I’ve been thinking a lot about issues of race and the legacy of the Reconstruction and Civil Rights Movement. Eventually I’ll produce something coherent and post it here. On Monday a friend emailed me an article from the Washington Times that reports on racism by liberal African Americans against conservative African Americans. It seems that this racism is–in some cases–at least tacitly supported by more mainstream members of the Democratic party. Credit MB for his lead–BOTW picked it up and gave a good commentary the next day.
Race to the Bottom
Every time a Republican president nominates someone to the Supreme Court, the left trots out the “mainstream” trope. Anyone who doesn’t believe the Constitution sanctions abortion through the fourth trimester or that the Second Amendment is an optical illusion is deemed “out of the mainstream.” Liberals so abuse the term that we are hesitant to use it at all.
And yet surely there are some positions that can be considered “mainstream”–that, in 21st-century America, command such a widespread consensus that anyone who rejects them can fairly be labeled “out of the mainstream.” One such proposition is this: Black Americans are entitled to full citizenship. A corollary is that it is invidious to disparage black people on account of their race.
A Washington Times report from Maryland illustrates that many black Democrats are out of the mainstream:
Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.
Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log. . . .
But black Democrats say there is nothing wrong with “pointing out the obvious.”
“There is a difference between pointing out the obvious and calling someone names,” said a campaign spokesman for Kweisi Mfume, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a black Baltimore Democrat, said she does not expect her party to pull any punches, including racial jabs at Mr. Steele, in the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.
“Party trumps race, especially on the national level,” she said. “If you are bold enough to run, you have to take whatever the voters are going to give you. It’s democracy, perhaps at its worse, but it is democracy.”
Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, said Mr. Steele invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black.
“Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community,” she said. “His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people.”
This is the equivalent of racist white politicians in the pre-civil-rights South denouncing a white liberal as a “[African American pejorative] lover.” If black Democrats–and white Democrats, for that matter–cannot disagree respectfully with a conservative who happens to be black, they have no moral authority when it comes to combating racism in other manifestations.
Fisher DeBerry’s comments this past week, while inexcusable, highlight the level of tension over race issues in America. Almost every day someone calls for a serious discussion of racial issues but it seems the only ones they want to comment are black Americans.
On Bob Costas’ HBO show on Sunday he interviewed a retired white NFL receiver (can’t remember the name). Asked to opine on DeBerry’s comments he declined. Costas then pushed him to explain his reluctance to address the issue and he replied that it was something about which only black Americans could speak, that he wasn’t going to go near it.
Later, when asked if he had ever, in his eight year career, been defended by a white cornerback, he could recall only one instance, for one play. Asked what happened this WR noted, “he (the white cornerback) fell down.”