Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is the stuff that infuriates me

I just read a short editorial by Ward Connerly, whose name I don't know exactly, but sounds familiar (although it might be because it sounds a bit like Ward Churchill...). In this editorial, he quotes What Would Martin Say? about the wonderful things Martin Luther King Jr. would say about modern America. Of course, he then ends it with: "After applauding the programs, quotas, set-asides, and preferences that helped make at least some of this progress possible, he’d end them all — every last program — by shouting, “Thank God almighty, we’re free at last.”" Now here's the problem... like almost every other conservative, Mr. Connerly stops there, not completing the quote: "But then after the glittering successes had stopped blinding him, he'd see far too many young blacks acquainted with the justice system..." (etc.) Clarence Jones is not saying that America is a wonderful racism-free place, as Connerly would have you believe, he's actually saying that despite many advances, like still sucks for most African Americans (which I completely agree with).

Now, Connerly's editorial is offensive on many levels. First, he misquotes. This is offensive to me because he obviously assumes that I'm not smart enough to look up the original source material and see that he is wrong. For his main audience (conservatives), this is probably true, as why should they bother looking it up when its inherent truthiness provides it with all the support it needs? What is scary to me is that I don't think any of them will look it up. Of course, misquoting has a long and glorious history among conservatives. And just because I hate her so much, another one.

Now, here's the second problem with Connerly's essay: it takes a black man to question Obama's credentials on affirmative action. I know the Rushes and Hannitys have been questioning affirmative action for years, but in order to increase the cachet of the argument, it has to be made by someone who could (did? I don't know) have benefited from those same programs. If we have really reached the point at which racism is gone and equality exists, it wouldn't have to be a black man making the argument to get taken seriously. Using a black person (and I fully believe that National Review has used Connerly for just this purpose) to decry affirmative action is like parading a Soviet defector during the Cold War as propaganda. (And again, just because it's funny.)

1 comment:

Momagain said...

He's actually a Californian. Created quite a stir here with his anti-affirmative action campaign.

He's not a journalist by any stretch.