I see black people… everywhere


by Sunny
31st January, 2009 at 4:51 am    

… and it’s great! The Republican party has elected its first black person as chairman. WTF? The party that played race-bait politics for decades has elected a black person to…. erm… do their admin for them. The party chair role isn’t that significant as in the UK but it’s still a big thing.
Am I suddenly turning Black Power? Of course not. It’s good to see the Republican party finally seeing past people’s colour (or at least trying to). Secondly: More Racial Diversity Is A Good Thing.


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  1. Point of order — on 31st January, 2009 at 6:42 am  

    Poor ahistorical post Sunny.

    It’s good to see the Republican party finally seeing past people’s colour (or at least trying to).

    Like him or loathe him, Bush appointed more non-white males to postitions of responsibility than Clinton, for all his sax playing (oh he’s the first black president and all that shite) did.

    Fact.

    We can start with Colin and Condoleezza.

    We can also look at who Bush appointed in 2004 – With little fanfare and not much credit, President Bush has appointed a more diverse set of top advisers than any president in history.

    If you didn’t know that: good, now you do. If you did, well, shame on you for this post.

    To be fair, I’m talking about Bush and you’re talking about the Republican party as a whole. Perhaps Bush’s attitude disgruntled other Republicans. I imagine it probably did. But it might be worth remembering that for all his myriad faults, Bush was the first truly colour-blind President, not just in words but in action (see Blair’s comment to Geldof in Time Magazine).

    As an aside, do you think the Democrats never played “race-bait politics” (as you call it)? Al Sharpton ring a bell?

    Now what was your point again? Demolishing a straw man?

    Why not cane the Republicans over a matter they really ought to be ashamed of (there are more than I’ve got fingers), rather than post this rather half-hearted dig?

    Obama’s in – we won – smile!

  2. Mr Picky — on 31st January, 2009 at 8:56 am  

    “Like him or loathe him, Bush appointed more non-white males to postitions of responsibility than Clinton, for all his sax playing (oh he’s the first black president and all that shite) did.

    Fact.

    We can start with Colin and Condoleezza.”

    I think you’ll find Condoleezza is female. Otherwise point well made.

  3. billericaydicky — on 31st January, 2009 at 11:14 am  

    This also brings us to the question of what is black. The race industry, without of course consulting anyone, decided that anyone who wasn’t white was black including Chinese, Viets and anyone else who had “suffered” because of the colour of their skin. Black was a “political construct”.

    It also fascinates me how the industry has reversed the ” one drop rule” used by the apartheid South African regime and the segregationist southern states of the USA. A debate is now raging in the pages of the black press, or what’s left of it after New Nation folded this week, about what is black so we all may as well get in on the discussion.

    Even though it is clear from appearances that many people of Caribbean origin have white genes the self appointed leaders defined them as black. With so many mixed marriages two new categories are emerging, mixed race and dual heritage. These are being fiercely opposed by the likes of Darcus Howe and the former editor of New Nation Michael Eboda but then of course both are professional blacks!

    I know from Asian friends that they intensely object to being called black and I am interested to hear what people out there think. And some news just in as Trevor McDonald used to say. The BNP have taken twenty seven per cent of the vote in the North East in a ward they have never stood in before. The alarm bells should be ringing for everyone. Check out Nick Lowles on facebook at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk.

  4. Leon — on 31st January, 2009 at 11:19 am  

    Haha love it! Public Enemies ‘Fear of a black planet’ would have far less resonance now. About damn time!

  5. asquith — on 31st January, 2009 at 12:52 pm  

    Racial diversity isn’t good in itself. If he is a black face on the same old discredited bollocks GOP policies, it might do more harm than good, were he to gain popularity & be elected.

    I appreciate the significance of Obama’s victory, but he isn’t just any old black put in because of his race, he is a substantial person who already has done untold good.

    I understand all the points that will be made against me, but my champagne is staying on ice.

    Does no one remember Blair’s Babes? Having various numbers of ethnic minorities & women (funny no one mentions the working class*) does zero if they’re not progressive.

    *Not just the white working class, obviously. I use the term to refer to anyone who has worked on the shop floor rather than being a professional politician. It’s all very well & good having businessmen, I’d rather them than management consultants or lawyers, but the real underrepresentation is staring you in the face.

    Is that exactly the sort of thing you’d expect a white person to say? :)

  6. MaidMarian — on 31st January, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

    Sunny – As I understand it, thee GOP has long had a history of black membership around its market principles. It has not been well spread nationally, but in the US it is not uncommon for there to be large difference in the same party in different parts of the country.

    The McCain/Palin campaign did indeed sail uncomfortably close to racism, but campaigns are not always refelctive of party. Joys of the US system where a person needs a party to run, rather thand European presidential systems where a party needs a person.

  7. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 1:39 pm  

    … and it’s great! The Republican party has elected its first black person as chairman.

    It is not great – it is tokenism, the same way McCain chose Sarah Palin. A lot of Republicans think that Obama won just because he was black, and now they want some of the action too. There was also a big flap in this chairman election, where the frontrunner started distributing a song called “Barack the magic negro”, and that backfired. So, this seems like it was damage control. I believe this guy is a lightweight and won’t last long – the GOP is deeply divided between the social conservatives, neo-cons and religious fundamentalists.

  8. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    How long will he last? :)

    And with this?

  9. Shamit — on 31st January, 2009 at 2:38 pm  

    Michael Steele is no token — come on Ravi. That is insulting to suggest that Steele got in because he is black. He went through 6 rounds of voting mate to get it.

    And give the man his due credit. And he will last. Because he is one of those republicans who is liked both by the base and moderates. So he will be around.

  10. West Brom Blogger — on 31st January, 2009 at 2:48 pm  

    I agree with the first poster. Bush, like him or loath him, did do more than any other President to promote those from minorities to high office.

    Lets not forget the Republican Party was the party that abolished slavery and passed the Civil Rights Act and ended segregation in opposition to the Democrats. Few remember that Dr. Martin Luther King was a life long Republican.

    Lets hope that Steele, who is now one of the most important Rebuplican, can revive the party of Lincoln.

  11. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:03 pm  

    Michael Steele is no token — come on Ravi. That is insulting to suggest that Steele got in because he is black. He went through 6 rounds of voting mate to get it.

    He was chosen by a restricted group of people from the Republican National Committee. You may think that it is a coincidence that this xenophobic Party who has virtually no support from blacks, would vote for a black guy in the same year when Obama was sworn as president. I don’t – it is tokenism.

    And he will last. Because he is one of those republicans who is liked both by the base and moderates. So he will be around.

    We couldn’t disagree more. At best, he will be around for a while, but will do very little to take the GOP out of the dog house. And I do not see how hardcore Republicans will forgive him for pretending to be a Democrat…

  12. marvin — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:14 pm  

    I agree with Shamit. Point of order makes good points, the Republicans have had Condoleeza and Powell, not because they is black, but because they’re damn good at what they do. Of course there’s a concious effort to get black faces on the front line, but according to Ravi when the Republicans do it it’s tokenism, when the Democrats do it, it’s ‘race blind’ and 10000% ability!

    There’s seems to be knee-jerk tenancy to dismiss BME — only if they go for the right of centre party. Uncle Tom syndrome perhaps?

    Yahbi Brown (cant quite remember the name, sorry, I did try Google it but Google has gone a bit wrong its labelling many things such as Wikipediaas malware) thinks black and Asian people who vote Tory are Uncle Toms. It’s endemic on parts of the left.

  13. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:15 pm  

    Put this in the “yes we can” category. :)

  14. Don — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

    Google has gone a bit wrong

    Thought it was just me.

  15. marvin — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:24 pm  

    Yeah sure thing Ravi. It only got the job cos ‘es black innit?

    This ‘xenophobic’ party has always been very pro-immigration on economic grounds. It’s original incarnation freed the slaves, opposed by the Southern Democrats.

  16. marvin — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:27 pm  

    Yeah, hasn’t really reached the news wires yet Don

    http://www.itwire.com/content/view/22957/53/

  17. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:33 pm  

    I agree with Shamit. Point of order makes good points, the Republicans have had Condoleeza and Powell, not because they is black, but because they’re damn good at what they do.

    I do *not* believe that Condoleeza and Powell are tokens since George W. – for all his faults – is no racist. His stance on immigration and billions of aid in Africa are opposite to the GOP rhetoric. Not to mention that both of them – as you say – seemed competent to what they did.

    However, getting an incompetent woman to be VP like Sarah Palin was tokenism.

    Of course there’s a concious effort to get black faces on the front line, but according to Ravi when the Republicans do it it’s tokenism, when the Democrats do it, it’s ‘race blind’ and 10000% ability!

    Don’t be an idiot. Obama was elected by more than 50 million people – and he objectively showed far more ability and knowledge than McCain. People voted for him because they empathised with his views. Steele was voted by a few selected members of the RNC. Given its racist and xenophobic past (from a few days ago where they were openly distributing and defending the song “Barack the Magic negro”), and given that Steele has a history of losing elections and being a dishonest hack, I stand by what I said.

  18. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

    This ‘xenophobic’ party has always been very pro-immigration on economic grounds. It’s original incarnation freed the slaves, opposed by the Southern Democrats.

    Marvin, much of the GOP base is against immigration. That was a sore point between the GOP and Bush/McCain.

    And in 1965, when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Acts, the Democrats lost the racists in the south. From there onwards, Democrats became associated with the civil rights movement, and Republicans went completely to the right to get all those lovely racists left disfranchised.

  19. marvin — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:45 pm  

    Nearly every black person (97%-97% )in America who voted did so for Obama. He did show more ability than McCain. But more than Hilary? Hmm. Let’s not pretend that Obama being black has nothing to do with his election! Clearly it does. And that’s fine by me.

    There was racist elements shown by Democrats in the Hilary v Barrack battle too. It’s not a party political thing it goes across the spectrum Ravi. It was down to Rush Limbaugh, not the Republican party where it was widely condemned:

    On December 27, 2008, incumbent RNC chairman Mike Duncan publicly criticized the song’s distribution: “I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”[9] Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich commented that “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_the_Magic_Negro#Distribution_of_CDs_by_Chip_Saltsman

  20. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 4:01 pm  

    Nearly every black person (97%-97% )in America who voted did so for Obama. He did show more ability than McCain. But more than Hilary?

    95% of blacks voted for Obama. But guess what, 87% of blacks voted for Kerry in 2004. If Kerry was black, you could easily say they voted for him because he was black. The fact is that a vast majority of blacks vote Democrat (see #18). Furthermore that extra 8% probably got pissed off because of Katrina, because of Bush, because of the economy, and that percentage is almost the average increase that Obama got from Kerry in all ethnic groups.

    Second thing: Hillary started with a lot more support from blacks than Obama. Bill was supposed to be the first black president, remember? But then, both Clintons went overly negative, and that backfired big time and Clinton lost their support).

    And yes, Obama showed far more expertise than Clinton in almost every aspect of the campaign.

  21. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 4:06 pm  

    It was down to Rush Limbaugh, not the Republican party where it was widely condemned

    It was distributed by the frontrunner Chip Saltsman. And you should read this article: “Magic Negro flap might help Saltsman“.

  22. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 6:36 pm  

    Here is a story specially dedicated to Marvin, which mentions Steele’s subservience to this racist party.

  23. inders — on 31st January, 2009 at 8:34 pm  

    Its not really helpful to paint right wing stroke conservatism = racial anymore.

    We’re on the cusp of a new era.

    Democrats stroke dixiecrats were the race warriors in the early 20th century (since the American civil war) until some changes.

    Lincoln, Powell, Rice.

  24. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 9:20 pm  

    Its not really helpful to paint right wing stroke conservatism = racial anymore.

    I do not think GOP represents conservatives anymore. Powell said so himself. Andrew Sullivan wrote a book about it.

  25. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2009 at 9:24 pm  

    Sorry, here is the link

  26. Sunny — on 31st January, 2009 at 10:01 pm  

    MM: thee GOP has long had a history of black membership around its market principles

    No they don’t. They overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

  27. Nisha — on 31st January, 2009 at 11:40 pm  

    [No they don’t. They overwhelmingly vote Democrat.]

    This is true–though many black Americans are quite socially conservative and seem willing to overlook this aspect of the Democratic agenda (e.g. gay rights, pro- abortion) in favor of the party’s broader liberal principles.

  28. Sunny — on 1st February, 2009 at 2:44 am  

    A lot of Republicans think that Obama won just because he was black, and now they want some of the action too

    C’mon now Ravi – the Republicans may be intensely annoying but they’re not stupid. And they also know their own base would be much more resistant to a black leader than the Democrat base.

    Point of order:
    Like him or loathe him, Bush appointed more non-white males to postitions of responsibility than Clinton, for all his sax playing (oh he’s the first black president and all that shite) did.

    Oh I completely agree. I’ve not said Bush was terrible in that regard – I was talking about Republican party politics in general. The two are different.

    As an aside, do you think the Democrats never played “race-bait politics” (as you call it)? Al Sharpton ring a bell?

    Race bait politics in this context, how?

  29. Desi Italiana — on 1st February, 2009 at 8:48 am  

    “It’s good to see the Republican party finally seeing past people’s colour (or at least trying to).”

    Well, they did so in honor of Booby Jindal. There is some speculation that they might even put him up as the presidential candidate the next election.

    “Secondly: More Racial Diversity Is A Good Thing.”

    Sure. But that doesn’t mean that the politics will be diverse– obviously, and of course neither party wants too much political diversity as it unglues cohesion and unhinges party platform unity. So I am thinking we’ll just see Repub peeps with conservative ideologies who hark back to biblical era outlooks and standards, want to teach creationism in schools, are anti-everything except for market regulations…but they are just brown.

    But I really hope that the Repub party puts up Sarah Palin as the presidential candidate come next election. That way, it’s on its way to self-destruction and discredits itself.

  30. Ravi Naik — on 1st February, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    C’mon now Ravi – the Republicans may be intensely annoying but they’re not stupid. And they also know their own base would be much more resistant to a black leader than the Democrat base.

    Sunny – it’s not that they are stupid, but in my opinion, they are completely clueless.

    I cannot find a better example than McCain choosing Palin. They did so because they wanted to get Clinton’s disillusioned female voters. But it didn’t occur to them that people – and by people I mean mainstream – might want to know if she knowns anything about foreign affairs, or the economy. Or whether her credentials as a creationist, a book-burner, rabidly anti-choice even in cases of incest and rape, would be a problem for those women.

    It didn’t occur to them, because they assumed people supported ‘Clinton’ *just* because she was a woman, not because of what she stands for. That’s tokenism for you.

    If you watch Fox News – from Hannity to Bill O’Reilly – they all say the same thing: that Obama won because he was backed by the media. The media likes him because he is black. So it is not surprising to me that Michael Steele won: because once again they believe that people voted for a candidate *just* because of race or gender.

    And this will backfire – because once again, they are not finding the right person for the job, instead they looked for a token to drive a new narrative. I do believe that the Republican base is deeply fractured: social conservatives on one side, the religious fundamentalists on the other, and the racists somewhere in between. While Michael Steele may appeal to some independents which the Republicans need, I do not believe he appeals to the base, nor he has the stature to do so. At least Bush managed to solidify the base.

  31. Ravi Naik — on 1st February, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

    Well, they did so in honor of Booby Jindal. There is some speculation that they might even put him up as the presidential candidate the next election.

    Jindal said he would run only if Obama screwed up during his first term. I also hope Sarah Palin runs in 2012 – it will be a treat to watch.

  32. Don — on 1st February, 2009 at 2:35 pm  

    A Jindal/Palin ticket? Yes, please. More woo than you could shake a stick at. If they got in we could make David Icke ambassador to Washington.

  33. Sunny — on 1st February, 2009 at 2:55 pm  

    So I am thinking we’ll just see Repub peeps with conservative ideologies who hark back to biblical era outlooks and standards, want to teach creationism in schools, are anti-everything except for market regulations…but they are just brown.

    Sure, but what’s the problem with that? Of course brown peeps can be as stupid as white ones and believe in creationist / evangelical conservative rubbish.

    Putting them at the top of the ticket, even if they believe the same guff that Republicans always have, is not necessarily a bad thing if they start accepting that people of different colour can also be like them (with same values etc).

    Bobby Jindal may be a nutjob, but his election was still progress on one front. The other front is to ensure Republicans forever remain in the political wilderness but that won’t happen so easily…

  34. Don — on 1st February, 2009 at 3:30 pm  

    Bobby Jindal may be a nutjob, but his election was still progress on one front.

    Now that is a stretch. He may be a nutjob but he’s our nutjob? Is that progress and if so, do we really want to go there?

    …if they start accepting that people of different colour can also be like them (with same values etc).

    The American electorate (bless their little cotton socks) have more or less established that they have been there, done that. You must have noticed, it was in all the papers. A bloke called Obama? The likes of Bobby ‘The Exorcist’ Jindal have been overtaken by history.

  35. Desi Italiana — on 1st February, 2009 at 7:31 pm  

    Sunny:

    “Sure, but what’s the problem with that? Of course brown peeps can be as stupid as white ones and believe in creationist / evangelical conservative rubbish.”

    Yeah, I will grudgingly concede on that point, though the other part of me thinks that it’s just the same game, but a different face. I mean, you really do have to be of a certain cut to toe to GOP line.

    But then again, while I do still tend to think as the Democratic party as having the POTENTIAL to bring more progressive politics and diversity of political opinion (which breaks from the center) to the forefront, it doesn’t happen always that way either. There, you still have to be pretty conformist and mainstream “liberals” (i.e. in American parlance, center right, IMO).

  36. Desi Italiana — on 1st February, 2009 at 7:38 pm  

    “Bobby Jindal may be a nutjob, but his election was still progress on one front”

    It is very, very, very hard for me to see the Booby case as a progress on any front. They guy was wildly popular with a segment of the population that is so not progressive, living in the Dark Ages, etc that the fact he was brown does not leave any impact on me. Is it really progress when you have to be quite extreme in your views to coddle a voting base, and make it a point to be so because you are of a certain ethnic background? Like think how Obama had to stress that he was a Christian, no god forbid he’s not Muslim, etc.

    Surprisingly, the one dude who I think broke molds was that big fat liar Colin Powell when he went on national television to say “So what if he were Muslim? That is not America to denigrate someone based on their religion” blah blah or something to that effect. Now, a guy who parted from the unconditional support party members are supposed to give to their candidate, made a point about race, and called out his own party for engaging in nasty racist tactics to discredit the other party…you don’t see that happening (as often as I’d like to see).

  37. Ravi Naik — on 1st February, 2009 at 7:48 pm  

    You must have noticed, it was in all the papers. A bloke called Obama? The likes of Bobby ‘The Exorcist’ Jindal have been overtaken by history.

    Well said, Don. I should say that the next glass ceiling will be broken when Americans elect a “coloured” President who is as retarded as Bush. When that happens, you will know that racism is officially over. :)

    But then again, while I do still tend to think as the Democratic party as having the POTENTIAL to bring more progressive politics and diversity of political opinion (which breaks from the center) to the forefront, it doesn’t happen always that way either. There, you still have to be pretty conformist and mainstream “liberals” (i.e. in American parlance, center right, IMO).

    Let it be said that Democrats pretty much cover the Right-Left spectrum of European politics. Which is why Cameron, Boris, and Sarkozy were all over Obama when he visited Europe last year. The idea that I have is that mainstream America is center-right. Which is why Obama decided to channel Reagan in many of his speeches and debates.

  38. Desi Italiana — on 1st February, 2009 at 7:52 pm  

    “Let it be said that Democrats pretty much cover the Right-Left spectrum of European politics.”

    No way, man. I’m thinking the Italian left–and not, say, the Centro Sinistra or the Democratic party, but like the Communist Reformation party which is considered a part of the left– and say, Zapatero, etc and not by a long shot do the American Democrats cover the European right-left spectrum.

  39. Ravi Naik — on 1st February, 2009 at 7:57 pm  

    No way, man. I’m thinking the Italian left–and not, say, the Centro Sinistra or the Democratic party, but like the Communist Reformation party which is considered a part of the left– and say, Zapatero, etc and not by a long shot do the American Democrats cover the European right-left spectrum.

    Can you rephrase that? (a good part of my brain is on strike today…)

  40. Jai — on 2nd February, 2009 at 11:30 am  

    Ravi,

    I should say that the next glass ceiling will be broken when Americans elect a “coloured” President who is as retarded as Bush. When that happens, you will know that racism is officially over.

    On a more serious note, I think that America’s biggest “original sin” (even bigger than slavery etc, which was obviously horrific) will be redressed to some measure when a Native American person is elected President, if you consider what happened to the original “owners” of the American continent. They got shafted most of all.

  41. Ravi Naik — on 2nd February, 2009 at 3:24 pm  

    Not sure I agree that Native Americans got it worse than anyone else, Jai. Slavery meant treating people like cattle, and everything that such mindset entails. Not that the Native Americans got it easy – but I see more significance of an African-American family being the first family than a Native American or an Asian given the history of that country.

  42. Jai — on 2nd February, 2009 at 6:41 pm  

    I dunno, Ravi. Having an entire continent stolen from you and being on the receiving end of genocidal “culling” pretty much ranks right up there alongside the horrors of African-American slavery.

    However, from a certain perspective, especially considering the sheer numbers of African-Americans involved and their treatment by and within mainstream American society for so long, yes I can understand why Obama’s success would be more significant in the context of American culture.

    Perhaps the fact that there are much fewer Native Americans left, compared to their original numbers and compared to the number of present-day African-Americans, means that their own history and predicament doesn’t have as high a profile within the American consciousness (especially as a “historical crime which needs to be corrected”) as much as it otherwise would or as much as it deserves to have.

    ***********************

    Incidentally, our friend Chris Rock did also have a few things to say about the matter in that clip from one of his stand-up gigs that Sunny linked to in my “Sooty” thread ;)

  43. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2009 at 7:33 pm  

    Ravi:

    “Can you rephrase that? (a good part of my brain is on strike today…)”

    I do not think the American Democratic party covers the Right-Left spectrum of European politics because of the lack of a leftist perspective that is readily found in European politics.

    “Not sure I agree that Native Americans got it worse than anyone else, Jai. Slavery meant treating people like cattle, and everything that such mindset entails. Not that the Native Americans got it easy – but I see more significance of an African-American family being the first family than a Native American or an Asian given the history of that country.”

    You didn’t just write that, did you.

  44. Ravi Naik — on 2nd February, 2009 at 7:38 pm  

    Perhaps the fact that there are much fewer Native Americans left, compared to their original numbers and compared to the number of present-day African-Americans, means that their own history and predicament doesn’t have as high a profile within the American consciousness

    Well, a good number of Native Americans live and work in reservation lands, and they govern according to their own laws. Perhaps this is the reason why they don’t get much attention.

    Incidentally, our friend Chris Rock did also have a few things to say about the matter in that clip from one of his stand-up gigs that Sunny linked to in my “Sooty” thread ;)

    I should have known. :)

  45. George — on 2nd February, 2009 at 8:07 pm  

    Meanwhile guess what the Indian Americans are up to. For them opportunism overrides moral priciple. On 7th January, they launched the Indian American Task Force to presure Congress to get tougher on Pakistan. Anti-Muslim feeling seems to be fermenting in their brain. Instead of condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza, these Indians have developed close relations with the Jewish AIPAC and have created their own version USINPAC. (How’s that for original!)

  46. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2009 at 8:19 pm  

    George:

    “these Indians have developed close relations with the Jewish AIPAC and have created their own version USINPAC. (How’s that for original!)”

    Don’t even get me started on the USINPAC and that ridiculous Task Force, let alone on the lack of originality.

  47. Ravi Naik — on 2nd February, 2009 at 9:09 pm  

    You didn’t just write that, did you.

    I sure did. Though I understand the pitfalls of debating who got it worse.

    I do not think the American Democratic party covers the Right-Left spectrum of European politics because of the lack of a leftist perspective that is readily found in European politics.

    Well, the Democratic Party does include and give a platform to politicians from Dennis Kucinich (Left) to Lieberman (Right). Although its official position is more of a centrist party.

  48. Shamit — on 3rd February, 2009 at 12:49 am  

    For what its worth, I think Ravi is correct.

    And since 1991, the party has become much more centrist — partly because election of Clinton as President but also a new breed of Democrats wanted to win more elections.

    Interestingly, during the late 80′s the Democratic party faced a similar situation like the Republicans are facing now. They had a few good senators and a bunch of good governors including a black governor in Virginia — again a similar position to the Republicans now.

    And, Jindal people say have dodgy politics — he has some clearly defined beliefs but he has been a brilliant administrator. But I dont think he would run against Obama anyways.

  49. Ravi Naik — on 3rd February, 2009 at 9:28 am  

    C’mon now Ravi – the Republicans may be intensely annoying but they’re not stupid.

    Sunny, does this make them annoying or stupid? :)

  50. Ravi Naik — on 3rd February, 2009 at 9:46 am  

    And since 1991, the party has become much more centrist — partly because election of Clinton as President but also a new breed of Democrats wanted to win more elections.

    True. Being in the centre also makes them closer to conservative Democrats in places like Virginia and in the South, and also liberal Democrats like the ones you find in Vermont. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has moved completely to the right, catering extreme-right ideologues and the hard right.

    And, Jindal people say have dodgy politics — he has some clearly defined beliefs but he has been a brilliant administrator. But I dont think he would run against Obama anyways.

    I was happy that Jindal won the gubernatorial race in Louisiana. It was amazing that he got considerable support from rural areas, who had not long ago been David Duke’s (KKK) base. Still, his Democratic opponents were as conservative as he was, and so there was not much harm. Furthermore, unlike other GOPers, Jindal is highly educated (Rhodes scholar).

    But I would be horrified if he ever won the Presidency. His stance on social issues is archaic and out of mainstream, and I do not see that as any kind of progress.

  51. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

    Ravi:

    “I sure did. Though I understand the pitfalls of debating who got it worse.”

    It’s not about who got it worse, it’s about recognizing historical injustices and inequalities and not playing this game of “well, the AA were slaves, others were not, so you know who got it worse” (BTW, exploitation of people for labor purposes was not relegated to the inhumane treatment of AA, there were also others like the white Appalachian folks, the Chinese, etc in the 1800′s and early 1900s), though I will definitely say that AA got the most obvious and systematic unjust treatment.

    And I don’t know who said up on the thread “well, most of the Native Americas are gone” which is not true, even if our mass media does not give a flying fuck about them except when it comes to casino politics. There ARE Native Americans here, esp in places in the South West and West like Cali, and there are more issues to Native Americans than just gambling casinos.

    That said, tying it into this post, I still feel like we have a long ways to go in terms of TRUE diversity (not just ethnic/racial, but in terms of socio-economic status, different viewpoints, etc)in mainstream politics. And I said a while ago on PP following the Obama electoral victory that no one can deny the symbolism of Obama’s victory given the history of slavery and contemporary presence of racism and the current status of AA in the US.

    “Well, the Democratic Party does include and give a platform to politicians from Dennis Kucinich (Left) to Lieberman (Right). Although its official position is more of a centrist party.”

    Yes, totally agree with you on that part. But I also maintain that Kucinich, outside of his own Ohio following, gets more ridicule than support from his fellow statesmen, whereas a figure like him in European politics would garner half of that ridicule. He is also among the few (if not couple, like McKinney the former rep) of American Democrats with his viewpoints, whereas in Europe, there are more of him and they can more weight in relation. For the US parties that are left, like the American socialist party, etc, they are not in part of the mainstream, do not have a larger following, and are practically shut out of mainstream politics, receive no airtime, etc. I understand that even in Europe there has been a political evolution in the past few years where right and centrists have more credence than the left ones, but relatively, the American Democrat party is still woefully center right, even if there are a few in the Demo party who are the harbringers of progressive politics. That is to say that the tiny sliver of the left segment of the Demo party similar to the European left does not, in terms of numbers, influence, and airtime, leverage a lot of power as their Euro counterparts do.

  52. Shamit — on 4th February, 2009 at 9:10 pm  

    Kuinich would be ridiculed anywhere in Europe as well and people like him in Europe do not carry much weight either.

    One of the main reasons is that we mostly have paliamentary forms of democracy where people whose thinking is out of the norm with the agreed agenda usually don’t end up anywhere near power. And that’s good cos we don’t want loony left in power in Europe either.

  53. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2009 at 9:59 pm  

    “Perhaps the fact that there are much fewer Native Americans left, compared to their original numbers and compared to the number of present-day African-Americans, means that their own history and predicament doesn’t have as high a profile within the American consciousness”

    Oh, that was Jai. Jai, I misinterpreted your point. Yes, there are far fewer Native Americans then when Euro colonization took place, and I wholeheartedly agree with you about the high profileness.

    Interestingly, just south of the border, it seems like the situation is reversed or different. There is much talk having to do with politics and indigenous peoples. We know that in certain cases, power sharing with indigenous has been far from equal, but there have also been collective voices calling out for such, and it figures into the national consciousness (whether people are pro or anti indigenous rights and equality is another matter), more so than in the US.

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