Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Wringing a Ton of Outrage Out of an Ounce of Offense

Brittney Cooper, a professor at Rutgers and writer at Salon, has a cow here about a generally innocuous tweet from the Republican party praising Rosa Parks on an anniversary evenly divisible by 5 of her arrest for not moving to the back of the bus.

Here's the tweet which accompanied a photo of Ms. Parks at the time (as opposed to the President's photo of himself accompanying his praise of Ms. Parks): "today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism."

Who could be incensed at that? one might reasonably ask. Hint: it's the last two words. Only knuckle-dragging Neanderthals like the Republicans could be so stupid as to think that racism has ended. Fine, racism is today universally hated by the enlightened people, a super-majority of America, but it has not been completely eradicated. Glad we clarified that.

The tweet lacks a modifier for the word racism. James Taranto thinks it should have said 'ended Jim Crow laws'. I'm not sure adding "institutional" or "Democrat-enforced" would have placated Prof. Cooper. Let's go to the tape. Ms. Cooper tells us what the real problem is.

If they really cared about Rosa Parks’ memory, Republicans would attempt to emulate her courage in challenging the white male entitlement that demanded she give up the seat that she paid for. That kind of white male entitlement still dominates both the GOP and the American political scene today.
I'm not sure what "white male entitlement" is to Ms. Cooper and her ilk, but I'm pretty sure it is not pursuing happiness through the fruits of one's labor. But let's be clear, the law that required Ms. Parks to sit in the back of the bus was solely, completely the product of Democrats. The Republicans opposed such laws and tried, for the near century after they passed the 13th through 15th Amendments, to make political freedom and equality a reality for black people in America with Civil Rights bill after Civil Rights bill, right through the 1964 version. And I can assure Prof. Cooper that no Republican would insist she give up her seat on the bus. Moving on. She points out the political reality of black voters and the Republicans.

In contemporary elections, it is routine that more than 90 percent of black America votes for anyone but the GOP.
The fact that an overwhelming number of blacks have abandoned the party that fought so for their emancipation and equality is sad and slightly mystifying. It's not like the Democrats have done actual good for them. But I'll skip over my pitiful lack of understanding here and go back to Ms. Cooper's grand umbrage.

GOP cronies and conservatives masquerading as moderates (Arne Duncan, here’s looking at you) would stop the kind of union busting in places like Chicago that continue to erode the school system and disadvantage the predominantly black and brown students that attend Chicago public schools. Old school civil rights figures would decry the school reform movement and see clearly that it places black children back in the very kinds of conditions that Brown v. Board of Education was meant to rectify.

It is completely unclear what teacher "union busting" has to do with the horrible public school system that exists in too many of our large cities, like Chicago. I think teacher unions are the largest impediment to improvement (along with insufficient security and discipline and lack of tracking). I note that the worst performing schools with the greatest amount of money per student are nearly all in Democrat run cities, mostly by black Democrat mayors and city councils, but perhaps that is an inconvenient truth which Prof. Cooper would be unwilling to credit. I'm not sure about the reform movement wanting to place black children back into separate but unequal schools, certainly the DC voucher program, which the Democrats defunded a few years back, served mostly poor black students in horrible schools (with about the highest dollars per student spent in America) and allowed them the freedom to attend, largely on the taxpayers dime, schools they chose, believing they were better. Who's being anti-freedom, anti-choice here? Not the Republicans.

Companies like Wal-Mart would pay their workers a living wage and acknowledge that they could do so and still remain profitable each year to the tune of billions of dollars.

Are the workers at Wal-Mart exclusively black? I didn't know that. I believe they are paid the market clearing price for what their abilities are worth. Wal-Mart has a small retail profit margin of 3.8%. Higher wages just for the sake of higher wages at Wal-Mart would necessarily cause prices there to rise and hurt the millions who depend on the low prices to be able to buy things. If the ratio of shopper to worker at Wal-Mart is as low as 100 to 1 (and I have no idea) how is artificially increasing wages creating the greatest good for the greatest number of people? But wait, weren't we talking about civil rights and schools? How did Wal-Mart enter a discussion of Rosa Parks and Republicans?

Moreover, Parks, who began attempting to register to vote and encouraged others to do so in Alabama in the 1940s, would balk at the brazen voter suppression efforts that the GOP continues to lead under the guise of implementing voter identification laws and gerrymandering voting districts to dilute the power of the black and Democratic vote.

Since Ms. Parks worked at the NAACP, her efforts at enrolling black voters doesn't shock me. Nor am I shocked by the mindless repetition of the Big Lie that maintains that perfectly rational, and constitutional, laws requiring photo IDs to vote is "brazen voter suppression". This past election in Texas, a whopping .2% of voters had to cast a provisional ballot because they could not present a valid photo ID on or before election day. They voted, but they still had to prove who they were within a week to get it counted. Not the scale of of "brazen voter suppression" I would waste time worrying about. It was less than .1% (about 750 provisional votes) the cycle before. I'm glad those who are not eligible to vote could not vote. Their illegal votes did not cancel out legal votes. And regarding redistricting after the Census. The Democrats are notorious for Gerrymandering. Pot, kettle, black, etc.

Most of all, if Republicans cared about Rosa Parks’ legacy, they would stop their war on women.

If anyone tells you that someone is waging war against someone or something else and there are no soldiers, bombs and machine-guns involved, that person is lying to you. And what a dreary, illogical lie this is. OK, professor, I'll bite. How are the Republicans waging war against women? She talks about Rosa Parks' anti-rape activism but apparently that is a head fake as this is her evidence of a Republican "war on women":

Yet the GOP persists in passing draconian anti-choice legislation in locales around the country, and the blatantly right-wing Supreme Court is poised to hear yet another case, arguing for a religious exemption to businesses that don’t want to provide free birth control to their employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Oh, abortion and birth control. Not rape. Abortion and free birth control. That's the whole of women's worth to the Democrats? They're just a vagina to Democrats. Women are not concerned with jobs, taxes, security, crime... just those two things? Thought I speak with the tongues of angels, and know all things, if I'm a woman, the Democrats think all I care about is abortion and free birth control. Draconian? The professor has absolutely no sense of proportion to call recent legislation draconian; and if she thinks the Supreme Court is "blatantly right-wing" she must be so far left she's already across the international date line. Democrats pretend to support the First Amendment, but they are the ones pushing speech codes, making up a right not to be offended, and shutting down the free exercise of Christianity wherever possible.

Affixed to the picture of Rosa Parks that the RNC tweeted is a quote that reads: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

Unfortunately, this means that the GOP should be afraid. Very afraid. Continuing to support policies that redistribute wealth upward, continuing to gut public education, refusing to regulate guns, doubling down against healthcare reform, and policing the bodies of women is a potent and heady chemical mix that might just make the GOP implode from the inside out.

What policies redistribute wealth upward, whatever that means? 47% of American workers pay no federal income tax and those not in the labor force (a percentage way up under the Obama Administration) suck tax revenue up and pay nothing. The top 10% pays 71% of income taxes and takes barely a thing from the federal government. Ms. Cooper has it 180 degrees wrong. How are Republicans "gutting" public education? No clue from the professor. Regulating guns. So from 2009 deep into 2010, the Democrats controlled the White House and the House and had a 60 vote advantage in the Senate but it's the Republicans alone who refuse to pass new and generally unconstitutional infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. Yeah, right. And in what way are we "policing" the bodies of women? Again only the dreary and fatuous talking points repeated with not a jot of evidence in support. And wasn't this supposed to be about race? It's merely the same sham parade of alleged Republican horribles, yet again.

Moreover, the GOP’s refusal to grapple with the persistent and enduring problem of racism will find them on the wrong side of history just a couple of generations hence. For instance, though Marissa Alexander is now free on bond in Florida, awaiting a second trial for firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband, by all indications conservative prosecutor Angela Corey insists on using taxpayer money to try her again and to lock her up for 20 years based on Alexander’s attempt to defend herself.
How are we refusing to grapple with racism by praising the courage of Rosa Parks? If even that sort of embrace and praise of one of the heroes of the civil rights movement is met with vitriolic derision and scorn, how are we ever to have a serious discussion of what role racism plays in the present state of most black Americans? Ah, the current cause célèbre, Ms. Alexander. The key question in her prosecution was whether it was a warning shot form a woman who rationally felt threatened or a missed shot from a vengeful woman. Guess which way the mixed race jury went after 12 minutes of deliberation? But Ms. Cooper knows more than they who listened to all the testimony. It's straight up racism ever to prosecute a black perpetrator, I guess. The big finish, with a gymnastics conceit, is even more tedious. I'll skip over it and end with this observation. There's more wisdom in a paragraph of Thomas Sowell's or Walter Williams' writing than in the entirety of this hissy fit.

And I didn't even have to mention the problem of black racism against whites.


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