The week in racial identity politics

Imagine a sports news jockey who accused a white athlete of trying to act black or being a traitor to his race by dating a black woman.  Simple: End of career. End of story.

Rob Parker at ESPN learned that as long you are a black person criticizing someone for not being black enough, you just get a slap on the wrist.  Parker really piled it on the supremely-talented RGBIII, calling him a “cornball brother,” which apparently means acting white by dating a white woman, being a Republican or doing other white things.

But at least ESPN has enough sense to know that Parker crossed the line.  Apparently the New York Times doesn’t have the same level of journalistic integrity.  They actually invited racist political science professor Adolph Reed to say essentially the same thing about South Carolina’s new black Senator, Tim Scott.  According to Reed, Scott is merely a “cynical token,” a tool of the GOP establishment who does not count as a real black person because, by the fact of his Republican beliefs, he does not support the “interests of black people” [one might argue that the interests of black people are best-served by establishing fiscally conservative, pro-growth policies that lift all racial groups, but I digress].  According to Reed, if someone would not win a majority of black voters, he is not a real black person, but merely a token.

During our recent and painful election, the favorite “argument”  Chris Matthews and his merry band of MSNBC-loonies were constantly making was that the Romney campaign had a strong racist undercurrent, their favorite term being “dog-whistle.”  When Romney said “We don’t want to turn into Greece,” Matthews would loose a gasket and rant something like, “there he goes referring to Obama as something foreign or other, which is just another way of attacking his race.”  [not a direct quote].  When the dog-whistle folks are after you, there is nowhere to hide, because everything is spun in racist terms.

We saw this in recent weeks with the case of Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN and once-potential successor to Hillary Clinton.  Over and over again we heard how she was being opposed because she was a black woman.  How, one might ask, does this make sense, since the GOP have had two black Secretaries of State, one of them a woman?  Well, this is where Reed’s logic comes into play.  Whenever black people win office as Republicans or are appointed to office by Republicans, it doesn’t mean anything because such people are, ipso facto, not really black people.  This is powerful logic.

The fascinating week ended with another mind-bending op-ed in the Times.  Another professor (sometimes my profession is so embarrassing), Carolyn Chen, laments the discrimination Asian-Americans face in college admissions, comparing the apparent quotas of Asians in elite private universities with quotas that existed some years ago to limit the enrollment of Jews in places like Harvard.  One might wonder why quotas that hurt the chances of high-achieving Jewish kids are terrible, but those that work against whites in general are OK, but Chen never raises that question.  Obviously, privileging anti-Jewish bias over other types of bias needs no defense, at least in the Times.   Chen is on safe ground, though, because her color-coded approach to Affirmative Action is that blacks and Hispanics should still be beneficiaries of Affirmative Action, but Asians and whites should be put on a “level playing field.”  Dang, I guess all of us white racists were so busy hating blacks and Hispanics that we forgot to hate those pesky Asians, and now they want all of our spots at Harvard.  Racists policies that hurt middle-class white kids: OK.  Racist policies that hurt Asians: Not OK.  Go figure.

Chen goes on to further reveal the Times racial standards: Asians, as a group, do better than whites because of the”work ethic and faith in a good education” that they inherited from their parents, she says.  Surely, there are some pretty strong cultural explanations for why Asians do so well [just think what could be accomplished if we spent more time trying to understand and replicate the success achieved by Asian immigrant groups, rather than complaining about the deficiencies of standardized testing].  But imagine if one were to state in print a similar reason for why whites perform better on academic measures than blacks or Hispanics.  Such a claim would certainly engender the wrath of Times editors and leftists everywhere, for don’t we all know that racial disparities are due to the racism of whites, not cultural factors?  We have been hearing for decades how standardized tests are culturally-biased.  Apparently, those racist test-writers are more clever than we thought.  They figured out how to write tests that are culturally biased against both blacks and whites!

Aaaaah, the fascinating world of post-racial politics.

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