Tuesday, May 13, 2008

 

Indiana went for Clinton so Indiana is racist.

One of the more bizarre recent examples of PC idiocy occurred at Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI) where finally administrators there “revoked their finding that a student-employee was guilty of racial harassment merely for publicly reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan“ FIRE - Victory at IUPUI: Student-Employee Found Guilty of Racial Harassment for Reading a Book Now Cleared of All Charges

Today’s Washington Post has a front page story that also involves Indiana: Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause. Highlighted within is anecdotal evidence of Indiana racism. Unfortunately, there is very little reporting involved. Post writer Kevin Merida seems to simply take at face value whatever the Obama supporter says. Of course, Senator Obama lost the Indiana primary; Senator Obama is, like, kind of awesome so obviously racism is the only explanation for his loss there.

If the conventional wisdom is to be believed, many modern-day voters are reluctant to state to a pollster a preference for a white candidate over a non-white candidate (the so-called Bradley effect). But apparently in Indiana, they have no problem using racially-derogatory comments to supporters of the non-white:

“"One caller, [Obama volunteer] Switzer remembers, said he couldn't possibly vote for Obama and concluded: "Hang that darky from a tree!"

…and that’s how much of the story goes: Mr. Merida reports on very little first-hand – it’s all what the Obama supporters tell him. The above noted anecdote could presumably have been checked out by having Mr. Merida call the supposed bigot back to confirm but there is no evidence that any such confirming work was done.

And the more overt happenings are even less clear as to racial underpinnings. An Obama campaign office was vandalized the night before the primary:

“Other windows were spray-painted with references to Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other political messages: "Hamas votes BHO" and "We don't cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright."

Well, who is Hamas supporting? And disdain for the Rev. Wright should certainly be considered an acceptable mainstream emotion. Vandalism is criminal but it isn’t necessarily racial….unless I also missed Mr. Merida’s piece on the racial elements behind the Wisconsin slashing of tires just prior to the 2004 election.

This brings us to Mr. Merida’s capstone anecdote:

“Ewing, 47, is a chain-smoking middle school guidance counselor, a black single mother of two and one of the most fiercely vigilant Obama volunteers in Kokomo, which was once a Ku Klux Klan stronghold. On July 4, 1923, Kokomo hosted the largest Klan gathering in history -- an estimated 200,000 followers flocked to a local park. But these are not the 1920s, and Ewing believes she can persuade anybody to back Obama.”

I guess Mr. Merida thinks that 1923 bit of history is somehow relevant but the Klan then is also not the Klan of today. At its peak in Indiana, the Klan was primarily an anti-Catholic organization. Many of the recent (legal) immigrants coming into America at that time were Catholic and many Americans were wary of their loyalty to the Pope. That’s why, as noted above, things came to a boil in South Bend, Indiana at Notre Dame less than a year later.

I have no doubt that there are those out there who will not vote for Senator Obama because of his half-race – just as there are those who will not vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. But I believe these anti’s are more than offset by those voting FOR Senator Obama precisely because of the color of his skin and those voting FOR Senator Clinton precisely because of her sex.

(Ed. Note: People who think this way are allowed to vote accordingly because both candidates are Democrats. If they are Republicans, black and female candidates are mere inauthentic tools of the Man. See, e.g., almost any recent election in Maryland).

IUPUI administrators found racial harassment in the reading of an anti-Klan book and Kevin Merida reports there is widespread racism in Indiana because pro-Obama, anti-Clinton campaign workers told him about it. But white voters in Indiana voted in a much greater percentage for Senator Obama than did blacks for Senator Clinton (40% vice 8%). Whites even voted in a greater percentage in Indiana for Obama than they did in North Carolina. Unfortunately, while North Carolina went for Obama, Indiana still went to Senator Clinton; hence the hatchet piece on the Hoosier state in today’s Post. Simply put, if you tell Kevin Merida something he wants to hear, he’ll report it. This is a bad faith story that is a harbinger of things to come through November.

Comments:
Yes Maryland, the state where Lisa Gladden won because, well, blacks must vote for and be represented by other blacks (lest they be disenfranchised) and where Michael Steele lost because as Lisa Gladden explained party affiliation sometimes trumps race.
 
Well argued. Anecdotal evidence from West Virginia suggests that Obama got hit hard in WV not because of some ethnic connection between the Scotch-Irish roots of the Mountaineers and th Welsh roots of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton, but the desire of West Virginians not to have a Muslim/Black in the White House. Note my use of the words "anecdotal" and "suggests", and my lack of journalist pretenses.

Indiana along with other states has an infamous legacy of so-called "sundown towns", where Blacks were not permitted to be present after dusk. But that is now history, as noted.

In the case of Lisa Gladden noted by Soccer Dad (to whom greetings!), there is nothing inconsistent between Gladden's statements. Hoffman was an extremely partisan Democrat, a loud, public foe of ballot access for smaller political parties. It is fitting that she who with ruthlessness and injustice protected the partisan hackery of Maryland's severe ballot access laws got brought down in the very contested primary process that she denied to other parties. Summon the Greek chorus. Steele supported conservative policies rejected by most Black voters and lost. At the micro level of state Senate districts, it boils down to access and connections.

I suspect that most Black voters in the district, in practice, are better off with access to Gladden than with access to Hoffman, whose community ties and loyalties differed if subtly, who was less connected to Black community.

Let me give a concrete example. Until recently I was in District 11. At one point, Delegate Robert Frank was one of the three along with Dels. Morhaim and Finifter for that district (now represented by Cardin and someone else along with Morhaim). I recall Bob Frank at one (open, non-confidential) committee meeting of a community chamber of commerce stating that the Baltimore Jewish Council had taken a position on some issue, maybe public funding of parochial schools, I forget, and Bob Frank was very reluctantly going to oppose the BJC on the issue, for the first time ever. He was nervous about it.

Had Bob Frank not been Jewish and not developed his community base in the Jewish community, the BJC would have been a more peripheral concern, maybe no concern at all. While the "look like them, smell like them" comment of her padrone Pete Rawlings was offensive, the reality is that local politics depends on connection, on contact and building a base. Religion remains among the most ethnically segregated cultural elements of the society; in the case of the Jewish community, ethnicity is usually (not always) a definitional element of the religion and the community. In the Black church taken as a collective, it is approximately the same in practice. Had Rawlings referred to "community ties" and "long-term connection and investment" rather than "smells like them," his comment would have passed without significant notice.

Cheers to all, and I apologize for going on and on so long.
 
I know the Hoffmans and so I do not claim total impartiality but the primary campaign was not only an elect-a-fellow-black theme but also had a decided anti-semetic tone to it. Neither Ms. Gladden nor Ms. Hoffman coincide with my politics but from the outside looking in, I thought the replacement of Ms. Hoffman with Ms. Gladden was moronic politically because of the relative influence differential. Only Montgomery County's pathetic excuse for Legislative representation allows Baltimore City to maintain any semblance of their old-school power.

As to the rejection of Michael Steele for political reasons - OK -but my constant point is that those from the left need to remember that come November when many of us vote to reject the Audacity of Hope and the far-left package it portends.
 
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