True colors
0 comment Thursday, May 22, 2014 |
This is not surprising. The only thing that's surprising about it is that anyone is surprised.
It's rather amusing in a sad way to read some of the comments over at the mainstream GOP forums, where the commenters express shock at Colin Powell's 'racism', and generally seem incensed only because blacks can practice blatant ethnocentrism or racial solidarity and we can't. "No fair! They have to be colorblind if we have to!"
I can honestly say that I expected this endorsement, at least insofar as I ever gave it much thought. We've seen several prominent black figures endorsing or defending Obama, even some who have somehow acquired the reputation of being ''conservative.''
But it seems that their willingness to betray their supposed conservative principles in favor of racial solidarity shows not only their natural, instinctive ethnocentrism but the weakness of their ''conservative'' convictions. As in every other area of life, there is a kind of affirmative action at work when it comes to categorizing minority individuals as conservatives. The bar is automatically much lower, and even a stray 'conservative' principle here or there in an individual will be accepted eagerly as his conservative credentials. Powell never had many real conservative leanings; he was liberal in most important respects, and it seems that for most Republicans, just the fact that a minority person speaks standard English and does not embrace far-left, radical ideas is enough to qualify him or her as ''conservative.'' Most of us are very easily placated when it comes to this issue.
I've blogged before about the obsession that many on the ''right'' have with ''moderate Muslims". The rather embarrassing enthusiasm many display for figures like Walid Shoebat or Irshaad Manji or Ayaan Hirsi Ali is seemingly a show of gratitude that the 'conservative' White feels when finding a minority individual who seems to be on "our side" -- sort of. You can almost see the tears of joy welling up in their eyes as they gush over some conservative minority, like Condoleezza Rice or Thomas Sowell or the "moderate Muslims" who usually show up on Fox News discussions. It's almost as though the Republicans/conservatives feel enormous relief at finding someone in that group that they like or agree with; it's a relief to feel that "maybe I'm not racist (or Islamophobic) after all!"
For that reason, it seems, Republicans and other 'colorblind conservatives' seem to find a real need for "conservative minorities" who will then prove to them that we are really all the same under the skin, and there is really no truth to the stereotypes about minorities. Colin Powell proves that not all blacks are like Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakhan. Condi Rice, likewise. Thomas Sowell is proof that James Watson was wrong. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is proof that Moslems can be ''on our side''.
I think Republicans are still searching for their Latino poster child, a living example of a ''conservative" Hispanic. They tried with Linda Chavez, but she of course sides with her 'Raza', though she, like Obama, is at least half White/Anglo. And then Mel Martinez was touted as one of those conservative Hispanics, but decidedly sides with his Latino cousins rather than with the gringos. So the paradigm of the minority conservative mascot has not worked out well with Hispanics. But that won't stop the GOP from searching for the elusive Hispanic conservative. It's a hunger, a need, on the part of the doctrinaire 'colorblind conservatives.'
So I suppose it's shocking and dismaying for people who desperately need those like Powell or J.C. Watts to remove their unacknowledged doubts about the PC creed.
Some of the people on the GOP forums who were unhappy about Powell's endorsement are still indignantly maintaining that ''it's not about race; I haven't rejected Obama just because he is black, it's because he is red!''
And maybe that is true in their particular case, but I think there are still many on the ''right'' who refuse to examine why they have misgivings about voting for Obama. I think many of them are too uncomfortable with the concept of acknowledging racial differences, or recognizing that blacks and Whites have different interests to pursue in the political arena. We don't all ''want the same thing" or need the same thing.
Blacks know that they differ from Whites, as do Hispanics. We are the only group not willing to acknowledge that it's human nature to want to affiliate with our own, and pursue our group's well-being. To some extent, we've had the ethnocentrism pummeled out of us, but I think it's still there, even if we try to reject it and deny it to ourselves.
We will always be at a huge disadvantage as long as we are wearing the 'colorblind' blinkers, and everyone else is flagrantly pursuing their group's interest, at our expense.
If we really want 'equality' we should claim our own right to seek the interests and well-being of our own people, as everyone else is doing. Whites are the only dupes trying to play the 'colorblind' game.

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