Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The LA Times hits a new low

I wrote about identity politics yesterday, a topic that I'd like to return to today because of something I heard about on Larry Elder's show this evening. This Los Angeles Times column about Claude Allen, the former domestic policy advisor to President Bush who allegedly stole about $5,000 from retail stores, is some of the most disgusting, racist crap I've ever read, but the author is black, so I guess most leftists would rationalize it as being okay.
I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less, but we cannot ignore the racial implications of this latest Republican fall from grace. Here is a decidedly white-collar black man getting clipped for a blue-collar crime associated with economic necessity, one that practically guarantees prison time for most black men in this country. (Even if he's ultimately convicted, it's doubtful that Allen will end up behind bars.)

Here is a man who, like most black conservatives, has had to do an awful lot of personal and political rationalizing to pay dues, which included apprenticing with then-North Carolina senator and habitual racist Jesse Helms and opposing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Got that? He stole stuff because he had trouble rationalizing being both black and conservative. Do you think the author, one Erin Aubrey Kaplan, would write something similar about, say, a white liberal advocate of race-based affirmative action if that hypothetical person were arrested for the same type of crime? Of course not. She just dislikes black conservatives, so we have to consider the "racial implications" of this matter. Yeah.
Allen, a lawyer, was also President Bush's top advisor on domestic policy in an era when domestic policy has been indifferent at best to the growing needs of the poor — the black poor especially. Bush is fond of this kind of symbolism: putting black faces in key positions in order to appear racially progressive. It wouldn't be such a bad thing if the faces actually were progressive or had a vision more pressing than being loyal to the president, but they don't.
That's a nice assumption there, that Bush puts "black faces in key positions in order to appear racially progressive." It couldn't be because, say, he thinks people like Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice are qualified for their positions. Nope. They're just there as window dressing. Oh, and to parrot whatever Bush wants them to say. Because Clinton's cabinet members (like that black Secretary of State that he had whose name escapes me right now) were constantly disagreeing with him in public. Remind me again, who's the racist here?
Loyalty has been the price of admission to this administration, and black conservatives have proved to be more loyal than most.

That has unfortunately, but not always unfairly, invited comparisons to slave times, when the most loyal blacks were those who worked in closest proximity to their white masters — house Negroes, as they were derisively known. Such Negroes gained privilege but lost standing in their own community, a price that might have been reasonable if they were eventually granted the same status as the whites they so assiduously served. They weren't, of course; race has always mattered. And it matters now, though the dynamic is more subtle and devious.
I bet you didn't see that coming, did you? Because nobody has ever, ever compared black conservatives to "house Negroes" before. And black conservatives, as the author knows in her heart of hearts, are just a joke to white conservatives, who subtly and deviously discriminate against them somehow. And this is a doubly bad deal for the black conservatives, who lose standing in their own community for the unpardonable sin of failing to automatically vote for a candidate with a "D" behind their name. Heaven forbid that people should vote for what they believe in, if their skin happens to be a certain color. Good God, this woman is a hack of the worst kind.
It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him...After a career of always conducting himself appropriately, as his mentor Clarence Thomas reportedly advised, did he finally crack under the pressure?
Ah, she's gone further now than she did in the first excerpt I quoted. You see, Allen's conservativism was actually a mental illness. After all, if you're black, you'd have to be crazy to vote Republican. Literally so, I guess.

I got over being amazed that major newspapers would print trash like this a long time ago, but this is just intellectually lazy and, yes, racist crap. The Times has sunk to a new low.

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