Politics

Obama, Race, and Affirmative Action

Will the Obama presidency be "conservative" on issues of race?

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In the first week after Barack Obama's inauguration, his administration is already dealing with issues and controversies that have nothing to do with race. Still, the cultural significance of a black man becoming President of the United States cannot be overstated, given the pain and the shame of this country's racial history. Even conservative Republicans such as National Review's Jonah Goldberg warn that conservatives who fail to appreciate the greatness of this event risk being hopelessly marginalized. Of course, one oft-overlooked irony is that on racial issues, the Obama presidency may boost a position commonly labeled conservative.

In recent years, affirmative action in the form of institutionalized race-, gender-, and ethnicity-based preferences in college admissions and employment has been the subject of intense debate. Defenders of such programs maintain that they are needed to counteract the effects of discrimination and other subtle barriers. Critics, including African-American conservatives such as writer Shelby Steele and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, argue that preferences have the pernicious effect of deepening racial divisions and stigmatizing the very people they are intended to help.

The movement against race preferences has led to successful voter initiatives banning such practices in the public sector in California, Washington, Michigan, and most recently Nebraska. The backlash from the traditional civil rights establishment and from many liberals has been ferocious. In a 1999 speech, Vice President Al Gore blasted advocates of "colorblind" policies who "use their 'color-blind' the way duck hunters use their duck blind—they hide behind it and hope the ducks won't figure out what they're up to." Last November, a ballot measure prohibiting differential treatment by race or ethnicity in government institutions lost narrowly in Colorado after a campaign that relied heavily on smear tactics, such as trumpeting the Ku Klux Klan's endorsement of the initiative.

Shortly before the inauguration, Ward Connerly, the African-American businessman who has led the drive to ban preferences, spoke at a Washington, D.C. conference of the right-leaning National Association of Scholars. Connerly, a Republican who has found himself labeled an Uncle Tom and worse, began by saying, "We are here in the nation's capital a few days before an event that will demonstrate something most of us in this room have always believed: that America is a fair country and that the colorblind vision works." He noted that he did not vote for Obama, but believed that he deserved to win and that his election was a step forward toward "not just getting beyond racial preferences but getting beyond race."

This hopeful outlook was echoed at the conference by another outspoken critic of preferences: author, scholar, and U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Abigail Thernstrom, who called Obama's election "a racial conversation-changer." That the leader of the free world is now an African-American man, Thernstrom said, must make it easier and more attractive to move past race consciousness and harder to justify preferences with arguments about the intractability of racism. "The younger generation is coming of age in a racially altered world," Thernstrom said; eventually, campus politics will have to catch up.

Are Connerly and Thernstrom too optimistic? A friend of mine who is in a Ph.D. program at a large state university believes it will take at least a generation for the academy to get over its racism fetish. In her view, many academics are far too invested in the idea of deeply entrenched American racism to be swayed by Obama's election; they may even dismiss it as irrelevant because Obama has a white mother and did not grow up in a ghetto. And activists and politicians are no less likely than academics to cling to their dogmas.

Indeed, a small controversy erupted last week when the benediction given at Obama's inauguration by the noted civil rights leader, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, seemed to stress enduring racism: "Lord…we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

Some conservatives took offense at the implication that blacks were still "asked to get back" and whites were still refusing to do right by minorities. Yes, it is disappointing that the benediction at the inauguration of our first African-American president sounded a note that would have been forward-looking fifty years ago. But, to put things in perspective, the Rev. Lowery is an 87-year-old veteran of the civil rights struggle. Says Thernstrom, "The Jim Crow South is still the world he lives in."

It remains to be seen what kind of leadership Obama himself will provide on potentially divisive racial issues. During his campaign, he came out against the ballot measures to outlaw preferences—but also suggested that affirmative action should focus on economic disadvantage rather than race.

Undoubtedly, quite a few people—most of whom do not have the excuse of the Rev. Lowery's age and experience—will insist that invidious racism remains ever-present and race-based preference is the only way to combat it. But perhaps such claims will find increasingly less receptive audiences in an age when the daughter of a white factory worker seeking admission to a top college may find herself competing against the daughter of a black President of the United States.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.com.

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  1. The cultural significance of a black man becoming President of the United States cannot be overstated

    Yes! It! Can!

  2. A friend of mine who is in a Ph.D. program at a large state university believes it will take at least a generation for the academy to get over its racism fetish.

    And how long will it take Reason to get over it’s racism fetish?

  3. “United States cannot be overstated, given the pain and the shame of this country’s racial history.”

    Speak for yourself. America has done more to advance racial equality than any other nation on earth.

  4. they may even dismiss it as irrelevant because Obama has a white mother and did not grow up in a ghetto.

    He’s not a black president until he’s a gold front wearing, thugged out black president. Anybody else is just another Uncle Tom.

    Do younger generations even use that phrase any more?

  5. Personally, I expect race to once again be front and center in the years to come. I haven’t had much reason to be optimistic about anything related to political or social trends for the last 10 years or so.
    Then again, I could be wrong.

  6. “A New Hope”
    WTF is this, Star Wars?

  7. At least it’s not Attack of the Clones

  8. The problem is white folks still have informal affirmative action programs for their friends and families (see “old boy network” and “legacy admissions”). And despite the wonderful leg up provided by the racial preferences, most white Americans still would not accept a million bucks to be black.

  9. If our postracial prez was going to invite someone to speak – especially someone with a history of saying outrageous things – he should have made sure they weren’t going to say what the (other) Rev. said. Nice try by Cathy Young trying to minimize that; perhaps one of these days Reason will work up the guts to call out the media for being even worse than Reason.

    That said, I want to extend an olive branch to all BHO fans, and I’ve put together this video of Obama’s greatest speeches and policies.

  10. classwarrior
    Not all white folks have these networks, and some black folks do. But affirmative action gives a disadvantage to all of the former and all of the latter.

    And, your million dollar claim sounds silly. Just the other day Larry King talked about his son saying that he wished he could be black. Look at all the white kids who try their darndest to “be black.”

    In other news, All that attention on a black guy rankles TAO, huh? Somehow, I ain’t suprised…

  11. “Look at all the white kids who try their darndest to ‘be black.’ ”

    Proof that white children are retarded.

  12. classwarrior,
    You’ve obviously never watched the South Park episode “Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina”.

  13. White children go to Harvard while Black children go to prison.

  14. You know, the funny this is, my mother (my white parent) didn’t go to Harvard. Of course, neither did my father. But they did both go to college. I’m not sure what the point of this is. I forgot it somewhere along the line.

  15. Some white children go to Harvard, some go to work in coal mines in Appalachia.

    Some Black children go to prison, some go to Harvard and become the President of the United States.

    Affirmative action would provide a strike against the all of the former and a preference for all the latter. That’s why it’s so goofy.

  16. 5:53 actually mine. I meant to addresss it to classier warrior, but due to my increasing inebriation, I accidentally put his handle in the name box.

  17. MNG,
    Don’t worry. We won’t have to worry about po’ white trash kids going to work in the coal mines, because under the new green policy we can close them all down! Solves both greenhouse gas and mine workers! Amazing!

  18. MNG,
    Also, upon reflection, I’m thinking classier warrior is a spoof.

  19. Obama’s election is a “really big deal.” I know guys who remember when black guys could not be elected dog catcher, could not attend state colleges, and could not sit down in McDonalds for Pete sakes. In their very lifetime this incredible change has occurred. To expect people, especially black people, not to focus on it a lot for a while is goofy as all get out. I’m proud our nation has gotten over that to the extent that a black guy, one with a funny name no less, can win over enough white Americans to be President. That’s a huge indicator of something very, very good in the US.

    That said, affirmative action was wrong before Obama ran and is still wrong now.

  20. Sorry, I meant sock puppet.

  21. MNG,
    Who was your 5:57 post addressed too?

  22. “White children go to Harvard while Black children go to prison.”

    That’s because while black is undoubtedly beautiful, n***** is undoubtedly a pathology.

  23. economist
    I can see an argument for some kind of preference for disadvantage. But taking race as some absolute proxy for disadvantage (black) and advantage (white) is simply obviously false in a great deal of cases (especially the latter). And that is what racial preferences do as far as I can tell…

  24. econ
    It was addressed to those who think the big deal over Obama being elected is unwarranted.

  25. MNG,
    How exactly do you define “disadvantage”? Could I get preference for a job, for example, if my father had fit the aforementioned coal miner example? And how exactly do you check on that?

  26. Randall
    Is your first post some kind of joke?

    I love the US. But it’s history has hardly been one of “leading the way” in race relations, until now actually (I can’t think of any other Western nation that has elected a dark skinned head of state).

  27. The “New Hope” thing is overblown. There’s nothing about Obama that gives me particular confidence in his judgment, other than the fact that he’s not George Bush.

  28. MNG – all I said that was the significance can be overstated, especially since Obama is only considered black (ironically enough) due to vestigial racist policies. “One drop”, anyone?

    Saying “cannot be overstated”…you really agree with that? Nothing no one ever says cannot overstate the significance?

  29. Econ
    I would think some measure of SES would be appropriate (not perfect of course, but not appropriate).

  30. Then again, I’ve always been very cynical. Anyone who gets excited over a political figure is bound to be disappointed, or to lose their minds to cognitive dissonance. That’s what I thought before Obama got elected, it’s what I’ll think during his presidency, and it’s what I’ll think after his presidency’s over.

  31. TAO
    That’s just silly semantics, you know what most people, including Young, meant by “can’t be overstated.” It means “worthy of all the attention its been getting, though that has indeed been a lot” or “is a momumental fucking change”.

  32. Econ
    Granted, but the quote had to do not with Obama’s potential in saving everyone from everything being overstated, but the cultural significance of a black man being elected as President.

    In his inauguration speech William Taft had to say “The Negro is an American.” Electing “a Negro” is a big cultural change from that time!

  33. And of course “silly semantics” (by which you mean I take words as they are used) is enough to imply I am a racist (again).

    You’re a class act, MNG.

  34. Again, the quote only means that it would be hard to not see how astounding this is in terms of a cultural change in our society. I think that’s so obviously true that, er, it can’t be overstated…

  35. That’s just silly semantics, you know what most people, including Young, meant

    Sillier semantics, I know, but I Ms. Young (probably) didn’t write that blurb up there.

  36. Pedal, pedal angry one. In your mind I guess entirely too much is being made of the significance of the change in our society indicated by the fact that a black man was elected head of state in November.

    But you thought it was cute when you rushed to post it, didn’t you , the kind of thing Hannity would laugh at 😉

  37. Nothing will change until a Neanderthal is genetically engineered from recovered DNA and elected President.

    I mean, just look at all those racist GEICO commercials.

  38. Only in places with messed-up views about race is Barack Obama black, MNG. Even more ironically, Barack Obama, had he been born in the 1800s, could have been a slave holder, as mulattoes with free mothers were considered free in the South.

    In your mind I guess entirely too much is being made of the significance of the change in our society indicated by the fact that a black man was elected head of state in November.

    FTFY

  39. Damn right, you homo sapiens motherfuckers have been keeping my people down for millions of years.

    I think some reparations are due here.

  40. Even more ironically, Barack Obama, had he been born in the 1800s, could have been a slave holder, as mulattoes with free mothers were considered free in the South.

    Even more ironically, Obama is actually of West African descent. West Africans are the ones who enslaved and sold blacks to America.

    So we now have the spectacle of the descendants of slaves celebrating the election of a descendant of the people who enslaved them.

  41. TAO and MNG-

    We all know that you guys actually adore each other.

    This issue, for me, presents quite a paradox. Of course, part of me agrees with your first post TAO-its been over-hyped, over-stated and just plain over-done! However, MNG’s 5:57 post is right-believe me, if Jacob Hornberger or RP were elected Prez, I would want plenty of basking, rejoicing and reflecting time.

    I was not troubled by Rev. Lowery’s words. Sure, they were incongrous with Obama’a style and they do not reflect 2009. Having said that, this guy walked the walk. He grew up in the segregated south, he had to use the colored rest rooms and had to go to the back of the bus until well into middle age. He was a voice of reason in the 1960s as he was an outspoken advocate of non-violent protest. His life was threatened and he has gone to jail for his acts of civil disobedience. The guy was with MLK at the Pettus bridge. Nuff said.

    And, I have always liked the guy.

  42. Even more ironically, Obama is actually of West African descent.

    Yet still more ironically, Kenya is in East Africa.

  43. I do not consider it a positive that there are millions of people in this country who are suddenly inspired because someone with a skin color kind of close to theirs occupies the White House.

    I find it even less inspiring (and you did too, MNG, so don’t lie) that 95% of said people voted for the President and it was likely on the basis of skin color. Boo that shit, too.

    America will be postracial when we all don’t give a shit what race somebody else is.

  44. Rev. Lowery had the stones to stand up to the state-that is real courage. He also deserves props for the role he played in defusing a greater race war. The guy has also had to endure being called an Uncle Tom, himself.

    IMO, a genuine American hero.

  45. TAO
    It would be nice if, like Colbert, we all “didn’t see race.” But that’s not where we are yet.

    America is and has been one of those “messed up places” about race, and everyone should note the importance and see the progress made in that one of those people with the characteristics that we rightly or wrongly call “black” and who were treated so incredibly shabbily for so long in this nation was just elected head of state. It’s a huge and positive shift, and yes I wonder about people who can’t say that but instead joke about what all the fuss is about. To suddenly cry that we shouldn’t see race when one of the disadvantaged races has scored a big win seems messed up to me.

  46. Oh Lord, I didn’t see TAO’s fixing, it is that he “doesn’t see race” and wishes we were all as progressive as him on this.

    Hilarious dude. Do you watch Colbert? You’re a walking caricature.

  47. “America will be postracial when we all don’t give a shit what race somebody else is.”

    And we probably can’t get to that step until we take the step of having a lot of black firsts be celebrated. Blacks, or whites for that matter, can’t just ignore the fact that we’ve gone X amount of years without a black President or what have you.

    You do this all the time, you act like after centuries of being classified by race and ill treated along those classifications we can just declare “race doesn’t matter” and then if the oppressed people still remember how poorly they were treated THEY have some strange hang up on race and really need to catch up with you. Give me a break.

  48. Yet still more ironically, Kenya is in East Africa

    Even more ironically, Obama’s father was an ethnosectarian minority there; it’s only 10% Muslim.

    Guess where they came from?

  49. You can’t say that, given one generation ago Obama couldn’t have gone to a state college in many states or rode in the front of the bus, that his being elected the head of state indicates a huge cultural change, and one that is positive?

    And you can’t say that because it would be really ideal if everyone just never, ever thought about race at all??

    And you can’t see how messed up that is?

  50. The election was truly a *symbolic* moment- which America is good at.

    Of course one thing the electorate does better, is surrounding themselves with people who look, think, and vote like them. I don’t have the time, or patience, to look at a demographic study of America. But I would say when 5pm comes, particularly on Friday, we generally go live and hang out with people who look like us, as much as we did twenty five years ago.

    So we elected a person of color to something other than a big city mayor. Great. Glad we joined the 21st century.

    I’ll be impressed when I see folks out to dinner with each other, attending funerals, church, weddings etc.

    The fact that the Obama candidacy and election is such a huge deal says more bad about the way we live, than good.

  51. “The cultural significance of a black man becoming President of the United States cannot be overstated”

    That may be the dumbest fucking thing I’ve EVER read on this Web site.
    Seriously, are you fucking kidding me?
    How about: “Barack is the new BLACK JESUS CHRIST OF THE UNITED STATES! Free blow jobs for all!”
    Fucking Christ on a shitstick. Get a clue, Cathy.

  52. Kolohe
    I thought that too, what map does that dude have where Kenya is in the Eastern part of Africa?

    East of Somalia I guess…

  53. Jamie
    I’ve already refuted you with my 6:07 post, really neat since it was about an hour before you even posted!

    And TAO has already noted that the quote is probably not Cathy Young’s.

  54. And despite the wonderful leg up provided by the racial preferences, most white Americans still would not accept a million bucks to be black.

    How nice of you to speak for an entire group of people. Very non-racist.

  55. “So we elected a person of color to something other than a big city mayor. Great. Glad we joined the 21st century.”

    WTF is this about? Can you name any dark skinned heads of state elected here or in other Western nations before Nov? This is big time history, and the US made it. That’s right, the Western nation that kept slavery so long, that had the much reviled Jim Crow system for so long, it was US, the US that overcame negative stereotypes and attitudes concerning dark skinned people that have plagued the West for so long. C’mon, can’t everyone just say that, even if it is not “ideal” in the TAO or scoth97 sense, that it is a very big and POSITIVE step! What is so hard about that for folks?

    I mean, the thing about this is that those on the far right and far left just can’t be happy with a truly great event for this nation. It’s not enough for the left and too much for the right. Jeez-Louise.

  56. Jordan
    That comes from some silly “study” that was done somewhere and gets repeated everywhere on the left. I read about it in grad school and it had all kind of flaws back then, but it’s even sillier now.

  57. Right on cue,scotth797 shows up to demonstrate that racebaiting assholes won’t be fazed by Obama’s election one bit.

  58. Shorter MNG: “We cannot just stop seeing race when we saw it for so long…that would somehow be wrong!”

  59. I mean really.

    TAO, all hard feelings aside, can you not agree with this: while it would be ideal if we did not care what Obama’s race is at all it is a huge and positive change that this nation which once treated dark skinned people as so inferior have actually had a majority of our citizens choose a person from that group to lead this nation? Meaning that even if they did not progress to your ideal of not seeing race they at least no longer held this guys dark skin as a negative factor?

    And scoth97, can you not agree with this: while it would be nice if people of all races mixed socially more, the election of a man from a group which would one generation ago in this nation be treated as so inferior it is tragic is a monumentous and positive sign?

  60. You know, the funny this is, my mother (my white parent) didn’t go to Harvard. Of course, neither did my father. But they did both go to college. I’m not sure what the point of this is. I forgot it somewhere along the line.

    Was it that despite their education they still managed to raise a complete idiot that hasn’t had an original though since puberty?

  61. TAO
    OK, I’m geussing you’d agree that wishing ill of a man because of his dark skin is wrong.

    And you’d say that not thinking skin at all is the ideal position.

    Now, would you say that moving from the first position to thinking well of a man because of his dark skin is a step between the latter and the former? Or at least a morally better position than the former?

    Or do you think that the position:

    “I’d like to see a black man never get power” is equivalent to “I’d like to see black man succeed in getting power.”

    If you recognize that the latter is better than the former, then you should be happy, because we’ve gone from that to that.

  62. J sub D
    That was economist posting, and you’re being too harsh. Economist is wrong about pretty much everything, but he’s obviously a bright fellow.

  63. I live in a mostly black neighborhood in the south where most of the neighbors that I interact with are elderly. Their enthusiasm for Obama was totally understandable and I liked it, insofar as it’s pretty much the only circumstance I can think of where it’s positive for a group of people to get personally excited about a politician. Compared to the other changes they’ve witnessed over their lifetimes, though, I’d say this one is pretty minor and symbolic.

    I was irritated with the extent to which I think Obamenthusiasm among my young white peers was driven by the kind of patronizing, grade-em-on-a-curve attitude towards race that will preserve racial divisions forever and ever amen until we get to the desired end state, which I think should be Colbert’s colorblindness (or barely seeing race like we barely see white ethnic extraction). I just don’t think the moral exhibitionism of liberals is that progressive of a force in this department and I think the Obama campaign inspired a flood of that shit that I find it hard to stomach.

  64. The cultural significance of a black man becoming President of the United States cannot be overstated.
    Of course, this statement is meant ironically, since, as we all know, never in the history of mankind has anything been even remotely as overstated.

  65. Yeah, my bad. I should read the whole thread before commenting.

    On the issue of racial precedences in hiring, admissions, whatever, two wrongs don’t make a right, they only double the evil. Legacy preferences should be done away with in college admisssions as well. If a private school wants to still use them, the libertarian in me says, that’s fucked up but it’s your business. When elite state schools do it (Univ. of Michigan, I’m looking at you) the process perpetuates discrimination from the past and I demand that all state schools stop any legacy preferences. Most anti affirmative action guys are silent about this outrage which hurts their credibility.

    The Hope and Change administration will not end race based discrimination in hiring, contracting or school admissions because too large a portion of the blue team has a vested interest in keeping the status quo. The fact that America has largely, not completely, largely gotten over bigotry are words that race hustlers like JJ and Sharpton don’t like to hear and won’t admit. There’s money in being a professional victim if you’re an A list professional rabble-rouser.

    The war on drugs does hundreds of times more damage to minorities than the KKK and Aryan Nation combined. Ask your hope and change VP about that one sometime.

  66. I hold Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in utter, and I mean, utter, disdain. They have no intellectual honesty at all. None.

    Hogan
    It’s shallow at times, but let’s face it, that moral patronizing of liberals aboout race is what supported MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Let’s be honest and accurate: most major conservatives of the day were not out there supporting the cause like a lot of major liberals were. White liberals not only bankrolled the civil rights movement, but they went out and worked at it. Give them some credit.

  67. I’ve defended the US while travelling internationally on the issue of race. But your statement reminds me of an editorial I read recently, describing the US as the most libertarian country. Perhaps that is true, but I would think the readers of Reason would hold the country to a much higher standard than the columnist, and the ninety percent that vote for D’s and R’s.

    Yea, it’s real racebaiting to point out the country, minority and majority; are hypocrites on the issue of race in this election. I want us to live *change*, not vote for it. The ignorant and naive statements from the left and the right that I heard for the last eighteen months is mostly due to our lack of intergration. And now we’re congratulating ourselves for shit we’re supposed to do?

    It’s a symbolic step in the right direction. I’ll be the first to say that. But as I wrote above, I expect more from my country in the move towards a more libertarian approach, and I expect more in terms of actually getting to know each other. Damn, have you been to a dinner or birthday party in the last decade? Our melting pot ends at 5pm every Friday.

  68. Libertarians are in some sense in a priviliged position. Folks like TAO who were not even around during segregation can stand up and say “I would have been at the forefront of the movement IF only I had been there” all day. But the fact of the matter is that the modern LP party post-dates that movement, so we can never know if they would have, like I think, taken the wrong side, or the right one.

    But there were major libertarian thinkers around during that time. Where were they (I’m not saying this sarcastically, if you know tell me)? Murray Rothbard was around then, was he marching with King and Lewis? Friedman wrote homages to liberty, he was around then, what was his involvement? Did he hop a bus to Mississippi or join protests of Woolsorth as TAO claims he would have been the first to do, IF only he had been around back then? We know where Goldwater was, courting the Southern vote in 64, telling them about the terrible, terrible affront that the CRA was to liberty, liberty, LIBERTY!

    I mean look. If libertarians, or for that matter conservatives, were wrong on racial civil rights, it would be best to just say it. Liberals were often wrong, horribly, tragically wrong on things (communism for example, which enchanted many, many liberals and killed 20 million people).

  69. MNG – I certainly give the whites associated with the civil rights movement credit. For helping with that whole civil rights movement thing. I guess I’m mostly just irritated with the twenty-somethings I know, for whom being holier-than-thou is just conspicuous consumption of a symbolic product.

  70. Well scotch97, at least you can acknowledge it’s some kind of step in the right direction. I agree. I think it is a homage to how great our fucking nation is and how far it has come!

    TAO? What does the right say? Don’t stay up late folks, this guy, who accuses others of being incapable of “learning” is not one to change his position on Jack-f’ing shit…Gotta love the Right…

  71. Hogan
    Don’t stop there, though what you say is good. It wasn’t so much “whites” as “liberal whites” that backed the CRM. Buckley and National Review and Kilpatrick were like “the Negro’s development is retarded, we must move slow, wait til the culture is ready” etc.

    The Right dropped the ball on this big time. No bigee, the left dropped the ball on plenty (communism, see my post above).

  72. Apparently I can’t cut and paste. But Hogan has an interesting perspective living in his neighborhood. I too, see this as a different event, for my elders who grew up black, in a different world. Obama represents something that soothes the pain of something I only caught a glimpse of, being the seventies, where I came of age.

    But black folks my age, and certainly those younger don’t need this man to justify their access to this country of ours. That is a failure of parenting and community if in fact they do.

    Although it isn’t just patronizing liberals that were annoying this election cycle, although they went above and beyond their usual silliness. The right and this emphasis on his middle name and muslim scare tactics were just juvenile.

    Nice mention of the drug war. Easily the worst thing to happen to black folks in the last thirty years. But when your the gift that gives to the left (gentrification,lawyers) and right (prison,tought on crime chest thumping), I wouldn’t count on it going anywhere. Well, that and we have the ultimate drug warrior as VP. Yea, change is a comin’

  73. J sub D
    I agree that the drug war has been a negative thing for blacks. It’s been a negative thing for whites too. Obviously, it has given the police a stick they can use to beat blacks with if they are so inclined to beat blacks in general.

    But man, I think the KKK and Jim Crow stuff you mention is wrong. Blacks under the current drug laws cn choose to not get involved in drugs. Many do and they succeed. Under the KKK and Jim Crow there was little a black person could do to escape the liabilities that invoked their wrath.

    Like I said upthread, libertariansim today is dead on in opposing the WOD. Where were they during the age of the KKK and Jim Crow?

  74. Did he hop a bus to Mississippi or join protests of Woolsorth as TAO claims he would have been the first to do

    I claimed that? WTF?

    Where were they (I’m not saying this sarcastically, if you know tell me)?

    Who wrote, in 1964,, that “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage”.

    We know where Goldwater was, courting the Southern vote in 64, telling them about the terrible, terrible affront that the CRA was to liberty, liberty, LIBERTY!

    So dishonest! The CRA is an affront to liberty; you should be aware that even the liberal Republicans who introduced the bill thought that (they wanted to limit nondiscrimination to government contractors). Your implications are (as usual) disgusting.

    AO? What does the right say? Don’t stay up late folks, this guy, who accuses others of being incapable of “learning” is not one to change his position on Jack-f’ing shit…Gotta love the Right…

    Please stop drinking. You’re embarrassing yourself again.

  75. Where were they during the age of the KKK and Jim Crow?

    Where were the Democrats? This line of “reasoning” is stupid and childish, MNG.

  76. The Democrats were making it happen. LBJ? But did I mention Democrats and Republicans? I was talking liberals and conservatives, which were not the same thing (many Democrats were noted conservatives, and many Republicans were noted liberals). But conservative folks like TAO always make that move. Well done my predictable opponent!

    But TAO, you cannot even answer the question as scotch97 did?

    For shame. For shame.

  77. TAO
    You claimed you would be at the front of any demonstration against a racist company. Because you know, you don’t see race (especially now that the oppressed one is gaining from that).

    Have you ever, uh, actually done that? I think I know the answer…

    Let’s remember how this thread started: Reason said essentially “a black man winning the President is worthy of all the attention it is getting” and TAO friggin LEAPED to be the first to say “this thing is getting way too much fuss.”

  78. MNG, read my post again. It’s in the present tense. And whites don’t generally have to worry about avoiding drugs, do they? White people walk down the street all they want and don’t get stopped and frisked. The wealthier folks hire an attorney and get a dealing felony turned into misdemeanor possession. Poor folks get a public defender whose over worked and under motivated. They get time, a felony on their record and will never get a chance to run for the senate. Hell, a felony conviction at age 18-22 is two strikes against you before you’ve even stepped into the batter’s box. Make no mistake about it, hispanics get screwed by the drug war too, for the same reasons. Cops and the whole criminal justice system, fucks with poor people because they can get away with it! It’s the nature of the beast.

    White people in the ‘burbs? Not so much.

  79. OK, my 7:14 post, a challenge to TAO, was in plain English. TAO, if English is not your native or preferred tongue, let me know and I will get some buddies to translate it for you. Then perhaps you can provide an answer?

    It’s a pretty simple and direct question, yet for some reason, surely good and honorable, you, unlike scoth97, cannot bring yourself to give an answer.

    And we’re all sure there is a good and honorable answer (even though the second I impugn the GOP (actually conservatives, but I can see how your kind equate the two) you suddenly find your tongue…C’mon TAO. You are far ahead of us, most white and black folks on race. Enlighten us!

  80. The Democrats were making it happen. LBJ?

    Ignorance. Research for yourself what the version of the EEOC and the CRA looked like out of the Kennedy Administration.

    Reason said essentially

    No, they did not, I was contending the statement they actually made solely on the words contained therein.

    Have you ever, uh, actually done that? I think I know the answer…

    Next time you hear about a racist company, please let me know. Of course, if I were to say “that’s because, in my lifetime, I haven’t seen any overt or even implied racism from companies”, you’d just call me a liar.

    But, I haven’t seen any racism, overt or implied, from companies…so, you want me to manufacture some bullshit just to get street cred in your eyes?

    No thanks. I’ll leave that to Al Sharpton.

  81. MNG-

    No response to my 6:31 and 6:39 posts? I am one libertarian who understands the heroic efforts of guys like Rev. Lowery. I would like to think that I would have hopped on the bus headed south in the summer of 1964. Take TAO at his word, I’m sure that he would like to think that he would have as well.

  82. J sub D
    My sister is a white woman from the “burbs” and she is currently serving a three year sentence for possessing drugs with the intent to sell them.

    I’m a liberal, but the party we affiliate is cowardly on this issue and so I support the libertarian party and its institutions to some degree. Because they speak truth to power on this issue.

    But my point was that libertarians are right on this issue (WOD) but where were they during the CRM?

  83. can you not agree with this: while it would be ideal if we did not care what Obama’s race is at all it is a huge and positive change that this nation which once treated dark skinned people as so inferior have actually had a majority of our citizens choose a person from that group to lead this nation?

    Yes, I can agree with that. Will you please quit being such a professional fucking prick now?

    Maybe stop calling me a racist and implying that libertarians are racist? I mean, just stop, because you look like a fucking tool.

  84. “But, I haven’t seen any racism, overt or implied, from companies…”

    Boy, that’s convenient!

    But really TAO, I could call you on all the silly things you say, but I’ve asked you to answer a simple question. Let’s focus on that, eh Proteus?

  85. Oh goodie, I “gotcha” TAO.

    So how come you have never just appeared on any thread and said “this is a good thing?”

    Hmmm?

    In fact, every comment you’ve made on this is to criticize it….

  86. But my point was that libertarians are right on this issue (WOD) but where were they during the CRM?

    Is that evidence of anything? Anything at all?

    But, who wrote this, MNG?:

    “[t]he Southern racists’ claim of ‘states’ rights’ is a contradiction in terms: there can be no such thing as the ‘right’ of some men to violate the rights of others.”

    And another prominent libertarian, here:

    But he also clearly states that given the choice of “enforced segregation or enforced integration, I myself would find it impossible not to choose integration.”

    Those are three quotes denouncing racism and states rights right there, and you have yet to find out who wrote them.

    So how come you have never just appeared on any thread and said “this is a good thing?”

    I now know how joe feels when everyone goes apeshit that the first words out of his mouth are not paeans to capitalism when he criticizes writings about Che and Cuba.

    Is that the requirement now, MNG? That I have to sing Honsannas before I am permitted to criticize?

    Fuck that noise.

  87. Retry:

    But my point was that libertarians are right on this issue (WOD) but where were they during the CRM?

    Is that evidence of anything? Anything at all?

    But, who wrote this, MNG?:

    “[t]he Southern racists’ claim of ‘states’ rights’ is a contradiction in terms: there can be no such thing as the ‘right’ of some men to violate the rights of others.”

    And another prominent libertarian, here:

    But he [this libertarian] also clearly states that given the choice of “enforced segregation or enforced integration, I myself would find it impossible not to choose integration.”

    Those are three quotes denouncing racism and states rights right there, and you have yet to find out who wrote them.

    So how come you have never just appeared on any thread and said “this is a good thing?”

    I now know how joe feels when everyone goes apeshit that the first words out of his mouth are not paeans to capitalism when he criticizes writings about Che and Cuba.

    Is that the requirement now, MNG? That I have to sing Honsannas before I am permitted to criticize?

    Fuck that noise.

  88. Where were they during the age of the KKK and Jim Crow?

    Where were the Democrats? This line of “reasoning” is stupid and childish, MNG.

    Some were standing in the doorway of a segregated school screaming segregation now, segregation forever.
    Civil Rights Act of 1964 vote

    The original House version:

    Democratic Party: 152-96 (61%-39%)
    Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)
    The Senate version:

    Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%-31%)
    Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)
    The Senate version, voted on by the House:

    Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
    Republican Party: 136-35 (80%-20%)

    Those damned Republicans!

    Slightly related, I get really angry when I hear African Americans spout anti-semetic shit. Those “white” people that were marching with Dr. King, registering voters etc. were disproportionally JEWS who seemed to identify with the oppresssed minority for some strange reason that I’ll never figure out. ;-|.

  89. “But, I haven’t seen any racism, overt or implied, from companies…”

    Boy, that’s convenient!

    Have you seen any racism? From 1996 to present-day, I want you to list all of the companies in the Great Lakes region whuch practiced, demonstrably, overt or implied racism and I’ll gladly cop that I somehow “failed” in demonstrating.

  90. But let’s have some fun with poor TAO who must get his info from Right-Wing Sources, just to discredit such sources from any budding intellectual.

    “Research for yourself what the version of the EEOC and the CRA looked like out of the Kennedy Administration.”

    Err, a Democratic President didn’t go to the mat for the CRA? Correct me!

    “Who wrote, in 1964,, that “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage”.

    OK, who? And what did he DO about it? Tell us!

    “The CRA is an affront to liberty”

    Well, shit we know you think that! Who would have thunk it! FYI in MLK I Have A Dream Speech pretty much the ONLY examples of what he is opposed to are things that you would have opposed (public accomadations and housing sales discrimination). But of course, had you been alive back then, YOU would have been opposed to that. You who have never seen ONE case of corporate racism in your days…

  91. J sub D
    Did you not see my post above? I said LIBERALS supported the CRM and CONSERVATIVES did not. In 1964, especially, DEMOCRATS and REPUBLICANS were not equivalent to those terms.

    Do you dispute that?

  92. **But my point was that libertarians are right on this issue (WOD) but where were they during the CRM?**

    This question has come up a number of times. Are there enough examples to come up with a legitimate answer?

    All I can say is that as a black guy, I feel very at home around folks infected with the libertarian disease.

    The party needs to attract more minorities, the message fits. Although the election of Obama certainly wont help. Frankly, we need women, than anything at this point. Seems the only time I see women post on this forumn is when there is a gay marriage or abortion discussion.

  93. Somebody once remarked that for conservatives, every day was Munich, 1938. True enough. And for liberals, every day is still Selma, Alabama 1965.

  94. Look, I don’t dispute the last poster. I’m a big fan of Pat Buchanan and he said in his autobiography something to the efect that “every liberal thinks discrimination is the worst crime, worse than murder” and sometimes, hanging out with my liberal friends, it seems that way. And what a silly position to take!

    But hey, discrimination is a bad thing! Not the worst, but bad (I think I made this point above when I said look at what liberals dropped the ball on!).

  95. TAO
    The EEOC keeps records on violaters of the law. Even if we junk the parts of the law you disagree with (the parts MLK fought for), are you willing to argue that there were not blatant violaters of the law (blatant racists) prosecuted and thus fully known to anyone who wanted to take the time in the Great Lakes area (why a liberty lover would limit himself to that are in his great nation I don’t know, but no matter) to look it up?

    Are you going to take that position on the record here before I take the time to look it up?

    Because I don’t want you weaseling out of it later.

  96. And when women show up here they are told “hey, gay marriage is a special privilege” and “hey, abortion is not first principle.”

    And so, if you go to a libertarian party meeting, as I have done, you will see few black people or women.

    But you know, they just haven’t progressed as far as the white libertarians.

  97. Oh, screw it, as always TAO will show up a few hours after I’ve stopped posting and say something. The dude is an intellectual coward par excellence, apologizing for his tribe and his position, ironically one of the biggest collectivists one could imagine.

    TAO, I go to watch episodes of Rome, then to hang out with the wife. You are free to post your cowardly “thoughts” without fear of me instantly rebutting them. Go nuts.

  98. I tried very hard to never mention a persons skin color to my children. It was working great until recently. Now they keep asking “Daddy why do they keep saying BLACK president? Isn’t he the US president?”

    What should I tell them?

  99. The election of President Obama is even more significant than many here are saying.

    It would be one thing if Obama was an elder statesman who fought in Vietnam, ran his own company and employed thousands of happy workers, and served in Congress where he sponsored historic legislation. His election would show that non-black voters are willing to set aside their racial hangups in order to elect a supremely-qualified person. That wouldn’t prove that the voters were willing to give the average black politicians a fair shake – just that if a black politician was *extraordinarily* qualified, they’d vote for him. It might still be argued that ‘well, for an *ordinary* politician, the voters are going to go rely on their old-fashioned racism.’

    In this case, though, Obama is an average politician, not notably superior to the general run of nonblack candidates. Yet the nonblack population was *still* willing to elect him. Many nonblack people were even enthusiastic about it.

    This is not ‘postracial,’ since so many Obama voters still haven’t gotten over the Historic Significance of their Historic Decision. But it shows that we’re not in the era of Jim Crow anymore. We’re not even close.


  100. Speak for yourself. America has done more to advance racial equality than any other nation on earth.

    Ethnocentrism (of which white supremacy is a subset) is the norm all over the world for almost all of human history, ever since hunter-gatherer tribes competed for scarce resources to avoid starving to death.

  101. The problem is white folks still have informal affirmative action programs for their friends and families (see “old boy network” and “legacy admissions”).
    Black people have these programs too.

    Unless you want to argue legacy admissions do not exist at Howard University.

  102. Barack Obama is a black man only by dint of an antique legal distinction. He is, genetically, mixed. There is no point in any conversation related to “blackness” without noting this incredibly important distinction. ‘Barack Obama is a white man.’ Why is it not possible to say this? Because we (actually, you) are often obsessed with the easy label, the Census category, the MSM noun that makes it easy and convenient to talk about the man in racial terms.

    When we can have conversations about Obama that do not require the “b” adjective, THEN we will be done with ridiculous posts (and the low-common-denominator cultural impulses that spawn them) like this one.

  103. “Who wrote, in 1964,, that “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage”.”

    It dawned on me that TAO (Ayn-Randian) was actually quoting the caped crusader of Objectivism herself. And a quick google, and yes! Sheesh, I thought maybe he at least was going for someone respectable like Mises or Friedman!

    But Rand is an especially ludicrous person to hold up as what libertarians were doing during the Civil Rights Movement. To my knowledge Rand, with or without her cape, never particpiated in any sit-ins, or freedom rides, or marches.

    More importantly Rand is poor choice given her racism concerning Arabs, whom she called “savages” in the most collectivist type of thinking one can find. And when it came to her “tribe” (Jews) she was hilariously tribalist, arguing (given her philosophy) that giving Israel foriegn aid was actually selfish and thus OK!

    Wow TAO, epic fail. You’re a bright guy, if you’d drop the objectivist nonsense you’d be a lot brighter.

  104. The funny thing is that if you google the Friedman quote from TAO you get this site:
    http://www.mail-archive.com/volokh@lists.powerblogs.com/msg10643.html

    Which, prior to the quote (and the second Ayn Rand one TAO quotes, so I’m pretty sure he got it from this site), the author says:

    “Libertarians, it’s true, deserve criticism for not being more involved in opposing Jim Crow.”

    Which was my point. Criticism of libertarians for not being more involved in opposing Jim Crow, despite their Hosannas to “liberty.”

    Dude, read the whole source before you use something, blog debating 101…

  105. “The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are. Israel is a mixed economy inclined toward socialism. But when it comes to the power of the mind-the development of industry in that wasted desert continent-versus savages who don’t want to use their minds, then if one cares about the future of civilization, don’t wait for the government to do something.” Ayn Rand, Ford Hall Forum lecture, 1974

    What’s funny about this (other than Rand engaging in her own collectivism lumping “The Arabs” into one group and then calling that group “savages” [all Arabs?]) is that Rand had something of a boner for Aristotle, and many scholars argue that Aristotle would likely have been lost to the West had it not been for Arabic translations of his works that survived the Dark Ages!

  106. Ayn Rand called Arabic culture primitive. It’s obviously a crude thing to say, and Ayn Rand said many crude things, but modern primitivism is not really at odds with Dark Ages progressivism.

  107. You can’t say that, given one generation ago Obama couldn’t have gone to a state college in many states or rode in the front of the bus,

    Uhh, yes I can. You have to go back at least two generations to get to Jim Crow. Obama himself was never subject to Jim Crow laws; quite the opposite – by the time he was applying to college and law school, there were plenty of affirmative action programs around to make double damn sure he wasn’t disadvantaged.

    Just settin’ the record straight, is all.

  108. MNG | January 27, 2009, 5:54pm | #

    Some white children go to Harvard, some go to work in coal mines in Appalachia.

    Some Black children go to prison, some go to Harvard and become the President of the United States.

    Affirmative action would provide a strike against the all of the former and a preference for all the latter. That’s why it’s so goofy.

    There are, of course, huge affirmative action type advantages that poor, white students from poor, underrepresented areas receive in college admissions.

    The noble defenders of fairness, always on the hunt for THE REAL RACISTS, manage not only to never object to these preferences, but to not even know they exist.

  109. “There are, of course, huge affirmative action type advantages that poor, white students from poor, underrepresented areas receive in college admissions.”

    Could you please point out those advantages, joe? I’m not sure how many colleges have a special “po’ white kid from coal-minin’ family” scholarship.

  110. “and many scholars argue that Aristotle would likely have been lost to the West had it not been for Arabic translations of his works that survived the Dark Ages!”

    How many people in the Middle East today (or back in the 1940s) would be preserving fragments of western civilization today? Arguing in favor of the modern culture of most of the Middle East based on a past age would be like defending Dark Age European culture based on Roman culture.

    Btw, Rand was using f-ed up reasoning there. The seizure and nationalization of private land is theft, and the case of Israel is no different.

  111. “And despite the wonderful leg up provided by the racial preferences, most white Americans still would not accept a million bucks to be black.”

    i’d take half that if i could be halle berry and play with my own breasts every day.

    of course, i’d need to keep my own brain. halle’s is just a trial sized version.

  112. This is a fantastic conclusion:

    Undoubtedly, quite a few people-most of whom do not have the excuse of the Rev. Lowery’s age and experience-will insist that invidious racism remains ever-present and race-based preference is the only way to combat it. But perhaps such claims will find increasingly less receptive audiences in an age when the daughter of a white factory worker seeking admission to a top college may find herself competing against the daughter of a black President of the United States.

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