I've pointed out numerous times in the past how black conservatives have moved conservatives in a new direction from where white conservatives had gone in the past. The primary difference is that black conservatives seek to remedy problems in the black community through conservative values and policies, or in many cases the removal of certan liberal attitudes and policies. A good example of that is John McWhorter's article last month in the London Sunday Times, arguing that liberals are right that white people are responsible for the fact that poor people in New Orleans are predominantly black, and white people are indeed responsible for the particular kind of poverty black people in New Orleans have been living in.
Yet it would be misleading to stop there. It's not white people per se who are responsible for this. It's the white people who crafted the proposal to expand welfare massively in the 1960s to take black people from jobs and make them dependent on government doles for generations. It's the white people who were convinced by those people that they would be promoting racial harmony and helping out people they felt guilty about. It's the white people who continue to vote for people who promote such policies due to the rhetoric that it's the decent thing to do. I think it's unfair to portray white conservatives as opposing things like welfare simply because they don't care about black people or poor people. But it's certainly evil to portray black conservatives who make this sort of argument that way. What's amazing to me is that McWhorter gets that sort of critique all the time from people who don't even bother to hear what he's saying.
McWhorter's more recent National Review piece on race and the government response to the hurricane is even more telling, and I think more obviously correct. His closing comments on identity politics are apt. I agree with them fully, but it's sort of old hat for him. This is nothing new, and I've talked about it many times. What caught my eye in this piece is the first part. His response to Kanye West's "it's been five days because most of the people are black. George Bush doesn't care about black people" is hilarious, if you can put aside the fact that we're talking about people suffering here (and that West is using these people's suffering merely to score political points):
To say "George Bush doesn't care about black people" means that one honestly believes that if it were the poor whites of Louisiana who happened to live closest to the levees, hardly anyone would have gotten wet. Fifty thousand troops would have been standing at the borders of the city as soon as Katrina popped up on meteorologists’ radar screens. The National Guard would have magically lifted the long-entrenched bureaucratic restrictions that allow states to call up troops only when it is proven that they are needed. The U.S. Navy would have anticipated that refugees would number in the tens of thousands, and would have started the days-long process of loading up rescue ships with supplies a week before the storm actually hit. Suddenly, against all historical precedent, just for that week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would have morphed into a well-organized and dependable outfit.
He then provides a bit of the historical background for the last statement. There's nothing new about how FEMA handled this, and the other cases he mentions show that it has nothing to do with race. Those who act as if it does need to figure out how to channel their energies into something a little more productive. I'm suspicious when anyone claims that a public personage is lying, but I'm beginning to wonder if these people really believe what they're saying.