Posts Tagged ‘Racism’
August 30th, 2013 at 6:00 pm
The Hollywood Slander of Ronald Reagan
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Ronald Reagan may have been the only American president to emerge from Tinseltown (excepting the fact that Barack Obama is clearly a character created by Aaron Sorkin), but that hasn’t inspired any loyalty. The new movie, The Butler, is rife with mischaracterizations of racial progress in America (as ably pointed out by Richard Epstein for the Hoover Institution) — and it’s especially unkind to the Gipper. As Steve Hayward, Paul Kengor, Craig Shirley, and Kiron Skinner — Reagan biographers all — note in today’s Washington Post, Reagan demonstrated a lifetime’s worth of tolerance and enlightenment on racial issues.

One of the film’s larger errors is an implicit assertion that Reagan opposed economic sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa out of simple indifference to black suffering. But as his chroniclers note, the reality is much more complicated:

The unfairness of this scene can be demonstrated by any number of historical facts. In June 1981, still recovering from an assassination attempt, Reagan sent his closest foreign policy aide, William Clark, on his first official trip; it was to South Africa to express America’s disapproval. An unsmiling Clark told Prime Minister Pieter W. Botha to his face that the new president and administration “abhorred apartheid.” Clark walked out on Botha.

While accurate in depicting Reagan’s opposition to sanctions against South Africa, “The Butler” does not explain why he opposed them. Reagan saw sanctions as harmful to the poorest South Africans: millions of blacks living in dire poverty. He also feared that the apartheid regime could be replaced by a Marxist/totalitarian one allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba and that communism would spread throughout the continent. South Africa’s blacks were denied rights under apartheid, but communism would mean no freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, conscience, emigration, travel or even property for anyone. Moreover, in communist nations such as Cambodia and Ethi­o­pia, people had been slaughtered and starved on mass scales. Nearly a dozen nations had become part of the Soviet orbit in the immediate years before Reagan became president. He didn’t want South Africa to undergo the same catastrophe.

Reagan adopted a policy of “constructive engagement,” seeking to keep South Africa in the anti-Soviet faction while encouraging the country toward black-majority rule — no easy feat. In one of his finest speeches, he told the United Nations on Sept. 24, 1984, that it was “a moral imperative that South Africa’s racial policies evolve peacefully but decisively toward . . . justice, liberty and human dignity.” Among his administration’s successes was the Angola-Namibia agreement, which led to the withdrawal of the white South African regime from Namibia and paved the way for that nation’s independence.

Moral preening is always easiest when one bears no responsibility for the consequences. Statesmen weigh trade-offs. Ronald Reagan knew that. Thanks to the current situation in Syria, Barack Obama is about to get a master’s class on the topic.

August 30th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
On the Shamelessness of Teacher Unions
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I’ve posted here on the blog before about the ongoing fight over Governor Bobby Jindal’s bold education reforms in Louisiana, which have left the Pelican State’s teachers unions incensed. And in my column this week, I discussed the relentless tendency of liberals to rhetorically exploit African-Americans while supporting policies that harm black communities. Yet even though these two trends are not new, I’m still gobsmacked that it has come to this shameful nadir. From the Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry:

A major state-level teachers union accused a group promoting school choice for African-American families of supporting the notorious white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan in a series of statements on Thursday.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers accused the Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) of advancing a “pro-KKK agenda,” in the words of one tweet sent from the union’s official Twitter account. Another claimed that the group “endorses teaching that the KKK is good.”

The BAEO works to “increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class Black families,” according to its website.

In response to this filth, the head of the BAEO put out a statement reading, in part:

BAEO and its allies fight every single day to give children from low-income families access to the best educational options possible. We fight to overcome the institutional bigotry that has sentenced thousands of black children across the country to a substandard education. It’s a sad day when an organization like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which says it cares about kids, is among the organizations using degrading, race-baiting tactics to demean the very people who are doing their best to give kids hope.

Unfortunately, we’re well past the point when the teachers unions’ arguments were about the kids. These days, it’s about nothing more than holding on to power. The children are little more than collateral damage.

July 27th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
Jonathan Chait is Vermin

Please forgive me if that headline is too strong. But I’ve always thought so, and now I know. Chait is actually suggesting that racism is driving the negative reaction to Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark. Give me a break. What a skunk this guy is. The last refuge of a scared, cheap-shot, leftist scoundrel is to yell “Racism” in a clouded, weirder way than ever attempted before. As in:

Mitt Romney’s plan of blatantly lying about President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech is clearly drawing blood. But what makes the attack work so well is not so much the lie itself but the broader subtext of it. …The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.” This strikes at the core of Obama’s entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama’s deepest political fear was being seen as a “traditional” black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans….The entire key to the rise of the Republican Party from the mid-sixties through the nineties was that white Americans came to see the Democrats as taking money from the hard-working white middle class and giving it to a lazy black underclass. Reactivating that frame is still the most mortal threat to the Democrats and to Obama. …

What a steaming load of diseased dung this is. The time has come to call this “racism” wolf cry what it really is: the Left’s version of McCarthyism. As with the original, the game is to accuse adversaries of something awful, and awfully untrue, purely for political effect, to cause a political wound. (The difference is that at least McCarthy had some small basis for his vilely overstated accusations, as the Venona documents have since shown; this cry of racism, here as in so many of the Left’s uses of it in recent years, has not even a shred of truth to it.)

I associate myself with the remarks of John Nolte at Breitbart, who called Chait’s dung heap “equal parts hilarious, maddening, unAmerican, and just plain pathetic.”

The reason Barack Obama’s outlook is alien to the American tradition is not because he is black; it is because he was mentored by a Communist, raised by leftists, inculcated with foreign values in Indonesia, befriended (and willing befriending of) some of the vilest radicals and terrorists on American soil, studied and emulated the evil Saul Alinksy, and consciously chose (by his own testimony in his crafted, semi-fictionalized “autobiography”) the persona of a man disaffected from and antagonistic to many of the values historically adopted and admired by most Americans.

He says we cling to guns and religion as a way to deal with our own bitterness; he says we didn’t build our own businesses (or the roads and such paid for by taxes on the profits from our own labors); he says Americans have been arrogant and dismissive of Europe and that we are “still struggling” with the legacy of Jim Crow; he runs roughshod repeatedly over religious liberties; and again and again, he shows disdain for the actual workings of the free market that is the means of our prosperity.

I don’t care if it is his “white” half or his “black” half that is demonstrating these attitudes. When the pasty white Ted Kennedy showed some of the same tendencies, we conservatives opposed him just as fiercely. Race has nothing to do with it. But vicious McCarthyism of the Left, such as that exhibited by Chait, will target anybody who exposes hard truths about their own left side of the political debate.

But just as blackness is no reason to attack Barack Obama, so is it also no defense for his supporters to use as a crutch every time he sticks his feet in his mouth. Black feet taste no worse than white feet. But very few feet are tasty dishes — and when both of somebody’s feet are left feet, the likelihood is for stumbles of the sort that cause those feet to end up in one’s mouth.

February 27th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
Eric Holder: Reality is Racist
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Pity Eric Holder. To be a professional scold is not an attractive quality. Nor is being woefully incompetent. Yet Holder manages to be both. Thus do we end up with the Attorney General of the United States decrying the racism of … wait for it … school principals throughout America. From the Daily Caller:

“We’ve often seen that students of color, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with special needs are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled,” Holder said in Atlanta, Ga.

“This is, quite simply, unacceptable. … These unnecessary and destructive policies must be changed,” Holder said at the meeting, which was hosted by 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc.

Holder attributed his claim of racial disparity in school discipline to a 2011 study that he said showed “83 percent of African American male students and 74 percent of Hispanic male students ended up in trouble and suspended for some period of time.”

However, Holder’s speech ignored the report’s conclusion that 59 percent of white males are also disciplined. He ignored other data suggesting that the different discipline rates roughly align with actual schoolyard behavior.

If one presumes racism is everywhere, one is destined to find it everywhere. As Abraham Maslow noted, for the man with only a hammer in his toolkit, every problem is a nail.

January 9th, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Artur Davis Calls Foul on Racism Theme

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, a moderate Democrat, has been on a roll of late in exploding liberal shibboleths, from the false claim that voter ID laws are racist ploys (and that vote fraud is nonexistent) to the idea that Rick Santorum can’t appeal to the political center. His latest, at NRO, takes on a recent, scurrilous column by the NY Times’ Andy Rosenthal, claiming that most opposition to Barack Obama is race-based. Davis blows away Rosenthal’s allegation, here.

For instance:

To be sure, some of Obama’s enemies have depicted him in dumb, outrageous ways. Their bad behavior ought to be denounced, but accuracy demands that this be done in the context of rejecting the personal demonization that is par for the course in partisan politics. Rosenthal does civility a disservice by deploying it narrowly, to make a smear of his own, and by falsely suggesting that the toxicity in politics is a right-wing product.

Davis, who was the first member of Congress outside of Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois to endorse Obama for president, is no closet conservative. When conservatives stray from decency or honesty, I expect him to call us on it with the same verve that he has been calling “foul” on the left in recent months — and we will certainly deserve it, because Davis doesn’t take cheap shots. There is, for instance, racism that remains on the right, and we all have an obligation to call it out when we see it. But for the charge to carry weight, it should not be diluted by false accusations that deprive the charge of its power and weight. Kudos to Davis for trying to keep the conversation honest.

December 19th, 2011 at 10:36 pm
Eric Holder Self-Destructs
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Here at CFIF, we’ve spent months chronicling the confluence of incompetence, deceit, and political opportunism that is Eric Holder’s Justice Department, whether it takes the form of the Fast and Furious scandal or the administration’s transparently partisan staffing of the department’s Civil Rights Division. Now, without a coherent counterargument, the Attorney General is essentially pulling the fire alarm. From the Daily Caller:

Attorney General Eric Holder accused his growing chorus of critics of racist motivations in a Sunday interview published in the New York Times. When reached by The Daily Caller Monday morning, the Department of Justice provided no evidence to support the attorney general’s claims.

Holder said some unspecified faction — what he refers to as the “more extreme segment” — is driven to criticize both him and President Barack Obama due to the color of their skin. Holder did not appear to elaborate on who he considered to make up the “more extreme segment.”

“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder said, according to the Times. “Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

Funny, it seems to me that making the political calculation that Mexican lives are expendable for an ill-defined policy goal is a pretty good working definition of racism. So too is deciding that voter intimidation that would land white belligerents in jail shouldn’t be held against the New Black Panthers. What Dr. Johnson once said of patriotism is now true of allegations of racism — they’re the last refuge of a scoundrel.
October 4th, 2011 at 8:09 pm
Washington Post Resorts to Gutter Journalism for Perry “Racism” Story
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On Saturday, the Washington Post ginned up some controversy by running an unnecessarily long-winded investigative piece alleging that the Texas hunting camp owned by Governor (and now presidential candidate) Rick Perry, along with his father, possesses a racially-offensive name (involving the most common — and jarring — epithet for African-Americans).

The piece made for good election cycle copy, but bad journalism. In essence, the name far predated the Perrys’ acquisition of the property and never seems to have been used by them — in fact, they actually painted over a rock that included it (and eventually just turned it over). In addition, the Post never made clear what it means to say that the offensive name is what the property “is called,” apart from the fact that the name had been used by previous owners and the rock still remains on the land.

If the WaPo had any journalistic sense, it would have left the story there. Instead, they’ve now published a follow-up piece by Amy Gardner claiming to examine Perry’s “complicated record” on racial issues. Like recent stories wondering what Chris Christie’s weight says about his potential mettle as president, this was an example of journalism that was long on space to fill and short on meaningful analysis.

In truth, Perry’s record couldn’t be less complicated. He appointed the man who became the first black chairman of Texas A&M’s board of regents, had an African-American chief of staff, and hired two black general counsels. According to the story, however, his views on race are questionable because he (A) supports the Tea Party (B) believes in the Tenth Amendment (C)  ran a campaign ad in 1990 featuring his opponent with Jesse Jackson and (D) once had misgivings about a piece of hate crimes legislation (which he eventually signed).

While there’s no evidence to suggest Perry is actually a racist (and, in fact, plenty of evidence showing exactly the opposite), don’t expect that to prevent the formation of a meme on the left. We fully expect to see the Perry-as-racist shtick on parade in Bill Maher’s next monologue. Perhaps some of the Washington Post‘s writers would feel more comfortable on Maher’s staff — at least there the belief that facts are immaterial is explicit.