As I have always said, negative e-mails from detractors are always important in helping me explain things that I do not explain properly in articles. Articles are not books where there is unlimited space to make points. That’s why I created this blog: to write follow-ups to articles, correct my mistakes, as well as write about things that aren’t necessarily publishable elsewhere.
Yes, I Said It! As We Can See From His Actions, Barack Obama Is NOT Concerned with the Black Community
One e-mail I received pointed out that it is wrong for me to accuse Obama of not caring about the black community inasmuch as it is impossible to ascertain what is in a person’s heart. What’s hilarious is the fact that nowhere did I categorically assert that I knew what was in Barack Obama’s heart. I simply argued that by failing to deliver on the economy, Barack Obama has betrayed the black community. I also pointed out that he has focused relentlessly on a smorgasbord of other trivial issues, thus demonstrating his lack of concern for the black community. I never claim to be a clairvoyant that can tell what’s in anyone’s heart, but what I can do is deduce from someone’s actions what their most important concerns are. By not instituting policies that have worked for blacks in the past — Reagan conservatism — it is plausible to suggest that Barack Obama doesn’t care about the black community. It’s a logical inference; it’s not a declarative statement of knowledge.
Most of the e-mails I received attacking me for making this point are from people who are shocked that someone would argue that a black man doesn’t care about the black community. Funnily, if I were to ask such a person if Clarence Thomas cares about the black community, they’d respond with the traditional liberal answer calling him an Uncle Tom and a puppet for white supremacy. Clearly, the problem isn’t that they find it implausible that a black person could not care about the black community. They find it implausible to argue that a liberal black man could not care about the black community.
Truth is: many liberal blacks in the elite simply do not.
Can There Be Bad Racial Public Policy Arguments?
I received an excellent question via e-mail from a thinking liberal—yes, they’re going extinct, but not extinct yet!—that answering publicly would be illuminating to everyone who follows my work about racial public policy arguments. They asked if I think it is possible to articulate bad racial public policy arguments. This was asked specifically because, according to them, I write so optimistically about the conservative need to articulate racial public policy arguments.
My answer is YES. There can be bad racial public policy arguments. However, what I would argue is that bad racial public policy arguments are most likely to be tributaries of racial demographic politics, which is always bad. For example, if someone holds the position that blacks and Hispanics need to have black and Hispanic politicians governing their communities (racial demographic politics), they are probably likely to believe and articulate that capitalism only works for rich whites, and socialism works for poor blacks (a bad racial public policy argument).
Where someone does not adhere to racial demographic politics, the likelihood that they’d advocate bad racial public policy arguments is lower. Good racial public policy arguments should never advocate different policies for different groups of people. They should only use alternative arguments and strategies to target different minority populations and bring them to the conservative movement.
That’s the difference between good and bad racial public policy arguments, in my estimation.
CORRECTION OF MY FOOLISH MISTAKE: Black Liberals DO NOT Have a Monopoly on Racial Conversation
As anyone who has listened to my radio interview (linked here) would probably deduce, I am not a fantastic public speaker. I am much better behind a keyboard carefully typing out my positions on things, where every sentence doesn’t contain “uhmm,” where I don’t spout talking points, and where I don’t make (too many) mistakes.
In any event, this mistake was so stunningly daft — at least to me — that it warrants a section to correct it. During the conversation, I said on at least two occasions that Democrats have “monopolized the racial conversation” or have “created a monopoly on race.” For me to repeat this trite conservative talking point – more than once – shows that when under the pressure of an autoschediastical conversation anything silly can just fly out of one’s mouth. (I also embarrassingly trotted out the shopworn black conservative “victimhood vendors” line.)
What I meant to say — and have always believed — is that the left has a heavy control on the area of racial public policy arguments (which is VERY different to having a monopoly on the RACE conversation– and I will explain the difference). A monopoly vis-à-vis the racial conversation means that one party is the only provider of (or controls most of) the racial discourse, which is a silly and poorly reasoned position to hold. Conservatives talk about race a lot, but they offer imprudent arguments like, “We don’t talk about race because it is against our philosophy.”
Although it is a bad argument, answering the race question by saying, “We don’t talk about race because it against our philosophy” is nonetheless an argument — thus making the “monopoly of the racial conversation” idea demonstrably false. The “monopoly of racial discourse” argument would be true if conservatives had no position on race, had no way of articulating a position, or were severely hampered in their attempts to do so, which we know is untrue. For decades, conservatives have written hefty books and detailed articles articulating their hands-off position on race.
Like I say to people I debate with who tell me I haven’t made an argument because I am offering a non-affirmative claim, “Because you don’t like the argument I offered, doesn’t mean I didn’t make one.” The same applies to my silly recitation of the “monopoly” talking point here. Just because I don’t like the hands-off approach to race does not mean that conservatives are under the oppression of a liberal monopoly as far as getting the chance to speak about race is concerned.
As I have argued before in my article Colorblind America: A Malignant Fallacy, the correct position is that conservatives have ceded their authority to speak on racial issues in any meaningful way by holding the position that they do.
My argument is not the traditional fallacious “conservative” one suggesting that liberals have monopolized the race conversation. My argument is, however, that liberals have a massive control (and a lot of success) in the area of racial public policy argumentation so that the main racial public policy arguments that have traction in America are the injudicious raced-based ones. If conservatives would articulate why conservatism – uniformly applied – has beneficial consequences for individual races (good racial public policy arguments) liberals would have no leg to stand on. Again, conservatives cede this opportunity by taking a wrong position on the race question. However, a wrong conservative position taken on race does not mean that a liberal monopoly exists in the conversation.
Perhaps I am the only person who noticed this small but significant distinction, but I had to make sure I clarified my actual position.
You don’t get to do-over conversations, but, luckily, there is such a thing as writing a clarifying blog…
P.S. I must say, the GOP seems to be getting better with racial public policy arguments now that Michele Bachmann is around. Enjoy this excellent clip:
More polished blogs and articles are coming soon!!!