Green Room

Race and Racism: My Definitive Statement

posted at 6:36 pm on November 16, 2009 by

Thanks to Ben Smith of the Politico and other miraculous interventions (cough, cough), I have been inspired to explain everything in a single paragraph:

I believe that liberals are wrong about black people. Liberals are also wrong about white people, brown people, yellow people and red people. If NASA announced tomorrow that it had discovered a distant planet inhabited by purple people, anything that liberals believed about purple people would be wrong, too. Liberals are not only wrong about race, but they are also wrong about economics, crime, poverty, religion, science, war, marriage and foreign policy. In fact, as evidenced by their global-warming hysteria, liberals are wrong about the weather. Insofar as there is a “liberal consensus” on any particular subject — including movies and sports — then the truth is likely to be the exact opposite of whatever liberals say.

“Liberal” is a synonym for “wrong.” Remember this, kids. It will be on the final exam.

See also, “How to Think About Liberalism, If You Must.”

UPDATE: This has also reminded me of a contest I inaugurated in March: “Describe the Democratic Party in 20 Words or Less.”

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Good paragraph. I agree. :)

An aside:
I have a draft I’m working on about how liberal policies are inherently racist. The follow up was intended to be for the right: dealing with racism within our own house.

Funny thing about racism, you know? It crops up in such personally painful places. When I was young, my parents taught me the biblical view of race: we are all created with infinite worth and not one of us is more worthy than another by virtue of our color, particularly within the body of Christ. Imagine my surprise when I dated a black guy and was, shall we say, strongly rebuked. Apparently appearance and “opinion” matter more than, um, truth. I’m certainly raising my children differently.

It’s a good thing to know that we don’t have the sort of disturbing, backhanded racist crap going on here, you know?

Just my .02

Diane on November 16, 2009 at 6:56 PM

Funny thing about racism, you know? It crops up in such personally painful places. When I was young, my parents taught me the biblical view of race: we are all created with infinite worth and not one of us is more worthy than another by virtue of our color, particularly within the body of Christ. Imagine my surprise when I dated a black guy and was, shall we say, strongly rebuked. Apparently appearance and “opinion” matter more than, um, truth. I’m certainly raising my children differently.

It’s a good thing to know that we don’t have the sort of disturbing, backhanded racist crap going on here, you know?

Just my .02

Diane on November 16, 2009 at 6:56 PM

Agreed. Conservatism itself dictates that the color of your skin isn’t an excuse for anything, unlike liberalism. You have the same potential to better yourself as anyone, if you’re willing to do so. Nobody has the right to hinder your progress because of it, nor impede your pursuit of happiness because of it. That includes government programs like affirmative action that imply that you’re handicapped by your race. Liberals notice the differences and get bent out of shape. Conservatives seek to be color-blind.

MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 7:07 PM

“Liberal” is a synonym for “wrong.”

Couldn’t agree more.

beachgirlusa on November 16, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Imagine my surprise when I dated a black guy and was, shall we say, strongly rebuked. Apparently appearance and “opinion” matter more than, um, truth.
Diane on November 16, 2009 at 6:56 PM

I’m glad you raised this subject, Diane, as it is one about which much confusion exists regarding my own (alleged) “views.”

Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian has done some of the best research on this subject — research which is, unfortunately, only avaiable online in PDF format. However, to briefly summarize Dr. Qian’s findings: When surveyed, most Americans express neutral or positive attitudes toward interracial romance as a general proposition. While approval is general, opposition tends to be specific, especially where it comes to a person’s own close family members.

For example (and I must emphasize that these are hypothetical examples), a Chinese person may have no objection to their Chinese neighbor marrying a Puerto Rican, but they would be upset if their brother married a Mexican, or if their daughter married a Swede. And when asked about this attitude, the person who expresses such objections will often say that while they personally have no problem with interracial romance, they fear that others do, and wish to protect their family members from the adverse opinions of others. The question raised by this research is whether the concerns expressed is sincere, or merely a rationalization in defense of hypocrisy.

Were your parents hypocrites or were they sincere, Diane? While I don’t know your parents, I would point out that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, began by saying that the need to justify their actions was required by “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” Concerns about about “appearances” and “opinions” may be hypocritical, but are by no means uncommon.

Now, as I said at my own blog, I don’t like resorting to the “some of my best friends” defense, but in fact some of my best friends are . . . well, they’re anything and everything you can imagine. I’ve got cousins who are Jewish, my wife’s got a half-Japanese sister, my daughter’s boyfriend is from Argentina, and I recently spent five days cruising around upstate New York with a half-Arab black Baptist from Texas named Ali Akbar. (Who is a huge Johnny Cash fan, by the way.) These statements I make not from a spirit of fearful defensiveness, but rather to explain why I sometimes react so vehemently to these idiotic accusations of “racism.”

The accusation is so utterly at odds with my actual life as to be absurd, and it bothers me that people fall for that crap, based on what liberals write on the Internet.

A lot of what goes on, really, lies in a confusion between what is and what ought to be. To say that racism exists is a statement of fact. To advocate the eradication of racism is to propose a course of action — i.e., a matter of public policy. OK, then, how do you propose to do this? Here we find ourselves discussing not a generalized goal (the eradication of racism) but rather specific means to obtaining that goal. It is an error to say that, because you disagree with a liberal about a specific anti-racist policy that you are a “racist” or that you are “defending racism.” And yet that is exactly how liberals argue, over and over again, not only about race, but about everything else.

My agent’s name is Helen Waite. If anyone wants me to apologize for disagreeing with liberals, they can go to Helen Waite.

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 8:19 PM

“Describe the Democratic Party in 20 Words or Less.”

Bad link…

Midas on November 16, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Bad link…

Midas on November 16, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Thanks for the catch. Fixed it. In the newspaper business, there are copy editors whose job is to catch errors. In the blog business, we have commenters.

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 9:09 PM

Thank you for your gracious response. What happened to me was very difficult. A few things:

Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian has done some of the best research on this subject — research which is, unfortunately, only avaiable online in PDF format. However, to briefly summarize Dr. Qian’s findings: When surveyed, most Americans express neutral or positive attitudes toward interracial romance as a general proposition. While approval is general, opposition tends to be specific, especially where it comes to a person’s own close family members.

This appeal to statistical data seems out of place for such an ethical argument. In fact, this is quite text book bandwagon “authority of the many”-logical fallacy. Surely you know that popular opinion can, indeed, be wrong. I’m baffled by your inclusion of this study.

Now, as I said at my own blog, I don’t like resorting to the “some of my best friends” defense, but in fact some of my best friends are . . .

Not sure what an adequate response to this should be. Um. Cool social life? Again, mystified as to why this would be included at all. I merely detailed an incident of clear racism in my past. There is no legitimate reason why my parents should have deemed my choice of partner unfit solely by the color of their skin. This is racism, by definition.

Diane on November 16, 2009 at 9:36 PM

There is no legitimate reason why my parents should have deemed my choice of partner unfit solely by the color of their skin. . . .
Diane on November 16, 2009 at 9:36 PM

When did this happen, by the way? How old were you? If you disagreed so strongly, why did you comply with their wishes?

Understand that I am myself a father of six children. Whenever someone complains about their parents, my instinctive response is to wonder, “Are their parents really so bad, or are they just one of these self-pitying whiners doing the my-parents-are-so-clueless routine?”

One of my rules is, never trust anyone who routinely badmouths their parents. Most of the time, they’re just ungrateful pathetic losers attempting to elicit sympathy by playing the victim. But if their parents really were so bad . . . well, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, does it?

My own parents were not perfect. But they’re dead now — my mother died when I was 16 — and I miss them, imperfections and all. When I compare my own parental efforts to my parents’ efforts, I’m a lot more respectful about how well they did the job.

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 9:54 PM

One of my rules is, never trust anyone who routinely badmouths their parents. Most of the time, they’re just ungrateful pathetic losers attempting to elicit sympathy by playing the victim. But if their parents really were so bad . . . well, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, does it?

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 9:54 PM

If you’re trying to imply that about Diane, you’re heading down Douchebag Boulevard and your brakes are out, buddy.

MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 10:08 PM

If, of course.

MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 10:10 PM

When did this happen, by the way? How old were you? If you disagreed so strongly, why did you comply with their wishes?

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Additionally, why would those factors make a difference?

MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 10:11 PM

If you’re trying to imply that about Diane . . .
MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 10:08 PM

No implications made, and no inferences drawn. Just a function of my own innate curiosity and skepticism.

Sorry for the confusion. It happens to me all the time: People think I’m asserting “X,” when in fact I’m questioning “Y.” There is a natural human tendency to assume that the only possible alternative to “Y” is its antithesis, and we are all susceptible to that Manichean trap: “If you are not a True Conservative, you are a despicable RINO!”

Well, OK, what is a True Conservative? And what is a RINO? Define your terms. Justify your categories and labels. Otherwise, you’re engaged in the type of thinking that leads to liberals constantly screaming “racist” at conservatives: “All good people must believe X. If you don’t believe X, you are a bad person.”

The world is more complicated than that.

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 11:54 PM

No implications made, and no inferences drawn.

The Other McCain on November 16, 2009 at 11:54 PM

Excellent. Thanks for clearing that up.

MadisonConservative on November 16, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Ben Smith has updated to say that R.S. McCain is “a pariah even on [parts of] the right.*”

The parts of the right Ben Smith points to is Little Green Footballs, and that alone.

I thought that’s where he would have gotten this libel from.

We can equally say that Catholics are pariahs “even on [parts of] the right” – along with pro-lifers and all the other people Charles Johnson serially attacks.

David Blue on November 17, 2009 at 2:49 AM

Oh, it was CJ that made RSMcC a “pariah on [parts of] the right”! What a relief!
`
Thought I was out of the loop or something – was imagining WHO on the right considered Stacy a “pariah” and couldn’t come up with anyone, except maybe that kid from ACPAC or CPAC, the twenty-something who wouldn’t credential him? Can’t remember the lad’s name, but I heard they nicknamed him “Hairless” in his ballet class.
`
Figures Ben Smith looks for information from a guy who spends most of his time sniffing bicycle seats . . . what a douche . . .
`
I’m rehearsing singers now for the off-off-Broadway debut of my new song, “McCain They Call Pariah” . . . where’s Belafonte when you really need him?
`
`

Adjoran on November 17, 2009 at 3:35 AM

The word obfuscation comes to mind.

Just so I don’t misunderstand you here: are you saying that opposition to interracial relationships is NOT inherently racist?

Diane on November 17, 2009 at 7:25 AM

Just so I don’t misunderstand you here: are you saying that opposition to interracial relationships is NOT inherently racist?

If it is, then a lot of black women are racist.

Crawford on November 17, 2009 at 12:11 PM

If it is, then a lot of black women are racist.

Crawford on November 17, 2009 at 12:11 PM

That’s not an answer.

I totally agree, however. My inlaws work within the Duham inner city for racial reconciliation and see a lot of this, on both sides. They’ve hosted meetups not unlike Glenn Beck’s Black Conservative program and see this first hand. Conversely, they also see heartening instances of true redemption.

I could be a black female making the same argument, having had the same experience. My question stands.

Diane on November 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I could be a black female making the same argument, having had the same experience. My question stands.

Diane on November 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM

The sentiment seems to be that because not only whites practice racism(something which anyone with any integrity will point out) that it’s therefore okay, or not wrong. Because “everyone does it”, it’s excusable. A lazy and apathetic proposition.

MadisonConservative on November 17, 2009 at 2:08 PM

If it is, then a lot of black women are racist.
Crawford on November 17, 2009 at 12:11 PM

You point to one of those obtrusive facts — as John Adams said, facts are stubborn things — that disturb the bland assumptions of the bien pensants.

Consider the Raqiyah Mays imbroglio of 2004, when the hip-hop DJ got fired for saying this on the air:

“I’m a racist. I really am. I have a problem with white people. Not all white people, but a lot of white people. . . . I can’t tell if they are being real with me or not. And then I hate when the black guy is walking down the street with the white girl. I hate both of them. C’mon, there’s a man shortage . . .”

For a public personality to call herself “racist” and then twice to use the word “hate” toward interracial couples — well, it’s not exactly a smart P.R. move, eh?

However, what Ms. Mays said about the “man shortage” is actually a common complaint among young black women in America, a widespread topic of serious discussion in the black community. If Ms. Mays felt some sense of grievance in that regard — if she had feelings of rejection and resentment — is it really my place to tell her that her feelings are illegitimate? For a white guy to stand in judgment over her grievances? Wouldn’t that be kind of . . . racist?

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, see? If you ask my personal feeling, it’s this: Buried somewhere in the Raqiyah Mays story are the dynamics of a social problem that is nuanced, as John Kerry might say. That’s why I cited Dr. Qian’s research, to point out that there are real sociological data which can be analyzed and discussed intelligently, responsibly and calmly. (No one, to my knowledge, has condemned Dr. Qian as a hatemonger.) The rush to judgment and the haste to condemn are actually an obstacle to understanding.

What Raqiyah Mays said got her fired, but what did she actually mean by all that? (This is kind of a Jeff Goldstein “intentionalism” issue.) I’m extremely hesitant to declare that Raqiyah Mays is a bad person, worse than other people who aren’t radio DJs or who aren’t black women dealing with a “man shortage.”

My habit is to be lenient toward anyone accused of ThoughtCrime wherever there is any extentuating or mitigating circumstance that would argue for leniency. I just don’t want to join the idolatrous mob demanding sacrificial victims for the Moloch of political correctness. Whether it’s Larry Summers offending feminists at Harvard or Carrie Prejean offending gays in the Miss USA contest or Rush Limbaugh offending whoever he decides to offend from day to day, the politically incorrect always have at least one guy in their corner.

Whatever our problems as a society — a shortage of qualified female science professors, or beauty pageants being judged by flaming gay guys like Perez Hilton — it will be harder to find solutions if people are afraid to speak their minds because of PC intimidation.

The Other McCain on November 17, 2009 at 8:06 PM

The whole dust-up surrounding The Other McCain and interracial (dating?)(marriage?) illustrates why it is perhaps impossible to discuss race in this country with anything like honesty: any admission that racial relations (like all human relations across group lines) are complex and that good people can have views that are not absolutely color blind gets one accused of racism.

While my interracial dating experience is limited, in several of those experiences (admittedly more than 30 years ago) I or my friend was confronted with some really nasty reactions, which surprised me: in one case, a black girl I dated briefly was forbidden to continue to see me by her parents (“he’s a nice guy but he’s white!), in another, a black girl was threatened by other black girls for dating whites (including me), and, in a third case, a native american girl’s parents had a fit that she was dating a white army officer. Asian parents never seemed to mind my dating their daughters.

I think that most parents would prefer their children date and marry those who belong to their own group, whether they define that group racially, ethnically within ‘races’, religiously, or by social or economic class (which are not necessarily the same thing). In some (many? most?) cases, I suspect that is simply a desire for one’s offspring to have the greatest chance of success in relationships, without strong cultural conflicts. All of those things can give rise to conflicts within a relationship, regardless of whether the outside world heightens the conflict or not.

Parents also rather naturally wish for their children (and grandchildren) not to face discrimination of one sort or another. If the parents perceive that such discrimination exists (again, whether racial, ethnic, religious, social or economic) – even if they neither approve of such discrimination nor practice it in any way in their own interactions with others – cannot they still be concerned about the potential effect upon their children without being themselves considered discriminatory? Does opposing discrimination mean that one has to have no qualms about its potential effects? It would seem to me that some of the very people who are most strongly opposed to discrimination might well reasonably be equally concerned with how it could affect a child or grandchild.

Could these kinds of concerns rise to the level of being “racist?” Undoubtedly. But, where does one draw the line? Who knows what really lies in another’s heart? As a 13th century English chief justice put it “the Devil himself knoweth not the mind of man.”

Until issues like this can be discussed without virtually automatic accusations of racism, no one will venture honesty outside of very close circles, and nothing will get better

CatoRenasci on November 18, 2009 at 8:09 AM

In some (many? most?) cases, I suspect that is simply a desire for one’s offspring to have the greatest chance of success in relationships, without strong cultural conflicts.

I don’t agree. The reasons those “strong cultural conflicts” would even exist in the first place do not lie between the couple, but instead among the relatives. The inability to recognize that is evidence of monolithic thinking.

Is it all racism? I don’t believe so. Most parents, of course, act out of concern for their children first. But in many cultures where ethnic solidarity is prized, much resistance will be racism. It’s just the way it is. How else to explain statements like “I would much prefer you marry a nice (insert race) boy/girl?”

Black Yoshi on November 18, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Now, there are legitimate reasons to reject partnerships that may be mixed. For example, before the immigration policy regarding a faster path to citizenship if married to an American was changed, there were a number of disposable marriages easily tossed when the immigrant actually got citizenship. That happened to a family friend who used to be married to an Egyptian doctor. Eight years down the road, the doc ditched her for a young Egyptian bride. It was a foregone conclusion.

I don’t count “cultural conflicts” among those reasons, though. At the age of adulthood, one’s child should be intelligent enough to figure out whether he or she is compatible with the cultural practices of the other.

Black Yoshi on November 18, 2009 at 9:41 AM

I don’t agree. The reasons those “strong cultural conflicts” would even exist in the first place do not lie between the couple, but instead among the relatives. The inability to recognize that is evidence of monolithic thinking.

I disagree strongly: cultural conflicts often do lie between the couple and do not involve relatives. I purposely used the term cultural conflict because that’s what I had in mind – issues about the way men and women relate, about food and beverage choices, about child-rearing (including religious education), clothing, education, money, etc. Some of this reflects religious culture (among protestants, between protestants and catholics, between either protestants or catholics and jews, among any of these groups with what are called the ‘unchurched’ etc.), some of it ethnic culture (even though we ‘all look alike’ there is are significant differences in attitudes between, say, those of primarily English stock and those of Irish, German, Italian, or Scandinavian stock), and some (much?) of it reflecting social or economic class differences (one who has grown up in upper class household will probably have very different attitudes than one who has grown up in abject poverty). Many of these attitudes seem unimportant in college or in other situations in which young people meet and date, but, once a relationship turns serious, and once children are involved, they often come to the fore unexpectedly.

Sometimes, a parent’s preference for child finding a spouse of similar background reflects less prejudice than it does a more experienced person’s awareness that the things that seem unimportant when two young people are attracted to each other may well assume much greater importance five or ten years down the road when a couple decides to have children. Could such a preference reflect racism? Sure. But, I think that far less of it is than you seem to.

CatoRenasci on November 18, 2009 at 10:01 AM