Race: September 2009 Archives

The following two claims are clearly and obviously compatible:

(1) There are people who oppose President Obama and everything he does, in part because they can't stand the idea of a black president.
(2) The vast majority of opposition to President Obama's policies is because people simply oppose his policies.

I'm not entirely sure why so many people, including a former President of the United States and the current Speaker of the House, should think the first fact implies the denial of the second.

I've long argued that it's counter-productive for those who oppose racism to throw racism charges around when there's no good evidence of racism, especially when there's plenty of reason against it. If a particular racism charge is incorrect, it does no good to make it and causes much harm. People who regularly get accused of racism when they know full well that it's not remotely true are right to get upset and to think those who are making the charge have no good reasons to make it. They will tend to assume, then, that whenever there's a racism charge it must be manufactured. They'll be likely to think genuine charges of racism are similarly invented. They'll think we've moved beyond racism and that we no longer need to worry about racial problems.

This is in fact what many conservatives have wrongly concluded from the election of President Obama. If Democratic leaders insist on making obviously false charges of racism against a very large group of people (those who oppose the president's policies, when something like 46% of voters voted against him), it won't be surprising if it just feeds into the false picture many are trying to present that there's no more racism to fight against except the racism of the left accusing so many white people of being racists merely because they happen to be white but oppose someone who happens to be black. In other words, it feeds into the false narrative that the only racism that remains is anti-white racism.

People who voted for President Obama who have since decided that they did not get what they thought they were going to get (as is true of many of the protesters) are not the sort of racist who will oppose him for his being black, no matter what he does. Yet that's exactly what's being claimed by President Carter and Speaker Pelosi.

There are plenty of people who would oppose anyone who would expand the federal government at such massive levels and at a cost that will be impossible to pay for who then attempts to transform the health insurance industry in significant ways that will have unpredictable effects while denying that the effects reasonable people might worry about are at all possible. Yet President Carter and Speaker Pelosi are again insistent that there cannot be such people, because the only motivation anyone could possibly have for resisting such a reworking of the private enterprise of health insurance is because of racist opposition to the person proposing it, who happens to be black.

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