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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Let's not be racist here.

A few days ago, you may have read about a man in Virginia caught using receipts to return items taken from store shelves, a common scam. The story was worthy of national attention only because he was a former advisor to President Bush.

There are a lot of facts that don't matter when looking at this case. His favorite restaurant. His high school. His taste in music. And, of course, his race and sex. No matter what the color of his skin, the content of his character was clearly lacking.

Predictably, though, someone on the left is making this a racial issue. Here's L.A. Times op-ed columnist Erin Kaplan:

I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less, but we cannot ignore the racial implications of this latest Republican fall from grace. Here is a decidedly white-collar black man getting clipped for a blue-collar crime associated with economic necessity, one that practically guarantees prison time for most black men in this country. (Even if he's ultimately convicted, it's doubtful that Allen will end up behind bars.)

Here is a man who, like most black conservatives, has had to do an awful lot of personal and political rationalizing to pay dues, which included apprenticing with then-North Carolina senator and habitual racist Jesse Helms and opposing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
(I don't know how often small-time fraud actually earns prison time for a first time offender. People get probation for a lot worse.) And look at this sterling logic:

It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him. Was he testing the limits of a power he wasn't sure he had, but needed? Was he fatally overconfident — fatal indeed for a black man — that his position shielded him from the consequences of crime, or at least the consequences of petty theft? After a career of always conducting himself appropriately, as his mentor Clarence Thomas reportedly advised, did he finally crack under the pressure? (All black folk, even conservatives, know they have to be three times as upstanding just to get along.) Was he acting out a latent bitterness at being denied a spot on the federal appeals court by a Senate that found his resume too thin and his past reference to gays as "queer" too cavalier for comfort? Or was he a closeted compulsive grifter who would have done this anyway? Hard to know.

Yeah, sure, the color of one's skin makes one a criminal. Such enlightened thought. The standard "house Negro," "traitor," and other degrading terms are also tossed around by this writer.

Such writing has no place in a colorblind society.


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