Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Harry Reid Alert

There’s been a lot of hay made lately about comments that Harry Reid made.  Ward Connerly makes some very good points:

For my part, I am having a difficult time determining what it was that Mr. Reid said that was so offensive.

Was it because he suggested that lighter-skinned blacks fare better in American life than their darker brothers and sisters? If so, ask blacks whether they find this to be true. Even the lighter-skinned ones, if they are honest with themselves, will agree that there is a different level of acceptance.

Was it because he used the politically incorrect term "negro"? If so, it should be noted that there are many blacks of my generation who continue to embrace this term. In fact, "negro" is an option along with "black" and "African-American" on the 2010 Census.

Was it because he implied that Mr. Obama might be cut some political slack because of his oratorical skills or his looks? If so, that fact was not harmful to Joe Biden, who was elected vice president after praising Mr. Obama as "articulate" and "clean-looking."

Or, finally, could it be viewed as offensive that Mr. Reid suggested that blacks often have a distinctive way of speaking? If that is, indeed, the offense, then I will offend a lot of individuals when I assert that I can tell in probably 90% of the cases whether an individual is black merely by talking to him on the telephone.

This is a fantastic example of being right on the details and wrong on the conclusion.

I agree that there is often more made of racial issues than need to be, and as a result real race issues are completely overlooked.

However, the right has been beat over the head with the race card so many times, valid or not, that it’s not surprising they’d like a little payback.  What’s more, refusing to use this opportunity would directly violate Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, i.e. “Hold the enemy to their own standards.”

I’m not a big fan of Alinsky, but you can’t argue with success.  Politically, the right will continue to be pummeled by scandal after scandal as long as they let their opponents set the rules of engagement.  Sadly, that means that taking the high road and taking a truly objective stance on race is a losing position.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.