Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Warrantless Blogtapping Program

Issue: John Hawkins's Disingenuousness About Race

I have a running chronicle of John Hawkins's schizophrenia on the subject of race. You'd think that by now, knowing that I am watching him whenever he discusses the subject of race in America, Hawkins would be a bit more circumspect in what he writes. But, you'd be wrong to think this. Once again, I've caught Hawkins being disingenuous on the topic, and particularly regarding his own stated views of the topic. But given that this dude is confused, and his views on the subject a convoluted mess, I guess it's no wonder that he contradicts himself regularly. Let me elaborate ...

In his most recent TownHall.com column, which he links to on his blog site, Hawkins starts off with the following introductory comment:

Although racism certainly exists in this country, it has become blessedly rare and marginalized. Some of the best evidence you can find for that is Barack Obama's election as President. Only in a country as colorblind as America could a black man easily win the Presidency when 75% of the votes were cast by white Americans.
I am amazed that Hawkins would write this. On his own blog in a March 12, 2008 posting, Hawkins put up a piece titled "Of Course Barack Couldn't Win The Democratic Nomination If He Weren't Black." Hawkins has repeatedly thrown out the charge that the only reason Barack Obama won the Democratic Nomination and the General Election was because of his race. And as for the claim that we see the end of racism because Obama won an election when over 75% of the voters were white, Hawkins has been clear that he thinks that the portion of this white voting population who voted for Obama did so out of a sense of "white guilt." In short, Hawkins is being quite disingenuous here when he claims that Obama's election is a sign of the end of racism in our country. Hawkins has never believed that "colorblindness" in America explains Obama's victory. It's quite clear from many of his other blog postings that he thinks exactly the opposite is true.

And the very next paragraph in his piece says the following:
Despite that fact, the cries of racism have become ever louder and more omnipresent since Barack Obama has been elected. Perhaps none of us should be surprised by that fact. After all, the racial grievance industry in this country still has bills to pay, the people who use racism as an excuse to explain their failures still need a scapegoat, and Democrats now have a ready-made excuse for every problem: "The President is black and so the people who don't agree with him must be racists!"
I ask: Does Hawkins not see the irony here? Hawkins himself has been one of the loudest among the "cries of racism" crowd and the "racial grievance industry" in this country. The cries of "racism" and the expressions of "racial grievance" that I have heard have come as much from the rightwing (Glenn Beck, anyone?) as from the left. As far as Hawkins and many others among the "colorblind" rightwing are concerned, they have their own ready-made excuse for every problem. It goes something like this: "The President is black and so the people who agree with him must be racists."

1 comment:

Eric said...

I think you make some good points about a disparity in the logic behind Hawkin's rhetoric on race, and I'd be interested in seeing him address your argument.

I think what he means is that Obama's election is a sign that negative racial discrimination against black people is no longer a major issue in America, but that's not quite the same as saying 'racism' is no longer an issue. The left and right tend to use these terms differently, and I think that clouds the issue a bit.

One thing I will say... maybe I'm just blind to it, but I really don't see all that many liberals blaming the conservative opposition to Obama's agenda on race. I think most people accept that there are deep ideological differences between the left and right in this country, and that Republicans would be fighting these ideas just as hard if it was President John Kerry who was proposing them. I'm not so sure Hawkins is wrong in his statements about racism, but I am sure he is wrong about Democrats using racism as a ready-made excuse for every problem.