Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The unexpected president, ctd...  

I'll let Josh Barro, whose conservative credentials are impeccable, say what I have struggled to comprehend about race and the right and this campaign:
There has been a clear strategic calculation here among Republican elites. Better to leverage or at least accept the racism of much of the Republican base than try to clean it up. I remember a moment in the 2008 campaign where John McCain argued with a voter who said that Obama was “an Arab.” This time around, either the candidates don’t care about standing up to racial misconceptions or have decided they can’t afford to.
And on a more substantive policy issue, you have Gingrich’s rejection of the idea that there is even a racial matter to discuss in the Martin case. You don’t have to assume that George Zimmerman is guilty of murder (Julian Sanchez has a good piece on this) to recognize that Trayvon Martin would likely to be alive today if he were white.
The question of what to do about that is complicated, but it’s clearly a public policy concern. Instead, Gingrich commits an error that is common on the Right—jumping from the fact that race relations have improved to a claim that black Americans no longer have special policy concerns worth discussing.
It’s disgraceful that Gingrich would call bringing up Trayvon Martin’s race disgraceful. It also undermines everything else that conservatives say about race, no matter how valid. How are Republicans supposed to be taken seriously when they say they understand black Americans’ policy needs when Newt Gingrich is spouting nonsense like this?
My challenge to conservatives who feel they get a bum rap on race is this. Stand up for yourself and your colleagues when you feel that a criticism is unfair. At the same time, criticize other conservatives who say racist things, cynically tolerate racism in the Republican base, or deny the mere existence of racial issues in America today. The conservative movement desperately needs self-policing on racial issues, if it ever hopes to have credibility on them. [More worth reading]
And at that, I'll let go of this thread.


Dave said...

You as guilty as almost all of the media in this Martin/Zimmerman case--you are jumping the gun and making assumtions that this is racial. Personally I don't know what to think at this point. In the beginning it certainly apeared to be a case where a zealous neighborhood watch person did all the wrong things and Martin ended up dead. Now, as more information is coming out, I've changed my opinion and don't know what to think.

John Phipps said...


As Barro pointed out, and with which I agree, the response form dominant voices on the right is racially tone-deaf, to put it mildly. Please read the Sanchez article as well as the full Barro piece.

I have actually made no comment on the case, but am remarking on the reactions from the right. I found the "hoodie" statements to be the most ludicrous.

All in all, it strikes me as another effort to make it all a "media" problem, just like the pink slime issue. Barro correctly points out this knee-jerk response probably has exceeded its half-life.

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten me. What are "black American's policy needs"? Are these different from white, Asian, or Hispanic American's policy needs? Isn't that, in itself, racist to suggest that one race needs more/less help than another?


Jean Milord said...

Pretty interesting. .Media problem you know.