December 19, 2012 by Julia
You all know by now how much I adore Runaway Slave. If you don’t want to read the whole review, essentially, Tea Party favorite Rev. C.L. Bryant made a movie that is half biography of “runaway slave” black conservative folks and half an explanation of why the Democrat party is poison for the black community. It is the most inspirational movie I have ever seen, and I cannot recommend enough that you buy it through iTunes or Amazon now or get the DVD when it comes out next month.
I bring up Runaway Slave because the New York Times published a shockingly racial (some say racist), condescending, and obnoxious op-ed from UPenn professor Adolph L. Reed, Jr. that proves Rev. Bryant 100% correct. The sheer arrogance oozing out of this op-ed belies the concept of the Democrats as the party of tolerance. Reed doesn’t even attempt to disguise his belief that black people belong to the Democrat party–and that any black person who leaves his or her owners’ plantation must be shamed and disowned by the black community.
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.
The cheerleading over racial symbolism plays to the Republicans’ desperate need to woo (or at least appear to woo) minority voters, who favored Mr. Obama over Mitt Romney by huge margins. Mrs. Haley — a daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India — is the first female and first nonwhite governor of South Carolina, the home to white supremacists like John C. Calhoun, Preston S. Brooks, Ben Tillman and Strom Thurmond.
So let me get this straight. The “how far we have come” narrative does not apply to minority Republicans, because they are all just “tokens,” trotted out to cover up the fact that Republicans hate minorities. You know, for a group of people who supposedly hate minorities so much, we sure do support a lot of them for leadership positions. I mean, really, if we hated these people, why in the world would we be happy that an Indian governor appointed a black Senator? Unless . . . we’re just happy because she gave us another token on the game board? I think maybe Reed is claiming to have psychic powers, if he can read our minds and determine that we are all lying. (Hint: we’re not. We love Tim Scott because he is an authentic conservative with strong values. His race is utterly irrelevant, and only the Democrats bring it up)
Mr. Scott’s background is also striking: raised by a poor single mother, he defeated, with Tea Party backing, two white men in a 2010 Republican primary: a son of Thurmond and a son of former Gov. Carroll A. Campbell Jr.But his politics, like those of the archconservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, are utterly at odds with the preferences of most black Americans. Mr. Scott has been staunchly anti-tax, anti-union and anti-abortion.
Even if the Republicans managed to distance themselves from the thinly veiled racism of the Tea Party adherents who have moved the party rightward, they wouldn’t do much better among black voters than they do now.
Okay, now we’re really on a roll. Compare the two lines I highlighted. The Tea Party got Tim Scott elected . . . but kept their racism only thinly veiled the entire time. Seriously. Imagine what kind of person that would be. Someone who says, “You should vote for Tim Scott, that n-word!” maybe. It makes absolutely no sense. Also, note that Clarence Thomas and Tim Scott are somehow less black because they supposedly have different opinions than most black Americans. I mean, I appreciate Reed’s apparent opinion that black people vote on the issues and not on skin color (which, frankly, seems a bit suspect from a factual standpoint), because no one should vote on skin color instead of substantive policy issues. But somehow, I don’t think he is trying to compliment black people here–rather, he is criticizing Justice Thomas and Senator Scott for deviating from the Democrat-approved black opinions.
I suspect that appointments like Mr. Scott’s are directed less at blacks — whom they know they aren’t going to win in any significant numbers — than at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don’t want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racist.
Just as white Southern Democrats once used cynical manipulations — poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tests — to get around the 15th Amendment, so modern-day Republicans have deployed blacks to undermine black interests, as when President Ronald Reagan named Samuel R. Pierce Jr. to weaken the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Clarence M. Pendleton to enfeeble the Commission on Civil Rights and Clarence Thomas to enervate the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The trope of the black conservative has retained a man-bites-dog newsworthiness that is long past its shelf life. Clichés about fallen barriers are increasingly meaningless; symbols don’t make for coherent policies. Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that.
Here it is, the real thesis: the specific goal of the Republican party is to “undermine black interests,” while trying to cover it up with token minorities. Seriously. It’s all one big conspiracy, “thinly veiled” by Tim Scott and Herman Cain.
And the solution? Republicans can’t prove they are not racist by supporting minority candidates, of course, because everyone knows they are just tokens. Now, I doubt this professor would have the guts to call Lt. Col. Allen West a “token” to his face, but still, all tokens that we only pretend to support. No, no, in order to win the black vote and prove that we aren’t huge racists, we must “take policy positions that advance black interests.” What are those positions? Well, not being “anti-tax, anti-union and anti-abortion,” to start, I guess.
What it boils down to is that anyone who does not toe the Democrat line on policy issues either isn’t authentically black (if outwardly black) or must be a racist (if white). The indicator of blackness or tolerance is adherence to . . . what? Keynesian economics? Unlimited abortions on demand? Disarming the public and leaving them at the mercy of armed criminals? And if you disagree with those things? Well, you aren’t black, and you’re probably a racist.
So shut up and let Obama drive us off the cliff, racist!