Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
This seems like a really bad demonstration of tokenism to me.
This seems like a man who beleives very strongly in something and wants to unite others around his cause. The words he chooses to use such as 'freedom' are cnopcepts that thousands upon thousands of our countrymen have fought and died for. There is a reason the crowd cheers for his words of patriotism, however cliche they might be.
A "token" of what, Evan?
A token black guy. "The movement isn't racist. See? We have a black man speaking at one of our rallies, and he's being cheered!"Come on. If you want to prove some rallies aren't in part racially motivated, don't do that by showing a single example of a black guy speaking and saying it exonerates the movement from all charges of racism.
Actually Evan, that was a humorous preface to the video. How like a liberal to think I said the man is my new hero because he is black, or because he indicates the blatantly colorblind nature of this particular movement.I would hope no one construed my pre-video pontification as a serious attempt to rebut someone as ignorant, bigoted, and frankly stupid as Janeane Garofalo. I would never attempt to argue with her absurd accusations of racism (nor those of any race-baiting demagogue who manages to reduce all opposition to a black president to unabashed racism).
"How like a liberal?" I wasn't the one to say "I thought tea parties were supposed to be bastions of hate and racism," and juxtapose that line with a video of a black guy being cheered at a tea party rally. I'm not being "like a liberal." I'm calling it as I see it.Either you don't even recognize that you're using Lollar as a token black guy, or you're trying to walk back from the fact that you are using him that way. Is the teabagging movement racial? No, it has no coherent message at all. Is some opposition of Barack Obama due to the fact that he's black? Absolutely. How much? I have no idea, but I'm not stupid enough, in an era where the most prominent conservative radio host argues for resegregating buses, to think that we've moved into some postracial utopia.
Postracial? Of course not. I just assumed that we'd moved past the point where we tried to head off criticism by crying racism. There are crazies on both sides. There always have been. There always will be. Maybe before accusing the other side of racism and thereby ending all debate, we might examine the issues. Maybe instead of throwing around charges of 'tokensim,' we might address what people have to say, regardless of their race. What a concept!I don't argue that Tea Parties aren't racist, because that's exactly what those leveling the charges want me to do. By forcing critics of the president to go on the defensive, constantly countering these ridiculous charges, Obamaniancs manage to direct attention away from the issues. So beyond a humorous quip about a 'functionally retarded' (to use Garofalo's own phrase) actress-turned-wannabe-political-commentator, I refuse to even address the claims that protesters are racist, let alone through tokenism.So no, I am not using him as a token black guy, and no, I'm not walking back from anything. I stand by every word that Lollar says. That you can't differentiate between his valid and well-framed argument and the shot I took at Garofalo tells me that you're expecting me to address these racism charges, and beyond pointing out their the fact that they necessarily destroy debate before it even starts, I'm not going to do it. I won't have a part in the degradation of the national dialogue that race-baiters seem intent on perpetuating.
Besides, if I were trying to offer up a token black guy, I wouldn't have to go any further than the RNC chairman. But I didn't cite him, because he's an idiot. Lollar is a true conservative, a military vet, and obviously an ardent patriot. That's not racial. That's just 'Murican.
I'd be glad to substantively debate Lollar's comments on the merits, but that isn't how you presented this post. You presented it in the context of quotes about race, using Lollar to rebut those comments. And if you didn't use Loller to rebut Garofalo's (really dumb) comments, why did you choose him over any of the hundreds of other people who spoke at a teabagging rally? Because he's the most well-spoken?Or because, oh, he's black?It's the juxtaposition that really gets me. One after the other. It's almost like you're daring someone to call this out on what it is--using a black guy to implicitly refute any charges of racism--and then when they bite, you have them in a corner. Since you never explicitly paraded Lollar as "a black guy who's a teabagger, and makes teabagging unracist," you can then step back and say that there's a liberal tendency to find racism in everything and discredit any actual talk about the motivations of the teabaggers. For whom, as I said, there's no coherent message. But one undercurrent (of many) is race.I'm not expecting you to address these charges. Because what you say is entirely predictable for someone who puts a quote about racism together with a black guy who would conveniently rebut that charge both in his presence and (in your view) in substance (although I disagree about the merits of what he said; that's, I think, for the next post.) But here's my question. If Charles Lollar was a white guy saying the same exact words, would you have linked his video?
I said I wouldn't do it, but here I am doing it. Yes, I would have. There. You just got me to answer your racism charge. Awesome. There are now 11 comments on this post, and none of them have to do with the issues he raised. That's where racism charges get you, and that's where the left is leading the debate by constantly making these accusations. A lot of talk about nothing.'Preemption. The American people by overwhelming majorities reject the desperate retreat to the racist charge. But no matter. Elites know that by preempting criticism with “racist!,” they can fire a shot across the bow of potential critics. Conservatives scoff, but some of them will be wary of spending hours writing mea culpas that they are not racists.Bewilderment. Many who employ the desperate tactic are themselves bewildered by criticism of Obama. They had assumed that his ratings would stay at 70%. Apparently, they thought anger at Bush, the Iraq war, Wall Street after the meltdown, and the McCain campaign, all translated into grass roots demands for a new humongous mother state, in which the government would run 40-50% of aggregate GDP, under the aegis of bureaucrats like a Timothy Geithner, Joe Biden Eric Holder, or Van Jones.Exemption. There are no downsides to the charge. It is akin to calling someone a wife-beater or molester. Conversation turns to “No, I’m really not!” It ends all discussion. The perpetrator suffers no censure. If one doubts that, just examine the strange career of Al Sharpton. He went from street theater and inciting violence to a respectable talking head, largely because he knew the more he charged racism, the more others would not wish to waste time denying it, and so reinvented him as a mainstream civil rights leader.It is prophylactic. Van Jones in his own language is a racist. By his own words, one sees that he see problems, whether environmental or homicidal, in terms of white pathology. Charles Rangel is a racialist: he too charges white pathology anytime he is targeted as tax cheat. And so on. Legitimizing the racist charge ends any discussion of whether there is a real problem in the black community of elites using such preemptive charges in lieu of rational argumentation. E.g., “You are a racist, and therefore cannot critique my argument on its logic.” Or “I can use racist tropes, but am myself exempt from charges of racism.” It reminds me of proactive armor that explodes in the face of incoming charges.'
Correction: Gillan actually addressed what Lollar said, in accurately glowing terms, because he is smart and from Texas (redundant, I know) and he knows that there's no point in arguing with the cynical left.
I looked up "tea party protest speech" on youtube. The results are about 90% white people speaking. Same thing when I searched "conservative values." With the wide availability of white people to speak on this topic, you didn't pick any.But, let's move along and talk about the issues Charles Lollar raises. Er, what issues? He talked a lot about freedom (that's great) and individual liberty (I like that too), and he discussed free markets (isn't unregulated risk part of what got us into this mess?) and the merits of working for yourself (does he support insurance? After all, you're really risk-sharing with others when you buy it.) But he didn't raise any major issues of substance to my ears. He talks in basic campaign boilerplate platitudes; there's no deep insight Lollar gives into freedoms that isn't already part of the overarching conservative message. I could rehash my excellent argument with you over conservatism versus liberalism, but we've already done that so eloquently; why repeat?It's interesting that you cite the 'danger' of 'crying racism.' It's interesting that I mentioned tokenism a bunch of times but racism only in referring to your original post. You, on the other hand, have devoted 4/5ths of your last post to addressing the dangers of falsely accusing someone of racism. You apparently feel like the world feels--or at least I feel--the teabagging conservatives are all racists, because you devote significant attention to deflecting that argument. But I don't! Of course there's some group of people who don't like Obama because he's black. But that isn't a major issue here. You're putting up a straw man by citing accusations of racism as this massive problem facing teabaggers.And those Texans--well, Zach's cool in my book. But Rick Perry, Republican governor of Texas? He advocated secession. He's from Texas, yeah. But smart? Not so much.
Yes, he speaks like he's running for office, because he is. And as far as the issues he's addressing, I'll let Reagan explain why they're as important as any legislative issue:"Those of us who are over thirty-five [in 1989] or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sens of patriotism from popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special... We've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important."As far as the racism charge goes, I wasn't accusing you of it. I was pointing out the fact that I cannot post a clip of a black man while poking fun at some of the more, er, stupid elements of the progressive coalition without it being taken as an explicit rebuttal of ad hominem attacks on tea party protesters. That's what racism charges do.
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