Skip to main content

“New Orleans provides a useful illustration of the limitations of contemporary antiracism as a politics. Antiracist political critique failed abysmally after Katrina to mobilize significant opposition to elimination of low-income public housing or to the ongoing destruction of public schools. - (from actual African-American Adolph Reed,)

One of my friends recently got scolded by members of a local Democratic club for making comment they thought was racist. He said "black face," which some present heard as "blackface." 

When he made the comment at a club leadership meeting, no one present was a person of color, but several of the white folks present felt compelled to feel uncomfortable on behalf of the (not present) other races. Perhaps inhibiting speech has a point, but this seems awfully weak tea given the structural racism in everyday American life.

To me, promoting just politically-correct speech seems an awfully poor way to make concrete changes in people's circumstances much less to recruit Democratic voters. Yes, it makes a difference to acknowledge how insulting racial epithets diminish the human spirit, but it does nothing to change the enormous differences in economics, health, justice, wealth and education between people of color and the white folks.

Democrats apparently still haven't learned that simple lesson: talk is cheap. This applies even with the current pandemic:

“The Republican message couldn’t have been clearer: Workers should be able to show up, clock in, earn a normal paycheck, pay the rent and feed their kids. Democrats were telling the same workers that we need to listen to science, reopening is premature, and the economy can’t be fully restored until we beat the virus. Correct! But how does that help when rent was due last week?” From Professional Democrats (Still) Need to Learn How to Make Alternative Narratives” [Mike the Mad Biologist

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Democrats apparently still haven't learned that simple lesson: talk is cheap. This applies even with the current pandemic.

Besides the nod to people's spirit offered by promoting politically correct talk, the focus on talk alone does literally nothing for their material circumstances.Democrats are great at this. The Clinton presidency gave us the "end of welfare as we know it," transforming AFDC into TANF. Thanks to that "end," roughly a half million people lost food stamps. Before that "end," 76% of those who needed public assistance got it; after: 26%. 

Poor people of color had recently become eligible for such assistance thanks to the bipartisan civil rights legislation passed in LBJ's administration, and I'm sure they feel ever so comforted that they won't face verbal insults as they scrape by in their newly impoverished circumstances. But talk alone isn't enough.

The fixation by the Democratic establishment on speech and symbolism simply beggars description. Obama couldn't be a racist...why he's black! Yet he built the infrastructure Trump used to cage the undocumented and separate them from their children and tripled the deportations of his predecessor. 

The upshot of this kind of tribalism is a rash of "Judas goat" candidates--Judas goats lead the cows to the killing floor of the slaughterhouse--who betray their own kind, conspiring with that persecution. Members of our political tribes are willing to overlook all kinds of misbehavior as long as a fellow tribe member does it. It's like the mafia. "We don't care if Luca Brazzi is a psychotic killer! He's part of our gang!" So it was OK for Obama to bomb Libya (a war crime) or to authorize extra-judicial killings-by-drone. Yep, we can even overlook murder, because he's on our team!

defunding the police is a start

If you call these things to the attention of even the "liberals," and you'll be excoriated for not being a team player. I have even been scolded--and there still is no cure for the common scold--by loyal Democrats for citing candidates' failings during a Democratic primary! That's right. We're supposed to be living in a "democracy" that legitimizes dissent, but the Democrats wanted me to shut up and be a team player.

Mark Dempsey
It's Simpler Than it Looks