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Blind pigs and broken clocks

Someone please note the date: I am about to do something I swore would never happen. I am about to agree with Oliver Willis on something, and it's this piece of his here.

But before I go into a discussion about the leadership of blacks in America, let me spell out my qualifications for discussing matters of race: none. I am a white guy who's lived his entire life in one of the whitest states in the union. In fact, once you get away from Manchester and Nashua and the college towns, blacks are incredibly scarce around New Hampshire.

But Oliver, as is his wont, does an incredibly shallow take on the idea. Since he's apparently constitutionally incapable of doing so, I feel I must step up to the plate and do the heavy lifting.

The first thing that occurs to me is that the Left howls over "the religious right," but look at the three black leaders Oliver cites. REVEREND Jesse Jackson. REVEREND Al Sharpton. MINISTER Louis Farrakhan. All ordained members of the clergy, and all all have been tainted with scandals. Conservatives are roundly condemned for even acknowledging their belief in God, yet these three clowns are actual "men of God" who are all highly politically active. So much for the vaunted "separation of church and state" we hear so much about.

The second thought I had was that there are several blacks who have achieved a great deal, and hold (or have held) high positions and are held in great esteem. They would seem naturals for the position of "black leaders," but they have shown no interest in such jobs. Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice seem to be focused on making their mark on history for their deeds, not their race. They are more concerned with all of America than just their fellow black Americans.

And what does that get them? Usually, heaping insults and slams. There's a black activist in Boston named "Sadiki" who calls in to talk shows whenever race comes up. I've heard him repeatedly speak of "Condoleeza White Rice," "Semi-Colon Powell," and call Clarence Thomas an "Oreo" -- black on the outside, white on the inside. The legacy -- and label -- of "Uncle Tom" lives on.

Finally, one final question Oliver probably can't even conceive, but I think should be addressed: do we really need "black leaders?" Or, perhaps, should we focus more on "black leaders" in the sense of "leaders who are black," not "leaders of blacks?" Over the last 40 years, the so-called "black leadership" has evolved into an adjunct of the Democratic party, a faction that routinely shakes down the Democrats for money and other concessions in exchange for making sure the black vote for the Democrats is suitably high. And even that has been dropping of late.

Maybe it's time to "mainstream" the black political movement into the American body politic, and away from the permenant victim status the current leadership seems bound and determined to preserve. Bring the mainstream blacks fully into the system, while Jackson, Sharpton, and Farrakhan are cut adrift and left to fade into the oblivion they so richly deserve.


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Comments (26)

The number of clergy & pseu... (Below threshold)

The number of clergy & pseudo-clergy amongst black politcal leaders is likely an artifact of the bad old days. A hellfire & brimstone preacher was more tolerated by the bedsheet-wearing brigade than a straight-up political rabble-rouser. Much easier to get a mob going after the latter than the former.

Is it the current black lea... (Below threshold)

Is it the current black leadership that preserves the victim status, or predominantly white (self-hating) liberals, or both? It seems the modern Democrat does not care about a black woman President if she doesn't fit their mold. They don't want to hear about successful black business people, they want to see those "forgotten" by society rioting in the N.O. streets. They want to see Rodney King... It gives them a purpose, even if isolated instances...

I have lived in places where whites were the minority, like Oakland and Long Beach, CA. It's funny to come to NH and get "schooled" on black issues by WASP-hating liberals, with no experience on the subject. Their only perspective is that clouded by their false ideology manufactured by the MSM, public school teachers, and the far left.

"But before I go into a dis... (Below threshold)

"But before I go into a discussion about the leadership of blacks in America, let me spell out my qualifications for discussing matters of race: none. I am a white guy who's lived his entire life in one of the whitest states in the union."

I call BULLSHIT. You have the same right to discuss race issues as anyone else. The "black leadership" is a fair topic as part of any discussion about race. And don't buy the lie that since you don't know what it is to be black, you can't discuss race. Black people don't know what it is to be white, either. Everyone has a right to enter into this debate, regardless of color or background.

The second thought I ha... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The second thought I had was that there are several blacks (Republican appointments) who have achieved a great deal, and hold (or have held) high positions and are held in great esteem > Maybe but not by blacks, given the recent poll showing Bush’s favorable rating among blacks was 2%: its margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points..I'm guessing minus.

'let me spell out my qualif... (Below threshold)

'let me spell out my qualifications for discussing matters of race: none. I am a white guy who's lived his entire life in one of the whitest states in the union.'

It doesn't stop Howard Dean.

'The second thought I had was that there are several blacks (Republican appointments) who have achieved a great deal, and hold (or have held) high positions and are held in great esteem > Maybe but not by blacks, given the recent poll showing Bush’s favorable rating among blacks was 2%: its margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points..I'm guessing minus.'

Bush turned black? When?

I think he's referring to Colin Powell and Ms. Rice dumbass.

Please stop referring to Fa... (Below threshold)
Fred Z:

Please stop referring to Farakhan as Louis or Minister. He has been knighted and he is now known as Sir Roderick Farakhan. The uniformed gentlemen who accompany him are his 'shortblacks'.

P. G. W.

My qualifications for discu... (Below threshold)

My qualifications for discussing matters of race: NONE.
My personal experiences: plenty.
I'm a white female who grew up in the south and I'm raising my children here as well. Much like my parents, I have always stressed to my own children that a person's skin color is irrelevant. However, these days my opinion does not seem to be shared by other races. Again - speaking only from my family's personal experiences - we have encountered far more blacks who are racist towards whites than we have whites who are racist towards blacks. "Mainstreaming" the black political movement makes sense to me but my guess is that blacks (at least the ones I know) would never stand for such. They play the role of victim far too well.
But then again ... what do I know? I'm just an unknown blogger voicing an unqualified opinion.

Let me just channel ODub's ... (Below threshold)

Let me just channel ODub's stock answer:

ICallMasICM at October 19, ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

ICallMasICM at October 19, 2005 09:12 AM..I grant you Condi Rice's approval ratings (probably over 50%) among blacks, are far higher than Bush's free fall among blacks, but if she continues her strong defense of the Administration's record as she did on the Katrina aftermath, she will lose credibility, as did Powell, to his own reget, with his defense of the Iraqi WMD case at the UN.

Jay, you'll be pleased that... (Below threshold)

Jay, you'll be pleased that Thomas Sowell has had similar thoughts on this a while back, that is, he asked, why do we need "black leaders"? Sowell asked, can anyone name a Korean-American leader? Or a Japanese-American leader? No? Well, why not? Obviously, they're not needed.

You're in good company, Jay

Jay is the "acceptable face... (Below threshold)

Jay is the "acceptable face" of right-wing America. I don't expect anyone here to know what that quote is referring back to, especially all the anti-semites here who shout so loud but don't know what the word "semite" actually means.

Jay, as so often is the case, you say things that sound reasonable, but your sideswipes have to be questioned.

In this case, the people casually swept into the open sewer are Jackson, Sharpton and Farrakhan...as if all three were the same.

Well, they're all black. And they're all uppity, so maybe that makes you right...or maybe not.

Jay, you mention scandals. I remember one person who was surrounded by plenty of scandals. His name was Martin Luther King. The FBI was bugging his rooms and spying on every little thing that might prove that this uppity black was a hypocritical nigger who didn't know his proper place...and all to discredit him and show him and his race what their rightful place really was.

I'm glad that Colin Powell rose so high...but I'm not. Because Powell gave gravitas to a limp-wristed presidency and lent his strength to a cause that was unjustifiable.

I'm glad that Rice has risen higher than any black woman ever has...but I'm not. Because her formidable talents have been squandered on the lies of her Commander-in-Chief and the tens of thousands of deaths that those lies have led to.

Jay, it's time you did your duty. Instead of going for the easy targets that you have so much current backing for attacking, pick a different target...Tell us why we should hate Martin Luther King.

Cat ... that was the absolu... (Below threshold)

Cat ... that was the absolutely dumbest post on race I have ever seen. Congratulations!

PS: I share Jay's opinion ... and I am black.

And Jay - how can you make ... (Below threshold)

And Jay - how can you make mention of Sadiki Kambon without mentioning his greatest achievement ?

Cat demonstrates my earlier... (Below threshold)

Cat demonstrates my earlier point to the tee:

It's O.K. for liberals to use the words "uppity black" and "nigger" for sensationalism (if you're uncovering "racism" and of course pointing the finger at the white devils). Because of course "We" think "they're all the same".

Interesting that successful black people with opinions not agreeable to yours don't count towards the overall "successful black person tally". If they're not the same, why would you expect them all to think, feel, or vote the way you do?

Talk about sideswipes...

So where's all the Vietname... (Below threshold)

So where's all the Vietnamese-American activists, taking a break from their ministries to scream to the cameras that Bush hates Vietnamese people in the aftermath of Katrina?

REVEREND Jes... (Below threshold)

REVEREND Jesse Jackson. REVEREND Al Sharpton. MINISTER Louis Farrakhan. All ordained members of the clergy,

Ordained? By whom? Not being snarky, genuinely curious.

Don't forget that every tim... (Below threshold)

Don't forget that every time a "seperation-of-church-and-state" Dem wants to improve his poll numbers he inevitably ends up making a major speach in a black church...usually a southern one.

OK, a few minutes googling ... (Below threshold)

OK, a few minutes googling answered some of my questions.

Jesse Jackson was ordained a Baptist minister in '68.

Al Sharpton a Pentecostal at the age of 10.

But I'm not seeing anything on Farrakhan other than "[became] the minister of the Harlem Temple". It's not clear to me that any sort of ordination was involved.

"...the absolutely dumbest ... (Below threshold)

"...the absolutely dumbest post on race I have ever seen..."

Martin, you and I both know that is not true. It's fine that you don't agree with me - neither would Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. But go easy on the exaggeration.

Just remember, "separation... (Below threshold)

Just remember, "separation-of-church-and-state" as defined by the constitution is a one-way proposition. The constitution doesn't prevent religion from trying to affect government, it only prevents the government from trying to affect religion.

cat, I dunno why I bother a... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

cat, I dunno why I bother answering you, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

Why did I take swipes at Jackson, Sharpton, and Farrakhan? Because those were the three singled out in the source article.

How do I consider them tainted? Let's see:

1) Jesse Jackson: fathered a child on a woman not his wife. Also a shakedown artist, using the threat of boycotts to score concessions and "donations" from big businesses -- see the book "Shakedown" for details, or look up the "Budweiser Boycott" that ended when two of his sons (legitimate ones) scored a beer distributorship.

2) Al Sharpton: STILL convinced that Tawana Brawley was telling the truth, even though everyone else (including Brawley) has acknowledged the whole thing was a hoax. Denounced "Freddy's Fashion Mart" as "white interlopers;" shortly thereafter, the place was torched and eight people killed.

3) Louis Farrakhan: Repeated anti-white and anti-Semitic remarks. Followers and top aides tied to similar statements and actions. Called Hitler "a great man." Announced that the New Orleans flooding was because the government blew up a levee to flood a black neighborhood and spare a white one, for his most recent.

And you call my face "acceptable?" That's probably the kindest thing you've ever said to me.

As far as the "acceptable face of right-wing America," that's an odd label for someone who voted for 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans for the top slots last November (President/Veep, Senator, Governor, Representative), who's denounced Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, Pat Robertson, and Pat Buchanan, and was a registered Democrat for years until last December.

I don't represent "right-wing America," cat, despite your best efforts to push me into the slot. I represent me and me alone. Others are free to agree or disagree with me, but I've NEVER aspired to, accepted, or even wanted anysuch position.

And as far as my face being "acceptable?" Why, thank you. That's the closest to a compliment I can ever recall hearing from you.


I haven't lived in New Engl... (Below threshold)
Old Soldier:

I haven't lived in New England for 38 years, so please forgive my ignorance of an activist named Sadiki. I truly thought Sadiki was the baboon character in Lion King or some kind of oriental sauce.

As for Farrakhan, isn't he Muslim (the Nation of Islam), so wouldn't he be an imam, not a minister?

IMHO racism in this county can be equated to victimism. In this case specifically black American victimism. It slays me that most black Americans align with the Democrats and it's the Democrats that are predominantly to casue of black American victimization. The Democrats are the dons of the social welfare programs that perpetuate the welfare state. If the benevolent source was the reason I could not escape a quagmire; I'd be looking for a path the lead out of the quagmire.

Being a WASP male born and raised in New England (SE coastal CT) during the 50' and 60's and then living most of my adult life below the Mason-Dixon line in the U.S. Army, my take on racism is probably unique. I'll forego a long dissertation at this point and just say; yes I've encountered bias and prejudice associated with race. In the Army it just wasn't tolerated - period. (I didn't say it didn't exist - I said it wasn't tolerated.) Anyway, long story shortened up; the first to cry "racism/discrimination" without a doubt is the person in the "victim" position. It didn't matter what skin color was, it was the vicitm status that triggered the accusation.

Farrakhan is to Islam what ... (Below threshold)

Farrakhan is to Islam what L. Ron Hubbard is to Christianity.

Yeah, there shouldn't be an... (Below threshold)

Yeah, there shouldn't be any more black leadership, now that racism has been totally eliminated in America. Obviously, it's easy to cry racism at times, and too many blacks fall back on that. But to claim that blacks no longer need to look out for themselves as a race is naive. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as "I teach my children not to look at a person's skin color." Spend some time with the working class, where there's not as much reluctance to voice racist feelings as in a professional environment, and you'll find that casual racism is very prevalent. I've worked at race tracks and car dealerships, and I've heard the word "nigger" and worse more times than I can mention. Talk to a car dealership finance manager in an unguarded moment about blacks or Hispanics buying cars.

I'm not saying all whites, or all working class whites, are racist. But to pretend that blacks are just "crying victim" is racist in itself. Conservatives are the biggest vicitms in the world. How many right wing gun owners cry victimization all the time? How many times do we have to hear about the anti-Christianity in this nation, where it's virtually impossible for a non-Christian to be elected President? How many times do we have to hear that virtually every communications medium is conspiring against conservatives, when conservatives control virtually all of the levers of power in this country? When a conservative is accused of wrong-doing, what's the knee-jerk reaction? He's a "victim."

And the notion that Democrats should somehow object to black ministers being involved in politics is totally specious. How many of these ministers have you heard applying religious tests to politics? The liberal argument isn't that conservative ministers shouldn't be allowed to be involved in politics. We just object to their efforts to make their religious beliefs part of public policy.

And maybe some of you should do some research before asking "can anyone name a Korean-American leader? Or a Japanese-American leader?" How's this: "as the nation's oldest Asian American civil and human rights organization, the JACL will continue to dedicate itself to preserving the rights and well-being of all Asian Americans and others who fall victim to social injustice in the United States."

or how about this press release: "The National Congress of Vietnamese Americans (NCVA) demands a public apology from City of Garden Grove’s Councilmember Harry Krebs for his racist comment towards fellow Councilmember Janet Nguyen."

Or how about when comedian Sarah Silverman made a joke about Chinese people, and Chinese leader Guy Aoki made her life hell for weeks (This particularly pissed me off, because she's really hot and funny, and Aoki didn't even get the point of the joke.)

And finally, I fail to see how it is somehow hypocritical for liberals not to suppport Condoleeza Rice, when she is diametrically opposed to everything they believe in. And I'm sure she would get a lot of black votes because she's black, but it doesn't mean blacks who don't vote for her are somehow voting against their own self intrest. Saying blacks should vote for her because she's black -- now that's racist.

Well, Jay, I don't know why... (Below threshold)

Well, Jay, I don't know why you bother to reply to me either - and I don't know why I keep bothering to reply to you. For some reason, I do.

But I do accept that my parody of you was not true. Pigeonholing is easy...getting things right takes a bit more effort than a kneejerk reaction. I'll go easy on the unsubstantiated claims.

On this occasion you answered me with something I just can't argue back at. I looked at your answer..and looked back at what you originally wrote, and I could only conclude one thing - I was wrong.

Postscript: But I ... (Below threshold)


But I still stand by my criticism of Powell and Rice - their enormous strength gave credibility to an administration that has almost none. They both deserved to rise so high, but it's a tragedy that their talents were put to such bad use.






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