Althouse | category: racial politics



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Asian, Black and Latino voters have flipped to the Republicans in such large numbers that the Democrats are in huge trouble, the story goes."

"The GOP could become the party of a 'multiracial working class.'... At the same time, voters of color have favored Democrats by more than 35 percentage points in every recent election. The news media and others who analyze politics shouldn’t emphasize the rightward shift so much that they obscure that these voting blocs remain very Democratic-leaning...."

The good news for Democrats is that the clear majority of Asian, Black and Latino voters are still backing them, lifting the party to victories in states such as Georgia and Virginia where White voters are mostly Republicans. The increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the country has been an electoral boon for Democrats — just less of one than was expected.... 
The move to the right among voters of color shows that demographics are not destiny. But their strong Democratic tilt shows that demographics still matter.

"The fact that Trump is doing considerably better among Republican voters of color than White Republicans flies in the face of the fact that many Americans view Trump as racist...."

Writes Harry Enten, in "Voters of color are a big reason Trump leads the GOP primary" (CNN).

But Trump’s overperformance with Republican voters of color makes sense in another way. The Republican primary race right down is breaking down along class lines just like it did during the 2016 primary. Trump’s base is made up of Republicans whose households pull in less than $50,000 a year. He led this group of voters by 22 points over DeSantis in our CNN poll. He trailed DeSantis by 13 points among those GOP voters making at least $50,000 a year. This is a 35 point swing between these two income brackets....

"... Lightfoot may be a harbinger, or at least a warning, for the other big-city Black mayors..."

"... will their mostly non-Black citizens feel that their safety is being prioritized and secured under Black leadership?"

Concludes Charles Blow, in "The Spectacular Fall of Lori Lightfoot" (NYT).
... Lightfoot belongs to a group of recently elected Black mayors of major American cities, including Eric Adams in New York, Sylvester Turner in Houston and Karen Bass in Los Angeles. In those cities, Black people are outnumbered by other nonwhite groups, and in New York City and Chicago their ranks are dwindling. Each of these four mayors was elected or re-elected around the height of two seismic cultural phenomena — Black Lives Matter and the pandemic.... 

Blow interviewed Lightfoot 4 days before the first round of the election (in which Lightfoot, with 2 candidates outpolling her, failed to advance). About Paul Vallas, the white man who came in first with 34% of the vote, she said:

“He is giving voice and platform to people who are hateful of anyone who isn’t white and Republican in our city, in our country.”


“People who are not used to feeling the touch of violence, particularly people on the North Side of our city, they are buying what he’s selling.”

She's insinuating that it's racist to care too much about your own physical safety. It's obviously impolitic to say that too clearly. Blow also proceeds gently (and abstrusely!):

In this moment, when the country has still not come to grips with the wide-ranging societal trauma that the pandemic exacerbated and unleashed, mayors are being held responsible for that crime. If all politics is local, crime and safety are the most local. And when the perception of crime collides with ingrained societal concepts of race and gender, politicians, particularly Black women, can pay the price.

What's he saying other than the obvious reality that mayors are held responsible for crime? Does he really mean to say that black mayors — or women mayors — are held more responsible?

In 2021, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta chose not to seek re-election, becoming the city’s first Black mayor to serve only a single term, after wrestling with what she called the “Covid crime wave.” 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans is facing a possible recall, largely over the issue of crime in her city, and organizers said this week that they have gathered enough signatures to force a recall vote....

Yes, I think Blow means to say that people suspect that woman mayors, black mayors, and, especially, black women mayors are soft on crime. 

"When California was drawing up its Constitution to join the Union, the state debated excluding Black people."

"The delegate who brought forth an exclusion resolution said that with migrating free Black people, the state could find itself 'flooded with a population of free Negroes,' which would be 'the greatest calamity that could befall California.' In that way, what [Scott] Adams said, while racist, was less outside the bounds of America’s troubled ideological canon and more in step with it on the question of having a functional, egalitarian, pluralistic society."

The last 2 paragraphs of "The ‘Dilbert’ Cartoonist and the Durability of White-Flight Thinking" by Charles Blow (in the NYT).

"Twitter and Tesla chief Elon Musk defended Scott Adams... in a series of tweets Sunday, blasting media organizations for dropping his comic strip..."

I'm reading "Musk defends 'Dilbert' creator, says media is 'racist against whites'/The Tesla and Twitter chief blasted media outlets for dropping Scott Adams’s comic strip after the cartoonist’s rant against Black people" by Will Oremus (WaPo).
Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.”... 
In further tweets Sunday, Musk agreed with a tweet that said “Adams’ comments weren’t good” but there’s “an element of truth” to them, and suggested in a reply that media organizations promote a “false narrative” by giving more coverage to unarmed Black victims of police violence than they do to unarmed White victims of police violence.... 

Here's the Musk tweet, responding to someone who tweeted that the MSM had concluded that Adams is racist:

The media is racist

Musk then added:

For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians. 

Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America.

Maybe they can try not being racist.

And when someone tweeted...

Adams' comments weren't good. But there's an element of truth to's complicated. Mainly we've leaned into identity with predictable results, and power today is complicated. We were on the right path with colorblindness and need to return to it.

... Musk responded:


I used boldface to identify text that is not in the WaPo article. That is, the WaPo writer does not open up the question whether identity politics is a tragic mistake and colorblindness could be the right answer.

"Newspapers across the United States have pulled... 'Dilbert'... after the cartoonist called Black Americans a 'hate group' and said White people should 'get the hell away from' them...."

"The once widely celebrated cartoonist, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement 'It’s okay to be White.'... [O]n his YouTube show Saturday... [Scott Adams] offered a long, quasi-Socratic defense of his comments, which he said were taken out of context, and seemed to define racism as essentially any political activity. 'Any tax code change is racist,' he said at one point in the show. He denounced racism against 'individuals' and racist laws, but said, 'You should absolutely be racist whenever it’s to your advantage. Every one of you should be open to making a racist personal career decision.' In the same show, Adams suggested that he had done irreparable harm to a once-sterling career. 'Most of my income will be gone by next week,' he told about 3,000 live-stream viewers. 'My reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed. You can’t come back from this, am I right? There’s no way you can come back from this.'"

Here is today's episode, the one with what WaPo calls "a long, quasi-Socratic defense." You can judge for yourself:

"What we’re seeing is a kind of standard practice of conservatives and conservative reactions to Black political movements — to weaponize the words and concepts..."

"... they’ve used to undermine efforts of social movements. History shows that you can rally voters around issues of difference, issues that suggest that people are losing power, issues where their values are being challenged."

Said Duke polysci prof Candis Watts Smith, co-author of "Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter," quoted in "Republicans use ‘wokeism’ to attack left — but struggle to define it/Conservatives attach the term to a host of policies they oppose, from transgender rights to climate change measures to socially responsible investing" (by Ashley Parker and Liz Goodwin in WaPo).

I thought that was an interesting quote because it so obviously applies in the opposite direction. Conservatives would, I think, have been willing to put "issues of difference" off limits and to proceed color-blind. They are a "reaction," as she says, and it's a reaction to the weaponization of "words and concepts" and the rallying of "voters around issues of difference."

This really deserves my "civility bullshit" tag, because it is essentially a call for one side to stand down and stop talking in those extreme and emotive ways.

Most of this article, though, is just the typical perseveration about the word that irks them: "woke." But it's their word. And that's how words work. Your opponent uses your word and turns it around. That's rhetoric. 

"The naive view is that the refusal to defend West marks a sea shift in black attitudes toward Jews..."

"... transcending the impulse to defend the indefensible just because it was done by a fellow African American. The cynical view is that if West hadn’t first angered black people with his comment that slavery was 'a choice,' and betrayed black leaders with his decision to put on the MAGA cap, the reaction would have been entirely different. West’s accusations... [suggest that] Kanye West has lost his mind. But that doesn’t explain enough. If West had blamed the Iroquois for his woes, that would be unhinged. But he didn’t. He blamed the Jews, and that’s no accident of mental illness. West found a powerful political explanation for his experience, one that already has a pedigree in the black community—anti-Semitism. Look at his accusations again: Reference to Jewish exploitation is de rigueur in writings about blacks and Jews...."

Writes Elliot Kaufman, in "O Ye of Little Faith: The Anti-Semitism of Kanye West The billionaire star is not just crazy. His Jew-hating politics have a history—and a radical potential" (Commentary). Much more detail at the link. But just a bit more, from the conclusion:

Any confrontation with black anti-Semitism incurs risk for Jews, but it is necessary. First, black anti-Semitism places traditional Jews in physical danger every day on the streets of Brooklyn and not only there.... Second, black anti-Semitism has a unique ability to strike at the heart of liberalism... Jewish success and prominence in America—taken by some as a standing insult—have hinged on liberal principles of merit, equality before the law, pluralism, free expression, and individual rights, as opposed to group privileges. Black anti-Semitism, in denying the legitimacy of Jewish success and prominence, is also an assault on those ruling principles. Its deeper meaning is to call the American system a fraud, a manipulation, and a conspiracy.

To call the American system a fraud, a manipulation, and a conspiracy — that's how to say Critical Race Theory without saying Critical Race Theory.

"Newspapers across the United States have pulled... 'Dilbert'... after the cartoonist called Black Americans a 'hate group' and said White people should 'get the hell away from' them...."

Report "Althouse"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?