Racial politics unhelpful in solving problems
Reaction to Republican Pres. Donald Trump’s remark disparaging conditions in Haiti and Africa generally shows not just the poverty of liberalism, but the acumen of Louisiana’s GOP Sen. John Kennedy.
Last week, in the context of immigration reform, Trump noted (using a saltier adjective) that policy should do more to attract highly-skilled immigrants, rather than people from countries who typically do not have indoor plumbing and who find themselves using outdoor facilities. The “hole” or “house” comment (depending on who heard it) referring to the destination of excrement predictably dominated the flavor-of-the-moment news cycle.
Of course, Trump could have spoken more diplomatically. Of course, he didn’t because his personality is such that he must attract attention, which he doubtlessly knew he would for the phrasing he used. And, like trained seals, over the remark (apparently dutifully disseminated by at least one Democrat present at the meeting of Trump and lawmakers) America’s hard left in particular had a meltdown, which, given its perpetual stance of outrage, happens continuously.
An instructive Louisiana example comes from New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry, who wrote it confirmed his view that Trump was racist, as the countries Trump’s remark disparaged have black majorities and almost all politicians ruling over them are black. (Some sources say Trump lumped in El Salvador as well, but, even as Hispanics technically are Caucasian excepting those with North American Indian ancestors, the left divides the world between whites from economically developed states and everybody else.) Yet, apparently it takes one to know one: DeBerry ceaselessly, senselessly, and without any empirical support gratuitously injects race into much of his commentary, so what does that make him?
The same tendency comes from the state’s Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who framed Trump’s remark in the context of wanting to “Make America White Again.” He claimed the remarks were “racially insensitive and ignorant.” Again, the enthusiastic tendency demonstrated here to see many issues of the day through the lens of race draws questions about whether Richmond can evaluate the entire political world in a way not based upon identity politics.
More charitably, liberals tend to supply this interpretation as an excuse for explaining the endemic failures of liberalism. They must believe in an imaginary racist bogeyman hiding in the hearts of the (white) mass public, straining to six degrees of separation to impute alleged racism to any policy with which they disagree and to the disappointing outcomes of liberal prescriptions, in order to keep the faith in light of the overwhelming evidence illuminating the bankruptcy of their worldview.
DeBerry and Richmond, typically of the left, therefore missed the entire point of Trump’s ham-handed, attention-seeking, but incisive comment: cultures of those countries he derided tend to lead both to political and economic dysfunction, producing largely low-skilled individuals with less commitment to democratic values and civic virtue. Naturally, such people generally speaking bring less potential to serve America and its people so, if as currently constituted, the country’s immigration policy restricts numbers, then what’s wrong with wishing more high-skilled immigrants whose social and political values more closely adhere to American political culture would come here at the expense of those others, regardless of race, color, or creed?
Stating the obvious on this point, as Trump did it albeit in a way designed more to draw attention to himself that distracts from the point, does not make one racist. If one thinks this does indicate racist views, then one must embark upon self-reflection as to why one feels compelled to stamp that interpretation on the event and must understand that this tells more about the receiver of that communication than its sender.
That point Kennedy hit upon when asked about Trump’s remark. Like Trump, Kennedy doesn’t turn down opportunities to promote himself, although he does so in a more sophisticated manner that highlights the policy rather than himself. But neither does he let remarks by Trump or anybody else set his agenda – until he can get a little political mileage from it.
Asked by the media about the comment, Kennedy’s response showed he understood the dynamics of it perfectly, in particular that its significance came more in the reactions to it than in its making. Queried on whether the quip constituted a “roadblock” to the immigration debate, Kennedy astutely said “If it’s a roadblock, it’s because we let it be a roadblock,” and more generally argued to focus on such remarks served as a policy-making distraction in which he would not indulge himself.
Precisely. The constipated, unsustainable view that most of America’s white majority runs around obsessed with race and that this drives all aspects of their political behavior in largely negative ways does more to prevent implementing solutions to problems plaguing America, particularly its minority citizens, than anything else, exactly because it distracts from a valid understanding of those problems. Kennedy comprehends that. Now if only those who perpetuate the problems by their hijacking of these issues could.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:45