Sunday, May 4, 2008

The All-White Elephant (AKA the Republican Party) in the Room

Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist, writes about the nation's double standard that judges black candidates on their most controversial associates, but not white candidates.

In his Sunday column he writes.:

... it is disingenuous to pretend that there isn’t a double standard operating here. If we’re to judge black candidates on their most controversial associates — and how quickly, sternly and completely they disown them — we must judge white politicians by the same yardstick.

When Rudy Giuliani, still a viable candidate, successfully courted Pat Robertson for an endorsement last year, few replayed Mr. Robertson’s greatest past insanities. Among them is his best-selling 1991 tome, “The New World Order,” which peddled some of the same old dark conspiracy theories about “European bankers” (who just happened to be named Warburg, Schiff and Rothschild) that Mr. Farrakhan has trafficked in. Nor was Mr. Giuliani ever seriously pressed to explain why his cronies on the payroll at Giuliani Partners included a priest barred from the ministry by his Long Island diocese in 2002 following allegations of sexual abuse. Much as Mr. Wright officiated at the Obamas’ wedding, so this priest officiated at (one of) Mr. Giuliani’s. Did you even hear about it?

There is not just a double standard for black and white politicians at play in too much of the news media and political establishment, but there is also a glaring double standard for our political parties. The Clintons and Mr. Obama are always held accountable for their racial stands, as they should be, but the elephant in the room of our politics is rarely acknowledged: In the 21st century, the so-called party of Lincoln does not have a single African-American among its collective 247 senators and representatives in Washington. Yes, there are appointees like Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice, but, as we learned during the Mark Foley scandal, even gay men may hold more G.O.P. positions of power than blacks.

A near half-century after the civil rights acts of the 1960s, this is quite an achievement. Yet the holier-than-thou politicians and pundits on the right passing shrill moral judgment over every Democratic racial skirmish are almost never asked to confront or even acknowledge the racial dysfunction in their own house. In our mainstream political culture, this de facto apartheid is simply accepted as an intractable given, unworthy of notice, and just too embarrassing to mention aloud in polite Beltway company. Those who dare are instantly accused of “political correctness” or “reverse racism.”

An all-white Congressional delegation doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the legacy of race cards that have been dealt since the birth of the Southern strategy in the Nixon era."

Read the entire column.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. I have wonder for a long time how republicans can point fingers and yet, no ones every asked the obvious question.

I'm watching the 2nd day of the republican convention right now and searching the thousands of faces for the last 30 minutes, on 2 channels, I've seen 2 indian-americans (which is what I am) and, so far, 2 african-americans. That's it.
In addition, the majority of the crowd seems to be over the age of 50.
Is this really an accurate representation of our country?

I suppose a non diverse crowd makes it very easy to stick to a black-and-white view of the world, whereas the democratic party is a walking contradiction, hence everything is shades of gray to us... but isn't it better to live, and try to shape, the real world then live in an artificial bubble?