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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Swim, negro swim

This ran on Jon Swift, a "conservative" blog

A Conservative Message to Blacks: Sink or Swim

Lately it seems the media has been playing the Race Card again by implying that there is racism in the Republican Party, despite the fact that, as Tony Snow has pointed out, "Racism isn't that big a deal any more." Virginia Senator George Allen's poll numbers are plummeting because of the misunderstanding over his use of the word "macaca." Montana Senator Conrad Burns is in trouble because he asked to see the green card of his Guatemalan house painter. Pat Buchanan is being criticized for calling for a moratorium on all immigration, warning ominously that "by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built." The Weekly Standard is taken to task for depicting Al Sharpton as a chauffer, which is only derogatory if you think there is something wrong with the noble profession of chauffeuring. And last week Tramm Hudson, the Republican candidate for Katharine Harris's congressional seat in Florida, was attacked for raising an issue that I must confess I was not aware of until he brought it up: "I grew up In Alabama," he said, "and I understand, and I know this from my own experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know to swim."

Frankly, I don't know how it is racist to point out that blacks can't swim and it seems to me it's better that we confront this problem instead of sweeping it under the rug. Think of how many lives could have been saved if we had known about this before Hurricane Katrina and done something about it. I wonder if liberals want to keep a lid on this crisis so that they can blame President Bush for the lives lost after the hurricane, when it may in fact have been the fault of African-Americans themselves for not learning how to swim. Clearly, Hudson was trying to help black people by discussing this issue and it's unfortunate he was forced to apologize for broaching the subject.

I really don't know where this idea that Republicans are racist came from. As blogger La Shawn Barber recently pointed out, the party that is historically the most racist in this country is not the party of Lincoln but the Democrats. "Do you recall watching those grainy black and white films of cops beating down protestors?" she writes of Civil Rights protests of the 1960s. "Chances are, they were Democrats. The man who came to symbolize the water hose tyranny was police chief Bull Connor, Public Safety Commissioner in Birmingham, Alabama, and a staunch Democrat."

I wonder if that is why so many Democrats like Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and Jesse Helms became Republicans after Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Apparently, they were so embarrassed by the historically racist legacy of the Democrats that they left the party. Ever since President Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which welcomed Southerners into the Republican Party and is often unfairly depicted as racist when it was nothing of the kind, according to La Shawn, the GOP has dedicated itself to turning a color-blind eye toward the issue of race. I should point out, however, that Nixon did have help from one Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Joseph Lieberman of his time, in instituting another of his pioneering policies on the issue of race, "benign neglect," which has been official government policy toward African-Americans ever since.

I don't know how people could think conservatives are racists when La Shawn has one of the top conservative blogs. Yes, although you would barely know it from her completely colorless prose, La Shawn is, in fact, black (and, apparently, a poor swimmer). You probably wouldn't know she was black at all except for the fact that she often needs to remind readers of how brave she is when she is continually victimized by unfair attacks for being a black conservative with very strong opinions. La Shawn did not get any special preferential treatment from the blogosphere. She floated to the top of the blogosphere by pulling herself up by her own bootstraps and not through any affirmative action plan, which she believes just makes blacks lazy and shiftless. She hates the way "race hustlers" continually depict blacks as helpless victims and deplores "dumbing down" standards to create more diversity in hiring and college admissions. No one had to dumb down the blogosphere to let her in. In fact, her success is all the more remarkable when you take into consideration that, according to her, "whites generally have higher cognitive ability than blacks."

But while I am happy that La Shawn triumphed over her lack of cognitive ability, I am concerned about the possibility of her drowning. I think something should be done about blacks' inability to stay afloat. No doubt Democrats would want to throw money at the problem by handing out free life preservers or providing government-subsidized boat rides or swimming classes. A better solution might be to consider vouchers or private accounts to pay for life jackets or private swimming classes. We might also consider a program modeled after Nancy Reagan's very successful anti-drug efforts, which got so many black people off of crack, perhaps by creating public service announcements with a catchy slogan such as "Just Say No To Drowning." But I think the best way to teach people to swim is the way my father taught me, which was to just throw me in the water and let me sink or swim on my own. You would be surprised at how effective this method is. I think this is the approach that truly embodies conservative principles. So if you happen to see La Shawn or another black person near a body of water, throw them in. They will thank you for it later.

posted by Steve @ 1:17:00 AM

1:17:00 AM

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