Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Republicans Aren't Racist. Right...

Every once and a while, something comes up in the Observer that grabs my attention enough to elicit a response. Perhaps this is one of those days...
In this morning's Observer, some clown spent about two paragraphs telling me how it was unfair and illogical to call all Republicans racists. Don't get me wrong, being conservative doesn't make you racist.


But to say that the GOP isn't racist is just terribly humorous. Here's a taste of what he had to say:

"Disregarding the fact that the Republican party, the shell of conservative thought and the party of Lincoln, was instrumental in ending slavery..."

 Wow! Let's pretend that something this old is even relevant anymore. I thought we all learned that you don't put your 3rd grade spelling bee award on your Collegiate CV.


"...that the Bush cabinet contained two African Americans, two Asian Americans, four women and one Cuban American."

This sounds familiar. Oh! I know. This is like every time a person says: "I have black friends." Please, Mr. Clown, stop making this so easy.

"that conservative ideology is to the benefit of all peoples who work hard and wish to live life without the government telling them what they can and can't do."

It sounds so cute, doesn't it? If only all those minorities could just realize that this ideology will help them. Oh, wait. You mean it doesn't, and they know it doesn't. And they vote in overwhelming numbers against you because they know conservative policies will hurt them. Darn!

And what is this garbage about not telling people what they can and cannot do? Please tell that to the gays, the illegal immigrants, the soldiers sent to pointless wars, the single, raped, 17-year old mother, and the joint smoker stuck in jail. Please, just do it.


I must have forgot about subject-verb agreement. Clearly, "them" refers to only those who work hard. That must be the corporations. Of course! So corporations don't have to worry about Big Brother acting like a parent. Ahhh, now I get it.


"Racism is an individual decision, so don't lump me in just because I may vote the same way."

Individual decision... hmmm... where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, I know. Homosexuality. So Republicans aren't born racist, they just wake up one day, when they're 15, and it hits them. And all the racism around us has turned non-racists into racists. Oh, no! Someday the racists are going to corrupt my poor non-racist children and make them hate minorities. Perhaps racists shouldn't be able to adopt. Their children might not understand normal race relations and end up being weird as adults.

I'm sorry that voting Republican has gotten you labeled as a racist, Mr. Clown. In all seriousness, I'm sure you're a perfectly normal, level-headed conservative (I may have just mixed oil and water) who is generally fair and not racist. But that doesn't mean you're not clueless, which is why I had to ruin you.

My advice: read some more history books, look for "Southern Strategy," study the influence of Republican policies on minorities, watch some GOP ads, and listen carefully to conservative talk shows. Then let me know if you feel the same.

OWNED

UPDATE:Another article on the matter

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The worst thing was that he wrote "equivocate" when he meant "equate". Undergraduates today ...

But, seriously, the response is ultimately not much better thought out.

“But to say that the GOP isn't racist is just terribly humorous.”

With a lead-in like that, one could be forgiven for expecting that a coherent argument for the proposition “The GOP is racist” might follow. Maybe in next week’s post.

“Wow! Let's pretend that something this old is even relevant anymore. I thought we all learned that you don't put your 3rd grade spelling bee award on your Collegiate CV.”

A fair point, though raising it doesn’t actually detract from the opinion piece’s thesis. What’s a fair cut-off point? (I’m guessing sometime after the Dixiecrats.)

"This sounds familiar. Oh! I know. This is like every time a person says: 'I have black friends.' Please, Mr. Clown, stop making this so easy."

They say comparisons are odious, but while we’re there, this strikes me as more like my observing that another person has black friends. No way to win on this one, though. If you don’t have black friends, it’s incriminating. If you do have black friends, it’s apparently also incriminating.

"It sounds so cute, doesn't it? If only all those minorities could just realize that this ideology will help them. Oh, wait. You mean it doesn't, and they know it doesn't. And they vote in overwhelming numbers against you because they know conservative policies will hurt them. Darn!"

Not sure about this. For one thing, it isn't actually evidence of "conservative policies" (let's just lump them together) being racist. For another, I daresay people of every political persuasion would have to acknowledge that people often vote in the absence of knowledge of what will hurt them, and not infrequently vote in large numbers in support of things that do end up hurting them – so it's not exactly a compelling counterargument.

"And what is this garbage about not telling people what they can and cannot do? Please tell that to the gays, the illegal immigrants, the soldiers sent to pointless wars, the single, raped, 17-year old mother, and the joint smoker stuck in jail. Please, just do it."

There's a word for telling people what they can and cannot do. It's called "legislating."

"So Republicans aren't born racist, they just wake up one day, when they're 15, and it hits them. And all the racism around us has turned non-racists into racists. Oh, no! Someday the racists are going to corrupt my poor non-racist children and make them hate minorities. Perhaps racists shouldn't be able to adopt. Their children might not understand normal race relations and end up being weird as adults."

Turning a blind eye to the question-begging of the first sentence, I tried very hard to discern an intelligible and relevant point in that paragraph before admitting defeat.

Tom said...

Anon clearly doesn't get the fact that Henry's post is entertainment, not essay. I'm sure he could provide a qualified, tame, logically-sound argument if he needed to. But he's not going to waste his time. That might accidentally give the impression that this is a balanced discussion. Methinks this topic is unbalanced enough to simply joke about. Thank you. I laughed.

Anonymous said...

Jokes are fine. But to suggest that the question of whether the GOP is racist is "unbalanced enough" that anything *beyond* simple jokes is a "waste of time" requires a special kind of dogmatism.

LeftCoastLefty said...

It's not fair to say that all Republicans are racist; but odds are, if you're a racist, you're also a Republican.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a suspiciously self-interested or at least self-gratifying assertion, LCL, but let's assume it's true (even though I'm not aware that it is in fact true). Are you inferring causation from the alleged correlation? If so, what and how?

Girl said...

Racism is an individual choice!

And has nothing to do with laws that hold property crime more abhorrent (a "poor" or "black" crime that results in low number losses) than financial crime (a typically white or well to do crime that ends up in billions of dollars of loss across the nation)

OR a system that institutes social security in your mid 60's based on 30 consecutive years of work, a process that screws over women (who often dont work 30 consecutive years at a full time job) AND many minority groups in which men dont make it to or much past 65

Tom said...

Anon,

No, he is not inferring causality. If 90% of all racists are Republicans, then "odds are, if you're a racist, then you're a Republican." This doesn't say anything about causality. Just that most racists are probably Republican. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Where was it established that 90% of all racists are Republicans? But fine. Let's assume that the correlation between being a racist and being a Republican exists, but (if I understand you correctly) he is not inferring that, say, a person's being a racist is a causal factor in them becoming a Republican, or that a person's being a Republican is a causal factor in their becoming a racist, or anything like that.

In that case, in support of what larger proposition is the (alleged) existence of the correlation being offered?

Anonymous said...

I'm with anonymous here. Henry, I don't think your post makes a lot of sense. And there are lots of assertions, but little in the way of facts.

Here's a fact for you: A higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And you can find all sorts of racism in the policies of Wilson and in the New Deal. So, we certainly don't have to go all the way back to Lincoln.

And I think your Venn diagram is based on some narrowness of experience. Probably overt racism is rare among, say, Democrats at ND or among party activists in DC. But have you ever met any of the blue collar or less educated Democrats out there? I think you'd be surprised at how un-PC they can be.

As for minorities being hurt by Republican policies...can you give some examples please? African Americans, for example, have been voting for Democrats for quite a while now, but it's not clear that they've benefited much in the last 40 years or so. When urban crime skyrocketed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and cities became slums, who controlled Congress? Indeed, one of the few anti-poverty programs that has had success in recent years, welfare reform, was a Republican initiative. Another, EITC, has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats.

It's not difficult to find Democratic initiatives that have harmed African Americans. E.g. the softness on crime back in the 60s or the many increases in the minimum wage which have raised the unemployment rate among black teenagers.

If against all this, your one piece of evidence seems to be that Nixon won some Southern states in '68 and all of them in '72. Is this really the end-all be-all. This exonerates Democrats of all sins and forever taints the Republicans? How, I wonder, did FDR, JFK, and Carter win such states? With complete purity I suppose?

Not everything's black and white, Henry, no pun intended.

-gbarr

Bill said...

There's nothing necessarily racist about the Republican party platform. Rather, the republican coalition contains some racist elements. Racists make up a significant voting bloc in this country. The question for candidates and parties is how hard this voting block can be courted without risking support from other demographics. For example, if you aggressively pursue the votes of racists by campaigning based on racist themes you risk alienating minorities who may otherwise vote for you. It's all strategy.

Both parties have been the racist party at various times in history. Neither party has ever been ideologically homogeneous. They've always been coalitions of various groups, some with competing interests. In the past the Democratic party has had Southern Democrats as a significant component of their coalition. This subgroup starting decreasing in significance thanks to the Republican Party's southern strategy. So right now, the Republican party is the more racist one, because it currently is the party that better succeeds at courting racist votes.

Anonymous said...

I actually don't think the Republican Party can fairly be called the racist party. Southerners were turned off by the Democrats for various reasons in the last 50 years. They, for the most part, ended up finding the Republican Party to be better suited to them, but this does not imply that the Republicans are racist. Many Southerners found the Republicans to be better on various issues, from foreign policy to abortion to gun control to economics, etc. You can see that it was Eisenhower, not Nixon, who first has some success with Southerners. And this was with the more middle-class, business-oriented Southerners, if I recall correctly, not the backwoods folks. One might bring up the example of Goldwater, who did do well in the Deep South, and there may have been some racial reasons for that. But a) This does not imply Goldwater was a racist (he was not, but he was a libertarian who found the Civil Rights Act to be too far-reaching) and b) This does not imply that people who voted for Reagan or W did so for racial reasons. I suspect that race had very little to do with most elections in the last 30 years or so.

-gbarr

Anonymous said...

Bill, since when are racists a "bloc"? I would think that by definition, it's a non-monolithic, fractured set. Although if the New Black Panthers, Aryan Resistance, MEChA and CAIR ever endorse the same candidate or platform, I may have to reconsider.

LeftCoastLefty said...

Anon, I say "odds are if you're a racist you're PROBABLY a Republican" because the narrowmindedness and xenophobia required to be a racist tends to be in the same type of people who flock to the Republican party because of some of the leaders in that party who embrace this narrowmindedness and xenophobia for their political gain (Tom Tancredo, is only one of many examples of this type of Republican politician).

Many republican politicians rail against illegal immigration in ways that border on outright racism--this attracts those folks.

In the last election, the chance that we were going to have our first black president scared a lot of these kinds of people... which party do you think they flocked to? Probably the one that accused the black presidential candidate of "pal'n around with terrorists" ...Probably the one that ran campaign ads that intentionally darkened the candidates skin to make him look more "foreign" and scary to Joe White Guy... Probably the one that embraced the accusations that he is a Muslim, or an African national.

There are many Republicans who don't think like this, and who align themselves with the party because they mistakenly think it still believes in small government, or maybe because they prefer their tax policies... This is why I say it is not fair to call ALL Republicans racist; though, for the reasons I just mentioned, and many more, that is why I do say that it IS fair to say that odds are, if someone is racist, they're PROBABLY also a Republican.

Anonymous said...

Let's look at this:

"Anon, I say 'odds are if you're a racist you're PROBABLY a Republican' because the narrowmindedness and xenophobia required to be a racist tends to be in the same type of people who flock to the Republican party because of some of the leaders in that party who embrace this narrowmindedness and xenophobia for their political gain (Tom Tancredo, is only one of many examples of this type of Republican politician)."

This sounds suspiciously like question-begging. It's basically a naked assertion.

"Many republican politicians rail against illegal immigration in ways that border on outright racism--this attracts those folks."

Reasonable people will disagree over whether the first part of your statement is true. Stricter anti-immigration policies will find support with some kinds of racists, while encountering resistance from other kinds of racists (think MEChA). Such policies are not, however, intrinsically racist, and the difference between, say, Obama's and McCain's immigration platforms does not seem especially likely to have been a deciding factor in pushing any kind of racist to vote for one or the other.

"In the last election, the chance that we were going to have our first black president scared a lot of these kinds of people..."

If by "these kinds of people" you mean racists, I daresay it scared some racists and enthused others. But I think even among, say, non-blacks with racist tendencies, there's no reason to think that they weren't more scared that we were might have a president with Obama's politics, background and relative qualifications, and voted accordingly.

"... which party do you think they flocked to? Probably the one that accused the black presidential candidate of 'pal'n around with terrorists' ...Probably the one that ran campaign ads that intentionally darkened the candidates skin to make him look more 'foreign' and scary to Joe White Guy... Probably the one that embraced the accusations that he is a Muslim, or an African national."

Are you by any chance referring to the Democratic Party? Oops! Remember, it was a *Democratic* campaign (Hillary Clinton's) that was suspected of darkening Obama's complexion in attack ads (though it was not established beyond doubt that this actually occurred). Her campaign also was suspected of being at the origin of many of the Muslim smears.

Tina said...

Admittedly, it was amusing to find a liberal blog with a comment debate going on about whether or not many Republicans are racist. Especially when conservatives try to twist the entire thing around to make Democrats look racist. How silly.

Anonymous said...

This assertion that most racists are Republicans is odd for two reasons.

1) It's not really relevant to the original question. The op-ed said that not all Republicans are racists. To then say that, well, most racists are Republicans, is not really a refutation. It's basically just wordplay.

2) Again, no evidence is given for the assertion. I would imagine that it's very likely untrue. For one thing, many people don't even vote. I imagine many racists don't vote. And then the ones that do vote are going to be split between Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and various fringe third-party voters. It seems unlikely that the Republicans, who make up roughly 1/5 of the adult population, could consistently and solidly win over the majority of racists (think about it: most, say, Evangelicals aren't Republicans. Many are politically inactive.) And if they can achieve this amazing feat, there must not be all that many racists out there.

Anyway, when it comes down to it, what matters in politics are the actual policies enacted by the parties and the effects of those policies. Inferring that there are undercurrents of racism everywhere you look is futile, uncharitable, and mostly irrelevant.

-gbarr

Bill said...

How are racists not a bloc? When people refer to voting blocs, they obviously aren't implying by default that said bloc is monolithic. That's ridiculous. There's a Catholic bloc too, even though the split usually comes down 55-45 in favor one party or another. Here's a question for you: how many voting blocs do you know actually are monolithic?

Anonymous said...

A voting "bloc", by definition, is a collection of groups or individuals which, due to some short-term or long-term alignment (or perceived alignment) of interest, casts its votes in the same direction.

A Catholic voting bloc is just a misnomer these days, as many political scientists and other commentators have pointed out. "Catholic" is a demographic description, not a voting bloc. It is, of course, not uncommon these days for people to speak of certain demographics as though they were voting blocs. Overuse of phrases like "the Catholic vote" tends to muddy the waters.

That having been clarified, I submit that "racists" as a category would seem an unlikely bloc, because it's composed of subgroups that are fundamentally opposed to one another.

Bill said...

Fair enough, anonymous. But I propose that in a country that is majority white, the majority of racists in the country are also white.

Though the subcategory of racist minorities is certainly worthy of mention, it should have been obvious from the original op-ed, the blog post in response to it, and every comment on the post, including comments that defended the Republican party, that we were using "racists" in reference to white racists. It looks like everybody else except you seems to have picked up on that without a whole lot of trouble. Now if you're done nitpicking over definitions and actually want to engage in a real conversation, I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

"But I propose that in a country that is majority white, the majority of racists in the country are also white."

If we assume, as you apparently have, that there is an equal incidence of racism among all racial groups in the country (I have no idea whether that assumption is well-founded), then yes, a racist selected at random has about a two-thirds statistical chance of being a non-hispanic white. (So does a non-racist selected at random.) That strikes me as an exceedingly banal point for you to be raising. If you mean to suggest that we're all just speaking in terms of raw probabilities here, then none of these comments are actually telling us anything useful about the parties or their politics. Yet some of them purport otherwise.

And has it occurred to you that there might something objectionable - even *racially* objectionable - about using "racist" consistently as a general stand-in to mean "white racist specifically" (which you claim, quite possibly correctly, that everyone else has been doing here)? It certainly can't bode very well for an honest discussion of racism in American politics.

Bill said...

Don't act as if you're the only person aware of non-white racism. It just so happens that non-white racism isn't the topic being discussed here. Is it a topic worth discussing? Sure. But since this is a discussion of whether or not it is fair to categorize the Republican party as a racist (white racist) party, so the existence and voting patterns of non-white racist individuals and groups is a moot point.

You're not contributing anything of value to this conversation. You're merely repeating the obvious and irrelevant.