Aaron Worthing has a race problem. He's got many other problems too, but he chose to write about race, so that's what the focus will be here.
And please know understand what I am saying. It's not that Aaron Worthing has a problem with other people's racism; he himself has an actual problem with race, which he projects upon others. In his bubbilisicious world unencumbered by facts and reality, the REAL racists are those who acknowledge, and even celebrate, a person's heritage… whereas Aaron thinks that we should all be colorblind (the one thing, ironically, that Aaron is clearly NOT, protest as he may).
Well, he can't help it. He's from North Carolina and East Texas.
But I digress. Let's dive in. And no, I'm not going to swim through his entire post (reading Aaron Worthing posts makes one wish there was a Twitter-like word limit on Blogger)… but I will hit the salient points.
The post is entitled "The Democratic Party Wasn't Ready For A Black President". Already you know we're off to a bad start, as President Obama is actually the President of the United States, not the Democratic Party.
And off we go….
There is something that has been tossing around in my head for now almost four years. I think it crystalized tonight when I saw that liberals had created a hashtag on Twitter: #Negrospotting.
Aaron is referring to a little twitter game that arose last night, as liberal and Democratic twitterers looked for black faces at the Republican National Convention. Which was a little silly because — even apart from the tokens that were paraded in front of the microphone — there were black people there:
Anyway, this incensed Aaron to make a few tweets before he came to an epiphany of sorts, to wit, that "the Democrats were not ready for a black president."
“Wait,” you might say, “they voted for him. How can you say they were not ready for a black president?”
Well, let me talk about what has happened on the subject of race relations for the last few years. Let me share with you how I believe things have developed.
Fuck. He's taking us down a tangent. Somebody drop some breadcrumbs, okay?
So then Aaron goes on to say "Let's admit it folks. Obama wasn't ready for the job" or words to that effect. This is, of course, merely Aaron's opinion — an opinion which at best is held by less than half the country (presumably even many on the right will acknowledge that Obama was ready for the job, but they just don't like his policies), and most assuredly NOT held by the Democratic Party.
As evidence of Obama's not-readiness, Aaron rolls out a video of Obama in 2004, as if that matters (in AW-land, people can't change their mind upon growing and/or learning new informations).
Of course, the qualifications game is always a silly one. Worthing thinks executive experience is important; presumably then, a governor would be qualified. But a governor typically lacks foreign policy experience, one could reasonably counter. And on the games goes. Qualifications, my point is, is subjective.
Anyway, now we get to the race stuff again.
Can we finally admit that some people voted for him because he was black? I don’t mean to imply that it was a crude racial preference, so much as this. As I said before, the election of a black president was an important benchmark in racial progress, and there was a desire among good people of all colors that we pass that benchmark as quickly as possible. And this is for all the best possible reasons, the hope of greater racial harmony, of showing that America is the land of opportunity for all, and so on.
First of all, I have no problem admitting that some people voted for him because he was black. Nearly 67,000,000 people voted for Obama in 2008, and it would be ridiculous to suggest that, at least for some of them, his race was the sole issue. Others may have voted for him because they thought he was cute. Most, I suspect, voted for him for more than one reason, although this doesn't seem to occur to Aaron.
And for most, I suspect, the fact that he was black was a bonus. Not the sole reason, not the most important reason. But Aaron is going on the assumption that that's the only reason. *Sigh*
Anyway, having written that "the election of a black president was an important benchmark in racial progress", Aaron adds:
But we had to earn that benchmark.
WTF? Who the hell is "we" and what has to be accomplished to "earn" that benchmark?
Come to think of it, why is there a benchmark AT ALL for a black president? Do "we" ask what benchmarks need to be met before we can elect a white president qua white president? In other words, if a white presidential candidate falls short of the qualifications (whatever we set them to be), do we say he/she is unqualified as a white president? Sarah Palin, for example, has been widely (and appropriately) mocked on the right and the left for her lack of gravitas, articulation and intelligence to serve as Leader of the Free World. But I have yet to have hear anyone say, "Sarah Palin doesn't meet the benchmark for a white person to be president".
After slamming Obama for the debt, Aaron asks, apparently with a complete lack of self-awareness:
To the extent that any Republican is hypocritical or otherwise inconsistent in opposing Obama’s policies, does it make sense to assume that racial bias is at the heart of it? If a Republican is being unfair in opposition to a Democrat, shouldn’t you rule out the possibility of political bias before assuming it is about race? I don’t particularly like it when people just assume everything their side does is right and the other side does is wrong just because they have chosen a side, but who can deny that this attitude exists among Republicans and Democrats? So if a Republican is being truly unfair to a Democratic president, is that really so out of the ordinary that you have to assume it is because of the color of his skin?
These are all reasonable questions, except that Aaron himself was the one who intruduced race in the discussion and ties it with Obama's policies on Obamacare and the debt.
Let me put it this way…. If Aaron had written a piece saying that Obama was unqualified to be president because he increased the debt, didn't speed up the recovery fast enough, and saddled the nation with Obamacare, then he would be just like everyone else, i.e., taking a (rebuttable) political position which reflects his bias as a rightwinger. And that's fine. That's how the game is played.
But Aaron didn't do that. He wrote a piece with the thesis that Obama is unqualified as the first BLACK president because he increased the debt, didn't speed up the recovery fast enough, and saddled the nation with Obamacare.
And then he wonders why conservatives like himself get dinged with sending up racial dog whistles. The answer isn't all that mystifying: it's because conservatives like Aaron send up racial dog whistles!
Aaron, of course, doesn't see the racism in himself, in part because he adopts a convenient definition of racism, one he sees as the "correct" definition:
In fact the correct definition of racism is nothing more than the opposite of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream: judging people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character. To do this is wrong, and I believe that to the core of what I am.
Well, no doubt, judging people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character, is perhaps the salient feature of racism. And Aaron is correct in pointing out that, by that definition, there are black racists as well as white racists.
But in conveniently limiting himself to "MLK's definition" — one which focuses on racism at the individual level — Aaron dismisses the concept of institutional racism. I'd be surprised if he ever heard of the phrase. Watch as he tries to defend the white power structure which still exists today:
[T]oday you see a number of professors explain that black people cannot possibly be racist, because racism is prejudice plus power. So, the argument goes, since black people are powerless, no black person can be a racist.***
[E]ven if you accept that definition of racism, does anyone notice the flaw in the argument? Black people are not and indeed never have been powerless. That they are not presently powerless is evident in the fact Obama is President. And even in the days of slavery, they were not powerless. It is a slander upon the human spirit, and the intelligence and ingenuity of those slaves to say they were completely powerless. This is proven by the fact that once Lincoln announced a policy of emancipation—giving the slaves a reason to side with the Union—resistance by slaves brought the Southern economy to its knees. As Jeffery Rogers Hummel wrote in Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, “[l]iberation, so often presented as something the Union did for blacks, was as much something they did for themselves.” Slaves had some power, and when it mattered, they used it.
Well, I suppose it helps make your point if you simply lie about the definition. No, Aaron, the "argument goes" that black people are comparatively powerless in a way unrelated to their numbers. And although it is certainly better now than it was during the Civil War, it's still not equality in any real political sense. So, when you accurately consider what "a number of professors" explain, your entire point gets blown out of the water.
It's not about, and never WAS about, complete powerlessness. But it is about subjugation, which existed during the Civil War, and exists (to a lesser extent) today, even with Obama as President. As Bell Hooks wrote:
“A vision of cultural homogeneity that seeks to deflect attention away from or even excuse the oppressive, dehumanizing impact of white supremacy on the lives of black people by suggesting black people are racist too indicates that the culture remains ignorant of what racism really is and how it works. It shows that people are in denial. Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks (they could have such feelings and leave us alone) but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation?”
And because of Aaron's ignorance of the historical truth of institutional racism, he makes racist statements like this:
Sonya Sotomayor’s comment about wise Latinas was not a one-shot. She had been saying it for years. If a white man said that he hoped a white man would be a better judge than any woman or minority, he would expect to be contradicted—if not run out with torches and pitchforks. But when Sotomayor said what she did, the liberals who surrounded her never protested her obvious racism.
And why is that? Because Sotomayor's statements were not racist. Against the backdrop of institutional racism, a minority person exhibiting racial pride is laudable at best, innocuous at worst.
But some people like Aaron Worthing pit races against each other (this, too, makes him racist) as if race is a zero-sum game. To Aaron, a minority expressing affinity for his or her race ("wise Latina") means dissing the white man:
But in fact, any time you say, X trait is better than Y trait, by implication you are saying Y trait is worse than X—and if X trait is preferred, then why shouldn’t you discriminate in favor of it? Racial affinity is racial preference; racial preference leads logically to racial discrimination.
Wow. Under that worldview, MLK (who Aaron claims to admire) himself was a racist.
Aaron asks why this doesn't work in reverse — why white people get lambasted for being proud of their white heritage. Well, part of this is quite simply that the white heritage in America isn't exactly something to be proud of. I mean, it's just not. You would have to turn a blind eye to the massacres of Indians, the enslavement of an entire race, and — even in my lifetime — the relegation of certain races to second class citizens. I mean, it's ugly, but it's historical fact. And when white people typically speak of their "proud white heritage", that's what they are talking about. They're talking about the things that white people should be ashamed of. That's the reason. Institutional racism. Read about it.
Anyway, at the end of his ignorant screed, Aaron tries to resurrect himself:
Ideally, Obama’s failure as a President should be taken as his failure alone and not reflective of his race as a whole. And if his presidency is seen as a test case, the issue to be determined is not whether to let another black person take up residence in the Oval Office but whether to allow another Democrat to do so.
But what I fear is that many ordinary white people will decide not to vote for another black president, even if he or she is the best qualified.
No, you don't fear that. You want that. Your entire post is about how the president failed, not as president, but as a black president. Your words! It's in your freaking title, you jackass! This is classic projection: Aaron has an issue with the president's race and now he fears everybody else will have an issue with the president's race which he claims to not have (no, really! He doesn't!). If you claim Obama's race shouldn't be relevant, and that it isn't relevant to you, don't spend an entire making it relevant.
And while you're at it, ask yourself why the only people that you marginalize as racists happen to be people of color.
I mean, why IS that? Better pundits please.
RELATED – Wonkette channels AW:
Here is a positive, hopeful story that will put a spring in your step and some salt on your nuts.
An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM.
In a written statement, CNN addressed the matter but divulged few details: “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”
Some in the liberal media might get their hair up in a lather (or a dander, or a bother, or what the fuck ever) about this, seeking to impute the actions of a couple of likely DNC plants to the entire convention. Instead, let’s look at how the rest of the convention behaved.
Did they throw snack products at black people? NO. The Democrat Party continually talks about what terrible racist savages Republicans are, yet 99.9% of the convention managed to avoid assaulting a lady just because she was black and maybe liberal.
This is the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. All black people should vote Republican, because you almost certainly won’t get hit in the face repeatedly.