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Erin Aubry Kaplan: The Content of Their Character Party
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, March 16, 2006

I don't support modern liberalism, but what I really dislike are black liberals. It's hard to imagine that black liberals, forced to shill for an ideology that insists they need to seek public rent to achieve, wouldn't be worn down eventually. Jesse Jackson, for example. Maybe he wasn't just having an extramarital affair — maybe he was acting out the expectations of liberalism.

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Racist? Whatever do you mean? It was good enough for the Los Angeles Times and columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan.
 
Note: Obviously, the top paragraph—mine—is satire. Kaplan's column, as far as I can tell, was not. (via Best of the Web)
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’ve heard it suggested that this may have something to do with his identical twin brother, who is much less accomplished than Claude.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Wow. That was an astonishingly racist piece. Thanks for linking to it.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
That is one of the most ridiculous columns I’ve ever read. But of course since Kaplan is a black liberal she must not be questioned. Who among us, except other liberals, can possibly understand her perspective?
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Again, the issue boils down to this: Does the GOP better represent the interests of blacks in general, or do the Dems? The author of the piece makes the rather unremarkable claim that it is the Dems, and that blacks who enlist in the GOP are acting against their own self interest and the interests of black people in general.

You call that racism. I certainly think that a vasy majority of black people wouldn’t see it that way.

I recall a recent poll where Bush’s approval rating among blacks was 2%. 2%. Most conservatives believe that blacks take such a dim view of Bush and the GOP because they are uninformed and misguided. Again, I think that the vast majority of black people don’t see things that way.

Funny, but your post reminds of that scene from Bustin’ Loose (I think that was the movie) where Richard Pryor accuses a black lawyer of being racist against blacks. It’s a great scene. It’s funny, because of the seeming absurdity of the premise. Is Ms. Kaplan - a black woman - racist against blacks? I suppose anything is possible. But I would imagine that if you asked the vast majority of black people who know her, they would disagree with that notion.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Well MKULTRA, you might watch "A Soldiers Story" and discover that Blacks CAN be prejudiced against fellow Blacks....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The underpinning of an argument such as Kaplan’s and Mkultra’s is that because a few people choose a different course than the majority of their race/sex/etc., they must be wrong. That’s an appeal to common practice or an appeal to popularity. It doesn’t make the claim true. Liberal’s are all about expressing your unique true self unless it conflicts with their collective vision.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
The underpinning of an argument such as Kaplan’s and Mkultra’s is that because a few people choose a different course than the majority of their race/sex/etc., they must be wrong. That’s an appeal to common practice or an appeal to popularity. It doesn’t make the claim true. Liberal’s are all about expressing your unique true self unless it conflicts with their collective vision.
Does that mean conservatives are not about expressing your "unique self"? And are you also saying that conservatives don’t criticize those who don’t agree with their "collective vision"? Funny, but when I read conservatives, they seem to have a lot of contempt for those who do not agree with them.

The larger problem that most conservatives have with the Kaplans of the world is that they don’t think blacks should identify collectively with other blacks in the first place, at least politically speaking. That they shouldn’t think politically in terms of race. Jon has simply taken it up a notch - suggesting it is racist for a black person to criticize another black person on the ground that the latter is acting against the interests of the black race in general.

I guess I wouldn’t agree. I don’t think most black people would call Kaplan a racist.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Yes, I think it is racist to point to a person’s race as a cause for his failures — i.e., black people can’t be conservative without have psychological problems...because they’re black — or to argue that a persons skin color should define his political philosophy. I happen to think that political philosophies of Allen and others should be judged on their merits, without regard to skin color. In fact, I don’t think race should play a part in philosophy at all, since it is largely a social construct and ought to be irrelevant to politics and philosophy.

You and Kaplan seem to disagree with that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"Does that mean conservatives are not about expressing your "unique self"?"

I’m not implying anything about conservatives in my statement about liberals. Just pointing out some hypocrisy in liberals. I’d say conservatives are less enamored with personal expression, however.

"And are you also saying that conservatives don’t criticize those who don’t agree with their "collective vision"?"

That is also not implied in my critique of liberals, and to answer the question, no. Once again, I’m pointing out the dissonance between the general liberal celebration of unique self-expression (which I’m not saying is bad) and their criticism of those who self-express in a way (such as being a black republican) they don’t like. I’m not saying the criticism is always bad either, just that there is childish hypocrisy.

Most conservatives? Hmmm. Why would anyone (a liberal for example) who believes that people are more than the color of their skin support the notion that people should band together politically based on the color of their skin?

To the extent that people of the same skin color experience a common threat this makes sense, but beyond that it makes none. It’s a bit like voting the same as someone else because they happen to like the same basketball team as you.

I think Kaplan is practicing a form of subtle racism. She’s implying that a black conservative is an inferior black person; that because of his color he shouldn’t be a conservative and that he couldn’t possibly have arrived at this point by using his brain. She claims that in his case, and other black members of the Bush administration, they are simply political window dressing. Undoubtedly she complains about a lack of black people in high-ranking positions of power and responsibility, but here when it actually happens, because it’s a Republican administration, it must be disingenuous and they must be "house Negroes." Why don’t you ask Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell what they think of this. Of course they aren’t liberals so of course their thoughts are aren’t worthwhile.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Yes, I think it is racist to point to a person’s race as a cause for his failures —
Well, that would be interesting, if that is what Kaplan was doing. I didn’t read a single line that said that Allen was having problems simply because he was black. I would be kind of surprised if Kaplan said that Allen couldn’t handle success or succeed in the first place because he is black.
i.e., black people can’t be conservative without have psychological problems...because they’re black
Again, interesting, but that’s not what she said. What she said was that a black person who goes to work for a party that, in her opinion, is hostile to the interests of black people could experience psychological difficulties. This notion hardly seems radical. In other words, Kaplan is saying that a black person who associates with conservatives might suffer psychological problems not because they are black, but because conservatives don’t act in the best interests of blacks. It’s the same kind of dissoance any person experiences when their work conflicts with some other aspect of their being. You can of course disagree with the premise of the argument, i.e., the GOP is bad for blacks. But to call it racist is silly. To call Kaplan a racist even more silly.
I don’t think race should play a part in philosophy at all, since it is largely a social construct and ought to be irrelevant to politics and philosophy.

You and Kaplan seem to disagree with that.
That’s the rub, isn’t it? Race shouldn’t play a part, but it does. I’m sure blacks would prefer that race not play a role in politics. I’m certain that if were up to Kaplan, she would prefer that race play no part in politics. However, it does, if only because de facto discrimination still exists, both from a law making aspect and a law executing aspect. For instance, if black people are six times more likely to pulled over for a traffic violation, it would be nonsensical for blacks as a group to not get together and try to put a stop to it through political channels. Conservative critics, on the other hand, would tell them that they are simply injecting race into the equation.

Black people did not ask to have race injected into politics, but it has been.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I guess it was just too hard to be like Rove.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
i.e., black people can’t be conservative without hav[ing] psychological problems...because they’re black
Again, interesting, but that’s not what she said. What she said was that a black person who goes to work for a party that, in her opinion, is hostile to the interests of black people could experience psychological difficulties. [...] In other words, Kaplan is saying that a black person who associates with conservatives might suffer psychological problems not because they are black, but because conservatives don’t act in the best interests of blacks.
You’re going to have to explain for me, mkultra, what exactly the difference is between those two things in context.

Think, mkultra, think!
That’s the rub, isn’t it? Race shouldn’t play a part, but it does. I’m sure blacks would prefer that race not play a role in politics.
Yeah, I bet Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would really prefer that. That’s why they behave the way they do, and pander the way they do. Because they wish race didn’t have anything to do with politics.

I’m sorry, but real equality dropped off the agenda a while ago. To the Democrats today, they’re just another interest group that they like to have securely under their belt come election day. They spend way too much time coming up with zingers like, oh, comparisons to plantations. They clearly enjoy this game, and love reaping the rewards of making promises to a group that never seems to get any further ahead in life when the Dems are in charge of the state/city/schools.

Group/identity politics is a game the Democrats learned how to play a long time ago, and based on popular representations of blacks by blacks, it looks like certain other parties like it too.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
That is also not implied in my critique of liberals, and to answer the question, no. Once again, I’m pointing out the dissonance between the general liberal celebration of unique self-expression (which I’m not saying is bad) and their criticism of those who self-express in a way (such as being a black republican) they don’t like. I’m not saying the criticism is always bad either, just that there is childish hypocrisy.
You make a common mistake made by those on the right, namely, conflating tolerance with uncritical acceptance. It’s a familiar right-wing parlor trick. I have no problem with conservatives having a point of view. I just think that their point of view is often wrong and deserves criticism. ("I don’t agree with your speech but I will defend to the death your right to say it.") The reason why liberals have a reputation for tolerance is that on the whole, they tend to tolerate speech with which they disagree more than conservatives do. (The left-wing ACLU defending the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie being a classic example.) There are exceptions, of course. But to suggest, as you do, that liberals are hypocrites because they criticize the point of views with those whom they disagree with is kind of ridiculous.
Most conservatives? Hmmm. Why would anyone (a liberal for example) who believes that people are more than the color of their skin support the notion that people should band together politically based on the color of their skin?
Because de facto racism still exists. If a individuals are discriminated against based on a trait that they share with others, why wouldn’t they?

One could say the same thing about evangelical Christians. They are more than just evangelical Christians. Yet they band together based on this trait. Indeed, they do so because they feel that they are being discriminated against. Funny, I never hear conservatives criticize evangelicals for banding together, even they are more than just their religion.
I think Kaplan is practicing a form of subtle racism. She’s implying that a black conservative is an inferior black person;
Ok - this doesn’t really make sense. Black conservatives are not a racial category. For Kaplan to be a racist, she would have to hate all blacks because of the color of their skin. What Kaplan is saying is that black people who associate with conservatives may experience psychological difficulties due to the fact that they are associating politically with a side of the political spectrun that has historically been adverse to the interests of their racial group.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Yeah, I bet Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would really prefer that. That’s why they behave the way they do, and pander the way they do. Because they wish race didn’t have anything to do with politics.
Right - black people and black leaders want racism and discrimination. They love it.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
"But to suggest, as you do, that liberals are hypocrites because they criticize the point of views with those whom they disagree with is kind of ridiculous."

I’m not conflating and I don’t think there is anything wrong with criticism of those with whom you disagree. Liberals like to wax poetic about "celebrating diversity," "tolerating," and other such simplistic notions of non-conformity and self-expression, but they don’t really mean this literally. So while I don’t have a problem with the criticism, I do wish they would stop with the vacuous clichés.

Banding together around religion is about banding together over a set of ideas, not skin color. There is a difference. As I pointed out previously, the only time it makes sense to band together based on skin color is when there is a threat based on it. You also must not be paying much attention if you think conservatives don’t criticize other conservatives, religious or otherwise.

Kaplan is also saying that conservative blacks are inferior blacks. Why do black liberals get away with using ad hominem terms like "house Negroes" or "Uncle Toms?" Only because they are black liberals. It’s an racial identity criticism (most black people are Democrats, what’s wrong with you?) based on the idea that Republicans are axiomatically anti-black. That’s simply thoughtless.



 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Leaving aside Kaplan’s assertion that she likes black conservatives less than white conservatives — a very explicit acknowledgement of separate standards based on race, not merit...
I didn’t read a single line that said that Allen was having problems simply because he was black.
The mere assumption that being black requires conservative position to "exact a psychological toll" requires one to believe that skin color determines ideology.

She is simply calling Allen an Uncle Tom — a "house negro". That’s bigoted.

And for the record, I say this as a very decidedly un-conservative person. I doubt I share many of Allen’s beliefs, either, but I do think we should argue ideas, not identity. That, apparently, is something many people are incapable of doing.

And this...
What’s clear is that the Bush circle and the Christian base that praised Allen the loudest are nowhere to be heard now.
...probably irks me the most. What, exactly, does she expect them to do? Bush and many others expressed disappointment. That’s precisely what you do in this case. Does she expect them to continue praising his apparent crime? If they did, she’d have a legitimate gripe about it. And when they don’t? She gripes about that, too?

That’s nonsense.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Race shouldn’t play a part, but it does. I’m sure blacks would prefer that race not play a role in politics.
Yeah, I bet Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would really prefer that. That’s why they behave the way they do, and pander the way they do. Because they wish race didn’t have anything to do with politics.
Right - black people and black leaders want racism and discrimination. They love it.
Actually, considering how much political hay they make out of that one set of issues, and their inability to hold anyone’s attention with other issues, it seems like they do love it. They love that race is a part of politics, and their behavior reflects it. One racially charged incident can vault them right back into the press after a down period.

I don’t see nearly the same thing in Condi Rice, Colin Powell or Barack Obama. I see it in Sharpton and Nagin and Jackson.

If you have trouble believing it, maybe you can clue us in on whatever substantial issues are keeping Sharpton and Jackson alive.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Leaving aside Kaplan’s assertion that she likes black conservatives less than white conservatives — a very explicit acknowledgement of separate standards based on race, not merit
Weird, you seem smart, Jon, but this is dumb. Let’s say I criticize Bush supporters who happen to be in my age group more than I criticize those who are not. Am I an ageist? Of course not. I would be more critical of them precisely because they should see things the same way I do, given we share a common experience, than I would of those who do not share our experience. After all, experience informs judgment.

Calling Kaplan a racist puts the knee back in jerk.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But that does make you an ageist, just as treating someone differently because they share your skin color is racist. Changing your level of criticism based on such factors as age or skin color is quite evidently a bias against the grain of judgment by character.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I didn’t call Kaplan a racist. I think her rhetoric was implicitly racist, but that doesn’t make her a racist. (except insofar as we all are prone to stereotyping, generalization and tribal "us VS them" instincts)
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Okay Jon, but what do you call someone who makes racist statements and appears to actually believe them?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Right - black people and black leaders want racism and discrimination. They love it.
Nope, they’ve merely built their lives around it. Most black politicians would have nothing whatsoever to validate their role in a society in which all people are judged solely on the content of their character. Here in Milwaukee, white County Supervisors cannot get away with ignoring court orders to fix broken windows in their rental property. My own white alderman went to jail for 1/10th the "sloppy bookkeeping" for which a black alderman got a reprimand. Yet any criticism must clearly be racist.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu

 
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