Lines Overlooked by the Times
June 10, 2008
This Sunday's Week in Review section fronts with a non-groundbreaking quote corral on the Times' favorite issue of late: Will whites vote for Barack Obama?
Not if he's too much of a black power fist-pumper, concludes black journalist Marcus Mabry, in what I would describe as a "revelation" fit to print only by the sliding standards of affirmative action. (Really? We couldn't figure this out?)
Mabry, whose own background suggests he's a sort of journalistic Obama himself, lazily phones around to the short list of race talkers: John McWhorter and Orlando Patterson (black conservative, black liberal, roughly), Jesse Jackson, Jr., academic Alan Wolfe and author Rick Perlstein. Also on the list is Pat Buchanan, who's allowed to mention that if blacks are going to support Obama by 90 percent, it's a little silly to cry racism when whites exhibit a pattern of voting for whites. My neighbors should be grateful that Buchanan, and not David Frum or Bill Kristol, was chosen to speak for the white point of view.
Here is Buchanan, by the way, schooling Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen on this very issue. Do take a moment to watch Cohen squirm.
While not boring us with insights any third-rate blogger could have given us months ago, Mabry wrongly suggests it's a "prejudice" for whites to think blacks are less patriotic (a little hard not to think, with Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning America and Michelle Obama saying that only now that her husband is successful is she proud of America). Mabry also thinks its prejudicial to link blacks to crime (readers not familiar with the positions of white advocacy should consult Jared Taylor's "The Color of Crime" report to see that this is not, in fact, counter-factual).
He concludes with that media favorite: Economics, not race, tells the real story.
Mabry's central point—that whites won't vote for a too-black candidate—isn't necessarily wrong. But he stops short about why: Even in this age of near-maximum saturation of political correctness and egalitarian dogma, many whites simply balk at embracing blacks. To white advocates, of course, this is perfectly natural and easily explained: Blacks are a different race with markedly different behavior patterns, intelligence levels and value systems.
The premise that members of different races are fungible is completely mistaken. Only in the deepest reaches of their subconscious do whites still get this. And to my mind, their enthusiasm for Obama is only more evidence of this: It's the exaggerated gesticulation of a white person forcing themselves to be, or appear, "non-racist." TOO contributor Hereward Lindsay observes this superficial overfriendliness when a white person will grunt or merely nod to another white, but all of a sudden becomes animated and solicitous when speaking to a black.
In other words, the Obama ascension isn't a sign to me that races have changed, or even that the human capacity for dealing with racial difference has changed: we have simply moved the furniture around.
There's another point that the Times and much of the blogosphere has missed in the swoon over this "historic moment". Obama is a politician. He is not the first black politician. Blacks, in fact, are pretty well suited to politics: they are often gregarious, good speakers, able to command loyalty and work the room. They are typically elected where blacks are concentrated. And indeed, Marion Barry, Wilson Goode, David Dinkins, Cory Booker, Ray Nagin and many others fill a volume like this.
This is not, I repeat, not, a sign that blacks have achieved more than they would have absent intelligence and behavior levels on parity with that of whites. It's a sign that blacks are loyal to blacks, and have figured out (mostly) how to pull the lever at the local voting precinct (though apparently, requiring them to produce ID is "racist"). Clearly, Marion Barry's "stewardship" of Washington, D.C. did nothing to improve crime rates or education problems in that heavily-black city — and he personally actually made them worse.
Asians are good counter-example: they are quieter and far less adept at politics, as their anemic numbers in those ranks demonstrate. But they fare better because they're entrepreneurial, hard-working and math-smart.
So Obama's securing the Democratic nomination is not, in fact, a sign that blacks have "progressed" to actual equality with whites, only that our media and minders have hustled a black man to the front of the line for their own purposes. President Obama will not erase inherent racial differences. He will not make it so that whites in Cambridge will invite black gang members into their midst. He will not make it so that blacks outscore whites on the LSAT. He will not make the Bronx a friendlier environment for whites (and might even make it more dangerous, with that extra boost of confidence for the swaggering black male).
In fact, as others have noted, it might actually do some damage to the black cause, in so far as affirmative action starts to look still more ridiculous with a black man sitting in the White House (though I am confident that the anti-white network will manage this situation effectively, patiently explaining to credulous whites why they must accept this contradiction). One hopes for some white consciousness-raising, but every time I think to myself that some catastrophic event will "wake whites up," it never does. Whites, despite their revealed internal instincts, are determined to consciously believe that "race is just a skin color," and many will use the image of President Obama to sustain that illusion.
Our task as white advocates is to show that the reality on the ground is a far cry from black Camelot.
Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist.