Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Three Cheers to the Death of Times Select

The New York Times is arguably the best newspaper in America. So, this piece by Bob Herbert may say something about the state of journalism in this country. Mr. Herbert has taken some very complicated and convoluted concepts (i.e. race, politics, the history of political parties, elections, etc...) and managed to boil them down to one simple and elegant idea: Republicans hate black people!

There it is. The plethora of opinions and the varying degrees to which individual politicians and constituents hold those ideas can all be easily condensed to that one simple and elegant idea: Republicans hate black people!

The other sublime aspect to Mr. Herbert’s remarks is illustrated when he refers to Clarence Thomas. As he states it, “In 1991, the first President Bush poked a finger in the eye of black America by selecting the egregious Clarence Thomas for the seat on the Supreme Court that had been held by the revered Thurgood Marshall.” Mr. Herbert’s use of personification is quite telling. The reference to “the eye of black America” demonstrates quite well his belief that all black Americans see things, or at least ought to see things, the same way; that is to say, his way. Here we derive another simple and elegant maxim: Black Republicans hate themselves!

It is hard to express the degree of gratitude I feel towards Mr. Herbert for taking such complicated and obtuse issues and distilling out these simple and, if I may say, quite beautiful truths. I should also point out that he has not bothered to muck up his argument by dealing with Copperheads (who depicted Lincoln as Abraham Africanus 1), The Solid South (which instituted Jim Crow), The New Deal (and its support for labor unions that excluded black workers), Great Society (and its lingering affects on the economic and moral landscape of this nation’s black communities), or any of a number of other questionable aspects to the Democratic Party’s policies as they pertain to black Americans. It is just not polite to question the generally held perception that: Democrats love black people!

I suppose that when Mr. Herbert writes, “The G.O.P. has spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans”, he is referring to things like reforming the welfare system, getting tougher on crime and opposing affirmative action. If that is the case, then he is absolutely correct that these things oppose the interests of black Americans... if the interests of black Americans consist of remaining stuck on the government dole, pursuing lives of criminal activity and being held to generally lower standards of achievement and accountability. If a white person expressed that sentiment, I might go so far as to wonder aloud if he were not, in fact, sounding blatantly racist.

I wish that I were shocked by the level of vitriol and astonishingly ill thought-out logic that characterizes this piece; but, honestly, I am not. It is typical; and that is sad.


JPB said...

I too was disturbed by Herbert's article. Actually, "Pissed off" would have been a better phrase.

M. Innocent said...

I agree with your assessment of Herbert's misguided op-ed. The two parts of your argument I was particularly pleased with was: 1) that Black America is not a monolith because not all Black Americans perceive things such complex issues in exactly the same way; and 2) his utter dismissal of Black Republicans indirectly depicts them as 21st century Uncle Toms.

It's this myopia that serves to perpetuate the ills of the black underclass. It boggles the mind why more blacks in position of power in this country have yet to realize this.