Jul 27, 2010

Dem senator calls 'white privilege' a myth and gets away with it
By Sophia A. Nelson

I have to tell you when I first read my own U.S. Senator Jim Webb's (D-VA) opinion column last week in the Wall Street Journal titled, "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege" my jaw dropped.

This must be a misprint I thought--no sitting Democratic U.S. Senator (from the south no less) with a black population of almost 20 percent would be so openly divisive. Then I read it again, and again, and I finally grasped the point: Jim Webb is up for re-election in 2012 in a state that has turned "red" once again and he needs to bring home conservative white voters and independents that apparently feel discriminated against since Barack Obama became president of the United States. His op-ed is simply a preview I fear of what we can expect in the 2010 midterms and the 2012 presidential election.

Let's face it folks--race and race baiting are here to stay. Pitting black against white and white against black still works in America and we had all better buckle up as I like to say because when a sitting U.S. Senator makes declarations such as this: "Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future."

What alternate reality is Jim Webb living in? Does he really believe that affirmative action and diversity programs have truly harmed white Americans? I simply don't live in that America when we can all plainly see that black unemployment is double the national average, and that black men in some cities are experiencing Great Depression level unemployment in excess of 35 percent. Black infant mortality rates, incarceration rates, wealth gap, home ownership, marriage rates, education rates are all disproportionately at the bottom of the barrel (facts Webb reluctantly admits as he is talking out of both sides of his mouth).

But here is the point: I guess what incenses and alarms me most is that had a conservative written this column, or God forbid a Republican politician all hell would have broken loose and this story would have been carried by many news outlets. But since Webb is a Democrat, like the late Senator Robert Byrd (who once as a member of the KKK), he gets a pass. That is most unfortunate, because once again African-Americans are the losers in the "race-baiting" gamut. And I'd bet my house that despite this op-ed Webb will feel entitled to garner a large share of the black vote come the fall 2012 election. And worse, he will likely get it.

If any of us ever doubted the specter of race-baiting works well, we just have to reflect on the past week's events with the NAACP, Tea Party, Shirley Sherrod, USDA, and Andrew Breitbart. For a United States Senator to author this kind of divisive op-ed, in the nation's premiere conservative economic newspaper in such racially charged times as these is simply shocking.



Ask yourself if Sophia's assessments in this article are correct.  Why aren't African Americans up in arms about the assertions that were made by Sen. Webb?  Had a Republican said the same thing would the response had been the same?  If  Mitch McConnell or Jim Boehner wrote those same words would we be slamming them all over our websites, radio shows,  kitchen tables, and barbershops and demand an apology?  Does Webb get a pass because he is a Democrat?  What Say Thee....

1 comment:

  1. I, too, was surprised to hear my senator say these things. One point I will make is that we need to have these conversations to hear where people are. And we have to brace ourselves to hear some things we don't particularly want to hear.

    He probably does get a pass because he's a Democrat, because with regard to race relations, while not perfect, the Democratic party is light years ahead of the Republican party.

    But like I said we can't get up in arms every time somebody makes a statement. We need to have these conversations.