Civil Rights

Expecting Too Much

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The Obama-friendly conservative Dan Riehl writes:

electing the first black president would ultimately do more to pry away black and other minority voters from a decadent American liberalism, than would anything else….One could no longer make the argument that America is racist, or unfair. Not when a black man has risen to the highest office in the land.

I've heard this argument from many people—sometimes even from libertarians, who you wouldn't expect to be so government-centric. While I'm not sure what it means to say that America (all of it? some of it?) "is" racist, the presence of a black man in the Oval Office would hardly mean that no American blacks face institutional barriers, any more than the presence of black officers on a police force means that blacks don't face racially driven police harrassment. Yes, a President Obama would be a symbol of progress in race relations. But it is an open question whether he would reverse the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, or the sorry state of the urban schools that so many blacks attend. It is even conceivable—not necessarily likely, but conceivable—that Obama, like many black mayors, would actually make life worse for African Americans.

For the record, I think Obama is the most palatable (or the least unpalatable) of the four frontrunners, mostly because of his stance on Iraq. I do not believe his election would usher in a new age where racism and unfairness have been banished, and where whites can confidently pat themselves on the back without worrying that some black man will interrupt with a complaint.

NEXT: World Not Drug-Free Yet. Check Again in Another 10 Years.

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  1. I suspect that Obama *WILL* make life worse for many black people… However, he won’t be making life worse for them by design, but by the failure of his ideology to actually deliver the goods. And it is unlikely he will be any worse for black people than Hillary Clinton, or other white Democrats.

    When Obama harms black people, it will be incompentence and not racism… so it will still represent a major step forward.

  2. Jesse, you seriously need better headlines. How about, in this case, ‘Bleak House of Great Expectations’?

  3. If it can’t be Paul, here’s how I rank the remaining contenders with least odious first:

    Obama
    Huckabee (mostly 2nd amendment reasons)
    Clinton
    Romney
    McCain (whom I preferred to Bush 8 years ago, but that just shows where Bush stacks up)

    As for racism and unfairness, Paul would have been the best chance for removing the black as victim groupthink that continues to pervade.

  4. Too bad he’s not black. His mom was white.

  5. In response to the many closed caucuses/primaries Ron Paul was up against and his reliance on the independent vote:

    I registered as a Dem. a year-and-a-half ago, as a sort of protest to the current administration, but missed CO’s Dec. 5 party affiliation change deadline. So I was stuck caucusing for Obama, who won a landslide here. I’m curious as to how many Obama supporters would have gone for Paul in an open caucus, and how many independents would’ve showed up. Especially since my precinct had 91 attendees.

    And I’m curious as to how good/bad things will be for libertarians if Obama wins the general election.

  6. Bill,

    do live in america?? whites have deemed people to be black if they are 1/8th black. this has been going on since 1700’s. mixed race people are considered by themselves and society to be black.

  7. And I’m curious as to how good/bad things will be for libertarians if Obama wins the general election.

    first fours years of the next presidency will be akin to a new ‘New Deal’. plus I know hillary won’t roll back any of executive branch’s new found powers and I doubt obama would either.

  8. Would the election of Obama make a clean slate for conservatives and others regarding race?

    It seems clear that large portions of whites are willing to vote for a black man for President. But I think it would be premature for conservatives to think such an event would lift the reputation of racism from their shoulders (which seems at least part of Riehl’s point), as it’s still not clear how many conservatives would vote for a black man, even one they might find otherwise appealing. Though my gut tells me that race is surprisingly and increasingly irrelevant to such things.

    It would be nice for conservatives to genuinely feel good about African Americans without having to resort to the “some of my best friends are…” kind of platitude.

  9. Is anybody else bothered by the argument that we should vote for Obama because of the color of his skin?

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote for him over Hillary, but it is not because his skin is a darker shade.

  10. I do not believe his election would usher in a new age where racism and unfairness have been banished, and where whites can confidently pat themselves on the back without worrying that some black man will interrupt with a complaint.

    To take this point further, I think there is a brand of conservative “tolerance” of minority and alternative viewpoints that is ultimately fine with placating a disenfranchised group. I observe the same thing with conservatives’ attitude towards so-called feminists. The attitude seems to be “as long as we can shut them up, we have proven ourselves to be tolerant of other non-white, non-males…can you go away now?”. Well, no. The purpose of a class or group struggle isn’t to be content with minor concessions made by those traditionally in power. We want the big gulp! A sea change.

  11. stuartl, I’m just as bothered by that as I am bothered by those who vote for Clinton just because her reproductive organs are on the inside of her body.

  12. One should expect similar results from a war on racism as one would expect from a war on classism or a war on drugs.

  13. stuartl,

    If Obama’s election would really improve race relation problems by convincing blacks who currently think so that whites in American are not predominantly bigotted toward them, then I would think that could be one valid reason to vote for him, even if it’s based on something that’s part of him inherently and not something he’s done or earned per se. It would be silly to think it could be a sufficient reason to vote for him, but it would make sense to consider it as one factor among many. But of course, I started this post with “If”.

  14. I’d love to see Obama win, and I think the author has a good point, but not about race relations. IF Obama gets elected, the fiscal mess that Bush has put us into will have to be paid for. The economy will tank, and Obama will not be able to fix it. There will be change all right, but everything will be worse. It won’t be Obama’s fault, but he’ll be blamed anyway. We will simply substitute the “private benefit” Statism of the Bush Administration with the “public benefit” Statism of the Democrats. The saddest thing is that the illusion that any one of these candidites can somehow fix things and make it all go away continues to persist.

  15. The thing about Obama is you can hate him because he’s black or hate him because he’s white.

  16. Illogic aside, the upshot of the argument is a pretty ugly one. It seems to me that Riehl welcomes an Obama presidency not because it would usher in a “post-racial” America, but instead that it would offer conservatives a facile parody of political quarrels with a racial component (“If the drug war is so racist, how come President Obama got away with coke use?”) The core of the argument seems to be: electing a black guy – any one’ll do – won’t have an automatic effect on racist attitudes or political phenomena, but it will make circumventing the racial element within each of these issues all the easier. American politics often warrants a laugh track, but Riehl’s chuckle in this case is premature.

  17. I think more people who don’t follow closely are more wary of his name than his skin color. Barack Obama, with opponents never forgetting to toss in the Hussein part, is just a name many Americans are uncomfortable with, mostly conservatives who would probably vote for David Palmer if Jack Bauer told them to. Obama sounds too foreign to them. If he weren’t as charismatic as he is, even some Democrats probably would shun him nationally.

  18. SOME “mixed race people are considered by themselves and society to be black.”

    there. i fixed that for you. as an example, tiger who is largely considered by black society to be black, in fact made it clear quite a long time ago that he’s Cablinasion (caucasion/black/asian) in his mind.

    i do agree that most “observably” black people of mixed race are considered black, at least within society at large to a large extent and the MSM.

    however, there are a heck of alot of asians for instance, who consider tiger one of them, as much as he is black.

  19. I got whiplash watching Jesse go from calling Riehl “government-centric” to writing about “the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, or the sorry state of the urban schools that so many blacks attend.”

    Talk about your government-centrism! Because Lord knows, there would be no racial isolationism or other racial inequalities without the government.

    Racism is not a government problem; it is a cultural problem with governmental manifestations. Free your mind, and the rest will follow.

    And while Reihl’s tokenism – there, see, happy now? – demonstrates a severe misunderstanding of the situation, there is a kernel of truth in there; seeing a black person elected president will confound a lot people’s assumptions, and change people’s understandings of how this country works.

  20. Sorry. I know too many folks who believe “whites are racist” the same way they believe “drugs are bad.” Evidence is irrelevant.

  21. lew rockwell can sleep easy cause an obama presidency would only be merely “pretty quick.”

    har har.

    i don’t know how much symbolic value it would have, but it would be interesting to see. sadly i fear a clinton/mccain face-off ending with a mccain victory.

  22. “For the record, I think Obama is the most palatable (or the least unpalatable) of the four frontrunners”

    Four frontrunners??

    Obama and Clinton are roughly tied for front-runner among the Democrats and McCain among the Republicans makes three. Who is the fourth? You surely don’t think that Mittens still has a chance or that Huckabee can win outside his Southern/evangelical base?

  23. Racism exists in today’s society to the detriment of black people.

    I strongly suspect that there is more perceived racism than actual racism, also to the detriment of black people.

    An Obama presidency won’t affect the former, but might positively affect the latter.
    That’s not a good reason to vote for him though. If he gets the Dem nomination, I have other reasons to vote for him.

  24. Given the way we choose Presidents in this country, I don’t think that the winner of any particular election says very much about Americans as a people.

    That said, I am hopeful that an Obama presidency would improve political discourse in this country.

  25. While I doubt that it would have an immediate effect, I tend to agree that Obama as President would undermine the “America is racist” crowd and do more, in the long run, to knock the pins out from under affirmative action and other noxious race-based policies than just about anything else I can think of.

  26. I, for one, am not racist.

    I hate all politicians equally.

  27. From article:
    “…not sure what it means to say that America … “is” racist…”

    Remember, when the politically correct use the term racist, they simply mean white Gentiles who discriminate.

    It is a racial slur given selectively to white Gentiles. Racist = honky.

    So, the translation of the quote would be: “…not sure what it means to say that America … “is” honky-ist”

  28. Affirmative action is not about symbolism, RC. That’s a common and beloved misconception among its opponents.

  29. …so remember, kids, America is not racist, and people who complain about racism are just being mean to white people.

    Thanks, Morgan

  30. Re: JoeMorgan’s post

    *grabs popcorn and dims lights*

  31. …so remember, kids, America is not racist, and people who complain about racism are just being mean to white people.

    joe –
    See my previous. Your thoughts?

  32. Riffing off of J sub D’s comment. Another likely and unfortunate consequence of an Obama presidency is that I suspect many people (of all shades) will start to say to black youth, “why can’t you just be like Obama?”

    As if the highest goal for a brown-skinned teenager is to become a placating, gov’t shill with affirmative action credentials (see Harvard Law Review) that wants more coercive power than is healthy for one person.

    Just yesterday an Obama supporter handing out materials at a Metro station said, upon my ignoring her, “Come on brother, I see it in you.” Not sure what she saw IN me but she and many Obama supporters, including some of my libertarian friends are just still projecting and seeing what they want.

    One more note, the young lady, like Obama, was African American, not black American. There is a difference, albeit complicated.

  33. I see Obama as a far greater role model than Clinton. Don’t think there’s going to be much argument on that one. Given they are both socialists, I see no reason to prefer the one that has less to offer young people in need of a positive role model. Particaularly when one group of youngins needs a good role model far more than the other.

    That said, I don’t care for his racist views on gun control.

  34. Tangential question:

    Jesse,

    Is your link a tacit (however weak) endorsement of Reed’s book, or was it just a convenient remembered link for your observation?

    Anon

  35. It’s the ultimate in slavery reparations!

  36. J sub D,

    I don’t care to sit on my white ass as guess at the ratio of real to perceived racism that black people in America experience. Suffice it to say, the elimination of the former is a necessary condition for the elimination of the latter.

    I think we are in agreement, though, that an Obama victory can have some effect of confounding some people’s expectations about American Keeping the Black Man Down. I’d say that his success has already done this to a great extent – Hillary Clinton used to lead in the Black Belt specifically because black voters didn’t think White America would elect a black man. Now, some considerable number of them have changed their minds. That can only be a good thing.

    As far as eliminating actual racism, that’s a bit more complicated. It’s unlikely that David Duke is going to watch Obama’s inauguration and slap his forehead like the V-8 commercials. On the other hand, there is the pedagogical value. I remember reading once about Iceland, where the Prime Minister had been a woman for over a decade, kids would ask “Can a man be Prime Minister?” People are socialized into their ideas about race in childhood, and it can only be a good thing for them to see a black president.

    But these two categories are not exhaustive. Sometimes I think that racial problems stem more from white and black people talking past each other, or having trouble talking to each other about race and racism, than from actual prejudice or ideological racism. Seeing Barack Obama elected can give black and white Americans a common frame of reference, or a jumping-off point, or at least a safe space to talk about these things, and become more comfortable and less afraid of doing so. At least I hope so.

    At a minimum, I think his ascent to the presidency could be something that we could all celebrate together.

  37. Obama as President would…knock the pins out from under affirmative action and other noxious race-based policies

    Or…demonstrate the alleged efficacy of such programs, thus helping to perpetuate them.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  38. Shouldn’t joe recuse himself from this conversation? I swear that I heard somewhere that he’s an avowed racist.

    *runs back to seat, sits there looking innocent*

  39. You’re full of crap, “Shaka.” Barack Obama was an affirmative action case because he succeeded at Harvard, and you know this, how? Because he’s black?

    That’s a great email, btw. It really lets us know that you’re not some phoney seizing a fake screen name.

  40. Joe,

    I don’t list my email because I don’t need clowns like you sending me misguided messages. If you’d like though drop by IJ anytime and we can have a chat about it.

    In the meantime my friends that graduated from Harvard Law have confirmed the idea that the school is one of the worst in terms of white guilt and there was not a snowball’s chance Obama was not going to become the editor. He did not “grade on” like most have to. Get a clue.

  41. Shaka, the man had enough juice all by himself to get elected to the United States Senate and become the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, but he just hadda be picked to become editor of Harvard Law because of “white guilt,” and not on his merits?

    Sure, nobody but you ever gained success on their own.

  42. Joe, in all honesty he got elected to the United States in part to a good deal of luck. His primary opponents self-destructed, as did the Republican front-runner.

    Thus, he got to run against Alan Keyes. My dog could win against Alan Keyes.

  43. The way things are shaping up so that we have no REAL choices in a good candidate at all has me wishing the Repubs were running a Black as their candidate as well.

    Last years Superbowl was so blown out perspective with having not just one but two black NFL head coaches. The beauty of this was that in the course of 4 hours history was made on two fronts. You had one coach being the 1st black to lead a team to a Superbowl win and at the same exact time you had the 1st black coach to ever lead his team to a Superbowl lose. So we killed to 1st’s with one game and now we never have to hear about it again, right.

    Had the black coach lost to a white coach last year it would still be looming waiting to happen but we were fortunete that it was black vs black so we got a winner and loser all in one shot.

    If the Repubs ran a black versus a black they could then say it was the first Rep nomination of a black and he would either win or lose against the Dem black canidate. Either was history is made all the way around and all the 1st’s are gotten out of the way. Then we can get on to fixing all that is broken with everything else in this country. *holding breath*

  44. Jeff Davis, let me school you on something; I spent several years of my life as an urban planner in Massachusetts, trying to get affordable housing built in a rich suburb and dealing with numerous conflicts between white and minority groups. I need you to tell me there’s racism in Massachusetts about as much as I need you tell me there’s snow.

    My state isn’t more progressive and racially just than yours because there aren’t racist people up here; there are. My state is more progressive and racially just because in addition to your common American racists, we also have a pretty large contingent of progressives, ie, people who value racial justice.

    So how’s about you sit your oversensitive, trolly ass down and let the adults have a serious conversation?

  45. I got whiplash watching Jesse go from calling Riehl “government-centric” to writing about “the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, or the sorry state of the urban schools that so many blacks attend.”

    Note the word “helped.” Note also that the second phrase is deliberately focused on areas closely related to public policy.

    Obama and Clinton are roughly tied for front-runner among the Democrats and McCain among the Republicans makes three. Who is the fourth?

    I grandfathered in Romney, though I don’t think he’ll get the nomination.

    Is your link a tacit (however weak) endorsement of Reed’s book, or was it just a convenient remembered link for your observation?

    I wouldn’t call it an endorsement. I’m not generally a fan of Reed’s, but I think that book has some valuable insights in it.

  46. Cesar,

    C’mon. Two years ago, that might have been a good point. At this point, we’ve seen enough to conclude that Barack Obama actually does have the brains, charisma, and leadership ability to succeed in politics on his own merits.

  47. I know you shouldn’t feed trolls, but making them choke is just fun.

  48. progressives, ie, people who value racial justice.

    Please define what you mean by “progressives” and “racial justice”.

    In advance, thanks.

  49. In the meantime my friends that graduated from Harvard Law have confirmed the idea that the school is one of the worst in terms of white guilt and there was not a snowball’s chance Obama was not going to become the editor. He did not “grade on” like most have to. Get a clue.

    Not that anybody will care, but at Harvard Law “most” students who make law review do not have to grade on. Only two or three people each year have grades so good that they get invited on that basis. Everyone else has to make it through the writing competition.

  50. One could no longer make the argument that America is racist, or unfair. Not when a black man has risen to the highest office in the land.

    Just watch.

  51. My state is more progressive and racially just because in addition to your common American racists, we also have a pretty large contingent of progressives racebaiters, ie, people who value racial justice reverse racism.

    Fixed it for you.

  52. the man had enough juice all by himself to get elected to the United States Senate and become the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States

    Just like JFK!*

    *But without the vote-buying bits

  53. J sub D,

    No. You are perfectly familiar with both of those terms.

    Do you wish to make a point?

  54. But it is an open question whether he would reverse the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, or the sorry state of the urban schools that so many blacks attend. It is even conceivable — not necessarily likely, but conceivable — that Obama, like many black mayors, would actually make life worse for African Americans.

    You don’t suppose there is some inherent property of government by which it makes life more difficult for citizens?

    In other news, “joe” once again stands out in a thread for calling out racism (“he’s black therefore his success resulted from Aff-Act”), bringing up the most relevant factual point (blacks were unwilling to support Obama until early white states supported him, indicating black people are indeed paying attention to national sentiment toward a black presidential candidate), and … pissing and moaning because someone didn’t leave a real email address? Hmm.

  55. Was there ever a point when the “fixed it for you” bit was funny? Or insightful? Or anything other than a big, blinking sign reading “I disagree with you, but don’t have the stones to put forward an actual argument?”

  56. My state isn’t more progressive and racially just than yours.

    fixed

  57. God, I love pre-buttals.

  58. I think the “fixed it for you bit” is pretty funny, actually.

  59. I know, how about we DON’T make this a thread about what a terrible person I am?

    Would that be crazy?

    If a thread I appeared on wasn’t jacked into a discussion of my numerous ethical shortcomings?

    Tell you what, let’s give it a shot, see what happens, and if you don’t like the results by, say, 4PM or so, just go right ahead and put up a nice, long commend about TEH REAL RACISTS. Whaddya all say?

  60. I’m curious as to whether the Washington Times dug up the decrim video from 2004 on their own, or whether it was fed by the Obama campaign.

    BTW, Obama voted for an Agricultural Hemp bill in the Illinois Senate in 2000. Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, vetoed, no override vote taken.

  61. No. You are perfectly familiar with both of those terms.

    They have different meaning depending on the user, and you perfectly well know that. I’m asking what YOU meant.

  62. As a mixed race (black father, white mother) guy originally from a Caribbean island, my anecdotal experience is that in the US there is more racism that most white people think, and less racism than most black people think.

    I don’t think it makes sense to phrase it in terms of a political calculus, i.e. that electing Obama will necessarily have the effect of causing African-Americans, on average, to become less liberal. I do think it would have a social effect, causing the African-American “community” to, over time, be less likely to see racism where it does not exist. As fyodor said, it’s certainly not _the_ reason to vote for him, but its worthy of consideration.

  63. J sub D,

    There is nothing remotely unclear about the comment you are referencing. My meaning is completely obvious, as are the definitions of terms in context.

    Do you have a point? If so, spit it out. If not, I’m not interested in a semantic game.

  64. I’m not interested in a semantic game

    And on that day the Internet was broken when the most bullshit phrase ever uttered by Man was typed into it.

  65. Affirmative action is not about symbolism, RC. That’s a common and beloved misconception among its opponents.

    I never said it was, joe. I said it was a noxious race-based policy.

    I don’t care to sit on my white ass as guess at the ratio of real to perceived racism that black people in America experience. Suffice it to say, the elimination of the former is a necessary condition for the elimination of the latter.

    I’m not so sure. I’ve known a few black people (granted, they were successful professionals) who did not reflexively blame racism for every suboptimal outcome in their lives.

    The definition of “racial justice” is by no means widely agreed on. Many folks think it should mean “color-blind”, while others use it to call for reparations for slavery that ended five generations ago.

  66. my anecdotal experience is that in the US there is more racism that most white people think, and less racism than most black people think.

    That would be my guess.

  67. Personally I really wanted Collin Powell to run back before he detonated with Iraq. Had he been the 2000 nominee I think this whole topic would have a different tone. I also think a better opening for both women and minorities would come from the right side of the spectrum rather than the left, just as Thatcher did in the UK.

    I think Hillary, perceived as a lefty (though I think most here know better), and carrying the baggage of Bill’s presidency will allow 50+1% of voters to bolt for McCain.

    BTW I sympathize with what Joe is trying to say. He has a point, though I think a Libertarian forum is a tough place to make it.

  68. joe doesn’t want to define terms because that would leave him less wiggle room. That is why I asked. I hate when terms meanings change halfway through a discussion.

  69. Ah, the ever present sanctimonious Massachusetts liberal. They’re so gosh-darn righteous that it makes you feel dirty simply in the glowing personality rays.

  70. Sorry, joe old buddy, but left wingers have pretty much rendered any term of the form “____ justice” completely meaningless, just as they did with such gems as “fascist”, “racist”, and “fair” (shudder) previously. I’d say a definition is in order.

  71. And by asking for, and agreeing on, efinitions, semantic games are avoided.

  72. There was a d in “efinitions”. Really

  73. RC,

    Yes, you did. When you wrote this: R C Dean | February 6, 2008, 2:13pm | #

    While I doubt that it would have an immediate effect, I tend to agree that Obama as President would undermine the “America is racist” crowd and do more, in the long run, to knock the pins out from under affirmative action and other noxious race-based policies than just about anything else I can think of.

    You were claiming that the mere sight of a black person holding high office would “knock the pins out from under affirmative action,” as if its underlying purpose were tokenist. In fact, affirmative action is about desegregating institutions and allowing cross-racial professional and social relationships to form. The mere presence of a black president can only be said to “knock the pins out” from under affirmative action if you believe these “pins” are about tokenism, and don’t understand what the actual “pins” are.

    You don’t have to agree with the theory behind affirmative action, but it would be more respectable if you didn’t struggle so hard not to even acknowledge what that theory is.

  74. J sub D,

    joe doesn’t want to define terms because we are not having a discussion about Massachusetts, Mississippi, and how racism differs between them. Nor do I want to have one. I was merely kicking a troll in the ass.

  75. joe, fair enough.

    Reasonoids, if you ask me to define something for the sake of the discussion, I, with my admittedly limited language skills, will take a stab at it.

  76. OK: Mise-en-scene. Go!

  77. In fact, affirmative action is about desegregating institutions and allowing cross-racial professional and social relationships to form.

    I thought it was about forcing employers to consider race and gender in their hiring practices.

  78. “But these two categories are not exhaustive. Sometimes I think that racial problems stem more from white and black people talking past each other, or having trouble talking to each other about race and racism, than from actual prejudice or ideological racism. Seeing Barack Obama elected can give black and white Americans a common frame of reference, or a jumping-off point, or at least a safe space to talk about these things, and become more comfortable and less afraid of doing so. At least I hope so.” When I first read this statement, it sounded reasonable, but upon review (I always review things joe says that initially sound reasonable), how does it give black and white Americans a common frame of reference? He’s a rich, well-educated, privileged politician and a majority of blacks outside of the entertainment industry are poor or lower-middle class and it is there that the stigmas, prejudices, and stereotypes come from, and are further perpetuated by poor, uneducated whites who do not make up the majority of whites (that would be the middle class). Race issues are an extension of socio-economic class issues. If we’re not talking about money, we aren’t talking about what is the root of the problem.

    “At a minimum, I think his ascent to the presidency could be something that we could all celebrate together.” His ascent to the presidency should be celebrated? His policies would contribute to the problems that are of socio-economic class more than they would “help” to stem the tide of racism. Furthering the economic problems will further alienate poor people from middle and upper class people and blacks in large part will feel the brunt of it, especially if it appears in anyway that he was doing things primarily for blacks over anyone else. I don’t think he’ll focus on “black issues” more than any other issues, but we’re already seeing political opponents using color against him.

    By celebrated, do you mean we should all feel better about ourselves because we’ve elected a black president? If he were libertarian, I’d celebrate, but not because of his skin color.

  79. Considering that there are differing definitions of “race” and VASTLY different understandings of the idea of “justice,” I’d say it’s reasonable to determine what exactly one means by combining those two notions into racial justice before proceeding to have a legitimate debate on the topic.

  80. I spent several years of my life as an urban planner in Massachusetts

    This sentence explains so much about a joe it’s amazing.

  81. “OK: Mise-en-scene. Go!”

    Don’t have a clue. Guess I won’t be using the term. Do you want to play the vocabulary game?
    No googling allowed of course. 😉

  82. Ventifact,

    The faulty assumption in your construction is that he wants to have anything even remotely resembling a legitimate debate.

    joe wants to pop in here, call us all racists, use the fact that we object to being called racists as proof we are racists, and then sit back to admire his beautiful bouquet of confirmed biases.

    joe’s support of Obama makes me want to vote for Obama less and less.

  83. My personal definition of racial justice is if every law, criminal prosecution, and sentencing were equal regardless of race. I don’t think any state comes close. Most states are more harsh to suspects of color, and states that are supposedly progessive are too lenient for fear of being accused of racism to the point where they shorten sentences for hard crimes while persecuting drug crimes to “save” people from themselves. It’s a joke.

    Best bet is to just get rid of the laws pertaining to victimless crimes and focus on crimes with victims. Then, whether or not they did it would be the only decision until sentencing. Then, a color-blind judge would be nice. Not holding my breath there.

  84. man we are a nitpicking lot arent we.

    This probably is a topic we all agree is pretty fucking dumb (e.g. “VOTE FOR OBAMA = GET A FREE ‘NOT RACIST CARD!!'”)…yet, it nevertheless devolves into the same fricking patterns.

    The funny part about this is that if you poll black americans, many would be like, “Obama’s not black… or AS black as most black americans. Hes African or half african or something” Obama doesnt get any cred at all. In the words of David Chapelle (in reference to Wayne Brady), “that guy makes Briant Gumble look like Malcom X”. He’s perhaps a cut better than Colin and Condi, but he still aint no Funkmaster Flex Friday Night Street Jams.

    Obama is the “black” candidate for white Liberal Arts school graduates who see it as an opportunity to assuage the white guilt hammered into them by howard zinn et al. I dont think obama himself would consider himself “black” before everything else. He’s tiger woods ‘black’ 😉

    There’s a funny poem by Paul Beatty where he describes the end of racism as… let me see if I can find it… ah. Here =

    “the first latin black korean
    national hockey league offensive superstar
    center ice crossover
    one hand on the stick
    blue line breakaway
    blastin a drive high and tight
    stick side
    red light and siren”

  85. joe —

    I assume you posted this in response to my initial post in the thread:

    I know, how about we DON’T make this a thread about what a terrible person I am?

    You will note that in my post I commended you for being the only person to call out the racism inherent in the assumption that any successful black person achieved their success as a result of affirmative action (the Harvard Review thing). You may also notice that I argued that you presented what I considered to be the most substantive and convincing post in the comments, namely the fact that black voters were unwilling to vote for Obama because they concluded it would be a wasted vote (since whites would not support him and he’d flop) — until Obama began to win lots of white votes. Thus you brought up a clear and pertinent example of how the success of Obama really could promote better race relations.

    I also alluded to you putting Shaka’s handle in quotation marks by putting your own in quotes when I used your name; I thought it was a little silly for you to do so. Aren’t most names here fake? Is it conventional to put everyone’s fake handles in quotes? Finally, and relatedly, I was quite confused this remark of yours:

    That’s a great email, btw. It really lets us know that you’re not some phoney seizing a fake screen name.

    I assumed Shaka had left an obviously fake email along the lines of shaka@chaka.kan; I looked above and saw that Shaka had left no address at all. I can’t think of a reason there’s really anything wrong with a fake address, nor with omitting an address. What makes Shaka a “phoney seizing a fake screen name”? Is thoreau pretending to be the Thoreau? Am I pretending to be a kind of rock? Is sixstring pretending to be a guitar? It just seemed like you were getting worked up over a point of contention I couldn’t fathom. Maybe I’ve misunderstood your intentions, so I’m open to clarification.

  86. Oh, and btw, I rarely consider the “fixed it” thing funny. Also, I think it makes it less funny to add the actual remark “fixed it” instead of just reposting with the edits marked.

  87. I planned to name my first son “Shaka Zulu Gilmore”, as it happens.

    It was that or Leif The SkullSplitter.

  88. You were claiming that the mere sight of a black person holding high office would “knock the pins out from under affirmative action,” as if its underlying purpose were tokenist.

    When I said “knock the pins out”, I made no reference whatsoever to the purpose of affirmative action. I was referring to reducing the support for it, whatever its purpose.

    In fact, affirmative action is about desegregating institutions and allowing cross-racial professional and social relationships to form.

    That’s certainly one, rather optimistic account of its purpose. There are others, you know, but whatever the purposes or efficacy of affirmative action, I was speaking solely to a different issue.

    You don’t have to agree with the theory behind affirmative action, but it would be more respectable if you didn’t struggle so hard not to even acknowledge what that theory is.

    I’m quite aware of the theory behind affirmative action. I question how many supporters genuinely support that theory, of course, as well as the efficacy of affirmative action in achieving the goals you set for it. What I struggle with is the outright contradiction between the practice of affirmative action and the goal of a colorblind society. I don’t think you get to racial justice by handing out racial favors.

  89. Is thoreau pretending to be the Thoreau? Am I pretending to be a kind of rock? Is sixstring pretending to be a guitar?

    While I am not pretending to be Will Smith, I am also not pretending to be an enemy of the state.

    (R C Dean is short for Robert Clayton Dean, the name of Will Smith’s character in the movie “Enemy of the State.”)

    I do find it a little odd that I am being accused of being a cryto-racist when my nom de blog is that of a black man.

  90. Maybe a crypto-fascist or neo-fascist?

    Jimmy explains how some people view Ron Paul’s success…

  91. I know, how about we DON’T make this a thread about what a terrible person I am?

    Joe: Troll, or just really wrong about everything? Discuss.

    Sorry, Joe. Couldn’t resist.

  92. Nick,

    The President isn’t supposed to be Everyman. He’s supposed to be what Everyman aspired to be, and Everyman Hero. The common frame of reference can be that Barack Obama can play that role across color lines.

    His ascent to the presidency should be celebrated? His policies… Your opinion of his policies doesn’t matter. The President is not just Head of Government, but Head of State. This isn’t a conversation about what we think about his policies, but about the cultural effect of having a black person play that role in our society.

  93. To all:

    I neither want to have a debate about the definition of “race,” “justice,” and “progressive,” nor play “the Vocabulary Game.”

    Good Lord, aren’t we boring enough?

  94. GILMORE,

    Obama is the “black” candidate for white Liberal Arts school graduates… Obama is the black candidate for about 80% of the black electorate to date, and electorate that had previously supported Clinton in the belief that Obama was too black to win.

  95. Ventifact,

    I was not, in fact, calling you out with that comment. I regret it if you took it that way, as that was far from my intent.

    R C Dean, whoever called you a crypto-racist? Give me his name, and I’ll set him straight about you.

    On “racial favors” – let’s keep in mind what we’re talking about; desegregation. We’re talking about making classes or workplaces integrated when they would otherwise be segregated. It isn’t a reparation or a payment, it’s a change to how our society is laid out and functions, and will end. I see these “high principle” arguments made against affirmative action all the time, and it strikes me how abstract the language becomes. This is because those principles – race-conscious policies are wrong! – cannot survive contact with actual affirmative action practices, like enrolling enough of the qualified black students who applied to your grad school to make sure the classes don’t look like Harvard 1921.

  96. joe | February 6, 2008, 8:30pm | #
    GILMORE,

    Obama is the “black” candidate for white Liberal Arts school graduates… Obama is the black candidate for about 80% of the black electorate to date…

    yeah, i know. Im not disputing the guys pull, im talking about the nature of why he’s a racial ‘tweener’ that works on a national level, and also loses a chunk of votes to the institutional democratic black vote thats going to Hilary and Bill (as pancho sanza)…cause he’s not as ‘black’as they are!

    i.e. hilary does better with older african americans than obama, who tend to see obama as outside the traditional sycophant black democrat establishment. whatever. Im trying to point out why he works as an anti-hilary in general. I hope he gets the nom.

  97. “mixed race people are considered by themselves and society to be black.”

    Says who? Tiger Woods does not “consider himself” black, or white, or asian. Things change, even when it is inconvenient for the race baiters.

  98. Everybody talks here of the racism of Republicans as if that is a given. Actually, I think it will be interesting to see how many Democrats will vote for BO in the general election. I am looking forward to it.

    If Ron Paul gets the Republican nomination and Barack gets the Democratic nomination, then you have a quandary: vote for Paul and be a racist, or vote for Obama and be a statist. There is nothing like politics to make everybody look bad.

  99. As far as eliminating actual racism, that’s a bit more complicated. It’s unlikely that David Duke is going to watch Obama’s inauguration and slap his forehead like the V-8 commercials.

    What is unlikely is that you will realize that David Duke is no more representative of the average white than Louis Farakan is of the average black guy.

  100. we also have a pretty large contingent of progressives, ie, people who value racial justice.

    How do you define “racial justice”?

  101. Is that a joke?

  102. Ah, joe, I would have though you, of all people, would have been wary enough to avoid referencing right-wing talking points.

    “Racism is not a government problem; it is a cultural problem with governmental manifestations. Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”

    Do you realize that your last sentence is a quote from a notorious piece of Republican propaganda by En Vogue?

    The full quote is

    “Free your mind and the rest will follow
    “Be *color blind,* don’t be so shallow” [emphasis added]

    http://www.asklyrics.com/display/En_Vogue/Free_Your_Mind_Lyrics/320090.htm

    The term “color blind,” of course, is a notorious anti-affirmative-action slogan designed to mask Republicans’ wicked agenda of dismantling decades of racial progress. The term was cooked up by Karl Rove and Rupert Murdoch during one of their regular meetings. These meetings take place at the Springfield Republican Party Headquarters, shown here:

    http://www.darrelplant.com/images/party_headquarters.gif

  103. I guess I should have read the whole thread before I pointed out “how awful Joe is”. My apologies to Joe, et al.

    Joe, my compliments for refusing to clarify what you mean by “racial justice”. It is less painful, I am sure, to get beat up about your sloppy language than it will be to actually say, in print, precisely what you mean by “racial justice”.

  104. …enrolling enough of the qualified black students who applied to your grad school to make sure the classes don’t look like Harvard 1921.

    Joe, I know this will piss you off, but would you define “qualified”?

  105. “The term “color blind,” of course, is a notorious anti-affirmative-action slogan…”

    Even when Martin Luther King used it?

  106. MM, sorry, I missed the sarcasm.

  107. I believe wholeheartedly and one hundred percent in the ideal of racial justice!

    It is very important that global Jewry is held to account for their enormous theft of wealth from the sovereign peoples of Europe throughout history. Likewise, the moral depredations visited upon European society by the repugnant customs of these never-assimilated foreigners must not be forgotten in any final accounting; there are crucial intangibles at stake which must not be swept aside in the haste to punish usury and usury alone, however inarguably vile that usury may be.

    Finally, though there are those who lack the moral fiber to call for it openly, there is the issue of blood libel which has remained unresolved in all of the intervening years, festering like a pustulent sore on Europe’s conscience. Let its conscience go no longer unheard! It’s time to scour sores and remove the necrotic matter, through contact with which healthy tissue can only come to harm.

    Oh, racial justice is a priority to me. Yes, indeedy.

  108. Joe/Hale, is that your final word on racial justice?

  109. Sometimes I wonder how many people wander into these forums and miss key sarcasm. (Wouldn’t life be nice if that was the only thing really behind misperception of libertarios as racist? If only…)

  110. I’m not joe, you silly person.

  111. “I’m not joe, you silly person.”

    It is only a matter of degree.

  112. It is most assuredly a matter of type and not degree.

    Unless you think morbid fear of fascism is on a continuum with plain old liberal trolling, in which case ___?___.

  113. “… open question whether he would reverse the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison …”

    You mean the ones where blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime or perhaps you mean the policies that caused blacks to drop out of school in disproportionate numbers or the policies that caused blacks to have shocking numbers of illegitimate children.

    For a site run by libertarians, there seems to be a dismaying lack of emphasis on personal responsibility. Quit blaming the pathologies of the black community on a group of legislators.

  114. GILMORE,

    yeah, i know. Im not disputing the guys pull, im talking about the nature of why he’s a racial ‘tweener’ that works on a national level, and also loses a chunk of votes to the institutional democratic black vote thats going to Hilary and Bill (as pancho sanza)…cause he’s not as ‘black’as they are!

    Obama seems to be scoring as well among black voters as Jesse Jackson, and better than Al Sharpton. He is getting huge turnout. I’m not sure there is evidence for your theory that his support among black voters is thin.

  115. wayne,

    I have never, not even once, stated that David Duke is representative of the average white person. As a matter of fact, I think it’s pretty clear that I was singling him out as a special case, and then went on to talk about how more normal white people might react.

    But while we’re on this topic, how’s about you stop singling out a multi-millionaire professional golfer as you Mixed-Race Everyman? Let me assure you, someone who looks like Tiger Woods is going to be followed around by the mall cops more than someone who looks like Jack Nicklaus.

    Also, wayne, I DON’T define qualified. Colleges define qualifed for themselves.

  116. In the words of David Chapelle (in reference to Wayne Brady), “that guy makes Briant Gumble look like Malcom X”.

    That was Paul Mooney (as Negrodamus). Paul Mooney kicks ass.

  117. I haven’t the foggiest idea what Mad Max is babbling about.

    You listen to En Vogue. That’s nice.

  118. For the record, I think Obama is the most palatable (or the least unpalatable) of the four frontrunners, mostly because of his stance on Iraq.

    Your opposition to the war has rendered you a supporter of the biggest socialist in the race. Nice way to go.

  119. How is Obama the biggest socialist in the race? He’s said more nice things about capitalism in the last month than John McCain, for God’s sake!

  120. Your opposition to the war has rendered you a supporter of the biggest socialist in the race. Nice way to go.

    Referring to someone as being the “least unpalatable” makes you a “supporter?”

  121. “Also, wayne, I DON’T define qualified. Colleges define qualifed for themselves.”

    Nice dodge. Tranparent though.

  122. You can not eliminate racism by practising racism. That ought to be obvious.

  123. “People are socialized into their ideas about race in childhood, and it can only be a good thing for them to see a black president.”

    That is a nice, warm and fuzzy statement. Not necessarily correct though. Robert Mugabe is a black president, or is he emperor now, in Zimbabwe. I would venture the opinion that his presidency has not been a good thing for Zimbabwe.

    BO is not Mugabe however, and he might make a good president despite his evil half-caucasian side. I like him better than the bad-witch anyway.

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