Sunday, January 04, 2004

Dean on Republicans on Race
Dean said his own education about unconscious racism began at Yale, where he graduated in 1971. He was trying to get a child from the inner city of New Haven that he was tutoring to talk "proper" English. One of his African-American roommates told him, "Why don't you leave him alone?" He said he had the "traditional white liberal idea that if black people were like us then we'd all be fine. Sort of like the Republican idea. If we all played golf at the same country club, then there wouldn't be any racial problems."

I'll hopefully put my thoughts on this later.

Update: My thoughts are pretty well summarized in this post from the junkyard blog
My fiancee and I were walking down a street in San Antonio along with a couple of our friends. We made quite the quartet--two obviously white-bred guys with two attractive Oriental women. As we were walking down the street, minding our own business, talking about this and that, a car with three or four African Americans drove by, and as it passed us, a rather overweight female stuck her large head out of the window and shouted at us:

"Go back to China!"

Which amused us, because none of us had ever been to China. The ladies were from Japan. The ignorance of some knows no bounds--not all Orientals are Chinese, though I suppose a majority are if you look at it in terms of hard numbers. Maybe our verbal assailant was just playing the odds? In any case, you can't go back to a place you've never been.

But how should we square that little incident--being ordered by an ignoramus who happened to be black to leave the country simply because of appearance--with recent utterances by the increasingly offensive Dr. Howard Dean? To the Boston Globe, he said:

"Dealing with race is about educating white folks," Dean said in an interview Tuesday on a campaign swing through the first primary state where African-American voters will have a major impact.
How would "educating white folks"--collateral targets in my San Antonio scenario--have made one bit of difference? It wasn't white folks who shouted at two Japanese women--who for all our shouter knew were American citizens by birth--and told them to leave the country. It wasn't white folks who started an anti-Semitic riot in New York a few years ago, a riot that ended up killing 8 people (that riot was started by a Democrat presidential candidate named Al).

Racism isn't any single race's property, and no single race is alone in guilt. And actually, one of the least reported patterns of racism, but one of the most prominent forms of it in urban areas, is black vs Asian racism, mostly directed at Korean merchants who set up businesses in black neighborhoods. How does "educating white folks" deal with that kind of racism?

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