Macswain

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More on How So Many on The Right Just Don't Get Race



Hurricane Katrina exposed in all its cold brutality the complete lack of compassion the Bush administration has for blacks and the poor. The conclusion that "Bush doesn't care about black people" didn't just arise from this one incident. Instead, this incident was the crowning moment of a history of lack of compassion.

The history of a lack of compassion for blacks dates back decades to the wooing of anti-Civil Rights, Southern Democrats to the Republican party and includes Reagan's disrespectful speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi as well as his outright hostility to all civil rights legislation and support of the apartheid regime in South Africa. It was largely Republicans that fought hard against a holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and who smeared Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.

While paying a lot of lip service toward caring for blacks, Bush didn't do anything of substance to distance himself from his party's past hostilities toward blacks. His actions, in fact, embraced this history. For example, he chose Dick Cheney as his Vice President, a man who has one of the worst civil rights records and who was the most vocal opponent of sanctions on South Africa and the call for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

Under Bush, black unemployment shot up and blacks have fared disproportionately worse in almost all economic and social categories. Bush constantly uses black children for photo ops but is rarely, if ever, seen discussing policy issues with elected black leaders. In fact, there are zero elected black republicans in Congress or the Senate.

Bush has been a strong opponent of affirmative action. Yet, the group that benefits the most from nonmerit-based advancement in this society is whites through legacy admissions, nepotism, cronyism and inheritance. Though he momentarily muttered some criticism of legacies while on the campaign trail, he has used none of his post election capital to rally against them. Then, of course, Bush has whole heartedly embraced nepotism and cronyism for unqualified whites, e.g. the appointment of Michael Brown as the head of FEMA is just one example.

As opposed to their treatment of whites, the right, as a general rule, place blacks under a microscope. Go to just about any rightwing blog or discussion about affirmative action and you're likely to hear the racist argument that affirmative action hurts all black people by stigmatizing them. One must sadly wonder, they pathetically suggest, whether the blacks they meet in positions of responsibility got their on merit or on the basis of a diversity program. Yet, these same so-worried-about-merit thinkers never ask about all the whites they come across daily who got their job or position of responsibility through the hook-up. The don't talk about walking into a board room and wondering who's there because of connections.

The Right is quick to take Kanye West's statement that "Bush doesn't care about black people" and label it racist. Indeed, to make the case, they'll falsely recast the statement as having West say: "Bush hates black people." and imply that West suggested white people don't care about blacks. Yet, when a righty makes a statement derogatory, insensitive or stereotypical toward blacks, the right will either engage in all sorts of semantic gymnastics to avoid the obvious racism contained in the statement or, more frequently, will sit mum and hope that they simply can get away with ignoring their racism. The silence on Bill Bennett's statement is just one recent example. Two others include the statements of Steven Sailer and Mark Williams in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Sailer has been heralded as a hero by the right for his involvement in the Minutemen Project while Williams has been cheered for his efforts in organizing an Anti-Cindy Sheehan protest in Crawford. I have seen none of these comments derided on the right.

So yes, when Bush was slow to react on a natural disaster that disproportionately effected blacks, and that was followed by his mother's insensitive remarks and Laura's failure to have followed the tragedy close enough to even know the name of the hurricane, I do not find it odd that people reach the conclusion that Bush doesn't care about blacks.

2 Comments:

  • Congratulations macswain for broaching the race issue. There's so much there that it would take an essay to respond.

    As I read your extended post, I kept asking myself "How is he going to deal with Condi Rice and Colin Powell?" Your silence on them undermines an otherwise good attempt. Are they props? (Speaking of which, I wouldn't be surprised to see the African American former Justice Dept official get the Supreme Court nod. If so, the chorus from the left will certainly be "this is Karl Rove's response to the Katrina debacle.")

    The real issue, I'm afraid, is policy, not race. The feminists hated Maggie Thatcher as the left hates Condi. Policy trumps protected status every time.

    As to the policy, I'm with you. Speaking of props, Bush is nothing but a prop for large business to have their government-is-a-nuisance-let-the-free-market-rein agenda. Of course, this is the economic equivalent of looting, for its nothing but a give-me-mine-now, and damn the consequences view. It's more immoral than looting, however, because there's no poverty or need to start with--just pure greed.

    And you're correct in this atmosphere it's blacks that suffer the most, and the Bushies could care less. But that's nothing new for republicans. I seem to recall that Gerry Ford vetoed a school lunch bill, and then gave a sandwich to a hungry kid on the street.

    The Bushies and the republicans hate policy, which would provide a fair set of across the board rules to be applied in every case. Rather, it's government by media spectacle. Wait till a deserving case comes along, roll out the cameras, and turn on the compassion. (Terry Schiavo comes to mine; the system dealt with her the way it should, with a series of considered court hearings). Of course the media has a strange way of picking only attractive white people to make a fuss over.

    All the while, there's rampant racism in the republican party, as in society generally. Discuss politics over drinks with a group of five republicans, and if you don't hear a racist comment I'll give you $50 bucks.

    But that's not limited to republicans, it's the voters generally. Can any rightie make the case that the only reason this country has never had a president other than a white male has to do with qualifications? Let them make that case with the idiot now in the White House. Hell, I'd pay $50 just to watch em try.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:41 AM  

  • I was surfing around and found another George Bush site.George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People This place has a ton of funny videos and mp3s.

    By Blogger rokkgod, at 7:40 AM  

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