Thursday, March 19, 2009

a rare bird

J and I talked about this during the presidential race: why do blacks and hispanics identify so much with the Democratic party?

Shelby Steele, in this WSJ article, The GOP's Minority Deficit [Edit 2: this article is now only available for subscribers], makes sense on this issue. A few things he says reminded me of the hilarious Stuff White People Like. And I didn't know why I was making that connection at first. I think it's because he addresses bluntly what SWPL laughs at--white liberals' self-congratulation and condescension.

Steele says:

What drew me to conservatism years ago was the fact that it gave discipline a slightly higher status than virtue. This meant it could not be subverted by passing notions of the good. It could be above moral vanity. And so it made no special promises to me as a minority. It neglected me in every way except as a human being who wanted freedom. Until my encounter with conservatism I had only known the racial determinism of segregation on the one hand and of white liberalism on the other -- two varieties of white supremacy in which I could only be dependent and inferior.

The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get from liberalism: human rather than racial dignity. I always secretly loved Malcolm X more than Martin Luther King Jr. because Malcolm wanted a fuller human dignity for blacks -- one independent of white moral wrestling. In a liberalism that wants to redeem the nation of its past, minorities can only be ciphers in white struggles of conscience.

14 comments:

Brenda said...

Tim loved this post as he read over my shoulder and visited several of the SWPL blog. He wishes he could read the entire WSJ article.

Calandria said...

What? Did that WSJ link not work?

Calandria said...

Dang. The link didn't work. Tell him to google "The GOP's Minority Deficit" and see if he can get it that way. I don't have an online subscription, but the whole article comes up for me when I google the title.

celtishbee said...

How interesting! I wonder how other african americans feel about this topic. I had never thought of "white liberalism" as a variety of white supremacy but it can certainly be that.

I haven't taken time to read the WSJ lately, Calandria, which issue is Steele's article in?

Calandria said...

I don't know about other African Americans, but I would guess that J's feelings run along a similar line.

This article was in Monday's (March 16).

Brenda said...

Thanks, I'll find it.

yesweareonmars said...

So does that mean the American Democrats are not for political freedom or free men in society and are racists? That's kind of a stretch.

Why is it that its only minorities in the States that are like that? Not here. Many Africans and European minorities think American minorities are far to feely touchy and need to get a life. Its got to be a cultural thing.

Anonymous said...

That hit the nail on the head

JW

Ave said...

I watched Shelby Steele on PBS with Bill Moyer. It was very interesting. He seemed to be exactly what he states in the WSJ article. An independant thinker. I really enjoyed his perspective. It made me think about the current democratic party in a different light. If one could seperate the holy roller type of hype in the conservative party, I think that it would be far more successful. The liberals are total enablers of poverty, and I know they don't mean to be, but it is true. The intention is good, the result unfortunate.

athena said...

olivier is definitely liberal. to him voting liberal is like voting very right winged in france. i know a lot of french here that share his views too. what they don't like about the republican party is that it's too religious. we know many african american families (at least those living in red state texas) that are not democrats.

yesweareonmars said...

That's the problem with a two party system. Each party has super right or super left in it and they are the ones who get on the TV. Do people really judge a party by those ultra left/rights?

Calandria said...

Now when I google the article title, nothing comes up! They must have taken it down. Sorry about that, folks. (Brenda, we have the article and I will get a copy to Tim.)

Auntie, I don't think the article means to suggest that U.S. Dems are racist or against free men in society. But I think that it's interesting that as a black man, he sees manipulation, self-congratulation, assuaging of guilt, etc., in the white liberal agenda for minorities.

It reminds me of the plethora of abortion clinics in some hispanic neighborhoods. The pro-abortion literature litters the street like porn advertisement used to in VEgas. Who is it that is so darned interested in getting hispanic women to abort? Somehow I think hispanics were not the ones to set up those clinics.

There are people in the hispanic and black communities who tire of whites telling them what's best for them. There are blacks and hispanics who find it offensive that whites condescendingly assure them they are not expected to be as morally responsible because of the color of their skin.

ProMom said...

This is interesting thinking, thanks Calandria! To me, it's like the conservatives are saying, "Everyone can make it if they work hard." And the liberals are saying, "Minorities can only make it with special advantages, because they are minorities." Do I have that right?

Calandria said...

Yeah, I think Steele is saying, "No, thank you," to special advantages.