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The Rest of Racism

The elites have their day. The media, Hollywood, and a certain demographic subset of the nation are rejoicing in the inauguration of Barack Obama. Certainly the historic nature of swearing in the first black President of the United States is evident, although its been more than slightly overdone in its impact. That was made evident to me earlier this year by my wife.

My wife happens to be Chinese, from HK actually but close enough to the mainland to resent the hell out of the idea that only blacks suffered from racism. Long after blacks gained their freedom, Chinese were routinely treated like slaves, and some of the most obscene hate crimes in history were committed against Asians. In his book "The Seven States of California", Philip Fradkin quotes a historian who said that the Los Angeles massacre of Chinese on October 24, 1871 was "probably the biggest mass lynching in the history of California, if not the whole country." (pg 369). In 1880, the Chinese living in the mining town of Hop Alley outside Denver were driven from town, and dozens of Chinese were murdered. The exact number is unknown because the bodies were dismembered and denied proper burial. Riots against Chinese, mass lynchings, and the burnings of their communities for no offense beyond being there were common in the United States for more than eighty years.

There has never been a formal apology from the United States government, or from any of the state or local governments concerned, for the murder of hundreds if not thousands of Chinese on American soil. Before 1917, Chinese were not even commonly recorded in census records and were generally denied the opportunity to become citizens under any conditions, even when they were born in the United States. I should not have to even mention the treatment of law-abiding American citizens of Japanese genealogy during World War 2.

This does not mean that Asians alone suffered. Historian Ken Gonzales-Day noted that American Indians and Latinos, along with Chinese, were regularly subjected to brutal treatment, and were victims of lynchings far more often than were blacks (Lynching in the West, 1850-1935, pg 27).

- continued -

This is not to diminish the suffering of blacks in America, but to note the hypocrisy in the spotlight given only to that race when discussing race issues. When prominent activist groups want a discussion on race, the designated leaders are always black, and the issues always focus on their race first and foremost. Blacks are assured quota minimums in government money, jobs, school placement, and even government representation (recall the demand by Democrats that Obama's replacement must be a black man or woman), at a time when no such privileges are extended to other races, and in the case of Asians a ceiling seems to be imposed to keep 'too many' of them from attending top schools. Simply put, for more than a generation there has been a strong push to advance black Americans, while ignoring other minorities who have suffered just as much, and in some cases personally worse, than blacks.

Barack Obama was not elected because he was the best-qualified candidate. He won because Americans wanted change, because he was able to win the job, and because as a black he had political capital that better-qualified opponents in his party could not access. In itself, this is no sin; many people have won office in the past under similar circumstances. But given the many claims that Obama somehow represents a victory over Racism, that America by his office has moved beyond the days where it should address its past, the disparity in how different races are treated, especially the preference granted blacks in almost all things, proves a different, a more insidious, form of racism still thrives in America.

Racism is not defeated by putting someone of the "right" color into power. It is not over when one group supplants another. It is not even finished by punishing a selected demographic, or by assuring advancement by skin color. It can only be ended when the character of the individual and the skill of his or her mind and work determine the treatment. Until then, for all his eloquence and grandeur, President Obama's attention to Racism is no more than a new chapter in an old con game. But he's not fooling everyone he believes are fooled.


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Comments (26)

"My wife happens to be Chin... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

"My wife happens to be Chinese, from HK actually but close enough to the mainland to resent the hell out of the idea that only blacks suffered from racism."

Anybody who thinks that only blacks have suffered from racism is not familiar, at all, with the our historical past.

"This is not to diminish the suffering of blacks in America, but to note the hypocrisy in the spotlight given only to that race when discussing race issues."

Very true. Many people are taking this issue and oversimplifying it.

"It can only be ended when the character of the individual and the skill of his or her mind and work determine the treatment. Until then, for all his eloquence and grandeur, President Obama's attention to Racism is no more than a new chapter in an old con game. But he's not fooling everyone he believes are fooled."

Hmmm. You really think this is Obama's game? I tend to think that some of his supporters and the media are oversimplifying this issue.

Regardless, your post is a good reminder that there is a lot more to our history than just black and white issues.


DJ, I can't help but think ... (Below threshold)

DJ, I can't help but think of the Dursley scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, when Dumbledore comments that no matter how badly the Dursleys treated Harry, at least Harry was better treated than their son, Dudley.

How has all that attention to blacks done for them, DJ? When you look at their crime rates, single parenthood, drug abuse and unhappiness (not to mention the crime that is rap music), you know you're better off NOT getting all that "special treatment."

Better to be Harry in the cupboard under the stairs than Dudley with thirty-seven birthday gifts, DJ. Long may the Asian community prosper, without any help at all from the lame government or the lame media.

Over done?This is wh... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Over done?
This is what was over done...and tell me how you would fix what the village idiot has destroyed.
GET REAL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtnE4C9Gv5U
depp=true

One more. DJ wrote:<... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

One more. DJ wrote:

"The elites have their day."

Note: despite the populist rhetoric of many Republican politicians, don't kid yourself into believing that they are any less "elite" than the Democrat politicians.

Separate rhetoric from reality, DJ.

The race-baiters will never... (Below threshold)

The race-baiters will never be satisfied.
http://www.rightklik.net/

"He won because Americans w... (Below threshold)
Eric:

"He won because Americans wanted change, because he was able to win the job, and because as a black he had political capital that better-qualified opponents in his party could not access."

You should stand up and count yourself among the racists. Obama only won because he's black. That's the same damn "affirmative-action" argument the KKK and Conservapedia are peddling. You seem intelligent, but not intelligent enough to spot your own racism and resentment.

Lincoln also went up against "better-qualified opponents" in his own party, and he won the nomination nonetheless. Was that because he was black? So why is it "because he was black" when it comes to Obama? Your statement should have ended after the word "job".

Not big on reading comprehe... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Not big on reading comprehension, are you Eric?

Good article. Your historia... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Good article. Your historians' bent can at least acknowledge the importance of the Obama inauguration. I call it a watershed event, myself. What comes of the Obama administration is beside the point.

Your caveat regarding Obama's want of some mysterious super-qualifications beyond those spelled out in the constitution is anti-republican.

Your short exposition of the plight of the Chinese and other Asians in the US is true except for putting their plight as worse than blacks (or Indians). Comparing hardships would take too long, but suffice it to say, 2000 years of authoritarian/totalitarian conditioning prepared the Chinese people to thrive in the USA. Prohibited from owning land on the west coast? The Chinese (and Japanese) invent "truck farming". Many, many Chinese went back home as very, very rich men. I am aware of the periodic "riots" (pogroms), though. My favorite American author, Mark Twain, betrays a warm spot in his frigid heart for the Chinese ("Roughing It").

The best sociological survey of the west, by a country mile (in handy textbook format):

http://www.amazon.com/Its-Your-Misfortune-None-Own/dp/0806125675

It includes much about the Chinese, of course. And conquistadores, Cornishmen, cribs, and community activists (a real term, btw. It seems to have started with a new Indian assimilationist/Christian movement out of NYC, circa 1895).


The media, Hollywood, an... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The media, Hollywood, and a certain demographic subset of the nation are rejoicing in the inauguration of Barack Obama.

That "subset" is about 79%, and their "demographic" is Americans.

And I'm tired of other mino... (Below threshold)
The Man:

And I'm tired of other minorities whining about not having the chance to have been actual slaves. Sorry Chinese minorities. No slave asterisk by your race.

Being black I cringe at any... (Below threshold)
yihdego:

Being black I cringe at any "reporter" asking a black person how important it is that Barack is president. The press cannot dignify racism, no matter how hard they try. Now I admit the media is Obama's cheerleader but don't judge the candidate or even for that matter the black community on their representtation by media. Conservatives of all groups of people should understand this.

Being a "Trail of Tears" de... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

Being a "Trail of Tears" descendant, I cringe at any Democrat that claims the party to be the party for minorities. It seems to me that good ole Andy Jackson (a democrat) was a shining example of racist hate of his time. Anyone who studies history should understand this.

"Andy Jackson (a democrat) ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

"Andy Jackson (a democrat) was a shining example of racist hate of his time. Anyone who studies history should understand this."

Good point.

What's the point of that, R... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

What's the point of that, Razorgirl? Democrats used to be conservative and Lincoln's Republicans were liberal. Do you seek to make a point by mentioning this fact?

I don't think Democrats have much in common with their predecessors, nor do Republicans--in both cases, for better and for worse. Party ideals and demographics have shifted so much over time that far-reaching historical comparisons are irrelevant--except when one seeks to illustrate how much party ideals and demographics can shift over long periods of time.

Hyper get a grip and a clue... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hyper get a grip and a clue. Study canadian history, you will probably have a better grasp of it.

Party affiliation is party affiliation. I have always been proud that a republican fought to free the slaves. I am proud that a republican president set aside so many millions of acres for preservation. I am proud of the republican president that ended the cold war. I am proud of the republican president that stood up to terrorists to protect me and my family. Republicans have a proud history of standing for what is right no matter how much noise is going on around them. Leadership. Dem's shoud study them. ww

I concur with Razorgirl an... (Below threshold)
MF:

I concur with Razorgirl and yihdego. I cringe too. Those that feel that way just dont get it.
I had a similar discussion with my daughter the other day. There are people that are good and bad.
Has nothing to do with race, beliefs, or religion. And we discussed that there is a difference between the classes. By classes here I noticed the people where I work all have same issues, values, goals and hopes. Has nothing to do with race, religion ... .

Willie, you are so f*cking ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Willie, you are so f*cking stupid it is to laugh. Republicans fought against civil liberties (along with southern Democrats). Are you proud of that?

Anyone who thinks they need to accept the values of their party across all historical contexts is too stupid to discuss politics, history, and probably football too. In fact, anyone who thinks they need to subscribe to either of the main parties' policies wholesale is advertising their inability to think for themselves.

"Andy Jackson (a democra... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

"Andy Jackson (a democrat) was a shining example of racist hate of his time. Anyone who studies history should understand this."


I'm sure the Indians understand it like you cannot believe...

Many indians today will not... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Many indians today will not use 20 dollar
bills because of his betrayal of the treaties
he either wanted to break or did break in
his desire to move all indians west of the
Mississippi river.
Crass indifference and dishonour on his part.

Republicans fought... (Below threshold)
Scalia:
Republicans fought against civil liberties (along with southern Democrats). Are you proud of that?

Hello, Hyper! We meet again. I regret to say I must disagree with you here.

The GOP brought us the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments to the Constitution. President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce the Supreme Court's desegregation ruling. In 1957, Ike's administration, with GOP Attorney General Herbert Brownell, helped to steer through Congress civil-rights legislation protecting voting rights for minorities. Civil-rights activist Harry Kingman described California's conservative GOP senator, William Knowland, as a "key man in the victory."

What about 1964? Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, yet they voted for the Civil Rights Act 63% to 37% (153-91). The GOP voted 79% to 21% (136-35) in favor of the same legislation. In the resulting Senate filibuster, 81.8% (27-6) of Republicans voted for cloture while 65.7% (44-23) of Democrats did the same. If it were up to Democrats alone, the Act would not have passed. Conversely, the GOP acting alone would have passed it easily. Bottom line, the GOP was the key to victory in 1964.

One of the major objections to said Act was that it would lead to racial preferences or quotas. Democrat Hubert Humphrey, in a well-known rejoinder, said the following, "If the Senator can find in Title VII...any language which provides that an employer will have to hire on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there."

In fact, Title VII, Section 703 (j) states that, "Nothing contained in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer...to grant preferential treatment to any individual or any group because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin...on account of an imbalance which may exist...with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of any race, color, religion, or sex, or national origin...in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons...in any community...or in any available work force...."

Both Democrats and Republicans, at the time, denounced racial preferences. As time went on, Democrats embraced affirmative action while Republicans opposed it. If the charge that the GOP has been historically opposed to civil-rights is rooted in its opposition to racial preferences, then that charge is squarely at odds with both the intent and the language of said Act. If the charge is that the Republican Party has been historically hostile to civil-rights, then that charge is patently false.

Best wishes,
Scalia

"In fact, anyone who thi... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"In fact, anyone who thinks they need to subscribe to either of the main parties' policies wholesale is advertising their inability to think for themselves."

Am I the only one who sees the irony in that statement? Or is it hypocrisy? I forget.

The underpinnings of racism... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

The underpinnings of racism have always existed. Racism is simply another form of 'tribalism' (my 'group' vs. your 'group'). If you put a large number of people together, they will eventually find some means for differentiating themselves into groups. I doubt that will stop anytime soon. The best one can hope for is that rational people no longer see 'race' as a valid basis for determining someone's worth as a person.

The problem with 'racism in America' was its institutionalization (i.e. government - an entity that uses force to achieve its ends). It's sadly humorous when now we seem to believe that using the same entity is the best solution to 'fixing' the problem. That is, the problem was less racism than it was improper use of government power (i.e. coercive force).

Thomas Sowell wrote an interesting article on a similar topic in 2005 when Rosa Parks died.
http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4457

There is no racism in the n... (Below threshold)

There is no racism in the news media. They were just typos by MSM and The Seattle Times when reporting about American figure skater Michelle Kwan.

'American outshines Kwan'

American beats out Kwan

It isn't just the media. How about the business community

Don't get me started on the LPGA English policy. Carolyn Bivens showed her absolute lack of brain matter with that piece of stupidity.

or

The difference in endorsement money Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan got after getting medals in the Olympics. Kristi got a gold which was more than Nancy.

Scalia: you're helping to m... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Scalia: you're helping to make my point by providing good historical examples of how both parties today have changed a great deal over the past few decades (let alone centuries). Thurmond filibustered the Civil Rights Act as a Democrat but became a Republican as conservatives migrated parties. Civil liberties, though, include rights for women, gays/lesbians, the disabled, and minorities of all stripes, not only African Americans. Both parties have ugly histories when it comes to the treatment of women and minorities.

Piss off, Oyster. There is a large litany of things that the parties I would vote for (Liberal or NDP) support that I disagree with; and if I were a voting American, I would have a list of things the Democrats support that I do not, but I would vote for them anyway. You're an intelligent person so don't pretend to be otherwise for the sake of being snide.

Hyper, thanks for the clari... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hyper, thanks for the clarification. I gently remind you I can only reply to what you write, and you wrote Republicans.

I think you and I can agree any group may appropriate the term civil-rights to insulate a proposal from legitimate criticism. Opposition to "Civil-Rights" Proposal X makes one vulnerable to the charge of opposing civil-rights. For example, let's say I propose a ban on prostitution because prostitution is immoral. Let's call it The Moral Ban on Prostitution. If you oppose the ban, is it legitimate for me to call you immoral? I mean, after all, if banning prostitution is the moral thing to do, then anybody opposing the ban must be immoral. You might reply you are as opposed as I to prostitution on moral grounds, but are nonetheless opposed to the ban due to limited resources to enforce the ban, etc. We can disagree on policy and be in moral agreement.

Similarly, one can question the wisdom of granting protected status to polygamists, gender-free restrooms, etc., without being opposed to civil-rights.

Kind regards,
Scalia

"There is no racism in the ... (Below threshold)
George Chell:

"There is no racism in the news media. They were just typos by MSM and The Seattle Times when reporting about American figure skater Michelle Kwan.

'American outshines Kwan'

American beats out Kwan

It isn't just the media. How about the business community

Don't get me started on the LPGA English policy. Carolyn Bivens showed her absolute lack of brain matter with that piece of stupidity.

or

The difference in endorsement money Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan got after getting medals in the Olympics. Kristi got a gold which was more than Nancy."

There are many who think Hawaii is not real America because it is majority Asian.




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