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August 13, 2010

Why I Always Get On People's Asses About the Race Issue

Since this argument has begun again, let me explain, and hopefully, attempt to persuade.


First of all, there is the issue of people's personal sensitivities to the issue of race. I have some of this. Many readers do. Many voters do, including white swing voters. (More on that later.)

There is rarely overt racism per se on the blog. I try to avoid the word "racist" because it doesn't really apply. However, there is often what certainly sounds like an emotional-level animus directed at some groups. Now, that may not be racism at all. It may just be grousing. But you have to admit -- it does at least sort of sound like the tone of someone with a racial axe to grind.

This is what I mean by multiple comments in a row, each of which might have been okay on its own, becoming, in the whole, rather ugly, in that a series of comments each express some low-level hostility at blacks (or whatever) but taken altogether they seem to paint a picture of rather higher-level hostility.

It sounds, in short, that you're pissed off at black people. Not this black person or that one. But black people, generally, or at least most, with some prominent exceptions. And that's not racist per se, but, let's face it: You're not going to be winning a BET Spirit Award anytime soon, either.

It's not that frustrations like this can't be expressed -- I say this a lot: Racial politics is a part of politics, for good or for ill, and whites have something to say about racial politics too, and must be allowed to say so without being called a racist. Whites don't like racial set-asides and "plus factors" (minus factors for whites) for one thing. Nor socialist, economy destroying redistribution of wealth which seems undertaken 99% for purposes of "racial justice."

But certainly when we get into sensitive areas, delicate areas, we can try to be careful about wording and tone, so it doesn't lend itself to sounding like simple emotional resentment and anger. When I touch on these areas I do try to do that myself-- I adopt a clinical tone, and try to drain all passion out. Because passion in these areas is usually anger and frustration.

And I mean for me-- I am not without racial baggage or racial resentment myself. I get very bothered by things like, well, if there are a bunch of black teenagers on a subway car, I'm probably, 30% chance, in for a loud and misbehaved sort of ride, and 10% chance, in for some territorial fuck-with-the-white-people shit.

That has an emotional effect, which I try to fight, and try not to just vent that kind of emotion. Discussing it in clinical terms? Yeah, fine: Something needs to be said about the territorial payback instincts that a lot of black teenagers are being indoctrinated with.

But if I just vented about a particular experience, it would sound pretty ugly. So I try not to.

A lot of people are bothered by what they perceive -- maybe it's not intended; but it's so perceived -- at an ugly tone that creeps into the comments on posts on racial matters.

I get complaints. Further, it's not just me getting complaints; I am often bothered by a negative tone on racial matters.

Some people will dismiss this with a hand-wave as "political correctness." It may or may not be. It may just be political correctness, due to a childhood of relentless race-harmony messaging from the media and schools, which I internalized.

However, whatever it is, it exists. It's real. It may have been counterfeit or artificial in its inception but it's now a part of me. And it's part of many readers.

It also might not be counterfeit at all. I don't believe in political correctness per se, but I do believe in what I would call "racial politeness." I believe that it's generally a Good Thing, a Civic Good, to treat people as individuals and to refrain from unnecessarily branding groups with negative terms. I think that inflames people, bothers them.

I know that I -- and most of you -- don't like the idea that whites are, in some respects, treated almost as an official second-class citizen group by the government. With "racial plus factors" -- for whites, read "racial minus factors" -- and such. And not just in tangible ways, but in the general sort of suspicion and hostility directed at normal tax-paying law-abiding whites by the media and government class. We are treated as some distasteful group, full of bad feeling and bad intent, and it rankles. We don't like it. Hate it, in fact.

I would urge readers to consider that other racial groups have the same sensitivities when it comes to their groups being broadly criticized with a hostile tone, and that two wrongs don't make a right, and that if you're attempting to protest political correctness, there are better ways to do so than using the same weapon you don't like against others.

Not only is there a personal sensitivity here, there's a professional one. At some point this blog must end. I don't say because I want to give it up. I say that because that's life-- things end. And this blog is paying almost nothing (I'd be embarrassed to tell you) and only reader donations keep a roof off my head. (And on that -- I know my thank-yous are very late; I will send them. Let me say thank you to contributors as a group, but say I promise I will send out the individual thank-yous soon.)

So understand this: You may not think that racial politeness or political correctness is warranted, but the vast majority of the professional world does -- 99% of possible employers do -- and at some point I will have to put this blog forward as the work I have done for six, seven, ten years, and I will have to account for what is written here. Not just what I write; but what I allow to be written as well.

Also let me talk about politics. In 2000, in Bush's nomination-acceptance speech, I believe, he made a pitch to black voters. I forget the specifics -- it was something along the lines of, "Now we haven't been very welcoming of black voters... and (wry smile) black voters haven't been very welcoming of us." Laugh line.

Anyway, he made his pitch. A commentator -- Howard Finemann, I think -- noted that Bush didn't intend to get any black votes with that pitch. No, Finemann said, that pitch was about white voters who were uncomfortable with the Republican Party's media-insisted reputation for racism. He wasn't really hopeful about getting anything more than the usual 10% of the black vote (which is, I'm guessing, mostly servicemembers and army brats).

His appeal was instead to the large fraction of white voters who probably would vote Republican... if only it didn't have the reputation for racism.

By appealing to blacks, he was appealing to these whites.

Sometimes we have discussions about just how influential this site is. Some will buck me up and say it's quite influential; I often think not at all. And sometimes I think "just a little bit."

I think "just a little bit" is about right.

But the point then, is that this blog is not just about venting and catharsis and screwing around making dick jokes and posting as Pat Caddell. It is those things, of course. It wouldn't be at all without those things.

But there is a dimension of it, at least I hope there is a dimension of it, that is actually tangible, that actually can affect elections-- slightly.

My use of profanity and dick jokes isn't just a part of my personality. It is that, of course. But there was a reason for it, too, an intellectual one, a strategic one.

My idea was this: There are many attractive personalities on the right who can cultivate people who are strongly religious/rigorous in their personal moral behavior (and whose mores, I mean, in turn demand they not take delight in profanity or dick jokes).

But there were other Republicans, more like me, who were a bit... sketchy.

And furthermore, that there were people who could be Republicans, but were put off by the notion that it was all fuddy-duddy and straight-laced and no fun, but who maybe could be induced to pull the lever for the GOP if they saw there were other... sketchy characters in the party, too.

That it wasn't just a party, it was... well, a party. That we had fun. That we cut loose. That we weren't just all buttoned-up and inhibited.

We were the dirty conservatives.

That's not a big demographic, but it does exist. The fact that it is small will, unfortunately, forever limit this site's top size. But it will exist at a moderate size to serve that niche.

Now my point is: This blog is intended, among all the other things, as outreach. As an ambassador. As... well, an evangelizer.

And what frustrates me is that often comments are made without care or restraint that retard that intent of the blog, that undermine it, that defeat it.

I don't think some commenters are sufficiently respectful of other readers' sensitivities, nor of the sensitivities of less-formed, less-ideological possible Republican voters who may swing by for whatever reason, whether because they got a link from a friend in an email or overheard Rush Limbaugh mention the site.

One of the reasons I do this is to turn those people on to conservatism. And it bothers me when some commenters don't seem to be on that team, and seem, to my mind, to be turning them off.

It's easy to vent. And venting is fun. (And I should know, as I do vent. A lot.)

But 90% of the time what is easy, what one wants to do, isn't what one should do. That is life: That is what I have learned of life in my 29 years of existence. (Well, I will be 29.... and yeah, I've decided I'm 28 no matter what my Social Security card or "mathematics" has to say about it.)

90% of the time we spend justifying doing what we want to do to ourselves, we're wrong. Not just you; but me, everyone. Usually the right thing to do is the thing you're trying to rationalize to yourself you don't have to do. The thing you're arguing against in your head is the thing you probably should do.

I mention that because whenever this comes up, people start justifying/rationalizing hot racial talk as if it's a good thing, as if they're really advancing the cause, somehow, by throwing off the shackles of political correctness.

Well, are you sure of that? Or is that one of those cases, those 90% cases, where you're justifying the thing you want to do over the thing that's a little harder to do and which you have the sneaking suspicion might be the right thing to do?

And I say that because 99% of these comments I find objectionable or a little overly hostile could be perfectly, inarguably sensible and unobjectionable... if only there had been a little more care in their presentation and a little more consideration of tone and sensitivities.

And if that's the case -- if you can express pretty much any thought you like as long as it's done in a cooler, more careful way, without alarming anyone -- shouldn't that be the way it's done?

This ties into my greater point about the usefulness of anger in politics. It's a double edged sword -- anger is the most powerful force in politics. Anger wins elections. If we win big in November, it will be primarily because of anger.

As I've said: Intellect steers, but emotion drives.

But the flip side of that is that anger often looks ugly to people who aren't quite as angry as you. An angry person is generally unattractive and unappealing in his angry moment. Some find him attractive and appealing -- those who are angered themselves and feeling the fire too -- but for those we're trying to get into a Remember November mood, but who aren't quite there yet it's a turn off.

It is. Anger may be an energy, as John Lydon said, but anger is not an argument.

So this is why I get so pissy, so often, over this issue. I have good reasons for it -- you may not agree with these reasons, but they are, I hope you will concede, at least good reasons, even if you think you can muster better reasons against them.

We're out here -- or at least I'm out here -- to win. Not just to vent. But to win.

And I do get a little cantankerous when I don't see people getting into School Spirit with me.

Especially now, 79 days out from the election. I think most of you noticed -- last week the switch turned in my head that we are now in Full Campaign Mode. We're in just do it mode. We're in do or die mode. We're in taking care of business mode.

Or at least I am. I am now in full campaign fervor and ready to chew broken glass to get this thing done.

I hope you'l join me. We've got one shot at this. All right, we have two. There's another one in 2012. But how we fare in 2012 is directly related to how we do in 79 days.

So I implore you, fellow Dirty Conservatives:

Let's knock their dicks in the dirt, and let's remember we are all evangelists and all ambassadors.

And if that's too high a price to pay for turning out the socialist horde -- then I really don't think you are as anti-socialist as I am.


Something I Forgot To Mention: WhoDat wrote:

So far today, your readers are: - angry - resentful - have higher-level hostility - pissed off at black people

Did I miss one?

I responded:

Yes, you did: Many are at fucking work and attempting to read the site on a fucking computer owned by a fucking corporation which could get them into fucking big trouble if they're seen reading a site which appears to have a racial animus.


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posted by Ace at 01:40 PM

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