I agree to a large extent. While "racism" in general shouldn't be ignored, actual, for real racists should just be ignored(unless, of course, they do something violent). Why give them any more attention than they deserve? Thats what they are craving for the most part anyway.

  • Sidd Finch||

    That comment wasn't about racists per se. There's several "the problem[s]" that none of the sides want acknowledged publicly. I'm coming around to the idea that some race-based AA may be the middle ground that avoids the National Discussion that IMO is the last damn thing this country needs.

  • AA||

    Maybe. I got a lot of what could be described as "race-based AA" in my public school and military years. And while I agreed with the ideas, I noticed it didn't do much to change peoples minds one way or the other. People were still gonna believe what they wanted.

  • Sidd Finch||

    AA allows the less qualified to work with the more qualified. If it's purpose is ending racism, it's horribly designed(or judged). As a system of repayment for slavery and Jim Crow, it works okay IMO because blacks benefit greatly and it's so bureaucratic that most people don't appreciate its scale.

  • Max||

    But anybody is right to equate Libertarians with assholes.

  • ||

    The Republicans did not help their case by having all their major candidates skip the minority issues debate in '08.

  • ChrisO||

    Government does not exist to make you feel better about yourself.

    Government does not exist to steal from me and give to you, so that you feel better about yourself.

    Government does not exist to make me have a better opinion of you, and could not force me to do so in any event.

    Government does not exist to ensure that you get the same salary/education/health care/housing that I do.

    "You" could be just about anyone. It doesn't really matter.

  • Max||

    Slowly pull your head out of your ass and take short shallow breaths until you adjust to the oxygen level.

  • Max||

    I love being a liberal prick!

  • MindlessRobot||

    Nah Max, just a useless prick.

  • ||

    Using race as a way to rally the masses as Tony somewhat correctly says the Republicans do is awful. But so is calling a group of people racist just because you don't like or understand policies they support.

    Actually, I'd argue that what the Democrats are doing IS using race to rally the masses. Or racism.

    At this point in time, smearing the tea parties and other conservatives as racist is no less cynical an electoral strategy than what the Democrats believe Republicans did with the "southern strategy".

  • Tony||

    Then maybe Newt Gingrich ought to stop describing Obama as Kenyan. And read any article linked by the Drudge Report. The racism is hardly coded. This is all very deliberate. Newt isn't talking this way because he believes it. Racism on the right is not a figment of liberals' imagination and it's not, as far as I'm aware, exploited as a vote-getting strategy by Dems.

    Let's not make a false equivalence between perceived specks of racism in the eyes of Dems when Repubs have a log in theirs of overtly using white racism to get elected for many years. And they haven't really changed. It's not always racism, sometimes it's homophobia or Islamophobia. They rely on prejudice to win power and that's almost their only game. Dems at least try to appeal to a more recently evolved lobe of the brain, which is why they lose so much.

  • AA||

    I do agree with a lot of what you said here, but, I do believe the Dems exploit racial insecurities to their advantage. Essentially saying "vote for us, we'll take care of you isn't completely racist in the same sense, but its still a sneaky tactic involving exploiting race.

  • ||

    Didn't you just say that conservatives aren't racist, they just exploit racism?

    Which is it?

  • jtuf||

    Tony, Newt Gingrich has been pushing the Global Warming hysteria for years. He's in your camp now.

  • Tony||

    Newt is a shitstain on humanity, but kudos to him for believing in science.

  • Zeb||

    All good reasons why libertarians and republicans are not the same thing.

  • MCG||

    I like the (I assume) black guy saying he's sad because whites see him as a mugger.

    We're supposed to be more upset that whites perceive blacks as criminals than the fact that, you know, the perception is based on reality and blacks do kill, rape and steal in large numbers.

  • ||

    Whites also kill, rape, and steal in large numbers, if only because there are so many of them. What's more significant is that blacks kill, rape, and steal in *disproportionately* large numbers.

  • DDavis||

    Of course racism plays a part in the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party. And in independents.

    But honest people refute the arguments as given, instead of indulging in ad hominem attacks.

  • ||

    Everyone is a little bit racist.

  • Corduroy||

    More correctly defined as bigoted.

  • sarcasmic||

    It is perfectly natural to give favor to your own race.
    That's how races came into existence, by people choosing to reproduce with those they identify with.

  • Zeb||

    I think geographic isolation had a lot more to do with it than conscious choice.

  • Chad||

    "equate"

    Naaah.

    "Very high correlation"

    Yes.

  • Punky Boobster||

    So what did we learn today?

  • lefties suck||

    You want to see racism?

    Check out liberals and progressives and their bigotry of low expectations.

    They will defend race based quotas because they, in their unlimited bigotry, do not expect blacks and others to achieve things without an unfair advantage.

    When bigoted progressives speak there is always the unspoken "for a [fill in group identity here]".

    It's the Democrats, liberals and progressives who are the real bigots.

  • ||

    While I agree that conservatives (and Republicans more generally) are not motivated by racism or anything like Alexander's argument that race hasn't played a significant role in the consolidation of the conservative movement.

    I think you can make a pretty good argument that it has played a role in the consolidation of the liberal movement. Nothing like a reliable 12% voting block to consolidate a movement.

  • ||

    For instance, Reagan talking about "welfare queens" driving Cadillacs on Chicago's South Side had a racial dimension to it that clearly spoke to a specifically white anxiety about urban and national decline

    Right. Cuz Reagan and his supporters were really completely OK with *white* welfare queens. Everybody knows he was just talking about the black ones.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Everyone here is forgetting that Republicans are not always (in fact, rarely are these days) conservatives.

    Saying that conservatives generally are or are not racist and then supporting that by citing something the GOP does is a fallacy.

  • ||

    and spare me the mention of Democrat Robert Byrd, the former Klansman who was a total piece of garbage; however conveniently, Byrd explicitly repudiated his racist past).

    Sure. Let's leave him out. What about Nathan Bedford Forrest? Him too? Fullbright? Gore Sr.? The huge Democrat supporting Klan rallies of the twenties? The consistent Democrat pattern of supporting things like segregation and Jim Crow? Should we leave all that out too?

    Should we believe that after the CRA passed all the racists in the Democrat party miraculously became anti-racists('cos they sure as hell didn't flip to the Republicans, as the myth goes)?

    Why are we always told to ignore the Democrats explicitly racist past and focus on 'code words' of racism that the Democrats keep telling us Republicans use?

    One Trent Lott goes a lot further in creating a negative image regarding minorities than one Jack Kemp does in creating a positive or welcoming image.

    And this is absolutely correct, Nick. Know why? Because of articles like yours.

  • ||

    "Do not discard your prejudices: They may be the only taste you have," said a (French) philosopher. And thinking people agree, while not allowing their prejudices govern all of their actions and certainly not their public lives. Alas, in the perverted world of today's Merkan liberals (how easy it was to hijack that honorific!) the slightest disagreement, the most well-meaning observation or innocent joke is zealously turned into "proof of racism." This nasty disposition is enforced by the power of the media, the law, the pulpit and the classroom, making cowards of us all, mouthing slogans 24-7 and hating ourselves for it.

  • 42||

    Not all conservatives are racists, but racism is a conservative thing.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement