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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Locked in the Past

Before I write this, I want to say – clearly – that I have enormous admiration and respect for Eugene Robinson, the author of this morning’s Washington Post op-ed, "What Rice Can't See". He is a talented and thoughtful writer, and I read his work at every opportunity.

That said – his article this morning demonstrates an aspect of a social issue that is not discussed nearly enough.

Much of the debate and hostility around race relations in the United States tends to focus on “white” vs. “black”. Stereotyping and racial prejudice on both sides of this “color line” are real, but this myopic view of the issues fails to take into account the confusion within each of these communities.

This morning, Eugene Robinson is confused by Condoleeza Rice. How, he wonders, can she stand working for George W. Bush, when the “black community” has such low esteem for him? He said,

How does she work so loyally for George W. Bush, whose approval rating among blacks was measured in a recent poll at a negligible 2 percent? How did she come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans? Is she blind, is she in denial, is she confused -- or what?
What I wonder, frankly, is why Eugene Robinson is unable to see that there is no single “black community”. Americans who have African ancestry are as diverse as the world itself, and expecting a “one for all” approach to everything - by whites or blacks - is dangerously self-limiting.

Mr. Robinson assumes that because Dr. Rice is not locked into events of forty years ago, she is somehow betraying her “race”. She is maligned for not “reaching back” and “bringing others along”. Has she really mentored no-one? Or is the problem that Robinson can only measure her success by the number of black “others” she has promoted?

Apparently when Condi said
She doesn't deny that race makes a difference. "We all look forward to the day when this country is race-blind, but it isn't yet," she told reporters in Birmingham. Later she added, "The fact that our society is not colorblind is a statement of fact."
Eugene Robinson's interpretation was that the responsibility for "race-blindness" rests solely on whites. Is it possible that he does not see his own attachment to the One Drop Rule? I think it’s very sad, actually, that the only measure of a black person, by the "black community", is still just the color of one’s skin.

How can Eugene Robinson expect the "white community" to see past this, when he cannot?


  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger The Master said;

    Goo point, Polimom. Robinson's implicit arguement is that since W's support among "Blacks" is 2% (Where is that number from? Is it across the board, or issue specific? Which "Blacks" were sampled to acertain the "Black" point of view?) then there is, in fact, a monolithic "Black" point of view, and Condi isn't on board with it. So what's wrong with her?

    Apparently Blacks are not allowed to disagree with the Black majority opinion, at least once the percentage of the majority is high enough. Good thing this rule doesn't apply to Whites. If Whites enforced that rule, the Jim Crow laws would never have gone away.

    I guess Whites are always allowed, nay, encouraged to challenge the (institutionally corrupt and racist?) "White majority" point of view, but Blacks can not do the same for the "Black majority" point of view without suffering ad hominem attacks from the Black majority.

    The double standard is enforced on both sides . . . . .

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger cinefille said;

    Excellent point.

    I'm so sick of people being labeled by the color of their skin and how this alone means that they should align themselves with their respective race.

    I also find that statistic (of 2%)highly misleading. Mostly because all statistics are misleading. And so many factors go into the makeup of "community" that just their race cannot be the only factor of their opinion.

    Lastly, Condi Rice, who I have no doubts is an intelligent woman, probably has not gone against the Bush Administration because it is her job to defend the President.

    It really has little to do with her race if she agrees with him or not, because if she, a woman with high authority, is against the president, what does that say to all of us?

    But, I truly am sick of this double standard (alive on both sides of the racail line) and I really wish people could all just get along.

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