Apathy v. Racism

What follows is, more or less, a comment I posted on the now-epic Tea Party and Race post.  I am turning it into a separate post (1) because I think it is a conundrum worth exploring and (2) that comment section may be a bit unwieldy at this point.

…As for the federal Civil Rights Act and expressions of malcontent with said Act… well, my opinion is that intent only matters to a certain degree – at some point you have to address results. In other words, one can philosophize all day long about the nobles ideas behind one’s opinion, but noble ideas don’t trump results.

So, if the ‘noble idea’ that you are espousing is no federal governmental intrusion, but a lack/repeal of federal gov’t intrusion would result in some state’s infringing upon the basic federal rights of some of the citizens, you don’t get a [total] pass [on the actual results of the implication of said idea]. This kind of ‘let them eat cake’ mentality simply doesn’t work in reality.

It’s all well and good to say that people should not shit on each other; but I think we all have to agree (or maybe just those of us in certain areas) that *if* the federal government were not “intruding,” our kind would not be welcome. And by “our kind” I mean whatever particular group/belief/etc that is pilloried for simply trying to exercise the same rights as everyone else.

And don’t get me wrong – I still hold a serious thing for Libertarianism. We were very close for a long time, and even though we have parted ways, I would like to think that we are still friends. I just realized that it wasn’t me; it was everyone else. As I moved through education and from the service industry to the professional industry, I realized that but for federal protection of federal rights, those rights would be utterly meaningless.

And if we allowed a “patchwork” approach on nationwide interests like public education, we would only see the poor states get poorer and less educated while the rich got richer. And we would not be a Union in any sense of the word because we would self-segregate faster than you can say the Pledge of Allegiance.

… I should make it clear that I do not think [a person is] a racist; I don’t think [their] position is racist, and I don’t think [their] statements can be interpreted as racist [simply because they are advocating a stance that the Federal Gov’t has no business enacting legislation regarding civil rights].

I think there is a space between racists and people actively advocating for equality, though. And while I don’t believe in a my way or the highway/you agree with me or you are a racist approach, I *do* believe that people in the middle should be aware that sometimes their stance encourages and supports a status quo that is not equal for all people. Again, this doesn’t mean that they are racist, but it may mean that something they support – for whatever reason – will likely have a disparate/unfair impact on people who are already generally in a weaker bargaining position.

If I Would Have Known You Were Coming, I Wouldn't Have Eaten the Whole Damn Cake.

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The TEA Party Movement and Race

I would like to open up a discussion on the TEA Party Movement (hereinafter “TPM”) and race.  Before we get started, let me first say that discussing race in the context of the TPM is not, in any way saying that the TPM is racist.  Every time that the questions regarding race and the TPM are asked, the answers in defense of the TPM are, almost unfailingly, that (1) there is no proof of racism and/or (2) the asker is racist for simply asking the question. Please note that neither of these responses are actual answers to the questions that I am about to ask. I also don’t really want to hear about other movements or administrations – I am looking ONLY at the TPM.  I simply want to discuss race and whether or not it matters in the context of the TPM.

In order to get a discourse going, let’s lay out a few basic parameters and assume the following to be true:

(A).  The TPM is disproportionately made up of non-Hispanic whites.  I understand some people will disagree with this; however all polls that I have looked at estimate the non-Hispanic white demographics in the TPM  to be anywhere from 79% to 89%.  The corresponding numbers for non-Hispanic white US citizens in general is 75%.

(B).  There have been some incidents of racism in connection with the TPM.  This means ONLY that there have been specific examples of either overt racism or racial insensitivity either at TPM events or voiced by TPM-identified people. “Some” is intentionally vague. But there have been “some.”

(C).  There is a perception that the TPM has a problem with race.

(D).  The TPM as repeatedly stated that it is a diverse group and that all people are welcome.

Bearing in mind (A) through (D), I would like to pose some initial questions.

(1).  Do you think that it is appropriate to even discuss race in the context of the TPM? Why or why not?

(2).  Why do you think that there are not more non-whites in the TPM?

(3).  What do you think about MSM coverage of the TPM?

(4).  How do you think the TPM should handle allegations of racial insensitivity?

(5).  How do issues of race affect how you feel about the TPM?

(6).  Do you think that the TPM would have gotten so much support if McCain had been elected president? Why or why not?

(7).  Please share any *actual* personal experiences that you have had with the TPM.

So let’s discuss.  Please keep it respectful.  Cookies for all…

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