Friday, September 30, 2005

Republican "Racial Tolerance"

I guess the Republicans are really trying to reach out to the minority vote. Proving once again that there's no such thing as a compassionate conservative, there's Yet Another Conservative Pundit Saying The Wrong Thing (tm) . Yesterday, former Education Secretary William Bennett (you know, the guy who was ultimately responsible for ensuring adequate education for an entire generation of Americans) said on his radio show (and I quote):

If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.
This is racism, pure and simple. But not because of what Bennett has come to use as his flimsy line of defense -- that he later said that such an act would be "morally reprehensible". No, the true racism of this statement is that blacks are the primary contributor to crime in this country, and that annhilating the African American population would lead to a low-crime, high-morality, utopian society in which no one ever stole for shit. I think we all know that Bennett's pulling that one out of his ass. It is true that African American men predominate in prisons. It is true that people of colour are prosecuted more than white men for crimes of violence and substance abuse. But what Bennett forgets that higher rates of prosecution does not equal higher rates of crime. What Bennett and his "compassionate conservative" counterparts love to ignore is that we do still love in a racist society where the white supremecist institution of America and American justice disproportionately arrests and prosecutes men and women of colour and of decreased economic means than they do the (arguably more devastating) white collar crime by white, collared men. And yet, Bennett refuses to apologize. Instead, he says: "I think people who misrepresented my view owe me an apology." I'm sorry, Mr. Bennett, but no one owes you an apology, except perhaps the people who raised you to be such an inconsiderate, racist prick. And as far as his assertion that the comments were taken out of context, again Mr. Bennett lies. Having heard the entire clip, I can say for certain that Bennett took himself out of context when he nonsensically responded to a caller arguing the pro-life position that all the aborted children in the last thirty years, if born, could have supported Social Security. As overly-simplistic as that position is, I don't think it's hard to imagine that Bennett's subsequent remarks on aborting black children is, itself, lacking in any context and basically amount to drive-by intolerance. If you too are offended by Bennett's remarks, you can visit his morning show website and send him an email. Not that anyone will be reading, but it might be a nice self-gratifying act. All that being said, Bennett is just another in a long litany of over-the-top, damn-near-shock-jock-if-people-didn't-actually-agree-with-them white, male conservative radio show hosts who seem to get their rocks off blasting all the second-class citizens in this country. Bennett's faux pas will blow over -- his syndicated show might be dropped in a couple of urban areas, picked up by a couple other local stations, and in two weeks time, we'll have another ridalin-addicted conservative to be made aghast by. As a liberal person of colour, I'm tired by it. Why do we let these conservatives continue to crop up over and over again? Why do we play such reactionary politics such that all we end up doing is endlessly protest the next big yappy dog they throw our way? Racism is a problem in this country, as is classism, sexism, homophobia, religious oppression and more -- but don't make the mistake of believing that flash-frying Bennett is doing much to combat it. The real problem hasn't even been addressed. Update: Just for fun.


Blogger jose said...

Wow, that's pretty horrendous, but perfectly aligned with Conservative thought of taking statistics at face-value that helps them endorse minority-culpability for "failure' (as per their own metrics). Not really sure if he intended it for shock value, as he might actually believe it, and seems like he does. Of course, assuming his plan for genocide were actually carried out, it still wouldn't explain embezzlement and other similar crimes of moral turpitude which are arguably more heinous in their anonymous detachment than physical violence. If we aborted every white baby, would that mean we'd never have another Enron, Oklahoma City, and Columbine?

But I think you're right; reactionary politics shouldn't be the primary focus any more than a doctor would try to heal the symptoms rather than the disease. What do we do?

9/30/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Kaede said...

This is being 'debated' on Fandom_Wank on JournalFen and it's disgusting how many people are defending this guy for these remarks. I really really don't feel any sympathy for Americans who feel that way. They're gonna get their asses kicked....

10/01/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

I think the defenders are trying to say that he didn't avocate mass abortion of black babies, (last time i checked the guy was pro-life) but that theoretically speaking, if you aborted all black unborn babies, the crime rate would go down based on black crime statistics(something that can still be debated statistics or not).Then they say how ridiculous a thought like that would be in real life.A lot of people online are saying he's not to far off.They usually start off with the..."If you look at the statistics of blacks..." etc etc, and "what he said was taking out of context" which I sort of agree with.I think the problem is although the vast majority believe something like this is crazy in real life, "theoretically" it makes sense that crime in america overall would go down A LOT if you basically killed off every black unborn child.Then get upset angry when black people get upset and angry at the very thought of it.

10/01/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

Oh yeah i almost forgot, they're also upset about the political correctness of it all.Some even say "the truth hurts deal with it".I don't even know what to say with that one.

10/01/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger jose said...

Bennet and his defenders are fending off the wrong thing; I don't think anyone seriously thought he was advocating ending a whole race of people. The problem lies in presupposing a correlation between race and propensity to commit crime. Statistics are certainly debatable, but even then, looking at a single classification and drawing causation from it is completely unsound. Science doesn't back it up, so it's not the truth. It has nothing to do with being PC because the debate didn't get shut down by censorship and they never bothered to debate that issue in the first place -- the caller and Bennet framed the context within the abortion debate -- and we don't have to accept statements unrelated to it as fact, especially when it isn't.

10/01/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous normal2 said...

saw an effective response to Bennet here.

also want to say - one of the big elephants always in the room is the question of whether nonwhite people are being suckered by the old Democrat vs Republican game.

10/02/2005 10:05:00 PM  
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