A commenter in a recent entry made a remark on the order of “not all Republicans are racists but most racists are Republicans,” which I consider silly and not based in any realistic assessment of facts. The remark seems even sillier with Herman Cain surging in several new surveys: The GOP Women Straw Poll, the Florida Republican Straw Poll, and the TeaCon 2011 Straw Poll. (Yes, that’s TeaCon as in Tea Party, members of which movement seem to breaking very strongly for Herman Cain.) The charge also rings a little hollow when the GOP’s most recent rising stars include folks like Allen West, and when the Party chairman was, until his term ended recently, Michael Steele.
Let’s make no mistake about it; prejudice of all sorts exists in people of both major parties, as well as people with no political party affiliation. Assholes will always be assholes, no matter what. But after the comment referenced above I happened across this story, which fit rather nicely: The Left: An Century of Fostering Racial Tension. Excerpt:
As the black middle class grew in the post World War II period, radicals had to resort to increasingly absurd claims to make the charge that things were getting worse. Ignoring the statistical evidence, they scoured the ghettoes and trotted out the criminal and down-and-out black as representative of black America. The influential white writer Norman Mailer valorized the black criminal in his 1957 pamphlet “The White Negro.” Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the Chicago political power couple who continued their efforts to bring down America within the college classroom, use criminals and the “disadvantaged” as illustrations of the evils of our capitalist system, as I wrote about here. Of course, to criticize the profiteering spokesmen for the “disadvantaged,” like Al Sharpton, is to invite charges of racism. But it is to the benefit of their political cause that the “disadvantaged” remain disadvantaged into
Those who are not “disadvantaged,” who do not need their “help,” are vilified. Self-made men, the “bourgeoisie,” like Herman Cain, though they are black, are dismissed with charges of “racial self-hate” or of being pawns of the white, ruling capitalists. So while Cain might identify with the Tea Party — indeed shout it from the housetops that he supports the Tea Party — the Tea Party will be called “racist,” “reactionary,” and “fascist.” That is what Paul Street, co-author of Crashing the Tea Party, said on Progressive Radio recently; the Tea Party, according to him, has “fascist” tendencies, is “reactionary,” and, because of its largely white membership, is “racist.”
I have no doubt that there are elements in the civil rights movement that have a vested interest in perpetuating racial tension in order to maintain their own activism, just as there are prison inmate advocates who, now that truly cruel punishments like flogging and starvation are (long since) illegal, make absurd claims that forcing inmates to eat bologna sandwiches is cruel.
Are there some Republicans that harbor racist feelings? Sure. Are there some Democrats that harbor racist feelings? Again, sure. Assholes will always be assholes, and unfortunately, we will always have assholes among us. But tarring a member of an entire party and an entire political movement with a broad, broad brush on such flimsy evidence is nothing short of nonsensical. I can’t read minds, but many people seem to feel the need to ascribe evil tendencies to those who disagree with them, and this may be just such a case. It is for this reason, I think, that the commenter seems to have no issue swallowing the camel of “most racists are Republicans” while struggling with finding a gnat’s worth of evidence.
I’m a Republican, and like many, many others in the GOP I’m leaning more and more towards Herman Cain. I like Mr. Cain not because he is black, nor would I like him more (or less) if he were not. I like him because I like his background, his personality, and his stated positions on most – but not all – of the issues of the day.
Let’s be honest: Institutionalized racism in this country is a thing of the past. There are no more “whites-only” and “colored only” lunch counters, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. What racism exists today is personal, not institutional, and make no mistake, people of pallor and Republicans are not the only ones capable of this flaw in reasoning.