Race Issues Archives

Links & Comment

Remember "Paul Harvey News and Comment" on the radio?  (Or am I showing my age?)  At least that guy had the guts to let you know that he had commentary in his show, unlike some journalists these days that sneak it in.  Well, no hiding it here.  This is "Doug Payton Links and Comment".

Becky Garrison, writing at the liberal "God’s Politics Blog", on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, says that "more walls need to fall".  Fair enough, and I’d tend to agree with that.  But sometimes walls are necessary, and are the least intrusive method of dealing with an actual problem.  They can protect more so than divide.  One of the walls that Ms. Garrison says needs to come down is the Israeli wall on the West Bank.  Meryl Yourish, however, compares these two types of walls — Berlin vs. Israeli — and notes major differences in the motivation and the result of each.  The Christian Left perhaps needs to understand a little nuance here.

Dale Franks, writing at Q&O, notes that the supposed upside of the government takeover of Chrysler, and subsequent sale of a large portion to Fiat, hasn’t, and looks like it won’t, materialize.  Your government, and your money, at work flushed away.

An insufficiently colorful color guard.  Scott Johnson at Power Line point out political correctness in the smallest aspect of our lives.  (And he needs to because the media doesn’t seem to want to notice it.  Or it looks on with admiration and doesn’t consider it news.)

For all the accusations of hate directed at the Right, and the religious Right in particular, Jeff Jacoby points out that they don’t hold a candle to the irreligious Left.

President Obama doesn’t think that the prospect of jail time over choosing not buying government-mandated health insurance (and likely choosing not paying the fine) is not the "biggest question" Congress is facing now.  Yeah, no big deal.  (Riiight.)  And in an Irony Alert, candidate Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for proposing a health care system with a mandatory purchase requirement. 

The New York Times has no problem calling Jim DeMint a "conservative Republican", but decides that Bernie Sanders, a self-described "socialist", is only a "left-leaning independent".  Courage and truth from that liberal media.

The Links

No, not as in golfing.  I’m going to be quite busy this week, so blog posts this week will consist mostly of a collection of links that I happen across.

John Mark Reynolds, writing at the Evangel blog, wonders about that prediction that Christians would become a fringe political force if they stuck with their position on same-sex marriage.  This after Maine, of all places, upheld traditional marriage.  Not mentioned is that the House of Representatives barely squeaked out a health care bill (passing it with only 2 votes to spare) only after a provision was added that prevented abortion from being covered by it.  Wasn’t that supposed to be a losing issue, too?

October, 2009 was the 3rd coldest October recorded in the US.  Can we officially chuck those computer climate models and just admit we don’t really know what’s going on with climate, and thus should refrain from making pronouncements on what is or isn’t changing it?

Racist graffiti, and Al Sharpton isn’t all over CNN denouncing it?  Oh, wait, it’s anti-white graffiti.  Well then, nothing to see here.

Attorney General Eric Holder is endorsing extending provisions of the Patriot Act including roving wiretaps.  It’s one thing to talk it down when you’re not in the hot seat.  It’s another thing entirely when it’s your responsibility, eh?

The European Union, as a whole, could sink underneath the waves of debt very soon, having total debt equaling 100% of its annual gross domestic product.  A special commission "discovered" that a major reason is the socialist pensions and healthcare that the government guarantees.  And we want to follow them into this whirlpool?

And finally, the legacy of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and a musing about whether or not political correctness will allow a candid and honest public discussion, or if more people will die at the PC altar.

A New Hope (& Change)

(With apologies to George Lucas and Star Wars episode 4.)

The President’s numerous, and recent, trips to Virginia and New Jersey notwithstanding, Republicans were elected governors of those states.  The thrill (up the leg) is gone one year on, and when policies instead of history-making is more of a draw, two conservatives are elected.  (Christie is very pro-life, and is the first Republican governor in 16 years.  McDonnell is the first Republican for Virginia in 8 years.)  While Democrats are saying that the reasons are mostly due to local issues, the fact that they brought in the President so much for these races tends to discount their own analysis.  Bringing in a President that both these states voted for in 2008 was not enough to get the job done. 

Hope and change indeed.  Just not the kind the President represents.

In the small but closely-watched race in New York’s 23rd district, where the Republican dropped out, only to endorse the Democrat, the fact that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman managed to garner 45% of the vote is astounding.  Coming in only 4.5 points behind Democrat Bill Owens is amazing for a 3rd party candidate.  While it’s likely that some of the absentee ballots cast early, before Dede Scozzafava essentially dropped out, may have gone to Hoffman, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to win it.  The main issue here is that, as Brit Hume on Fox News Channel put it, this is why you have primaries.  Scozzafava was chosen by the party machine.  Clearly, the base, even in New York, is farther to the right than the party realizes.  When you run a good, conservative campaign, you can both energize the base and bring in independents (ask Ronald Reagan … or John McCain).  This is a tough, if small, loss in a district that has been reliably Republican, but the party dropped the ball and misread its constituents.

Still, giving up NY-23 for New Jersey and Virginia is a trade I’d take.

Closer to (my) home, the city of Atlanta is poised to elect it’s first white mayor in 35 years.  Mary Norwood got 46% of the vote last night, which kicks in a runoff in a few weeks with 2nd place challenger Kasim Reed.  For a long time, it has been my opinion that Atlanta needed an African-American mayor to avoid spurious charges of racism.  Freaknik, an annual party generally attended by college students from historically black colleges, was heavily curtailed by 1998 and ultimately relocated to Daytona Beach under Mayor Bill Campbell.  If he had been white, he would have been labeled "racist" and that would have been an unfair distraction from the actual debate.  As it was, he was labeled an "Uncle Tom" for doing so, even though residents of all colors agreed that it was getting out of hand.  He did what had to be done, all for good reasons, but I think the racial overtones would have not allowed a mayor to do the job properly.  That Atlanta seems ready to elect a white mayor is a good sign that the race issue is diminishing, but time will tell if Norwood is elected.

One issue-related referendum I’d like to point out is that in Maine (as liberal as they come in New England) they overturned a law (that had not taken effect  yet) that would legalize same-sex marriage.  By a 53-47 margin, the people rejected what the legislature had passed.  Yes, the people elected those legislators, but apparently the peoples’ representatives stopped representing them at some point.  As I understand it, when it comes to referendums, same-sex marriage is 0 for 31.  I’m detecting a trend.

And finally, in a much smaller race, blogger Scott Ott, evangelical Christian and author of the wonderful, satirical blog ScrappleFace, lost to the incumbent for County Executive of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania by the small margin of 49-51.  The election was decided by 1,000 votes among the 40,000 case.  Scott put up a great campaign, and for a first-time political-office-seeker, this is fantastic, and shows that his conservative principles, especially with regards to fiscal policy, hit a nerve.  I hope this is not the end of Scott’s political aspirations.

Jimmy Carter and the Race Issue

Pursuant to a comment conversation I had here recently regarding Jimmy Carter’s charges of racism against anti-Obama protesters, Hans von Spakovsky writing at National Review Online just noted some of that very thing in Carter’s past.

As Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU’s Voting Project, relates in his book A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia, Carter’s board tried to stop the construction of a new “Elementary Negro School” in 1956. Local white citizens had complained that the school would be “too close” to a white school. As a result, “the children, both colored and white, would have to travel the same streets and roads in order to reach their respective schools.” The prospect of black and white children commingling on the streets on their way to school was apparently so horrible to Carter that he requested that the state school board stop construction of the black school until a new site could be found. The state board turned down Carter’s request because of “the staggering cost.” Carter and the rest of the Sumter County School Board then reassured parents at a meeting on October 5, 1956, that the board “would do everything in its power to minimize simultaneous traffic between white and colored students in route to and from school.”

I can’t imagine the Carter today being the same man as back then, but one wonders if because of past sins, he sees it everywhere, even where it isn’t.

And also via the tip from Instapundit, a reminder of what some have done a bit more recently due to Carter’s one-sided support of actual racists, not to mention terrorists.

ATLANTA, Jan. 11 — Fourteen of the city’s business and civic leaders resigned from the Carter Center’s advisory board on Thursday to protest former President Jimmy Carter’s recent criticisms of Israel and American Jewish political power.

Their joint letter of resignation denounced Mr. Carter’s best-selling book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” for its criticisms of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The letter also took issue with comments Mr. Carter has made suggesting that Israel’s supporters in the United States are using their power to stifle debate on the issue.

“It seems you have turned to a world of advocacy, even malicious advocacy,” the letter said. “We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support.”

The 14 who resigned were members of the center’s board of councilors, a group of more than 200 local leaders who act as ambassadors and fund-raisers for the center but do not determine its policy or direct its operations.

Among the letter signers were Michael Coles, the chief executive of the Caribou Coffee Company; William B. Schwartz Jr., the ambassador to the Bahamas during Mr. Carter’s presidency; Liane Levetan, a former chief executive of DeKalb County, Ga.; and S. Stephen Selig III, who served as national finance chairman for the Carter-Mondale Presidential Committee.

Perhaps the recent op-ed by Elliot Abrams, debunking a similarly recent op-ed by Carter and pointing out Carter’s blindness in his advocacy for Hamas, actually is worth a look, regardless of your opinion of Abrams.  A more considered and thoughtful response may be in order.

Even the liberal Frank Rich manages to figure it out (though he does place the blame on other "usual suspects").

The White House was right not to second Carter’s motion and cue another “national conversation about race.” No matter how many teachable moments we have, some people won’t be taught. (Though how satisfying it would have been for Obama to dismiss Wilson, like the boorish Kanye West, as a “jackass.”) But there is a national conversation we must have right now — the one about what, in addition to race, is driving this anger and what can be done about it. We are kidding ourselves if we think it’s only about bigotry, or health care, or even Obama. The growing minority that feels disenfranchised by Washington can’t be so easily ghettoized and dismissed.

(Emphasis mine.)  Rich seems to forget (rather too quickly) that a growing majority of Americans are not in favor of ObamaCare(tm) at this point.  Nevertheless, if racism energizes just a fringe of the protesters, then a President going on about it on national TV is either overreaction or covert slander.  If, however, racism is being blamed for a significant portion of the anger, then be honest about it and come out and say it, and take the political fallout for your overt slander.

And again, the irony of Jimmy Carter complaining about any perceived racism here while lending the full weight of his influence in the Middle East almost entirely to those who spew actual racist rhetoric is astounding.

Thought for the Day

From Ed Morrissey, posting at Hot Air:

If Jimmy Carter believes that the “overwhelming” portion of criticism towards Barack Obama is due to racism, does he also believe that the overwhelming portion of criticism towards Israel is anti-Semitic?  Wouldn’t that apply to a man who hangs out with people who target Israeli citizens for terrorist attacks?  After all, Hamas regularly issues anti-Semitic harangues and smears, and yet Carter has no problem cozying up to them and claiming that their criticism of Israel is legitimate.

The race card is a two-edged sword, to mix metaphors.  And when you use the term "overwhelmingly", you expose yourself as someone desperate to handwave away any and all criticism by labeling it, rather than considering it.  And Carter’s association with those who spew actual racist rhetoric is charmingly ironic.

Is 60% of America really racist?  Do you really believe that?  No, I don’t think Jimmy Carter really believes that.  Assuming intelligence on his part, it can only be cover that he giving to Obama to try to marginalize critics.  And it’s not working, as the numbers continue to drop for the One.

Dissent, Then and Now

Patriotic dissent?  That’s so last year.

Eight months into Barack Obama’s presidency, as criticism of his administration seems to reach new levels of volume and intensity each week, the whispers among some of his allies are growing louder: That those who loathe the nation’s first African-American president, and especially those who would deny his citizenship, are driven at least in part by racism.

It’s a feeling that’s acutely felt among those supporters of Obama who are themselves minorities. Conversations with Democrats at an otherwise upbeat Democratic National Committee fall gathering here, an event largely devoted to party housekeeping, reflected a growing anger at what many see as a troubling effort to delegitimize Obama’s hold on the office.

“As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race. “And we think it’s very unfortunate. We as African-American people of course are very sensitive to it.”

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming, but it highlights a serious double-standard among Democrats.  Apparently, only they can dissent properly.  Criticism of them?  Well, there are clearly nefarious undertones going on.

A tale of two Presidents

Interesting, to compare these two photos, one of President Obama, and the other of President Bush.

Further commentary at American Thinker (HT: Ron’s Bloviating),

I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.

Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?

In my own dealings with the wealthy and powerful, I have always found that the way to quickly capture the moral essence of a person is to watch how they treat those who are less powerful. Do they understand that the others are also human beings with feelings? Especially when they think nobody is looking.

Book Review: Dred Scott’s Revenge by Judge Andrew Napolitano

America has had a difficult history when it comes to racial issues and often the government has done more harm than good according to an excellent new book by Judge Andrew Napolitano entitled Dred Scott’s Revenge. Click here to read my review of the book.

552655: Dred Scott"s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America
By Andrew Napolitano / Thomas Nelson

Sometimes a Chimp is Just a Chimp

John Hinderaker on PowerLine:

If the President is a Republican, it’s fine to call him a "chimp." In fact, it’s morally superior. But if the President is a Democrat, you can’t call a chimpanzee a chimp lest someone think you might have been referring to the President.

It all makes perfect sense.

Indeed, for 8 years calling the President a chimp was so prevalent that there are hundreds if not thousands of images of him specifically morphed into or compared to a chimpanzee

But today, here is the controversial chimp in question:

They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.

This was referring to, not just the awful "stimulus" bill (written by Congressmen, not the President), but the chimpanzee that went on a rampage in Stamford, CT that was shot and killed by police.  Just like in the cartoon. 

But Al Sharpton and all manner of bloggers have now confirmed what many of us thought might happen when Obama was elected.  Any criticism of the President (or in this case, the Congress) that can be linked to racism, will. 

Paging Mr. Holder.  Maybe your observation that we’re "essentially a nation of cowards" on racism is because of this sort of reaction from the Left whenever race comes up.  Or, as in this case, even when it doesn’t come up.

America’s First Black President

We’ve just inaugurated our first black President.  I want to reiterate what I said some months back; I’m proud of our country for this accomplishment.  This by no means says that racism is completely dead in America.  But it does speak to the great progress made since Martin Luther King, Jr. had his dream. 

Telling a child of any race that they can, through hard work, be whatever they want to be, even President of the United States, isn’t some guilt-assuaging wishful thinking.  It has happened.  Racists, as with any sin, will always be with us.  But Barack Obama’s move into the Oval Office shows that it can be done.

Congratulations, America.

Inconvenient Truth About Prop 8 Opposition

Tom Hanks called the Mormons "un-American" for opposing California’s Proposition 8 which "constitutionalized" the definition of marriage being one man and one woman.  So now, to the Left, changing the state Constitution via the proper process is un-American, but judges who unconstitutionally legislate from the bench are patriots.  Upside, meet down.

But here’s an interesting observation that LaShawn Barber made, and that I’d like to highlight on Martin Luther King Day.  There’s another constituency that voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8 that the Left hasn’t marched against.

Why were they focusing on Mormons, when 70 percent of black voters in the state voted YES on Prop 8? Curious, but not complicated. I made the observation, as did Thomas Sowell, that white homosexuals hadn’t dared and would not have dared “march” to black churches and harass black churchgoers, although it would have made more sense for them to head down to Watts or Compton or up to Oakland and express their disappointment. Can you imagine such a scenario? I’d pay good money to see that.

Now I’m wondering the same about actor Tom Hanks. Singling out Mormons for voting to protect traditional marriage, Hanks called them “un-American.” An overwhelming majority of blacks supported the measure. I suppose the same applies to them, yes? Perhaps Hanks is waiting until MLK’s birthday on Monday or Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday to make his pronouncement. What do you think? I’d pay good money to hear that.

Save your money, LaShawn.  You and I both that that ain’t gonna’ happen.  It’s a dirty little secret of the Left (generally) that it’s still OK to bash the religious. 

What’s actually un-American, in my opinion, is this mashup of Google maps and public information to point out the addresses and locations of people who donated to the Prop 8 cause.  Legal?  Sure.  Petty, vindictive, inflammatory and McCarthy-ist?  Oh yeah, you got that right.  And sure enough, McCarthy was looking for folks who were un-American, too!  Scott Payne over at The Moderate Voice notes a bit of disingenuousness on the part of same-sex marriage advocates. 

I’ve thought for a long time that the African-American community has, in general, been a very conservative group, but have been sold a bill of goods by internal leaders to look to government to save them rather than themselves.  I think if they took an issues test showing which party or politician fits their values most, a lot of them would be surprised.  Bill Cosby has been a huge factor in getting the word out, not so much politically, but in the sense of taking ownership of one’s own situation and not waiting for someone else to fix it.  That shouldn’t be a left/right thing, but far too often the measure from the Left of how well things are going tracks with how many people are on welfare and how much money they’re getting.  Government dependency was most decidedly not MLK’s dream. 

Good News and Bad News for Black Families

The NY Times reports that things are looking better for black families.

The number of black children being raised by two parents appears to be edging higher than at any time in a generation, at nearly 40 percent, according to newly released census data.


According to the bureau’s estimates, the number of black children living with two parents was 59 percent in 1970, falling to 42 percent in 1980, 38 percent in 1990 and 35 percent in 2004. In 2007, the latest year for which data is available, it was 40 percent.

That’s definitely good news.  Let’s look at the reasons the Times suggests for this change.

Demographers said such a trend might be partly attributable to the growing proportion of immigrants in the nation’s black population.

Oh, so some of this can be attributed to intact black families coming in to the country.  Well, that doesn’t speak to the families already here.  How about them?

It may have been driven, too, by the values of an emerging black middle class, a trend that could be jeopardized by the current economic meltdown.

So indeed black have been doing quite well during the Bush administration.  You’d never know that from watching the news and listening to rappers dis’ Dubya.  Still, very good to hear.

So then, anything else>

The Census Bureau attributed an indeterminate amount of the increase to revised definitions adopted in 2007, which identify as parents any man and woman living together, whether or not they are married or the child’s biological parents.

Ah, I see.  By simply revising the definition of "parents", the Census Bureau can manufacture some good news.  As James Taranto (who gets the hat tip for pointing out this article) notes:

And why stop there? Suppose the Census Bureau were to redefine two as meaning "one." Voilà, any child who now lives with "one" parent would have an intact family. Instantly the rate would go from 40% to nearly 100%. Wait, make that nearly 200%.

Some may object that the middle of a financial panic is not the best time to start redefining numbers, a practice that could have unintended and undesired consequences for interest rates, currency exchange rates, asset values and so forth.

So here’s a more modest idea: Why not redefine together to mean "on the same planet"? So long as at least one man and one woman live on Earth, whether or not they are married or the child’s biological parents, every child is being raised by two (or more) parents, and this will remain true at least until we begin colonizing space. Hey, it takes a village!

Next: ending tyranny in the world by redefining tyrant to mean "lame-duck president."

In the original article, Prof. Robert Sampson, a Harvard sociology professor, call it "a positive change".  Right.  Kids are living with cohabitating "parents" instead of a married couple, the numbers look better partially because of intact families coming from other countries / cultures, and all this in spite of a burgeoning black middle class.

The good news is that the statistics are up.  The bad news is that actual change in the culture is not the reason we have the good news.

Who’s Watching the (Racism) Watchers?

The "Durban II" UN conference on human rights dealing with racism is set to meet next March.  The first meeting of this type in 2001 became so obsessive about Israel that Colin Powell pulled the US out of it.  In a Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this week, they suggested we not even show up this time.  A little harsh?  Premature, perhaps?

Consider this:

"Durban II," planned for April in Geneva, promises to be an encore of the same old Israel-bashing. The draft declaration says Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians amounts to no less than "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security." We’ll spare you the rest.

Israel will be the main obsession, but it’s not the only target. The draft declaration also goes after the West’s freedom of speech and antiterror laws under the guise of protecting religion (read: Islam) from "defamation." The entire West will be in the dock for allegedly persecuting Muslims. "The most serious manifestations of defamation of religions are the increase in Islamophobia and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world," the draft reads. "Islamophobia" is a term used to brand any criticism of Islam as a hate crime.

The Islamic terrorists who have killed hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists get a free pass. Instead, the draft calls for a media code of conduct and "internationally binding normative standards . . . that can provide adequate guarantees against defamation of religions." If this sounds like censorship, that’s because it is.

Well, can’t we just reason with them?  If we don’t show up, we can’t make a change, right? 

But we may not be able to make a change anyway, given who’s in charge.

The conference is being organized by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which, like its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, has been taken over by the world’s main abusers of human rights. The Organization of Islamic Countries, the most powerful voting bloc at the U.N., put Libya in charge of preparing Durban II, assisted by such other pillars of the international community as Iran and Cuba.

Yeah, those stalwarts of human rights and tolerance.    The inmates are in charge of the asylum.  The UN continues to be an exercise in futility, giving evil regimes legitimacy regarding their actions, under the cover of "international cooperation". 

In fact it was so bad, that the name of the body was changed 2 years ago to avoid the (well deserved) bad PR it was receiving for doing exactly what this body is doing; making human rights abusers arbiters of human rights violations.  And how well has that worked out?  The blog UN Watch has been watching.

In its two years of existence, the Arab-controlled council has systematically undermined the cause of human rights and eviscerated the UN’s few existing tools that work. Human rights monitors in Belarus, Cuba, Liberia, Congo (DRC), have all been scrapped. Genocide by Sudan has been ignored, with the monitor of that country’s atrocities now on the  chopping block as well. Watch the March 2009 session, when the Sudan mandate is set to expire.

Violations by 189 other countries have been equally ignored, while Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism was encouraged. A full 80% of all country censures were directed at one nation, Israel. The list goes on and on.

Never in the history of international human rights has one of its own institutions inflicted so much damage.

On what basis will time be a healer? On the contrary, with each session, another remaining country monitor gets eliminated, more Islamic resolutions are adopted to curtail free speech in the name of “defamation of religion”, and human rights as a whole suffers.

The UN is fatally broken.  Its own attempts at fixing the problems simply keep the status quo.  If it is to survive, it must be remade from outside, or simply abolished.  The suggestion of a league of democracies has, I think, a much better chance at succeeding than the UN.

Some define madness as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I give you Exhibit A.

Prop 8 and a Scapegoat

Recently in a conversation on prop 8, it was suggested the religion of the Blacks which was why Black vote perhaps tipped prop 8 pass.

This seems an odd charge to make. Yes, time and time again we’ve heard how religion is the basis and foundation for so much anti-homosexual bigotry … but I don’t think that holds so much water. Yes, the “high atheists” do not hold fervent anti-gay positions. But … that’s not the whole of the matter. Look at two counter examples:

  1. Where did the big atheist 20th century Marxist horrors which were adamantly and ideologically atheist, such as China and the Soviet Union fall on the gay rights issues?
  2. Yes, the high atheists are not so anti-gay, but then again neither are the “high theists.” How about the six-pack or “low” atheists. What evidence do you have that they are more OK about gay rights than the bible belt/Wednesday night bingo crowd?

Try to compare apples and apples not apples and frogs.

Logic and Race

From my “links” page, a response to the claim that “sore losers” are at work regarding claims of racism:

From sore winners:

People have to complain about the states that did go for McCain, claiming that all the white Southerners who voted for McCain were doing so merely because of racism rather than because they think Obama’s policies would be awful.

Nobody would argue that everybody who voted against Obama did so out of racism. However, when the old confederacy is pretty much the only place in the entire country that voted more Republican than last time, it makes you wonder. Unless you’re completely blind (willingly or not) to history.

One of the confusing things for me is the claim that voting against Mr Obama on the basis of race is racism and at the same time voting for him on the basis of race is not. It seems to me either both are or none is. If race is a valid basis to make a decision for a candidate … then that necessarily cuts both ways and that it is also is a valid reason for making a decision against a candidate. One claim on the Southern voting numbers is that a lot of those white Southern voters are Scots/Irish … and they voted more than some other regions for Mr McCain on account of ethnic heritage. But that is a little off topic. The salient point is if a decision by one person based on membership in group “A” is just (or unjust), then the particulars of membership in which group is not important.

The only argument that I’ve heard suggested that this claim that the logic works “both ways” is that one group is disadvantaged. That is is only moral to prefer one group over another if the group you prefer is disadvantaged. This apparently is very Rawlsian wiki cites the “2nd principle of justice” as:

Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that (Rawls, 1971, p.303):
a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society (the difference principle).
b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity

This is a statement which I’ve been mulling over somewhat recently. I can’t make heads of tails of it … especially the first part. This is described as a “principle of justice”. This connects with the above in proposing that the notion that one decision based on group membership is just if it is of benefit to the “least-advantaged” members of that society (which is read as connecting specifically with that group). That is specifically, Blacks in America have had a long history of suffering injustice and therefore on account of that they are entitled in this case to be located as “least-advantaged”. That being the case, according to this “rule” then it the logic is not reversible via the “difference principle.”

Earlier forms of justice don’t take the economic or status of an individual into account, hence statues of “blind justice” and so on. The idea there is that justice is meted out not according to your membership in group or your personal status (or lack thereof) but based only on circumstance, deed, and perhaps motive. I’m unclear on why abandoning this is a good idea or how Mr Rawl’s notion of justice connects with and can be demonstrated to be “superior” to a the the standard blind one.

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