Monday, January 11, 2010

Strom and Harry

Do you think that Trent Lott saying Strom Thurmond was a great man and that if he had been elected President on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948, the country would be a lot better off and Harry Reid saying that Barry O is a gifted orator with light skin and no Negro dialect are similar things?

If they are, the American people can evaluate the information and draw a conclusion. I think that's what they're doing. I think it's a good thing. Different types of people will undoubtedly evaluate the comparison differently and draw different conclusions. That's the way these things always go.

I don't think Strom was a racist in the sense that he thought people of color were inferior. Strom lived intimately all his life, with many in the Black community. It's unlikely a man as intelligent as he was, would harbor beliefs that they were in any way inferior. He just believed that White people should remain in control of society and government. Harry was conjecturing positively on the idea that Americans were disposed to elect a President of color based on his exceptional communication skills and the fact that his affect minimized the perceived differences between Black and White culture. These two statements seem fundamentally different to me but neither are, in fact, about racial prejudice.

I found many things to admire about Strom Thurmond personally. He was quite a guy. I didn't agree with him much on the subject of race relations. I also find much to admire in Harry Reid. It's a struggle though. Growing up in the West, I was raised to distrust Mormons. I still have to fight against that prejudice all the time and many others I was raised with. Sometimes I have not treated Mormons with the respect they deserve. We all have our prejudices. I do. I may have more than most. I'm glad that society is becoming more accepting of diversity and that most young people today are not being raised with the degree and multiplicity of prejudice that I was. I find in many of the young today, an example for myself.


Inspector Clouseau said...

Very nicely written and reasoned piece. Few realize that when Strom Thurmond died, his wife called Joe Biden and told him that Thurmond had requested that Biden deliver the eulogy at his funeral.

If you want to watch something fascinating, watch Biden talking about this from the Senate floor shortly after Thurmond's death.

The reason that society is incapable of addressing the racial issue is because we view it from a perspective which is not conducive to real analysis. We talk all around the fundamental, underlying reasons for racism, and make it an emotional issue. How does one expect to cure the cancer without focusing on the cancerous cells and the biological reasons for cancer? Focusing on the symptoms is an ineffective mechanism to employ. Racism serves a far more complex pragmatic function than we are generally willing to acknowledge.

Cutshoot said...

I think the use of the word "racist" is over-used and mis-used. If I dislike most blacks am I racist? I respect blacks like Bill Cosby, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Condi Rice, etc. but I avoid most blacks and hispanics because of their culture. Their cultures are what holds them back, not racism. I might add that most hispanics hate blacks and don't even try to keep it secret.