The Monster’s Appeal

Friday, February 10, AD 2017

tillman_crop

“Pitchfork” Ben Tillman was a monster.  Governor of South Carolina from 1890-1894 and US Senator from South Carolina from 1895 until his death in 1918, in a time of overt public racism Tillman stood out.  He openly boasted on the floor of the Senate of murdering blacks during Reconstruction to help whites regain political power.  He offered blacks in South Carolina the choice of being helots or extermination.  His racial views are repugnant not only to our eyes, but to many, perhaps most, of his white contemporaries.   He achieved the disenfranchisement of blacks at the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1895, a disenfranchisement that would survive his death for almost a half century.

This terrible racism now obscures the main reason why Tillman had such a political hold on South Carolina for a generation and a half, and why he was a very effective legislator in the Senate.  With his racism he combined a radical populism that appealed to small farmers and laboring men who held the balance of power in South Carolina.  He appealed to them against the traditional rulers of South Carolina who seemingly had no answers to the economic challenges that beset the poor of South Carolina.  With his radical message he became a well paid speaker on the Chautauqua Circuit, giving speeches throughout the nation in which he made little effort to conceal his racial views.

The essence and power of Tillman’s economic message was shown at the Democrat convention in 1896 at which bi-metalism, an economic theory that was complete hooey, was regarded as the economic nostrum to cure the nation’s ills.  Tillman gave a brief speech:

When this convention disperses, I hope my fellow citizens will have a different opinion of the man with the pitchfork from South Carolina. I am from South Carolina, which was the home of secession. [Great hissing.] Oh, hiss if you like. There are only three things on earth which can hiss—a goose, a serpent, and a man, and the man who hisses the name of South Carolina has no knowledge whatever of its grand history. But I tell you I do not come from the South Carolina of 1860, which you charge brought about the disruption of the Democratic Party. The war there declared was for the emancipation of the black slaves. I come now from a South Carolina which demands the emancipation of the white slaves. You charge that in 1860 South Carolina brought about the disruption of the Democratic Party. I say to you now that I am willing to see the Democratic Party disrupted again to accomplish the emancipation of the white slaves. New York for twenty years or more has been the one dominant factor and dictator of the National Democratic Party. While we want to thank New York and Connecticut and New Jersey for the aid extended to us in the past, I want to say to you here that we have at last recognized in the South that we are mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, while the great states I have named have eaten up our substance. My friends say this is not a sectional issue. I say it is.

[Great scenes of disorder then ensued, and quiet was restored with difficulty. Many times the senator was interrupted, but he went on:]

I deny utterly that there is any sectional feeling over this silver issue. I have been in the East ten days, and nine-tenths of the voters in those States are for silver. The Democratic and Republican political machines, by the use of money, have stifled the sentiments of the people on this money question.

[References by the speaker to Senator Hill brought a renewal of the storm, and Senator Tillman was obliged to raise his voice to a shout as he ended:]

As Grover Cleveland stands for gold monometallism, we have repudiated him. We are diametrically opposed to his policy, and why should we write ourselves down as asses and liars? They ask us to say that he is honest. Well, in reply I say he signed a contract for bonds in secret, with one of his partners as a witness. Nobody disputes his boldness or obstinacy. He had the courage to overthrow the Constitution of the United States when he overrode the rights of the citizens of Illinois and sent federal troops into this state. You ask us to indorse his fidelity. In reply, I say he has been faithful unto death—the death of the Democratic Party. We have denounced him in South Carolina as a tool of Wall Street, and what was prophecy then is history now. Senator John Sherman’s speech in the Senate in support of the Administration’s money policy was but the certificate of a Cleveland Republican. I tell you that the Democratic Party of the United States will turn out the party in this fall’s election if it dares indorse Grover Cleveland here. I tell you you dare not go before this country after indorsing the Cleveland administration. We of the South have burned our bridges behind us so far as the Eastern Democrats are concerned. We have turned our faces to the West and they have responded. I have only a few more words to say, and I know that you will be asked to do this by time-serving politicians, the men who follow and never lead public opinion. Once again I say to you that we must refuse to indorse the Cleveland Administration or go before the country stultified.

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4 Responses to The Monster’s Appeal

  • Well, he appears to have been a powerful speaker. What happened to his eye? Was it always like that?

  • He lost his eye to an infection as a teenager which kept him from fighting in the Civil War.

  • The only thing that has changed in the Democratic Party is that instead of openly advocating for the extermination of the black race, its members shackle the people of that race and other minorities to the strangulation of affirmative action and the teat of the public treasury. Other than that, Pitchfork Ben Tillman would do well supporting loony leftist causes with phrases such as, ” We have denounced him in South Carolina as a tool of Wall Street…”

  • I don’t see why America should be immune from the violence prompted by racism that afflicted the Balkans during this same time period and which led to the assassination of Austria’ s empress and of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne.

Do Cop Lives Matter?

Friday, July 8, AD 2016

 

Horrific:

 

Eleven police officers were shot ambush-style, including five fatally, in Dallas Thursday night by at least two snipers, amid a protest against the recent police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, according to the Dallas Police.

One of the suspects had engaged in a standoff for several hours with police, but a Dallas city official announced around 3:30 a.m. that it was over. It was not immediately known what his condition was.

The condition of the six wounded officers remains unknown. One civilian was also injured.

Officials said the gunmen aimed to kill as many officers as possible.

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20 Responses to Do Cop Lives Matter?

  • Agree, “this country desperately needs two “honest conversations:” on race and on the welfare state.” The Democrat policy of containment has obviously failed, e.g. Detroit. One idea to fix this is to not allow folks on welfare to vote as they will vote for more welfare. This, of course, would be the end of the corrupt Democrat party which uses bribes such as welfare to win votes. But I am afraid things will have to get a whole lot worse before anything happens.

  • No, hope and change.
    .
    Mr. Dowd, that (bread and circuses) is part the problem. But, your solution will never happen.
    .
    Pray for the best. Prepare for the worst.

  • Shea achieved peak tackiness by posting last night:

    Dear Simcha Fisher
    I have to head up to Canada today and will be unavailable for lunatic comments comparing me to Satan for noticing the bleeding obvious.

    So could you do me a solid and cover my shift in your comboxes by taking the lunatics who compare me to Satan for noticing that Philandro Castile was butchered in cold blood for doing all things that a citizen of the United States is supposed to do while crazy gun-toting white “patriots” are still breathing despite posing an obvious menace?

    Thanks!

    Paragraph 2 is entirely a link to a short post by Simcha pretty much stating the same thing. The only person who managed to be even tackier was Vox Day’s post today (but then I don’t think anybody’s looked to him for good taste).

    I think what bugs me most about these people is… You notice a problem in the country? Fine, voice it, bring it up, then ask for suggestions on improving it. But no, the modern know-nothings of the internet continue to opine on and on about stuff without ever bothering to inform themselves of the details.

    You have a problem with the cops? Ok, fine. What laws and regulations, specifically need to be changed? Which procedures need to be changed? Should we form a citizen committee to oversee the hiring/firing of individuals for the law? Will you sit on it? The legal system of civilization is as complex and intricate as any machine and you can’t just say “i want X!” and expect to get it any more than screaming those words at your computer will produce the result you want.

    Of course nobody does any of that – not even the simplest research (or to find someone who has done the research). Because to do any of that would require effort, and in modern society ‘effort’ is a filthier F-word than the four-letter euphemism for sex.

  • Ah, isn’t that sweet, Shea and Fisher, like good little leftists, doing their best to stoke racial hate. Here is Fisher’s blog post, preserved for posterity before she takes it down:

    “On July 6, 2016, police were involved in a violent altercation with an armed man. 62-year-old William Bruce Ray was pointing a shotgun at passing cars on the highway.

    Police arrived, assessed the situation, and wrestled the gun away from him. During the struggle, Ray brought out a handgun and fired it. Police eventually got Ray under control and took him into custody.

    He had two guns.

    He was openly threatening the lives of passers by.

    He tried to kill policemen.

    He is still alive.

    He is white.

    That’s all I have to say.”
    – See more at: http://aleteia.org/blogs/simchafisher/but-philando-castile-was-black/#sthash.fY9T1wDK.dpuf

    Some of the comments to this are very good:

    1 hour ago
    Barbara Stein

    “This kind of sh*t-stirring is what lead to five police officers dead. If you produce more anger and hatred for people, don’t say it. What would Our Lord have done? Fight?”

    2 hours ago
    nope

    “When that is all you have to say, you contribute to the atmosphere that leads to Dallas.”

    10 hours ago
    Pete Thegreek

    “He is still alive.

    He is white.

    That’s all I have to say.”

    “So, I’ve been thinking about this today, probably shouldn’t have been, but I was. The more I did, the more I realized how witless, vile, bigoted and stupid your snide little aside is here. Your implication being that cops won’t shoot white people like they do black people. I really want to think you believe that because you’re too lazy to actually fact check, but I’m not sure.

    So, just to clear this up:

    So far, in the year 2016, police across the United States have shot and killed 279 whites. Over the exact same time period, the police have killed 136 blacks. So, no, lots more whites get killed by police than blacks.

    Oh, and just among the recently killed whites, there was an 18 y/o named Dylan Noble. The police shot and killed him in the street, even though he was totally unarmed. Now I looked back through your blog here and through Mark Shea’s blog for any mention of him and found, well, nothing. His death was not politically useful, so it will be ignored by both of you, just like the rest of the 278. Had he been black, you and Mark would both be screaming about how racist the cops obviously were, but since he was white, he has only a few friends to remember him.

    You didn’t even know his name until I posted it here.

    Screen capping this for later.”

    – See more at: http://aleteia.org/blogs/simchafisher/but-philando-castile-was-black/#sthash.fY9T1wDK.dpuf

    When it comes to clueless leftists like Shea and Fisher, the statement of Orwell comes to mind:

    “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

  • Did you see the comment Shea left on Fischer’s article?

    Whites with guns are patriots. Blacks with guns are thugs. That’s secret formula. I believe the custom at this point is to turn the conversation to abortion and say that this murder doesn’t matter because more black people die by abortion. The use of the unborn as human shields for every Right Wing Culture of Death Talking Points has brought the “prolife” movement’s credibility right down in the sewer. Attention Right Wing: be more prolife, not less. Defend the unborn *and* innocent people killed by police violence. When unarmed black men have a 700% higher chance of dying at the hands of cops then unarmed white men, that’s not a statistical oddity. It’s racism and your party has declared itself its champion by nominating Donald Trump. Face it.

    What’s “funny” is that NOBODY brought up abortion at all until Shea did. The man’s writings have really become unmoored from reality.

  • Mark-who?
    .
    What a maroon. No! I apologize for insulting morons.
    .
    The Obama/race-baiting/hope and change meme is the regime’s and the media’s SOP/go-to/default setting/knee-jerk.
    .
    And, five Dallas PO’s are KIA.
    .
    Mr. Castile may be a Second Amendment martyr. One could assign blame to anti-Second Amendment hysteria for Mr. Castile’s tragic death. Mr. Castile’s fatal mistake was to try to do the “right thing” by informing the PO that he had in his possession a legal/permitted concealed carry weapon, and then reach for his ID.

  • We’ve been through this before, sadly. Despite what I heard on NPR this morning, we’re not really searching for a motive for the mass murder of the Dallas police officers (NPR needs help on this score, since they also couldn’t figure out the motive for the Orlando night club shootings).
    In 2014 in early December Obama criticized the police and injected race into the killings of Eric Garner in NYC and Michael Brown in Ferguson. He said “this is not a black issue, this is an American issue.” Later, a grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict the officers in the Garner case, and the shooting of Brown turned out to be justified according to Obama’s own Justice Department. On December 21, within weeks of Obama’s premature judgments about Garner and Brown’s deaths, NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot in their patrol car by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who said on social media he was motivated by the deaths of Brown and Garner.
    Early yesterday, Obama again took to the airwaves to pronounce on two police shootings that had just occurred and were nowhere near being fully investigated to find out exactly what happened. No problem for Obama, who opined: “When incidents like this occur, there is a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us. This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue.” (note the exact same language as in 2014).
    Within 24 hours of Obama’s statement, 5 Dallas police officers lie dead at the hands of a heavily armed (including bombs) militant at a supposedly peaceful Black Lives Matter rally.
    Mr. President, for God’s sake, stop stoking the fires of racial resentment, especially when you don’t even take a pause to wait for investigations to figure out all the facts and circumstances. Your rhetoric is dishonest, and is always followed by multiple cop killings. Some people might conclude you want to incite violence. Prove them wrong, and just shut up next time.

  • After making rash-judgments from afar, Obama comes out for gun-control. How about a little mouth-control, Mr. Provocateur-in-Chief. On the Left, everything is politicized and all the answers are to be derived from more and more government and less and less personal freedom and the personal responsibility that goes with it.

  • . The Michael Brown case has no place in the discussion of innocent blacks being killed…yet his name was conflated with such twice in the nytimes today. We (excepting his mom) now know he was not holding up his hands and two agencies found the same groups of false witnesses and credible witnesses which latter matched the forensic evidence. He was leaving a robbery as the cop had been warned and was 292 pounds at 6’4″ and coming toward the 6’4″ but 210 lb. officer after already having punched the officer and trying to get his gun…a minute prior. The reason he was shot 6 times is because if 9mm bullets keep hitting non vital organs ( arm in this case twice )…the person keeps moving toward you. There was a case of a man getting 24 bullets in him and only then did he die. Ergo in home defense, I again vote for the shotgun as to stopping power….although marksmen with pistols hitting vital organs for sure are another option. I’m sure there were many black victims of Michael Brown’s size and immorality in his neighborhood…who were glad he went to his individual judgement. They’ll never say it. But they are relieved. They’ll never write an op ed as Brown’s mother did today in the nytimes….but they’re relieved he went to judgement.

  • He’s been spending all his life living in a Mark Shea Paradise. Calumniating is his life living in a Mark Shea Paradise. Libel and slander and libel, puts it on his blog and justifies it from the bible. If you have a fact that needs some obfuscation you can have a talk with Mark for a minor donation. Why is it so hard to see, almost three hundred pounds of calumny.

  • Oh he made it to a computer today and seems to be furiously trying to make up now. Let’s see he has posts titled (along with some text when appropriate)…

    “Guardians, Not Warriors” – Heard a really interesting interview on my drive up to Canada yesterday about the right and wrong way to form cops so that they approach their work as guardians of the common good and not (as does happen) as militarized warriors against a subject population.

    “This entirely civil and Christian video” – …is without any possible comparison the most searing indictment of white privilege I can imagine

    “Prayers for Dallas” – Followed by such and a meme image from Martin Luthor King, Jr.

    “More of this” – Followed by an actually good picture (though it makes you wonder why he doesn’t go out searching for more pictures like that).

    “Common Sense” – Containing only a daily show clip. Because we all know how unbiased and common sensical that show is.

    Again, a bunch of mushy-headed emotionalism that further proves how addicted Shea has become to the spiritual equivalent of junk food with nothing actually nutritious. Compare his posts to someone like Peter Grant who actually worked as a prison chaplain and it becomes plain to see that the popular voice for the “new catholic evangelical movement” is one who has shed all his spiritual clothes.

  • Is Mark Shea important or something? I’m not familiar with him.

  • Bill Bannon, your comment on the 9 m/m Parabellum cartridge is interesting. “There was a case of a man getting 24 bullets in him and only then did he die.” This reminds me of the Army’s experience with the .38 Long Colt cartridge in the Philippines. The poor terminal ballistic performance of that cartridge led to the adoption of the .45 ACP in 1911.
    A police officer should draw his weapon only when clearly justified, and I understand that police training does not recommend the mere winging of a genuine threat but the positive stopping of that threat. The systemic shock of being hit by a .45 usually accomplishes that task. My work experience was elsewhere so I’ll simply observe with Gilbert & Sullivan that “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one.” I hesitate to make a recommendation for home defense, The best weapon is surely that which one can most competently use.

  • Will and Bill, I think both of you may enjoy this video of an activist undergoing some police training scenarios.

  • Thank you Nate, for the reality of it. We have, of late, let Pajama Boy control the conversation.

  • If I had a nickel for every column I’ve seen about Mark Shea, Ross Douthat, and Michael Voris, I’d be a rich man. If I had a nickel less for every column I’ve read written by any of them, it’d cost me less than a quarter.

    I feel like we spend too much time on trolls. I was thinking about that after reading the recent anti-“God Bless America” article linked to here. I got angry with myself afterwards – why did I waste my time on it? There can be value in keeping up with what one’s opponents think, but there’s no value in reading trolls. On another blog, someone made the comment that we should always respond to violence with anger. I replied that anger makes us more prone to violence. If we just stopped goading each other – not rebuking, not debating, but goading – how much better off would we be?

  • I replied that anger makes us more prone to violence. If we just stopped goading each other – not rebuking, not debating, but goading – how much better off would we be?

    I once read a book called “the Silence of Adam” which proposed that according to the text, there is a heavy implication that Adam was actually right beside Eve, present when the serpent tempted her. Even if not true, it is an applicable Aesop about the dangers of standing silent and letting lies be whispered such that others are led astray. This isn’t a call to always answer trolls (they do love attention) but not everyone that disagrees is a troll either. Shea has set himself up enough as a thought leader that it can be unwise to leave him unchallenged.
    .
    Plus some of us remember when he used to be better so it’s also a eulogy for mind and wit that’s ruining itself.

  • Nate…..great video and a step forward that the activist agreed to the experience and changed somewhat.
    William….yes I’m aware that the 45 is one of the best stopping power rounds but if you miss and the shell goes out your window and into a neighbor’s, then a 20 gauge does the stopping power part but it’s lethality vitiates with neighborhood travel and that travel spreads out the pellets to that same safer end.

  • Shea and Fischer deserve the ICE 9 virus.

  • Bill Bannon, you make a good point. There are also frangible bullets for the purpose. It is such a lugubrious subject that I’d not even discuss it but to give at least the best advice. We live out in the country but many live just a bit of paint and sheetrock away from their neighbors. No universal answers, except pray always.

November 1, 1945: The House He Lived In

Thursday, November 12, AD 2015

 

 

One of the interesting aspects of studying history is to view public figures, blessed with long lives, and see the roles they played  at different periods in their life.  Frank Sinatra, who towards the end of his life was noted primarily for his body of work as a singer, associations with the Mafia, and stories about his frequently extreme personal behavior, was quite the political activist as a liberal in his younger days.  (He would switch to the Republican party after being snubbed by JFK during the Kennedy administration.)  One example of this was when he gave a concert in Gary, Indiana, to help solve a problem with racial strife in that city.  Blacks from the South had been attracted to Gary by wartime jobs, as was the case with many Northern cities, and this influx led to racial turmoil.  The city had one integrated high school, Froebel High School.  White students protested integration by organizing two walkouts that attracted national attention.

Sinatra had recently cut a record, The House I Live In, pleading for tolerance.  Probably both in an honest effort to help, and to gain much needed positive publicity after being attacked for draft dodging during the War, Sinatra gave the concert on November 1,1945.

The draft dodging rumors were unfair.  Sinatra had been designated a 4-F by his draft board due to a perforated ear drum, caused during his delivery at birth, chronic mastoiditis and mental instability.  ”During the psychiatric interview, the patient stated that he was ‘neurotic, afraid to be in crowds, afraid to go in the elevator, makes him feel that he would want to run when surrounded by people. He had comatic ideas and headaches and has been very nervous for four or five years. Wakens tired in the A.M., is run down and undernourished. The examining psychiatrist concluded that this selectee suffered from psychoneurosis and was not acceptable material from the psychiatric viewpoint.” 

Sinatra was met in Gary by a large and enthusiastic integrated audience, with both black and white teenage girls in rapturous hysterics as he sang.

GS2-Screaming%20students

Sinatra got some good national publicity and doubtless his heart was in the right place.  The concert of course did nothing to resolve the racial disputes since only in Hollywood are such deep rooted problems dealt with so easily as by a concert.

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2 Responses to November 1, 1945: The House He Lived In

  • Thanks for posting this story. My late mom was born and raised in Gary and her dad worked in one of the steel mills for 40 years before he retired and moved to Illinois near us. She would have been 18 and just graduated from high school when this concert occurred, although she did not attend this concert (as far as I know). The high school she attended (Wirt) was all white but she could remember there being a huge uproar over mere rumors that one or more black students might attempt to enroll. She also told me that at least one of the high schools (probably Froebel) would only allow black students to use the swimming pool right before it was drained and cleaned. It seems very hard to imagine that racial attitudes like this — which my mom did NOT share — existed within living memory, but they did.

  • I noticed the Masonic/New Age theme to this movie that all religions are equal.

Conversation About Race

Monday, March 23, AD 2015

 

White Starbucks

 

 

Starbucks, that purveyor of overpriced beverages by underpaid workers, decided last week to have a “conversation” on race with its customers, and after an avalanche of ridicule they have ended it.

Howard D. Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, said in a letter to employees on Sunday that baristas would no longer be encouraged to write the phrase “Race Together” on customers’ coffee cups, drawing to a close a widely derided component of the company’s plan to promote a discussion on racial issues.

“While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,” Mr. Schultz wrote.

Having baristas write on customers’ cups, Mr. Schultz wrote, “which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer-term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22.”

That end date had not previously been mentioned publicly, including during Mr. Schultz’s discussion of the initiative at the company’s annual shareholders meeting last week, but a company spokeswoman, Laurel Harper, said employees had been told about it.

Asked whether Starbucks was reacting to criticism, Ms. Harper said, “That is not true at all. When we initially began the Race Together initiative, what we wanted to do is spark the conversation, because we believe that is the first step in a complicated issue.”

She added, “Leading change isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.”

The initiative, which began last week, was mocked with such vehemence on social media that the company’s senior vice president for global communications deleted his Twitter account because, as he wrote on Medium, he felt “personally attacked in a cascade of negativity.”

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27 Responses to Conversation About Race

  • If you want a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price from a chain, go to Dunkin’ Donuts or Einstein Bros. where you can get it without pretentions. Or better yet, go to a locally owned shop, as long as it is not too close to a college or university campus.

  • I need coffee. I don’t need some do-gooder telling me I need to think about other people.

  • The best conversation about race…is no conversation about race.

    Treat everyone the same. Don’t be race obsessed as the liberals (who are the main racists) are.

  • Starbucks trial balloon popped!

    This was a test. They were testing for the real issue….next years election. I hope this failure hits Starbucks hard in the bottom line.

  • Please correct me if I err.
    .
    10 people are depicted in the leadership team photo for Starbucks.
    .
    16 people are Caucasian.
    .
    16 people are men.
    .
    3 people are woman.
    .
    3 people are non-Caucasian – one black, one Indian (I think), and one Asian.
    .
    I hate, loathe, despise, abhor, detest and hold in utter contempt, disdain and revulsion godless liberal progressivism.
    .
    I have not bought Starbucks in a long time. I shall continue my boycott.

  • Opps, my error. Change 10 people depicted to 19 people depicted. Darn 0 is next to the nine key!

  • “She added ‘leading change isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.'”
    .
    Laurel Harper, the Starbuck’s company spokesman, was able to pack an
    astonishing amount of complacent preening and self-pity into just that
    one line. Starbucks so richly deserves their ridicule.

  • “Right back at you” for all the thumbs down. Mr. Shultz has been schooled in racism. Those who love their neighbor as themselves do not need it and those who are bone ignorant will not have it.
    Name calling is not an argument nor is it a conversation. It is called bullying. It is basically irrational, that action of a rational human soul denied.

  • P.S. “Right back at you” is what I tell those who call me names, ridicule and/or curse me. It is the only real response to bullying an individual can give. (I used to throw stones at boys, but you did not need to know that)

  • Paul W Primavera: “Opps, my error. Change 10 people depicted to 19 people depicted. Darn 0 is next to the nine key!”
    .
    And they just keep making these machines that way. I am still trying to find my way out of the ethersphere when I inadvertently send my self there. Say, Paul, If you find me, send me home. Thanks.

  • I’m not a coffee drinker. Neither is the missus, and she’s from Santiago de Cali, Colombia, the nation with the best coffee on earth. Before we had our boys, we made occasional trips to DC to visit friends and would stop at a Colombian grocery store on the DC-Maryland border on Georgia Avenue. I bought coffee and gave it as gifts.

    I haven’t been in DC in almost four years. One of my son’s hockey coaches is originally form Quebec, and Tim Horton’s is HUGE in Canada – and some selected US locations. Their donuts beat other donut shops and I give the coffee as a gift to my boys’ Godmother and tonight my son’s hockey coaches are getting K cups as a gift – in part for putting up with him. They deserve nothing less.

    Starbucks does not exist to me. Starbucks has less importance to me than hair coloring.

  • Penguins Fan.

    “Starbucks has less importance to me than hair coloring.”

    Funny line. Thanks for the smile.

  • Tim Horton’s is HUGE in Canada – and some selected US locations.
    00
    God only knows why.

  • If you want a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price from a chain, go to Dunkin’ Donuts

    You go to Dunkin’ if you want their eats or if the quality of the coffee (somewhat bland) is agreeable to you. Different flavors than Starbuck’s.

    Or better yet, go to a locally owned shop

    They have excellent Danish and crescent rolls, indifferent lunches, and terrible coffee.

  • This whole incident is very strange, but it has seemed in the last 15 years that much of the executive suite has been taken over by people who’ve absorbed what college diversicrats trade in because there wasn’t anything else occupying that space in their head. An argument for liberal education, I guess, although, it it’s just a class marker, liberal education might not do much good even if it was not delivered by sectaries (as it will be most places).

  • Art Deco, I am no coffee connosseur, but I love the donuts at Tim Hortons.

  • I like Glenn Reynolds’s take on this: “The primary purpose of race-talk in America today is to allow elite whites to silence and shame non-elite whites. Thus, it’s not surprising that the people pushing it are . . . a bunch of elite whites.”

  • “The primary purpose of race-talk in America today is to allow elite whites to silence and shame non-elite whites.”

    That is the real point. A need to feel superior to others.

    I also think that this type stuff is a natural outflow of not having a proper relationship with Jesus Christ. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves–not control them or force them to be what WE think they should be.

    Our society has truly turned into one in which everyone must find fault with everyone else–causing constant factionalism and chaos. The Holy Spirit brings peace and encouragement. Most times encouragement that is most effective is silent prayer for others.

  • “Starbucks, that purveyor of overpriced beverages by underpaid workers”.

    Sadly Starbucks is all over the world and in the leadership team 16 people are Caucasian and 16 people are men. There is much needed to be done to improve race relations all over the world. Sadly one of the biggest race problems is how blacks and ethnic minorities are still highly represented as underpaid workers, in poverty and in the prison system.

  • Starbucks was a woeful failure in Australia. It launched its first Sydney cafe in 2000 before opening a further 84 outlets across Australia’s eastern coast. Just eight years later, it had stacked up $143 million in recorded losses and was forced to close 60 stores. I think 25 are left. But they are run by Withers- who own 7-Eleven- what does that tell you?! The coffee is better at 7-Eleven.

    Forget the awful business culture- Starbucks coffee is horrible. Even in comparison to Instant coffee. It’s not even coffee, but more like a coffee-drink.

    The thought of visiting a Starbucks and ordering horrible coffee, whilst being confronted by staff with bad manners forcing me to talk about race.

    Heck, Id rather order a coffee at a McDonalds.

  • Great reminder–Frederick Douglass’ quote posted above.

    As the local on-site ‘reporter’ in the “CCCP”-(SF) Bay Area, I note that this proposal ignited an explosion here also by our many resident progressives. Even THEY don’t want their overpriced coffee ruined by a race-discussion at 7am. Pursuit of higher awareness can only commence later in the day.

  • Will Starbucks demand a conversation about the slaughter of innocent humans inside their mother’s womb…and why not?

  • Will Starbucks demand a conversation about the slaughter of innocent humans inside their mother’s womb…and why not?

    No, because among the sort of people who land jobs in corporate management (including corporate counsel), an objection to the slaughter of the innocent is considered vulgar. Ditto the faculties which expend other people’s money on diversicrats.

  • It seems all this recent talk about race-relations has more to with politics than justice.

  • If by recent you mean since circa 199-something or other. Give or take a decade more or less.

  • I certainly mean during the time of the current Administration and with all the troubles of the past year. Actual racial prejudice was on the way out as much as thirty or so years ago but has returned as perhaps part of a divide and conquer theme of the political Left. I have a strong sense of a bloodless, gun-less revolution underway. Who funds these riots in Ferguson and elsewhere?

Democrats and the Race Card

Tuesday, September 30, AD 2014

 

Civil Rights

We condemn bigots who inject class, racial and religious prejudice into public and political matters. Bigotry is un-American and a danger to the Republic.

We deplore the duplicity and insincerity of the Party in power in racial and religious matters. Although they have been in office as a Majority Party for many years, they have not kept nor do they intend to keep their promises.

The Republican Party will not mislead, exploit or attempt to confuse minority groups for political purposes. All American citizens are entitled to full, impartial enforcement of Federal laws relating to their civil rights.

We believe that it is the primary responsibility of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions, and this power, reserved to the states, is essential to the maintenance of our Federal Republic. However, we believe that the Federal Government should take supplemental action within its constitutional jurisdiction to oppose discrimination against race, religion or national origin.

We will prove our good faith by:

Appointing qualified persons, without distinction of race, religion or national origin, to responsible positions in the Government.

Federal action toward the elimination of lynching.

Federal action toward the elimination of poll taxes as a prerequisite to voting.

Appropriate action to end segregation in the District of Columbia.

Enacting Federal legislation to further just and equitable treatment in the area of discriminatory employment practices. Federal action should not duplicate state efforts to end such practices; should not set up another huge bureaucracy.

Republican Party Platform on Civil Rights, 1952, when Eisenhower cracked the Solid South

 

 

 

 

One political party for over a century and a half has routinely used appeals based on race to win elections.  The other party, throughout its history, has stood for civil rights for all Americans and denied that government policy should be based on racial discrimination.  The first party is the Democrat Party and the second party is the Republican party.  To get around this simple fact of American political history, some Democrats, especially in election years when the polls are against them, routinely attempt to portray Republicans as racists, in an Alice in Wonderland inversion of the truth.  The latest hilarious example of this mendacious and bold faced attempt to rewrite history is on display at Politico in an article entitled Race and the Modern GOP.  This recycles the claim of an evil Republican strategy to appeal to white racists in the South who switched en masse to become Republicans.

The problem with this is that it is a liberal fable. It didn’t happen that way. The first breach in the solid South was by Eisenhower who ran on a platform of vigorous support for Civil Rights for blacks. Segregationists retained complete control of the Democrat parties in the South and enjoyed electoral success throughout the period in question. The South changing to Republican had to do with the rise of the cultural issues, an influx of northern Republicans following wide spread use of air conditioning and the rapid economic development of the South, and the anti-military hysteria and isolationism that seized control of the Democrats in the wake of Vietnam.

My co-blogger Paul Zummo had an excellent post on this subject :

Along these same lines, Trende postulates that if any real realignment occurred, it took place during the Eisenhower administration. The Eisenhower coalition, as he puts it, pushed the GOP to decisive victories in seven of nine presidential elections. Moreover, the solid Democratic south began shifting towards the Republican party at this point. In fact the south’s gradual shift towards the GOP had begun as early as the 1920s, but the Depression halted Republican advances here. Once the New Deal had ramped up, the Republicans again began making inroads. Republicans began being truly competitive in presidential elections during the 1950s, then started making inroads in Congressional races in the 1970s and 80s, and are finally now the dominant party on the local level.

Trende’s thesis effectively destroys the notion that Republicans only began being competitive in the south once Nixon deployed the “southern strategy” to woo racist southerners after the Civil Rights Act. As already mentioned, the GOP vote share in the south had been incrementally creeping up in the 1930s, with GOP vote shares moving out of the 15-20% range and inching up towards parity slowly and surely. In fact the GOP vote share in the south did not noticeably increase during  the 1960s, but instead crept up in the same incremental 1-2% annual range. Where Republicans really started making dents were with younger southern voters, as older southerners continued to cling to the Democratic party even though the national party’s values no longer matched their own. Considering that younger voters tended to have much more liberal racial views, the transformation of the south into a Republican stronghold has to be explained by something other than racial matters.

Even though Trende doesn’t come right out and say this, if anything the changing electoral map can just as easily be explained by the Democrats pursuing a northern strategy. As the Democrats began appealing to elite northern voters by pushing a more liberal agenda, this drove southerners and midwesterners away from the party. This trend would continue until Bill Clinton pursued a much different strategy, crafting his agenda to appeal to suburbanites and middle income whites. Clinton and the New Democrats were able to rip into Republican strongholds by advancing a more moderate platform. The end of the Cold War, as well as the rise of the Evangelical right, fractured the Eisenhower coalition, allowing the Democrats to win presidential elections.

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13 Responses to Democrats and the Race Card

  • I do believe it was Lyndon Baines Johnson who said, “I’ll have these niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”

  • Rahm Emanuel Eric Holder and Badrock Obama have shown Americans what the “Chicago Way” is all about. They are the biggest meanest racist that have ever entered into politics.

    Lyndon was a prophet.

  • The differences in the parties is becoming less over time. Both spend beyond their means and refuse to protect life. A third party is not the answer either. For now, it is a game to see how long the American people will remain duped. Meanwhile, our sons and daughters will have less opportunity except for military service. Some who choose this path will be sent to a strange land in the middle east and may never return. The machine grinds on focused on taxes and soldiers. This was the state of Rome before the fall.

  • “and refuse to protect life”

    Untrue. But for the Democrat party legal abortion in this country would be a thing of the past.
    As for Rome, the Republic fought far greater wars than the Empire and imposed far heavier burdens on the Roman cititzens due to the wars, both in taxes and military service. In the later Empire the military forces were numerically less, but they were staffed by barbarian mercenaries, expensive and unreliable, the citizens of Rome long having lost their taste for military service. When people forget how to fight, or lose their willingness to do so to protect their countries, then they are headed for foreign conquest.

  • Don, if you are waiting for republicans to reverse abortion on demand, good luck. The neo-conservative movement in the party has other priorities. Lip service is all that is given to the protection of life. Many voters have been hoping in vain for decades now. Reagan even promised change and swung a block of catholic voters over. The promises were evidently empty. Hoodwinked again!

  • Rubbish Rick. I assume you are bone ignorant of the hundreds of pro-life laws passed by state legislatures since the Republicans took control of them in 2010.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/more-pro-life-laws-passed-in-last-two-years-than-in-the-previous-decade-pro

    It is the Democrats who view abortion as a sacrament and who fight tooth and nail for it. Next time you comment here, actually research a subject before you bother typing worthless tripe in the comboxes.

  • Pacem, Don and Rick,
    .
    The battleground of the US abortion horror is the federal judiciary. It must be filled with pro-life appointees. Enter peace and justice dem caths (democrat first, catholic somewhere down the deceit chart). As long as US Senate Dems have sufficient votes (What 34 or ?), they have blocked each and every GOP pro-ilfe (extremist!, women’s health!) judiciary appointment. And, when (far too long) the murderous dems controlled the WH and senate, they filled the courts with baby-murderers.
    .
    Rick,
    .
    You twice elected a man as president who had no experience at anything. Here are Obama’s methods: Claim ignorance. Blame subordinates. You are a racist!
    .

    Your half-baked ( you tip your hand with buzz words like “neo-con”) contentions are no more logical than the race card. It appears as if you are one of those that believes: throw against the “wall” a suffiecient number of clots of spucatum tauri and some of it will stick.
    .
    Bless your heart. and thanks for helping to wreck America!

  • Pacem indeed!

    When Newt had control of the House of Representatives, he had a chance to promote pro-life causes. These causes took a back seat to other priorities, specifically those of the neoconservative movement.
    Reagan promised catholic voters action on the abortion issue. This evaporated after he was elected. Look at who he appointed to the supreme court if you need more proof of the points I am making. I am happy to supply you with sound research on the topic.
    I admire your zeal for the pro-life cause but you need to see the truth of the matter before real progress can be made. Both parties care a whit about this issue. One is promoting total moral chaos and the other is promoting total war in the middle east with your tax dollars and more debt. Both usurers and sodomites are in the same circle of Dante’s inferno. This describes the political parties aptly I believe.

  • “When Newt had control of the House of Representatives, he had a chance to promote pro-life causes.”
    Which the Republicans did, and which Bill Clinton vetoed:

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/cardinalspba.html

    “Reagan promised catholic voters action on the abortion issue.”

    And he kept that promise. Reagan constantly pushed pro-life legislation despite the fact that he never had a Congress controlled by the Republican. In 1984 he wrote abortion and the conscience of the nation:
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/02/06/ronald-reagan-abortion-and-the-conscience-of-the-nation/

    “I am happy to supply you with sound research on the topic.”

    If you were a faithful reader of this blog you would realize just how laughable that offer is. Reagan made three Supreme Court appointments: the first was Sandra Day O’Connor who voted pro-life as long as Reagan was in office; Antonin Scalia who has led the fight against Roe on the Supreme Court; his third pick was Judge Robert Bork, who would have supplied the fifth vote to over turn Roe. His nomination was defeated in the Senate by the Democrats led by Ted Kennedy. His second nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg swiftly withdrew due to questions about marijuana use. The third nominee Anthony Kennedy got through the Senate. His voting record on abortion has been mixed. Upholding Roe but also upholding various restrictions on abortion, including the partial birth abortion ban.

    Your argument that there is no difference between the parties on abortion is rubbish.

  • Rick, I think you are largely right about Newt, but wrong about Reagan. He did everything in his power to assist the pro-life cause, including appointing federal judges who due diligence suggested would be faithful to the constitution and therefore hostile to Roe. That is not a predictable process, but he did well overall but disappointed at the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, conservative jurists tend to give greater weight to the doctrine of stare decisis than their liberal counterparts, making reversals of decided cases more difficult, and Reagan appointees O’Connor and Kennedy were influenced by that. That was not true of Scalia and would not have been true of Bork, both of whom were already on record as being critical of Roe (O’Connor and Kennedy were more circumspect in their opinions, which is common among judges). Just a lazy effort at examining Reagan’s actual actions on abortion (see executive orders and foreign policy decisions, the two areas he actually had power over) demonstrates that his opposition to abortion was genuine.
    And your description of political parties is the same tiresome claptrap that one hears from the pure and uninvolved. The truth is that political parties are by nature big tents composed of uneasy coalitions. The GOP includes many who are passionately pro-life and even more who are uneasy about abortion but view it as a secondary issue to the economy and national security. The Dems include many who view abortion as akin to a Sacrament and even more who are uneasy but want to preserve the option. As Don had pointed out in the past, the abolitionists of Lincoln’s era formed similar imperfect alliances within the GOP, but those alliances were not evidence of a lack of passion or sincerity. Even Lincoln, as much as he abhorred slavery, would have tolerated it indefinitely in necessary to preserve the union.
    Yes, some Republican candidates are indifferent to abortion but simply check the right boxes to win primaries; some are sincerely pro-life and even lose elections because if it. The bottom line is that for the most part the party does a pretty good job given the legal and political constraints (have you even followed what’s going on in Texas?). But because the Supreme Court cheated in Roe, we’re all stuck at playing small ball. It is exceedingly difficult to get a reliably anti-Roe judge appointed to the High Court, and gauging such reliability is perilous given that it is widely understood to be inappropriate for judges to signal in advance how they’ll rule on matters likely to come before them.

  • Like I said in the beginning, America will remain duped for a long time to come. It is by design so do not feel bad about it. The machine grinds on seeking only taxes and soldiers. Consider Rick Santorum who works for the American Enterprise Institute now. He is supposed to be a solid catholic. He gave a speech at ND after he left office that had one theme – bomb Iran. He could have focused on the holocaust here in the USA – infanticide. But he new gets his $ from the AEI. Connect the dots and it should start becoming clear. These virtuous republicans are puppets of the movement mentioned earlier.

    To be fair, you might see significant pro-life legislation in our lifetimes. This is simply due to the opposition not reproducing. It has little to do with the republican party.

  • “He is supposed to be a solid catholic. He gave a speech at ND after he left office that had one theme – bomb Iran. He could have focused on the holocaust here in the USA – infanticide.”

    You don’t know much about Santorum do you? When he was in the Senate his major focuses were the fight against abortion and the threat posed by Iran. The video below is from 2006:

Race Uber Alles

Monday, May 12, AD 2014

9 Responses to Race Uber Alles

  • No one is more racist than the liberal progressive Democrat. Democrats enslaved the black man to the plantation in the 19th century and to the public treasury in the 21st. I utterly despise the Democratic Party.

  • Words have come to either mean or to bring about the opposite of what they were meant to mean.
    Diversity means treating all the diverse people as if they were the same…both within their category and across categories. Diversity means no diversity. Am I wrong?
    .
    cat·e·go·ry ˈkatəˌgôrē/ noun
    1.a class or division of people or things regarded as having particular shared characteristics.
    synonyms: class, classification, group, grouping, bracket, heading, set

  • The opposite of diversity is uniformity.
    Trying to ensure diversity we treat blacks (or any category) uniformly

  • If you treat people differently solely on the basis of their skin color…then you are a racist.

    Did you hear that all you good little racist Democrats?

  • Reminds me of a slogan some group or other was pushing in my neck of the woods a few years back:
    .
    Diversity: It’s what we have in common
    .
    Always had me yelling at the TV: then we don’t have anything in common, do we?
    .
    Kinda like that if everybody’s special, then nobody’s special thing from The Incredibles back in the day.

  • As soon as you bend you will to theirs, they will change the meaning of their words. It is a matter of dominion over the people, of sovereignty over another, and this is not possible without slavery.

  • I’m feeling oppressed. I’m going to eat some chocolate now.

  • Frederick Douglass was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. Here is one of his best quotes, from 1867: “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box.” Some have added the soapbox, but you get the idea.

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Pro-aborts and the Race Card

Friday, March 7, AD 2014

The above video is from the Alabama Right to Life website.

In a vain attempt to stop the passage of pro-life legislation in Alabama, Democrat Representative Alvin Holmes, a truly charming individual who earlier this year referred to Justice Clarence Thomas as an Uncle Tom, drew the race card, the first resort of pro-aborts and the Democrat party:

“If you asked the people in here now to raise their hands, of those who are against abortion, 99% of all of the white people in here gonna raise their hand that they are against abortion,” Holmes said Tuesday according to a recording of some of the debate on al.com. “On the other hand, 99% of the whites that are sitting in here now, if they daughter got pregnant by a black man, they gonna make their daughter have an abortion. They ain’t gonna let her have the baby. You know, the truth sometimes hurts … They’re not gonna let that happen. You know that and I know that. You will never admit it.”

During his speech, Holmes asks one white woman, it’s unclear who, if she’d allow her daughter to have a mixed-race baby.

 

“Yes, I would,” the woman replies.

“Well, I need to commend you then,” Holmes says. “There’s not one in 100,000 that would do that.”

Go here to read the rest.  Of course abortion is the dream come true for the Klan, the traditional terrorist wing of the Democrat party in the South.  In adjacent Mississippi, for example, we have these statistics:

Although whites outnumber blacks in Mississippi by nearly 2-to-1, 71.67% of the babies aborted in Mississippi are black, while 26.6% are white.

Based on data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39,052 black babies were killed by abortions in Mississippi between 1995 and 2010.  During that same time period, 14,529 white babies were aborted in the Magnolia State.

The total number of abortions between 1995 and 2010 in Mississippi was 54,484. In addition to blacks and whites, that number also includes abortions among Hispanics, “Other” (meaning Asian and Native American), and “Unknown,” as published by the CDC.

Whites in Mississippi outnumber blacks by a ratio of 1.6-to-1. Despite that difference, the data show that black abortions comprised, on average, 72% of the total over the last 16 years.

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10 Responses to Pro-aborts and the Race Card

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    .
    Our Creator creates a rational, immortal soul at the beginning of life for each and every human being. The state gives the person citizenship and a tax bill at birth, an horrendous tax bill at that, at birth. Our Creator endows civil rights and sovereign personhood at conception, virginity and legal and moral innocence, the standard of Justice for all nations to each and every newly begotten child.
    .
    My questions to Alvin Holmes are: Did our Creator create a white man’s soul more innocent than a black man’s soul? Is the white man’s soul created more equal than a black man’s soul? By what Justice is a black man’s soul aborted? By what Justice are the white men’s souls accused of prejudice? By what right does Alvin Holmes take tax money for only representing his own opinion?

  • Oh, Holmes. You claim white people would abort a mixed race baby. What’s your point? Are you saying whites sometimes do it too so it s all right? Lame. Look at the numbers! Young black women and children are being attacked and not by the people trying to stop legal abortions.

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  • From Chapter I of “Pivot of Civiliztion” by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood:
    .
    “But even when most under the spell of the new vision [ . . . a new world, of a proletarian world emancipated, a Utopian world . . .,] the sight of the overburdened wives of the strikers, with their puny babies and their broods of under-fed children, made us stop and think of a neglected factor in the march toward our earthly paradise. It was well enough to ask the poor men workers to carry on the battle against economic injustice. But what results could be expected when they were forced in addition to carry the burden of their ever-growing families? This question loomed large to those of us who came into intimate contact with the women and children. We saw that in the final analysis the real burden of economic and industrial warfare was thrust upon the frail, all-too-frail shoulders of the children, the very babies—the coming generation. In their wan faces, in their undernourished bodies, would be indelibly written the bitter defeat of their parents.”
    .
    “The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the “unfit” and the “fit,” admittedly the greatest present menace to the civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit, and therefore less fertile, parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem to-day is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.
    .
    To effect the salvation of the generations of the future—nay, of the generations of to-day—our greatest need, first of all, is the ability to face the situation without flinching; to cooperate in the formation of a code of sexual ethics based upon a thorough biological and psychological understanding of human nature; and then to answer the questions and the needs of the people with all the intelligence and honesty at our command. If we can summon the bravery to do this, we shall best be serving the pivotal interests of civilization.
    .
    To conclude this introduction: my initiation, as I have confessed, was primarily an emotional one. My interest in Birth Control was awakened by experience. Research and investigation have followed. Our effort has been to raise our program from the plane of the emotional to the plane of the scientific. Any social progress, it is my belief, must purge itself of sentimentalism and pass through the crucible of science. We are willing to submit Birth Control to this test. It is part of the purpose of this book to appeal to the scientist for aid, to arouse that interest which will result in widespread research and investigation. I believe that my personal experience with this idea must be that of the race at large. We must temper our emotion and enthusiasm with the impersonal determination of science. We must unite in the task of creating an instrument of steel, strong but supple, if we are to triumph finally in the war for human emancipation.”
    .
    That’s just the first chapter; the words find echo in Hitler, Stalin, Mao and every other “social engineer” that has brought genocide and misery to millions in the name of “advancement.”
    .
    If you can stomach it, read the rest. It defines the Fascist Left’s insistence on eugenics as policy and that core selfishness that seems to defy comprehension.

  • Let me get the argument of Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes (D) straight. He’s saying he’s pro-abortion and racists should be pro-abortion too. He also has a secondary argument that all white people are racist (claiming p=0.0001). This exposes Holmes himself as a racist.

    Not much has changed since Margaret Sanger spoke before the Klan about racial hygiene and the Democrats in attendance applauded.

  • I live in Alabama and believe me, this guy (I won’t call him a representative because he only represents himself and very few others) does not speak for Alabama voters. We are very active in the pro-life movement. A person like this makes the entire state look horrible. However, if his hate mongering speeches can get more involved in protesting the abortion industry, he may serve some purpose after all.

  • A few years ago, I had a conversation about abortion with a woman who I had always considered one of my closest friends, since we were 14 (we are now in our mid-50’s). She’s biracial, which had never seemed to be a factor in our relationship. Boy, was I wrong.

    I had just stated my opposition to ANY abortion, and she retorted with, “Yes, you’re so concerned about babies, as long as they’re WHITE babies.”

    It stung me like a slap in the face. I had honestly never thought of the unborn as belonging to any particular race or culture…the issue is about life, not ethnicity. Never in a million years would it have occurred to me that race would be a factor among abortion supporters.

    I did not have the statistics to counter-argue, except to deny her charge.

    But her attack remains one of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. We had known each other and each other’s family for decades, we have maintained a relationship over a great geographic distance, we have been each other’s emotional support over many crises through the years. She probably considers me her best friend.

    Being reduced to nothing more than a “racist white lady” after all that time still hurts. My trust in her was completely destroyed by that remark.

    So, this story coming out of Alabama is not at all surprising. But it is still sickeningly offensive.

  • “Yes, you’re so concerned about babies, as long as they’re WHITE babies.”

    Tell her if that were the case you certainly would not be against abortion in general as blacks per capita have by far the highest abortion rate in the country. Of course telling that simple truth to her would have confirmed you in her eyes as a racist, which in pro-abort speak usually translates: I can think of nothing to defend my embrace of abortion, so I will call pro-lifers racist to end the discussion. If you are still talking to her, you might wish to ask her if she has had an abortion in her past. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case and her defense mechanism to justify her decision is to falsely claim that pro-lifers are racists.

  • You are right, Don. The pro-abort crowd does not want to hear logic, reason, or measure. Same for racist libs. They are far too addicted to the high they get from their misguided self-righteous anger.

A Twofer For the Klan

Tuesday, February 11, AD 2014

One of the more interesting figures in American public life is Justice Clarence Thomas:

 

Thomas spent his childhood in a place and time in which businesses and government services were legally segregated. In his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” he described his experience growing up as an African-American Catholic in Georgia during the Jim Crow era. “I was a two-fer for the Klan,” he said.

Thomas moved north from Georgia and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974. He went on to a successful judicial career that took him all the way to the Supreme Court. Thomas’ views on constitutional issues usually put him on the conservative side of the court, where he has penned opinions intended to rein in affirmative-action laws and overhaul a section of the Civil Rights Act that requires states with histories of discrimination to seek approval from the federal government before altering voting policies.

Throughout his career, Thomas said, he has experienced more instances of discrimination and poor treatment in the North than the South.

“The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites. The absolute worst I have ever been treated,” Thomas said. “The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia.”

As one of six Catholics on the court, Thomas also addressed the role his faith plays in his work as a justice.

“I quite frankly don’t know how you do these hard jobs without some faith. I don’t know. Other people can come to you and explain it to you. I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t know how an oath becomes meaningful unless you have faith. Because at the end you say, ‘So help me God.’ And a promise to God is different from a promise to anyone else.”

Go here to read the rest.  Thomas was raised by his cantankerous maternal grandfather Myers Anderson, a man with little education but who through hard work built a thriving business selling fuel oil and ice.  He worked Clarence and his brother liked rented mules, and imprinted on them the value of hard work, promising them that if they worked hard enough, and got an education, they could be anything they wanted to be, having nothing but scorn for the idea that white racism could stop them.  Thomas has said simply that his grandfather is the greatest man he has ever known.

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15 Responses to A Twofer For the Klan

  • Racism, or better put, prejudice against people with dark skin, is an industry today. Malcom X, Louis Farrakhan, Coleman Young, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, Marion Barry and others of that ilk make or made a good living off of racism. Should racism disappear, the hucksters I mentioned who are still living would have to find honest work.

    Clarence Thomas puts the lie to the Northeastern liberal elite, the bunch who consider themselves the best and the brightest – but really are not and never were. They hate his race and they hate his religion and they hate his worldview. When I worked in DC, I sensed an “air” of a sort that I can’t quite put in words. it wasn’t among my coworkers, but in the Post and in other media…that Washington was where the smarter people went to work and live and everyone else was lower class.

    Speaking of the Klan, I remember something my late grandmother told me. Grandma, one of three children of Polish immigrants, grew up in Greene County, Pennsylvania, which is the extreme southwest of the Commonwealth. She told me once that when she was a young girl, the KKK marched down her street with their robes and their burning crosses. If those idiots tried that on my street, I would drive a truck right at them. The Klan hates Catholics and Jews as much as they hate blacks.

  • What an impressive man! Thanks for that clip.
    Perhaps I am insulated somehow from it, but I don’t think we are all that racist, though we are certainly accused of it alot! Fear of racism or accusations of racism can be huge distractions from the underlying sins of pride and the rest (envy, gluttony, lust. anger, greed, sloth). It also seems that the 7 sins mights behind our constant accusations of racism… I liked what C Thomas said about hard to “get over” race while focusing on it!

  • Wow.

    I think it’s a sign of a weak leader, when he/she choose to play the race card or the social class card.

    It means their policies are so weak and exhausted, so they resort to bottom-of-the-barrel tactics.

    For example take Stalin or Hitler. And Che Guevara, the Muslim Brotherhood, Fidel Castro et al.

    But now more recently Barack Obama. The so-called “leader of the free world” and his pinning of the “haves” against the “have-not”. There is nothing like playing the good-old class warfare game.

    Justice Clarence Thomas sounds like an amazing man. A man of true substance.

  • I love that guy!

    And Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, too.

    I’d follow them around just to pick up some scraps of wisdom.

    Thanks.

  • theoldadam: A++

    Two points:

    Bull Connor was a member of the Democrat National Committee; all klansmen were Democrats – the “solid South.”

    And, atheists cannot be relied on/trusted in an extremity.

  • Some years back in Indianapolis – a city with an infamous connection to that horrid organization – the Klan staged a standard flag-and-banner, vitriol-spewing rally. However, instead of counter-demonstrations and contentious spectators playing into the hands of these evil nutcases, everybody simply stayed away. Nobody showed up except a few media types who were, doubtless, sadly disappointed in the display of sanity given by Naptown’s citizens.
    .
    There was a “diversity fair” across town that drew the same crowd it would have at any other time, but it, too was unremarkable.
    .
    The “Hooded Order” has not been back since.

  • It is good to hear a ‘government’ voice speaking from reason and faith.
    The liberal would-be elites are not contributing an iota of honesty to the people that follow them. As they speak of and force legalities (travesties to life and liberty), these elitists insulate themselves from the havoc they create. Racism has taken twists and turns through the encouragement of the highest oath-takers. Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form. In the name of justice, some courts politically aligned with the liberal agendas are becoming the thought police. Such is the case with the movie about the pres in 2016 in a NY court, as it was in a MA court which legalized alternative marriage without a popular vote. Last, look who is exempt from the ACA and is arming DHS.

  • Justice Clarence Thomas is a true Justice, the personification of the virtue of Justice.

  • Truer words never spoken : “these elitists insulate themselves from the havoc they create.” ( from Pat)

  • “Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form.”
    Thanks again Pat.

    This reminds me of a similar problem in the Church of institutionalizing racism by scheduling “separate but equal” masses and other Church activities.

  • Justice Clarence Thomas is a man of quiet dignity and reserve; his speech and conduct exemplify judicial temperament.

  • Dignity is not the word to describe the ‘party’ politicos during his confirmation to the Supreme Court. That was a horrible time when the supposed intellectual activity began to leave its natural home in the brain for the sake of furthering causes of innuendo and division, such as is rampant and virulent in today’s government – most recently in the NY governor disparaging the opinion of residents for being proponents of life (which as an issue at all is preposterous) and in the spendthrift executive branch threat to eliminate the republic’s governmental balance of power with a pen and phone without explaining the reason or need for doing so.

  • “Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form.”

    These days, there is usually a “prefer not to answer” or “other” choice. I’ve reached the point where I always choose these, and encourage you to do the same.

    Sad to say, ArchBalt sends one of these through the pews annually. I’ve been writing in “Italian”, but think I will change to “Roman Catholic”.

  • Pat: “and in the spendthrift executive branch threat to eliminate the republic’s governmental balance of power with a pen and phone without explaining the reason or need for doing so.”
    .
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
    .
    Obama gets to define “any undefined national emergency.” then continues to disenfranchise those elected to Congress, the voice of the people.

The Left and Race

Wednesday, July 24, AD 2013

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, explains at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Left is so obsessed with race and finding racists, if not under every bed, certainly within every white skin:

Never let it be said that Naughton’s joint serves no useful purpose because I found this there.  If you’re wondering why all the Episcopal Organization reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict read pretty much the same way, some chick named Mia McKenzie explains it all for you, illustrating why national “conversations” about race are worse than worthless because they’ll go somewhere only when white people admit that they’re wrong now, they’ve always been wrong and they always will be wrong:

Racism is, in reality, a huge, systemic, deeply-rooted plague that exists everywhere and affects everything, that degrades and starves and rapes and murders people without losing its breath. It is built on hundreds of years of oppression and genocide. It is in our government, in our entertainment, in our literature, in our corporations, in our language. This entire country was built on it. It is everywhere, and it is insidious and subtle just as often as it is open and obvious.

It is not that crazy dude over there.

I see the appeal to white folks in thinking about racism this way. The “whack job” approach allows people to separate racist thinking and behavior from themselves. It’s that crazy screaming dude over there who’s racist. It’s your drunk uncles. It’s your he-was-so-quiet-and-seemed-so-normal-before-he-walked-into-the-mall-and-started-shooting-people neighbors. All of whom you can shake your heads at with furrowed brows while proclaiming that you’re “not like that.”

But you are.

White people, you need to get this: you are racist. The first step is admitting that you are part of the problem.

I am not going to tell you why or how you are racist. I’m not here for your education.

Whatever, kitten.

A question and a comment.  What is the difference between Miss McKenzie declaring and the Episcopal Organization tacitly agreeing the concept that every Caucasian becomes a “racist” the moment his or her umbilical cord is cut and some old National Socialist concentration camp guard somewhere claiming that we had to gas all those Jewish children because of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?  And before you mindlessly invoke Godwin’s Law, at least take a run at answering my question.

You and I both know certain facts about certain countries in the world and certain cities in the United States.  But I’m not going  to mention any of them right now for the same reason why, when I drove an orange Pinto several decades back, I refused, much to the consternation of a mentally-challenged friend of mine to put a Confederate flag on my car’s roof (my man was a huge Dukes of Hazard fan back in the day).  I saw no reason to needlessly offend anyone over something that eventually wouldn’t matter anyway.

But keep up this “guilty until proven innocent” line and I’ll stop caring about your feelings and mention these facts that everyone knows.  I own two Confederate flags, a Second and a Third National, that I bought from the Museum of the Confederacy.  I obviously have no pole to raise either of them on but I do have several walls.  If by some miracle, I ever let you in my place, you should happen to see one and wonder why it’s there, I’ll tell you it’s because of my pride in my Southron heritage. 

If you happen to get mad at me, I’ll happen to not give a crap.  Because the result of attitudes like Miss McKenzie’s and the Episocopal Organization’s can never be racial understanding and certainly won’t be increased racial hostility.  It’ll be something far worse for the liberals than either of those two outcmes.

Indifference.

Put simply, the left needs “racism” and needs it desperately.  Take that crutch away and large numbers of leftists are going to be forced to do pretty much the most difficult thing in the entire world.  Look in the mirror.

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5 Responses to The Left and Race

  • It reminds me of “dry drunks”, people who aren’t drinking but haven’t moved past the alcohol. They’re no longer racist, but they can only think about race, and think that everyone else is only thinking about race.

  • Nasty and dishonest/inane attacks, and ugly ridicule are at the heart of liberal arguments.

    And, then they send in the infiltartors . . .

    Instapundit: “Her name is Renee Vaughn. Her employer, the ‘Texas Campaign For The Environment’, has also apologized. Nonetheless, I hope the picture of her standing with a sign reading ‘We’re Racist And Proud’ winds up being tagged to both. . . . Regarding the leftist activist that carried a signing saying that sign at a TX pro-Zimmerman rally. All they have are lies.

  • Cheap grace.

    Denounce an entire race to show your purity– of course all whites are racist, just the good ones are willing to “admit” it for all the rest. *eyeroll*

    If the “racism” is so nebulous that they can’t even give good examples, it’s clearly not the “racism” that was a big deal.

  • We need to think about the consequences of this: if all whites are racists, that absolves white people of the responsibility to try not to be racist–and it makes Klansmen and Nazis the most sincere white men on Earth, and therefore the most authentic. Is that the world we want to live in?

    Never mind the fact that this claim is itself racist. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, anyone can be a racist–or not. You don’t fight racism by being racist, but by treating people as individuals, not as groups.

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Historical Ignorance Thy Name is Spielberg

Wednesday, October 10, AD 2012

 

 

As he unveiled his Lincoln biopic that is being released next month, director Steven Spielberg proclaimed that he did not want the film to be a political football and then promptly made it into one with this remark:

“Because it’s kind of confusing. The parties traded political places over the last 150 years. That in itself is a great story, how the Republican Party went from a progressive party in 1865, and how the Democrats were represented in the picture, to the way it’s just the opposite today. But that’s a whole other story.”

This would be funny if the historical ignorance were not so vast.  The Republican party, from its inception, has held that the government may not discriminate on the basis of race.

From the 1856 Republican platform, the first Republican platform:

Resolved: That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution are essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the union of the States, must and shall be preserved.

Resolved: That, with our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislation, of any individual, or association of individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained.

Resolved: That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism — Polygamy, and Slavery.

The Republican party has been true to this position throughout its history.  From the Republican platform of 1932:

The Negro

For seventy years the Republican Party has been the friend of the American Negro. Vindication of the rights of the Negro citizen to enjoy the full benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is traditional in the Republican Party, and our party stands pledged to maintain equal opportunity and rights for Negro citizens. We do not propose to depart from that tradition nor to alter the spirit or letter of that pledge.

From the 1944 Republican platform:

Racial and Religious Intolerance

We unreservedly condemn the injection into American life of appeals to racial or religious prejudice.

We pledge an immediate Congressional inquiry to ascertain the extent to which mistreatment, segregation and discrimination against Negroes who are in our armed forces are impairing morale and efficiency, and the adoption of corrective legislation.

We pledge the establishment by Federal legislation of a permanent Fair Employment Practice Commission.

Anti-Poll Tax

The payment of any poll tax should not be a condition of voting in Federal elections and we favor immediate submission of a Constitutional amendment for its abolition.

Anti-Lynching

We favor legislation against lynching and pledge our sincere efforts in behalf of its early enactment.

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12 Responses to Historical Ignorance Thy Name is Spielberg

  • 160 years ago the majority of Democrats considered an entire class of people to be sub-human and undeserving of basic civil rights. Some Democrats didn’t consider themselves to be pro-slavery per se, but certainly didn’t want government interfering with that choice. The Republicans, meanwhile, fought to defend the dignity of all humans.

    Doesn’t sound like the parties have switched to me.

  • What I find so painful with lefties like Spielberg and Hanks is that they do such good work with WWII miniserieses like Band of Brothers and The Pacific. For Spielberg to say stuff like this and Hanks, on the occasion of his endorsement of Obama in 2008, prattle on about how blacks were once defined as 3/5 of a person.

    Now this betrays not only historical ignorance but downright stupidity. Since I will assume that readers will know what the 3/5 compromise was all about (those who don’t can look it up on their own), I won’t explain it here. But think about it: if you wanted to degrade someone you would call 3/5 of a person. You would say something more demeaning. One could rightly assert that blacks were treated far worse that 3/5 of a person for almost 200 years of our history. How the obvious escapes those who think they are smarter than the rest of us will never cease to amaze me.

  • The problem has been the lassitude of Republicans and conservatives to fight against the wholesale deception and rewriting of the historical record by the Left. The Left has always been practiced in photo “retouching” but conservatives until very recently couldn’t be bothered to produce the original photo. Woodrow Wilson was a horrible racist and Harding and Coolidge tried to ameliorate the damage. But Wilson is praised and Harding and Coolidge ridiculed. Repubs still don’t mention this. Look at the silly lie that the Bush tax cuts and Iraq war caused the financial panic. Did Bush, the Repubs or Romney ever come out with a detailed rebuttal over the past 4 years? The public views silence as consent.

  • i find it worthless to compare parties from radically different eras, whether in Spielberg’s simplistic view or the whole “Democrats used to have a Dixiecrat wing” deal. well OK “worthless” might be strong but when coalitions and ideologies realign it’s not always easy to draw a straight line in history.

    i mean a bunch the South switched its vote on the national level to the GOP in the ’60s. some people probably had certain prejudices. i think that can be acknowledged while pointing out that a) having certain prejudices, mild or not, does not necessarily discredit someone’s views on absolutely everything and b) the “GOP won because of the Southern strategy” is an extremely reductionist view that liberals use to try to cast GOP victories as illegitimate. Southern Democrats were not cultural liberals so it is not surprising that they would not find a McGovernized national Democratic Party appealing.

  • “Democrats used to have a Dixiecrat wing” deal”

    The problem with the Democrats is throughout the history of their party they have been comfortable using the power of the State to discriminate among Americans on the basis of race. In regard to the South converting to Republicanism it had virtually nothing to do with race and much to do with the national Democrat party hurtling to the Left following the capture of the party by the McGovern faction in 1972. Jimmy Carter in 1976 helped delay this process, but did not stop it as he was also a man of the Left in a Southern wrapping.

  • “160 years ago the majority of Democrats considered an entire class of people to be sub-human and undeserving of basic civil rights. Some Democrats didn’t consider themselves to be pro-slavery per se, but certainly didn’t want government interfering with that choice. The Republicans, meanwhile, fought to defend the dignity of all humans.

    Doesn’t sound like the parties have switched to me.”

    True Paul. One can imagine a modern day Democrat convention booing these sentiments because of their obvious applicability to the abortion debate and because of their reference to God:

    “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

    That is, until they realized that the speaker was quoting Abraham Lincoln:

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=lincoln;cc=lincoln;type=simple;rgn=div1;q1=Speech%20at%20Lewistown;view=text;subview=detail;sort=occur;idno=lincoln2;node=lincoln2%3A567

  • Don, I just wanted to let you know that since finding TAC, and reading your homages and references to Mr. Lincoln, I have downloaded the entire library of Lincoln’s writings and speeches to my Kindle, and am pursuing a concentrated effort to add their essences to my intellectual aresenal. This will undoubtedly necessitate some mental remodeling, if not outright expansion if such is possible, as the volume is ponderous. Nor are they ‘quick reads;’ indeed, the tankard is large, but each sip is so rich and delectable that it will be a very long time before I can consider a refill.

    Coupled with the Papal encyclicals (so far) Rerum Novarum, Humanae Vitae and Caritas in Veritate I am finding an amazing recharging of the basic, commonsense tenets that life has beaten out of me over the past few decades. It’s like returning home in a way that might have made Thomas Wolfe rethink a few things.

    The wonderful dichotomy of simplicity and elegance contained in the wisdom of these works has also brought home the truly loathsome nature of the sin of selfishness; I would beat the drum and blare the trumpet to call attention, but for how far I have yet to go before I can even begin to think myself a worthy example. Perhaps someday.

    Thank you for the tremendous efforts. You truly are a City on a Hill.

  • “have downloaded the entire library of Lincoln’s writings and speeches to my Kindle”

    Enjoy WK. Mr. Lincoln is a master stylist and could pack more thought in fewer words than any other writer of the English tongue.

    “Thank you for the tremendous efforts. You truly are a City on a Hill.”

    I would blush WK if it were still possible for me to do so after three decades at the bar! 🙂

  • “The problem with the Democrats is throughout the history of their party they have been comfortable using the power of the State to discriminate among Americans on the basis of race.”

    yes but, for example, if the George Wallace of 1968 was here today he wouldn’t be for affirmative action.

    calling affirmative action racist, regardless of its truth, isn’t going to gain a lot of traction with people who aren’t already against it IMO. what’s needed is to point out that it perpetuates this idea that black people cannot succeed without it/that all their current problems can be blamed on white racism, it promotes skepticism even for blacks who didn’t get a boost from it, and it isn’t just — also that it screws over working-class whites who aren’t “privileged” in any sense of the term.

    Jim Webb i thought wrote a good piece against it a while back, obviously benefiting from some leeway since he’s a Democrat

  • “calling affirmative action racist, regardless of its truth,”

    Always best to stick with the truth in determining government policy. The racial spoils system celebrated by the Democrats has had an evil impact on the nation as a whole, and, in particular, in regard to the supposed beneficiaries.

    “yes but, for example, if the George Wallace of 1968 was here today he wouldn’t be for affirmative action.”

    The Wallace of 1968 was for affirmative action, for whites. By the end of his life he was still embracing affirmative action with the colors shifted.

    “Jim Webb”

    I can think of few political positions that Jim Webb hasn’t betrayed, sometimes more than once.

  • “Enjoy WK. Mr. Lincoln is a master stylist and could pack more thought in fewer words than any other writer of the English tongue.”

    Reagan was much this way as well. If you get the book “Reagan in His Own Hand”, you will see, especailly in the radio spots he did from about 1976 to when he stsrted gearing up for the 1980 run, he could pack more information in a few minute sound bite than anybody I ever knew. This affrims my belief that the most profound truths are elementary and take few words to demonstrate and the most pernicious errors take few words to expose. Unfortunately, few understand that.

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You Racist Republicans!

Saturday, September 8, AD 2012

 

I know it may come as a shock to many of our readers but Time magazine, that traditional mainstay of dentist waiting rooms throughout the country, is still being published.  It has a piece by an author who aspires to one name status:  Toure.

In his article Toure explains how Republicans, no doubt while chortling evilly, are engaged in using racist code words, while the Democrats are paragons of racial enlightenment:

Another classic code word — that hasn’t cropped up in this election yet — is “crime.” Like welfare, even though more whites commit crimes than blacks, the word is more associated with blacks who have historically been stereotyped as wild, violent, animalistic and immoral. As Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow, “What it means to be criminal in our collective consciousness has become conflated with what it means to be black, so the term white criminal is confounding, while the term black criminal is nearly redundant.” The classic example is President George H. W. Bush’s famous ad using inmate Willie Horton as a way to portray Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis as soft on crime and thus unable to protect us from wild black criminals.

There’s also the cornucopia of terms and concepts created to de-Americanize Barack Obama, from calling him “Muslim” or “Socialist” to Romney surrogates like John Sununu saying things like, “I wish this President would learn how to be an American.”  There is also a return to birtherism, with Romney recently joking, “Nobody’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.” The subtext of all this is: Obama, like other blacks, is not one of “us.” He is other.

Do Democrats use racial code? No. The Democratic party is a racially diverse coalition. There would be no value to playing this game. In fact, the party has risked alienating white working class voters by fighting for people of color, a tightrope perhaps best symbolized by President Johnson signing the 1964 Voting Rights Act and then famously, and presciently, saying to an aide, “We have lost the South for a generation.”

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14 Responses to You Racist Republicans!

  • I have worked all my life from the US Submarine Service 30+ years ago till now in commercial nuclear energy with people of all manner of skin color, national origin and religion. Some have been white, some black, some brown, some yellow, some red. Some have been born in the US and some immigrated from Nigeria, Iraq, India, Germany, Lebanon, etc. Some have been Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taosits, etc. I have never ever thought of any of them with the “N” word in my head. There has been one and only one man who has elicited that thought within my head, and that is Barack Hussein Obama. I now have to go back to Confession (again). We may not be responsible for unbidden faults, but I am not a racist and I will not allow a Teflon coated, tin hated, narcissistic demagogue of sexual filth and depravity turn me into one.

  • Toure’s a token who can only get attention by reading this typical race-obsessed stuff, but i will say i’m not a fan of the “Democrats as the party of segregation” argument because of the changing coalitions/ideologies of the two parties. it’s accurate to say that the Democrats used to have a Southern segregationist _wing_ that LBJ started to alienate in 1964, but those people don’t really have much in common with the post-1972 Democratic Party.

    i also don’t like this argument cuz, for example, Goldwater got 87% of the Mississippi vote in 1964, you had future Southern shifts to the GOP in national elections, and it sets up the argument that the GOP only won over these people due to racism, when really they likely had conservative views on a lot of other issues. in any case a vote’s a vote, regardless of any prejudice someone might have, just so long as no one political party’s fanning the flames.

  • also the “racially diverse” current Democratic coalition as if that makes it Morally Pure and Right — Toure doesn’t get that’s part of the _problem_ with the current Democatic Party, this constant view of white working-class people as rubes, and how it’s really just cobbled together identity politics.

    it might not be an electoral problem for them right now, but it doesn’t make it attractive to me.

  • “but i will say i’m not a fan of the “Democrats as the party of segregation” argument because of the changing coalitions/ideologies of the two parties.”

    Little has changed JDP other than the Democrats have changed the skin colors they wish to use government power to benefit, or discriminate against. From its foundation the Republican party has held to the belief that the government may not discriminate between Americans on the basis of race, and Democrats have opposed this belief.

    “and it sets up the argument that the GOP only won over these people due to racism,”

    Which of course simply is not true. Republican dominance of the South was a fairly slow process and actually started with Eisenhower. It was helped by the mass industrialization of the South post World War II and a migration of Republicans from the North into areas of the South where the Republican party was almost non-existent. Republican inroads picked up steam with the Culture Wars of the sixties, and the contempt that much of the Democrat Left demonstrated for the military, which enraged patriotic Southerners who have always fought in America’s wars out of all proportion to their percentage of the population.

    The truly rabid racists in the South, George Wallace comes to mind, tended to remain Democrats and that made sense, as most of them, except on the issue of race, tended to be Democrats on economic issues, etc. A good history of the transformation of the South into a solidly Republican region still needs to be written and it would be a fascinating tale. One overlooked feature currently is that more and more blacks in the South are beginning to vote Republican and run as Republicans. Artur Davis, the former black Democrat congressman from Alabama who spoke at the Republican convention, could be the harbinger of things to come.

  • Robert Wargas explais a great deal: “Since progressivism is largely a status game, in which people compete for social prestige by repeating a set of approved phrases and opinions to other status-seeking mandarins, it’s not surprising that some will go to sado-masochistic lengths to remain part of the alpha group. By now, the increasingly creepy tendency of using the word ‘white’ as a glib insult has become well established in left-wing commentary.”

  • Oh, it’s Saturday and it’s confession time.

    The following are racist code words (lots of racistt code words) that keep racing through my twisted mind:

    • “Median incomes”: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.
    • “Long-term unemployed”: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended.
    • “Poverty”: The poverty rate climbed to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009, and economists think it may have hit 15.7% last year, highest since the 1960s.
    • “Food stamps”: There are 11.8 million more people on food stamps since Obama’s recovery started.
    • “Disability”: More than 1 million workers have been added to Social Security’s disability program in the last three years.
    • “Gas prices”: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, I paid $4.05.
    • “Misery Index”: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71.
    • “Union membership”: Even unions are worse off under Obama, with membership dropping half a million between 2009 and 2011.
    • “Debt”: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.

    ETC.

  • “as most of them, except on the issue of race, tended to be Democrats on economic issues”

    i am not sure this is true. sure they might not have been Milton Friedman on economic issues but that doesn’t mean they were on the opposite side either.

    and Nixon wanted to get former Wallace votes in the 1972 election. that does not make him a “racist” it just makes him a politician.

    i just don’t buy this idea that Southern Democrats were McGovernites on everything except race. from what i can tell the shift of the South toward the GOP had to do with race (and it’s not as though anything to do with race is automatically an illegitimate issue — think crime rates at the time, forced busing) AND Southerners’ conservatism on other issues that hadn’t been in play as much during the FDR-LBJ coalition.

  • The shift to the GOP in the South has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the Marxist bent of the Democratic Party. It is that party which in time past supported slavery and racism, and it is that party which today supports the murder of the unborn and the filth of homosexual sodomy. Saying whites in the south went GOP because they hate blacks (wrong!) ignores that fact that the Dems want blacks enslaved to the teat of the public treasury forever and ever. The Democratic Party is evil. It touts diversity so long as it’s diversity of sexual filth. It touts freedom so long as its license to murder your unborn child. It is evil. The GOP isn’t the party of God, but the Democratic Party is the party of Satan and has been so since the 1800s.

  • “i just don’t buy this idea that Southern Democrats were McGovernites on everything except race.”

    They weren’t McGovernites but staunch New Deal Democrats. Many Democrats were farther to the left than FDR on economic issues. Think Huey Long for example. Issues on which Southerners were conservative, the military and cultural issues, simply were not political issues until the late Sixties and when they became issues the Democrat party by 1972 was on the wrong side. The rise of Jimmy Carter delayed the process, but it was the McGovern takeover of the party that was probably the most significant single factor in the transformation of the South into the Republican base.

  • well that’s sort of what i was saying. a combination of different things. i doubt Wallace Democrats were avid fans of abortion for example.

    i don’t mean to sound like i’m defending racism but it’s worth pointing out that certain racially-tinged issues of the ’60s — the radical turn of the civil rights movement in the late ’60s, War on Poverty programs that exacerbated problems, the crime rate — didn’t cut in the Democrats’ favor and voters, regardless of what their individual prejudices might’ve been, had every right to vote GOP on those grounds.

    like the Willie Horton thing Toure points out — what, are Republicans only allowed to hit Dems as soft-on-crime if it’s a white murderer we’re talking about? same as the recent welfare stuff. we’re supposed to believe that because some people have a negative association of poor black communities with welfare, the ads are racist, so therefore…Romney’s not allowed to make any welfare-related ads. actual discussion of the policy we’re talking about is totally dismissed.

  • I can almost guarantee that this white conservative republican, being a white kid in predominately black inner city Detroit Public schools, suffered more racism than probably 90% of blacks in my age group (46). That’s not a statement abpout blascks per se. It’s just stating a fact. Racism is more about character than it is about race. In fact, a lot of the violence we suffered at the hands of blacks was the result of the kind of race baiting that the left wing pseudo civil rights activists like Sharpton/Jackson et al. You can say that this is a bit personal to me.

    Today, the worst bigotry isn’t racial or ethnic, but ideological.

  • This is the same jerk who publicly accused Mitt Romney of the “[n-word]-ization of Obama” for which he was summarily dismissed. From MSNBC.

  • from what i can tell the shift of the South toward the GOP had to do with race

    Wrong. I’ve covered this in an earlier post, but it’s simply untrue to point to race as a reason for the south’s shift towards the GOP.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/07/21/debunking-realignment-theory/

  • i mean — crime rates, forced busing, affirmative action, welfare/crummy War on Poverty progams…i have to think these were all issues at the time.

    and note that they’re all race-related issues where people could reasonably oppose the Democratic positions regardless of whether they had certain prejudices or not.

    anyway i was just citing race as _a_ factor from my knowledge, not the one and only.

Nathan Bedford Forrest and Racial Reconciliation

Friday, August 6, AD 2010

 

Easily the most controversial figure in the Civil War, probably the most controversial figure in American history, Nathan Bedford Forrest has always been the subject of fierce debate.  Self-made millionaire who rose from poverty with much of his money made as a slaver trader;  a semi-literate whose tactics and strategies as the most successful cavalry commander of the  Civil War are still studied at military academies around the world;  a brilliant general celebrated by the South and condemned by the North as the perpetrator of a massacre at Fort Pillow;  a man who killed in combat 31 Union soldiers in the War but who after the War constantly had former Union soldiers visit him to shake his hand; and  a racist who helped found the Ku Klux Klan after the War, but who also made a remarkable speech near the end of his life.

In 1875 Forrest was invited to address a meeting of the Independent Order of Pole Bearers, an early black civil rights organization in Memphis, at their Fourth of July barbecue on July 5.  Forrest was told by many whites that he should not accept, but Forrest went.  Just before he spoke he was presented a bouquet of flowers by Miss Flora Lewis, a daughter of one of the members of the Pole Bearers.   Here is Forrest’s speech.

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17 Responses to Nathan Bedford Forrest and Racial Reconciliation

  • A highly successful cavalry general. “Get there first with the most.” True cavalryman, he understood cavalry tactics: audacity, economy of force, military intelligence/recon and mobility. General Custer’s Civil War record was also stellar.

    Praise the Lord! Apparently, he came to repent of his sins and sought to amend his life.

  • Very interesting.

  • Thank you for another excellent piece. AMERICAN CATHOLIC never fails to entertain and enlighten.

  • Fascinating, and as always, excellent work. I never knew Forrest had a change of heart. Good.

    Forrest had one of the great slap-down rants of all time, directed at Braxton Bragg (whom I heartily thank God wore the gray) after Bragg’s jealous mistreatment of him following the battle of Chickamauga:

    “I have stood your meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the part of a damned scoundrel, and are a coward, and if you were any part of a man I would slap your jaws and force you to resent it. You may as well not issue any more orders to me, for I will not obey them, and I will hold you personally responsible for any further indignities you endeavor to inflict upon me. You have threatened to arrest me for not obeying your orders promptly. I dare you to do it, and I say to you that if you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life.”

  • Hey Donald,

    May I put this article up on my facebook page?

  • I have read that Forrest left the KKK when he felt it was going in a directrion he didn’t approve, and that he was recruited into it as a reconstructionist organization after Robt. E Lee recommended him instead of himself. Further that he also left the KKK to solidify his business interests. So I think there continue to be two sides to the NBForrest story

  • Go ahead Bret.

  • Another Gem from the McClarey mine.

    Thank you for the education.

  • Most of this is sourced indirectly via Hurst’s biography. The KKK in its original form was to fight reconstruction. While there was somewhat of a centralized organization, a lot of Klan folks weren’t organized. NB Forrest got threatened by Congress. The organization pretty much ceased to exist after that. It was reconstituted around the 1920s and took the character with which it is most often identified.

    Fort Pillow was mainly propaganda to help Lincoln’s re-election. After the election, the matter was basically dropped. The Union apparatus showed no interest in making Forrest pay for his alleged massacre at Ft. Pillow.

    Forrest did indeed convert to Christianity. I wish I had the quote handy, but he said during the war that he couldn’t convert yet because he had un-Christian things to do.

    Forrest had amassed a small fortune before the war, but the money was in slave trading, so he wasn’t respected by the landed aristocracy of the time. He was broke after the war and a railroad venture ensured he remained that way. During his last years, he did a lot of work on racial reconciliation. He thought it would be better for blacks and whites to be in solidarity in attacking reconstruction and the mismanagement that went along with it.

  • NB Forrest is no hero to Catholics. He is one of American history’s most dispicable personages. The Ku Klux Klan is a domestic terrorist organization founded by former members of the Confederate Army of Tenn. with the specific goal of denying the civil rights of black people. The Army of Tennesee battle flag is a KKK symbol.

    Catholic immigrants to the United States have long been subject to intimidation by the KKK, both North and South. NB Forrest was a slave trader, war criminal, and domestic terrorist. How bizarrre it is to see an attempt to celebrate his life here at American Catholic.

  • What is bizarre Trevor is your unwillingness to even consider an event in Forrest’s life that indicates that he was trying to make amends for the racism of his life. Redemption is one of the key elements of the Catholic faith, and this story demonstrates that as long as there is life there is an opportunity for it.

  • There is nothing fascinatng or ‘redemptive’ about NB Forrest’s life Donald. The man was a slave trader, a civil war criminal, and a domestic terrorst. No amount of rhetoric on his part is going to change those facts.

    Put in its proper context, the speech which this story alludes to was part of an attempt by the Ku Klux Klan to get nacent black political organizations like the Tennesee Independent Order of Pole Bearers to stop supporting black/Republican candidates and support the white Democrat candidates instead. The Klan was ultimately sucessful in that endevour as the black Republican political ascendency in Tennesee ended the following year in 1876. Thus ended black Tenneseean’s best chance for stopping the imposition of Jim Crow laws over their lives.

    From a religious perspective the Forrest speech would be better viewed as a story about Satan’s temptation. By appearing in the flesh amongst the black audience, smiling, acting friendly, and saying the right words, the worldly white supremicist Klan leader was able to convince his less sophisticated opponents to drop their own poliitical cause and join his. To their everlasting detriment.

  • As I said Trevor at the beginning of my post, Forrest is probably the most controversial figure in American history. On my blog Almost Chosen People, when I posted this, I received flak from a neo-Confederate named Bill. A debate between you and Bill would be amusing if not edifying.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/nathan-bedford-forrest-and-racial-reconciliation/

    In regard to Forrest, you are quite incorrect as to whether he is fascinating. He obviously is, judging from the number of recent biographies and the fact that whenever his name appears in anything I write for a blog, the comments roll in.

    As for his speech, Forrest was invited to give it. He specifically indicates in it that he is not going to attempt to tell his listeners how to vote. I might also note that it would be a peculiar election strategy to think that sending Forrest of Fort Pillow and the Klan to a black group would be an effective form of political persuasion. By 1875 Forrest by all indications was no longer involved with the Klan and was not involved in politics. Forrest in his speech was not speaking for any party, but for himself. You are of course free to interpret his speech as arising from ulterior motives, but I do not think that the facts support such an interpretation.

  • I can’t help but chime in:

    Often Forrest’s reputation comes down to the controversies surrounding three specific parts of his life:

    1) His role as a slave-trader.
    2) His role in the Battle (Massacre) of Fort Pillow.
    3) His role in the Klan.

    There is no denying Forrest was a slave trader. However, the practice was perfectly legal at the time (Constitutionally protected even as evidenced by the Dred Scott decision) and he wasn’t the only person partaking in said practice. Of course this does not exonerate his participation therein from a moral standpoint, but this detail placed in it’s proper historical context is, as Michael Bradley (Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Escort and Staff, 2006, pg 215-6) passionately argues, an example of presentism; “Presentism would have us use our knowledge and values to judge the actions of the past, even though our knowledge and values were not accessible to the people of the past.” If the matter is argued even further, 13 out of 39 signing members of the Constitution were slave-traders/slave-owners themselves and during the 1858 debates with Douglas, Lincoln even remarked (a position he publicly held on numerous occasions following his election) that he did not think that the black man is “my equal in many respects, certainly not in color—perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowments…” (Shane Kastler, Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption, 2010, 37-9). One thus wonders if the onslaught of criticism of Forrest’s slave-trading activities are as merited when so many prominent historical figures in US history are given passes for their words/actions in comparison.

    The Battle (Massacre) of Fort Pillow is a wonderful example of propaganda. There are numerous points of contention worth noting, but among the more noteworthy:

    A) Forrest’s official report for his activities was not offered or considered as evidence in his defense for 4 months; his report was submitted to his Commanding Officer, General Polk, who subsequently died during the Atlanta Campaign against General Sherman and the report was lost until later found by Polk’s replacement. Consequently, the Northern Congress wrote of the event as a “massacre” while distributing 40,000 copies decrying Forrest’s action as murder; oh yes, it was also 1864 and Lincoln was convinced he wouldn’t win re-election unless desperate measures were taken (Robert Selph Henry, First with the Most; Forrest, 1944, 248-9). Interestingly, too, that same Congress also exonerated Forrest but the Northern Press did not emphasize that detail with the same vigor it had in efforts of condemning him.

    B) Equally interesting, Fort Pillow was given 3 (count them, three) chances to surrender. The Fort was surrounded. The Federals were outnumbered. The main commanders of the Fort, Bradford and Booth, had zero combat experience. I could go on (Hell, just read Maness, Jordan & Pryor, Wyeth, Hurst, Wills, or anyone else that documents the event) and the outcome is pretty predictable.

    C) Did I also forget to mention that more than half the combatants were taken prisoner, given quarter, medical treatment and all prisoners of war were eventually exchanged to the federals? (Jordan & Pryor, 1899, reprinted 1996, 704).

    D) Oh, and did I also forget to mention that many of the Federal combatants did surrender, only to re-pick up their arms and start shooting again? (See Jordan & Pryor, Wyeth, Wills, Hurst, etc.) Interesting how the Congressional report condemning Forrest includes testimony by Federal soldiers saying that they never officially surrendered as well as re-fought after individual members surrendered, but the Northern Press, again, did not emphasize these points with the same vigor it had in condemning him. Here is where it might be reasonable to believe a conspiracy of sorts was taking place.

    E) More people died at the The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) in one day than virtually all of Forrest’s war campaigns put together. You might be thinking, “So what difference does that make?” Well, there is only one real obvious difference, minus the commanders involved with each conflict: white people were killing white people instead of white people killing black people. Could it really be this simple? Maybe not. But when numerous colored regiments under the regional direction of Federal General Sturgis, among numerous others assigned by General Sherman to annihilate Forrest, fail miserably and repeatedly, it’s a tough recruiting tool to win public support, increase black enlistment, not appear incompetent, etc., when Forrest is consistently destroying those in his path. Plus how else can the Federals justify their losses beyond conceding that they did not adequately train members of their command? Cognitive dissonance and propaganda work miracles.

    A lot of ink has also been spilled about Forrest having a role in the Klan. Was he in the group or wasn’t he? According to Morton (1909), Forrest’s former artillery officer, he initiated Forrest as a member and as eventual Grand Dragon. According to Stanley Horn (1939), Forrest was probably a member but there is no conclusive evidence he ever held a leadership role. Pick and choose whatever you want to believe, but a few things are clear:

    A) Forrest wasn’t a founding member of the organization; it already existed for a year to 18 months before his alleged involvement.

    B) During Reconstruction ex-Confederates were denied the right to vote. The fear was that if they could vote, they would vote to maintain the Old South as well as white supremacy; indeed a reasonable fear. Consequently, however, rather than reconciliation or efforts to reconstruct the South for all its members, ex-Confederates were now singled out for discrimination. The Governor of Tennessee, Brownlow, went so far under a Reconstructionalist agenda to attempt to have all ex-Confederates shot by citizen militia groups under the pretense that all KKK members were clearly ex-Confederates fighting for the right to preserve the Old South (and by proxy obvious Klan members and/or sympathizers), while the offenders would never be brought to justice if Brownlow had his way. It should be noted that some might argue that this position taken by Brownlow and Reconstructionalists was justice for the plight of what blacks inhumanely suffered for centuries; others might argue, rightfully, however, that using more discrimination to fight discrimination solves nothing. Notwithstanding, once Brownlow resigned to pursue political aspirations as a Senator, Senter of the Democratic Party became the new Tennessee governor and voting rights were restored for all eligible citizens. In so doing, the KKK was officially disbanded; often attributed as the work of Forrest.

    C) New groups, in the name of the original, popped up. Many allegations have even surfaced that many of the newer groups were actually discontent Union-loyalists attempting to pursue their own agenda (Selph Henry, 450-1). I have even read some critics suggest that some of the “newer” Klan groups were discontent blacks; but you’d have to really buy into conspiracy theories and insane propaganda to believe that any group of people would vote/fight/kill against their own interests… oh, that does happen.

    In sum, Forrest is often judged for isolated incidents before the Civil War (e.g. slave-trading), during the Civil War (e.g. Fort Pillow) and immediately following the Civil War (e.g. KKK activities). Interestingly, however, the last 8 years of Forrest’s life are often ignored altogether. You might be thinking, “Why should anyone care?” Well, for one, Forrest converted to Christianity. Two, Forrest began to publicly preach racial reconciliation (e.g. evidenced by his speech to the Pole Bearers, among other things). Three, Forrest even alienated his traditionally white supporters in efforts to protect newly emancipated slaves (e.g. as a planter following the Civil War he actually paid black laborers more than his competitors/neighbors). Often the “so what?” question from these observations emerge. Detractors of Forrest often like to find instances of controversy while choosing to only provide certain pieces to make their case. Conversely, defenders of Forrest often like to emphasize Forrest’s war achievements in isolation from the rest of his life and not fully consider him as the incomplete, inconsistent, and contradictory person that he was.

    For what my stake in this larger debate entails, I would say this: defenders of Forrest have hurt Forrest’s reputation by refusing to acknowledge the man for all his faults. Instead, Forrest has become a symbol of white masculinity defending a way of life that may never have existed (e.g. read the Agrarian Manifesto by the 12 Southerners or Cash’s The Mind of the South for a better idea of what I’m talking about). Detractors of Forrest have done nothing but focus on the man for his faults, often cherry-picking details out of context or simply ignoring context altogether. Interestingly, neither defenders nor detractors have spoken much about Forrest’s last 8 years in great detail; almost as if to imply that neither is willing to consider Forrest as having developed a progressive attitude towards race late in his life. But what an irony it would be if the NAACP and the KKK have been using the same man to make an argument for their respective positions, when, in fact, Forrest is not the man either have claimed him to be. But it’s a lot easier to blindly accept what we’re told because, after all, history is always inclusive of—and written with—the minority position in mind. Or not.

  • Thank you Paul for your well-thought out comment. This is precisely the type of comment I hope to see when I post on historical topics here and at my blog on American history, Almost Chosen People:

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/

    History must be approached on its own terms as you have done here. Establishing the facts of history can be difficult, but until we have established the facts, debate about what the facts mean is meaningless. In regard to Forrest and the Klan, I think he clearly was involved at a high level, and I will probably do a piece on that at Almost Chosen People as the length of the examination would warrant a full blog post.

  • In regard to Fort Pillow, another subject worthy of a lengthy blog post on Almost Chosen People, the historical controversy rages from the day of the taking of Fort Pillow to today. My position is as follows.

    Some Confederates did kill black and white Union soldiers, most of whom were Tennessee Unionists, after the fort was taken. Unfortunately this was not an uncommon occurrence after a fort was summoned to surrender and had to be taken by assault. The assaulting troops are usually in that situation highly enraged and it is extremely difficult for commanders to keep them under control in the immediate aftermath. There is little evidence that I can see that Forrest ordered his men to do such killings and a fair amount of evidence that Forrest took steps to end the killings as soon as he learned of them.

    This contemporary letter after the battle discusses what happened:
    “Letter of Surgeon Samuel H. Caldwell, Sixteenth Tennessee Cavalry

    Camp Near Brownsville, April 15, 1864.

    My Dear Darling Wife,
    …..
    We are just from Fort Pillow which fort we attacked on Tuesday the 13th.
    1864 & carried by storm. It was garrisoned by 400 white men and 400 negroes
    & out of the 800 only 168 are now living So you can guess how terrible was
    the slaughter. It was decidedly the most horrible sight that I have ever
    witnessed—
    They refused to surrender—which incensed our men & if General Forrest had
    not run between our men & the Yanks with his pistol and sabre drawn not a
    man would have been spared—We took about a hundred & 25 white men & about 45
    negroes the rest of the 800 are numbered with the dead—They sure [lay]
    heaped upon each other 3 days—…

    Nothing more but remain your devoted husband.
    S. H. Caldwell.”

  • Your welcome.

    With regard to Fort Pillow, depending on whose account you read and lend credence towards, the Federal troops were composed mainly of former slaves, Tennessee Unionists and ex-Confederate deserters; all of whom were regarded as traitors in the eyes of Confederates. Throw in the sense of outrage in having to risk your life to fight a battle that could have been avoided and there is a lot of high emotion going on. Once more, there is also a lot of documentation alleging Bradford and his men were robbing, raping and harassing the locals; so goes the story Forrest viewed Fort Pillow as a meaningless strategic position but he was begged by the locals for protection including from his own men who had families in the area.

    One of the reasons why the allegations of “massacre” have gained a lot of traction, however, is that there is considerable speculation that Forrest lost control of his men; that is to say, he didn’t order a massacre but he didn’t prevent one from happening either. Richard Fuchs, at least, attempts to push this argument further by suggesting premeditated murder. Interestingly, however, Forrest ordered General Chalmers to direct the action since he arrived late on the scene and he also had 3 horses shot from under him during the initial fighting before the demand for surrender commenced. But getting into all these details is often ignored by detractors because, after all, by simply acknowledging that they could be wrong or have condemned Forrest irrespective of the facts, this concession opens itself to further attack insofar as what else detractors may have failed to recognize.

    With regard to the Klan, it’s suspicion of guilt versus confirmation thereof. During the Congressional Investigation of the Insurrectory States Forrest’s testimony definitely suggests he knew much more than he was willing to admit. Forrest’s testimony with the Cincinnati reporter that was offered into evidence also suggests Forrest held a high position of leadership, or at least was very influential, but once more there is no evidence to conclusively link Forrest to the Klan. Most historians often nonchalantly say Forrest had a role, but what is often omitted is that this so-called “link” is a suspicion rather than supported in fact. Consequently, the Northern Congress, to their credit, recognized the insufficient evidence and exonerated Forrest.

    Notwithstanding, I find it absolutely fascinating that once certain allegations go unchallenged it almost becomes accepted in lieu of fact. Perhaps the allegation is as good as fact without evidence to support the claim for some folks, but what often seems to happen is that once each allegation becomes accepted without proof, the severity of the charge(s) seems to escalate. For instance, the Memphis chapter of the NAACP has often charged Forrest as being the founder of the Klan; thus, as they have argued, this is grounds alone to remove his equestrian statue in a racially polarized city such as Memphis. Should anyone remind the NAACP that Forrest didn’t create the Klan, however, they often refuse to admit the carelessness in this charge.

    Even more strange is when civil rights groups in general try to argue the reasons surrounding Forrest’s interment locale. It often behooves these groups to recognize that Forrest specifically asked to be buried in Elmwood as opposed to a park dedicated in his honor. Why does this matter? When Forrest Park was built the equestrian statue was the second largest of it’s kind ever constructed, next to Napoleon’s, at a cost almost surpassing all other American monuments at that time; quite the accomplishment considering this money came out of the pockets of Memphis citizens dirt poor from Reconstruction. Moreover, a park built in the memory of a Confederate hero stands when none exists in honor of Martin Luther King in the city of Memphis only seems to further motivate detractors in their efforts to rewrite history to their liking.

    I would absolutely be curious to see new scholarship emerge about Forrest’s controversial roles as they are situated within a greater historical context versus isolated from the world he lived in. Too often scholars and detractors alike have extreme tunnel vision to the point that they appear more concerned with fulfilling political agendas than promoting genuine efforts to seek racial reconciliation. Because once we recognize that people in history are not as one-dimension as often asserted, the sooner we can shift from our inability/unwillingness to come to terms with our undesirable history and actually focus on ways to improve the social ills that plague us.

Understanding the Police

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

The nation (or at least, that portion of it which follows the news cycle) suddenly found itself in one of these “national conversations” about policing this week, after President Obama accused the Cambridge, Mass. police of having “acted stupidly” in arresting his friend and supporter Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. outside his own home for “disorderly conduct”. The police report, minus some privacy data such as addresses, can be viewed here. The short version, is as follows: Prof. Gates returned from a trip to China and found himself having trouble getting into his house, so he and his cab driver forced the door open. A passerby saw this, feared a burglary was taking place, and called the police. Officer James Crowley of CPD arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, saw Prof. Gates in the house as he approached it, and though he looked to be a resident, but knocked, explained the situation, and asked for ID to be sure.

Here the two versions of the story diverge. According to Prof. Gates, Officer Crowley repeatedly refused to identify himself, lured him out onto the porch, and then arrested him. (You can read the Professor’s version in an extended interview here.) According to Officer Crowley, Prof. Gates did provide identification, Crowley was satisfied that he was the homeowner, but Gates had immediately taken an angry tone (repeatedly accusing Crowley of treating him this way because he was black) and that Gates followed him outside, accusing him of racial bias and generally shouting at him, until after a warning Officer Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct.

Now, I think it’s pretty appalling to be arrested at your own house for yelling at someone, even a police officer. At the same time, the police report rings a lot truer to me that Prof. Gates’. And while even given that account, I don’t like the idea of arresting someone in front of his own house for being loud and rude towards the police, it strikes me that Prof. Gates violated a lot of the very basic rules that everyone knows about interacting with police. Perhaps I can best explain with an example:

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29 Responses to Understanding the Police

  • I have 2 reactions to this:

    (1) I believe you are being far too deferential to what has become a great abuse of authority by law enforcement agents — they will arrest you for simply not showing them the respect they think they deserve. It might have been imprudent for Gates to yell at the cop (though as a black man in the this country, I sympathize with him), but there is no law against being rude to a cop. We are all trained to be as polite as possible around cops, as even looking at them the wrong way might risk an adverse reaction. This is a daily abuse of power that attracts minimal attention. It’s even worse when they use weapons of violence such as “tasers”. As Josh Marshall put it, this particular cop should not have gotten into a “macho pissing match which ends up getting decided in the favor of the cop because he has the handcuffs and the gun”.

    (2) Your interaction with this particular cop arises from the lack of gun control in this country. Law enforcement agents could be faced by people with guns any time. The best solution is a complete handgun ban, and let is look forward to the day when we can have an unarmed police force, as is the case elsewhere.

  • The best solution is a complete handgun ban, and let is look forward to the day when we can have an unarmed police force, as is the case elsewhere.

    What color is the sky in your world?

  • The same color as the sky of the USCCB, when they called for a handgun ban.

  • Ah yes, the USCCB, always to be relied on in a pinch as the authoritative and final voice in any conflict.

    Unless of course you disagree with them coughNotreDamecough.

  • Heather MacDonald, who has done a lot of crime stat and police research for the Manhattan Institute, is worth reading here:
    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=YTU4MGE4MDkwYzhiYjY4OTk2OWRlZjcyMWY0MjFkNmE=

    Obama and Patrick are, I think, being pretty irresponsible here, especially given the police report and the strong support given by officers of varied backgrounds in the CPD.

  • (1) I believe you are being far too deferential to what has become a great abuse of authority by law enforcement agents — they will arrest you for simply not showing them the respect they think they deserve.

    Seriously, you should try reading Barker’s book — especially as someone who lives in the DC area and thus deals with another big city police department. You’re talking in stereotypes so incredibly broad that you’d mock them viciously if applied to any topic you knew anything about.

    (though as a black man in the this country, I sympathize with him)

    Interesting. I never knew you were black.

    (2) Your interaction with this particular cop arises from the lack of gun control in this country. Law enforcement agents could be faced by people with guns any time. The best solution is a complete handgun ban, and let is look forward to the day when we can have an unarmed police force, as is the case elsewhere.

    Given that the rising number of gun crimes in the UK has caused them to seriously consider arming their police now, years after enacting a total handgun ban, I’m not sure how this adds up. Also, your point about police elsewhere being unarmed doesn’t really fit with my experience of routinely seeing police carrying submachine guns in France and Italy.

  • Something tells me that cops will always be wary of whether the people they are approaching are armed.

    Anyway, my fiance got pulled over today for going 72 although she was in a 1994 Nissan Pathfinder that shudders at about 65. She was polite and nothing terrible happened (other than the ticket, but as the cop forgot to check her insurance, it was clear he was in a hurry to meet a quota). Still a BS ticket (it will be fixed), but I think cops do enough for so little payment that being polite is a reasonable thing. They’re paid too little to do too much, and they are human beings, after all.

  • The USCCB has a position on Notre Dame? I must have missed that. But while you are busy fighting symbolic battles, I care about the real world, and how policy decisions affect real people. And yes, the the “right” to own a firearm is *not* an unqualified right, and I belive it to be gravely immoral to support such an unqualified right in at atmosphere of such off-the-charts gun deaths.

    Darwin– I’m familiar with the UK debate. But let’s have some perspective– look at the gun deaths per capita here and there. Gun homicides per 100,000: 3.7, England/ Wales: 0.11. In Europe, you will often have an unarmed police force, with special divisions allowed to carry weapons (such as those dedicated to fighting organozed crime). That may be remote in the United States, but can….hope.

  • I would hazard a guess that poverty levels are a much greater influence on crime than access to guns.

    Anyhow, on the Gates affair–from everything I’ve read, it sounds like both parties behaved pretty badly, escalating it to a level where the cop took Gates into custody seemingly to avoid losing face.

  • I might suggest that constricted time horizons and the effect of same on self-control and personal discipline have an influence over poverty levels and crime rates in tandem.

  • But while you are busy fighting symbolic battles, I care about the real world, and how policy decisions affect real people. And yes, the the “right” to own a firearm is *not* an unqualified right, and I belive it to be gravely immoral to support such an unqualified right in at atmosphere of such off-the-charts gun deaths.

    Given that you have repeatedly argued that it’s appropriate for Catholics to essentially ignore the abortion legality issue in regards to politics because the issue is “dead” when only one party supports outlawing abortion, I’m not sure how arguing for a handgun ban is “real world” when neither party even remotely supports that.

    Even if one supported a total US handgun ban (which arguably would not achieve your stated objectives anyway), it is obviously a total political impossibility at this point. Why bring it up? (Note that the USCCB has not recently.)

    Besides, this is a total red herring to the topic of this post, which has to do with the appropriate interaction with police officers. In regards to which, I advise you to educate yourself if your above comments are representative of your knowledge level.

  • I advise you to educate yourself if your above comments are representative of your knowledge level.

    Seconded. How about a ridealong, MM?

  • Indeed, save the Second Amendment issues for another date; this Gates debacle has nothing to do with them and, as DC astutely observed, nothing more than a red-herring/baiting tactic.

    An irrefutable point remains that Obama acted irresponsibly and ignorantly by offering his opinion (even though he was “asked” by a pre-screened reporter), particularly in light of his own admission/preface that he did not have all the facts before him. He recklessly escalated a local, municipal issue into that of a national “race” issue.

    But, Obama has his own agenda and as has been discussed elsewhere at length, Obama’s relationship with Gates, Gates’ attorney Ogletree and Obama’s issues with (if not contempt of) the Cambridge Police Department are long-standing.

  • Gates received precisely the same treatmant a white man would have received who lipped off to the police. I have many clients who can sorrowfully attest to that fact. As I never weary of telling my clients who run afoul of the police, you treat them with courtesy, ask to see your attorney, and leave it to me to battle with them in court. This is not rocket science. Some cops are bullies, most are just normal people trying to make it through the day. Treat cops with courtesy and a situation almost always improves. Shoot your mouth off at them, and you end up paying expensive fees to someone like me to straighten out a completely avoidable situation.

    Personally if I had been Gates I would have been pretty ticked off too. However, I would have been smart enough to have treated the cop with courtesy, resolved the initial situation quickly, and then have a discussion with the States’ Attorney, the Police Chief, and the head of the police review board the next day. Of course I would also have had a word or two with local media outlets. Life goes so much smoother if you engage the brain first instead of the tongue.

  • I think it is absolutely ridiculous that a person can be arrested for “talking back” to a cop.

    In this age of video cameras we’ve seen instances where cops, not knowing they are being watched, at like fascist thugs. I saw one case where a cop taunted a man, saying, “I can say whatever I want and they’ll believe me instead of you.”

    It is because of the rash actions of police that some violent criminals get off on ‘technicalities’, while people who did nothing more than utter a remark some cop found annoying end up being harassed with court dates, fines, etc. Abuse of power is something that always needs to be taken seriously.

    That said, I couldn’t disagree more about a ‘handgun ban’. With due respect to the USCCB, I want to hear the moral reasoning as to why I, a responsible, law-abiding citizen, should not be allowed to purchase a handgun for home and self-defense. An approach that only looks at raw statistics misses the fact that it is precisely those people inclined to break laws already that are going to use guns for evil.

    I think it is possible that their reasoning is flawed.

  • Given that you have repeatedly argued that it’s appropriate for Catholics to essentially ignore the abortion legality issue in regards to politics because the issue is “dead” when only one party supports outlawing abortion…

    I never said that. I said that I believe it is deeply wrong to support the party in question, and that its tactics will set back the pro-life cause. That is my own judgment only.

  • “I think it is absolutely ridiculous that a person can be arrested for “talking back” to a cop.”

    Most states have fairly broad “disorderly conduct” statutes Joe. Here is a link to the Illinois statute:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K26-1

    Now I can usually win these cases for clients as most jurors and judges tend to sympathize with the Defendant as long as only words were exchanged. However the client is still out my fee plus time off from work. I think that is a high price for venting spleen, but if people wish to do so I am always happy to represent them. After going through the legal system most agree with me that courtesy is normally a cheaper way to go.

  • In this age of video cameras we’ve seen instances where cops, not knowing they are being watched, at like fascist thugs.

    On the contrary, Joe, I think that the vast majority of those police cameras show that the police act with incredible restraint in the face of fairly regular hostile encounters. For every Rodney King incident there are hundreds of non-incidents. They don’t make the news, however.

  • My perspective on law enforcement tends to be favorable — most likely, because I am a white, middle class female whose only run-ins with the law have been a few speeding tickets, and who as a newspaper reporter for 2 years on a small-town police and court beat, had to treat them with courtesy and professionalism. I did not happen to encounter any blatant instances of police brutality or corruption on my beat, but if I had stuck with it longer, or covered a bigger city, I probably would have eventually.

    I agree with j. christian that for every instance in which a cop acts like a thug there are probably at least 50 other times when they don’t. Bad cops (like bad teachers, bad priests, etc.) always get more attention than good ones.

    As for gun control, I’ve never owned a gun, and only fired a gun once in my entire life (skeet shooting on a camping trip). But — I firmly believe that since people have a natural right to defend themselves, any adult should have the right to own a gun UNLESS a good reason exists to deny them that right (criminal record, mental instability, failing to be properly trained in the use of firearms, etc.) If someone uses a gun to commit a crime, punish them with an additional fine or prison sentence for the misuse of the gun, just as we punish motorists who drive drunk or reckelessly.

  • I have a few relatives who are cops. The thing to remember is when the police enter a home, they have no idea what to expect. It might be nothing or there might be one or more armed criminals in the shadows. How do they know? When you are dealing with a cop who is already on edge, the wise thing is to defuse the tension, not pour fuel on it.

    I can understand why it happens, but there are blacks who are too quick to assume that somebody of a different race who is being a jerk to them is doing so because they are black. I worked with a black woman once who was sure that the Greek sandwich shop owner in our building hated her because she was black. But he was rude to me, rude to just about everyone who came in the place. He was like the Seinfeld soup Nazi; he was nasty to everyone, and unlike the soup Nazi, it’s not like his food was so great that you were willing to tolerate abuse. The place eventually closed and let us hope he is making a living in some business that does not involve customer service. There are racists, and then there are just people with king-sized chips on their shoulders.

  • I think it is absolutely ridiculous that a person can be arrested for “talking back” to a cop.

    Well, obviously, as a person qua person, there’s no reason why talking back to a cop should result in being arrested, any more than it would be fair for me to be arrested for talking back to you.

    I think the key thing here, however, is that when an officer is attempting to do his job (investigating a potential crime) if people just talk back and yell at him and accuse him of being a racist and generally are disruptive, it prevents the cop from being able to do his job.

    When you’re the one being stopped by the police, and you know there’s nothing all that bad you were doing, it’s natural to be indignant. I’m sure the last thing that Prof. Gates wanted to deal with the day he got back form China was some police officer showing up on his doorstep wanting to know if he was supposed to be in the house. The thing to understand is, not only does the officer have no idea if you’re really innocent or not, but he very frequently deals with people who are not innocent and try to bluster or fight their way out of the situation.

    That’s why many states or cities have “contempt of cop” laws — so that people understand they need to cooperate or else face consequences. (Though often, the consequences are just hanging out in the cooler for a couple hours and then being released without charges.)

    Anyway, I know I must sound like a broken record on this, but I do strongly recommend Barker’s book, which you might be able to find at a decent library. It’s certainly not a “cops are always right” book but it both helps you understand what cops deal with and where they’re coming from — which often makes things more sympathetic, and in other cases at least helps one understand what the life of being a big city police officer tends to do to people. To understand all is not necessarily to forgive all, but it is useful nonetheless.

  • Police officers are trained to respond professionally to provocation. When an officer fails to do so, it is a serious problem.

    My guess is that the behavior in question was far more than merely “being rude.” (I make that assertion based upon the reputation of the officer involved.)

    In most of the arrests that I have seen “go wrong,” it is the failure to follow lawful orders that pushes officers up the “ladder of force.” It isn’t that the SUBJECT is merely rude but that an officer orders them to “show me your hands” or “stop where you are” and the SUBJECT continues to approach and refuses to comply. Officers then become all too aware of their vulnerability, particularly in enclosed spaces.

    There are a number of simulators that officers receive regular training on that provide reasonably close simulation of such incidents. It is disturbing to die in these simulations but virtually everyone does since correctly gauging the conditions is incredibly difficult. The inclination is either to be too aggressive or too reserved. Either one can get someone killed.

    As to the firearms issue… Whether or not handguns were illegal would not have changed THIS situation, as best I can tell. Officers will continue to assume the worst since doing otherwise will get you or your partner killed.

  • Interesting that no one here has law enforcement experience. Lots of first stones cast, though.

    I wonder how many people could do the job for one day, let alone a full career.

    Meanwhile, be sure to take such domestic tranquility as we have for granted.

  • I wonder if we are not overlooking one aspect: that of the tendency overpaid Harvard professors [whatever their color] to be rude and overbearing.

    I would be curious to know what would have been Prof. Gates’ reaction if, while he was in China, his house had been burglarized.

  • I am a family man and huge advocate of Law and Order- see my post “Take Back America Street by Street” from April 21 here at American Catholic.

    We need a really strong police presence, and we need really effective means of watchdogging police powers- to make sure abuses do not become systemic institutionally or along racial lines- for example. Targeting the bad neighborhoods to help break the cycles of crime and criminals, and fostering solid team values among police by bringing together mixed-race squads, with family wages to protect against corruption and add to the community prestige and role-modeling potential.

    With this must be very transparent policing departmental policies, and citizen board advisory and oversight committees- to make necessary reforms and weed out bad apples.

    How much of this is going on with the Cambridge police situation? If charges of racial abuse are being made, police should be trained to call for back-up quickly and to have minority officiers also prepped for responding to put more diverse perspectives at the scene asap.

    In an unfallen world, we wouldn’t need to do all of this, and after getting America under a better code of conduct, and breaking down many of the root causes of criminal behavior, we can begin then to cut back on the policing presence- but right now is the time to push forward not pull back to armed fortresses while the streets go more and more into the hands of the criminally-inclined.

    On the Gates particular situation- Obama was wrong to weigh in with only a partial set of facts- and if Gates was getting out-of-hand verbally, but not violently- that would have been the time to call for a racially-mixed back-up team to get that diversity check to ensure that there wasn’t something racial in the mix that was adding fuel to the fire rather like the firemen in Fahrenheit “451”? who start fires rather than put them out. I don’t have all the facts so I won’t go out on a limb and say one or the other parties was at primary fault.

  • Elaine,
    Though being a white female may help, it’s no guarantee (trust me) that you’ll never find yourself face-to-gun barrel with an officer (even when you’re not breaking any laws!) Prudence dictates not elevating the threatcon level.

    There’s been a lot of weighing in here on the appropriate way for police to deal with an unruly individual who has otherwise not broken the law. It was my impression that shouting and behaving in a threatening manner toward another person constitutes assault and is therefore grounds enough for arrest. I’d be interested to get the perspective of some of the legal eagles who write for or read this blog on that.

  • I am not a legal eagle, but I can tell you that there are provisions of the Penal Law of New York which define the crime of ‘Menacing’ and the crime of ‘Harrassment’. These are class b misdemeanors and more serious than ‘disorderly conduct’. I am not sure either would apply given the precise facts of the case. If Dr. Gates had brandished a truncheon as a weapon the former might apply and if he had followed the officer down the block shouting obscenities at him the latter might.

  • Tim: One of the officers on the scene at the Gates house was black. He backs Crowley’s account. And Crowley has taught courses on racial profiling. He has been praised by the other officers in his Department for being an excellent cop.

    That’s why the attempt to make this into an example of racist injustice has backfired. If Crowley had a record of harassing minorities in the past or was rumored to be a less than honest cop, I’d have a different take on it.

    Remember, Cambridge is not only wealthy but one of the most liberal of communities in a very blue state. I am finding attempts to equate this to Alabama in 1958 rather risible.

    Gabriel Austin: You make a good point. This is probably as much about class as it is about race. Haaavard professors of any color undoubtably get quite a bit of deference in Cambridge, which is probably why Gates thought showing the cop a Harvard ID (with no address on it) would be sufficient. When the cop was unimpressed, Gates played the race card.

  • What I find most irritating about this is Obama’s remarks. I recall that Nixon also put his foot into it when he publicly opined that Charles Manson was guilty – while the trial was still going on. The press, rightly, criticized him for that. I’ve not seen much press criticism of Obama – but then he is “The Won”.

Sotomayor, No Content Of Character Here

Thursday, June 4, AD 2009

Sotomayor Racism

Imagine a white male conservative making the same comments that Judge Sonia Sotomayor made:

A wise White man with his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina female,”

The mainstream media (old media) would have a field day recounting how racist Republicans are.  It would be nonstop media coverage not seen since Trent Lott’s infamous statements.

Now here are Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s comments.  Keep in mind that when she said these comments that she was dead serious:

A wise Latina woman with her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,”

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15 Responses to Sotomayor, No Content Of Character Here

  • A wise woman will more often than not reach a better conclusion than most males.

  • Gabriel,

    A wise woman will more often than not reach a better conclusion than most males.

    and conversly a wise man will more often than not reach a better conclusion than most females.

    Now, to be clear, we’re talking about the proper understanding of “wise”. Here’s another thoughts:

    An “educated” man or woman will more often than not reach a worse conclusion than most anybody.

  • Gabriel,
    Indeed, but a “learned” person has a better chance of becoming a “wise” person than most.

  • Mike Petrik,

    Indeed, but a “learned” person has a better chance of becoming a “wise” person than most.

    not typically in this day and age, maybe before the “enlightenment”.

    am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.
    — William F. Buckley

  • Matt,
    I intended my post as a response to yours, and without getting into the relevance of the so-called enlightenment, my point was to distinguish the “learned” from the “educated.” I suspect you would agree with that point, properly understood.

  • Sorry Mike, I though you were equating learned with education. So if you agree that the 2000 professors of Harvard are neither wise, nor learned no matter how educated they are, then we’re on the same page.

  • At the risk of being accused of making sweeping generalizations, I agree completely — at least in principle.

  • Imagine a white conservative saying: “A wise Italian woman with her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male.”

    I doubt there would’ve been much protest.

    I’m not very familiar with La Raza. How many whites have they lynched?

  • –Imagine a white conservative saying: “A wise Italian woman with her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male.”

    May I then in the same spirit nominate my wise grandmother for the USSC. She’s an Indian fisherwoman but (per Asimov) as indeed all grandmothers, is in fact Jewish.

  • RR,

    If you ever read anything from La Raza you would be appalled at the literature out there.

    As far as I can recollect, I haven’t read any Italian-American literature calling for the annexation of the eastern United States to Italy and calling themselves the Master Race.

  • I have no love in my Hispanic heart for La Raza, MEChA, et al. I also am not naive about the meaning of identity politics, in particular Affirmative Action (see my recent post at Vox-Nova: http://vox-nova.com/2009/06/02/experiencing-affirmative-action/).

    Add to that, I do not know Sotomayor or what she meant by this statement. Having said that, none of us “know” her intentions or the meaning of her language here.

    The point where I dispute this post (and others like it) is that there is only one meaning to her statement. There is a connotation of racism, to be had, for sure.

    However, I think that there is also another meaning that is hardly controversial, albeit politically incorrect. Namely, that the our life experiences shape our ability to interpret the world, in this case, the law.

    This is why a Catholic perspective, to me, is a richer view to look at thing with when compared to narrower views–for this very reason I supported the nominations of Alito and Roberts, and was deeply criticized for it.

    So, while lumping in the implication that she is racist may still be a possible way to interpret what she said and her affiliations with the organization that smack of supremacy (although for complex, yet still misguided in my mind, reasons) are troubling, there is no reason to think that this interpretation has some kind of monopoly over the possible meaning of her words.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but the content and tone of this post suggests that this is the “real,” “only” way to see her comments. And that clearly seems to be untrue.

  • Sam,

    The context of the post is very limited, for that matter all posts are, since it can be difficult to understand the context of where the person is coming from as well as the words themselves.

    With that said, a lot of people in La Raza and MEChA as well, can be discerned as well meaning. Just as those that may have joined the Nazi party in the Weimer Republic of the 1930s.

    I.E., not all people are bad by association.

    With that said, considering the educational and intellectual background of Miss Sonia Sotomayor, it can be construed as a very poor judgement on her part for being affiliated with such organizations. As well as her work in college for calling for Puerto Rican independence.

    For all we know, she may well be a very patriotic American and is embarressed by her poor choice of words. Unfortunately she does not have the character to admit the errors of her way since she is determined to be a Supreme Court Justice.

    If she were to recant and be apologetic, I would certainly be one of the very first to accept it and maybe even accept her as a Supreme Court Justice, but her admitting her mistakes is not part of her character. Sadly. She is of this world and not Christs.

    I am beyond “ethnic” politics, at least I think so. If the nominee were of “Latino” ethnicity but of a practicing Catholic, I would be celebrating the fact that she is Catholic. Not that she is “Latino”.

    I have no doubt that she will be confirmed, regardless of her less than stellar career as a district judge, since it seems to guilty white liberals that ethnicity and empathy trump experience and character.

    My posting was basically for historical posterity. So when people look back and see the baffling and poor writing of Miss Sonia Sotomayor, they will see why she was placed on the bench.

    Simply because of the color of her skin and her gender. Not because she was qualified.

  • Tito, thanks for acknowledging the limits here. But even given the limitations you mention, I don’t understand the meaning of many of the words you are using (e.g. liberal, the problem with PR independence, belonging to the world vs. Christ) and the concepts that follow.

    The biggest problem, however, is that you seem to have missed a major consequence of my comment. Namely, that your interpretation of Sotomayor here, posted for posterity, could in fact be completely wrong. Which would mean she would have no reason to apologize int eh first place. Instead, she would only have to say what she meant in a way that a bit more clear.

    So, the needed apology would only be if you are right here, but—and this was my point—you may be quite wrong and neither one of us can possibly know that for sure. But, while you say you have serious limits, being wrong isn’t really one of them here.

    No, my point is not saying that guilt by association is true (of course it isn’t), it is saying that, given what she said, there are other possible interpretation that should keep our decisions on the matter (i.e. what she said) open ended for now.

    There is a decidedly partisan tone to your argument, as I read it, that seems to prevent you from granting that limitation. Without doing so, I fear you are simply asserting something as plausible for your cause as the other are plausible for the other side of the aisle. My point is this: both sides are bankrupt, we do much better thinking free from them, and, if we do, then, we cannot say the things you are saying here or the other side is saying there—you are both wrong, for now.

  • Forgive the grammar and misspellings, I think the basic ideas are still intelligible, though.

  • Sam,

    I respectfully disagree with your sentiments.

    I am not a registered Republican and have rightfully castigated people such as Rudy Guiliani and Sean Hannity for being less than truthful in their faith.

    I am a history buff and always take care with what I write knowing that history will prove me right in the end (at least I think so). In addition, you pointing out the fact that this is an opinion is like accusing the President of being partisan. Of course it is my opinion, that is why I wrote this piece.

    I do presume, based on the mountain of information that I have, especially since I feel that I am a patriotic American and disavow all calls for the dissolution of union when it comes to Puerto Rico. If Miss Sotomayor would apologize for her un-American statements in supporting anarchy and her racist remarks, then I would be supportive.

    But considering her lack of faith and her lack of character, I highly doubt this will occur. Though I would be happy to be corrected here.

    Grammar and misspellings are easily forgiven. Please forgive me as well for the same.

    For posterity’s sake, I opine that history will judge Miss Sotomayor harshly. May she return to her faith and find solace in the Lord with His mercy so she can deal with the shame and rightful scorn that will be placed upon her during her time (assuming she gets confirmed) as a Supreme Court Justice.

Racism at the Inauguration?

Tuesday, January 20, AD 2009

I greatly appreciated Pastor Rick Warren’s invocation | Video:

… Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom, and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes — even when we differ. …

On the other hand, is it making too much to note that Rev. Joseph Lowery’s Benediction (Video), in its general indictment (even perhaps in jest) of the white man, closed somewhat on a sour note — as well as contrasting with Obama’s message of racial unity?

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71 Responses to Racism at the Inauguration?

  • I heard this on the radio and it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. Yet another reminder that a lot of folks don’t want racism or the perception of it to end. It is too much of a useful tool to be wielded against white people.

  • when yellow will be mellow.

    Wha…?!?

    Dude, I’m not remotely Asian and I find that pretty offensive. Whether they’re being compared to one of the vilest soft drinks in the world, or blamed for doing shocking things like doing well in school, working hard and staying married — it’s pretty appalling either way.

    Perhaps just as well I was busy all day and simply read Obama’s address and skipped all the TV and radio coverage.

  • Nothing like a bunch of bitter white men sitting around looking for a derogatory angle on the day…

  • Did everyone forget that Obama is biracial? Good for us, we’re colorblind enough to elect a man of color. I grant him that many people see “black” when they see a biracial person, and I will have to prepare my adoped sons for this reality. But, also remember that Obama grew up in two cultures, and let’s reflect on which side of his family did “what was right”. Hint: it was not his black Muslim father who abandoned him as an infant, left the continent, and took up new wives…

    To his credit, I have not heard Obama himself dwelling on these racial issues. He seems perfectly comfortable with both cultures and willing to “move on” (ahem) with his life. But he has associated with people that seem to still be really hung up on it. Was this really the best they could get for the big historical inuaguration day?

  • Why is the left so angry still? They got their man elected… Nothing but nastiness from most lefties on this blog… Everyone else is being quite respectful towards the new president despite our differences, something the left never offered to George Bush FROM DAY ONE. Why?

    Matt

  • The prayer ends with: “Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.”

    It should be pretty simple.

    BTW, Lowery was shot with fire hoses , bitten and beaten in his time.

    Too bad for some he has these memories of his own and others inhumane treatment in America’s history, due to his color and hi shunger for justice’s sake…

    I know, all should have been colorblind, including Afican Americans, since the end of the Civil War. Nothing to get hung up over…really…

  • Matt,

    Could it be that he has not the elected president in 2000?

  • What the hell is “racist” about Lowery’s benediction? You have not made the case, Blosser.

  • Michael, thank you for the formality, but feel free to call me Christopher. Noting your outrage as expressed at Vox Nova, I’ve attempted to clarify my initial impressions.

    I freely concede that I may be wrong in my evaluation of Lowrey’s comments.

  • Of course Lowery’s benediction was racist. Those who argue otherwise are simply in denial of what he said. Imagine if a white pastor had chanted similar doggerel in a prayer where blacks were asked to do what is right.

    He is also a hard core leftist of long standing.

    http://www.theird.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=884&srcid=884
    Here is a quote from him about abortion:

    “We need to be discerning about the major issues. Abortion — that’s a minor issue. I’m all for life, but I’m also for freedom of choice. We can’t be the judge of what a woman does with her body. We have too many distractions.”

  • BTW, Lowery was shot with fire hoses , bitten and beaten in his time.

    Too bad for some he has these memories of his own and others inhumane treatment in America’s history, due to his color and hi shunger for justice’s sake…

    True, and he should be respected for that as one who fought the good fight. But the fact that someone has suffered great injustice does not necessarily mean that he is free of unpleasant traits. Indeed, it’s one of the tragedies of sin that those who are sinned against often twisted by the cruelty which is inflicted upon them.

    I’m pretty sure, Mark, that you wouldn’t make the claim that because Jews suffered in the holocaust, they couldn’t possibly be racist in their actions towards any other group. By the same token, the fact that Rev. Lowery suffered during the civil rights movement does not mean that his rhyming skin color litney wasn’t racist.

    Frankly, I don’t even care about the “when the white man will embrace what is right” slap — that kind of thing is pretty much contentless ritual for those who make their livings of race this day and it doesn’t offend me. But the use of:

    when brown can stick around. … when yellow will be mellow. … when the red man can get ahead, man;

    All of which lines drew laughs from the audience, strikes me as a needless invocation of racial stereotypes for no good purpose.

    Do I think it’s a big deal? No. But so long as we’re talking about it, I think it’s a pretty poor thing to trot out at a historic event, and an example of how many of those who talk the most about race don’t really have any interest in moving on from it.

  • “Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.”

  • Rev. Lowery has history of occasionally veering off the road into a ditch. Maybe from all those years of being hosed and bitten by German Shepherds. Or maybe he’s just grumpy. Speaking of which- didn’t Joe and Jill look positively smashing? Now Joe can be sent on ‘fact-finding missions’ while Jill can read to grade school kids. Which is as much as we’ll get from those two for at least the next four years.

  • Look up the literaty device called “signifying”, used by African Americans in their history.

    This will explain much about Lowery’s remarks. also, notice his tone.

    I think Gates wrote an essay on the topic.

  • Darwin,
    This kind of stereotyping’s been around for an awfully long time. Check out this little bit of possibly relevant historical trivia mi marido had stashed in the back of his mind.

  • Actually, Lowery’s rhyme was based on an old blues song by Big Bill Bloozy: “Black, Brown, and White.” See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZLw5ahxm-Q
    Of course, the song was missing the part about yellow people being “mellow.”

  • Thank you Cminor! I thought I had heard what he said before and now I know why. My parents had that album and I listened to it a few times decades ago.

  • I made this comment, but it fell into a black hole: Lowery’s rhyme (absent the “mellow yellow” and “red get ahead” parts) came from an older source: A 1951 blues song called “Black, Brown and White” by Big Bill Broonzy. Google it and you’ll find it on Youtube.

  • I guess I have four thoughts:

    1) This is not a big deal.

    2) The remarks were racially divisive.

    3) The remarks were more excusable (and maybe entirely excusable) based on the age and life experiences of the speaker. He was in his mid-40’s before schools were really desegregated in the South.

    4) There is nothing wrong with noticing they were racially divisive in a blog post; but, once noted, there are better things to talk about going forward.

  • I guess we can excuse Rev. Lowrey for clouded judgment… however, don’t think for a moment that every word of every speech wasn’t vetted by President Obama and/or his staff.

    This has been his “modus operandi” from the beginning, he is all things to all people.

  • Pingback: Now this, this is a benediction. « flying.farther
  • So the excuses made for this character is (1) he’s old, (2) he was mistreated decades ago, (3) the crap at the end of his prayer was from an old song, etc.

    Here are the answers

    (1) If he is too old to give a simple blessing at the end of a ceremony without being offensive then choose someone else.
    (2) If he is too bitter about the past to be cheerful about the present then get someone else.
    (3) Who cares what the origin of the doggerel was?

    Bottom line those who chose this guy knew about his issues and certainly saw advance copies of his material. His behavior at the funeral for Mrs. King should have been enough to convince people he was not an appropriate choice.

  • John Henry,

    I agree with all your points except # 3.

    As an “alleged” Christian, Rev. Lowery apparently hasn’t found peace of the loving embrace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Hence why is he still bitter?

    I don’t recall St. Thomas More ‘complaining’ about anti-Catholic prejudices when he was about to be executed. Rev. Lowery was saying the BENEDICTION for the first president of ‘color’ in the United States of America.

    So I give no excuse for Rev. Lowery’s bitterness one iota. Christopher has an excellent point to show the lack of Christian forgiveness in Rev. Lowery’s ‘benediction’. Rev. Lowery is just as bad as Jeremiah Wright, the difference is he isn’t as profane as Mr. Wright.

    Bigotry knows no color, it works both ways.

  • By the way, this is a little presumptive of me to say, but Mark and Michael, why is that I’m African American and not making a big deal about this and the two of you are? I’m not saying there is nothing of concern here, but that this blog is being attacked as “racist” and “nationalistic” and the like is really difficult considering I write on this blog…nor does is it really indicative as to why you visit here so often if it’s really that terrible.

    Additionally, if people cease to exercise the virtue of charity when they speak to you, perhaps it would not hurt — though it is admittedly very difficult — to exercise the virtue anyway and ask to return the debate to the issue at hand instead of ad hominem attacks. This just as much goes to anyone that has made such statements toward the both of you. I don’t believe in double standards. But let’s not make them and don’t live up to them. It really bothers me the way that lately there has not been much Christian charity while we’re all claiming God and righteousness to be on our side. Just a thought.

  • S.B.,
    Thanx for the link. I had a feeling that that bit of doggerel had roots older than Frye’s Nixon impersonations but wasn’t sure there was an extant record. BTW, I’ve found to my embarassment that comments with links don’t always post right away here, but do eventually post.

  • OK, maybe the comparison to Wright was a bit much. I’ll take that one back.

    Personally, I don’t feel offended by the benediction since I wasn’t that interested to begin with. If anything what may concern me is the lack of a vetting process that Obama’s handlers have for allowing something like that comment to pass by.

  • Eric — Michael I. fancies that he speaks for all African Americans, nay, all people of color in the world. How he knows so much about them, coming from almost all-white West Virginia and going to school in Canada, is something of a mystery, although not as mysterious as the notion that all “brown” people (as Michael calls them) think alike in the first place. Thus, if anyone says anything that Michael disagrees with and it has anything to do with a non-white person, Michael jumps up and yells about racism.

    He did this on a Vox Nova comment thread in a much more egregious way: He had said that Third World capitalist factories should be replaced by worker-built communal factories. I made the obvious rejoinder that if worker-built factories were all that realistic, we should be seeing more of such factories already, and that the fact that such factories are rare is a sign that Third World people tend to lack the capital and training to just set up a new factory (just as I’d have no idea how to do so, let alone the funds). Michael said that this was a “racist” comment, for reasons that only he could imagine (he certainly couldn’t explain himself or offer any attempt at an argument).

  • Michael Iafrate

    Michael Iafrate — I apologize for the subject line if that’s what caused your frustrations. If you’ll note, there was a subject mark appended, as I intended to phrase it as a question:

    is it making too much to note that Rev. Joseph Lowery’s Benediction (Video), in its general indictment (even perhaps in jest) of the white man, closed somewhat on a sour note — as well as contrasting with Obama’s message of racial unity?

    Perhaps a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that question would have sufficed. Nonetheless, I attempted to post the clarification of my thoughts to your own post at Vox Nova, but was unsuccessful.

    Perhaps I’m banned? If not, kindly approve as I think my clarification will assist in the discussion.

    Too all others

    Thank you for your contributions, especially as to the origins of the rhyme that Lowery recited.

    I stand by my observation that Obama’s criticism of Reverend Wright could equally be applied to Reverend Lowrey: the recitation of such a rhyme seemed static, as if no progress had been made.

    Consequently, the interjection of a racially-divisive verse into a benediction stood, for me, in sharp contrast to the notable efforts of both Pastor Rick Warren and President Obama himself to transcend the issue.

    But to concur with John Henry — “There is nothing wrong with noticing they were racially divisive in a blog post; but, once noted, there are better things to talk about going forward.”

    Suffice to say I don’t plan on pressing the issue in future posts.

  • Tito,

    If anything what may concern me is the lack of a vetting process that Obama’s handlers have for allowing something like that comment to pass by.

    No question that Obama’s handlers vetted and approved this text. This is a nod to one of his constituencies that may have felt left out of his speech, part of his approach of being all things to all people.

    SB,

    incivility is the typical behavior over at that blog. As we speak they’re copying posts from here and discussing them without the respect of a link.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Eric – I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding Christopher Blosser’s suggestion that Lowery’s benediction (taking into consideration his and John Henry’s attempt at damage control) *may have been* “racist.”

    Michael I. fancies that he speaks for all African Americans, nay, all people of color in the world. How he knows so much about them, coming from almost all-white West Virginia and going to school in Canada, is something of a mystery…

    1) I don’t speak for African Americans. But I certainly will voice my opinion and stand up for black preachers from the charge of “racism” in cases like these.

    2) West Virginia is pretty white. My experience there has given me a lot to reflect on when it comes to racism. I often know racism when I see it. West Virginia certainly isn’t all white. Unsure about your reference to Canada. I live in one of the most diverse cities on the planet.

    hus, if anyone says anything that Michael disagrees with and it has anything to do with a non-white person, Michael jumps up and yells about racism.

    He did this on a Vox Nova comment thread in a much more egregious way: He had said that Third World capitalist factories should be replaced by worker-built communal factories. I made the obvious rejoinder that if worker-built factories were all that realistic, we should be seeing more of such factories already, and that the fact that such factories are rare is a sign that Third World people tend to lack the capital and training to just set up a new factory (just as I’d have no idea how to do so, let alone the funds). Michael said that this was a “racist” comment, for reasons that only he could imagine (he certainly couldn’t explain himself or offer any attempt at an argument).

    S.B. clearly has his own dream-land revisionist reconstructions of our past “conversations.” I refuse to spend the time “explaining myself” in light of what he claims that I said.

  • Michael,

    I’m perfectly willing to concede that

    1) the remarks themselves were racially divisive and ill-timed (in the context of the inauguration itself as well as the celebration of Martin Luther King).

    2) enlightened as to the historical origins of the lyrics and given the fact that Rev. Lowery himself hails from the era of segregation, he may not have a racist intent in making the statement.

    That said, being a working man, I haven’t found time to speak to 800 Canadians about the inauguration and benediction, and am a bit clueless as to the precise meaning of the “yellow/mellow” line.

    Perhaps you can clarify that for me?

  • Post-racial – yeah right.

    I thought the yellow part was the worst. Does he want all Asians to be singing Donavan’s “They call me mellow yellow.”

    Pres Obama laughing during it was pretty sad also.

  • Hey Jeff, why don’t you put up your jester hat for the WordPress thumbnails?!

    Just being selfish so the A.C. “Recent Comments” column looks more colorful.

  • You couldn’t even pretend to explain yourself at the time either . . . . so it goes with you: irascible and inflammatory language without any capacity or ability to come up with an explanation.

  • I refuse to spend the time “explaining myself” in….

    broken record from this guy.

  • I’m perfectly willing to concede that

    1) the remarks themselves were racially divisive and ill-timed (in the context of the inauguration itself as well as the celebration of Martin Luther King).

    The remarks were not divisive, but drew attention to already existing division. They were not “ill-timed.” What better context than the inauguration and the wake of MLK Day than to remind ourselves of how far we have to go? Why is that threatening to you? Why does it threaten you to acknowledge that racism still plagues the united states? Why is it EVER “inappropriate” to talk about it? That is the language of racism and colonization: to tell persons to talk only at “appropriate” times.

    2) enlightened as to the historical origins of the lyrics and given the fact that Rev. Lowery himself hails from the era of segregation, he may not have a racist intent in making the statement.

    News flash! American Catholic blogger believes Rev. Lowery might now have had “racist intent” in his benediction! What a relief.

    That said, being a working man, I haven’t found time to speak to 800 Canadians about the inauguration and benediction,

    Perhaps you missed it when I said I was at work and that was how I was able to talk to so many Canadians about the inauguration.

    …and am a bit clueless as to the precise meaning of the “yellow/mellow” line. Perhaps you can clarify that for me?

    I explained it over at VN. Doesn’t take many brain cells to figure it out.

    You couldn’t even pretend to explain yourself at the time either . . . . so it goes with you: irascible and inflammatory language without any capacity or ability to come up with an explanation

    Well, sorry, but it’s tough to keep up with you. I have trouble explaining “myself” when your version of our conversation keeps changing to suit your present needs.

  • Anyone who’s not convinced that Michael I. is lying about our past exchange can check here and here. Sound like “racist” comments to anyone?

  • I have trouble explaining “myself” when your version of our conversation keeps changing to suit your present needs.

    Liar.

  • Michael & Stuart,

    I don’t think we need to start dredging through past fights on the thread. I know from personal experience that past insults continue to rankle, but carrying paper only makes these things worse.

  • “but carrying paper only makes these things worse.”

    Amen!

  • [ED: Actually, I was serious that the paper carrying had to stop. Getting one last dig in, even if in the form of saying you don’t like carrying paper, doesn’t work.]

  • The remarks were not divisive, but drew attention to already existing division. They were not “ill-timed.” What better context than the inauguration and the wake of MLK Day than to remind ourselves of how far we have to go? Why is that threatening to you? Why does it threaten you to acknowledge that racism still plagues the united states?

    I can understand how you thought of the prayer as simply “reminding ourselves of how far we have to go”, perhaps enhanced by the fact that you seem to especially appreciate a “prophetic voice” approach which involves denouncing people rudely in order to shock them into reforming themselves.

    However, I think it’s important that you understand that for many (especially for many in their 20s and 30s) this kind of harping about the “the black man” and “the brown man” and “the yellow man” and “the red man” is not a discussion of the status quo as they know it, but a harping back to a past they don’t even remember.

    One may certainly understand that Lowery had no racist intent, while at the same time recognizing that in this day and age making jokes about “the yellow man” and “the red man” is totally unacceptable in polite society, and for most younger people who mostly know people who are half-this and half-that, the whole racial bucketing method implicit in that rhyme itself seems racist.

  • … and for most younger people who mostly know people who are half-this and half-that …

    You mean like our President?

  • Christopher B.,

    I don’t think the title of your posting is misguided or wrong. That “?” says it all, questioning if there was or not.

    My two cents worth.

  • One may certainly understand that Lowery had no racist intent, while at the same time recognizing that in this day and age making jokes about “the yellow man” and “the red man” is totally unacceptable in polite society, and for most younger people who mostly know people who are half-this and half-that, the whole racial bucketing method implicit in that rhyme itself seems racist.

    Well, you seem to have a different reason for opposing his prayer. Christopher was personally offended that [gasp!] he “insult” white people.

    However, I think it’s important that you understand that for many (especially for many in their 20s and 30s) this kind of harping about the “the black man” and “the brown man” and “the yellow man” and “the red man” is not a discussion of the status quo as they know it, but a harping back to a past they don’t even remember.

    If they think it’s a matter of the past, then they are blind.

  • Michael,

    No, I think DarwinCatholic and I are pretty much agreed. Of course the “and when white will embrace what is right” kind of grabbed me, implying as it does that “the white man” is still putting down the red man, the yellow man, the brown man, etc., and I have a low tolerance for racist stereotypes and such blanket generalizations.

    But ultimately — yes, it’s a rather dated piece of verse, and one of my points was that we should emulate Martin Luther King in relinquishing ourselves of such blinders.

  • If they think it’s a matter of the past, then they are blind.

    Racism as a whole is not a matter of the past, but I think that if you think people are constantly going around calling Asians “yellow” and American Indians “red”, then I think you either are wrong or move in far more nasty circles than I do.

    While there are still racial problems in our country, using racial stereotypes and slurs has become nearly totally unacceptable in all parts of society that I’ve run into — including even the West Virginia call center I worked in a number of years ago. And those stereotypes that remain are generally ones which (mostly regrettably to my mind) have become acceptable to the extent that some people with media voices are proud of them.

    In that sense: Yes, talking about “the red man” and “the red man” does sound like a throwback to a age most of us have quite happily left behind.

  • In that sense: Yes, talking about “the red man” and “the red man” does sound like a throwback to a age most of us have quite happily left behind.

    Blosser blogged about the offense he took to the “general indictment…of the white man,” not about his concern about the use of terms like “yellow” and “red man.”

    Neither of you seem to get the obvious point that words mean different things depending on who is using them.

  • Michael,

    See above.

    Now, about those 800 Canadians …

  • I’ve spent some time thinking on this issue and talking with a few other people, and I’ve come to this conclusion. Lowery’s intent may have been good, and may have been free of any sort of racism, but his choice of words were poor. Why? In a way, it makes me think of stories about family feuds, in which they spend a whole generation bickering bitterly, until finally they get together, have a “Come to Jesus” talk, and then sit all together around the dinner table for the first time in years, just to have Grandma Anna remind everyone what John did to Billy ten years ago, and have the whole feud flare up again.

    Call me naive if you want, but I want us to work towards and have a colorblind society, a society where skin color warrants as much comment as hair color or eye color. I want a society where we never find it okay for one person to say or do something, but not okay for another simply due to skin color. And this flows both ways. Now, can we be blind to all differences? No, we can’t. Of course we can’t. Because differences do matter. But differences matter when they’re at the level culture and philosophy and theology, not at a superficial level of pigments.

    ..when white will embrace what is right… I was born in 1981. At that point in time, we’d emerged from the civil rights movements victorious, with essentially only mop-up details to worry about. As a child, I was informed in school of the terrible things done to blacks–slavery, segregation, racism, and so on–and was commanded not to be racist. And yet, as we continue on, and we listen to people who continually decry the evils of the white man, we who were born after the war had been won are left angry and confused. We have done no evil ourselves. We’re fair minded and more than willing to get along with people of any skin color. True, there are some that are born into extremely racist families that cling to notions of white superiority, but when we’re judged by groups like that, where does that put us? If the existence of bigots is an indictment of any entire group of people, is that not in itself racist?

    Moreover, what are we supposed to do? The history of slavery and racism exists. There’s no denying that. But are the melanin deficient supposed to atone for that sin forever? Was slavery and racism a new original sin to be handed down, generation after generation, to anyone born with white skin? At times it seems to be, and needing a new infinite atonement that no number of mortal men could ever make themselves.

    And here, at the inauguration, when most of us would like to say “Whew. Now race shouldn’t matter any more!”, we have this. It’s a quirky benediction playing off of an outdated set of lyrics, and seemingly harmless in itself. But it is in odd juxtaposition with the hope that we can finally set the difference of skin-color aside. It isn’t a diatribe of hate, like we’ve come to expect from some preachers; instead, it was a single discordant note in the symphony, something slightly out of place, but distinct enough to draw attention. For some of us, it has become imperative to examine why we found it discordant, and to that end, we have this open forum for discussion.

  • …just to have Grandma Anna remind everyone what John did to Billy ten years ago, and have the whole feud flare up again.

    Lowery was not digging up the past. He was referring to the continued existence of racism (in a personal and in a structural/societal sense).

    And here, at the inauguration, when most of us would like to say “Whew. Now race shouldn’t matter any more!”, we have this.

    I think you should ask yourself why you want to say “Whew” after Obama’s inauguration. Sure, in a sense we’d like to think race “shouldn’t matter” anymore, but we know it still does. That’s what Lowery was getting at. Anyone who thinks that the election of a black president simply changes everything or verifies changes that supposedly have occurred is dreaming.

    For some of us, it has become imperative to examine why we found it discordant, and to that end, we have this open forum for discussion.

    I think the ones who found it “discordant” are white americans who were simply offended at the thought that they still have a lot of work to do, personally and in society.

    Why do you think most people did not take offense to it? Those who were offended seem to be in the minority. When I tell people here in Canada (people of “various” “races”) about the claim that Lowery’s prayer was “racist” or “divisive” or even “inappropriate” or “discordant” the simply can’t believe it. They often laugh.

  • I think you should ask yourself why you want to say “Whew” after Obama’s inauguration.

    Mainly because I, like others, view the presidency as the last pinnacle of achievement, the last bar to be broken in the whole color scheme. There may be others. I’m sure you’ll argue there are. The work is not done, true, but as I said, it is mainly clean-up detail. A few small groups of hatred will always persist, but by in large, by the next generation, most of the remaining population that holds that black people are inferior will have died out.

    I think the ones who found it “discordant” are white americans who were simply offended at the thought that they still have a lot of work to do, personally and in society.

    I think those white Americans feel that there’s something wrong in saying that they’re the only ones who have work to do. Personally, I’ll admit that I have to work each and every day to find love for all those around me (especially those who don’t signal when they change lanes). But I still have to ask: as a whole, what more is to be done? What work needs to be started that isn’t already in progress? If you want to cite poor, black ghettos as an example, then I’ll point out that it isn’t that we don’t want to fix that problem, or that we want black people to live in that condition. Rather, we disagree on how best to fix the problem. Furthermore, even doing everything right won’t life all the poor out of poverty (something someone–I think he was kinda important–said about the poor always being with us).

    Why do you think most people did not take offense to it?

    I suppose your perception on “most” and “minority” and “who is offended” really depends upon the setting you’re in. Amazingly enough, “most” people I’m around feel that there was some divisive quality to it. Surprisingly enough, when I change setting to on campus interest groups, that “most” changes to people who feel there was nothing wrong with the statement. When I go searching around the net, I find mixed reactions wherever I go, all across the spectrum. And I suspect that many notice a discord and decide it isn’t worth thinking about twice, because criticizing a black man is politically incorrect, and the furor making such a criticism brings isn’t worth the effort.

  • Mainly because I, like others, view the presidency as the last pinnacle of achievement, the last bar to be broken in the whole color scheme. There may be others. I’m sure you’ll argue there are.

    Some of us view the presidency as so abstracted from real life that its connection with real life on the ground is complex and ambiguous at best. I do not consider the presidency as the “pinnacle of achievement” in any sense. Many people are much too concerned about their real lives than to spend too much time living vicariously through the president’s achievements.

    The work is not done, true, but as I said, it is mainly clean-up detail. A few small groups of hatred will always persist, but by in large, by the next generation, most of the remaining population that holds that black people are inferior will have died out.

    You are thinking of racism merely in terms of personal attitudes, not in terms of structural social inequalities which continue to exist no matter who the president is.

    You are also thinking only in terms of African-American experience and then making claims about how racism barely exists anymore. You have yet to consider the experience of Arab Americans or Latino/as, for example. The racism involving Arab Americans, for example, is alive and well. The often parroted claim that “now anyone can become president” is laughable once one tries to imagine the possibility of an Iranian American running for president. In short, we ain’t there yet. And we ain’t there yet because “white” still hasn’t learned to “do what’s right.”

    Furthermore, even doing everything right won’t life all the poor out of poverty (something someone–I think he was kinda important–said about the poor always being with us).

    1) Can we please agree not to use this scripture passage to continually justify the existence of poverty?

    2) Well, here you’re going from talking about poverty along racial lines to talking about poverty in the abstract. Surely Jesus did not mean that poverty which is connected to race will “always be with us.”

  • When I tell people here in Canada (people of “various” “races”) about the claim that Lowery’s prayer was “racist” or “divisive” or even “inappropriate” or “discordant” the simply can’t believe it. They often laugh.

    And here Michael I. has managed to invent a new logical fallacy. This is a rare achievement. Its name is: argumentum ad Canadiam. It refers to an argument of the following form: “I asked a few random Canadians in my social circle, and they agreed with me; therefore, I’m right.”

  • S.B. – I am merely sharing what others think of americans like you. Since you are so concerned with extending beyond one’s social circle, perhaps you could consider the views of those outside of your own for once.

  • You’re not sharing what “others think” — you’re purportedly sharing what a carefully selected group of people think. Which proves nothing.

  • So, if I am to understand correctly. Any disproportionate rate of success/failure/affluence/poverty/intelligence/literacy/health/crime/athleticism/single-parenthood/illegitimacy/substance abuse…. etc. etc. among different races must be attributed to racism on the part of whites, either now or in the past, and that such racism imputes guilt on the part of all whites in the country where it exists, or the whole world perhaps? Are Canadian born whites where slavery never existed, guilty of the racism of the southern slaveholders? Are the descendants of Union veterans of the Civil War guilty of the slavery that they fought to destroy? What if they paid the ultimate price? What if they just fought bravely or were wounded? Does it matter if they harbored interior racism or not?

    I reject this notion entirely, along with the notion that one’s present and future is in some way dictated by maltreatment of one’s ancestors. If this were the case then the Irish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Catholics… etc would all have a basis for claiming disadvantaged status because all of our predecessor suffered discrimination at the hands of the WASP’s who dominated the US from it’s inception. Scots and Irish would also have claims against the British descendants of those evil English who oppressed and dispossessed our ancestors.

    Frankly, what I see is the subtle racism of low expectations. Our ancestors pulled themselves up despite ongoing discrimination, and I believe that African-Americans can pull themselves up out of historic discrimination without constant coddling from the government. This coddling has been well demonstrated to actually maintain the cycle of dependancy much longer than it naturally would have.

    The single-most important measure of success and predictor of success in most any endeavor is families. The black family of the 20’s was sadly much more intact than it is now. This is shown in virtually any study that has ever been performed. Intact families lead to vastly higher rates of success for parents and children in every field of endeavor.

    We need to talk about families, families, families and that applies to every race and creed.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Matt,

    I don’t see any contradiction between emphasizing the importance of the family, and acknowledging that historical mistreatment of African-Americans in our country has had any number of terrible effects, many of which persist to the present day. Both are causes, and I think the latter has had a significant impact on the former.

  • John Henry,

    I don’t see any contradiction between emphasizing the importance of the family, and acknowledging that historical mistreatment of African-Americans in our country has had any number of terrible effects

    I agree, and I think it’s absolutely critical that we study and our children be educated on the roots of racism and slavery, the civil war, the abuse of immigrants of all races, the internment of the Japanese-Americans, the use of the nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the holocaust of World War II, and the holocaust of abortion.

    many of which persist to the present day. Both are causes, and I think the latter has had a significant impact on the former.

    Blaming these historical events for anyone’s current circumstances (other than the still living victims of them) is the problem. I think that the government coddling which occurred after the civil rights era has caused far more harm to the black family than Jim Crow ever did. So, yes, there is a contradiction.

    I’d like to point out that far more African’s have immigrated voluntarily to the US than were EVER brought here as slaves… that’s an important fact.

  • An interesting study is the Harlem Renaissance, a period of black social, cultural and economic ascendancy in 1920’s New York. What turned this Harlem into the disaster zone that it had become by the 70’s? It’s decline started with 1935 and 1943 riots…

  • It’s decline started with the Graet Depression…

  • I’d like to point out that far more African’s have immigrated voluntarily to the US than were EVER brought here as slaves… that’s an important fact.

    Why is it an “important” fact? What ends are you supporting with that fact?

  • Blaming these historical events for anyone’s current circumstances (other than the still living victims of them) is the problem.

    I think I disagree. Many African-American children born in a slum in DC or Baltimore are still suffering from the effects of slavery, segregation, etc.. Furthermore, being born in this environment places significant constraints on an individual’s ability to make good choices. Now, I think that professional grievance profiteers like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton do a great disservice to the truth in many cases (and to the African-American community) by doing shake-down routines on businesses based on past grievances. But the only reason those tactics are effective is because of the devastating effects that slavery, segregation, and racism have had on much (but not all) of the African-American community.

    I think that the government coddling which occurred after the civil rights era has caused far more harm to the black family than Jim Crow ever did. So, yes, there is a contradiction.

    I think ‘coddling’ is a very offensive way to describe government assistance that provides food and shelter to our poorest citizens, many of whom are African-American. Granted, some of these programs were set up in ways that incentivized single parenthood, and this was problematic. But such programs are not ‘coddling,’ nor are they limited to African-Americans.

    I’d like to point out that far more African’s have immigrated voluntarily to the US than were EVER brought here as slaves… that’s an important fact.

    I don’t really see why. It’s not like African-American immigrants were exempted from segregation or miscegenation laws or racism or even terribly designed welfare programs. The prolonged systematic attempts to ensure African-Americans were excluded from economic, social, and political opportunity had negative effects regardless of whether the individuals in question were descendants of slaves.

  • John Henry,

    I think I disagree. Many African-American children born in a slum in DC or Baltimore are still suffering from the effects of slavery, segregation, etc.. Furthermore, being born in this environment places significant constraints on an individual’s ability to make good choices. Now, I think that professional grievance profiteers like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton do a great disservice to the truth in many cases (and to the African-American community) by doing shake-down routines on businesses based on past grievances. But the only reason those tactics are effective is because of the devastating effects that slavery, segregation, and racism have had on much (but not all) of the African-American community.

    Sorry, no victimhood status is justified for the descendants of victims, otherwise all of us Scots would be in the same situation… we are not, and the only way the African-American community will EVER escape their situation is by doing what many of them are… getting over it and moving ahead.

    I find the underlined statement, while well meaning, to be offensive. If you used that to describe me because of a situation my parents went through, I would consider it an insult.

    I think ‘coddling’ is a very offensive way to describe government assistance that provides food and shelter to our poorest citizens, many of whom are African-American. Granted, some of these programs were set up in ways that incentivized single parenthood, and this was problematic. But such programs are not ‘coddling,’ nor are they limited to African-Americans.

    Sorry you find it offensive, I don’t see how you’ve suggested that it’s untrue. Can you recommend a better alternative to describe it?

    By the way, I don’t think it’s coddling for an individual or charitable organization to extend a hand and help a man to fish, or to feed him, or clothe him. That’s Christian charity… when the government does it, it’s an entitlement… coddling.

    Matt: I’d like to point out that far more African’s have immigrated voluntarily to the US than were EVER brought here as slaves… that’s an important fact.

    John Henry:
    I don’t really see why. It’s not like African-American immigrants were exempted from segregation or miscegenation laws or racism or even terribly designed welfare programs. The prolonged systematic attempts to ensure African-Americans were excluded from economic, social, and political opportunity had negative effects regardless of whether the individuals in question were descendants of slaves.

    You don’t see why Africans would come here in DROVES? Or you don’t see why that’s important? The standard of living for the poorest of our poor (excluding the homeless, largely suffering from mental illness) is like comfortable middle class in most Africans countries, and without the fear of being hacked to death with a machete. Regardless of health insurance they receive world class medical care, and their children receive pretty decent education, not world class, but far superior to Africa.

    Why is this important? Because it demonstrates that Africans recognize that this is the BEST place on earth for those of black descent to live, and they are thankful for the opportunity to pursue the happiness guaranteed by the US Constitution. As soon as the entitlement mentality is abandoned, that constituency will begin to enjoy the fruits of their labors as ALL of the disadvantaged classes before them have (Irish, Italians, Catholics, Immigrants in general, etc).

    If ancestral oppression is such a large factor in success, why is it that the children of illegal immigrants do better than the African-American community? As I said before, the problem of the African-American community is with a broken family structure. That family structure was in better shape 80 years ago, before the welfare state ruined it.

    Mark,

    while the Great Depression depressed economic success throughout the United States, the real turning point for the Harlem Renaissance was the riots of 1935 and 1943, which turned away the more affluent from patronizing the borough, and triggering the departure of those with the means to do so. As a result, Harlem did not enjoy the recovery of the late 40’s and on into the 50’s. In the 60’s and 70’s more racial turmoil and the welfare state left Harlem a disaster area. Things have been turning around though, I wonder if this is related to the welfare reforms pushed through by Republicans in the 1990’s?

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Matt,

    Where do you get your history?

  • Mark,

    where do you get yours?

  • Mark,

    here’s a source for you:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/february98/harlem5.html

    Don’t you think that the looting and burning of 600 business in your neighborhood would start it down the road to destitution?

    Matt

  • Matt,

    I was not trying to be derogatory. It is just that I never saw the narrative put together in the manner as yours is.

  • Mark,

    apologies then.

    Matt

General Lee's Greatest Victory

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

robert-e-lee-hosrseback

“It’s a warm spring Sunday at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. As the minister is about to present Holy Communion, a tall well-dressed black man sitting in the section reserved for African Americans unexpectedly advances to the communion rail; unexpectedly because this has never happened here before.

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10 Responses to General Lee's Greatest Victory

  • Thanks for bringing a tear to the eye of this old Texan/Virginian transplanted to Ohio.

  • My Dad was always an admirer of Robert E. Lee, and I agree that he was definitely a class act. as we would say. Some years ago, I visited the campus of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, and saw the Lee Family crypt, as well as the General’s office, which was left as it was during his tenure as president of the University. He was, in every sense of the word, a true Southern gentleman. Would that there were many more like him.

  • Donald,

    I remember reading this in Warren Carrol’s History of Christendom about General Lee. Just as Jay I became a bit emotional when I first read this.

    Thanks for posting this today in your column.

  • Beautiful story. As a native Virginian, I’ve always had a particular fondness for Robert E. Lee, although it seems to me that his decision to fight for the South probably led to a longer war. According to Wikipedia, he’s a descendant of St. Thomas More…had not heard that before.

  • A lovely story about one of Virginia’s finest. Lee was no supporter of slavery, and as I recall either never owned slaves or freed them early on.

  • I first read this in a book called Lee: The Last Years. I highly recommend reading this. Most histories end the story of Lee at Appomattox but this book starts there and gives the rest of the story of his life. Fascinating and admirable man.

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  • This is, indeed, a great story–one of my favorites about General Lee. I used this same anecdote in a recent lecture on “The Episcopal Church in North Carolina During the War Between the States.” However, I was a bit taken aback by your gratuitous criticism of President Obama. You had cited his election as proof of America’s racial progress. The sort of off-the-cuff comment–“a calamity for the unborn, and, I believe, for the nation”–detracted from the overall effect of your essay. Whether Obama is a great president or a terrible president has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.

  • “The sort of off-the-cuff comment–”a calamity for the unborn, and, I believe, for the nation”–detracted from the overall effect of your essay. Whether Obama is a great president or a terrible president has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.”

    I call ’em like I see ’em E.T., both in history and in politics.