March 19, 2008
It's Time to Call the Democrats on Race DemagogyBy James Lewis
Donna Brazil, Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager, has been quoted deploring the Hillary-Obama race:
Gee, thanks, Donna. So setting racial fires against whites and Republicans is not toxic? It's bad if it happens inside the Democratic Party, but it's good if The Majority Leader of the Senate is driven from the leadership because of kind words spoken about an old man at a party? Ever since the Civil Rights Revolution America has suffered from racially divisive demagogy whipped up by the Left.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a very popular preacher of racial anger in Chicago. So is Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Cynthia McKinney, Professor Nikki Giovanni at Virginia Tech and far too many others. They always get favorable media coverage, because they are speaking for the Left.
If you look at conservative blacks, you see exactly the opposite: there are no more positive and constructive people in America than Justice Clarence Thomas, SecState Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell, Lt. Col. Allan West, Larry Elder, and millions more who are never puffed up by the media.
So the Left, and its mouthpiece the Democrats, have chosen the destructive demagogues and not the peace makers. So be it. But it's high time to call them on it. Voters must finally send that clear and unmistakable message: If you peddle hate, you don't get my vote.
The New York Times has somehow never been able to rouse itself to call the Rev. Al Sharpton what he plainly is: An anti-white race demagogue. In exactly the same way, the NYT and its ilk cannot call the Reverend Jeremiah Wright what he plainly is. Like the rest of the liberal white media, they somehow can't tell the truth about Louis Farrakhan or Elijah Muhammad. Their accusatory fingers only point to the David Dukes of this world.
Why not denounce all racial hatred, no matter what the source?
Democrats have protected, excused, and enabled race demagogues. In the days of slavery and Jim Crow they enabled white race baiting. Today they enable the black version. The motivation is the same: divide and conquer. Race baiting is the sleaziest road to political power.
Some time around and following the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s a spontaneous agreement arose and spread among everyday Americans to banish any expression of racist feelings toward blacks. Republicans and liberal Democrats happened to agree on that. (There were not many Republican politicians in the South at that time; they were nearly all Dixiecrats.) That doesn't mean white racism disappeared; but it had to go underground; it was made out of bounds in respectable company. Overt race hatred was treated with the contempt it deserved. That quiet national determination made possible the Civil Rights Acts, and opened the way for enormous improvements in the social and economic conditions of American blacks.
A key part of the civil rights revolution was to call the Southern Democrats on the issue of anti-black racism. It was no longer tolerated, and after many long years, the tide finally shifted.
That kind of banishment of race hatred has still not happened among some American blacks. Anti-white racism is still accepted in polite company -- and in some cases, as with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it is publicly taught, enabled, encouraged and exploited. It is popular: The Rev. Wright's congregation stands and cheers his demagogy.
Wright's church is a power in the Chicago black community not in spite of its few racist flaws, but because racism appeals to an aching need for self-esteem among some blacks. Blaming bad conditions on others is a cheap way to feel better about oneself. That's why racism worked for the Nazis, and why it worked for poor Southern whites after the Civil War. But it's toxic to our social fabric.
In part, black racism is an understandable residue of trauma in black families who saw their own members hurt, oppressed and even lynched in the Jim Crow South. Part of it is anger about the ongoing poverty and social pathology of the black ghetto in inner cities all over the country. But far too much of it is simply taught as an acceptable attitude in life. And black racial hatred is constantly excused by the ideological Left, just as feminist hatred toward men is excused, and hatred for America is excused, and class envy is deliberately whipped up by irresponsible politicians. Black race baiting is simply segregationist race baiting flipped to the other side.
Here's the poet Nikki Giovanni, a tenured faculty member at Virginia Tech:
She doesn't leave much to the imagination, does she? But Professor Giovanni is celebrated, not criticized on the Left.
Senator Obama and his wife are in hot water for a very good reason. Race hatred is a corrosive acid in the body politic. It is inexcusable. The Left has winked at black hatred for whites for half a century. It is high time to call them on it. No, we cannot erase black race hatred any more than we can erase what is in people's hearts on any other matter. But we can ask the Democrats -- who represent black Americans -- to make it socially unacceptable, just as American whites have largely done in the last half century.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not doing black people any favors. By whipping up racial anger today, he is setting up ethnic conflict far into the future. Children growing up today in his church are absorbing his rhetoric, because Rev. Wright is a teacher. He prides himself on it.
Race hatred is a destructive human failing. It is not limited to white antagonism toward blacks. It is found among Africans and Chinese; every culture on earth has its own version. When the Nazis exterminated Jews, they were "whites" killing "whites" for elaborate "racial" reasons. When Hutus massacred Tutsis in Rwanda, they were "blacks" killing "blacks" for supposed racial reasons. It's high time for us to go beyond the one-sided fight against white racism alone.
If race hatred is bad, it is bad no matter who cultivates and teaches it. That includes the Rev. Jeremy Wright. It also includes his cheering congregation, including the Obamas.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/